Ichimura:The Sound Mug defies traditional product categories. Precisely because of its novelty, we faced the problem that people just catching a glimpse of it might be puzzled by what it is. Of course, you'd understand if you had heard the Sound Mug was a speaker, but you might not appreciate how convenient and fun it is, or how relevant it is to your listening habits.
Similarly, launching the Sound Mug without sufficient internal communication would be risky. We needed to make sure those in each business group and in marketing and promotion were on the same page about our desired product image. To illustrate how the Sound Mug fits in people's lives, we chose graphics.
My first impression of the product was that it's casual. It's convenient, and also a bit unexpected, which should tickle the fancy (and satisfy the "gadget lust") of the DMP generation. By extension, a scenario we imagined was that of a drive-through, but instead of drivers receiving a drink, the tray holds a Sound Mug.
We also conducted simulations on how to display this product group in a way that defies conventional categories. How would the units look in the Walkman section of electronics stores? How about next to Nav-U navigation systems, shown as all-in-one units easy to put in your car? We started investigating these things early on, to ensure a common understanding at Sony about what the Sound Mug represents and how to present it in stores.
Ichimura:In form and function alike, the Sound Mug is essentially as straightforward and easy to use as a drinking mug. Regular product photos could never convey a concept this fresh. Instead, we thought of cutting out a large opening on three sides of the box and showing it as it would look in a cup holder, so you can see how it's used.
Our problem was that including accessories, the package contents weigh nearly 1 kg. Cutting out such a large opening in a box that must hold this much weight would usually weaken it too much. For finding a way to adopt this design despite the difficulty, we can only humbly thank our packaging engineers.
Hattori:Our personal audio team could never have developed this product alone. They simply lack the expertise on vehicle interiors and acoustics. But if our car audio team had attempted the project by themselves, they might have created a larger, more powerful system that only car audio enthusiasts would have appreciated. In this sense, I'm convinced that without collaboration, the ideal product never would have been created.
This is only my opinion, but I think the Sound Mug is worthy of setting the precedent for a new category of sound systems. The originality of the 360° soundstage, the purity of sound from the S-Master amp. By developing a product line that draws on these strengths, I hope we can nurture the Sound Mug brand. New concepts in personal entertainment will continue to cross and expand traditional product categories. We would see it as an unexpected benefit if the Sound Mug paves the way for other products in this regard.