The problem with Sony is that the equipment worthwhile happening is aimed at professional audiences and quite hard to get hold of. Their consumer-orientated products generally feel cheap: whilst the electronics and components are top notch, case materials and mechanical engineering usually feel shoddy in comparison to the likes of Denon, Pioneer or TEAC.
The Sony PCM-D1 digital recorder shows however that Sony has the expertise and the capability to make something very special. You can read about the technical specifications on the Sony website: needless to say the device is very impressive and podcasters would sell their first-born to get their hands on it.
The recorder body is made of pressed titanium, it has two sensitive electret condenser microphones that sit safely inside an elegant metal frame that has the beauty of an air-cooled twin cylinder motorcycle engine. One of the easiest to use button layouts on a professional recording machine that I have seen since the Sony Pro-Walkman WM-D6C which used to be the weapon of choice with concert bootleggers and radio news interviews.
The analogue VDU meters add legibility, character and a touch of class to the design. It would have been just as easy for the engineers to have put in a digital display instead, but they chose not to.
Oystercard culturejammed, originally uploaded by renaissancechambara.
The Oystercard system keeps a record of journeys providing an electronic track, at least in theory.
During the 1980s with the rise of the video cassette recorder (VCR), the reduction in costs of the devices due to the VHS vs. Beta war and an uncertain economic climate consumers started to stay at home in what was later called cocooning. The internet extended this as a trend as community interaction increasingly happens online. Local is wherever you meet your friends and community are those fellow travelers that share the same interests as you be it in the real-world, particularly at work, or online through various social software services.
I have noticed on the tube how the isolation of cocooning has been extended through smartphones and personal media players like an iPod or iPhone to previously public places. My colleagues use the iconic earphones to screen themselves off from each other, even in the most open plan of office environments. During my commute to work the flow of people around me going through the turnstiles is disrupted as earphone equipped wander through as in a trance with disregard to the crowd around them. It’s not because they’ve all turned into type-A personalities, but that they are unaware of their immediate surroundings. This is about building a private world in even the smallest of personal spaces, what I think of as ‘micro-cocooning’.
Music players that can keep going for a whole working day, inner ear headphones and overear noise reduction headsets that don’t ‘fizz’, have helped facilitate this boom.
From a media and marketing point-of-view this is also a great opportunity to get content in front of these consumers at a time when they can immerse themselves in it. Applications on your phone don’t require real-time internet connectivity, if you have all the content that you want to provide pre-cached on the device making it ideal for rail commutes with dodgy phone signals.
How would you target the micro-cocooners?