Like the iPhone SE, the Xperia X Compact is a great device for Sony’s mobile portfolio. While many people have had no problem transitioning to larger 5-inches and above phones, there is still a good portion of the population that prefers something a bit smaller. In addition to their compact form factor which can be easier to use, smaller phones also inventively come at a lower price point that makes them far more attractive in developing nations like China and India. In short, a device like the Xperia X Compact can be a hit across territories like the US and Europe due to its smaller design aesthetics while helping due higher volume in other countries because of its lower price point. But a flagship Xperia XZ Compact doesn’t seem to be in the cards.
Sony has a new ad out in the UK that showcases PS4 slim and touts its HDR capabilities. Of course while a slimmer design is touch, it’s doubtful most gamers truly care about a console size, seeing how it just sits in a specific spot. However, a lower starting price? They’ll care about that.
Good news for those with a new Xperia phone – Android 7.0 Nougat is right around the bend. According to XperiaBlog:
the Sony Xperia XZ and X Performance will be the first devices to receive the Android N update in October 2016. The Xperia X and X Compact are expected to follow in November 2016.
If the time table holds, this will be one of the fastest turnarounds Sony has had for getting their hands on a major Android update and releasing it. Unfortunately for those without an Xperia XZ, X Performance, X, and X Compact, the wait is going to be longer – much longer.
For those with an affinity for the finer things in life or who simply need unparalleled shooting capabilities, there exists the Sony a99 II which was announced last week. As a recap, the full-frame 42.4-megapixel A-mount camera features:
high-speed high-precision Hybrid Phase Detection AF, AF/AE tracking in 12fps continuous shooting, body-integrated 5-axis image stabilization, and advanced 4K movie functions.
To go along with the camera’s reveal, Sony has a new product feature video which highlights what the camera offers.
One of the best parts about the tech and gaming industry is how inclusive it can be. Don’t get me wrong, things aren’t perfect, especially for women, but as a whole and compared to other industries, it’s quite a bit ahead. From people who work at different studios to the journalists that cover them, I’m surrounded by friends and colleagues who are black, gay, Muslim, transgender, American, bi, Middle-Eastern, and the list goes on and yet none of it matters because they all share a similar passion – technology. To that end, you can be as different as you want but as long as you show up with your A game, that’s all that matters.
Unfortunately in the US, in the past two decades, our society has shifted – we’re paranoid of Muslims, we’re fearful of blacks, we deny science, and have no appetite for inclusiveness of people who might love differently that we do. This hate has been slowly smoldering but was never too apparent, always in the wings – until Donald Trump. What Trump has done in the US is to normalize hate and bigotry, something that I would argue is seen less in my industry – after all, the tech culture is about pushing forward and bringing people together in ways not possible before.
With that as the back drop, you can see why we were all a bit surprised when it was revealed that Oculus founder, Palmer Luckey, was secretly funding a pro-Trump political group. And don’t worry, there is a PlayStation twist in here. Colin Campbell writing for Polygon:
After the PS4 Pro’s reveal in New York City, Mark Cerny sat down with the Sid from PlayStation Blog to dish out additional information about their new powerful console. It was quite clear that during PS4 Pro’s initial reveal which only lasted 45 minutes, Sony didn’t want to get bogged down with nitty gritty details and instead wanted to focus on big picture ideas. However with the reveal out of the way, Cerny, who has been the lead system artichect on both PS4 and PS4 Pro, was able to take the time and give some interesting insight on the new console.
The recently introduced Xperia XZ and Xperia X Compact have begun to make their way into reviewers’ and consumers’ hands. While Sony won’t be sending a model my way, I’ve gathered some sample photos and videos for your viewing pleasure. Sony wisely didn’t opt to raise the megapixel count this time around and instead aimed for offering better quality visuals. According to Sony, both cameras provide
a powerful blend of high quality image and autofocus (AF) speed combined with Predictive Hybrid AF to intelligently predict and track subjects in motion for blur-free results. Added to this is the Laser AF sensor with distance sensing technology, which captures beautiful blur-free photos in challenging low light conditions. And what’s more, you will enjoy superb true to life colours thanks to the RGBC-IR sensor with colour sensing technology which accurately adjusts the white balance based on the light source in the environment.
Unveiled at CES 2016, the X930D (55- and 65-inch) and the X940D (75-inch) were the newest flagship 4K HDR TVs from Sony. In just the past month, Sony has also unveiled their ZD9 series which goes beyond flagship status in my opinion and is reserved for those with cash to throw around. As for everybody else, when considering a flagship TV from Sony, chances are, it will be the X930D and for Samsung fans, it’s the KS9500.
So how do the two TVs compare?
A bit of unexpected news.
Sony Mobile Taiwan opened pre-orders for the Xperia XZ yesterday and managed to sell out within 45 minutes. Sony was offering a special pre-order promotion where it included a number of freeibies including a DK60 USB Type-C Charging Dock, a 16GB USB Type-C OTG connector, a flip style leather case and a protective back cover. It is safe to say that this was enough of an incentive to see those pre-orders rolling in.
For those with an affinity for smaller devices, the Xperia X Compact which was announced in early September is a blessing. Take all the power and specs of the Xperia X, a 5-inch phone and put in the smaller, 4.6-inch displayed Xperia X Compact. Now, that phone has been priced for the US with pre-orders opening up.
Earlier this morning, Sony unveiled the a99 II, their newest flagship full-frame camera. Jon Fingas writing for Engadget:
Sony is launching the A99 II, a 42.4-megapixel pro cam that incorporates many of the upgrades you’ve seen in recent Alpha DSLRs and mirrorless models… and then some. To start, it promises to be an autofocusing champ. This is the first full-frame Alpha to use 4D Focus tech, delivering a hybrid autofocusing system that melds 79 dedicated phase detection points with 399 focal plane phase detection points. Between this and the lack of a moving mirror, Sony is promising “full-time” autofocus that can track fast-moving objects — important when you can shoot up to a brisk 12 frames per second (8FPS in live view).
With PS4 System update 4.0, the powerful console gained the ability to output HDR content which offers brighter brights and darker darks at the same time. If you’ve experienced HDR content, you’ll know how subtle but breathtaking its results can be and come November, PS4 Pro will launch with native 4K and HDR support which has Naughty Dog Lead Programmer Christian Gyrling excited.
Oh, we’re changing already [because of the PS4 Pro]. It’s kind of like… you’re adding a few more components to the artist’s palette in terms of what they can do. We’ve never been able to intentionally show the range of colors we have here. I mean, they wanted to but they couldn’t really do it. Now, we’re really allowing especially our lighters but also all of the artists to create content that is pushing the boundaries over the restriction that was there before.
They’re also knowing they can do that without having to restrict things down. We have color grading, we have all these various things like tone mapping to make sure we’re still getting all the colors we want but within the existing HDTV color spec. Knowing we can do more, like why should we only use the dull color of green when we can use the really, really bright one? We’re not really doing that, but now we can realize the full potential of the image.
As for HDR:
Since its Japanese launch on December 3, 1994, PlayStation, the now 21-year-old gaming division of Sony, has all been about making one thing: gaming consoles. Released on average every 5 years, Sony’s pattern with PlayStation by now is fairly predictable – release a console and follow through with a slim variant halfway through its life cycle. For Sony, the slim model has typically allowed them to give their aged console a smaller profile with improved internals for better efficiency such as power consumption and heat output.
Along with those external and internal shifts, Sony typically introduces the slim models at a lower price point as well, which allows the console to see a greater adoption with consumers. If we condense all this to a simplified 5-year timeline, on year 1, a new console is released and on year 3, we get the slim variant. For the next two years, Sony enters into heavy R&D mode as they work on creating a followup console – rinse and repeat for 4 generations and we get to where we are today.
Beyond the slim models though, and excluding Sony’s endeavors into mobile with PSP and PS Vita, PlayStation has always been a single product. This is in direct contrast to say iPhone which can span multiple models in a given year with robust accessories and services on top of it. Think of it this way, Apple’s services business, which includes App Store purchases, Apple Music subscriptions and iCloud, accounted for $6 billion in revenue in just the last quarter, let alone the monster money that they make from hardware like iPhone and accessories.
When you’re a single product, trying to achieve that type of success is not really possible and the future remains fairly consistent – release new hardware, improve internally, release new hardware, improve internally, etc. To that end, up until PS4 and really this past year, PlayStation was purely a product, but after the introduction of PS4 Pro in context with their actions of the past year, it’s becoming quite apparent that PlayStation is no longer a single product and instead, a well-envisioned company that reported a $3.21 billion in revenue during their most recent quarter.
PlayStation Vue, the a la carte TV service from Sony, has just crossed another major milestone by brining onboard HBO and Cinemax to its list of offered channels. Dwayne Benefield, Vice President, head of PlayStation Vue:
HBO and Cinemax on PlayStation Vue, and the HBO Now app on PS4 and PS3 will launch ahead of the October 2 premiere of the highly anticipated new drama, Westworld, created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy.
Those wanting the option to play 4K Blu-ray movies from Sony will have to wait till Spring 2017 when they’ll launch their first Ultra HD Blu-ray player, the UBP-X1000ES. Friend of the site, Richard Lawler, writing for Engadget:
Sony says it will be exclusively available through custom installers at first. The player is ready for “virtually any optical disk format” as well as Atmos and DTS:X audio tracks.