Monday December 15, 2003

Sony is developing an upmarket brand in Japan, using its world-leading R&D to bring advanced products to market earlier than they would for more price-sensitive consumer products.

Only four products have been released - the Qualia 004 (a digital projector), the 007 (an audio system), 015 (a 36-inch color monitor), and the Qualia 016, (a digital camera). They are sold in boutique stores in Tokyo and Osaka which are staffed by 'concierges'.

The premium nature of the brand is exemplified by the 016, which is 69.116.824mm in size and weighs 50g. To ensure the crispest of images, it takes 4 pics in rapid succession and then combines them into one two megapixel image. It has a built-in .55' TFT, 4x digital zoom, and a MemoryStick to store pics.

The 016 comes in its own briefaces with a flash unit, remote timer, video out unit, telephoto lens, wide angle lens, and battery charger.

The pricetag is equally upmarket - a staggering A$5400.