Sad news for those who like to use Sony’s ‘Live on YouTube’ app on Android to stream live video to YouTube. Come October 28th, Sony is officially discontinuing the app and those who update to Nougat will find the app incompatible. Sony didn’t give a reason why, but the likely answer is that the YouTube app can finally live stream on its own. Google was caught sleeping when it came to live streaming from mobile devices with Periscope and now Facebook owning a majority of that space – all which led to a rise of 3rd party apps to handle the task. With Google’s YouTube app now doing basically what Sony’s app and others have been doing, there’s little reason for Sony to invest further money in an app that’s redundant.
To say Sony’s had a mixed track record with OS updates would be a bit of understatement. Android Marshmallow, the now year-old release from Google, has yet to make it onto many devices so when Nougat was announced, Sony fans were more than skeptical on when, if ever, they’d get the update.
Now, back in September, Sony revealed their update strategy for Android 7.0 Nougat which had a majority of their fleet getting the update by year’s end, but I wouldn’t hold it against you if you rolled your eyes a bit. Luckily for those with a newer device, that timeframe seems to be holding true.
Today is all about delays. On top of Star Trek: Bridge Crew being delayed until 2017 for PlayStation VR, another, more major delay is taking place. According to Google, Android Wear 2.0, the OS responsible for all wearables from the Android camp has been delayed till next year. Originally set to arrive sometime this fall, Google has only given a vague early 2017 release date for when we can now expect the OS to arrive.
I’ve never been a fan of hardware specific features for different regions for many different reasons – the most obvious one being that it makes little sense to offer superior devices for select areas which leaves your user base frustrated knowing that a better version of the product they want to purchase exists elsewhere. What a crummy feeling to know that you’re being penalized based on your geographic location and as it stands, US customers know this all too well with the last few iterations of Xperia handsets lacking a fingerprint sensor (though those have been turned off via software).
I’ve had a lot to say about the Xperia Ear over the past two weeks. Not only do I not find them competitive enough against Apple AirPods, but also priced exuberantly higher with wacky promos that almost nobody can partake in. It’s not that I find the product idea bad – in fact, I believe digital assistant-driven products will be for the next decade what mobile was for the last decade – but I’m not exactly sure who Sony is targeting with Xperia Ear and unlike Samsung with a boatload of cash on hand, Sony can’t afford the business strategy of throwing products at the wall in the hopes of one of them sticking.
Recently, Sony has released a video series meant to highlight what Xperia Ear can offer. Here is how they describe the first video:
I never quite realized this but we hadn’t heard about the fate of the Xperia XZ in Japan till now. We had all correctly assumed that it would arrive at some point but when and to which carriers has been a bit of a mystery. In fact ironically, despite the US being one of the lowest selling countries for Sony, the Xperia XZ has already been released here. But as they say, good things come to those who wait and that’s certainly true for Xperia fans in Japan.
Like a lot of you, at each event like MWC or IFA, I hope Sony has a “one more thing” surprise for us and it’s the Xperia Z5 Tablet. Announced on March 2nd, 2015, the Xperia Z4 Tablet is one of the most profound modern devices Sony has ever made. Sleek, lightweight, and powerful but none of that does the tablet justice.
Its gorgeous 2K screen sits on top of an effortlessly thin 10.1 display that’s easily the best Android tablet ever built. Though not as functional as an iPad Pro, if there were to be an Android version of it, Sony had already built it. Whether you wanted to entertain yourself or get work done, the Xperia Z4 Tablet was the right choice. No surprise though that with little marketing from Sony and almost no real support from Google who never took tablets serious with Android, the Xperia Z4 Tablet didn’t sell well which could explain why we’ve never seen a Z5 Tablet. But as it turns out, perhaps the issue is less about what Sony.
For those taking taking part in the Xperia Concept program, Sony has released a new build (MOB31E.Z1.3657). If you’re unfamiliar with the program, it’s basically
a beta initiative enabling Xperia users to trial concept software builds for Xperia devices.
As for what the new build brings with it, Xperia Blog writes:
Earlier this month, Sony announced pricing for the Xperia Ear in Japan at 19,880 Yen (£150, €170, $190), and its European pricing falls right in line at £179 in the UK and €199 across mainland Europe. Unless priced dramatically lower, I’ve already written why Apple’s AirPods are going to give the Xperia Ear a lot of trouble and the pricing revealed for Europe only further reaffirms my beliefs.
With Samsung having recalled the Galaxy Note 7 line in all markets (which will cost the company north of $3 billion), Sony Mobile is ready to step in and fill the hole left by the leading Android OEM. How, you ask? By releasing a Deep Pink color as an exclusive in the UK. According to Xperia Blog:
The Galaxy Note 7 has been an absolute disaster for Samsung. I won’t bother retelling the entire saga but in short, in order for them to beat the iPhone 7 to market, Samsung rushed production of the Note 7 which has been plagued by exploding batteries – something that was supposed to be fixed after the initial batch was recalled and replacement models were sent – but that didn’t quite pan out either as those units were also prone to fire. Tim Hardwick writing for MacRumors:
According to analysts, the Note 7 recall could cost Samsung as many as 19 million lost unit sales, or as much as $17 billion, if it permanently stops selling the smartphone for a second time, following multiple reports of replacement handsets setting on fire.
For those unfamiliar, the Xperia Ear is Sony’s latest foray into expanding their mobile line beyond smartphones
and tablets into more general mobile-centric devices. Under the Xperia brand, Sony will also be introducing the Xperia Projector, a Tony Stark-like device and Xperia Agent, an Amazon Echo-like home assistant. As for the Xperia Ear, it does what the Agent would do, except that it sits in your ear like a Bluetooth headset. Now Sony has given the in-ear AI-driven headset a price and it’s a bit of a problem.
Those in the US are more than accustomed to their Xperia devices lacking the ability to unlock, among other things, via the fingerprint sensor. Going as far back as the Xperia Z5, the model phones Sony ships to the US are identical to those found in other countries except that via software, their fingerprint sensor is delayed. It’s never been quite clear as to why US models have the functionality turned off and for its part, Sony has only stated a vague “for business reasons” statement on the matter.
Though unconfirmed, the going theory is due to a patent issue (US 20120019356 A1) which describes itself as:
Having launched in advance in Taiwan, the flagship Xperia XZ is now set to conquer a few more countries – the US, Germany, and the Netherlands. For the European countries on the list, the XZ is priced at €699 while in the US, it carries a $699 price tag. As for color options, not every retailer will be offering you the same selection.
To those of you with a Sony SmartWatch 3, it’s time to fire up the good-ol software update and bring your device up to build number M1D63X and Android Wear version 22.214.171.12469884. According to Xperia Blog, they haven’t