Sony’s Design Problems

Rob Beschizza over at Boing Boing takes a look at Sony’s new Vaio X and how they keep monkeying with their product features, like the keyboard:

The computer keyboard isn’t a place where radical UI design changes are desirable. To extend the marketing metaphor, it’s like the typeface of a book. You’re stuck with the same old alphabet, in the same configuration, and your job is to preserve its usefulness while investing the work with with a certain character. The smart choice is to design something good and stick with it.

But Sony does not. The changes to the chiclet keys in the Vaio Z, however slight, show that it can’t even refine its own winning ideas. It’s as if Sony was using Helvetica before almost everyone else, then switched to Arial when the world followed suit.

I see the same behavior in the Android market, where new models get released each month and very few companes bother to stick with a phone and refine it, over and over again until it’s amazing.