Winner: Playstation Just a few weeks ago, Sony unwrapped its new PlayStation Portable, or PSP. A true multimedia device, it combines a music and movie player with what is essentially a handheld version of the PlayStation 1.Im still skepticalits new rotating media format smacks of another quasi-proprietary memory stick debacle, and battery life looks to be a problem. But its all Sony, it builds on the wildly successful PlayStation franchise, and it looks pretty cool. Think of it as a Tapwave Zodiac, Sony-style. Loser: Apple Why would Apple be a loser? They dont make handhelds, nor do they make phones. But I think Apples stunning success with the iPod is actually one of the key reasons Sony is killing off the Clie. Apple learned a long time ago that the PDA market was a great place to lose money and focus. Its not about handheld computers after allits about media in your pocket. And the company that invented the Walkman should have known better. And now they will. What It Means to You Now that the Clies dead (at least, in the United States), expect Sony to refocus its portable business on phone hybrids with Sony Ericsson, and portable media and game devices with the PSP. If youre a Clie user, not to worrySony will still support the product. If you really want a Palm OS handheld, wait a month or twoyoull be able to buy a great Clie at fire-sale prices. I still dont recommend the Sony Ericsson phone/PDA hybrids yet, but just wait until later this year or next year. The new products had better be stellar to justify the Clie move. If youre looking for a portable media player that adds video, Im not sure the PSP will do it, but Im even less bullish about Microsofts upcoming Portable Media Centers. Thats another market that bodes waiting and watching, not jumping. At least, not right now. Check out eWEEK.coms Mobile & Wireless Center at http://wireless.eweek.com for the latest news, reviews and analysis.
Sony had tried to turn the Clie into a media-centric device, and the music and movie components of the handheld were first rate. But ultimately the platform lacked the horsepower and functionality to deliver media in your palm. In addition, Sony didnt control the operating system, which made it more difficult to develop a unique product. The new PSP, though, solves all of those problems: it handles all the media-centric things that the Palm couldnt; its Sonys own invention; and it also plays games.