You don't have to look hard in the tech sector to find examples of big companies taking advantage of their customers' ignorance - just visit your local technology superstore and the chances are you'll find some hyped-up HDMI cable selling for $100, alongside a $10 cable that does precisely the same job just as capably.
Bear that in mind as we consider a new 64GB microSDXC card from Sony, which the company claims offers a "Premium Sound" experience.
The new card is already on sale in Japan, where buyers are invited to pay an astonishing $160 to take advantage of its supposedly superior audio fidelity - that's around five times more than buyers should normally expect to pay for a 64GB microSDXC card. According to The Wall Street Journal, Sony claims that the card produces 'less electrical noise when reading data', thereby providing a more perfect listening experience.
Sony is clinging to this claim of 'noise' reduction as the cornerstone of the card's Premium Sound credentials - but as Ars Technica noted, this statement is effectively meaningless, and does little more than give Sony a fairly flimsy hook upon which to hang its claims of offering superior audio quality.
And as PCWorld suggests, it may well be possible for Sony to defend its claims with some measurable improvements in 'noise' figures - but that doesn't mean that any of those figures will relate to any discernible improvement in how the music stored on the card actually sounds to the human ear. Indeed, that same article refers to the product as "Sony's latest snake oil" - a phrase that refers to the peddling of products to the gullible based upon extremely dubious and often misleading claims.
So who exactly is this product supposed to be aimed at? A Sony spokesperson told the WSJ: "We aren't sure about the product's potential demand, but we thought some people who are committed to great sound quality would want it."
That statement appears to say a great deal more about the state of Sony's product management than anything else.
As we reported recently, another Sony product will soon go on sale: the SmartEyeglass wearable device.
It will be sold to developers and enterprise customers for $840 from next month, and includes a set of wonky augmented reality glasses, weighed down by a 'puck'-style controller and a battery pack that's permanently wired to them. Oh, and it offers around 100 minutes (yes, minutes) of battery life.
Source: The Wall Street Journal | images via Sony