Sony Mobile Cuts Sales Forecast from 43 to 41 Million, Reduction in China

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Sony has posted their Q2 2014 earnings results that cover the July-September time frame and as expected, Sony Mobile caused the company as a whole to once again post a loss. What was suppose to be the year of recovery for Sony has been anything but that. During summer, Sony posted a new earnings guidance for the year which would see their smartphone shipments dip from 50 million down to 43 million. A week ago, word came that Sony would likely further revise that number and during their earnings call earlier today, the company did just that. Now for the year, Sony is expecting to finish with 41 million units sold, down another 5% and close t0 39 million, the number the company sold in 2013.

Shuhei Yoshida – No ‘Exact Time Frame’ for DriveClub Fix, Postponing PS+ Version

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Taking to Facebook, Shuhei Yoshida, President of World Wide Studios at PlayStation, has given an update on DriveClub, the highly-anticipated racer on PlayStation 4. For those not familiar with the saga of the game from Evolution Studios, DriveClub launched earlier in October and was immediately hammered with online issues. To help combat the games plagued online component, Evolution Studios turned off many of the game’s online functionality and began to deploy game updates and server side updates on a near daily basis. Two weeks later, the game, while considerably more stable, is yet to achieve its original promise. Part of that was to be a free PlayStation Plus edition of the game which would provide a number of cars and tracks for free.

According to Shu, there is no ‘exact time frame‘ for DriveClub to be fully functional. Because Evolution Studios is currently fixated on fixing DriveClub for those who’ve paid for the game, all plans for DriveClub PlayStation Plus edition have been postponed until further notice. After the jump, the full statement from Shu.

Sony Mobile Division Head to be Replaced

Kunimasa SuzukiIn a not too surprising move, Sony has announced that Hiroki Totoki (Corporate Planning, Finance and New Business) will replace Kunimasa Suzuki (pictured above) as CEO of Sony Mobile Communications starting on November 16th, 2014. During his time as head of Sony Mobile, Suzuki has helped Sony navigate past their partnership with Ericsson and bring mobile directly under Sony in Japan. Despite being one of the head architect of the Sony Xperia Z line initiative (the company’s flagship smartphone and tablet), Sony has seen their mobile share erode which was set to be one of the three pillars of the One Sony strategy under Kaz Hirai and was designed to help the struggling giant return to profitability.

Some Sony Xperia KitKat Firmware Updates Contain Baidu Spyware?

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Chalk this under WTF, but some Sony Xperia smartphones running Android KitKat appear to contain an extra folder that may contain a Baidu spyware. China was most recently linked to diverting iCloud and Microsoft users to fake home pages in order to collect their data. While it’s unclear what information this software is sending back, it’s quite clear that it is pinging back to Chinese servers. The Baidu software so far has been found on Sony smartphones running Android 4.4.2 or 4.4.4., including Sony’s latest smartphones, the Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z3 compact. Besides Sony devices, the Baidu spyware, as it’s being called, can also be found on the HTC One M7, Nexus 5, Samsung Galaxy SIII, and other Android smartphones.

More details after the jump.

PS4 Firmware 2.0 – Rest Mode Solutions

PS4_Safe_ModeIt’s been a little over 24 hours since has released PlayStation 4 System Software Update 2.0, which brought on a host of new features. Those interested in the update can read our previous piece where we outlined all that’s new and all that’s changed with the new firmware update. As it goes with any major software release, a small portion of the community tends to be affected by unforseen bugs that can range from annoying to crippling. Resting somewhere in between the two spectrums is the ‘Rest Mode’ bug. Previously called Standby, Sony has changed the name of the feature which would simply put the PS4 to sleep, making it ideal for remote play and quick launch of games. Unfortunately, after some gamers place their PS4 in Rest Mode, the console tends to not wake up again, forcing you to fully shut down the PS4 and rebooting to get things up and running again.

If you’re experiencing this issue, the good news is that you don’t need to wait for a revised software update from Sony to address your Rest Mode woes. After the jump, we’ve outlined a fix directly from Sony.

PlayStation Store Update (10-28-14)

Psn-UpdateWelcome to the PlayStation Store update for October 28, 2014. We have a great update this week packed full of new content and sales. PlayStation 4 users can now purchase Lords of the FallenNBA Live 15, and the beautiful the Unfinished Swan (also available for Vita).

PlayStation 3 owners can now hit the squared circle with WWE 2K15 and enjoy the quirky Costume Quest 2 (also available for PS4). PlayStation Vita users can now enjoy the highly anticipated Freedom Wars.

Finally, as you are probably aware PlayStation Plus users now receive all of their free games at the beginning of the month and all other weeks subscribers will receive extra discounts. This week there is a new update to The Sale of the Dead to celebrate Halloween and PlayStation Plus subscribers get even bigger discounts on these games. Keep reading to see the full PlayStation Store update.

PlayStation App 2.0.7 Now Available, Brings New UI and Tablet Support

PlayStation_App_2_4Alongside the PlayStation 4 System Software Update 2.0 that brought on an extensive amount of changes and new features to PS4, Sony has also released PlayStation App 2.0.7. The latest update brings improved robustness to the app, with more fluid UI, features, and native support for iPad. After the jump, the full changelog of PlayStation App 2.0.7 and gallery awaits you.

PlayStation 4 System Software Update 2.0 Now Available for Download

PS4_System_Software_Update_2As expected, the PlayStation 4 system software update 2.0 is now live and available for your downloading pleasure. The latest firmware update is set to bring some major changes to the PS4, including the ability to pause/resume downloads, Share Play, custom themes, USB music playback, and much more. After the jump, we have the full breakdown of all the new features on PS4.

Unlocked Sony Xperia T3 With 5.3-inch Triluminos Display Comes to US

Sony_Xperia_T3_Black_World_BGIf you’re not content with the Sony Xperia Z3, which will be available on both T-Mobile and Verizon by month’s end, then may I present you the Sony Xperia T3. Dubbed the world’s slimmest 5.3-inch smartphone, the Xperia T3 offers an 8-megapixel main camera, 1GB RAM,  and 8GB internal storage all wrapped in a stainless steel frame. The Sony Xperia T3 has all the usual features you’d expect and appreciate on a Sony smartphone, ranging from NFC to DLNA, a fully-supported camera with Timeshift burst, portrait retouch, and more. Something to watch out for, which helps set this mid-range Android smartphone apart from competitors, is the packed-in Exmor RS sensor that’s designed to give more accurate, realistic, and properly-balanced photos.

Best of all, we’re getting it in the US, unlocked, and for a reasonable price.

PS4 ‘Share Play’ Has no Session Limits

PS4_Share_PlayOne of the big features that’s set to debut tomorrow with PlayStation 4 firmware 2.0 is ‘Share Play.’ The new feature, in short, is designed to replicate a friend who’d normally sit with you on the couch and game it up. Instead of needing to actually invite that person over and have a bowl of pretzels (I believe that’s the standard party food these days?), you can virtually invite your friend. Once the two of you are connected, the invited friend can take over your game session and control your game, helping you where you might be stuck. Further replicating the real life experience, your friend on the other side of the connection won’t even need to own the game he or she is taking over.

One small caveat in all this is the limit of 60 minutes in each session – though it’s not as limiting as it once sounded.

PlayStation 4 Firmware 2.0 Will Allow for Pause/Resume of Downloads

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One of the odd things about the PS4 is a lack of features compared to its predecessor. While some features. like slim pickings of media capabilities, are a bigger ordeal than others, it’s still a great annoyance when you knew your near-10-year-old console could do something that your brand new unit cannot. One such feature the PS4 currently lacks is the ability to pause and resume downloads. While not a deal breaker, the ability to pause and resume allows for easier downloading of multiple items from PSN. It also givers the players the ability to prioritize which game/DLC first lands on their console. This becomes quite important when you further expand the scenario and have game updates in the mix and you’re in a time crunch to play a specific title with friends.

With PlayStation 4 firmware 2.0, Sony is bringing the feature to PS4.

Official List of Sony Smartphones and Tablets Receiving Android 5.0 Lollipop

Sony_Xperia_Z3_LollipopAndroid 5.0 Lollipop, previously known as Android L under developer preview, is coming to Sony’s modern fleet of phones. While devices of old like the Xperia S will not be receiving the latest from Google, Sony has promised to update their entire Xperia Z fleet to Lollipop.

 We’ll be making Sony Mobile’s Android L upgrade available for the entire premium Z series 

According to Sony, updates will begin to roll out in 2015 for the core Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z2 series. After that, Sony will turn its attention to older devices like the Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z Ultra. After the jump, the full list of Sony smartphones and tablets that will receive Android 5.0 Lollipop.

TBT: Interview with Kazuo Hirai – IFA 2014

It’s Thursday which means it’s time for a ‘Throw Back Thursday’ post where we dig up something from the past. This time it’s an interview from Sony CEO Kaz Hirai from IFA 2014. During the press conference, Sony announced their latest mobile and wearable initiative with Xperia Z3, SmartWatch 3 with Android Wear, and Smartband Talk.

Sony Xperia Z3 Now Available for Purchase in Japan

Sony_Xperia_Z3_Copper_2With the Xperia Z3 safely headed to US carrier T-Mobile and Verizon, Sony is now focusing on its home turf of Japan. Matching the US with two carriers, the Sony Xperia Z3 today launches on KDDI and NTT DoCoMo, the countries two largest carriers. Come November, Softbank, the nations other mega carrier will also begin to offer the new flagship smartphone. Unlike international models, the Xperia Z3′s offered in Japan will offer 32GB internal storage versus 16GB.

Sony SmartWatch 3 Appears on Google Play Store

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While Sony will likely revise their Fy 2014 sales target downward for the second time in just a short time, the company continues to make strides in improving their carrier relationship. Later this month, the Sony Xperia Z3 will launch on Verizon and T-Mobile, a first for Sony in the US. Along side the Xperia Z3v, designed specifically for Verizon with additional enhancements that are not available on the model sold on other carriers, Verizon will also be carrying the SmartWatch 3. Despite its name, the Sony SmartWatch 3 is actually the fifth iteration from Sony and is based off of Android Wear, the newest software release from Google that’s specifically designed for wearables like watches and fitness trackers.

Now in addition to Verizon outlets, Sony will be offering the SmartWatch 3 on Google Play.

Sony to Likely Further Lower Smartphone Sales Target for FY 2014

Sony_Xperia_Z3v_VerizonFY 2014 was set to be the year that Sony would put its troubles behind and begin turning a profit. A key part of this initiative was to be Sony Mobile, the division which oversees development of the company’s Xperia smartphone and tablets. While Sony has mounted huge losses over the years, it was expected that FY 2014 would result in a modest $500 million loss and with full profitability in the years to follow. Unfortunately for Sony and its investors, due to stiff competition on the high-end from Apple and the cut throat nature of the low-end market due to a flood of devices from China, Sony will likely post a $2.1 billion loss for FY 2014.

Now comes news that Sony may once again revise its sales forecast for the worse and come well below their already lowered target.

Don’t Hide From ‘The Boxtrolls?’

Film_Review_BoxTrollsI wasn’t sure how much I wanted to see The Boxtrolls. I am not familiar with the story it is based on (Here Be Monsters!), but I was definitely intrigued by the animation quality and the inventive characters. And on that front it delivers big time. Where it fails is the marketing and a little bit of its metaphorical choices.

Super cute... but turn that frown upside down and whoa.

Super cute… but turn that frown upside down and whoa.

My hesitation in going was that the trailer shows these incredibly cute, industrious, if still somewhat scary looking creatures called the Boxtrolls being hunted down by some ugly villain with a kill everything kind of zeal. And I was put off with yet another animated story, ostensibly for kids, that involves nothing less than the end of life for an entire species. It seemed loud, brash, and kind of tired for a storyline. The reality wasn’t very far from my predictions. The Boxtrolls themselves are nicely inventive, with an underground home and lifestyle which they fill with the random articles they steal from the upper world each night to build strange and harmless machinery that makes their living situation fun and comfortable. They are shy tinkerers at heart wearing boxes that act as camouflage at the first sign of danger. But being they look like… well… trolls, the upper world finds them repulsive and has trumped up stories of the man-eating, blood thirsty nature of the trolls. The legend was fueled further by the fact that the trolls took a human child years ago and raised it as their own.