Sony, one of the world’s leading technology companies, had an unlikely beginning with its first product being an electric rice cooker.
Founded on this day in 1946, Sony has come a long way since then, revolutionizing the world with its innovative products and services.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at Sony’s journey and how it has evolved over the years.’
Sony’s first office was in a department store, which was bombed during WW2.
Aside from the rice cooker, Sony mainly focused on fixing radios.
Its first worldwide hit was in 1957.
A pocket sized radio…the TR-63:
Sony was not the original name. It was picked to have global appeal.
It combined “sonus” and “sonny.”
“sonus” is Latin for sound.
“sonny” means little son.
The name represents a group of young people who innovate.
Sony then focused on televisions. It launched a portable TV in 1960. And it raised the bar in color TV with its Trinitron televisions.
The video recording wars were next. Sony’s Betamax technology was seen as better than VHS. But there were strategic missteps.
Meanwhile, Sony was on the verge of a revolution in another area…
In 1979, the Walkman was released:
3,000 units sold in the first month. 2 million sold in the first 1.5 years.
400 million Walkman devices were sold over the next 30 years.
Sony would keep innovating. Both in TV, with the launch of the Watchman pocket TV in 1982…
…and, that same year…
The first CD was released, based on technology Sony helped develop.
Sony also had a CD player to launch alongside that Billy Joel album. Here’s a commercial from 1982:
And just two years later, Sony was pushing ahead with the Discman.
On the television front…
Sony coined the term “jumbotron” in 1985 to highlight its video innovation.
That same year, the Handycam would usher in the camcorder era:
Sony had wanted a film company to complement its electronics business. So in 1989, it bought one:
The MiniDisc came in 1992 and two years later, a major contribution to the gaming world…
the PlayStation, released in 1994. Here’s a sound you might remember
Sony would need to keep up in world of computers and laptops.
The Vaio brand launched in 1996
Note Sony had lots of ties to the computer industry before Vaio.
Its floppy disk was used with the Mac in 1984. In fact, Steve Jobs was a big fan of Sony.
Sony was one of the first players in the consumer robot market. Aibo was unveiled in 1999:
And 30 years after the Betamax battle…
…Sony would battle it out in the DVD technology wars, with Blu-Ray.
Arguably the biggest battle would be coming…in the phone market. There were the early Sony Ericsson phones in 2002…
…even a Walkman phone in 2005…
and later, phones that would be seen as potential iPhone killers
Innovation is tough. If any company knows that, it’s Sony.
It’s been at it now for 77 years.
Sony’s journey from an electric rice cooker to a global tech giant is a true testament to the company’s resilience, innovation, and commitment to excellence.
Despite facing numerous challenges and setbacks along the way, Sony has managed to stay at the forefront of the industry, constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and setting new standards of excellence.
As we celebrate the company’s founding on this day in 1946, we can look back at the remarkable journey that led Sony to where it is today and look forward to the exciting innovations that lie ahead.