Sony SmartBand: A fitness tracker with a little extra
Sony has unveiled its very own wearable device: a fitness tracker the company claims to have something extra compared to Fitbits and the Galaxy Gear Fits. The Sony SmartBand incorporates smartwatch-like features all while keeping tabs on your physical activity.
The silicone-encased device can be paired to Sony smartphones via NFC or Bluetooth, but any Android KitKat-powered device will do just as well. You also need to download the Lifelog app from Sony, which allows you to control your workout music, track your every move, and vibrate when you receive a phone call, text message, or email.
The device comes with a Core, wherein the battery and all the data is stored. This waterproof Core can pop in and out of the band, and comes with an open micro-USB port.
It also serves as your smartphone’s leash of sorts. The SmartBand buzzes if you are too far away from your phone, so you won’t have to run back to where you have left it.
The Sony SmartBand is now available online and on Sony Stores for $99.99.
Project Morpheus: Sony enters virtual reality
Sony dips its feet into the virtual reality business as the electronics company unveiled Project Morpheus, a VR headset that works with PlayStation 4, during this week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
The announcement makes Sony the first major player to venture into virtual reality, a decades-old technology that has since become a hot topic in the video game industry after the introduction of the Oculus Rift, which has recently received $75 million in funding for a potential consumer release. Meanwhile, Microsoft has recently filed a patent that deals with the development of its own virtual reality device.
“Project Morpheus is the latest example of innovation from SCE, and we’re looking forward to its continued development and the games that will be created as development kits get into the hands of content creators,” Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, said in a statement.
The gadget sports a head-mounted display that can be linked with the PlayStation Camera, as well as a “3-D audio technology” that allows players to hear sounds from all vantage points, including audio from above or below the player’s point of view. Sony adds that Project Morpheus also works with the PlayStation Move motion-based controller.
Sony has demonstrated the virtual reality headset during the conference using several titles including stealth game Thief, intergalactic dogfight shooter EVE Valkyrie, and underwater-with-the-sharks simulator The Deep.
Project Morpheus will be available in what Sony says a “future commercial launch,” without specifiying release dates.
Source: USA Today
Report: Steve Jobs wanted Mac-power Sony VAIO laptops
Fresh out of Japan, a news report suggests that Steve Jobs was considering to establish a partnership with Sony and launch a Sony VAIO laptop that runs on Mac OS.
Noboyuki Hayashi, a veteran tech journalist who has covered Apple for over 20 years, wrote about Job’s interest in Sony and a meeting between the late Apple co-founder and former Sony president Kunitake Ando in Hawaii back in 2001. At that time, Apple had been testing out different strategies for its hardware department.
“Steve Jobs and another Apple executive were waiting for us at the end of the golf course holding VAIO running Mac OS,” Ando said in an interview about that fateful meeting. Ando also said Jobs admired Sony’s VAIO line of laptops and was willing to provide the hardware with Apple’s propriety operating system.
Discussions, however, fizzled out as Sony decided to focus more on its best-selling Windows-based laptops.
The report may not seem to be believable at first, but it goes in-line with previous stories told by former Apple executives. Bertrand Serlet, Apple’s SVP of software engineering at the time, once said that his team successfully run Mac OS on a premium Sony VAIO. The next day, Jobs took a flight to Japan to meet up with Sony big wigs. Most parts of both stories go together, except where Ando said the meeting took place in Hawaii.
This story comes as Sony is reportedly in discussions with a Japanese investment firm to sell Sony’s VAIO business unit. The acquisition, which would only cover Japanese operations, is estimated to be worth up to $489 million.
Sony SPA-TA1: Turn tablets in giant cameras
After releasing its camera-lens-like camera for smartphones, Sony is at it again. This time, the company is launching the SPA-TA1, a clip-on attachment that gives your tablet some serious camera power.
The Sony SPA-TA1 is not a camera or lens, but actually a clip-on attachment that can be adjusted to fit Sony’s lens-type cameras onto a tablet. It comes in six arm sizes, which can accommodate devices from 85 to 190 millimeters in width. (Basically all of Sony’s tablets and phablets.)
The actual cameras are the same as what Sony offered for smartphones: the DCS-QX100 features a high-zoom model for $249, while the premium DSC-QX10 costs $499.
The Sony SPA-TA1 will be available beginning April 4 in Japan, with a suggested retail price of 3,675 yen ($36).
Sony 4K TV lineup introduced
With 4K television being forseen as the future of living room entertainment, Sony has unveiled a new line of 4K TV sets in time for the International CES.
Sony’s “Ultra HD TV” line of smart television sets includes the XBR X950B Series (pictured above). It comes with a huge 85-inch frame, as well as a smaller 65-inch model. Apart from its massive screen real estate, this Sony 4K TV sports HDMI 2.0, built-in WiFi (making it more convenient to watch videos from streaming services), and screen mirroring that can be launched through NFC touch.
Adding to the lineup are the X900B Series and X850B Series Ultra HD TV sets, with screen sizes ranging from 49 inches to 79 inches. And even though the public has been hard-to-please when it comes to 3D television, the all-new Sony 4K TVs will be 3D-capable, with two pairs of 3D glasses.
Pricing has yet to be unveiled, but all three models will be available this spring.
Sony Xperia Z1S: Even more waterproof
Sony ventured to the waterproof smartphone territory last year with its Xperia Z. This year, right at CES, the company takes it up a notch with the Sony Xperia Z1S, which will be available exclusively to T-Mobile in the United States.
The new Xperia smartphone sports an IP58 rating, meaning it can withstand being immersed underwater by 4.5 feet for 30 minutes. In comparison, its predecessor can only go 3 feet deep. It is so waterproof, even its connector can withstand moisture, eliminating the need for a cover. If you tend to accidentally drop your smartphone into pool, the Sony Xperia Z1S is an ideal gadget for you.
This smartphone comes with a dedicated camera button, which makes it capable of underwater photography since touch screens do not register finger taps while underwater.
Its display measures 5 inches like the Xperia Z, that the Xperia Z1S’ overall size is larger because it houses a bigger battery. This device lasts for up to 15 hours of talk time, while its battery-saving procedures can extend the life by up to three times.
The Sony Xperia Z1S is available for pre-order beginning January 13, with the phone officially going on sale January 22. T-Mobile subscribers can get their very own for no downpayment and 24 monthly payments of $22.
Image source: Christina Ascani, Mashable
1 million PlayStation 4 sold 24 hours after launch
Looks like Sony’s future in next-gen gaming is bright as the company announced it has sold over 1 million PlayStation 4 consoles in North America within the first 24 hours of the console’s launch last Friday. This is the most units ever sold among PlayStation consoles at launch day, prompting even Shuhei Yoshida, the president of Worldwide Studios for Sony Computer Entertainment, to express his excitement on Twitter.
But the launch did not go smoothly as Sony would’ve hoped, as some PlayStation 4 owners reported that their freshly-delivered consoles could not support output video and had a flashing light, at least according to IGN.
Sony acknowledged the issues in their recent statement to IGN. “This is within our expectations for a new product introduction, and the vast majority of PS4 feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. We are closely monitoring for additional reports, but we think these are isolated incidents and are on track for a great launch.”
The company will release the PS4 in Europe and Latin America on November 29 and in Japan on Febaruary 22, 2014. Will 1 million PlayStation 4’s be sold in these markets? We shall see.
Source: USA Today
Image source: Barone Firenze / Shutterstock.com
Sony RX10 launched: An upgrade for novice photographers
Apart from the Alpha 7 and Alpha 7R, Sony also introduced an addition to its successful RX Cyber-shot line. The Sony RX10 sports a 20.2-megapixel one-inch BSI CMOS sensor, which assures users of excellent image quality, as well as the same BIONZ processor spotted in Alpha 7 and 7R. This processor helps in autofocus, noise reduction, and reproducing details.
The Sony RX10 is being marketed as a step-up camera for users who are used to point-and-shoot and DSLR cameras. It can also record 1080p video clips at 60 or 24 frames per second, all with full manual control and can be sent to other devices sans compression thanks to its HDMI port. It even sports an adjustable audio level meter, a headphone and microphone jack, and compatibility with XLR-K1M adapter for more sound input options.
Still images and videos can be shared through its built-in Wi-Fi, which can also be used for remote shooting using Sony’s iOS and Android apps. The Sony RX10 also features a quick-responding contrast-detect auto-focus system, the ability to shoot unlimited number of consecutive photos at 10 fps with continuous autofocus, and three-axis image stabilization.
The exterior features a built-in OLED electronic viewfinder, as well as a 1.23M-dot 3-inch White Magic LCD that tilts up to 84 degrees and down to 43 degress that comes handy when shooting at odd angles. It also has a magnesium-alloy body, keeping dust and moisture away.
The Sony RX10 is available for pre-order at $1,300 and is expected to hit retail next month.
Sony Alpha 7 and Alpha 7R mirrorless cameras unveiled
A few hours after getting leaked to the blogosphere, Sony has officially announced its latest pair of digital cameras, tagged as the first full-frame mirrorless cameras in the world.
The Sony Alpha 7 (pictured above) and Alpha 7R, which to advanced photographers, come with Sony’s latest BIONZ X processor, fast auto-focus capabilities, full HD 60p video recording function, Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity options, and an XGA OLED viewfinder. Both cameras are made of magnesium alloy, enabling them to withstand tough weather conditions, as well as dust and moisture.
“With these new α7 camera systems, Sony has completely redefined the look and feel of a professional-grade digital camera,” Mike Kahn, Sony Electronic’s director of the interchangeable lens camera business, said in a press statement. “The α7 and α7R cameras are significantly smaller, lighter and more portable than any other full-frame interchange lens camera yet deliver image quality, power and performance that professionals and enthusiasts crave.”
The Sony Alpha 7R sports a 36.4-megapixel 35mm Exmore CMOS sensor, the highest resolution sensor in Sony’s Alpha lineup, no optical low-pass filter that aims to reduce image noise while keeping your photos clear.
On the other hand, the Alpha 7 comes with a 24.3-megapixel full-frame Exmore CMOS sensor and a Fast Hybrid auto-focus system that combines phase- and contrast-detect methods that zeroes in on the subject fast. This model can shoot up to five frames per second continuously, all with non-stop auto-focus tracking. Users can be able to capture moving objects without worrying about blurred lines.
These beautiful cameras do not come cheap, however. The Sony Alpha 7R will cost you $2,300 just for the body alone, while the Alpha 7 will be available with a 28-70mm f3.5-5.6 full frame lens for around $2,000 or just settle for the body at $1,700. Both models will go on retail in December, but pre-orders are already accepted.
Sony A7 and A7r cameras leaked
Digicam Info, a Japanese photography blog, has posted two leaked press photos of Sony’s upcoming full-frame mirrorless cameras. The one above is the so-called Sony A7, which comes with a built-in viewfinder and an option to choose between a Zeiss 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 standard zoom lens (above) and a 35mm f/2.8 prime lens (below, with the Sony A7r).
While that is just enough specifications we can determine based on the angles on each leaked photo, Sony Alpha Rumor claims that the Sony A7r comes with a 36-megapixel sensor and an antialiasing filter that would help preserve details in every shot.
If you want to get the full scoop on the Sony A7 and the A7r, it is only a matter of time, as Sony Japan has been teasing about a camera launch that will be held within the day.
Source: Sony Alpha Rumors