San Diego-Based Sony Electronics Ready to Talk About 3D And Other Innovations

2/17/10Follow @bvbigelow

Sony Electronics usually maintains a low corporate profile at its North American headquarters, even though it ranks among San Diego’s biggest private employers—with roughly 2,000 workers here. That seemed especially true after its corporate parent announced a massive reorganization at this time last year, which included hundreds of Sony layoffs in San Diego.

So it seemed unusual when Sony Electronics recently broke radio silence. The consumer electronics business organized an open house at its new 11-story building here—and invited hundreds of dealers, less than two months after courting them at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The unexpected glasnost even extended to some journalists like me, who were invited to join the trade press for a Q&A session with two of Sony Electronics’ top executives. We also got briefing on Sony’s push into 3D technologies.

The session included a demonstration of the new “Dash—a personal Internet appliance, alarm clock, and online media-streaming device based on technology that Sony licensed from San Diego-based Chumby Industries, the startup behind the soft-and-cuddly Chumby web terminal.

Stan Glasgow

Stan Glasgow

Stan Glasgow, Sony Electronics’ president and chief operating officer, says the Dash is an example of the company’s renewed focus on consumer trends and demographics. Women, in particular, influenced its development, according to Edgar Tu, president of Sony TV Engineering of America. Sony says more than 1,000 free apps are available for the device, which connects to an existing home or office wireless network, so people can use it to access websites for recipes, weather, traffic reports, news, and other information. Tu tells me the Dash even features a 7-inch waterproof LCD touch screen, so people can use it in the bathroom and kitchen. It will be available in April for $199.

Sony’s new focus on consumer trends has grown so keen, in fact, that Glasgow says Sony and CBS have established a … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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