In gadget-crazy Japan, Sony president Ryoji Chubachi is somewhat of an aristocrat.

At a recent press briefing in Tokyo, he is met by a crowd of more than 50 journalists. They hang on his every word.

"Thank you for coming," he greets them, as he steps up next to one of firm's new super thin televisions.

"Amazing technology isn't it," he says with obvious pride.

Lost lead

Mr Chubachi is as passionate about technology as he is about business.

"Which brand is your TV at home?" he asks ahead of a one-to-one interview with BBC News.

It is not clear whether it is small talk or market research.

Then he laughs. "Oh actually, I don't want to know your answer."

It is a sensitive subject. Sony recently lost its lead in global TV sales to Samsung Electronics.

And that is not the only thing Mr Chubachi has to worry about.

Thanks to the Nintendo Wii, Sony is set to concede its position as the world's top video-game maker this year.

And an early dominance in portable music-players was long ago lost to Apple's iPod.

Survival

The Bravia ZX1 may be the world's thinnest LCD TV, first seen in Berlin earlier in the year.

But the company has not come up with any genuinely new products since, so many in Japan are disappointed.

Analysts and consumers have long been waiting for Sony's next killer product - a gadget that will change the world like the Walkman did in the 1980s

Yet when asked when, if ever, we can expect to see such a product, Mr Chubachi smoothly dodges the question.

"We listen to what our customers want," he tells BBC News in an interview.

"At the moment, thinness, speed and the environment seem to be on their minds so we'll make sure to launch products that would satisfy those needs."

But what about overheating laptops and exploding batteries?

Mr Chubachi dismisses suggestions that Sony is losing its reputation for quality.

"I don't think there are many other companies that are always questioned about its brand image," he says.

"But I believe Sony is known for our cutting edge technology so we'll make sure to live up to that image."

The company is facing a growing array of rivals, though, such as Samsung, Nintendo and Apple.

Though none of them can offer as broad a range of products as Sony, insists Mr Chubachi.

"Our products are very diverse so you can't really name one rival company of Sony," he says.

"I don't think one comprehensive measure would work so we'll try to survive in each category."

Innovate to survive

But "survive" was not a word once associated with Sony, which dominated consumer gadgets for decades.

Mr Chubachi seems conscious of a desperate need for new ideas.

"We shouldn't forget that we're an innovative company," he says.

"Not only our cosmopolitanism, or growth potential, or even novelty of a design.

"We have to make sure that we can provide innovate products to our customers."

gadget小機件;(小巧的)器具;小玩意兒

somewhat 有點,稍微  重要東西;重要人物

aristocrat貴族(指個人)   (同類事物中的)佼佼者

hang on 握住不放  堅持下去

firm商號,商行,公司

steps up 增加;加快

obvious 明顯的;顯著的

passionate 熱情的;熱烈的,激昂的

brand 商標;牌子

sensitive 敏感的;易受傷害的

concede (勉強)承認[+that]  (在結果明確前)承認...失敗

dominance 優勢;支配(地位),統治(地位)

portable 便於攜帶的,手提式的;輕便的    手提式製品;手提式打字機(或電腦,收音機,電視機等)[C]

genuinely 真誠地;誠實地

dodges 閃開,躲開  躲避,巧妙地迴避

launch 開辦;發起;使開始從事

satisfy 使滿意,使高興;使滿足 符合,達到

exploding 使爆炸;使爆發;使突發  激增,迅速擴大

batteries電池;蓄電池

dismisses 讓...離開;把...打發走  免...的職;解雇;開除  (從頭腦中)去除,不考慮,拋棄

reputation 名譽,名聲
cutting edge 最前線;尖端  最重要的位置
live up 達到;遵循;跟隨
rivals競爭者,對手,敵手
array 一批;一系列;大量
diverse 不同的,互異的 多種多樣的;多變化的
category種類;部屬;類目
conscious 神志清醒的,有知覺的 意識到的,覺察到的 故意的,蓄意的
desperate 情急拼命的,鋌而走險的  危急的;絕望的;孤注一擲的
innovative 創新的
cosmopolitanism世界主義;世界性
novelty 新穎,新奇

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