Sony is taking a subtle marketing approach for the launch of its WiFi-enabled portable Internet viewer, the Dash. While announcing the device's availability on Thursday, Sony downplayed marketing plans, saying the device would be highlighted on shows such as "The Dr. Oz Show" and "The Martha Stewart Show" and on CNBC programming and make appearances in music videos from Sony Music artists.
But the low-key approach indicates Sony doesn't have particularly high hopes for the Dash in the marketplace that is becoming increasingly crowded with Internet-enabled, touchscreen devices.
"Sony hasn't had a strong marketing plan for years," John Biggs, editor in chief of the gadget blog CrunchGear.com, tells Marketing Daily. "They make amazing stuff and just push it out the door. ... Sony has an amazing but massive product line, and it's clear this isn't a priority."
Priced at $199 and available through the company's Web site, Sony Style retail stores and other authorized dealers, the Dash is a flat-panel device that uses a wireless connection to display information from the Internet, from streaming movies to traffic reports to social networking updates.
Unlike a computer, the Dash is always on and continuously updated. The product is launching more than 1,000 free apps available to allow consumers to customize the content they want.
A video on the company's Web site, www.sony.com/dash, introduces the Dash as a device that helps people "make the Internet uniquely yours." The site then goes on to show how the Dash can be used in the kitchen (for recipes and real-time traffic and weather updates), the living room (as an Internet video viewer) and the bedroom (as an alarm clock that can notify you of e-mails and social networking updates that came in overnight).
Both CNBC and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia will offer apps for the device (providing financial and business reports and recipes of the day, respectively), as will Dr. Oz, who has created a series of video health tips for Dash users.
But don't call it an iPad competitor, Biggs says. "This is more a picture frame/alarm clock," he says. "Everyone needs/wants one but are they going to pick an expensive one or a cheap one?"
Sony did not return multiple calls and e-mails seeking comment.