The Sony PSP is out. You've undoubtedly read about it in your local newspaper. It's a video iPod-cum-tiny Playstation built on the Nintendo Gameboy mold, spread wide. And it's Sony's one shot to win back some street cred among people who actually choose to spend their money on middlebrow gadgetry. You see, Sony's electronics division hasn't been doing so well (surprise). The company's frighteningly overpriced Vaio laptops don't really provide anything unique -- and by now only sway style whores who fear the Mac switch. The Network Walkman, Sony's answer to the iPod, isn't selling, mostly because it requires users to sign onto converting their music to the company's proprietary ATRAC audio file format. Even Sony's Cyber-shot digital cameras -- one of which I recently purchased on the recommendation of a professional paparazzo -- force you to spend more on recordable media (its Memory Stick duos cost way more than proletarian CompactFlash cards). And let's not forget that our beloved Sony innovators (from Japan) are trying to adapt to a new CEO, Howard Stringer, a Brit. So you can see why the PSP has so much riding on it. Sony isn't going to lower its prices. It's going to try to use a handheld gadget to power the conglomerate through its tough times -- much in the same way Apple used its iPod. The problem? The PSP isn't an iPod. For one thing, it requires you to buy new games *and* movies recorded on a proprietary Sony format (yes, the company would hate it if you could actually use its products in conjunction with other brands -- especially since it owns the rights to so many films). More damning, the product isn't unique. Sure it can surf the wireless internet, sure it's cooler than the Texas-Instruments calculater-chic Nintendo DS. The problem, though, is that it forces you to adapt to it -- as opposed to the iPod, which *invited* you to try it out. On top of this, Sony is marketing the thing with perhaps the most overplayed anthem of the year, Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out." I suppose we are supposed to listen to the youthful hipness of the song, the message of its lyrics, and associate it with this lifestyle-changing object the way others have associated U2's "Vertigo" with the discombobulating brilliance of the iPod. But here, too, Sony has tried to hard and thought too little. "Take Me Out" can't be a new anthem. It's already been played between scenes in the staid NBC "Friends" spinoff "Joey" (to name just one common place it's everpresent). It's already the soundtrack to the bridge-and-tunnel Friday night parties that happen in has-been clubs. It's already commercial. It's devoid of originality, and that's antithetical to a product promising to revamp one's life. Sony, what are you doing? With all your resources you're making a mockery of yourself. It's well-intentioned of course. But if a 28-year-old pajama-wearing writer who has never worked in either the consumer electronics or entertainment business can figure out your weaknesses, that's got to be a sign that signing a new CEO should just be the beginning for you.