In the early ’90s, four odd-looking arcade games appeared at a rented-out store in my local mall. For about seven dollars, anyone could stop in and play three minutes of a new virtual reality game called Dactyl Nightmare. I paid up, put on the massive helmet… and then the game was over before I’d even figured out what I was doing in the blocky, chessboard-like environment. The whole experience left a lot to be desired and I never went back. It certainly wasn’t the first VR experience (or the most advanced) made available for public consumption, but it sums up how many felt about the ill-fated, first wave of consumer-facing VR projects: all hype and not enough substance. The times and technology have changed, though, and it’s finally time for round two. VR systems are being developed and promoted at a rate that outstrips the previous era, with better graphics and games (and far less queasiness) than ever before. VR, it seems, is just about ready for prime time. So to commemorate its second coming, let’s take a look at virtual reality’s bumpy road to mainstream recognition.
[Image: AP Photo/Mark Cowan]
Sony’s substantial Android 5.0 Lollipop roll-out continues, with a host of older handsets all being treated to an update this week. Sony Xperia Z (LTE model), Xperia ZR (LTE model), Xperia ZL and Xperia Tablet Z owners should all keep an eye out for an OTA notification in the coming days, as updates have already begun rolling out.
The download, labelled 10.6.A.0.454 and weighing in at around 700MB, will update the list of Xperia devices to Android 5.0.2. It has been spotted as an over-the-air update in countries as far and wide as Hong Kong to the US, even on some carrier branded handsets, suggesting that this is a truly global rollout for these devices.
The update matches features which have already rolled out to Sony’s Xperia Z3, Z2 and other smartphones, including Priority Mode notifications, actionable lock screen notifications, Smart Lock, and the slightly redesigned user interface.
Given the age of some of these handsets, Sony should be commended to bringing Lollipop to so many devices in its extensive Xperia range. Don’t forget, Android 5.1.1 has also recently been spotted running on Sony’s Xperia Z3 smartphone too, so even more updates are likely already in the works.
A number of Asian media sites are reporting that Sony will be holding a launch event for its new Xperia flagship in Hong Kong and Taiwan next week, along with a range of other devices for Asian markets.
Sony has a number of press events scheduled in Eastern markets during next week. For starters, the company will be jetting off to New Delhi, India on May 26th. Here Sony is expected to launch the waterproof Xperia M4 Aqua in the country and possibly a second handset as well. The following day, a press conference for the regional launch the Xperia C4, Z4 Tablet and Z3 Plus will reportedly take place in Taiwan.
Moving on to Thursday 28th, another event is set to be held in Hong Kong. Invites have already begun to circulate and make reference to a “new Xperia flagship”. The invite is touting top of the line camera, screen, sound, design, and water features “all rolled into one”.
Sony will be sending four product development engineers from Japan out to the event in Hong Kong to talk about the new design, but it’s not clear how much of a change, if any, this handset will present from the Xperia Z4 that launched exclusively in Japan last month. Reports appearing right after the launch of the Xperia Z4 suggested that Sony may be preparing a second high-end smartphone for other markets at the end of May, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Sony certainly has a busy schedule next week. What do you think or hope that the company is up to?
Sony’s Xperia Z3 Plus smartphone along with the Xperia M4 Aqua handset could be released in the Indian markets next week if a new report is anything to go by. The company has started sending out invites for an event on May 26, with the teaser clearly hinting at a water resistant device.
The Xperia Z3 Plus is believed to be a marginally upgraded version of the Xperia Z3 (which is what the Xperia Z4 should have been called). Prior reports had pegged the Xperia Z4 to be an exclusive to some regions around the world and that Sony will release a ‘Plus’ variant of the Xperia Z3 elsewhere. We’re guessing the hardware on board will be pretty much the same as the Xperia Z3, but with an upgraded chipset and perhaps even a bigger display.
The Xperia M4 Aqua has been announced by the company already, so there’s no mystery about its hardware at this point. The company is hosting events in Taiwan and Hong Kong on the 27th and the 28th of May respectively, so it seems like the company will announce these devices in all the major Asian markets first. Devices like the Xperia C4 as well as the Xperia Z4 Tablet are also expected to be announced by the company.
Come comment on this article: Sony Xperia Z3 Plus and M4 Aqua could be released in India next week
It’s true, we don’t review quite as many tablets around here as we used to, but that doesn’t mean slates have gone the way of the dodo. Microsoft’s new Surface 3 is as much a budget PC as it is an iPad competitor, while Dell’s sleek Venue 8 7000 reminds us that there’s still a place for high-end tablets. Whether you’re looking to update your own slate or pass one on to someone behind the curve, you’ll find a summary of our top picks in the gallery below or you can head to our complete buyers guide for a full rundown.
It’s getting real for Sony’s Project Morpheus. The electronics giant has posted job listings (eight, all told) for veteran animators, level designers and a few others to fill out a studio dedicated entirely to making virtual reality games. “Based in the North West of England, we aim to build a small but highly experienced team who want to build great games to showcase this exciting new immersive technology,” the postings say. As Eurogamer reports, the Morpheus-exclusive studio should wind up in Manchester, and staff that formerly worked at Driveclub‘s Evolution Studios are involved here. Perhaps that’s why the available positions are somewhat limited in number. Regardless, if you were questioning how serious Sony’s push into VR was, this might sate your curiosity a bit.
Source: PlayStation Jobs
Labels and streaming music services have spent ages bickering over payments for streaming music, but it’s never really been clear who was getting the short end of the stick… besides the artists, that is. We may have a better sense of things now that The Verge has leaked details of Sony Music Entertainment’s 2011 contract with Spotify, however. The two-year licensing deal asked Spotify to pay Sony a total of $42.5 million in yearly advances, and a “Most Favored Nation” clause meant that Sony would always get advance rates as good as any competing label. None of this cash is likely to have reached the musicians themselves, though — sources say that advances typically go straight to the record company.
Sony’s take from the songs was more complex. It got a revenue share that was dependent on its overall percentage of streams, but it also got a per-stream cut that depended on whether or not the royalties from free or paid users would be higher than the revenue share. Moreover, it got up to $9 million in heavily discounted ad placements that it could sell if it wanted.
As for Spotify’s income? That’s less than clear. Spotify has long made it clear that it takes 30 percent of the gross revenue total, but the contract adds that could take up to 15 percent of the ad revenues from hired third parties. How much it made from that would depend greatly on how many outsiders are involve, and how much of that 15 percent really goes to Spotify. The company still isn’t turning a profit, so its cut clearly isn’t that big.
The real mystery surrounds the payout to artists, which are more up to their individual contracts with Sony than Spotify. Some of their agreements were likely written before streaming was a big deal, shortchanging them compared to up-and-coming stars. With that said, the leak shows that the finger-pointing at Spotify’s low per-play royalties (just $0.00225 for each stream) might be excessive — artists could well be stiffed by labels more interested in up-front cash than rewarding their talent.
[Image credit: Alli Harvey/Getty Images for Spotify]
Source: The Verge
Earlier today, T-Mobile announced that it’s now testing the long-awaited Android 5.0 Lollipop update for both the Xperia Z3 (D6616) and Xperia Z1s (C6916).
For those unaware of its content, Lollipop brings support for multiple accounts, improved notifications, a smoother multitasking experience along with the recently-announced Material Design guidelines.
If you’d like to keep up to date with the testing process and be one of the first to know when the upgrade’s ready to begin rolling out, hit the source link below to visit the progress page on Sony’s website.
Come comment on this article: T-Mobile’s now testing the Lollipop update for the Xperia Z3 and Z1s
It’s been a while since we took time out to list our favorite smartphones, which means we’ve had to make more than a few updates to our buyer’s guide. Big players like LG, HTC, Samsung and Motorola have unleashed a flurry of updates to their previous lines, and in most cases the devices are better for it. The G Flex2 has restored our confidence in LG’s curvacious form factor, piling on strong internals and improved specs. Samsung stepped up its game for the with the gorgeous Galaxy S6, while HTC built on the success of its One line to bring us the M9. Motorola added LTE to the Moto E for 2015 and partnered with Google to launch the super-sized Nexus 6. There are plenty of options for all budgets and power requirements, so cruise through the gallery or head over to our buyer’s guide for help picking out your next daily driver.