Computers, Smartphones & Tablets

Sony Xperia Z3v on Verizon Marked Down to Free

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One of the biggest faults in Sony’s smartphone strategy in the US before now had been a lack of carrier support. With the Xperia Z3, their latest flagship Android smartphone, Sony looked to change its fortunes by teaming up with Verizon and T-Mobile. Now, Sony is kicking things into the next gear by offering the Xperia Z3v free on Verizon with a two-year contract.

Details after the jump.

Xperia M2 Update, M2 Aqua 18.3.1.C.0.21 (4.4.4) Rolling Out (Update)

Xperia M2 Glossy

Bored of the last KitKat upgrade? Xperia M2, Aqua users looking for a new update are in luck.

For most users who are keeping their M2 phone updated, we’re running on build version 18.3.C.0.39 (or a variation of it) which was released back in August, bringing KitKat 4.4 including an updated white-icon UI, new apps, camera features, audio tunnelling and a few more tweaks.

So update 18.3.1.C.0.21 is beginning to roll, but what’s in it?

Sony to Focus More on PlayStation, Less on Televisions and Mobile

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It’s no secret that Sony has been struggling for nearly a decade. Thanks to mismanagement and miscalculations, Sony was unable to capitalize on the transition to LCD televisions and was equally late to mobile. In their most recent earnings guidance, Sony predicts that come March, the company’s mobile division will mount a $1.7 billion loss for the year. With television sales having reached a saturation point and 4K television sales though healthy, not enough to make up for an otherwise sluggish division, Sony knows that it can’t rely on mobile which was to be one of the three pillars that would help turn around the company. When even Samsung has seen their mobile division fall apart with sales declining by nearly 60% laster quarter, what can Sony do to compete and even thrive?

One word it seems. PlayStation.

Sony Mobiles ‘Backup & Restore’ App Not Hacked Despite Reports

Sony_Back_And_Restore_App_Fake_Hack_1 Earlier today, news began to circulate that Sony’s Backup and Restore app on Google Play for the company’s line of Xperia devices was hacked. Appearing on Google Play and available to download for free, the app in question mimicked everything about Sony’s official app from wording to design with one obvious difference, the top part of the app was replaced with HeArT HaCkEr Group. Many took this as a sign that Sony’s internal servers had been compromised and an update had been pushed from within the company with the above changes. As Backup and Restore is an official system app from Sony, there is no way to delete the program and those who’ve given it permission will have potentially already had their information compromised.

That is, if Sony’s servers were hacked – but that’s not what happened at all.

Sony ‘Roof’ Ad Shows PS4, Xperia Z3, PS4, Xperia Z3, PS4….

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In a somewhat surprising manner, Sony has rolled out a second ad this week in the US. Dubbed Roof, the clever and extremely simply ad shows off the Remote Play feature between the PS4 and Xperia Z3. Sony ran a similar ad in Europe earlier in the month which highlighted the same features between Xperia devices and PS4. Besides highlighting the PS4, Sony is hoping to garner attention for its flagship Xperia Z3 smartphone which for the first time in the US has carrier support from T-Mobile and Verizon.

In the past, Sony’s smartphone strategy had lacked carrier support in the US, leading to marginal sales and a nearly zero percent marketshare. After the jump, the Sony Roof ad awaits you.

Sony Shows Clever Ad Highlighting PS4 Remote Play to Xperia Z3 Devices

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With PS4 Remote Play now available on Sony’s Xperia Z3 line which includes their flagship Xperia Z3 smartphone, the Xperia Z3 Compact, and Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, the company is looking to promote the feature via a new clever ad. For those not familiar, PS4 Remote Play on Xperia Z3 devices allows you to stream PS4 titles directly to your mobile device with no loss in functionality. This means you can get the full PS4 experience from earning trophies to online multiplayer right on your mobile screen. To show off the new functionality, Sony has a clever new ad which can be seen after the jump.

Sony Announces 21-Megapixel Image Sensor (Exmor RS IMX230) With Ultra Fast Autofocus, 4K HDR Video

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Designed for smartphones (and likely tablets), Sony has announced a new advanced image sensor which offers improved image quality and faster speeds thanks to a new ”stacked” design which cuts down on size. Dubbed the Exmor RS IMX230, it’s the industry’s first CMOS image sensor for smartphones to be equipped with an onboard image plane phase detection AF signal processing function. In short, this new image sensor is capable of 192 autofocus points, resulting in much faster tracking of moving subjects that happens almost instantaneously.

Sony Xperia Z3 Series Gains ‘PS4 Remote Play’ App via Google Play

Remote Play DualShock MountOne of the exciting features of the Sony Xperia Z3 line which includes the Xperia Z3, Xperia Z3 Compact, and Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is its ability to connect to PlayStation 4. Via the PS4 Remote Play app, users with the Sony’s Xperia Z3 line can stream games from the leading console directly to their mobile device and use a Dualshock 4 controller to play the game as if they were on the PS4. Once linked, gamers will have full control of the game with no dumbed-down experience. That means you can enjoy everything from multiplayer to earning trophies directly on your Xperia Z3 device.

More after the jump.

Sony Digital Paper 13.3-inch E Ink Display Price Drops to $999

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Announced in early 2013, the Sony Digital Paper was a product that had been in the works for a long time. Aimed at business professionals (think legal or banking), the Sony Digital Paper offers a 13.3-inch E Ink display that is capable of mimicking traditional paper. Operated by touch via stylus or hand, the Digital Paper in essence can replace paper and make reading PDFs and signing A4-sized documents much easier. Boasting a HD display (1,200 x 1,600) and offering an unprecedented 3 week battery life while only weighing in at 12.6 ounces, the Sony Digital Display is a beast that’s altogether quite different than traditional tablets like the iPad. Think almost more Harry Potter than Iron Man.

Sony SmartWatch 3 Is Now Available on Google Play

Sony_Smartwatch_3_ColorsAppearing first on Google Play over two weeks ago, the Sony SmartWatch 3 is now available for purchase. Prior to today, those on Google Play were greeted only to a ‘Coming Soon’ message with no pre-order options. Now, Sony’s rugged take on the smartwatch category can be had for $249.99. In addition to Google Play, the Sony SmartWatch 3 can also be purchased through Verizon stores for the same price. You can read our previous overview of the SmartWatch 3 from its IFA 2014 debut.

Sony Xperia Z3 Owners on T-Mobile Can Claim a Free Copy of ‘DriveClub’ on PS4

Sony_T_Mobile_Xperia_Z3_DriveClub_2Sony had made purchasing an Xperia Z3 on T-Mobile even sweeter by giving away a copy of DriveClub for free. Those who’d purchased the Xperia Z3 between  October 14th through November 4th have up until November 19th to claim a digital download of DriveClub for PS4. To do it, you simply need to visit Sony’s online portal (link after the jump) and enter your information and include a picture of your purchase receipt and IMEI number from your device. Sony promises to send out the redemption codes by the end of the month.

WTF: Sony to Release Underwater ‘Xperia Aquatech’ Store in Dubai

Sony_Xperia_Aquatech_Store_ConceptChalk this purely under the WTF category, but the above header is about as real as it gets. In Dubai, the country with no shortage of money which currently houses some of the world’s most beautiful buildings, is getting something exotic that goes in line with the lifestyle that the wealthy get to enjoy there. Set to debut on December 3rd, 2014, Sony is opening an underwater ‘Xperia Aquatech’ store according to Rüediger Odenbac, Vice President of Sony Mobile Middle East and Africa. The new underwater Sony store will allow select Sony customers. VIPs, and media to view and play with waterproof Sony smartphones and tablets like the Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact.

According to Odenbac, they

 promised 2014 would be a year marked by a Bigger, Better, and Bolder Sony approach to both our products and the way we present them 

and they believe this is one such way. That is, if it wasn’t the most absurd idea ever. Let me explain.

Unlocked Sony Xperia T3 Specs for US

Xperia T3 5While the big news for Sony Mobile has been the partnership its formed with T-Mobile and Verizon which has seen the two carriers offer the Xperia Z3, the companies flagship smartphone, another piece of news may have fallen through the cracks. Just last week, Sony unexpectedly made available the Xperia T3 for the US. Though not launching on any specific carrier and thus, no price cut to be had with a two year contract, the Sony Xperia T3 is still fairly affordable at $399. Best yet, this mid-range smartphone comes unlocked and offers a 5.3-inch TRILUMINOS display with an 8-megapixel main camera, 1GB RAM, and 8GB of internal storage which can be expanded via microSD.

If you’re interested, after the jump, you can find the full Sony Xperia T3 tech specs for the US model (D5106).

Sony’s Q2 Performance – Winners and Losers (Updated)

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Sony made a loss of $785 in the past quarter, despite a 7.2% jump in revenue on the same period in 2013. The Mobile division reported a loss of $1.58 billion. From those figures, it’s clear that other divisions paid for Mobile’s loss. One division in particular has come out most profitable, and it wasn’t the PS4-making Game business.

All of Sony’s key businesses performed well, turning a profit in the last quarter, Pictures being an exception, but Mobile was the real black hole where profit should have been. As the rhetoric goes, the PS4′s sales saved Sony in the last quarter.

Other mobile giants have been suffering too, notably Samsung’s quarterly profit dipped 49% in the last quarter. That’s one point the media beating on Sony which isn’t being reported as loudly. Clearly, whatever is going on in Sony’s Mobile division, isn’t exclusive to Sony. Sony’s mobile sales took a plunge – but the culprit wasn’t just the Chinese market, there was a bigger surprise.

How well are the other businesses doing and what’s going on in Sony’s Mobile house?

Sony Officially Responds to Hidden Baidu Software on Xperia Smartphones

Baidu_Sony_Xperia_Z3As we reported late last week, keen-eyed Xperia users had discovered a folder titled Baidu on Sony smartphones running Android 4.4.2 or 4.4.4., including Sony’s latest, the Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z3 compact. Activated by the MyXperia app, the software appeared to be pinging Chinese servers without user consent with no trace of what information was being sent back. Making matters worse, the folder containing the software could not be easily deleted and was active for all, whether you lived in China and used Baidu or not. Now Sony has officially commented on the matter and has promised a fix.

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.

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.