Archive for sony
Sony has unveiled the first major firmware update for their 13.3 inch Digital Paper e-reader. It brings a number of notable enhancements such as the ability to lock your device with a password and encrypt it for total security. They have also changed the way the toolbar is presented, it used to be on the top, its now on the side. This small move makes the task manager work easier than before and makes navigating between multi-page documents much more intuitive.
Whenever e-paper devices get firmware updates, its often difficult to get a sense of all the new features by just reading a list. Today, Good e-Reader has filmed a comprehensive hands on review, to give you a sense of all the new updates and how it affects your workflow.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.