Posts Tagged ‘Sony’

Microsoft sold over 1 million of its new Xbox One game consoles within 24 hours of their hitting store shelves on Friday, on par with Sony’s PlayStation 4 despite launching in far more countries.

The new console, which launched in 13 countries, set a record for first-day Xbox sales and is currently sold out at most retailers, Microsoft said in a statement.

Sony said it sold 1 million PS4 units in 24 hours after launching last Friday in just the United States and Canada. The PS4 expands to other regions, including Europe, Australia and South America, from November 29. It then hits Japan in February.

Microsoft is locked in a console war with Sony this holiday season. The software giant hopes the Xbox One not only entices gamers but attracts a broader consumer base of TV fans and music lovers with its interactive entertainment features and media apps.

“We are working hard to create more Xbox One consoles,” said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of marketing and strategy at Xbox.

Robert W Baird & Co analyst Colin Sebastian has said he expects shipments of 2.5 million to 3 million units for both the Xbox One and PS4 in the fourth quarter.

Both the PS4, priced at $399 in the United States, and the Xbox One, with a price tag of $499, offer improved graphics for realistic effects, processors that allow faster game play and a slew of exclusive video games.

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LG launched its G2 smartphone in India today, bringing yet another powerful handset to the already burgeoning Indian smartphone market. This device is a powerful competitor to the Samsung Galaxy S4, Sony Xperia Z1, HTC One and Nokia Lumia 925.

It has all the makings of a champion, from a powerful chipset, gorgeous screen, unique software, and a great camera. No doubt, LG G2 has us intrigued, especially when it comes to design. The company has done away with hardware keys altogether, placing the power and volume keys at the back instead of left or right side as it happens in conventional design.

We were not sure if this new positioning for the keys will make smartphone usage easier, or if it will make it much too difficult to hold the phone, let alone operate it with one hand. We played with the device for some time at the launch event to see what the LG G2 is all about. Here is what we experienced ..

LG G2 looks much too similar to the Samsung Galaxy S4 despite a minor difference between screen size (5.2-inch for G2 vs 5-inch for S4). However, a closer look reveals that the new LG phone bears some differences compared to the now six-months-old S4, such as on-screen keys, no hardware buttons on the sides and overall a bigger device.

The screen of LG G2 is as good as it gets, with beautiful and vibrant colours and crisp text and videos. Around the screen are very thin bezels, helping the phone keep dimensions to a minimum.

Coming to the buttons on the back. Below the camera you will find here keys – Volume Up, Power/Lock and Volume Down, in that order. After using the phone for about 15 minutes straight, it stopped feeling outlandish as we could get a hang of the keys and using them to do common tasks. More on what these keys do below.

Overall, we like the design and look of the G2. The only grouse? Plastic does not feel fantastic, especially after having used the glass-bodied Optimus G earlier.

While you can press the power key on the back to turn on the phone, another option is to tap on the touchscreen twice quickly. This is same as the functionality we have seen in some of the newer Nokia and Samsung phones.

Inside, the software is similar to the Optimus UI we have seen in previous LG phones. However, this time it looks a little less childish, which is the only issue we had with the Android skin.

The phone seems extremely fast, a result of the combination of the light Optimus UI and powerful Snapdragon 800 chipset. All tasks we performed in quick succession went off without a hitch, showing exactly how powerful the chipset is.

We checked out some of the software features of LG G2. Many we had seen in previous phones (placing phone next to the ear to answer calls without pressing any keys in Samsung Galaxy S3 and supersensitive touchscreen in Nokia Lumia 920).

One feature that caught our eye was Slide Aside, where you can use a three-finger swipe from right to left to push a running app to the sidelines. This feature allows users to move or retrieve a maximum of three running apps from the sides. Though not as good as Samsung’s multi app view, it is still worth checking out.

Using G2 for a little more time gave us an idea of how to use its rear-positioned keys for doing more. While the volume and power/lock functions were quite expected, we also used it to access QuickMemo app and turn on the camera when the phone’s screen was turned off. However, you cannot take screenshots with the handset without using both your hands, something we can easily do with a single hand in other Android phones. During our short time with the G2, we found it to be a very capable smartphone that can stand neck-and-neck with any top-end smartphone in the market. Its unconventional design is quite good and does not hinder functionality, even though it does not add much value to the usage.

While 4K may make little sense on a tiny television screen, on a projector? Yes, please. Hearing these pleas is JVC, which has dropped not one but three consumer projectors with a 4K-like picture. Prices start at $4,999.

The three consumer models are the DLA-X900R ($11,999), the DLA-X700R ($7,999), and the DLA-X500R ($4,999), which include a new D-ILA device, 4K inputs, e-shift upscaling for 1080p-and-lower sources, and a user-selectable Intelligent Lens Aperture.

The projectors, which according to JVC aren’t technically 4K, use a system called “e-shift” which splits all incoming signals and spits them out to two 1080p panels. The image is then combined using “pixel shift” to emulate a 4K image.

JVC claims the Intelligent Lens Aperture produces deeper blacks while maintaining white levels and is “superior to what’s delivered by competing projectors using a dynamic iris”. The projectors feature an automated lens shift with memory presets for easier setup.

Of most interest is the entry-level DLA-X500R, which is the cheapest (pseudo) 4K projector we’ve seen so far, and half the expected price of the Sony 500ES. It features a 60,000:1 native contrast ratio thanks to a new Clear Black feature that provides local area contrast enhancement.

Pushing contrast levels even further are the DLA-X900R and DLA-X700R capable of 150,000:1 and 120,000:1 ratios, respectively.
The DLA-X900R and the DLA-X700R feature active 3D compatibility with THX 3D certification. The DLA-X900R ships with a 3D transmitter and two pairs of glasses.The new JVC D-ILA home theater projectors will be available November, and meanwhile the excellent 1080p DLA-X35 will stay in the range through 2014.

The Philips 9000 Series is Philips’ first foray into Ultra High Definition television, unveiled at technology show IFA 2013 in Berlin.

There are two UHD TVs in the 9000 range: a 65-inch model and 84-inch model, both displaying 3,840 x 2,160 pixels of eye-popping detail.

Both TVs are LED-backlit and have three-sided Ambilight, which projects light from three sides of the TV to complement the colours on the screen. The 65-inch model boasts a 15W speaker and two 6W speakers, while the 84-inch version pumps out sound from two 25W speakers and two 20W speakers.

4K is still very much in its infancy, so there’s very little actual 4K stuff to watch in eye-frazzling detail. So the 9000 TVs attempt to improve on the detail of high definition films and TV by upscaling Blu-ray, DVD or HD TV channels.

One way you can see the eye-popping detail of which the TV is capable is with photographs. Photographs taken by even today’s average compact cameras and camera phones pack in way more detail than HD video, so you can view photos of 8-megapixels or more in stunningly crisp detail.

Which means you’ve just paid five grand for a photo frame.

You can also connect to the Web and access apps and online services such as Netflix, YouTube and Skype alongside Philips’ usual smart TV features, as well as Miracast and SimplyShare to connect to your phone and tablet.

And the 4K TVs also do 3D, because nobody demanded it. Like most high-end TVs today, the Philips 4K models can convert regular two-dimensional films and TV to 3D.And the price? The new Philips models are more expensive than Sony and Samsung models already on the market: the 65-inch 65PFL9708 costs 4,999 euros, and the 84-inch 84PFL9708 will set you back 14,999 euros.

As part of the IFA flood of new laptops, tablets, and other products, Lenovo is introducing a new PC line, as well as serious revisions to the popular Yoga hybrid. Also new, an Android tablet called the S5000 and a phone called the Vibe X, both of which claim to be especially lightweight.

The Hands-on impressions, photos, and video of Lenovo’s new PC lineup, including a high-res update of the popular Yoga hybrid, and a brand new Yoga version from the ThinkPad brand, which includes a keyboard update that’s been on our wish list for some time.

IdeaPad Flex 14

The IdeaPad Flex line, available in 14- and 15-inch versions, doesn’t fold all the way back into a tablet like the Yoga does. This is more of a laptop with some extra flexibility, bending its screen back by 300 degrees to allow for what we’ve been calling a kiosk mode, with the screen pointing out from the rear of the laptop, away from the keyboard and touch pad.


IdeaPad Flex 20

Unlike earlier tabletop PC such as the HP Rove 20 and original Sony Vaio Tap 20, which both weigh around 12 pounds, the $899 Flex 20 is closer to 8 pounds. That’s about the same as Sony’s just-announced 21-inch Tap 21, and a little more than Dell’s excellent, and extremely thin, 18-inch XPS 18.


IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro

How do you top the much-loved original? In the case of the just-announced Yoga 2 Pro, the star of the show is an ultra-high-res 13.3-inch display, with a native resolution of 3,200×1,800 pixels. That puts the Yoga 2 in similar territory to
the Toshiba Kirabook, Retina MacBook Pro, Chromebook Pixel, Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus, and a handful of others.


ThinkPad Yoga

Lenovo has a new take on the Yoga that should make a lot of people very happy. This new ThinkPad-branded model has a seriously engineered keyboard and chassis that pulls the keys into the body as you fold it over backward into tablet mode
Finally, the 7-inch IdeaTab S5000 claims to be lighter than either the iPad Mini or Nexus 7, but has only a 1,280×800 display and a 1.2GHz quad-core MediaTek 8389 CPU. It should be available in December. The Android 4.2 smartphone known as the Vibe X has a 5-inch screen and weighs just 4.1 ounces, but there are currently no plans to release it in the US.

The Z1 handset with the QX100 lens attached weighs 349g (12.3oz)

Sony has confirmed plans to sell two stand-alone lenses that connect to smartphones by wi-fi, allowing them to take higher-quality photos.

The devices are compatible with Android and iOS handsets and mark the creation of a new product category.

The Japanese company announced the products alongside a new smartphone which features a 20.7 megapixel camera and a larger-than-normal image sensor.

The launches should help the firm challenge Nokia’s top-end handset.

The Finnish company – which is in the process of being taken over by Microsoft – unveiled the Lumia 1020 in July. Reviews have suggested that it has the best smartphone camera on the market, but were critical of its price,

Sony told the BBC it would target its Z1 handset at a wider audience than what it called the Lumia 1020’s “super-premium category”.

It confirmed details of the devices at the Ifa consumer tech show in Berlin – much of the information had already leaked via tech news sites.

One analyst suggested the lenses in particular would struggle to find buyers.

“The concept is interesting, but when you think about using it, will users want to carry them around?” asked Francisco Jeronimo, mobile devices research manager at tech consultancy IDC.

“The problem is that for those wanting top-quality photographs, the experience of having a DSLR [digital single lens reflex] offers a better experience than a phone with an add-on camera.

“Meanwhile having the lens attached to a phone makes it feel quite bulky compared to a compact camera or stand-alone handset.

“If the lenses were priced under £100, then I could see photography geeks buying it, or operators bundling it with the phone, but these lenses will be quite expensive.”

Sony itself acknowledged that it did not know how strong demand would be.

“Always we’re discussing: ‘How many pieces should we prepare,'” Yosuke Aoki, a digital imaging spokesman for the firm, told the BBC.

“We’re waiting for after the Ifa announcement to see what the feedback will be to the models.”

Making a statement

Sony is bundling movies and games with the Z1 to help it compete

The QX10 lens offers a 10x optical zoom and 18.2MP resolution which Sony says makes it ideal for taking shots of distant landmarks or close-ups of people. It will cost about £170,

The QX100 features a smaller 3.6x zoom but a bigger sensor with a resolution of 20.2MP. Its aperture goes as wide as f1.8 – allowing more light in – meaning it should be more adept at taking photos in low light or with a very shallow focus. It also offers manual focus as an option which is not possible on the other lens. It will cost about £380.

Once fitted with a battery and memory stick, the QX10 weighs 105g (3.7oz) and the QX100 179g (6.3oz).

Both devices:

  • include technology that compensates for shaky hands
  • activate a link-up to a phone or tablet if it has an NFC (near field communication) chip
  • can attach to different-sized handsets via an extendable clip, or – in the case of the Z1 – using a special case
  • can be operated while a short distance away from the smart device

Neither:

  • has a built-in screen.

Sony Mobile’s head of sales and marketing said they were intended to send a message to consumers, including those who would never buy them.

“It’s a statement as one piece of many things that are starting to come together under the umbrella of Sony,” said Dennis van Schie.

“The PlayStation 4 is coming out. In 4K [ultra-high resolution] TVs, we’re the leader – from the formats to the cameras to recording capabilities [that will appear] quite soon in mobile.

“Now we’re the first ones to dare to create a lens-type camera with a new kind of user interface. It contributes to what Sony is standing for.”

Sony posted a 3.5bn yen ($35m, £23m) profit in the April-to-June quarter, reversing a 24.6bn yen loss the previous year.

Stronger sales of smartphones helped achieve the turnaround.

However, IDC says the firm still only had a 4.1% share of global smartphone shipments over the three months, putting it behind Samsung, Apple, LG, Lenovo, Huawei and ZTE.

Additional value

Nokia has boasted that its Lumia 1020 with a 41MP sensor is the best smartphone camera on the market

Sony is hoping the new water-resistant Z1 handset will help it boost that figure.

It says the device features an exclusive sensor which is the same size as that found in its Cybershot cameras.

It also features new software including the ability to provide live video streams to Facebook, and Info-eye – an app that provides information about books, wine and landmarks among other objects the phone is pointed at.

The company is also taking advantage of its other assets to help the device stand out from the Android crowd. UK shoppers are promised five Sony movie downloads and a selection of free PlayStation mobile games.

“They’ve done quite a good job of differentiating the phone,” said Mr Jeronimo.

“That’s what operators want – to be able to provide additional value from what Sony offers.”That’s why they are looking at Sony as a better prospect for the future than other vendors like Blackberry and HTC.”

Samsung has signed a deal with an anti-virus firm to offer improved protection to its Galaxy-branded Android devices.

It will use San Francisco-based Lookout’s software to scan handsets and tablets for threats.

The feature will be targeted at business users as part of the firm’s forthcoming Knox security product, which was announced in February.

Numerous studies have indicated that many hackers have focused their efforts on Google’s Android system.

Analysts said the move was designed to reassure companies that Samsung’s Android phones were a safe alternative to the Blackberry and Windows Phone platforms which have promoted their enterprise security facilities as key features.

More malware
Lookout’s chief executive blogged that malware protection had become increasingly important at a time more employees were linking their own devices to office networks.

“One in three companies now allow employees to bring their own devices to work, and whether or not it’s allowed, employees are doing so and company data is being accessed outside of the corporate network, potentially putting that data at risk,” wrote John Hering.

The company said its servers would scan Samsung’s mobile devices against known malware that could be introduced via email attachments, webpages or file-sharing services.

Other anti-virus firms have also been quick to play up the threat to Android devices.

Kaspersky recently announced that it had detected 57,000 new examples of malware specifically targeting the operating system since the start of the year.

McAfee has also warned that new types of spyware and code designed to bypass bank ID protection had helped swell the amount of Android malware by 35% in the April-to-June quarter.

The US government has also issued its own alert suggesting 79% of all malware threats to mobile operating systems were directed at Android in 2012.

“Android is the most insecure mobile system of all the mobile ones, and that’s been made more difficult because it’s so fragmented,” said Richard Absalom, an analyst at telecoms consultancy Ovum.

“It’s not just that that people are still running old versions of the software, but that Samsung and other vendors are forking the OS in different ways.”

Google itself has taken steps to address the problem. Earlier this month it banned apps from its Play store that make changes to a device without the owner’s knowledge or consent.

But one expert suggested the firm had still not gone far enough.

“New variants of Android malware are found every day, with most designed to steal money from users by signing them up for expensive premium rate SMS scams,” independent security analyst Graham Cluley told the BBC.

“Much of the Android malware has disguised itself as fake versions of popular apps like Angry Birds or Instagram, and although its normally encountered in unofficial app stores they have also managed to intrude into Google’s official Play store on a worrying number of occasions.”

Defence-approved
Samsung began offering its Knox product to selected Galaxy S4 handsets in May and has promised it would be extended to other devices.

The Pentagon is among organisations to have authorised the use of handsets which include the feature.

“This approval enables other government agencies and regulated industries such as healthcare and financial services to adopt Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets,” the South Korean firm said at the time.

Ovum suggested the latest announcement would help give the company an edge over other Android manufacturers such as Sony, HTC and LG.

“What Samsung is doing here is seeing a gap in the market,” said Mr Absalom.

“Blackberry’s share within enterprise is dropping and Windows Phone isn’t picking up as fast as Microsoft might have hoped.”Samsung is the biggest individual smartphone manufacturer out there and it thinks it can now make a major play in the corporate market.”