Posts Tagged ‘Sony’

Sony continues to plug along, introducing promising third-generation eBook reader

Sony announced its third-generation electronic book reader this week at the same time it appears that the iPhone has overtaken the Kindle as the industry’s No. 1 reader.

Stanza, a book-reading application available through Apple’s App Store, has been downloaded more than 395,000 times and continues to be installed at an average rate of 5,000 copies a day, according its developer Lexcycle [via Forbes].

Forbes notes than Citigroup has estimated that Amazon will sell around 380,000 Kindles in 2008, making the iPhone — at least in loosely-defined terms — the No. 1 eBook device. Titles available for Stanza are mostly public domain, not best-sellers.

Sony, which entered the eBook market long before Amazon or Apple (through third-party developers), isn’t expected to sell nearly as many Readers as Kindles or approach as many users as Stanza on the iPhone. Even so, with its third-generation Reader Sony continues to plug along and, in nearly every respect, has the best eBook device.

Without actually seeing and using the device, it’s hard to say if the new Sony Reader will live up to its specs and is worth $400, but the improvements seem substantial with a few exceptions.

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Taking aim at Apple and Sony, Nintendo announces new DSi portable media device

Meet the Nintendo DSi.

As expected, Nintendo announced its latest portable gaming device, dubbed the DSi, at its fall press conference. The DSi is not a game-only device, however, as it includes browsing capabilities, Wi-Fi, a 3-megapixel camera, and other enhancements that bring it more in line with Apple’s iPod Touch and iPhone and Sony’s PlayStation Portable products. In fact, the DSi is not considered a replacement for the current DS Lite line but a complement, or “third platform.”

The juicy DSi details, brought to us by the folks at Kotaku, include:

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Despite projections, eBook readers are not going to be next iPod without changes

As a voracious reader I am happy to see the success of the Kindle, Amazon’s electronic book reader. But no matter how many devices Amazon or others sell, the whole eBook reader thing is fundamentally flawed.

Let’s be honest. Electronic reading devices mostly suck. The platforms or ecosystems eBook readers are built on — from content purchase and management to DRM — are awful.

So when I read that Mark Mahaney of CitiGroup says that Amazon is expected to sell about 380,000 Kindles in 2008, I applaud. I desperately want eBooks and eBook readers to be as successful as the iPod — and that’s millions of units sold, not just a few hundred thousand.

But eBook readers will never be as successful as the iPod. Not the way that the publishing industry works today. Not the way eBooks are designed and manufactured.

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PlayTV: Sony cripples portable features of its PS3 DVR

It looks like we jumped the gun in our praise of PlayTV, Sony’s forthcoming DVR add-on for the PlayStation 3. The feature we liked the best, the ability to transfer recordings onto the PlayStation Portable (PSP) or any device that supports MPEG2 playback, appears to have been dropped at the last minute. Instead, users are restricted to streaming live TV or recordings to a PSP over a local network or the Internet, SlingBox-style. And while this is still a neat feature in itself, it renders the device nearly useless for watching recordings on-the-go since the Remote Play functionality of the PSP requires Wi-Fi access.

“With regards to PlayTV, you can not transfer content to your PSP, PC, or memory sticks” a Sony spokeswoman tells The Register.

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No PlayStation 3 video store in the UK until sometime next year

Sony’s launch of its online video store for the PlayStation Network feels like playing catch-up as it is.  But for those PS3 owners in the UK or anywhere in Europe, the wait will continue.

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe head honcho, David Reeves, has confirmed that the PS3 video store won’t be available to European gamers until sometime next year, reports The Register. While Reeves wasn’t specific, he told attendees at a conference in Santa Monica earlier this week that video downloads through Sony’s online gaming service “will not come to the PAL markets this year”.

The problem is an all too familiar one: the company has to work through country-specific licensing deals with each major studio before any launch dates can be announced.

As we’ve noted in the past, there are many challenges that any company faces to deliver a European-wide online movie service. Not least are the disparate licensing agreements that exist across different countries in Europe, along with the staggered release ‘windows’ imposed by Hollywood which govern when and how new titles can be distributed in the various different formats.

Sony to open its PS3 and PSP video download service tonight (updated)

playstation video image

It’s all the rage: movie and TV show on-demand download services via the Web. Now we can add Sony to the ever-expanding list.

Sony unveiled its own movie/TV show on-demand download service for its PlayStation line of products today at the E3 Media and Business Summit. Sony made a point to note that the service will feature more than Sony-produced content, including movies and TV shows from Fox, MGM, Lions Gate, Warner, Disney, Paramount, Turner, and Funimation.

The U.S-only service, found through the PlayStation Network, will be live this evening. It’s been long-rumored that Sony was going to open an online video download service.

Standard-definition and high-definition rentals and purchases are available. Standard rentals start at $2.99, with high definition rentals at $5.99. TV shows can be purchased at $1.99 an episode, while movies can be purchased from $9.99 to $14.99.

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Xbox Live Video Marketplace gets content from NBC, Universal and other E3 tidbits

e3Microsoft’s deal with Netflix and the Xbox 360’s impending makeover wasn’t the only news from the E3 Media & Business Summit Monday. A few other tidbits include Microsoft, Universal, and NBC; hard drives; and a new Wii controller.

New partners for Video Marketplace

Microsoft has partnered with NBC and Universal to bring new content to the Video Marketplace, Microsoft’s online service. TV shows include “Battlestar Galactica,” “The Office,” and “30 Rock,” among others. Movies include “The Mummy” and “Bourne Supremacy.”

With more than 10,000 movies and TV shows in the Xbox Live Video Marketplace, Microsoft contends it is now the world’s largest provider of on-demand high-definition content.

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Sony's PS3 firmware update adds nifty new features

Sony’s next PlayStation 3 update, firmware 2.40, will deliver several features that owners have been wanting for a long time.

We’ll let the Sony dudes explain the new features in detail in the video following the jump. For the most part, the enhancements include:

  • the ability to access and move throughout most of the PlayStation’s interface, known as the XMB (or Xcross Media Bar), while in-game
  • to read or send messages while in-game
  • to change the music selection in-game, creating a custom soundtrack
  • and to keep track of your success with Trophies, which is a more elegant Achievement system than the Xbox 360’s.

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Sony's latest plans: more networked devices, video download service for PS3, maybe a phone

sony logoYears ago, when product developers were thinking up what’s next, an obvious choice was electronic devices connected to each other, first through cables, then wirelessly as technology improved and the Internet became more important in our lives. At the center of this discussion was always Sony, the worldwide consumer electronics leader.

Sony invented the Walkman and portable music. It set the standard for high-quality television with the Trinitron and Wega. It popularized and legitimized gaming with the PlayStation. It seemed only natural that Sony would lead us into the brave new digital world.

Oddly, this never happened.

So the news today of Sony’s latest grand plan to rule digital entertainment rings hallow, even pathetic, as companies like Apple, Microsoft, Netflix, Amazon, and others forge ahead with innovative products and services. Sony, sadly, is left playing catch-up.

The highlights of Sony’s announcement include:

More networked devices

Sony Chief Executive Officer Howard Stringer outlined the company’s plan at a news conference in Tokyo. At the center of the initiative, Sony wants 90 percent of its electronic products to wirelessly connect to the Internet by 2011.

That seems a bit obvious. Shouldn’t every consumer electronics device connect to the Internet these days? Our refrigerators will. Our cars will.

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Sony launches Qore, interactive HD video show for PS3

Sony launches Qore, interactive HD video show for PS3Sony might not yet be ready to roll out its own Internet TV service for the PlayStation 3 but the company is launching an original interactive HD video show to be distributed through the game console’s online service.

Called “Qore”, the magazine-style show will feature “exclusive multimedia news, developer interviews, in-depth game previews and behind-the-scene looks at the hottest PlayStation games”, according to the press release. “Subscribers will also have special access to game demos, betas, add-ons and other downloadable and game-related content.”

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