Tag Archives | Sony

Ah, But I Was So Much Older Then, I’m Younger Than That Now

[FURTHER UPDATE: As commenter Jdoors explains, I can see the video I uploaded when I’m logged into YouTube. But I’m the only one who can see it–for everybody else, it’s blocked.]

[UPDATE: The original video, with Dylan soundtrack, is still playing for me here at home in Daly City, California. But Network World’s Paul McNamara, commenters, and others are saying that it’s blocked for them. Sounds like the geolocation technology that YouTube uses has decided that Daly City isn’t in the U.S. Or something like that.]

Back in October, shortly after Steve Jobs passed away, I uploaded a wonderful video to YouTube. It was called “To Steven Jobs on his thirtieth birthday,” and was a film created by Jobs’ Apple coworkers in 1985 to show at his birthday party. (Craig Elliott, who worked at Apple when it was made and shown, was the generous soul who shared it with me.)

I’d never seen the video or many of the Jobs images it included, and thought they deserved to be more widely known. Now they are: The YouTube version has been viewed almost 240.000 times.

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Playstation Vita 3G Data Plans: Same Old, Same Old

Sony announced the Playstation Vita with AT&T 3G more than seven months ago, but never bothered to explain how the data plans would work. Now, it’s official: the Vita will come with the same data plans you already get with smartphones.

That means 3G for the Playstation Vita will cost $15 per month for 250 MB, or $25 per month for 2 GB, in addition to the $300 price of the 3G Vita itself. (A Wi-Fi only model will cost $250.) Both data plans will include unlimited access to AT&T’s Wi-Fi hotspots, of which there are 29,000 around the United States. The Vita launches on February 22 in the United States.

I’m disappointed that AT&T and Sony stuck with conventional data plans for the PS Vita. This would have been a great opportunity for AT&T to launch a shared pool of data among multiple devices–something wireless carriers have talked about doing for some time. I can’t imagine a lot of people will want to pay a recurring data charge just for a gaming device, especially when you get the same result by using a smartphone’s Wi-Fi hotspot feature, which would also allow for faster 4G data and connectivity with other devices.

Sony and AT&T are hoping to lure people into paying for data plans by offering exclusive in-game content when players check in at certain geographic locations. We may be able to judge the 3G Vita’s success based on whether game makers continue to produce these kinds of exclusives long after launch.

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HDTVs are a Commodity

Back in the 1990s, I really, really wanted a Sony Trinitron TV. Couldn’t afford one. So I bought a cheap Sharp TV, and felt deprived.

These days, as the Atlantic’s Derek Thompson explains, all HDTVs are remarkably inexpensive, and getting more so every week. And it’s increasingly hard for any particular brand to stick out from the pack:

This makes televisions different from, say, a tablet. You can compare the iPad and the BlackBerry Playbook across many factors: screen quality, screen size, speed, connection, touch responsiveness, and app store. The iPad is really, really different from the BlackBerry PlayBook. A Sony 40-inch flatscreen TV is really, really similar to a Panasonic. This makes it difficult to build what analysts call “brand premium.” You might pay extra for an Apple product because you have a clear sense of what Apple offers above and beyond other similarly-priced products. Televisions don’t have the same differentiation. As a result, TV prices tend to converge more than other electronics. Given the behavior of consumers, and the efficiency gains of manufacturers, the direction of that convergence is down.

This is an enormous headache for TV makers–and a nightmare, really, for a company like Sony, which is used to being able to command a stiff price premium. Overall, though, it’s great news for TV buyers.

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Sony’s PS Vita Gets a U.S. Release Date: February 22

We already knew Sony’s Playstation Vita was going to miss the holiday shopping season in the United States, but now we know by how far. The handheld, which aims to be portable gaming’s last stand against smartphones and tablets, launches on February 22, 2012.

The post-2011 launch date outside of Japan gives Sony and game publishers more time to finish their launch titles. Sony must have seen how poorly Nintendo’s 3DS fared without a solid game lineup, and wanted to avoid releasing the Vita with a whimper. The company says more than 100 PS Vita games are in development now, but didn’t say how many will be available at launch. (In Japan, where the PS Vita launches in December, 26 games will be available from the beginning.)

Sony’s still planning to sell the PS Vita for $250 in the United States, or $300 with 3G connectivity from AT&T. Nintendo’s decision to slash the 3DS price from $250 to $170 apparently hasn’t changed Sony’s thinking on the matter. The cost of AT&T 3G service is still a mystery.

I’m looking forward to the PS Vita even though I have my doubts about the viability of gaming handhelds in a world of smartphones, tablets and the iPod Touch. The PS Vita acknowledges those threats by including a touch screen, front- and rear-facing cameras and apps like Skype, Facebook, Twitter and a web browser, but it also tries to be a serious gaming handheld with quad-core graphics and dual analog sticks for shooters and other modern games. I hope Sony is giving itself enough time to get the little things right and to have a big launch in four months.

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Sony, Bring This Android-Powered Walkman Over Here

One of the ongoing mysteries of consumer electronics is why the enormously popular iPod Touch has its market–touch-screen media players that can run apps–pretty much all to itself. (I still think you could make a nice Windows Phone-powered Touch competitor; Microsoft apparently isn’t interested.) But at Sony’s booth at CEATEC in Tokyo last week, there was a row of Walkman devices–and one of them, the NW-Z1000, is the Touch alternative I’ve been wondering about.

It’s got a 4.3″ display and runs Android–and while the user interface is in Japanese, limiting my ability to judge it, it looks quite nice. It’s coming out in December in Tokyo, but Sony apparently doesn’t have any plans to bring it to the U.S. I’d love to see see it get here, if only to see how it would fare against the iPod Touch.

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Sony Attacked, Not Hacked

Sony has another security headache on its hands, but don’t call it a hack.

According to the official Playstation blog, some entity was trying to sign in to users’ accounts on the Playstation Network, the Sony Entertainment Network and Sony Online Entertainment, using “a massive set” of login data obtained elsewhere. The attackers likely got a hold of a large username and password database, and were trying to see if any of those logins worked on Sony’s networks.

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Seen at CEATEC, Tokyo’s Big Gadget Show

I had a good time last week visiting Tokyo to attend the CEATEC show. Back here in the states, most people don’t know what that is–and I explain that it’s similar to CES and IFA the biggest consumer electronics exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe, respectively. But that doesn’t fully describe CEATEC, which is a smaller show (though still pretty expansive) and focused on the Japanese market rather than a global marketplace.

The best way to convey what it’s like is to share some of the photos I snapped. So here we go.

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Sony Outlaws Class Action Lawsuits by PSN Users; Thank the Supreme Court

Playstation Network users may no longer file class action lawsuits against Sony, under a new user agreement that players must agree to before signing into the network. Now, PS3 and PSP owners will have to sue individually or seek arbitration for issues like security breaches or the removal of advertised features.

And guess what? The policy change is probably legal thanks to the Supreme Court.

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