In a move that caught investors by surprise, Sony has announced that it has raised nearly $4 billion in order to ramp up its sensor business. Sony was able to achieve the large sum by issuing new shares and bonds. In fact, this has been Sony’s first new share issue in 26 years and values at nearly a tenth of what the company is currently worth. In just the past year, Sony’s value has nearly doubled to $35 billion.
So what exactly will Sony do with the $4 billion in hand? Those details after the jump.
Earlier today, Sony announced First Flight, an internal crowdfunding platform that’s designed to finance projects from internal Sony employees. Think Indiegogo or Kickstarter but just for internal projects that will allow Sony employees to crowd fund their projects. The only slight twist or addition is that First Flight will also let backers pre-order and buy new devices developed by Sony workers.
Sony has announced a new initiative dubbed ‘Green Management 2020′ that will take effect from fiscal year 2016 through 2020. Under this new plan, Sony hopes to reduce its carbon footprint and the amount of power that its devices utilize. By decade’s end, Sony plans to have those devices be 30% more efficient. But that’s not all; Sony even has greater ambitions which would ultimately see the company have a “zero environmental footprint” throughout all stages of its product lifecycles and business.
Check out Sony’s Green Management 2020 vision details after the break.
It’s been obvious for some time that Sony sees 4K as part of their path towards recovery and growth. The new video format, which is here to replace HD (which in turn replaced SD), is already being offered in a variety of form factors from Sony. In fact, Sony is one of the few companies, if not the only one, that gives you options to not only record in 4K, be it with their Handycam FDR-AX100 which is priced at just $1,000, but consume it as well via their 4K televisions. Heck, even Sony’s smartphones now can capture in 4K. Ultimately, in order for Sony’s 4K vision to be successful, they need to offer a range of products that are compelling to professionals and consumers.
All the products I mentioned above are primarily targeted at consumers with price tags that are fairly affordable. Just two years ago at CES 2014, Sony announced the first consumer 4K camcorder which they dubbed “4K for 2K,” referencing the price which at the time seemed extremely low and now this year, we already have a model for half the price. The other part of this equation is for professionals. Sony Pictures is already using the format in a variety of their movies and shows like The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Breaking Bad, and Powers. But in order for 4K to become ubitiquous, Sony is looking to other markets as well to expand their 4K vision.
Who would have thought that a single chart (which can be seen above) would so elegantly paint a portrait on why Sony continues to shy away from any meaningful initiative in the US and why the company is struggling so much? While territories like China and India are continuing to grow and in turn, are becoming very important for tech companies, they’ve traditionally been a target for more entry-level products which bring in far less profits.
The US has been a haven for companies to bring premium products and as a nation that prides itself on consumption, it provides the perfect balance of income, population, and infrastructure to support cutting edge products. Unfortunately for Sony, the US is their smallest territory in sales.
We’ve already talked fairly extensively about why Sony is renaming the Walkman app to Music, a far simpler naming scheme. For anyone purchasing a new Sony device like the Xperia Z4 Tablet, Xperia Z4, Xperia A4, or Xperia M4 Aqua, the new naming scheme will be in place from day one. All Sony devices shipping with Android 5.0 or upgraded to Android 5.0 will have the app renamed as part of the process. For those with older devices that won’t be receiving Android 5.0 Lollipop, or have yet to receive the new OS, you’ll soon see the Walkman app renamed after a new update is released.
As it stands, net neutrality has prevailed for the better in the US. While that doesn’t mean corporations like Verizon and Comcast won’t do everything in their power to derail it, it’s been a victory for those of us who understand the power of an open and fair web. Still, it’s hard not to see why companies such as Sony Pictures and others would have liked a world without net neutrality and unlike the basis that drives Verizon and others (greed), their thoughts behind it actually make some sense.
In the wake of the tragic earthquake in Nepal, which has claimed thousands of lives and caused a devastating amount of damage, Sony announced today that the company, along with its group companies, would offer financial support to help relief efforts.
Since the start of the year, Sony has been busy renaming and killing services that didn’t match up with its plans moving forward. Under this house cleaning, Sony ended its attempts at competing in the music streaming space and in doing so, killed Music Unlimited. Luckily for those on PlayStation, the service was replaced by PlayStation Music, which is actually a skin for Spotify as the service is entirely powered by them. In order to simplify its naming structure, Sony has also renamed their Walkman app on Android to simply Music. As Sony themselves put it:
Not all people make the connection that Walkman is about music. So, to simplify for all our users, we are changing the name to make it easy to understand what this app gives you: Music
Now Sony is renaming another one of their services.
One thing that makes the Sony Xperia Z3 unique compared to other phones out there is its ability to record in 4K. Having a computer that’s capable of editing 4K, I wanted to put the Z3’s powerful camera to the test and so I headed down to Santa Monica to shoot some footage. My goal throughout this was to treat the phone and in turn the produced footage as if I was an everyday consumer. That means despite being edited together, none of the footage, video or audio, has been altered in any shape.
If you have a TV or computer that’s capable of viewing 4K footage, be sure to click the settings button on the video and select 4K. For everyone else, you can still view the above video in 1080p.