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When I first learned that Sony was crowdfunding a new product, I thought I heard wrong. How could a major company be asking the public for money to market a new product? It just doesn’t make sense.
It now makes a whole lot of sense since I understand the concept. If the company is not sure that a new type of product has mass appeal, it let the public decide.
Showcase the product on a Kickstarter or Indigogo type of platform to see if people are interested in buying it. In this case, Sony crowdfunded in Japan, the country where they are headquartered.
The product is a wearable “air conditioner.“ Called the Reon Pocket, the unit slips into a pouch of a special t-shirt. The product sits at the base of your neck where heat is absorbed or emitted to either a lower or higher temperature.
You manually control the temperature of the portable a/c through a mobile app. Sony claims the battery life is 24 hours but tech industry friends say it is much shorter right now.
The Reon Pocket received a lot of support from the Japanese so it will be available March, 2020 at $117. One catch! It will only be sold in Japan.
Another industry friend, who is very close to Sony, said, “There are a bunch of similar unusual projects within Sony, but they do not get funded for production unless they can validate a demand. This process allows Sony to test a new concept without wasting overall corporate funds. By the way, this is not the first attempt at a personal air cooler. I have seen this in 2000. It’s totally a marketing ploy.”