Tag Archive | "sony"

Sony Vaio Pro 13 Video Deep-Dive. At 2.2 pounds with Core CPU this is high-powered mobility

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I’ve got a Sony VAIO Pro 13 here thanks to Intel. It’s the lightest touch-enabled 13.3-inch  Ultrabook there is and at 1KG / 2.2 pounds it beats all of the the 2-in-1 options. This isn’t a cheap subnotebook but it’s got enough power to be a desktop PC for most people.

Sony Vaio Pro 13 _5_

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Top 12 Tablet Weights Compared — At 595 Grams, Sony’s Tablet S is the Second Lightest 10” Tablet on the Market

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Though Sony’s Tablet S has been known about for months now, today they finally unveiled official specifications for the device. While weight isn’t the spec that everyone jumps at immediately, it’s certainly an important factor for a large 10” tablet. Sony says that their Tablet S is just 595 grams, which makes it the second lightest of the top 12 tablets, right between the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Apple iPad 2 (with the Tab 10.1 being the lightest) – quite impressive considering that the Tablet S design isn’t as thin as many of the other tablets on the market because of it’s interesting folded shape, though it should count itself lucky to be considered a 10″ tablet when the screen is actually only 9.4″. Have a look at how the top 12 ten inch-category tablets compare:

Image 9

I would love to be able to say that tablets are getting lighter as time goes on, but as you can see, there are four Honeycomb tablets that were released after the first (the Xoom) that are actually heavier (though the Eee Pad Slider sort of has an excuse!).

tablet s leverage

The Tablet S is only about 1% lighter than the iPad 2, but Sony designed it with that funky shape specifically to make it feel lighter in one hand by grouping the weight on one side and reducing leverage again your hand. I’d be curious to see how much torque the iPad 2 puts on a hand vs. the Tablet S.

Sony Tablet S Available 9/16, Starts at $499; Trade in an old Tablet and Save $100

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sony tablet sFollowing the official unveiling of the Tablet P and Tablet S (formerly the S1 and S2) at IFA this morning, Sony now has official pricing and release dates available online. Right now you can go to SonyStyle.com and pre-order the Tablet S (the single-screened one) in its 16GB flavor starting at $499 (to match the iPad 2, no doubt), while the 32GB version goes for $599.

Sony is running a promotion through October 1st which will provide you with $100 off of the Tablet S if you’re willing to trade in an old tablet.

On this page you can enter your old tablet’s details and see if Sony considers it valid for the promotion. At the moment, Sony lists the following tablet manufacturers as those which would be valid:

  • Apple
  • Archos
  • Dell
  • HP
  • Motorola
  • Samsung
  • Viewsonic

Once you select a brand you need to specify the model, so not every old tablet may work, but it won’t hurt to give it a try if you want to trade up to a newer device.

Pre-ordering reveals that the device will become available on September 16th, a little more than two weeks away. It’s nice to finally see Sony get their tablets to market, but I don’t think they represent the bar the Sony had once set for handheld devices.

The dual-screened Tablet S is not immediately available for pre-order alongside the Tablet P, and the release date has not been indicated on Sony’s site.

Sony announces Tablet S and P at IFA – Video

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‘Proving that it’s not who makes it first but who makes it better’

Kazuo Hirai announced two tablets at their IFA press conference today. We were at the announcement and watched the presentation.

Availability IN Europe should later this month and the prices were announced as follows.

Tablet S €479 (9.4″ Tablet)

Tablet P €599 (Dual screen)

‘Tablets that fit in the hand and in the pocket’

Offering Sony Playstation compatibility, film and music stores this is something quite unique, especially for Europe. The prices are obviously set to be competitive and to bring as many people.into those stores as possible.

[ Posted via the Galaxy Tab. Ultra-Mobile at IFA 2011. For more IFA coverage, follow me on Twitter. @Chippy ]

Exclusive: Eight Leaked Sony S1 and S2 Screenshots Reveal Honeycomb 3.2, Chumby App, Proprietary Adapter and More

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s1 and s2Today I went snooping around Sony’s support site where I was able to uncover some support documents for their upcoming S1 and S2 tablets that have gone public before they were supposed to.

From the leaked documents, I’ve found that the S1 and S2 will most likely be shipping with Android 3.2 as opposed to 3.0 or 3.1:

android 3.2

The same screenshot also shows us that the model of this particular tablet is called “Sony Tablet 5 (or maybe S?)” which is likely an internal codename.

It’s good to know that the S1 and S2 will ship with 3.2 as many tablet owners are still waiting to get their 3.1 updates!

Sony will also be including a ‘Wi-Fi Checker’ app which will presumably help people connect properly to the web, perhaps with more complicated enterprise connections in mind:

wifi checker

wifi checker 2

Screenshots of the app launcher also indicate that Sony will be including a Chumby app. Chumby is a sort of internet companion that’s designed for a bedside table. Sony’s Dash ‘Internet Viewer’ is powered by the Chumby OS, so it makes sense that the S1 and S2 will be able to use the Chumby app to fill a Dash-like role, though the redundancy between Chumby and the ‘Dash Dock’ is perplexing.

chumby app

Along with the Chumby app, other screenshots show Zinio, indicating that this will likely come pre-installed as well. Zinio is a digital magazine publishing platform with apps available for iOS and Android.


According to one document demonstrating how to charge the S1, the device will be using a proprietary adapter, which means you’ll be out of luck if you need a charge and didn’t bring your adapter with you! And you definitely won’t be able to fit that adapter on a keychain.

sony s1 adapter

Another screenshot shows us how the keyboard looks, and it will apparently have a number pad, though it can’t be determined if this will be there all of the time or just some of the time (or perhaps it can be toggled?):

sony s1 s2 keyboard

There’s also a look at Sony’s Music Player app which will include Sony’s creepily named SenseMe mode which seeks to play music based on your mood.

music player

And just for good measure, here’s the homescreen:

sony s1 and s2 homescreen

The S1 and S2 are due out this fall, though Sony keeps reminding us that the names are unofficial and may be changed! We’ve got a close eye on these two interesting devices, even if I’m still not convinced that they represent better value than Archos’ awesome new tablets.

Sony Teases S1 and S2 Honeycomb Tablets With a Neat (Albeit Creepy) Video Series

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sony s1 & s2 teasersSony is steadily releasing short videos showing some pretty awesome Rube Goldberg machines involving their upcoming S1 and S2 tablets to build hype for the devices.

The tablets, which were recently previewed for the press, are expected to hit the market this Fall. I suppose Sony hopes to keep our attention with these videos until then, but by the time that Fall rolls around, we might begin to see Kal-El devices which will likely blow these tablets out of the water.

We may as well enjoy these interesting videos for the time being. Have a look!

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3


What do you think, will it be too late for these tablets come Fall?

Sony VAIO UX UMPC Gets PS3 Controller Attached, Plays Halo, Mario Kart, and More

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sony ps3 controllerWe’ve seen game controller and plenty of other great mods before for the loved but unfortunately canceled VAIO UX-series UMPC, but it looks like one person has taken the game to a whole new level by mounting a PS3 controller directly to the device.

It’s not clear exactly how the Ps3 controller is mounted to the UMPC, but it seems to be very firmly attached, and is connected to the UX via Bluetooth. The grips of the controller have been shaved off, presumably to make the rig more compact or perhaps easier to hold.

The VAIO UX is powerful for a UMPC, but definitely can’t handle intense modern games. When it comes to older emulated gaming, or less 3D intense arcade style gaming, this mod seems to work perfectly, even for an FPS (as you’ll see below).

YouTube user pochowandpoch (the creator of the mod) has a number of videos showing the rig in use playing Halo, Mario Kart, and Metal Slug, among others:

Sony Vaio Controller Mod – Halo
Sony Vaio Controller Mod–Metal Slug

There’s also a video that gives a better look at the removed grips  and how the controller attaches to the UX:

Thanks to its desktop OS running nature, and the ability to run emulators, this certainly represents one of the most versatile hand-held gaming machines in the world. Now if only Sony would quit canceling all of its innovative handheld devices….

Sony Lets Media Get Their Fingers on New Tablets [video]

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Sony S1 Tablet

Some members of the media were granted access to a Sony event held in Germany yesterday. Front and center at the event were the Sony S1 and S2 Tablets (which were first announced back in April), both of which take a differentiated approach to the tablet solution. Quite a few sites got some hands-on time, so let’s go through some of the general impressions.

As one would expect, Sony seems to have nailed the hardware design. The S1 is a “full-sized” 9.4 inch tablet running Android 3.0 Honeycomb. Most of the press seem to feel that its design invokes the feeling of a folded newspaper or magazine. One item of note is that the rear of the device is textured, which should result in better grip. I think a lot of tablet manufacturers fail to recognize the importance of grip in a tablet device. Good grip can compensate for a device that might otherwise be deemed too heavy.

In stark contrast to the S1’s design, the S2 features two 5.5 inch screens, and folds into a clamshell position for transport. It also currently runs Android 3.0 Honeycomb. I suspect that the actual OS version at launch might be a step-up of the 3.x-series by the time the S1 and S2 ship. Sony was mum on specs today. However, they did announce that the S2 will launch running on AT&T’s 4G network. AT&T has an HSPA+ network now, and is deploying LTE networks this summer. No one from the press appeared to get specific word on which variant the S2 will support, or if it will support both.

While most 10-inch Android Tablets are deploying with 1200 X 800 displays, the S1 has a 1280 X 768 screen. Despite the slightly lower resolution, the report from Germany is that viewing angles were good from both side and overhead perspectives.

Both devices are Playstation Certified. The jury is stil out on whether or not this feature is truly value-added. It certainly has not hepled reception of the Xperia Play, which debuted to lukewarm reviews.

This Is My Next caught a solid video of the S1 and S2 in action:

All-in-all, the hands-on reports seem to indicate positive interest. Of course, the proof will have to wait until the actual launches. No one is really certain how the Sony proprietary customizations of the Android OS (Quick View and Quick Touch) will be received. Sony’s Android solutions have not been hits so far, neither have they been complete failures. We’ll definitely let you know if these devices hit the mark or not when they release later this year.

(Update: Video) Minecraft Pocket Edition to be Released First on the Xperia Play

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Update: Mojang has released a video of Minecraft Pocket Edition running on the Xperia Play. We can see here some Creative-mode play:

minecraft logoIn what is undoubtedly an important step for the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, the mobile version of the indie-hit game Minecraft will be released on the game-centric smartphone before any others.

Minecraft is an open-world building and survival game that has taken the gaming world by storm since it’s release in 2009. It’s hard to explain exactly what Minecraft is, but the developers offer this video on their site to attempt to convey the game to newcomers:

Not only is Minecraft a major success, it’s also unique because it’s developed by Mojang, a company made up of a few indie developers, rather than being backed by a major publisher. The desktop version of the game, which runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux, is still in beta but has sold more than 2.3 million copies. Needless to say, Minecraft is big, and securing it as an exclusive launch for the Xperia Play is a big deal for a phone centered around mobile gaming.

Mojang founder, Markus “Notch” Persson mentioned back in March that work on a mobile version of Minecraft had begun and later news indicated that it would be available for iOS and Android when launched.

Now, Gamasutra is reporting that a Mojang representative has confirmed that Minecraft mobile will be released first on the Xperia Play and presumably have some duration of exclusivity on the phone. The version made for the Xperia Play will reportedly have controls optimized for the phone’s unique gaming buttons and control pads.

It’s unclear whether or not the release will be exclusive to all phones, or Android devices only.

minecraft on xperiaIt sounds as though Minecraft Mobile will not be an exact recreation of Minecraft as we know it on the desktop. Gamasutra has a quote from the company noting that the game will be tuned specially for mobile devices:

When playing on smartphones you will have a different screen size compared to PC, different hardware, different attention spans and thus the game needs to be customized to fit the mobile specifications

As a Minecraft player, I’m not sure exactly what to think of this. I’d love to be able to connect to my server and play the game on the go from a device that could fit in my pocket. If I’m forced to play a single player version of the game, or one that is incompatible with the desktop version, the allure of Minecraft Mobile will be greatly reduced for me and perhaps many others. Here’s to hoping that the mobile version sees feature parity and compatibility with the desktop version!

More info about Minecraft Mboile is expected at this year’s E3 which will be held in just a few days from June 7th to the 10th.

Perhaps once Minecraft Mobile is release across numerous platforms, people can all stop ranting about Angry Birds and start playing a game that’s actually good (yeah, I said it).

The Only Way for Sony’s PSP Phone to Succeed: Second Generation PSP Gaming, Release Two Devices


Back in October, I urged Sony to get back to innovating in the handheld market and inspiring us once again. For a company whose tagline is “Make. Believe.” They’ve certainly done that lately – making me believe that they want to copy a company like HP rather than being innovative and imaginative like they once were.

PlayStation_Phone_prototypeI looked toward the whispers of the so called “PSP Phone” that’s recently made the rounds with leaked photos and videos as a glimmer of hope. The PSP Phone has been a concept wished for by PSP fans for a long time, but recently we’ve seen legitimate evidence that it will exist. The most recent information I’ve read regarding the release of the device is from Pocket-lint, reporting that Sony will launch the PSP Phone at Mobile World Congress 2011 in Barcelona, rather than next month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

If Sony’s past gives us any indication, they’re capable of making great handheld devices. For the unique situation of combining a flagship gaming device with a phone, they are going to have to do two specific things in order to make the union a success.

Second Generation PSP Gaming

wipeout pulse concept artThe first thing is designing the hardware to not be just a PSP + phone, but a PSP 2 + phone. The device needs to represent a new benchmark for mobile gaming. Designing the PSP Phone to simply play existing PSP games will not only be unimpressive, but it won’t sell well.

Why? Because the market is already saturated with PSP devices which have been on the market for almost 7 years and Sony has yet to introduce a next generation version of the device! A whopping 62 million PSP systems have been sold worldwide as of September 2010. Several iterations have been released over the years, and all of them are capable of playing the same games. Releasing a device that can play the same old PSP games while there’s already 62 million devices that do so out there is naturally going to limit your demographic to those who don’t already have a PSP but want one, and perhaps some of those who already have one but want to combine their phone and their gaming device. The world has been waiting for the PSP 2, and now would be a great time to make that happen.

Others who are mostly uninterested in gaming won’t pick up the device over other phones because it will likely be more expensive than the competition which would be able to get away with less powerful hardware and thus cheaper prices (lacking the requirement to play serious games, not casual handheld ones) while still running the same Android version.

Additionally, creating a phone that can only play existing PSP games would also needlessly underuse the rumored specifications of the upcoming PSP Phone. Existing PSP devices have a 333MHz CPU, 32MB or 64MB of RAM, and an underwhelming 480×272 resolution screen. Scaling these games up to a presumed 854×480 screen would make them look even more outdated, and running them without allowing developers to take advantage of the rumored 1GHz Snapdragon CPU and 512MB of RAM would be nearly criminal.

So why not let developers take advantage of the hardware and create games that are “PSP 2” worthy? Doing this alone and abandoning all of the other PSP devices that can currently run any game in the vast library would be a bad move that would break a gaming eco-system that stretches 6 years. This is why Sony needs to launch two devices.

Launch the PSP 2 Along With the PSP Phone

Sony needs to launch a phoneless PSP 2 device alongside a PSP 2 Phone. Without it, suddenly a prerequisite for the most modern handheld gaming experience would be a cellular contract. That’s like requiring that you subscribe to the gym in order to own a car – the two simply shouldn’t be connected. Not only would a cellular contract be required, but you might also need to be on a specific carrier.

If a PSP 2 Phone launches and a phoneless PSP 2 doesn’t launch alongside it, what happens if the PSP 2 Phone is only available on GSM carriers (as they commonly are, here in the US)? That would rule out the entire Sprint/Verizon demographic. Suddenly, if you are a Sprint/Verizon customer, and you want to play the latest handheld games, you have to switch cellular carriers?! That’s asking absolutely way too much of customers and is not going to get the PSP 2 Phone sold.

A PSP 2 could very simply be the same Android powered device, but lacking the cellular hardware and hopefully bringing down the cost to be even less than the PSP Phone (subsidized, a PSP 2 Phone would likely be less expensive than an unsubsidized PSP 2, assuming same hardware). Even if the two were priced the same, it would still open up the demographic of people who have carriers that won’t support the PSP 2 Phone, to people who don’t have any control over their wireless choices (ie: teens), and of course to those who can’t afford (or use alternatives to) cellular contracts.

What’s the big deal if the people willing to pay for cellular contracts (specifically, GSM carriers) are the only ones able to play the latest handheld games on the PSP 2 Phone? Developers are the big deal. Without a mass-media audience to sell to, you’ll never get the AAA developer support you need to differentiate between a hardcore gaming device and casual iPhone/Android gaming.

Continue reading on page 2… “The Precedent”

Another Sony VAIO UX UMPC Gets Packed to the Brim With Great Mods

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The guys at Micro PC Talk will not give up. We’ve seen some amazing mods for the coveted (but cancelled) Sony VAIO UX UMPC [portal page] in the past. This time, modder Anh packs a UX390 to the brim with four additional devices, all without modifying the original body of the UMPC. The challenge here is that the VAIO UX only has two internal USB ports. Anh had to install an extremely tiny 4-port USB hub inside of the UX in order to be able to connect all the devices to the computer:


Here’s what’s been carefully packed inside (in addition to the hub above):

  • Huawei E172 modem for 3G data (and possibly voice and SMS) [along with this mod, a modified portion of the original EDGE modem was inserted to function as a SIM card slot for the E172 modem, accessible from original SIM card slot]
  • Pinnacle PCTV HD Mini Stick for OTA TV
  • GPS receiver

On top of all of this, Anh upgraded the UX’s relatively low-powered 1.2GHz Core Solo CPU to the 1.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo U7700. No easy feat as the CPU has to be completely reballed (not simply dropped in with pins).

Anh was also kind enough to provide some great high-res photos of the modified motherboard to show the added components (click for full size):

ux front

ux back

And the result looks a little something like this (the external body is totally unmodified):


The VAIO UX is one of the reasons why I’ve urged Sony to reignite their innovation in the handheld arena.

For the sake of transparency: I’m a moderator at the source of this story (www.micropctalk.com)

Ok, Sony. It’s Time to Shine in the Handheld Space Once Again

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Dear Sony,

You’ve made some of the coolest handheld devices that I’ve ever owned. From your Clie PDA line, I owned the Clie NR70 and the Clie UX50. From your VAIO UX line, I’ve owned the incredible UX180. I’ve owned a PSP which was stolen years ago and I recently purchased another one because I regard it as the best mobile gaming device on the market.

sony_clie_peg-nr70v clie3
sony_vaio_UX_Premium_1 sony psp

All four of these devices (and certainly many others in your handheld lines) emitted a blinding light of quality, reeked of design excellence, and were bathed in awesomeness. Each of these devices inspired wonder within me. They were true gadgets. Holding them in my hands made me think “wow, this is the future!”. In school, I used to use the Clie UX50 to type notes and assignments in class, then I’d print it out in the library through the infrared port. That was awesome. And even if it did make me look like a total geek, it made people say “Wow, what is that thing?”. The Clie UX50 had WiFi and Bluetooth before most people even knew what those terms meant. And a 3.2MP camera built-in (rotating camera, no less) – that was on par with digital cameras of the time, and was just one feature of a rich and useful device that I used for years.

You didn’t actually call your Clie line of devices “PDAs”, you called them Entertainment Organizers, and for good reason. But most of the world wasn’t ready. They weren’t ready to embrace mobile. They weren’t ready to carry entertainment and productivity in their pockets. You’ve since canned your line of Clie PDAs, your UX UMPCs, and your Mylos. The PSP is great, but it becomes outdated with each passing day and is threatened by the likes of the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Those that did accept your devices loved them. There’s a surprisingly active community of VAIO UX fans who have modded and enhanced the UX series beyond what some thought possible, but it can only be taken so far. They keep modding because they don’t want to let go of your awesome device. They don’t want it to fade away and be supplanted by something that doesn’t inspire the same awe.

Things have changed though. You’ve changed, Sony. The blame can no longer be placed on the world. You’ve entered a dark age.

Continue Reading on Page 2…

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