Yamagishi: The E series comes in a generous array of colors, but we also wanted users to enjoy looking stylish carrying it with them. We have discussed many ways to develop accessories in the future. One idea is a leather case.
In itself, a leather case may not be such an original accessory. But the one we're pursuing is the kind of luxurious, fashionable case many women would love to wear. Rather than being worn like a necklace, this elegant case is suspended from a handbag strap, perhaps next to other accessories. Developing these proposals means conveying our ideas to engineers effectively. To make sure our engineers and product planners had an accurate understanding, we ordered Italian leather and used small cases from famous brands as samples. It was a tangible demonstration of what texture feels comfortable, what stitching looks elegant, and so on.
Thanks to this effort, each new prototype revealed a more luxurious model. The E series is positioned for a broad segment of users and should set a new standard as a WALKMAN®. That's exactly why we didn't compromise. We wanted to raise the bar in quality. Check out the case for yourself to see what I mean.
Fukamatsu: In a market this mature, qualities such as color and texture are more important in design. Consumer surveys show how various colors have a dramatic impact on how much people desire a product, even when the design is identical. To capitalize on this, we hope to develop more color options as a way to pursue the Sony ideal of exposing latent consumer needs and satisfying them through just the right products.
Through the years, every Sony product designer has focused carefully on not only the shape of their products but also the color. Designers can easily apply their own strengths here, and it's an environment that encourages new design work. Still, recent product development, with an emphasis on interconnected product ecosystems, calls for a more broad-based approach to color coordination (beyond particular product categories and design fields) besides conventional design systems.
The design of the new WALKMAN® E series is consistent with the design of products in other categories, such as VAIO computers and Cyber-shot cameras, but the color options also allow people some self-expression. There will certainly be more opportunities to approach design from the roles that products play in our lifestyles this way in the future.