The annual Sony Expo in Honolulu, Hawaii, kicked off today in the Hibiscus Ballroom at the Ala Moana Hotel.
The three-day event isn’t used to launch new products so it isn’t bustling with press or even a large crowd of people (not this afternoon, anyway). In fact, just like at last year’s Sony Expo, my husband was the only one there with a camera.
This ad in Sunday’s Honolulu Advertiser was the only advertisement I saw prior to the event.
Most people parked at the adjoining Ala Moana shopping center and walked up this ramp to the ballroom. There may have been a sign in the hotel lobby, but nothing leading up to this side entrance indicated that anything was going on inside.
Most of the displays were placed along the walls, giving everyone (all 80 or so of us) plenty of elbow room and more than enough personal space.
Color coordination and lifestyle seemed to be the main themes of this year’s event, as different colored "rooms" lined the left side of the ballroom. I’m disturbed that the focal points of the green set are a child’s bed and a video camera, but the rest of the "Sony house" was nice to look at.
Most attendees were drawn to the Bravia TVs and digital camera stations. Most of the other devices on display and under glass were barely given a passing glance.
This doesn’t bode well for Sony perhaps, but it was great for getting pictures without any people in them.
A solitary Vaio UX490 Micro PC (in silver, for some reason) sat beside the notebooks and garnered no attention from passerby. The only person I saw who touched it did so with a very strange expression on her face, kind of like a "what the heck is this?" look.
The highlight for me was this colorful little display of miniature CR notebooks sitting between full-size models. They’re not working units, of course, but all the lids opened to show off a stickered display and keyboard. Very cute. I may have to go back on the last day of the Expo to see if someone will let me have one.
Another thing I enjoyed seeing was this ultra thin 11-inch widescreen OLED TV prototype. The 3mm-thick display has a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1, and the video/image quality was just plain stunning.
A disassembled PSP and the new Sony Reader models (PRS-505) were placed at the bottom of display cases that were usually blocked by workers’ legs. Given that the new PSPs were only recently released and the new Reader just began shipping a month ago, they should have had a much more prominent position at the Expo.
The S610 and A810 Walkman series and the egg-shaped Rolly players got very little attention as well. There weren’t even any models on display for people to play with. How Sony expects to ever cut into Apple’s pie with this kind of ridiculous "look but don’t touch" thinking is beyond me.
Actually, it was beyond me. Everything became crystal clear when I saw this in the corner of the room:
Yes, that’s an iPod.