Computers, Smartphones & Tablets

Sony Mobile to Cut An Additional 1,000 Jobs

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The following news only adds depth to the larger picture of Sony’s struggle in the mobile space where earlier today, we reported that Sony Mobile accounted for less than 1% of US phone activations in Q4 2014. Following that news piece, it appears that Sony is planning on cutting an additional 1,000 employees from their mobile branch in order to return the division back to profits. Details after the jump.

Sony Mobile Accounted For Less Than 1% of U.S. Phone Activations in Q4 2014

Sony_Mobile_Q4_2014_Activation_PercentSony’s struggle in mobile is not a secret. While the company had hoped to expand on their 50 million units sold in 2014, it’s now looking more and more like Sony will finish the year at either a small loss in sales or at best, flat. While final numbers won’t be in for another month or so, it’s likely that Sony Mobile will finish the year at 40 million. In comparison, Sony finished 2013 with 39 million units sold. At this point, the only hope Sony has is for North American sales, a market which they were not present in 2013 to be a blockbuster for them but that’s an unlikely scenario.

Despite partnering with T-Mobile and Verizon to offer their flagship Xperia Z3, Sony Mobile accounted for less than 1% of US phone activations in Q4 2014. Let’s talk details.

Sony Xperia Z3 Sales Suspended in Canada by Telus

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Telus, the Canadian equivalent of Sprint, has announced a halt in sales of the Sony Xperia Z3 due to a WiFi hotspot compliance issue. Apparently, Telus has found that the Z3 exceeds Industry Canada’s standards when used as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Not content with just halting sales, Telus has also disabled the Wi-Fi hotspot capability from already sold models remotely.

More details after the jump, including a statement from Sony.

No New Sony Xperia Flagship at MWC 2015?

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Unless Sony Mobile has been able to transform their internal structure drastically in the last few months, a lack of leaks for what will eventually be the Xperia Z4 is likely confirmation that Sony will not be showing off a new flagship smartphone at Mobile World Congress 2015. In the past, Sony has used CES and MWC to announce new smartphones and with CES behind us with a lack of new devices, many had hoped that MWC would be when Sony would reveal a new flagship smartphone. If Sony is indeed planning on passing on MWC which fits in with their traditional time frame of releasing a new phone, when could we see the Xperia Z4?

We discuss that and more after the jump.

What’s Really Happening at Sony’s Mobile Division?

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News is spreading wide and fast that Sony is selling its mobile division, including iconic smartphones like the Xperia Z3 and tablet series. The “news” is the result of comments of Sony Corp. CEO Kaz Hirai, who mentioned different aspects of performance in various divisions and what that might mean for the future.

Sony is NOT selling the mobile division at this time. What is all the talk about a possible joint venture? Didn’t Sony do that already? Is this a flash from the past? What was the CEO talking about and what might happen in 2015?

Let’s take a look…

Sony Open to Sale and Joint Venture Offers for its TV & Mobile Divisions

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Like clockwork, after getting back from CES and being dazzled by the extensive fleet of new products Sony had on display, a bucket of cold water has been poured over us which reminds us of the very real challenges that Sony faces. When speaking to reporters, including us during his opening keynote at CES 2015, Sony CEO Kaz Hirai noted that reforms have succeeded “in some parts but not in others.” Kaz was specifically referring to the resurgence of PlayStation, which just saw the PS4 climb past 18.5 million units sold and the embrace of their digital imaging business which has expanded beyond consumers into the medical field and perhaps automotive field in the future.

Where the company still lacks is its mobile and television division, which have each lost considerable grounds to rivals. The two divisions have singlehandedly caused billions of dollars in losses for Sony. To put that in perspective, Sony forecasts a 230 billion yen ($1.9 billion) net loss for the business year to March. Speaking behind closed doors, Sony seems to be further emphasizing that not all of their turn around plans are succeeding and that ”no business is forever.” That comment is not only directed at investors, but to Sony divisions as well, iterating that

 every segment now needs to understand that Sony can exit businesses 

As you’d probably guessed, the segments in question are Sony’s television and mobile divisions. Details after the jump.

The Sony Smartphone Cradle Receiver With NFC

Sony’s looking for a ride – in your ride! Compatible with iOS and Android, the Sony Smartphone Cradle allows you to place your  smartphone in your dash and use it as your car’s navigation system. Sony Xperia Z3 owners get extra features like easy connectivity via NFC and easily locking in, thanks to the phone’s built-in magnetic charger.

Using NFC to Transfer Photos Between Sony Cameras and Smartphones

At CES 2015, Sony was showing off new ways to use NFC between their devices. As shown in the video above, the Sony Xperia Z3 was able to act as the viewfinder and control for the Sony Alpha with a simple tap. Beyond controlling the camera, the Sony Alpha will also send a lower resolution picture to the Xperia Z3 for easy sharing.

Want the high resolution photo? You can also easily transfer that with just one tap.

A Quick Glance at the Sony SmartWatch 3 Stainless Steel Edition

At CES 2015, the Sony SmartWatch 3 Stainless Steel edition was unveiled. Based on Android Wear and incorporating everything from the Sony SmartWatch 3, the Stainless Steel edition brings an all-new elegant design as can be seen from the video above where we give you a quick glance. The Sony SmartWatch 3 Stainless Steel edition will go on sale later this month for $299.

Be sure to check out our previous video where we go over Android Wear and how to use your smartphone to customize the Sony SmartWatch 3.

Sony SmartWatch 3 With Android Wear UI

At CES 2015, Sony showed off their the SmartWatch 3. Running Android Wear, the SmartWatch 3 is the only one of its kind with onboard GPS, allowing you to track your activity without needing your phone. Thanks to Android Wear, the SmartWatch 3 is highly customizable with different watch faces and functionality.

In the video above, we give you a quick look out how the Sony SmartWatch 3 with Android Wear can be customized.

Sony Xperia E4 Leaks As It Passes Through FCC

Sony_Xperia_E4_3Come early 2015, Sony will launch a new budget Android smartphone. Likely targeting emerging markets like Asia and India, the Sony Xperia E4 will replace the Xperia E1 Dual and cost considerably less than current flagship phones like the Xperia Z3. Once released, the Xperia E4 will come with Android 4.4.4 KitKat though Android 5.0 Lollipop shouldn’t be far behind.

Now let’s talk details about this 5-inch budget smartphone after the jump, where you’ll also find more pictures.

Sony Mobile Tablet Sales to Dwindle to 3-4%

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Earlier today, we reported on Sony placing in the top 5 newly activated mobile devices during the holiday season. Though Sony has revealed no breakdown, the following information makes it pretty clear that Sony is nearly selling all smartphones with tablets only making up a very small percentage of their mobile division sales.

When speaking during a roundtable event in Japan, Hiroki Totoki, the new Sony Mobile CEO, revealed that Sony Xperia Tablets accounted for 5% of the divisions sales in 2013. During that year, Sony’s fleet only included the Xperia Z2 Tablet which offers a waterproof design. Just this June, Sony was able to partner with Verizon and bring their tablet to the US with carrier support. In that time span, competitors like Apple have brought out two different iterations of their tablets at varying form factors.

Come 2014, Sony finally entered the growing smaller form factor tablet market with the 8-inch Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact. Despite having two different tablets, Totoki doesn’t see any growth for the company in 2014 or 2015. Details after the jump.

Sony Products Are the 4th Most Activated New Mobile Devices During Christmas Week

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Depending on if you’re a cup half full or half empty kind of person, the following news can taken in two different ways. During the holiday season which is also the most important time of the year for retailers, Sony Mobile products were the 4th most activated new mobile devices. While bested by rivals Apple, Samsung, and Nokia, Sony was able to slightly edge out LG while completely leaving others like Motorola, HTC, and Blackberry in the dust.

Now comes the cup half full or empty part.

Sony Lifelog App Gains GPS Support for Android Wear

Sony_Lifelog_SmartWatch_SmartBandSony has updated their Lifelog app, bringing with it GPS support for Android Wear. Released earlier in the year, Android Wear is the latest OS iteration from Google that’s meant specifically for wearables like smart watches. Following the announcement of the new OS, the Sony SmartWatch 3 was released, one of the first devices with Android Wear. The SmartWatch 3 is also one of the very few devices on the market with built in GPS which allows you to leave your smartphone at home while still being able to track and log all of your movements. Now, Sony’s Lifelog app can take advantage of this feature as well, completing the circle.

Details after the jump.

Sony SmartBand With Roxy Gets Announced

Sony_SmartBand_With_Roxy_HeroJust in time for the holiday shopping rush, Sony has unveiled a new collaboration with Roxy, the well known women’s outdoor sports lifestyle brand. Dubbed as SmartBand with Roxy, the latest wearable includes all the basic functions you’d expect from devices of this sort like your step count, number of stairs climbed, and typical calories burned. The Sony SmartBand, however, has a few tricks up its sleeve, hence why Sony prefers the term life tracker. Beyond the basic ability to track your movement in a waterproof design and set alarms, the SmartBand also allows you to play, pause, and skip through your music and even act as a camera remote on your Android device. Connecting the Sony SmartBand is also easy thanks to the built-in NFC.

More details after the jump.

Sony’s Underwater Xperia Aquatech Store Revealed in Pictures

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While an interesting marketing blitz, Sony’s underwater Xperia Aquatech store never quite made sense to us. You can read our full take on why Sony could have better spent their marketing budget. Still, seeing how we have no sway at Sony, the stores opening has come and gone as it was only open for three days. Thanks to those who attend and their eagerness to share photos on Twitter, we’ve been able to get a better feel of the store and the experience it brought with it. While not as futuristic looking as depicted in the concepts, the event seems to have had plenty of flair. Now lets hope those select customers, VIP’s, and members of the media who attended will be able to share their experience with others and convince a few to buy some Xperia devices which of course is the whole point of the event.

After the jump, plenty of pictures await you.

Sony’s Underwater Xperia Aquatech Store Debuts Today, Only Open for Three Days

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Starting today, select customers, VIPs, and members of the press can experience the Sony underwater Xperia Aquatech store. Located at The World Islands off the coast of Dubai, the store (sitting 4 meters underwater) is designed to drive home that Sony’s Xperia Z lineup of tablets and smartphones are waterproof. Sony hopes that, beyond wowing select customers, their underwater store also scores big with social media and has created the following hashtag  (#XperiaAquatech) to help promote the event. Currently the price of the publicity stunt (which is what this really is) has yet to be and likely won’t be disclosed. Of course it’s not like Sony is creating this unique experience in what’s already a remote country with an small population and would severely limit the days its available versus just running a traditional marketing campaign on TV, like Apple, which has proven to be effective.

This just in; the Sony underwater Xperia Aquatech store will only be open for three days. Well ok…let’s rant talk after the jump.