Friday, January 20, 2012

My Poor Sony Dash

Yes, I am one of the few people who own (and actually love) the Sony Dash. I picked it up on Woot a while back since the concept of an always on combo clock/news feeder/weather station was appealing to me. I've had it in my office so at a glance I have the time/date/weather and the news that's currently being displayed. I'd configured the little guy to cycle through news from Google, The New York Times, CBS Sports, and other outlets while cycling in Facebook photos, famous quotes, top Flickr picks to keep it interesting. And that's not counting many of the other interesting apps I have cycling through. It's a cool device and one of the few Sony devices I own and like.

You see, I'd given up on Sony a few years ago. I sold my PSP when I got my iPad. I sold my Playstation 3 when I didn't game that much any more. I went the Vizio route when upgrading the TVs in our house.  It was a weird transition. When I was younger, in the 90's and early 00's, Sony was THE brand. Now, however, they're not even considered when making technology purchases. Outside of my Dash, there's not a single Sony product that gets my attention... A lot has been made of this in the past about how they don't seem to care about their customers and are very stuck in their ways, but what they're doing with the Dash reinforces the attitude that is going to kill them as a company.

Over the last couple of weeks, some of the apps I used on my Dash stopped loading or instead displayed notices saying the app had been pulled. This was the case for Digg, The New York Times, and a few others. I thought it was weird that some of the most popular apps were getting pulled. Then there was a day long outage of Dash services with Sony neither acknowledging it happened or explaining it. Now it's been announced that Sony is stopping developer support for the Dash. This includes closing up the forums used and shutting off the ability for any new apps to be created or for current apps to be updated.

As a customer, this is extremely frustrating... especially when it would be so easy to just open up the device. In an age where opening up a device only makes it more popular and well-liked, while locking it down or bricking it only hurts your image, why choose the latter? Sony could still give up support of the developer community and simply open source it or, what would be really great, just turn it over to the developer community that created all of the apps. This would keep the little guy fully functional, ensures that a dedicated community stays involved, and would probably perk up interest in the tinkering community.

Instead of that option, though, I have a sneaking suspicion that my Dash is starting on its journey towards becoming nothing more than touchscreen clock... which defeats the entire purpose of why anyone bought it. Here's to hoping Sony rethinks things, but I'm not holding my breath.


Jon said...

Class action lawsuit ;)

Matt G said...

Class action lawsuit #2!