Here’s another trainwreck about to hit Sony.
A Sony customer at ATRACLife colloquium (a fan site for ATRAC) purchased a Sony Network Walkman NW-A3000 which came with the Sony Connect 1.0 Player software. He shares his review of the software and the device with the community at ATRACLife. Basically, the software doesn’t work and the reviewer had to resort to Sonic Stage, an earlier Sony music management software that was roundly derirded for it’s unusability.
The first part of the trainwreck is that this device and software was not to be sold until later- it was sold by mistake in advance of the official sale time. Sadly, the store that made this mistake? None other than an official SonyStyle store. It gets worse, a lot worse.
I purchased an NW A3000 on Friday, from a UK Sony Centre, who are the first to have the units available in the UK. The unit came with Connect Player 1.0, which I regret to say after a weekend of perseverance is extremely disappointing. Put simply, I can’t get it to work.
I have 4200 Atrac files in my SonicStage database, which Connect Player offers no easier means to import other than File/Directory import. There does not seem to be any way to import playlists from SonicStage. I made several attempts to import the files all of which were ultimately unsuccessful. The software offers the iTunes style option of manual or sync connection to your device (i.e. the NW A3000) but I found that after transferring 200 or so tracks the process would hang indefinitely. The only way to stop it was to detach the NW A3000, which resulted both in the database on the NW A3000 being corrupted and Connect Player not opening when I tried to reuse the software. The only way to get the program open again was to delete the library folder in the All Users\Application Data\Sony Corporation\Connect Player path, which meant that there were now no tracks imported. Lastly I tried to import the tracks and manually transfer them to the NW A3000, but although Connect Player seemed to import the tracks ok (it takes about 4 hours to do 4200 tracks, far longer than in SonicStage) after closing Connect Player, it took 5 minutes to open again and then froze completely. I simply could’t open it without scrubbing the library again.
It seems to me that Sony have rushed this software out – I can’t believe my problems are due computer compatibility as I am using a month old Vaio. There are some potentially good features in Connect Player – drag and drop, the sync function and a folder watch function, which I presume allows automatic updates of any new tracks added by another program such as SonicStage. But there are major drawbacks, not least that it doesn’t work, but also there is no back up tool, so if your database was damaged or your computer blew up, you would be stuck – I don’t think simply backing up and restoring the oma file folders would work with a new install on another machine. The only way to back up would be to use SonicStage back up tool, but then all tracks would have to be imported/ripped with SonicStage and then either the folder watch function used or the files be imported into Connect Player, which seems crazy.
When this software hits the mainstream public, the backlash will be swift and merciless, mainly because Sony music management software has been horrendously unusable from day one. Heads should roll for this (and I would name names but that’s not sporting) but that hasn’t happened in the past so I’m not holding my breath.
If you had any hope for the future of Sony Network Walkman software, forget about it. The distance from iTunes to any legitmate competitor is so far that it is a very significant competitive advantage for Apple. Why Sony has yet to understand that is one of many reasons why Sony is in the dire straits that it is in at this time.