Showing posts with label Sony. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sony. Show all posts

Friday, December 30, 2011

Sony Announces ICS Updates for Tablets, Tablet P SDK Now Available

Sony Ericsson has announced that the Sony Tablets – we assume both the S and the P – will be getting upgrades to Android 4.0 in due time. They didn’t have anything to announce regarding a timeframe but we’re glad they’ve committed to bringing it. In addition to that, they’ve made the SDK for the Sony Tablet P available online so developers can take advantage of its gaming roots. We’ll be right here with a post for you guys whenever those updates start rolling out (but I wouldn’t wait for one in the near future). [via Android Guys]

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sony confirms Ice Cream Sandwich update for Tablet S, P

Sony has announced on its official support forum that it will indeed release the official Android 4.0 update for both the tablets. Company however did not give a specific time-frame, but considering company’s timeliness with the updates till now, we would them to release ICS around Feb/March.
Company had recently rolled out the second release of Android 3.2.1 on Tablet S. To remind you, Sony’s Honeycomb tablets come with dual core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, dual cameras and 1GB RAM on-board along with 9.4 inch (S) and dual 5.5 inch displays (P).
Here is company’s full statement:
Today we’re happy to confirm that an update to Android 4.0 will be available for Sony Tablet. Details including timing will be announced in due course, so please stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sony Tablet P vs Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition

Sony's Tablet P is nothing if not unique. The device's form factor and design has split opinion widely since it first surfaced a few weeks ago and now it's here with us we're still unsure what to make of the enigmatic little device.
Its opponent in our comparison is another small tablet with plenty to offer, and we're aiming to find out whether the novel Tablet P can hold its own against then equally small, but more traditional Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition.

The Sony Tablet P features dual 5.5-inch TFT screens which operate at a resolution of 1024 x 480 and boast a pixel density of 206PPI.
The dual-screen arrangement works well for the device and when closed the device is super portable, which is something that cannot be said for other devices that offer over 10-inches of screen space.
The Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition has an 8.2-inch HD TFT which operates at a resolution of 800 x 1280 and has a more than acceptable pixel density of 184PPI.
Motorola has done well with the Xoom 2 ME, managing to strike a nice balance between portability and screen quality, and the display responds well and offers excellent quality visuals.
The novelty of the Tablet P is something that we feel will wear off fast. Its displays are good, but no one in their right mind would rather browse the Web on something akin to the giant Nintendo DS-XL when they could choose a nice, single piece of glass.
Winner - Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition

Android is the order of the day for both tablets here and they both thrive as a result of the software's fast, stable core.
The version in use on both devices, Honeycomb (3.2), is customised for tablet use and offers re-designed core apps, a new user interface and plenty of other refinements to make it both easy to use and powerful.
As has been said before, the Android Market, for all its virtues, does lack support for tablets, with a minimal amount of featured content developed with bigger screened devices in mind. This is changing, but not very rapidly. If you're after tablet-centric apps then you'll have to look elsewhere or be very patient.
That aside, the Android OS allows both of our contenders to shine. They're both fast, easy to navigate and offer full flash browsing, which is a great selling point in a market dominated by iPad's.
Winner - Draw

Sony's Tablet P features a primary 5-megapixel camera with autofocus, touch focus, image stabilisation, geo-tagging and face & smile detection, as well as 720P video capture.
The device also offers a secondary VGA camera, for video calling and the like.
Performance is good with the primary camera, though the device would benefit from an LED flash to enhance darker environments.
The Xoom 2 Media Edition benefits from a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash and geo-tagging, as well as 720P movie capture.
The primary camera performs well but, as you'd expect, it won't replace your compact or SLR. Shots can appear a little bit noisy at times, and the shutter speed might be a concern to some.
Motorola has also given the Xoom 2 Media Edition a 1.3-megapixel secondary camera for video-calling which performs really well, even in lower light areas.
Winner - Sony Tablet P

Form & Build
Sony Tablet P - 180 x 158 x 14 mm (open) & 180 x 79 x 28 mm (closed), 372g
Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition - 216 x 139 x 9 mm, 386g
Sony has done a good job designing the Tablet P. The device is compact, comfortable to use and feels robust without ever feeling cumbersome. The dual-screen layout is okay, but does feel like a sacrifice when you consider that playable media is limited to the top screen, which is not much bigger than a smartphone display.
Motorola has a good reputation for building durable, good looking devices and the Xoom 2 Media Edition will certainly enhance that. It's slim, comfortable to hold and operate and comes in at a great size, ideal for those that cart their tech around all day.
Winner - Motorola Xoom 2 Tablet Edition

The Sony Tablet P is driven by a 1GHz dual-core CPU and ULP GeForce GPU, giving it plenty of power for things that matter. The device also offers 1GB RAM and support for micro SD cards up to 32GB in size, which you'll be using a lot as it only offers 4GB of on-board storage space.
Gaming on the Tablet P is fast and visually rewarding. but we feel it owes its nous in that area to its Nintedo-esque form factor, browsing is snappy and the overall performance was pleasing though, as has been widely reported, the device does suffer from dreadful WiFi signal issues.
The Motorola Xoom 2 has the same chipset as the Sony Tablet P but Motorola has chosen to clock the device up to 1.2GHz, milking a decent performance boost out of the hardware. The ULP GeForce GPU offers the same gaming performance, which is nice, and the device also offers up 1GB RAM.
Storage is an issue in the Xoom 2 Media Edition though, as it fails to offer support for external memory cards and only comes with 16GB built-in, which you'll soon use up.

Winner - Draw
Motorola's Xoom 2 Media Edition has seen off today's challenge admirably.
The device is small, fast and fun to use and the solid build-quality and Razr-esque design do it no harm either. If you're after a super-portable tablet then the Xoom 2 Media Edition should definitely make your shortlist.
The Tablet P, for all its weirdness and charm, lacks certain fundamentals that make a tablet a rewarding device to use. It's chunky when folded, the split-screen hinders consumption of certain media dreadfully and the WiFi signal is dreadful at best, something that we're hoping Sony will iron out with a future software update.
For now though, the Tablet P is an expensive attempt at originality that has gone wide of the mark.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sony Walkman Z-1000 Android-powered MP3 player lands at FCC

Sony launched the interesting looking Android-powered NW-Z1000 MP3 player in Japan a while back and the device looks really nice. It has a big 4.3-inch screen with 800 x 480 resolutions and a lot more. The Walkman branded player is a nice alternative to the iPod touch for Japanese music fans. That Z-1000 is now set to launch in the States reports WirelessGoodness with the device spied crossing the FCC test bench.

Other than that large screen the Z1000 also has Bluetooth and WiFi inside along with an NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor. It also has 512MB of RAM and runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread. There are a few things we aren’t sure of for the American versions of the Z1000.
There is no word on an official launch date or pricing for the device in the US. In Japan the Z1000 comes with 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB of storage. The prices range from $365 to $561 when converted. I hope that the new Walkman sells for under that price range when it lands.
[via SlashGear]

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sony Tablet S vs Asus Eee Transformer Prime

Asus' Eee Pad Transformer Prime is a tablet that is enjoying a lot of publicity in the run up to its expected December release. But this isn't all that surprising when you consider its pakcing a next-generation chipset and bleeding-edge hardware.

It's important to look past the 'power is everything' mantra though, as Apple's iPad 2 has decisively proven, and with that in mind we've selected a stellar Android tablet – the Sony Tablet S – to hold up against Asus' new creation to get a view of exactly how much it offers.


The Asus Eee Transformer Prime ships with a 10.1-inch Super IPS+ LCD display with a resolution of 1280x800 and a pixel density of 149PPI, which is well above average in the current market.

Sony's Tablet S is similarly well equipped too, with a 9.4-inch TFT operating at 800x1280 and boasting a pixel density of 161PPI.

While similarities are undoubtedly evident, the Asus' Eee Transformer Prime's more modern screen tech easily takes the tape ahead of Sony's good, but unspectacular display.

Winner - Asus Eee Transformer Prime


Both tablets run on Google's very capable Android operating system, specifically version 3.2 (Honeycomb) which has been optimised to provide a solid experience on tablets.

The platform features re-designed core applications, new holographic-style UI which includes a new persistent 'action bar' for user alerts and a spiffy new keyboard to make typing from your tablet easier than ever.

Beneath the aesthetic refinements Honeycomb offers the same excellent basic functionality that every other iteration of the OS provided. It's customisable, very easy to use and has a huge app catalogue for users to select from in the form of Android Market.

One area to watch out for is the lack of tablet-specific applications on Android. Sure, it's something that Google is working with developers to improve, but right now Honeycomb is meagrely catered for in terms of unique apps.

Winner - Draw


Sony's Tablet S features a 5-megapixel camera with auto-focus, image stabilisation, geo-tagging, face & smile detection and 720P video capture, which performs well and is capable of producing some top-quality images in good conditions.

The device also features a secondary 0.3-megapixel camera for video calling.

Asus' Eee Transformer Prime ups the ante with an excellent 8-megapixel camera with autofocus, LED flash, geo-tagging and 1080P video capture, as well as a secondary 1.2-megapixel snapper for video calling.

Images and videos produced by the Asus were way above our expectation and, in our opinion, the best quality that we've seen on any Android tablet to date.

Winner - Asus Eee Transformer Prime


The Asus Eee Transformer Prime boasts a quad-core 1.3GHz CPU and ULP GeForce GPU, giving it a huge advantage over any other tablet on the market, and many laptops too.

As you would expect apps run at full-tilt on the device, and games are handled perfectly thanks to the cutting edge graphics technology.

In addition to its mammoth chipset the Transformer Prime boasts 1GB RAM, 32 or 64GB on-board storage and support for micro SD cards up to 32GB in size, making it easily the most powerful tablet on the planet right now.

The Sony Tablet S features a dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 CPU with ULP GeForce GPU and performs excellently as a result. The device also offers up 1GB RAM and either 16 or 32GB of storage for your consideration too.

On any normal day the Tablet S' drive-train would be perfectly impressive, but the Asus Eee Transformer Prime is a bit of a bully in the power department, making Sony's device look a little bit laboured.

Winner - Asus Eee Transformer Prime

Form & Build

Asus Eee Transformer Prime - ?, 8mm thickness, 586g
Sony Tablet S - 241.2 x 174.3 x 10.1-20.6 mm, 625g

Sony know a thing or two about design and its acumen is easy to discern when looking at the Tablet S.

The device is beautifully crafted and features a very unique fold-around form factor which balances it and adds to its ergonomic qualities superbly.

At 625g it's no lightweight, but rather than feeling encumbered holding the device we felt that the little bit of extra ballast added to its comfort.

Great work, Sony!

The Asus Eee Transformer Prime is a nicely designed device and with its thick bevel and minimalist good looks reminded us of a certain other fruity tablet that shall remain nameless.

The Transformer Prime is a decent weight, and luxuriously thin at just 8mm too. We really couldn't fault it aside from feeling that the Sony just felt more premium. Far from scientific, we know, but the feeling was something palpable and, heck, palpable matters!

Winner - Sony Tablet S

Well, perhaps unsurprisingly the newer, higher powered tablet has won the day.

The Asus Eee Transformer Prime is, quite honestly, a beast of a tablet. It's fast, sleek and offers excellent performance on the whole, including peerless photographic performance.

It's only let-down really is the lack of tablet-centric applications, but that can't be attributed to the hardware. Once things improve in that department the Asus Eee Transformer Prime will be a true force to be reckoned with.

In defeat the Sony Tablet S is a fantastic device though. It's nicely designed, well built and has solid performance across the board but it just couldn't hold a candle to Asus' next-gen device, and as such we really can't recommend you choose one over the former, unless you can pick one up for a song.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sony’s Xperia Play has more than 200 optimized games

When Sony Ericsson launched the Xperia Play last year, one of the primary concerns was a dearth of games to take advantage of its PlayStation-style slide-out gamepad. Those concerns appear to have been unfounded: AndroidGuys reports that the company confirmed the availability of more than 200 Xperia Play-optimized Android games. That doesn’t hold a candle to the wide array of games availabe on the Android Market, or for that matter, any major gaming console you’d care to mention, but it’s an impressive feat none the less.

Most of these games are stand-alone, high profile titles from the likes of EA and Gameloft, but there’s a pretty good selection of more indie-style games to choose from as well. The Android version of OCD enabler Minecraft premiered on the device, and months before a standard Android Market release. If you’re rocking the Play, try searching for “Xperia Play optimized” in the Market to get a good look at what’s available.
Sony has promised an Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Xperia Play, and all current Xperia phones, sometime in 2012. That’s a good thing, since we haven’t seen hide nor hair of an updated model, and with quad-core processors becoming the new standard for high performance, one would not go amiss. If you happen to have an Xperia Play and an Android tablet, be sure to try the latest version of Droid Note – it’s a great, geeky way to get that console experience on a bigger screen.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holier than thou: Pope Benedict lights Christmas tree with Android tablet

The Lord hath spoken: “What iPad?” MSNBC reports that at a tree lighting ceremony in a small Italian town, Pope Benedict XVI used a Sony Android tablet to remotely activate the lights on a huge electronic display. The Pope himself was in his apartments at the Vatican, and a remote trigger was rigged up for the special occasion. He greeted crowds gathered at the event via teleconferencing.

The tablet in question is absolutely the Sony Tablet S, the company’s flagship slate. The lights in question were placed on a mountainside overlooking the town of Gubbio. MSNBC reports shock and surprise at the fact that His Holiness wasn’t using an iPad, but as Android Community readers know, Droid Does what iOS can’t. And after all, when comparing Apple and Google, which one has “don’t be evil” built right into their motto? I rest my case.
This opens up all sorts of religious opportunities for Android expansion. American megachurches could probably afford pews full of Nook Tablets loaded up with KJV, NIV and all sorts of alphabetically inclined Bible translations. Sliding the Torah across a Galaxy Tab screen would be a whole lot easier than unrolling those scrolls every time. And when all else fails, there’s the old standby of sitting in the back row and playing with your smartphone until either the service ends or the priest falls asleep. Not that I’d know anything about that.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sony to drop Ericsson brand in mid-2012, focus only on smartphones

Sony has said that it will drop the Ericsson brand from smartphone devices in mid-2012 following its acquisition of Ericsson’s 50% stake in the Sony Ericsson joint venture for €1.05 billion in October.
Speaking to Times of India, a senior Sony executive noted that the Sony Ericsson brand would be phased out as the company looked to become a “complete smartphone company”, selling its new smartphones under the Sony label.
The move is aimed at galvanising Sony’s smartphone sales, which slowly picked up following Sony Ericsson’s decision to focus solely on developing smartphones that are powered by Google’s Android platform. With Sony Ericsson’s decision to phase-out its feature phone development, the new unit will invest significant amounts into its marketing and advertising channels – something that Sony Ericsson’s Kristian Tear, executive VP & head of sales & marketing, said was lacking in previous years:
“A lot of planning goes into getting the branding right but we will be done by middle of next year. It will also mean that the marketing and advertising investments will go up. We haven’t been as fierce as we were a few years back but we will step it up, refocus and invest more in brand-building in select markets and India is one of those markets.”
Times of India reports that the company as its stands holds around 2% of the global smartphone market. However, with Sony’s huge worldwide presence as the world’s biggest entertainment company, the company expects its mobile presence to gain from its assets:
“Sony is the world’s biggest entertainment company. We were earlier a 50-50 JV, but now that we are a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony Corp. We expect to gain from its assets on the content , technology and brand side.”
Sony’s acquisition still requires approval, so changes aren’t expected to be implemented until next year, including the phasing out of the Sony Ericsson brand. Executives have said that Sony will continue to focus on the value-end of the smartphone market, targeting India where it has a 19% and 12% share of the Indian and global Android market respectively.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sony Tablet P taken apart by FCC

The Sony Tablet P dual-screen tablet recently received an official FCC tear down – right on schedule before it makes its way over to the US. I’ve never seen the insides of a dual-screen tablet, but then again there aren’t that many to go by. From the photos included in the below gallery, it’s obvious the wireless components are laid out in the lower clamshell.

To be honest, most of the pictures center around the wireless components and the rest show us the exterior we’ve already known. The battery is actually quite large at 3080mAh, and it looks to be built into the device. Like the ASUS Eee Pad MeMo, it’s quite a unique tablet. If priced properly, I see it doing fairly well.
I’m actually surprised this clamshell hasn’t already made it to the US yet, as it had been demoed previously alongside the Tablet S. We have a hands-on video with both devices from back in August you should definitely check out. Whether or not Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) will launch on this device is still unknown, but if Sony waits much longer then they may need to so they don’t get left behind.
2011-12-01_102557 2011-12-01_102627 2011-12-01_102639 2011-12-01_102653 2011-12-01_102704 2011-12-01_102755 2011-12-01_102823 2011-12-01_102835 2011-12-01_102847 2011-12-01_102901 2011-12-01_102915 2011-12-01_102926 [via WirelessGoodness]

Monday, November 14, 2011

Google Music set to launch without Sony or Warner songs

The long-awaited Google Music service should arrive later this week at Google’s Spinal Tap-inspired event, but if Cnet is to be believed, it’ll launch without two of the biggest players in the US music industry. Sony and Warner will not be posting any of their artists on the new MP3 store, putting it at a major disadvantage to iTunes and other digital music vendors. The other two major labels, EMI and Universal, will be selling music through Google.

According to anonymous insiders, the music labels want Google’s store to be an open experience available to anyone, whereas Google wants to make it an Android-only experience, likely rolling it into their existing Google Music app and selling songs through the Android Market. There are obviously some conflicting agendas here – music companies want as many customers on as many devices as possible, while Google is looking for a competitive advantage, or at least an alternative. Apparently the difference was too much for Warner and Sony.
Music contracts, particularly when it comes to digital sales, are known to be a long and drawn-out affair. Even Apple didn’t have all the major labels available when it launched iTunes, though they joined up eventually. If Google Music or whatever the name ends up being takes off, expect large and small distributors to jump on board. But without a comprehensive library, it’s hard to see why music shoppers wouldn’t simply go somewhere else and buy MP3s from all the major labels, then load them up on an SD card. Google will have to show some impressive features, like a well-thought-out cloud strategy, to put their best foot forward.
[via SlashGear]

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Xperia arc, acro get PlayStation certified in Japan

Sony has been promising access to its PlayStation suite for more Android smartphones for a while now, though only the Tablet S and Tablet P have seen an actual update, in addition to the original XPERIA Play. Now one of Sony’s newest Android phones, the XPERIA arc [sic] is getting the gaming service, but only in Japan at the moment. The XPERIA acro, a Japan-only smartphone, is also getting updated.

While the XPERIA arc doesn’t appear on any carrier list in the US, Americans can get an unlocked GSM version, and the arc has been released to some fanfare in Europe. Unfortunately PlayStation certification and by extension the PlayStation store aren’t available in these markets, but hopefully it won’t be too long before westerners get some PSX goodness on the arc. Owners of the Tablet S and the still-elusive Tablet P can already take advantage of both, though obviously they’ll be doing so without the XPERIA Play’s hardware controls.
If you’re a PlayStation fan who can’t (or won’t) switch Sony Ericsson for smartphone hardware, take heart: the company may be planning to expand its certification program to non-Sony devices. Considering that Sony’s still a ways behind the big Android players, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for Sony to focus on its software and rich IP catalog. There’s only a dozen PlayStation games available for download at the moment, but if Sony can expand its library and open it up to a growing base of high-powered android phones and tablets. In the meantime, PlayStation Suite developers can get their SDK on.

Devs can apply for PlayStation Suite SDK closed beta now

If you are a game developer for Android games that has been looking to get your games onto more devices the new PlayStation Suite SDK has hit the closed beta point. The PS suite SDK is the development environment using C# that allows games to be run on PS certified devices including Android smartphones as well as the PS Vita portable console that will be landing soon.

Sony has announced that it is now accepting apps from individual developers and corporate devs for the SDK closed beta. Like any other closed beta, not all devs will gain access to the beta program. The SDK that Sony has developed will run on a virtual C# machine that is part of the Vita portable and PS Certified Android devices.
The program will be open to devs in the US, UK, and Japan in English. The SDK used in the beta will work on 32-but Windows XP and 32 or 64-bit Windows 7. The SDK comes with a PC simulator and the purchase of a PS Vita or other device isn’t required. The form for applying to the program is available here.
[via SlashGear]

Sony Tablet S 16GB for $399 as Ebay Daily Deal

Are you in the market for a new Android 3.2 Honeycomb tablet but also want some gaming options? Then look no further than the Sony Tablet S. With Sony’s Playstation Suite integration and a great price this could be a nice grab for the holidays. Today the Tablet S is the Ebay Daily Deal and is being offered at a $100 discount, for just $399.

For those interested, the Tablet S features a 9.4″ 1280 x 800 resolution display and is powered by the popular NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core processor at 1.0 Ghz. With 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, front and rear cameras and more. With the option to play old school games like Crash Bandicoot this is a unique tablet that is for sure, not to mention the folded magazine design. We’ve enjoyed this tablet for a few weeks here at Android Community and can catch our full review by clicking here.

Not only does it have access to the Playstation Suite but it also rocks the NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor so you’ll be able to enjoy all those Tegrazone games. It might not be the thinnest or fastest tablet around but all the options available for just $399 make it a pretty stellar deal — it even has free shipping too. Will you snatch this up for $399, or hold out while saving another $100 and get the just announced Transformer Prime with that quad-core Tegra 3 processor? Hit the link below if you’d like to get in on this deal.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Google TV 2.0 (Android 3.1) Reaching Sony Hardware Today

Somedays I feel like I am the only person in this world who loves Google TV. But not today. Today I can pretend everyone loves Google TV, and indeed everyone gets a second chance to fall in love. And second chances at falling in love don’t come frequently. So take advantage. If only one thing could spoil news that the Google TV 2.0 update (otherwise known as Android 3.1 for Google TV) is already arriving for some lucky owners of GTV hardware, it would be that Logitech Revue owners like me will still have to wait a few more days. Lucky dogs owning Sony’s hardware (including internet-connected TV sets and the GTV Blu-Ray player) should start seeing the update any time now, and some already have. God bless.
[via AndroidCentral]

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sony Ericsson Announces Android 2.3.4 Rollout For All Countries – Adds Bonus Features

Back in September, Sony Ericsson announced that they would being rolling out the Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread update to their devices, unfortunately for us here in the states (and other parts of the world), it was only for Nordic countries. Thankfully, today, SE announced that the 2.3.4 update has begun rolling out for the rest of the world but with a few added changes. Highlights of the update include:
  • Google Talk with Video Chat for smartphones with front-facing cameras
  • Updated Facebook inside Xperia™ functionality for enhanced like, share and discover abilities.
  • Xperia™ smartphones introducing world’s first 3D Sweep Panorama functionality powered by Sony.
  • 16x video zoom
  • The software upgrade will enable consumers to turn their Xperia™ smartphone into a mini-mobile PC by connecting USB peripherals (mouse, keyboard or game controller) to Sony Ericsson LiveDock™ multimedia station. Connect the smartphone to a TV via HDMI to get a big screen experience.
  • Gesture input - text input by swiping the finger from one letter to the next
  • WiFi DLNA
  • Screen capture - allows the user to share a screen grab from anywhere in the phone.
Sony Ericsson devices that can look forward to the update are just about their entire lineup and include the Xperia Arc, Play, Neo, Mini, Mini Pro, Pro, Ray, Active, Neo V, Arc S and the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman. For a video walkthrough of the new features (you have to see “USB on the go”) check out the video below.

Sony Ericsson (soon to be just “Sony”) has quickly proven to be one of the better Android OEM’s, offering continuous support in regards to updates and with their work in the developer community. Now all that’s left is for SE to deliver some shiny dual-core devices to the US and they’ll be golden.
Thanks, Vlad!
[Via SEBlog]

Friday, October 28, 2011

Google TV apps already showing up in the Android Market

That didn’t take long. Just a few hours after Google’s official announcement of Google TV 2.0, apps specifically designed for integrated TVs and set-top boxes have started appearing in the web version of the Android Market. You can use this URL to check them out for yourself. There’s just 28 results when you specifically search “for Google TV”, and not all of them are true Google TV apps. The generic “Google TV” search shows thousands, most of which are just ordinary Android apps matching the search terms.

Among the confirmed Google TV apps are Twitter, CNBC, Pandora, Fox News, CNN Money, and Motor Trend. We’re expecting a version of Angry Birds designed specifically for Google TV in approximately 20-30 seconds. Naturally these apps won’t show up on the Market if you search from a phone or tablet, and likewise, Market searches made from Google TV are probably not going to show standard smartphone apps, though it’s possible that some apps could work for both platforms eventually. Google TV apps must be coded using the resources in the expanded Android SDK.

Google TV’s Honeycomb update has been officially announced, and Sony set-top boxes and TVs will be the first to get in on the action next week. The Logitech Revue will get the update “shortly” after that, though retail units are already popping up with the new software prominently featured in the packaging. We’ll have more in-depth news as the long-awaited update begins rolling out.

Google TV 2.0 update coming to Sony next week, Logitech Revue later

Logitech appears more than ready for Google TV’s Honeycomb update, but according to a new blog postfrom the Google TV team, Sony’s TVs and set-top boxes will be getting it first starting next week. The Logitech Revue will follow “soon thereafter”. The updated post outlines some of the new Google TV features, includingAndroid Market support and an improved user interface.

In an interesting bit of humility, the post admits that the original Google TV software “wasn’t perfect,” and focuses on the simpler homescreen with customizable video and app shortcuts. Search functions have also been refined, allowing for a broad search across live TV, Netflix, YouTube, HBO GO and other video services. It will also recommend content similar to what you’ve already watched, a la Netflix’s recommendation engine. A new customized YouTube app will compliment the upcoming Google TV apps that will spring up on the Android Market.

The 3.1 Honeycomb update has been a long time coming, but Google TV users’ wait is almost over. Logitech appears ready to send their Revue set-top boxes to retail stores with the software pre-loaded, and developers are already working on Google TV apps via the expanded Android SDK. Google also mentioned that some much-needed new partner and device announcements would be coming in the next few months.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Breaking: Sony Buys Sony Ericsson For €1.05 billion

We heard the rumors circulating for awhile now and it looks like the inevitable has happened — Sony has just bought Sony Ericsson for €1.05 billion. I’m sure some of you are confused with the news thinking, “Wait. Sony bought Sony?” Not quite. Sony Ericsson was actually its own separate company (Ericsson) that turned into a joint venture when Sony essentially bought half of the company back in 2001. This buyout now gives Sony full ownership of the company and allows them to expand their portfolio beyond audio, tablets, laptops and gaming and allows Sony to make a big splash in the smartphone market as well. The agreement also gives Sony a leg up thanks to “five essential patent families” that come with the deal. Nothing is finalized yet with the deal closing January 2012 (pending regulatory approval of course). Full press release can be found below.
Ericsson: Sony to acquire Ericsson’s share of Sony Ericsson
October 27, 2011, 08:16 (CEST)
Sony Ericsson to become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony and integrated into Sony’s broad platform of network-connected consumer electronics products
The transaction also provides Sony with a broad IP cross-licensing agreement and ownership of five essential patent families
Ericsson to receive EUR 1.05 billion cash payment
Sony and Ericsson to create wireless connectivity initiative to drive connectivity across multiple platforms
Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and Sony Corporation (“Sony”) today announced that Sony will acquire Ericsson’s 50 percent stake in Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB (“Sony Ericsson”), making the mobile handset business a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony.
The transaction gives Sony an opportunity to rapidly integrate smartphones into its broad array of network-connected consumer electronics devices – including tablets, televisions and personal computers – for the benefit of consumers and the growth of its business. The transaction also provides Sony with a broad intellectual property (IP) cross-licensing agreement covering all products and services of Sony as well as ownership of five essential patent families relating to wireless handset technology.
As part of the transaction, Ericsson will receive a cash consideration of EUR 1.05 billion.
During the past ten years the mobile market has shifted focus from simple mobile phones to rich smartphones that include access to internet services and content. The transaction is a logical strategic step that takes into account the nature of this evolution and its impact on the marketplace.
This means that the synergies for Ericsson in having both a world leading technology and telecoms services portfolio and a handset operation are decreasing. Today Ericsson’s focus is on the global wireless market as a whole; how wireless connectivity can benefit people, business and society beyond just phones. Consistent with that mission, by setting up a wireless connectivity initiative, Ericsson and Sony will work to drive and develop the market’s adoption of connectivity across multiple platforms.
“This acquisition makes sense for Sony and Ericsson, and it will make the difference for consumers, who want to connect with content wherever they are, whenever they want. With a vibrant smartphone business and by gaining access to important strategic IP, notably a broad cross-license agreement, our four-screen strategy is in place. We can more rapidly and more widely offer consumers smartphones, laptops, tablets and televisions that seamlessly connect with one another and open up new worlds of online entertainment. This includes Sony’s own acclaimed network services, like the PlayStation Network and Sony Entertainment Network,” said Sir Howard Stringer, Sony’s Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President. Mr Stringer also noted that the acquisition will afford Sony operational efficiencies in engineering, network development and marketing, among other areas. “We can help people enjoy all our content – from movies to music and games – through our many devices, in a way no one else can.”
“Ten years ago when we formed the joint venture, thereby combining Sony’s consumer products knowledge with Ericsson’s telecommunication technology expertise, it was a perfect match to drive the development of feature phones. Today we take an equally logical step as Sony acquires our stake in Sony Ericsson and makes it a part of its broad range of consumer devices. We will now enhance our focus on enabling connectivity for all devices, using our R&D and industry leading patent portfolio to realize a truly connected world” said Hans Vestberg, President and CEO of Ericsson.
When Sony Ericsson started its operations on October 1, 2001, it combined the unprofitable handset operations from Ericsson and Sony. Following a successful turnaround the company has become a market leader in the development of feature phones by integrating Sony’s strong consumer products knowledge and Ericsson’s telecommunications technology leadership. The WalkmanTM phone and Cyber-shotTM phone are well known examples.
With the successful introduction of the P1 in 2007, Sony Ericsson early on established itself in the smartphone segment. More recently, the company has successfully made the transition from feature phones to Android-based Xperia(TM) smartphones. By the end of the third quarter of 2011, Sony Ericsson held a market share of 11 percent (by value) in the Android phone market, representing 80 percent of the company’s third quarter sales. During its ten years in operation Sony Ericsson has generated approximately EUR 1.5 billion of profit and paid dividends totalling approximately EUR 1.9 billion to its parent companies. Prominent models include “XperiaTM arc” and “XperiaTM mini” which received 2011 EISA Awards, while recent notable additions to the lineup include “XperiaTM PLAY” and “XperiaTM arc S”.
The transaction, which has been approved by appropriate decision-making bodies of both companies, is expected to close in January 2012, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.
Ericsson has accounted for its 50 percent share in Sony Ericsson according to the equity method. Following completion of the transaction, Ericsson will have no outstanding guarantees relating to Sony Ericsson and will no longer account for Sony Ericsson as an investment on balance sheet. The transaction will result in a positive capital gain for Ericsson which will be defined after closing of the transaction.
SEB Enskilda is acting as Ericsson’s sole financial advisor in the transaction.
[Via Engadget]

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sony Music Unlimited comes to Tablet S and other Android tablets

Sony has announced that its unlimited music streaming service is now available for Android tablets. The video streaming platform has been on tablets already. The service is Sony’s Music unlimited and it is first hitting the Sony Tablet S device. It will also be available as a download app for any Android tablet user to enjoy. The app allows access to the cloud-based Music Unlimited network.

The new v1.2 app allows tablets to access the service, which has been available for Android smartphones for a while. The updated app also brings with it a tweaked user interface. The subscriber can now create playlists faster and discover related artists more easily. The navigation between album view and the catalog is faster as well.
The Music Unlimited service is available in nine different countries with a basic subscription at $3.99 monthly. The premium subscription is $9.99 monthly. Sony Tablet S users can get a 180-day trial of the Basic plan at no charge right now.
“As one of the largest digital entertainment services, Sony Entertainment Network aims to bring new ways for consumers to enjoy digital music and video,” said Tim Schaaff, President, Sony Network Entertainment. “The launch of the Music Unlimited service on Sony Tablet marks one of our many significant steps to satisfying the mobile demands of our current consumers while opening up our cloud-based music service to completely new audiences.”

Sony’s PlayStation Store opens for Tablet S users

If you’re part of a considerable chunk of Tablet S users who bought Sony’s Honeycomb tablet on the promise of classic PlayStation games coming soon, you’re in luck. Today Sony has added the first round of original PS1 games to the PlayStation Store, and Tablet S owners can download them now. Prices start at a reasonable $5.99 a pop.

Technically the store is open to Tablet P users as well, which might be relevant to the US market if Sony ever deems it fit for release here. It’s a shame, too – the dual-screen hinged design might make it all the more easy to emulate a traditional console gaming experience. With the company expanding the tablet line to include 3G models, maybe we’ll see a release of both Wifi and mobile broadband versions in the States – one can only hope. Sony is also planning to certify other smartphones and tablets, almost certainly including parts of its XPERIA line, for the PlayStation Store.
The first round of PlayStation titles includes ten games: Cool Boarders, Destruction Derby, Hot Shots Golf 2, Jet Moto 1 and 2, Jumping Flash, MediEvil, Motor Toon Grand Prix, Rally Cross and Wild Arms. None of these are exactly blockbusters (triple-A games like Final Fantasy VII and Resident Evil are probably more likely to get a straight-up Android port from their publishers) but it’s a good start. Tablet S users should have access to the Store now.