Technologizer posts about Sony

Ah, But I Was So Much Older Then, I’m Younger Than That Now

By  |  Posted at 9:43 pm on Wednesday, February 22, 2012


[FURTHER UPDATE: As commenter Jdoors explains, I can see the video I uploaded when I'm logged into YouTube. But I'm the only one who can see it--for everybody else, it's blocked.]

[UPDATE: The original video, with Dylan soundtrack, is still playing for me here at home in Daly City, California. But Network World's Paul McNamara, commenters, and others are saying that it's blocked for them. Sounds like the geolocation technology that YouTube uses has decided that Daly City isn't in the U.S. Or something like that.]

Back in October, shortly after Steve Jobs passed away, I uploaded a wonderful video to YouTube. It was called “To Steven Jobs on his thirtieth birthday,” and was a film created by Jobs’ Apple coworkers in 1985 to show at his birthday party. (Craig Elliott, who worked at Apple when it was made and shown, was the generous soul who shared it with me.)

I’d never seen the video or many of the Jobs images it included, and thought they deserved to be more widely known. Now they are: The YouTube version has been viewed almost 240.000 times.

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Everything You Need to Know About Sony’s PlayStation Vita Launch

By  |  Posted at 8:09 am on Wednesday, February 8, 2012


PS Vita

We’re just a few weeks out from Sony’s U.S. PlayStation Vita launch, so now’s a great time to review what it is, how it works, what it’ll cost, what’s under the hood and what you’ll probably need to buy a la carte. Ready, set…

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Over at, I reviewed Sony’s Personal 3D Viewer, which lets you strap two tiny OLED screens to your head for 3D movie watching and game playing. It’s an unusual gizmo, and at $800, it isn’t cheap. But I liked the 3D effect way more than almost anything else I’ve seen.

Posted by Harry at 8:34 am

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Playstation Vita 3G Data Plans: Same Old, Same Old

By  |  Posted at 3:23 pm on Monday, January 9, 2012

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Sony announced the Playstation Vita with AT&T 3G more than seven months ago, but never bothered to explain how the data plans would work. Now, it’s official: the Vita will come with the same data plans you already get with smartphones.

That means 3G for the Playstation Vita will cost $15 per month for 250 MB, or $25 per month for 2 GB, in addition to the $300 price of the 3G Vita itself. (A Wi-Fi only model will cost $250.) Both data plans will include unlimited access to AT&T’s Wi-Fi hotspots, of which there are 29,000 around the United States. The Vita launches on February 22 in the United States.

I’m disappointed that AT&T and Sony stuck with conventional data plans for the PS Vita. This would have been a great opportunity for AT&T to launch a shared pool of data among multiple devices–something wireless carriers have talked about doing for some time. I can’t imagine a lot of people will want to pay a recurring data charge just for a gaming device, especially when you get the same result by using a smartphone’s Wi-Fi hotspot feature, which would also allow for faster 4G data and connectivity with other devices.

Sony and AT&T are hoping to lure people into paying for data plans by offering exclusive in-game content when players check in at certain geographic locations. We may be able to judge the 3G Vita’s success based on whether game makers continue to produce these kinds of exclusives long after launch.

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Back in the 1990s, I really, really wanted a Sony Trinitron TV. Couldn’t afford one. So I bought a cheap Sharp TV, and felt deprived.

These days, as the Atlantic’s Derek Thompson explains, all HDTVs are remarkably inexpensive, and getting more so every week. And it’s increasingly hard for any particular brand to stick out from the pack:

This makes televisions different from, say, a tablet. You can compare the iPad and the BlackBerry Playbook across many factors: screen quality, screen size, speed, connection, touch responsiveness, and app store. The iPad is really, really different from the BlackBerry PlayBook. A Sony 40-inch flatscreen TV is really, really similar to a Panasonic. This makes it difficult to build what analysts call “brand premium.” You might pay extra for an Apple product because you have a clear sense of what Apple offers above and beyond other similarly-priced products. Televisions don’t have the same differentiation. As a result, TV prices tend to converge more than other electronics. Given the behavior of consumers, and the efficiency gains of manufacturers, the direction of that convergence is down.

This is an enormous headache for TV makers–and a nightmare, really, for a company like Sony, which is used to being able to command a stiff price premium. Overall, though, it’s great news for TV buyers.

Posted by Harry at 9:59 am


Sony’s PS Vita Gets a U.S. Release Date: February 22

By  |  Posted at 2:44 pm on Wednesday, October 19, 2011


We already knew Sony’s Playstation Vita was going to miss the holiday shopping season in the United States, but now we know by how far. The handheld, which aims to be portable gaming’s last stand against smartphones and tablets, launches on February 22, 2012.

The post-2011 launch date outside of Japan gives Sony and game publishers more time to finish their launch titles. Sony must have seen how poorly Nintendo’s 3DS fared without a solid game lineup, and wanted to avoid releasing the Vita with a whimper. The company says more than 100 PS Vita games are in development now, but didn’t say how many will be available at launch. (In Japan, where the PS Vita launches in December, 26 games will be available from the beginning.)

Sony’s still planning to sell the PS Vita for $250 in the United States, or $300 with 3G connectivity from AT&T. Nintendo’s decision to slash the 3DS price from $250 to $170 apparently hasn’t changed Sony’s thinking on the matter. The cost of AT&T 3G service is still a mystery.

I’m looking forward to the PS Vita even though I have my doubts about the viability of gaming handhelds in a world of smartphones, tablets and the iPod Touch. The PS Vita acknowledges those threats by including a touch screen, front- and rear-facing cameras and apps like Skype, Facebook, Twitter and a web browser, but it also tries to be a serious gaming handheld with quad-core graphics and dual analog sticks for shooters and other modern games. I hope Sony is giving itself enough time to get the little things right and to have a big launch in four months.

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Sony, Bring This Android-Powered Walkman Over Here

By  |  Posted at 12:13 pm on Wednesday, October 12, 2011


One of the ongoing mysteries of consumer electronics is why the enormously popular iPod Touch has its market–touch-screen media players that can run apps–pretty much all to itself. (I still think you could make a nice Windows Phone-powered Touch competitor; Microsoft apparently isn’t interested.) But at Sony’s booth at CEATEC in Tokyo last week, there was a row of Walkman devices–and one of them, the NW-Z1000, is the Touch alternative I’ve been wondering about.

It’s got a 4.3″ display and runs Android–and while the user interface is in Japanese, limiting my ability to judge it, it looks quite nice. It’s coming out in December in Tokyo, but Sony apparently doesn’t have any plans to bring it to the U.S. I’d love to see see it get here, if only to see how it would fare against the iPod Touch.

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Sony Attacked, Not Hacked

By  |  Posted at 11:35 am on Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Sony has another security headache on its hands, but don’t call it a hack.

According to the official Playstation blog, some entity was trying to sign in to users’ accounts on the Playstation Network, the Sony Entertainment Network and Sony Online Entertainment, using “a massive set” of login data obtained elsewhere. The attackers likely got a hold of a large username and password database, and were trying to see if any of those logins worked on Sony’s networks.

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Seen at CEATEC, Tokyo’s Big Gadget Show

By  |  Posted at 12:24 am on Wednesday, October 12, 2011

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I had a good time last week visiting Tokyo to attend the CEATEC show. Back here in the states, most people don’t know what that is–and I explain that it’s similar to CES and IFA the biggest consumer electronics exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe, respectively. But that doesn’t fully describe CEATEC, which is a smaller show (though still pretty expansive) and focused on the Japanese market rather than a global marketplace.

The best way to convey what it’s like is to share some of the photos I snapped. So here we go.

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Sony Outlaws Class Action Lawsuits by PSN Users; Thank the Supreme Court

By  |  Posted at 3:22 pm on Friday, September 16, 2011


Playstation Network users may no longer file class action lawsuits against Sony, under a new user agreement that players must agree to before signing into the network. Now, PS3 and PSP owners will have to sue individually or seek arbitration for issues like security breaches or the removal of advertised features.

And guess what? The policy change is probably legal thanks to the Supreme Court.

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Sony’s Tablets: They’re the Sonys of Tablets!

By  |  Posted at 2:00 am on Monday, September 5, 2011

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Sony had already sort of announced its new Android tablets again and again, but at the IFA consumer-electronics show in Berlin, it did the job officially . The 10.1″ model is the Tablet S, and will ship on September 16th for $499.99 (16GB) and $599.99 (32GB).  The folding one with two 5.5″ displays is the Tablet P, and will be sold with bundled AT&T wireless service at an unspecified date (“coming soon”) and price.

I got some hands-on time with both Sony tablets, and don’t expect either to be the Great iPad Competitor that leads folks to conclude that it’s possible to compete effectively with Apple’s tablet. (In the phone world, the original Verizon Droid accomplished that, even though its reign as the iPad’s archrival was brief.) But neither one feels generic, either–they’re the sort of tablets you might expect Sony to come up with, and I mean that as a compliment. (If Sony had branded them as VAIO tablets, they would have felt right at home in its lineup of desktop and laptop PCs.)

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Sony’s 3D HDTV Headset: Hey, This is 3D Even I Like!

By  |  Posted at 7:44 pm on Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I’m in Berlin for IFA, the giant conference that’s Europe’s answer to the U.S.’s Consumer Electronics Show. I’ll be writing about some of the products I learn about this week–and one of the most interesting ones so far is Sony’s HMZ-T1, a personal TV headset that lets you watch movies and TV and play games with an image projected right in front of your eyes, producing a virtual theater-like effect.

The idea isn’t new–in fact, it’s an updated take on Glasstron, which Sony introduced back in 1997. But the new version has been thoroughly updated. It’s got twin 720P OLED displays, 3D, and 5.1 channel sound. You plug the HMZ-T1 headset into a converter box that connects to your TV. A cable delivers both an image and power–the headset doesn’t have a battery, which let Sony design something that’s fairly lightweight (14.8 ounces) and comfortable given how much electronics you’re strapping to your skull.

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Cross-Game Voice Chat on the PS3? Never.

By  |  Posted at 8:13 am on Sunday, August 21, 2011


Five years after launching the Playstation 3, Sony has admitted that the system is not technically capable of cross-game voice chat.

Cross-game voice chat is the ability to speak with multiple players at the same time, regardless of what they’re doing on the console. On Xbox Live, it’s one of my favorite features, because allows you to coordinate a play session with a friend with ease or have a conversation while playing different games.

Speaking to Eurogamer, Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida said memory restrictions preclude the PS3 from ever having cross-game voice chat. Games gobble up all of system’s available RAM, leaving none for voice chat at the OS level.

“Once a game gets RAM we never give it back,” Yoshida said. “It’s not possible to retrofit something like that after the fact.”

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Gone in Sixty Seconds: The Shortest-Lived Tech Products Ever

Ten gadgets and services whose existences were nasty, brutish, and short.

By  |  Posted at 8:18 am on Friday, August 19, 2011


Companies in Silicon Valley are fond of saying that they like to “fail fast.” They mean that it’s virtuous to try lots of new things, but to give up quickly when something’s not working. But sometimes they fail fast in a manner that’s nothing to brag about. They invest millions (or hundreds of millions) of dollars in a new product and hype it to the Heavens–and then kill it after only a few months, if they ever release it at all.

From this day henceforth, HP’s TouchPad may be the poster child for bizarrely short-lived tech products. But it has lots of company–famously infamous flops such as Audrey, the G4 Cube, and Foleo. Let’s honor them, shall we?

For this list, I considered only products that were on the market for less than a year, or which never quite made it to consumers, period. Every item that made it was from a large company that should have known better. And while they all share the indignity of a short, embarrassing life, they represent multiple types of failure. (Some of them should never have left the drawing boards in the first place; others could have been great if they’d been given more time to succeed.)

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Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, and 3D glasses maker XpanD have announced that they’re working together to design a specification for Bluetooth-enabled 3D glasses that will be compatible with HDTVs from all the above makers. They intend to ship them in 2012, and the glasses should work with existing 3D-capable TVs as well as new ones. It’ll eliminate the current hassle of having to buy glasses made by your TV’s manufacturer, and will presumably help to drive down prices for the specs.



Posted by Harry at 11:02 pm


In the West, No PS Vita for the Holidays

By  |  Posted at 8:57 am on Thursday, August 4, 2011


Apparently Sony needs more time to prepare for handheld gaming’s last stand, as the Playstation Vita won’t launch until 2012 in America and Europe.

At a press conference in Tokyo, Sony Executive Vice President Kazuo Hirai said the company needs more time to ensure a strong software lineup for the PS Vita. Sony’s not calling it a delay – the company never promised a 2011 release across all regions — but there’s no guarantee that the PS Vita will launch in Japan in time for Christmas, either.

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