Since several weeks, at Sony, rumors are running loose about the situation after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan on the 11 March 2011. As a matter of fact, it seems that there were several announcements scheduled this second quarter of 2011 and most of them have been pushed to later dates.
This is visibly a consequence that could be foretold from the destruction generated by the earthquake and the ensuing tsunami. To give some perspective on this status in another industrial domain, Toyota announced that they were just restarting most of their plants in Japan but… that full production would not be reached before November or December. The issues with sub-contractors and suppliers will keep them waiting. The photography industry sees the same kind of problems.
So, a few new products will have to suffer a little from this:
- The launch of the new Sony NEX C3 (recently visible) could wait until June.
- The NEX-7 is still on schedule for July.
- The Sony Alpha 35 (next Alpha SLR camera, at entry level) will certainly have to wait until July.
- Le Sony Alpha 77 (future high-end SLR camera in the Alpha range of APS-C sensors) despite having been in the waiting list for a very long time will not be delayed (July anyway!) but will not be available before September; And don’t expect more than a few parts: Full production is targeting October (or even early November).
- No lens should be announced before August, maybe expect a 16-50mm to be presented with the A77 but probably not more available than th camera body.
While I’m at it, I have been confirmed that the launch of the Sony Portable PlayStation (game console) is still on the horizon but it could be not available before the Christmas holidays. Jack Tretton, president of Sony Computer Entertainment of America, has publicly admitted that in order to alleviate such issues they are ready to prioritize world markets. Some region(s) may see the product while others will be waiting (Apple is known for using such tactics on the iPhone). I would bet a large sum of money that Sony is going to play the same card with photo cameras (and I would also be ready to say that some eBay users are already prepared to play with exchange rates to buy cameras on continents where they do not live).