Sony Buys Out Gaikai for $380 Million, A Stormy Future for Cloud Gaming?

Subject: General Tech | July 2, 2012 - 11:03 AM |
Tagged: sony, ps4, Internet, gaming, gaikai, cloud gaming

Gaikai, the streaming cloud gaming service was bought today by Sony Computer Entertainment. At this year’s Fusion Developer Summit, Gaikai stated its goal to be the gaming service on all of your devices, from your cell phone to Smart TV. Interestingly, the recent buyout from Sony raises questions about the future openness of the platform.

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Purchased for $380 million, Sony plans to combine its game catalog with Gaikai’s streaming technology to provide cloud entertainment services. Gaikai CEO David Perry was quoted by The Verge as saying:

“We're honored to be able to help SCE rapidly harness the power of the interactive cloud and to continue to grow their ecosystem, to empower developers with new capabilities, to dramatically improve the reach of exciting content and to bring breathtaking new experiences to users worldwide.”

The biggest question I have about the future of Gaikai is whether not not it will now be a Sony-only technology. At AFDS, Gaikai showed off the technology running on Samsung Smart TVs, though it remains to be seen whether Sony will continue to license the technology to other companies. Should it remain Sony-only, the company could use that exclusivity as a feature-add for its consoles, Google TVs, blu ray players, and televisions. They could further use Gaikai to power its future consoles or to bring its entire library of console games to the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita gaming platforms. The Verge speculates that Sony could be using the technology to bring its back-catalog of PS1 and PS2 games to the current generation console, now that it is otherwise no longer backwards compatible with the older hardware. That sounds like a very plausible plan of action for Sony.

 

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Will Sony bring Gaikai-powered cloud gaming to the PS3?

You can find more additional quotes and speculation over at The Verge. What do you think will happen to Gaikai’s technology? Will Sony put it to good use or did they only buy it now to keep others from using it?

Source: The Verge

Sony Launching New $199 Google TV Box

Subject: General Tech | June 29, 2012 - 07:17 AM |
Tagged: sony, smart tv, htpc, google tv, google, Android

Yes, it does appear that Google TV is still a “thing” – though I am only reminded because Sony has not stoppsed releasing new boxes running Android. The NSZ-GS7 is a small box designed to sit between your TV and cable box to add additional smart TV-like functionality. It is running a dual core Marvell ARM processor, and has 8GB of storage space, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth radios. Rear IO on the device includes two HDMI ports (for HDMI passthrough of your cable box or other media device), optical audio output, an IR blaster port, Ethernet, two USB ports, and a power input port.

Google TV.jpg

The interesting thing about these Google TV products has always been the remotes. There have been some strange designs in the past, but the Sony NSZ-GS7’s remote actually looks nice and comfortable. The front of the remote resembles any standard TV remote with a track pad added to it while the back of the remote features a full QWERTY keyboard. It also has an accelerometer and is allegedly capable of detecting which side of the remote you are using – and will turn off the buttons on the underside to avoid accidental key-presses.

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I really like this remote. Image credit goes to Tom's Hardware.

Beyond the hardware itself, the Google TV box is running Android 3.2 Honeycomb. It is able to acts as an enhanced TV guide as well as providing web access and Google App functionality (for the few apps that have been modified to work specifically with Google TVs anyway). One of the cool apps available is one that can control a Parrot AR.Drone on the big screen with the TV remote, which sounds like fun (my dog would go nuts!). It is also capable of doing picture-in-picture where users can browse the web while also watching the TV in a smaller window.

Tom’s Hardware managed to gets a hands-on demo with the new device courtesy of Sony Canada. They managed to snag several good photos of the hardware and interface. They note that the NSZ-GS7 Google TV box will be coming out next month for those in the US and UK – a Canadian launch is following in August – for $199. You can find more photos at the link above.

Especially with the release of the Nexus Q, I have to wonder if Google is even aware that Google TV is still around, because it really feels like they launched it and then walked away from it. Now that they are focusing on “the cloud” for media playback, the Google TV has even less relevance to the company. On the other hand, I could see an perspective where both devices are able to coexist and flesh out total living room media functionality with the Nexus Q handling the social and cloud media playback and Google TV acting as a better cable box for “offline” media. I am curious though, what you think of Google TV. Do you like it, or would you rather have a beefier HTPC running Windows or Linux on x86/64 hardware? Where do you think the Google TV fits into the living room?

Other Google I/O News:

 

Sony Shows Off Bloggie Live Video Recorder At CES

Subject: General Tech | January 10, 2012 - 01:03 AM |
Tagged: CES, sony, bloggie, bloggie live, camera, camcorder, streaming, qik

Among the Crystal LED televisions Sony had a small pocket camera on display, the Sony Bloggie Live. The successor to the original Bloggie, the stylish camera fits in your pocket and somewhat resembles a smartphone in design.

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The Bloggie Live features 8 GB of internal storage space, a 3" touch screen LCD, and a water resistant exterior. The ExmorCMOS sensor is capable of recording 1080p or 720p video, and the Wi-Fi radio is able to upload photos and videos to the various sharing services including Facebook, YouTube, Dailymotion, Flickr, and Picassa. The Bloggie Live has an LED flash and a stereo microphone. In addition to video, the camera is able to take 12.8 megapixel still photos. In addition, the camera is able to stream video to the internet over Wi-Fi using the Qik streaming service. Using the PlayMemories application, users are also able to wirelessly transfer files from the Bloggie Live to a smartphone.

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Alternatively, Sony also showed off the Bloggie Sport, with is a bit smaller than the Bloggie Live and is waterproof up to 16 feet of water. This camera features 4 GB of internal memory, and is capable of shooting HD MP4 video and 5 megapixel still shots. An "Underwater Mode" further adjusts the white balance automatically.

The Bloggie Live is available for purchase immediately for $250 USD while the Bloggie Sport will cost $180 and will be available in February. The price tag is a bit steep considering the storage is not expandable and there is no external mic jack. Still, aesthetics wise, the new pocket camcorder looks slick.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: MSNBC

Sony Shelves OLED Tech, Brings Crystal LED TV To Bear Against OLED Competition

Subject: General Tech, Displays | January 9, 2012 - 06:50 PM |
Tagged: CES, sony, led, crystal led, oled, tv

While I read a few weeks ago that Sony would not be showing off any OLED TVs at CES, I was a bit saddened. The company was the first to bring a real OLED television one step above vaporware, even if it was only 11" and prohibitively expensive it was advancing the technology. Well, CES is here and Sony did not bring any OLED television to demo, much less bring to market this year. Fortunately, LG and Samsung have the OLED TVs covered. The question of how Sony plans to compete with the OLED competition seems to be in improved LED TV technology.

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Speaking of LED TV technology, while Sony did not bring an OLED TV to CES, they did bring a new LED TV that they claim is much improved over current LED back-lit televisions. They are calling this technology "Crystal LED," and it is powering a 55" prototype television at this years CES. The 55" television uses very small RGB (red, green, and blue) LEDs to create the picture. This is an important distinction as current "LED TVs" are really just LCD televisions with LEDs as the back-light; where the LEDs shine light through the LCD pixels to create the picture. This Sony prototype is an actual LED TV, not just a branding misnomer as the LED lights are what creates the picture and not just a light source.

According to Engadget, Sony claims their true LED TV is greatly improved over LED-back-lit LCDs and offers 3.5 times the contrast, a 1.5 times wider color gamut, and is 10 times faster than LCDs. Although these are Sony's numbers and should be taken with a grain of salt (until independent reviewers can verify), they at least seem reasonable and plausible. The contrast improvement and true blacks should be readily possible thanks to the panel tech being self emitting. If done right, it should come close to the contrast offered by OLEDs which share the self-emitting property. The ability to be 10 times faster than LCDs may be the most questionable number, but still not an outrageous claim.

Stay tuned for more information as we get it! Do you think Sony's Crystal LED prototype has a chance against OLED?

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Engadget

This Two Will Passed – Episode 4 released of total 5…ish.

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | August 6, 2011 - 11:19 AM |
Tagged: tablet, sony, S2, S1

Want to rest your eyes from all of the Quakecon coverage? How about another Sony tablet ad? The first three parts of Sony’s S1 and S2 ad campaign are behind us with the conclusion of this five part series occurring in the fourth part. Frankly I do not really understand it either, but apparently the fifth ad will be a collection of the previous four making the fourth one the actual finale of a series of five. I guess that somewhat makes sense: what better way to promote the products’ collective slogan “Open Your Imagination” than blowing your mind? I say nothing.

This Two Will Passed… okay? Go play it.

The title of this video is “Together anywhere” and features an unsurprising amount of tracks for anyone who watched any or all of the preview videos. Besides metal rails, be sure to pay close attention to the setup prior to the couch station because you will drop bricks at the end of the video. This is also the first time that lyrics appear in the ads which put a very uplifting feel on the campaign. While not as metaphorical as the first two parts suggested, I believe they got their point across. Now all that is left to do is see if it will translate to sales.

Source: Sony

Sony: Lighthearted and Colorful Ads for Tablets

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | July 27, 2011 - 11:12 PM |
Tagged: sony, S2, S1

So part one and part two of Sony’s “Two Will” campaign went off to advertise the upcoming launch of the S1 and S2 Honeycomb tablets over the last couple months with promise of three more on the way. Recently Sony made good on that promise and posted the third last “Two Will” video to Youtube and this one was substantially different from the ones before it. Titled “Filled with fun”, this one has much less of a dark and bleak atmosphere trading the harsh shadowing with light and color.

I don't think it's legal to romance a tablet; well, maybe in Japan.

While rails still play an important role, there is much less emphasis on impressing you with perfectly timed plungers pressing the touchscreen as it zips past. Instead, “Filled with fun” passed by various stations which symbolize the various roles of the tablet: music, movie consumption, literature consumption, and games. There is also a strong emphasis on portability and love in the themes of each of their videos.

Why do you think Sony keeps referencing love in these videos? What is the significance of the couch just before the domino “to be continued”? (Registration not required to comment.)

Source: Sony

Sony: Back on track with their tablet ad campaign

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | July 15, 2011 - 08:39 PM |
Tagged: sony, S2, S1

It was just under a month ago when we reported on Sony’s “Two Will” campaign to promote their pair of upcoming Android Honeycomb tablets. The first video was part of a promised five-part series which started with a Rube Goldberg-esque machine casting shadows which either spell stuff or look like they are part of a city for Echochrome 2 people. It was unclear whether the next videos would have entirely different themes or if they would continue down that aesthetic. Now that the second video is released it appears like rails are here to stay.

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Barely hanging on the tail of a big cat. Nice metaphor -- but not iOS’ naming scheme.

(nor flattering for an ad)

This time around, Sony opens with a colorful fountain, a typing plunger device, and a jingle that is so familiar I have been racking my brain over it for hours trying to figure out where I heard it before expecting it to be some grand clue. There seems to be a lot of hidden metaphor in this ad campaign, much like what was seen in the Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates ads that were pulled because they were panned by critics who could not see where they were headed thus making us all unsure of where they were actually headed because the rest is left unaired. Hopefully Sony will make it through all five of their episodes and we can find out exactly what Sony is trying to make us think about.

What do you think? Best ad ever or has Sony lost their marbles? See more metaphors?

Comment within.

Source: Sony

Sony's Once Open Optical Port Is Now Proprietary In Ironic Twist

Subject: General Tech | July 8, 2011 - 01:35 AM |
Tagged: thunderbolt, sony, pci-e, optical

 

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See that blue port that looks like USB 3.0?  It actually has some optical prowess up its sleeve

Sony is well known among technology enthusiasts as being a company that loves to take the proprietary route; however, in a rather paradoxical twist Sony's new optical port on the VAIO Z did not start proprietary.  In fact, it was only made proprietary after Intel and Apple changed the design of the connection that became named Thunderbolt.

Both Thunderbolt and the new Sony connection are based on Light Peak, the optical standard championed by Intel that promised up to 100Gbps optical connections over 100 meter cables (though this was only in lab conditions).  OEMs influenced Intel into postponing the optical variant of Light Peak in favor of a cheaper electric variant, which is what today's Thunderbolt implementation is.  Thunderbolt uses an electric connection over copper using active cables to promises 10Gbps (20Gbps bidirectional) transfers.  The original design for the connector for Light Peak was a connection that looked like a USB connection and would be able to support USB connections as well as accommodate the Light Peak cables.  However, Apple and Intel decided a few months before what would become Thunderbolt launched to change the connector to a mini-Display Port connection.  

The Sony connection on the other hand, employs the USB-like connector, and is capable of handling USB 2.0, USB 3.0 devices as well as the Sony VAIO Z's Power Media Dock which uses the optical connection that is "based on Light Peak," according to This Is My Next.  While Thunderbolt devices will not be able to plug into the VAIO Z's new optical connector and Sony has not released any specifications on what it is capable of, the inclusion of a Blu Ray drive, lots of I/O options in the form of VGA, DVI, HDMI, one USB 2.0, one USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet, and a discrete 1GB AMD HD 6650M graphics card the connection (whatever its specific transfer capabilities) seems to be no slouch in the transfer speed(s) department.

This Is My Next has the full story on how Sony's (now) proprietary connection joined the companies lineup of proprietary technology despite Sony's efforts to use an non propriety standard (surprisingly) which you can read here.  It is certainly an interesting tale of karma and surprise.  What are your thoughts on the new connection?

Sony gearing up for S1 and S2 tablets with ads

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | June 18, 2011 - 09:22 PM |
Tagged: tablet, sony, S2, S1

We are going to see quite a few Android-based tablets come out in the next few months as the flood gates open for tablet creators. We have been reporting on strong rumors have been pointing to Amazon stepping in the tablet space to extend their Kindle portfolio this fall. Amazon is generally very successful when they decide to step in the market, yet that did not deter Sony from preparing to dive in to the tablet space as well. Sony are preparing to launch a 9-inch tablet and a dual screen 5.5-inch tablet in the autumn and to build hype they have released a video ad campaign to build hype for that event.

This “Two Will” Pass

As you can tell from watching the video, it says little about the product except that they slide really quickly, absolutely love someone, cast ominous shadows, and can kill action figures with lightbulb mind bullets. Sony did mention that this is just the first episode of five so it is possible that their later videos may be more informative. However, if you just want to see what an Echochrome 2-esque city has to do with Android tablet then be sure to watch the next four commercials.

Source: Tom's Guide

Anonymous Denies Responsibility For Sony PSN Attack

Subject: General Tech | May 6, 2011 - 06:20 AM |
Tagged: sony, Internet, Data Breach, Anonymous

As Sony analyzed the forensic data of the recent PSN/SOE attack, they discovered a text file named "Anonymous" and containing the phrase "We are legion," according to Network World. As a result of this, Sony even went so far as to accuse the hacker group as the responsible party in hacking the Playstation Network (and stealing customers' information) in a letter to the U.S. congress.

Anonymous responded to the implications brought by Sony today. Network World reports that Anonymous has stated they were not involved in the attack and that "others performed the attack with the intent of making Anonymous look bad." Based on a press release by the hacker group, it's prior victims had motive to irreparably defame the group in the public eye.  Anonymous stated that they have never been involved in credit card theft.  Further, they claim to be an "ironically transparent movement," and had they truly been behind the attack they would have claimed responsibility for their actions.

The press release goes on to state that "no one who is actually associated with our movement would do something that would prompt a massive law enforcement response."  They further claim that the world's standard fare of Internet thieves would have invested interest in making Sony and law enforcement agencies believe it was Anonymous to throw police off of their trail.

The hacker group names such former victims as Palantir, HBGary, and the U.S. Chamber Of Commerce of being organizations that would like to discredit Anonymous.  "Anonymous will continue its work in support of transparency and individual liberty; our adversaries will continue their work in support of secrecy and control," they state in their press release "we are anonymous."

As Anonymous, Sony, and spectators the world over debate, the affected public continues to wait for the true identies of the hackers involved in stealing 77 milion Sony customers' private information to come to light.