A year after getting out of the retail business, Sony has opened its first Sony Square showroom in the U.S., with a somewhat different mission than its ill-fated stores.
While the one-month-old interactive space, located in New York’s Flatiron District, does sell some items, it is more “committed to showcasing innovations in products, music, movies and gaming,” a dedicated web page understates.
In fact, the public space, which follows a debut Sony Square in Japan, is a platform for the company’s most advanced consumer products and technologies, including the forthcoming PlayStation VR and a few other devices fresh from the R&D labs.
During a recent visit (the cavernous showroom is three blocks from TWICE headquarters), a guest was immediately greeted by, well, a greeter, who proceeded to demonstrate her Concept Prototype N. Still under development, “N” is a neckband-style wearable device with open-ear speakers and voice recognition for a hands- and ears-free experience.
Other bodywear included the FES Watch, which employs e-ink technology to allow users to change its face and wrist strap into 24 different designs on the fly (available now for $300 on Amazon).
Also on display was MESH (Make, Experience, SHare), a DIY collection of domino-size, rechargeable “smart triggers” that can be used to add connected features like automation, notification, tracking, scheduling and wireless control to everyday objects ($40 to $60 each, also on Amazon).
Other showroom sections included a photo gallery, which heralds Sony’s imaging heritage, and five Play- Station VR demo kiosks on display through Oct. 13.
“The PlayStation VR experience at Sony Square NYC serves as a great example of our commitment to offer visitors the opportunity to interact with the curated selection of Sony’s groundbreaking entertainment and technologies,” said Steven Fuld, corporate marketing senior VP, Sony Corp. of America.
Sony Square NYC also hosts various events and workshops, and changes out its displays and installations monthly. It’s located at the aptly addressed 25 Madison Ave., which is on the corner of 25th and Madison.