The History Of Sony And The Best Products They Make Now

By Rick Gonzales | 3 weeks ago

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You may not fully realize this, but Sony, as a company, is a big name when it comes to electronics. Another thing you may not realize is just how big the Sony name is in Hollywood. This is an amazing feat for a company that rose like a phoenix from the ashes of World War II Japan.

UP FROM THE ASHES

At the end of World War II, Japan was an extremely tough place to live. Not just in certain areas, but throughout the small nation. Masaru Ibuka found himself back in Tokyo in September 1945, returning to find work in the war-torn capital.

Ibuka was an electronics whiz, and he found a small, narrow room with a telephone switchboard on the third floor Shirokiya Department Store. There, he brought over colleagues from another war-torn factory, and they got to work. As not much work came to them early on, Ibuka found himself paying his employees out of his own pocket.

Ibuka called his new group “Tokyo Tsushin Kenkyujo”(Totsuken)” and they began to repair war-damaged radios. They also made shortwave converters or adapters that could make medium-wave radios into all-wave receivers. This is something the Japanese public craved as they were searching for news around the world.

Joining Ibuka in his new venture was his wartime research colleague Akio Morita. Together they and the company developed Japan’s very first electric rice cooker. While it was overall a failure for the company, it showed just what direction they wanted to go.

The company continued to work. To bring in more money (yen), the company then produced the heated seat cushion. This product was aimed at customers for the cold winter months, and they sold like crazy. The problem with the heated cushions was that it was of a rather unsafe design. It was made with a thin nichrome wire grid that was set between two sheets of reinforced paper. It was then put inside a leather and cloth upholstered cushion. Unfortunately, the device had no thermostat or any sort of fire retardant.

Popular and unsafe, the heated seat cushion again showed the drive of Ibuka and Morita’s company. They just needed to make their products safer.

THE MAGNETIC SOUND RECORDER

With Ibuka and Morita wanting to push the boundaries of what their company could do, they began looking at sound recorders. Their first venture was with a wire recorder. They spent a lot of energy trying to make this work and while they did early on, the sound wasn’t what they had hoped for.

Sony’s founders were still working hard on the recorder when they were told of a machine that could reproduce sound on tape. Intrigued, the pair finally got to see one in action, and they immediately loved it. The sound was so much better than the wire recorder that they stopped trying to produce the wire recorder and instead went full tilt on a tape recorder. Success.

THE TRANSISTOR RADIO

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What Ibuka and Morita did, they did well. They were not the first to build the first transistor radio, which came from a joint venture between Regency Electronics and Texas Instruments, but they opened the market for the transistor radio.

In 1955, Ibuka’s group produced Japan’s very first commercially produced transistor radio, the TR-55. This unit became very popular and actually featured the use of the Sony name, though it wouldn’t become official for another few years.

CALL US SONY

1958 they changed their name to Sony because people outside of Japan struggled mightily with the company’s original name. By 1960, Sony has established its first American subsidiary, Sony Corporation of America. Business was just starting for Sony.

Sony’s TR-63 transistor radio of 1957 hit the US market and changed how youths, and even adults, listened to music and sports. By the end of 1968, Sony’s transistor market went from selling 100,000 units to over 5 million.

TVS, CAMERAS, AND THE SONY PLAYSTATION

Over the years since Sony became a household American name, they also became a well-respected, popular, and dependable product around the globe. They began to manufacture a number of different electronics with the main focus on televisions. Always at the forefront, their Bravia line of TVs is considered to be one of the best on the market.

How can you not think of cameras when you consider the Sony name? Pricey, but definitely top-of-the-line, the Sony Alpha cameras are sheer perfection. As an example, you can find one here on Amazon.  If money is no object, but photography is your game, take a peek at the Sony A1. Just be sure to be sitting down when you gander at the price tag.

Then, of course, Sony jumped into the video game market when they released the original PlayStation in 1994 in Japan, followed by its United States release in 1995. They then released a smaller revised version of the PS1 and a new PS2 concurrently in 2000. This dual release came a full year before Xbox and Nintendo GameCube came out with their consoles.

Sony’s PS3 came out six years later in 2006 and consumers would have to wait another seven years for PS4, which hit the market in 2013. If you can find one, the PS5 was released a year ago in November 2020. But with the pandemic raging hard, and now the supply and chip shortages, getting a clear picture of Bigfoot is easier than grabbing a PS5.

But perhaps the best product Sony has made is their movies. They own two of the biggest movie franchises in Hollywood history with Spider-Man and James Bond, and the Jumanji franchise is no slouch either.

Of Sony’s top ten movies of all-time, Spider-Man is listed five times. Spider-Man: Far From Home is Sony’s top-grossing movie having brought in nearly $1.2 billion at the box office. Also, on the list of Spider-Man titles are 2007s Spider-Man 3, Spider-Man: Homecoming, 2002s Spider-Man, and 2004s Spider-Man 2.

The only other movie that Sony has that is not Spider-Man, James Bond (twice with Skyfall and Spectre), or Jumanji (also twice with Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Jumanji: The Next Level) related in the top ten is Venom. Their Top 100 list, which you can see here, is quite impressive.

Whether you realize it or not, Sony has made a dent in the electronics industry. From their simple beginnings with heated seat cushions and transistor radios, they carefully crafted their way into the bigger playing fields with cameras and televisions, then smartly turned that into making movies.

Not only has Sony made the wise move into film, but they have also wisely held out on selling their biggest property, Spider-Man, back to Marvel. Allowing themselves instead to team up with Marvel to create the biggest and best of Marvel movies, Sony looks to remain a big player in Hollywood.

Sony has enjoyed a wonderfully rich history with electronics, moviemaking, and video games. With Christmas right around the corner, a Sony product may not be a bad way to go, if you can find the specific item you are looking for.