Sony

Sony Xperia Ion

Android smartphones have the summer to themselves in the absence of any new iPhone launch – so Sony and Samsung are taking on America this week with the Ion and Galaxy S III respectively. Also a look at a cellular Wi-Fi hotspot device from Tep that prevents rip-off roaming charges when using your smartphones abroad.

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Chris Nuttall

Sony was the only console maker to unveil new hardware of any significance at the video game industry’s E3 trade show in Los Angeles this week.

However, the Wonderbook is the most natural looking peripheral you can imagine – it looks just like a real book but works with an Eye camera and Move controller to conjure augmented-reality 3D images from its pages. . It will go on sale later this year for $40 bundled with its first title, Book of Spells, an original work from Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.

In an interview at E3, Andy House, president of Sony Computer Entertainment, told me how the Wonderbook came about. Highlights after the jump. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Sony’s Vaio PC brand is 15 years old and its new line announced today features an anniversary edition of its Z series premium laptop.

The company is unveiling an alphabet soup of new laptops in the E, T, S and Z series as well as L all-in-one PCs. Apart from the Z special, the most distinguishing features are its first US Ultrabook (pictured above) and a lineup that offers premium features across price ranges. Read more

 

HTC One

Smartphones have become the favoured web and social media tool for the “post-PC generation”. As well as being great communications devices, the latest crop boasts features designed to please the most discerning consumers – including better battery life, advanced digital photo apps and high-quality audio.

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Sony smart watch

It will take a lot to knock the iPhone off its perch as the best-selling smartphone. So, competitors are circling around its success and uniform design with different features, screen sizes and the odd gimmick. This week, a look at new pairings and partnerships that offer consumers more flexibility.

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Chris Nuttall

If Apple is not ready to re-imagine the tablet yet, all credit to Sony for trying to do so with its wedge-shaped Tablet S, favourably reviewed last year, and now the clam-styled Tablet P, which was launched in the UK (£500) in December but has only been available in the US, with AT&T ($550, plan not required), since this month.

The P is petite enough to slip into a jacket pocket when folded and seems a more natural accessory than the smaller slates that can do so – it’s like taking a wallet or diary out when opening it. Read more

As he celebrated Sony’s sweep of Grammy awards at a star-draped after-party in West Hollywood on February 12, Sir Howard Stringer looked like a man relieved.

Adele, the Sony-signed British singer, had won six trophies, capping a year of music successes for the Japanese group and its Welsh-American chief executive, who had lured industry veteran Doug Morris to run his record labels, and pulled off a bid for EMI Music Publishing without committing much capital. Read more

Chris Nuttall

If you think the 5.3in-screen Samsung Galaxy Note is a little too large to fit in a pocket, then you will have a real problem with the 10.1in version just unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Samsung has yet to make an official announcement about the phone, but a gargantuan poster to match the giant-sized device has appeared, and at this size, there seems no argument about whether it is a smartphone or a tablet this time. Read more

contour camera

As smartphones offer ‘good enough’ cameras for many people, makers of dedicated stills and video cameras are offering more features and appealing to niche audiences. This week we look at the equipment for those wanting to make films as they fall out of aeroplanes or shred the ski slopes.

Contour+ 3/5

I fear for my friend who uses the Color app on his iPhone to beam me live video as he follows and films his kids on the ski slopes in the equivalent of texting while driving.

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playstation

The Nintendo 3DS put 3D gaming in consumers’ hands last year without the need for special glasses. Now Sony is launching its own take on next-generation portable gaming in the form of the PlayStation Vita, with its superior motion and touch controls, social networking features and cameras.

The notion of a dedicated handheld games console seems almost quaint in the age of the iPad and smartphone gaming. An extra nail in the coffin of such devices appeared to be hammered in a year ago, when Sony unveiled the Xperia Play, an Android phone with slide-out controllers that are very similar to those on a PlayStation 3 or PSP (PlayStation Portable).

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Chris Nuttall

For anyone seeking holes in Activision’s seemingly bulletproof Call of Duty franchise, there was a chink in the armour exposed in NPD US January sales figures released late on Thursday.

Sales fell nearly 50 per cent year-on-year for the world’s best-selling video game in 2011 – that’s comparing the performance of the latest in the franchise – Modern Warfare 3 – with its predecessor, Black Ops.

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Chris Nuttall

Nintendo was demonstrating its forthcoming Wii U next-generation console and Sony its PlayStation Vita handheld at CES in Vegas this week and they cannot come soon enough for the video game industry.

Cowen and Company analysts, mulling December’s NPD-collated US sales figures on Friday, described them as a Wii-saster, with a 42 per cent fall in Wii software dollar-sales year-on-year contributing to a 21 per cent overall industry decline in hardware, packaged software and accessory sales. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

Google is profiting from illegal advertisements on its search engine, even though it takes them down, alleged a report published on the BBC website on Tuesday. Read more

Chris Nuttall

While Cisco infamously abandoned in April its Flip unit, which popularised value-priced and easy-to-use camcorders for consumers, Sony has stuck it out with the Bloggie brand that tried to imitate the Flip’s success.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, two new models are being introduced, although the Bloggie 3D, which I liked when I reviewed it last year, is being phased out. Read more

Apple iPad and iPhone 

 

If 2010 was Apple’s year in personal technology, with the launch of the iPad and major redesigns for the iPhone, MacBook Air and Apple TV, it is harder to call the winners of 2011, with Apple happy with incremental updates and the competition still striving to catch up.

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Chris Nuttall

The Black Friday glad tidings from consumer electronics makers continued on Tuesday, with Sony announcing a big rise in US sales and Microsoft reporting a record week for its Xbox 360 console and Kinect controller.

The news followed Nintendo’s announcement on Monday of record sales of its Wii and 3DS gaming machines. Read more

Tech news from around the web:

Facebook is close to a settlement with the US government over how it uses its members’  personal information, The Wall Street Journal reports. The settlement would require the social network to obtain users’ permission before sharing data in a way that is different from how they originally agreed the data could be used, people close to the negotiations told the WSJ. Read more

sony s tablet

After using Sony’s cameras, consoles, e-readers, televisions and Walkman tape recorders over the years and enjoying its films, music and games, it’s nice to find a little of all of these inside its first tablet.

The Sony Tablet S, just launched, is an all-rounder of a device drawing its strengths from Sony Electronics’ diversity. It also has the trademark Sony style and the quirks that go with it. This is no plain vanilla tablet like many of its Android counterparts and it suffers less in comparison to the more mature iPad 2.

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Chris Nuttall

Sony has been giving the media a sneak peek of the biggest makeover in the short history of Home – the games platform and online virtual world accessible through the PlayStation 3.

Games are being placed front and centre in the redesign, which was announced last month and will be introduced in the autumn, and the Home environment itself will become a game with the introduction of quests. Read more

Sony gave us the hard facts on the launch of its first tablets at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin on Wednesday, naming the two models and giving details of pricing and availability.

Sir Howard Stringer, Sony chief executive, said the products – arriving far later than any of its rivals – would take the tablet world to a new level and, in a jibe at the iPad, “prove that it’s not who makes it first that counts, but who makes it better”.

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