One of the big changes Sony (SNE) is making for its new PSP Go is a proprietary cord connector: Instead of using a mini USB port, which Sony’s older PSPs use, it’s going to use its own socket.
That’s a similar change Apple (AAPL) made to its second-generation iPod earlier this decade. The first iPod used a standard FireWire cord to connect to a computer or charger. But subsequent iPods (except the shuffle) and iPhones use a proprietary “30 pin” plug.
What’s the point? Perhaps some quality control over new accessories. But also another revenue stream: Apple charges companies for the right to use that connector and put a “Made for iPod” sticker on the accessory. Sony will be able to do the same.
When asked if Sony was implementing this change to assure better compatibility or to create a new revenue stream from licensed accessories, [Sony PSP marketing manager Kristin] Neirinckx insisted that the main purpose was for QA. However, when asked if Sony would demand a revenue share from accessory makers in the same manner that Apple receives a revenue share from “Made for iPod/iTouch” accessories, she demurred, saying “we generally don’t comment on business model questions.”
This new connector was made for the PSP itself, but Neirinckx said that Sony generally has a policy of sharing technology, meaning that it could show up on Walkmen or other devices. She pointed at the extension of Remote Play for music, photos, and video (no games) to Sony Ericsson phones as an example of how Sony shares technology across divisions.