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Sony has secretly been building their own skunk works department in Japan. 200 researchers are trying to flesh out ideas that have nothing to do with the core markets or products that Sony currently is marketing. One of them, to be released next year is a smartwatch, made entirely of e Ink Mobius.

Mobius uses a TFT technology that will enable the watch to be much lighter and rugged .  One of the main selling points behind this watch is that it will weigh less than 50% of an equivalent glass based TFT.  One of the only consumer products on the market to  use this technology was the Sony 13 inch writing Slate, that despite its 13.3 inch display weighs less than a six inch Kindle.

The premise behind the new e Ink watch from Sony is that the screen and band are made entirely of e-paper. This will allow people to not  only customize their watch face, which is standard fare int he world of watches, but also the wristband too. Unlike the Pebble, which actually does not use e Ink, the battery life should garner about a month of constant use.

Categories : E-Paper
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Nov
26

Sony Cuts Back Smartphone Lineup

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It wasn’t very long ago that Samsung announced their plans to cut back their smartphone line-up –this time, it’s Sony doing the same thing. Where once it seemed like Sony was on top of the tech world and could do no wrong, now they are struggling to carve out a competitive piece of the mobile market.

Reducing their smartphone lineup by as much as 30% should help return Sony to profitability, while also giving a smaller portfolio of devices to support. Unfortunately, reducing the number of devices being offered does little to compete with smartphone leaders like Apple and Samsung.

On the plus side, Sony’s latest Android-powered handsets are receiving great reviews even though sales figures don’t support them. The reality is that there are plenty of devices to choose from, and a large number of users already have smartphones (and are upgrading with less frequency than in the past).

Sony isn’t just scaling back smartphones –their TV business is also taking a similar hit. The only divisions left untouched are related to console gaming and their image sensor equipment (currently found in devices made by companies like Apple).

Categories : Android News
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The Sony Digital Paper is the first large screen E Ink device aimed at business professionals and a stark departure from consumer e-readers.  The product up  until this point has only been available through key Sony partners and sold online, prospective owners have not got a chance to try it out to see if its the right fit for them, until now.

Sony executives have announced that the DPT-S1 Digital Paper is now on display  at Sony Stores to “touch and feel” the device, especially to realize the lightness and also the fluid handwriting.  It is currently available at the Sony Store at Stanford University in Palo Alto and the 550 Madison Avenue Store in New York.If a customer likes way they see, these locations have plenty of units in stock for $999.99. Not to mention that people from overseas have another option if they, a relative or colleague is in the neighborhood!

Sony has also confirmed they are engaging in direct advertising for the first time “We’re running some ads in the The Stanford Daily digital edition.  There’s been considerable interest from individuals in the Stanford community, and from the Bay Area in general.”

I think being able to give the Digital Paper a test drive is tremendous. Up until this point if you wanted to check it out, you had to watch one of our extensive YouTube Videos, which demonstrates the full user experience. Actually being able to hold one in your hands and play with it for awhile is likely the best way to actually push more device sales.

Categories : e-reader, e-Reader News
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Sony is developing a new form of digital rights management to combat Adobes stranglehold on the eBook market. The new encryption system will have an SDK that can be integrated into any existing e-reader or mobile app. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this new security system is a viable platform in which eBooks can be resold.

Adobe Digital Editions is the current industry standard when it comes to eBooks having a layer of security to curb piracy. If you purchase a digital title from one store and want to load it onto your favorite e-reader or tablet you have to download and install the ADE Software, make an account and enter your credit card details. This software is also required for people who borrow eBooks from the library and aren’t using an official app from 3M, Baker & Taylor or Overdrive.

The new Sony encryption system has been a product of three years of development at Sony DADC. This is a Sony subsidiary that primarily focuses on the development of storage media (CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays), but in addition offers Digital Rights Management Services. 

Sony plans on making their new eBook encryption system very appealing towards publishers and e-reader manufactures. The developed a brand new SDK that will play nice with any 3rd party reading app on Android, iOS or Windows. It also can integrated directly into any e-reader on the market. The key selling points of the Sony DRM are; to make eBook rentals viable, to lend an eBook to a friend easier, to define a clear path of ownership, better pay per chapter (metered) support and the ability to resell a book.

The big problem in the eBook industry right now is the lack of clear ownership. When you click the BUY button on Amazon, Apple, Kobo, or Google you are simply licensing the book and it is never truly yours. Sony wants to change this and define a clear path of ownership, this will allow people to sell a used eBook and it will actually physically disappear from the original owners account.

Sony plans on shopping their new DRM system in the spring of 2015 and will likely be conducting private meetings at notable events like the London Book Fair, Book Expo America and IDPF gatherings. I have heard from a reputable source that Sony already has six publishers locked up and will be leveraging those relationship in order to establish new ones.

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In a sea of mobile games with the now traditional match-3 styling (think Bejeweled), Sony has released its Fat Princess: Piece of Cake game. By matching gems (showing either cake or images corresponding to the four character classes: sporting warrior swords, ranger muskets, worker bombs, and priest healer) you can work to defeat the invading army using the attacks they bring about.

It’s the kind of game that could be addictive, but it’s not quite there yet. While many games feature a brief tutorial-mode when you first begin, I found that the intro to this game is so slow it’s almost painful; you have to complete quite a number of levels before the handy hints and descriptions stop interrupting your flow. If they could speed up the pace, it would be a lot of fun to play.

As an added bonus for those with a Sony Playstation 3: reach level 15 with your princess and you will get a code that gives you access to download Fat Princess for your console at no additional cost (as long as you also have vaid Facebook and Sony Entertainment Network accounts).

Fat Princess: Piece of Cake is free to download from the Good e-Reader App Store, but there are a number of in-app purchases like power-ups and character upgrades that will help you rescue the princess a little faster.

Categories : Android News
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Professionals representing many industries and institutions have been embracing the 13.3 inch Sony Digital Paper as a better way to read and write. This has promoted Sony to officially slash the entry level price from  from $1,100 to $999.

The lower price should be more appealing towards schools and businesses looking to divest themselves from a copious amount of paper.  Many of the clients that deal with Sony normally buy a few for a trial run and this discount should assist them in further adoption. The $999 price tag will also be a boon towards power-users  who find themselves editing PDF files on a daily basis.

Sony is also hyping the the device’s built-in WebDAV protocol, that enables users to wirelessly transfer electronic documents created on Digital Paper to and from a user’s compatible online document file-sharing and storage services, such as Box.com.

Many people have been on the fence about purchasing the DPT-S1 and a $101 discount is very compelling. This is simply one of the best e-readers ever made and has technology from e-Ink not really seen in any commercial device. Battery Life, resolution and document editing are the main attractions and no other e-reader or tablet comes close in this regard.

Categories : e-reader, e-Reader News
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sonyxperiaz3

It almost seems like tablets can be lumped into two distinct categories these days: “iPads” and “other tablets”; so if you don’t have one, you have the other. Those in the know will tell you this isn’t true, and that there are plenty of quality contenders in the tablet game –whether you are interested in an iPad or not. To this end, Sony has released their latest contender, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact.

The Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact is certainly portable, weighing in at 9.5-ounces (270-grams) and measuring only 0.25-inches (6.4mm) thick –while maintaining an 8-inch (213.4mm by 123.6mm) screen. Powered by basically the same technology as the Z3 smartphone, Sony’s new tablet features a quad-core, 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, Adreno 330 graphics, 3GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage memory (that can be increased up to 128GB by using microSD cards). For those interested in photography, the Z3 Tablet Compact has an improved 8.1-megapixel imager.

Of course, if you happen to love console gaming, Sony devices support PS4 Remote Play –meaning you are able to use your tablet to control your games on the Playstation 4. Plus, Sony’s software comes with extras like their DSEE HX technology that will upscale the quality of your MP3 and AAC music files (plus, you can perform one-touch mirroring if you happen to have a Sony Bravia TV to pair it with).

Whether it competes nimbly with the iPad remains to be seen, but there is no question that Sony knows how to make an elegant device with value-adds… so for anybody already brand-loyal, the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact provides a very reasonable option.

Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but the device will ship in black or white (with LTE or Wi-Fi only options) in the fall of 2014.

Categories : Android News
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I’m impressed with any manufacturer willing to release a new product the day after a major Apple event. This go-around, Dell has announced that they have the “world’s thinnest tablet” in their new Venue 8 7000 device. Featuring an 8.4″ screen-size, the profile of the Venue 8 7000 is only 6mm thick (thin).

There are other tablets that come in close: Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab S is 6.6mm thick, while Sony has their Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact that measures in at 6.4mm. For the moment, it seems like Dell is winning in this particular arena, but the rest of the tablet looks pretty decent as well –boasting a screen resolution of 2560×1600, RealSense digital photography technology (that is able to create a depth map of an image, giving a rudimentary understanding of object positions located across 3D space instead of only a 2D plane), and an Intel Z3500 quad-core CPU (running between 1.33GHz to 2.33GHz depending on the model).

There isn’t a price yet, or a specific release date –other than Intel is suggesting it will be available in time for the holidays this year.

Intel had more big news besides the release of a Dell-branded tablet: the technology giant also announced that they are working with Google to create the “Intel Reference Design for Android,” intended to serve as a developer tablet that will help manufacturers get their new products to market faster. Built with pre-approved components, the reference tablets will ship ready to pass Google Media Services standards –giving would-be OEMs something to use as a base.

Putting a big name like Intel so firmly behind Android can only mean good things going forward for the operating system.

Categories : Android News
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Sony has been selling e-readers and eBooks since 2004 and they were the first mainstream company who made a serious powerplay to cultivate the industry. Their successes and failures over the years acted as a playbook for Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo to enter the the fray and immediately make an impact. Sony eventually got nudged out of the business due to the prices of e-readers coming down, to a such a point, that it was not financially viable anymore to continue. In February 2014 Sony announced that they were exiting the eBook space and Kobo would take over their book business. Aside from the preliminary press release Kobo has been silent about their dealings with Sony, but today Kobo CEO Michael Tamblyn has spoke to Good e-Reader all about it.

“In North America we have been really happy with the Sony customers coming over to Kobo. People have been really interested and excited about our retail ecosystem and our investment around recommendations and how to discover your next great read. As a company, we are very happy with the collaboration and quality of customers coming over.” said Tamblyn.

Michael is referring to Sony closing their online eBook store and gravitating their existing client base to Kobo. The entire modern line of Sony e-readers such as the PRS-T1, T2 and T3 have received firmware updates that removed the Sony Reader Store and implemented the Kobo store. Existing Sony customers had emails sent over to them before the big change, instructing them on how to transfer their existing customers over to Kobo.

“The Sony and Kobo relationship has been successful in a couple of ways, we are concerned about people accessing their digital libraries for the long-term and buy new books. Our primary motivation was stepping in for a company exiting the eBook space and allowing customers to buy new titles.” Tamblyn elaborated.

Not all customers were happy for the Reader Store to close and switch to Kobo. Jeff P recently wrote “HORRID! HORRID! HORRID! I’ve been a member since November 2007. The only readers or tablets I’ve ever were Sony so that I could use the reader software. I once told a sales clerk that I didn’t need the extended warranty because I was buying a Sony. Almost every piece of electronic equipment I have is Sony. I won’t buy another Sony ANYTHING. Yes, you say customers are first, well, I’m the first customer to tell you that you’ve made a HORRID mistake and I’m never going to buy another Sony product EVER.”

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goodereader-drawing

Michael Kozlowski and Peter Carotenuto of Good e-Reader have another roundtable discussion on the evolution of the Sony consumer e-Reader brand. They discuss important milestones, such as the advent of touch, the incorporation of a stylus and releasing the first front-lit e-reader.

The entire e-reader industry owes Sony a debt of gratitude for pioneering major technologies. The company has announced exclusively to Good e-Reader that they are abandoning the consumer space and that the PRS-T3 e-reader will be the last one they make. Instead, they are focusing on the business segment with the Sony DPT-S1 Digital Paper.

During the roundtable we discuss the ramifications of exiting the eBook and e-reader space, how Kobo is benefiting and how the customers are responding to dealing with a new ecosystem.


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Sony has discontinued making the Sony PRS-T3 e-readers in North America and Europe. This is creating an atmosphere where many existing Sony users want to insure they have a backup available incase their primary unit bites the dust. Currently, the PRS-T3 is completely sold out in every Sony Style in Canada.  There is only one retailer currently selling them in limited quantities, Shop e-Readers.

Shop e-readers is our official sister site and in anticipation of the PRS-T3 getting totally discontinued we made sure to stock up. Right now we have the last 8 T3 e-readers in Canada and 6 T3S (the ones without the build in case).

The Sony PRS-T3 is available for $179.99 US  and will be shipped worldwide, including the US and Canada at discounted shipping rates. The best deal is for the Sony PRS-T3s for $159.99 and does not have a built in case.

I think the Sony PRS-T3 has amazing build quality and the software is more stable and robust than Kobo readers. Speaking of Kobo, Sony recently abandoned running their own eBook store and piggybacks Kobo for all new purchases.


Categories : e-reader, e-Reader News
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IMG_6077

The Amazon Kindle DX has been one of the most popular large screen commercial e-reader of all time. Its been out for a number of years, and has been getting a little bit long in the tooth. Today, we compare the DX against the brand new Sony Digital Paper (DPT-S1).

The Sony Digital Paper is aimed exclusively at the business sector, partly due its its singular nature of reading and editing PDF documents. The DX on the other hand is your gateway to making eBook and digital magazine purchases from Amazon. The DX lacks a touchscreen, which makes you totally reliant on the D-Pad and keyboard shortcuts. The digital paper features a capacitive touchscreen and accompanied stylus really gives you a ton of versatility.


Aug
07

Sony Digital Paper Review

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digital paper

Sony is getting out of the consumer e-reader sector and focusing their efforts on devices aimed at businesses. The first commercially viable product is the new Digital Paper (DPT-S1) which is a super advanced PDF Reader. How viable is this new product for the corporate audience or end users? Today, Good e-Reader is proud to bring you the first true hands on review.

Hardware

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The Sony Digital Paper features a 13.3 inch e-Ink Mobius e-paper screen with a resolution of 1200 by 1600. It was designed to give you a true A4 experience, displaying PDF files as they were originally intended. The lightweight nature of Mobius gives you amazing clarity in the fonts and pictures. It also one of the most lightweight products in its class, clocking in at .08 pounds. To give you some comparison, The Kindle DX has a 9.7 inch screen and weighs 0.91 pounds and the iPad Air is 1.3 pounds.

The Digital Paper features a capacitive touchscreen display panel, which allows you to navigate menus, browse the internet or flip pages with your hands. The device really shines with the accompanied Stylus, which has advanced options for left and right handed people. The touchscreen panel is so amazing, that you can hold your wrist down on a document and it does not register as an interaction, provided the pen is actively touching the screen. This allows you to organically write on the Digital Paper, the same way you would write in your notebook. There is also a highlight button the stylus to allow you to quickly edit a document on the fly.

Underneath the hood is a ARM Cortex A8 1GHZ single core processor and 4GB of internal memory. There is support for a MicroSD card to enhance the memory up to an additional 32GB. Battery life is superb with a 1270 mAh lithium ion, which should garner you over a month of constant use.

The design of the Digital Paper is entirely unique and no e-reader has ever managed to pull off the practical sensibilities. It has a home, back and settings button that are not softkeys, but they have a bit of torque. By firmly pressing down, and hearing a small click, you know you interacted with a specific function. The settings menu does different things, depending on if you are reading a document or using the internet browser. There is a small power button on the right hand corner of the unit, on a small curved part of the bezel.

The Sony DPT-S1 is beguiling to behold. Its lightweight nature allows you to hold it in one hand for long reading sessions. The clarity of the screen makes image heavy PDF documents really shine. Sony has really refined the role a stylus plays in their consumer side of e-readers, since their first touchscreen PRS-700 back in 2007. If you are heavily invested in PDF documents at work or in the home, this is a must purchase.

Software

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The Digital Paper reader was designed with the express purpose of reading PDF documents. It is the first e-reader ever to show a document as it was intended to be read in glorious A4. There is no need to employ pinching or zooming to find that sweet spot, like the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite or Kobo Aura does. That is not to say you can’t pinch and zoom, you can, its just mostly unnecessary.

There are times when you are browsing the web or want to show off how pretty an image looks by making it full screen. Due to its capacitive nature you can easily pinch and zoom using two fingers to make take up the entire screen. During this process the rendering engine kicks in, limiting the amount of e-ink refreshing that occurs. This is where the 1GHZ processor really shines because its all done with the ease of use of doing the same thing on a smartphone or tablet.

The home screen comprises of your Last Read, Recently Added or Saved Workspaces. On the navigation bar are entries for Home, Documents, Notes, Workspace, Browser and Settings.

Workspaces is the bread and butter of this device and bears a resemblance of the way browser tabs work on Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer. You can have many documents opened at once and jump between them by clicking on the tab. Lets say you are a lawyer working on a class action suit, likely you will have a pile of PDF documents that constantly need to be referenced. You can have 10 tabs opened at once for the interview phase and seamlessly jump between each one, taking notes and making highlights for key points. Workspaces can be saved and loaded, so you can jump between them with ease right from the menu.

Editing a PDF document allows you to write with the stylus anywhere you want. You can make notes, highlights or annotations and quickly go back to reference any changes you made on the fly. Once you made a bunch of changes you can save the PDF, preserving all of your augments, so you can export it to your e-Reader, smartphone, tablet or work PC.

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When editing a PDF file, there are four different pen styles to select, from the very fine line to one that bears a resemblance to a marker. If you elect to take a note there are two main processes. One allows you to use the touchscreen keyboard to type in changes and the other incorporates the stylus to hand draw.

I really dig the dedicated note taking app. It gives you a lined sheet of paper, similar to the ones we all used in grade school, complete with margin edges. You can doodle, draw or just write in text with the stylus and save these are independent files.

The internet browser is your gateway to access PDF files via the internet or just kill some time on Twitter. It has options to disable pictures, Javascript and to disallow the saving of cookies. Most websites that have gifs or animations tend to load slow, due to the refresh issues that permeate all e-readers.

e-Reading Experience

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The Digital Paper was designed to be a true PDF Reader with most of the RND efforts focusing on minimizing screen refreshing and advanced editing options. It does not have support for EPUB, MOBI, TEXT or DOC files, so it is quite limiting to read eBooks.

Still, the advanced user will be able to easily download comics, manga, eBooks, magazines or newspapers in PDF form. If you have a collection of DRM-Free eBooks, from Project Gutenberg Pottermore or TOR you can easily use Calibre to convert your standard digital book from one format to another. We tested this during the review and comic books tend to look a bit dark, but eBooks actually worked amazing. Sony is clearly not hyping the fact this is an e-reader, but the functionality does exist to convert your existing collection and port it over.

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When you are reading an EPUB book converted to a PDF the large screen is a pure joy. There isn’t any options to make the text bigger or adjust the line spaces or margins like there are on the Nook, Kindle or Kobo, but there is no real need. By default, the text is readable by the naked eye, and you can employ zooming to make the fonts appear better. You can also highlight, take notes, or look words up on Google.

The internet browser is your gateway to access your preexisting eBook collection on Dropbox, Evernote or Pocket. Most of the Read it Later services all allow you to even save your favorite blog in a PDF file, allowing you to reference it later. In addition, corporate clients are a big focus for Sony and there are advanced networking options to configure direct access to dedicated server or VPN. Once connected, new options appear when editing a document to automatically push your revised document to the central server. If many people have access to the same PDF File, it perseveres versioning, to make sure the newest document is always accessible.

Wrap Up

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The Sony Digital Paper is simply the best e-reader made for editing PDF files. We did a head to head comparison against the iPad, Kindle DX, Icarus Excel and most other large screen e-readers and tablets on the market. This model blew them all away with response time and ease of use. No app for iOS or Android can really compare with the entire file editing process.

I spoke with the team leads of the DPT-S1 earlier last week and they told me thousands of hours of development were made to make this reader a reality. They literally had full days of internal meetings where they would figure out how to shave off a millisecond of load time.

The price on this model is quite high when compared to other consumer e-readers out there. The DPT-S1 is not positioned in a race to the bottom, to be the cheapest device out there and appeal to the largest demographic. Instead its solely aimed at entertainment, law firms, medical, transportation and other verticals. I was told “it is meant to be a replacement of paper and your second screen to your PC.”

If you are heavily invested in PDF documents, this e-reader is the best one ever made. It is worthy the price of being both a large screen eBook reader and excels at its sole task, replacing paper.

PROS

Light as a feather
Most Advanced PDF Reader ever made
Long Battery Life
Note taking has no latency
Virtual Keyboard is responsive

CONS

No support for EPUB, MOBI, DOC or TXT
$1100
Sony does not sell these to everyone, you need to be interviewed

Rating: 10/10


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