Opinion

Did UK Beta Test ‘Connect Player’? | Reflections

As most of you who visit the forum know by now, ‘Connect Player’ (the successor to SonicStage) has been a miserable (http://www.atraclife.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=477) experience (http://www.atraclife.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=462) for those in the United Kingdom who purchased the new NW-A series*. For whatever reason, the UK saw the release of the new Walkman more than a month before Japan; it hasn’t been debuted or been mentioned officially in the USA. Confusingly, ‘Connect Player’ has yet to be officially distributed through the Connect portals — Connect USA + Europe + Mora still feature Sonicstage 3.3. It’s been a very odd and esoteric journey for the new ‘Walkman’, but what is the deal with ‘Connect Player’?

Don’t get me wrong, the NW-A3000/1000 is one of the best hard drive music player units ever made from any company. It’s the software that once again has now stopped Sony ‘dead in its tracks’, so to speak.

From its initial discovery, the community was elated to learn that a true change was on the way for those who have had bad experiences with Sonicstage in the past. Screenshots appeared, and a promising iTunesque facade reeled us in steadfast. As time progressed and momentum reached a near fever pitch, the NW-A series mildly debuted in the UK without much fanfare from Sony other than a few commercials. Japan however has had a very vivid and forward campaign and is meeting projected success. How could a music player so intuitive be so silent in the market for that one month in the UK, though? Are we still beta testing the new ‘Walkman’? Is this just another causualty in the seemingly failing Sony personal audio line, or just bad timing in the middle of a massive restructuring? It’s hard to tell what will come next with the software, but at least the changes occur quickly. Their gaming segments are no different, with my time in Star Wars Galaxies giving me enough observance of their erraticies.

Shame on you Sony for putting the UK and Japan in such a situation with ‘Connect Player’ — Sonicstage has reached its most mature and stable point with v3.3, yet you want to move on and/or split development with new software? In another stunning move, it becomes apparent that ‘Connect Player’ is a fresh slate, and backwards compatibility may or may not occur with other devices. You are so fragmented right now and it’s saddenly obvious; sort of watching a train wreck in slow motion. To succeed, you must have a unified approach to capture whatever market is remaining that will actually pay attention to your cries; I’d love to see a focus group given the NW-A3000 and ‘Connect Player’ and see how well they can wield it. I hope this restructuring does something, Sony.

It also doesn’t help that ‘Connect Player’ has a process called tinyhttp.exe that consumes more than 100mb of system memory on almost any configuration PLUS the OpenMG processes — this is true bloatware. Obtaining the software is esoteric at best right now (it is being supplied with units sold at this moment however), but you can learn how to do so with relative ease: http://www.atraclife.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=416

Nonetheless, I have word that a major update will come to ‘Connect Player’ in less than two weeks. After the update, it should be gold stamped, meaning it’ll be ready for real distribution through the aforementioned Connect Portals and compact discs, which could indicate an upcoming release for the United States. Apparently this will be Connect v3? It seems like Sony really wants this to work — I just wonder if those programmers get any sleep judging from the bugs we come across.

One can only hope that after this upcoming revision the software will be useable.

*Our Software Support forum has many other topics speaking of numerous ‘Connect Player’ woes. Click here for further discussion: http://www.atraclife.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=484

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