Sony’s portable air conditioners are selling like cold cakes in heat-stricken Japan

Sony has what now? !

I always thought it would be nice if someone could develop portable air conditioning technology that was a little more sophisticated than those AC capsule toys we tried a while ago. So imagine my surprise to find that Sony had already done this, and three years ago no less.

Pocket of Reon is the name of this device which is now in its third generation. It’s a small unit designed to press against the middle of your shoulders and deliver cool air along your spine.

Image: Sony

The first Reon Pocket was created from a successful crowdfunding campaign in July 2019, in which their target amount of 66 million yen (485,000 USD) was reached within a week. Thanks to this success, Sony then released them the following year and moved 10,000 units in two days.

Despite the huge popularity of these limited releases, Sony has been pretty tight-lipped about the product so far. There are a slew of videos featuring YouTubers trying out Reon Pockets, but no actual promotional videos from Sony themselves.

▼ Since all review videos are in Japanese, here is one of the more physically animated ones to give a more universal idea of ​​how it works

This may be because they feel the product still doesn’t quite live up to their notoriously high standards. Since 2019, they have continuously made improvements which have so far resulted in the Reon Pocket 3, which was released earlier this year and features increased cooling efficiency that is 50% better than the previous model.

Sony has also taken some tricks from smartphone development and applied them to these devices as well. Reon Pocket 3 is equipped with motion sensors to detect wearer movement and provide proper cooling. For those who prefer to manually control their own cooling power, this can be done via a dedicated smartphone app.

Image: Sony

It also has a built-in battery that fully charges in about 100 minutes via USB-C and lasts eight to 61 hours in cooling mode or 27 to 54 hours in warming mode depending on intensity. That’s right, these little things can also double as portable heaters in the winter.

Either way, they can be worn using a specially designed neck harness.

Image: Sony

For more even cooling and heating, Sony has also teamed up with several labels to produce a range of professional shirts and golf shirts with built-in Reon Pockets.

Image: PR Times

Surprisingly for a Sony product they aren’t that expensive either, priced at around 14,850 yen (US$109) a pop. At such a price during a potentially unprecedented heat wave in Japan, it’s no wonder a Sony rep said sales were “better than expected”.

The comments online certainly seem to express a great deal of desperation to find any relief from the heat.

“It’s good for the coming season, but I’m just impressed with the technology.”
“I like the sound it makes when it works. People don’t think about it, but it’s important when you use it every day.
“I want to put on sunscreen, but I’m sweating too much because of the heat. Maybe that can help.
“I wonder how long they last. I don’t want to have to have one every year.
“Sony is doing everything these days.”
“I can’t stand the summer, so I’ll have one soon.”

I could just do the same. Although I’m still skeptical about how much it really chills people as the Japanese summer throws the worst at them, it still has to be better than anything we’ve tried so far.

Source: Sony, PR Times via ITmedia Business Online
Top photo: Sony
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