SOS: Sony Online Service or “Save Our Sony?”

OK, for realsies this time you guys, Sony (s SNE) has finally figured all this digital stuff out. Sony CEO Howard Stringer told a gathering of reporters as much yesterday when he touted his company’s new strategic initiative, the Sony Online Service (which bears the unfortunate distress acronym SOS).

This SOS is an attempt to better integrate the company’s content with its hardware. Unlike previous attempts, The New York Times reports, Stringer says this time is different. From that story:

A revamping announced in February has been completed, and Sony’s engineers and programmers are already working better together, [Stringer] said. He is confident that Sony has developed a winning formula that will outdo the Apple iPod business.

Sony has historically had friction between its hardware and software divisions. Evidently an issue has been the older hardware teams have ignored their younger counterparts writing software. The result was too much of a focus on the devices, with the software suffering. Anyone who has used Sony’s products knows how horrible the company’s software user experience can be.

Not many details about the SOS are known (which raises questions about how well it will work), but it will build on the PlayStation Network, which offers downloadable games, TV shows and movies by adding e-books, music and apps to more devices.

Sony expects to lose $1.12 billion for this fiscal year. Will this SOS be enough, and will it come at the right time?