Will it build a PlayStation on wheels?
Last year Sony unveiled its Vision-S Concept at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show. And now it appears they don't really know what to do with it.
We weren't surprised by the car's existence, however. Since the world seems to be going EV and autonomous, it makes sense for tech companies like Apple to get into automotive manufacturing. What surprised us was the amount of work Sony put into the car. Instead of just placing an empty shell on a stand, Sony went through the trouble of building a working unit in collaboration with Magna Steyr, Nvidia, Bosch, Continental, and ZF.
Since that impressive debut, nothing has really happened. This left us wondering what the Vision-S Concept was all about and if Sony changed its mind about entering the automotive industry. At the time, Sony made it clear that it had no plans to enter mass production.
In a recent chat with Automotive News, Sony's executive vice president, Izumi Kawanashi, stated that the company did not have a concrete plan for the Vision-S. According to Kawanashi, Vision-S is still in its R&D phase, while the company still has to decide how it wants to contribute to the automotive industry.
At this point, it's worth remembering that various famous manufacturers contribute directly to the automotive industry without actually producing cars. Bosch, for example, is responsible for the vast majority of ABS systems in cars, and the same goes for ZF and its eight-speed gearbox.
In our humble opinion, Sony will likely stick to what it knows best. As we know, the automotive world is currently going through an interior renaissance. Buttons are being removed and replaced with touchscreens. It's not going well. Years ago, Audi announced that it would be removing physical buttons, but now it has done a complete 180 on that decision.
Sony has a well-respected history in the gaming, music, entertainment, and smartphone industry. Put all of this together, and you have a team that could reinvent the car interior as we know it and make it work.
We think Sony's business model will essentially be the same as Bosch. Develop the golden standard in one particular department, and sell it to various manufacturers.