For those that don’t know, we recently started a new podcast surrounding the topic of the Friday Debate. During last week’s episode we focused on the design rumors regarding the HTC One M9, while also touching on the Sony Xperia series. Interestingly enough, the response was that most of us have somewhat given up on Sony when it comes to design and probably various other areas — at least as far as the western market is concerned.
Now earlier today we heard a report that, in addition to shrinking its lineup, Sony may end up cutting back on its two-flagship a year model in favor of a more traditional once a year approach. While the report was focused on Sony in Taiwan, it makes sense that Sony would apply a similar move to other markets. Personally I like Sony’s premium (admittedly somewhat Apple-like) styling and their minimalistically skinned Android builds, but I’m not so keen on their twice a year release schedule. And so this got me thinking, what benefits would Sony see from reducing down its twice a year model to just one major flagship a year?
The benefits of going to a once a year model
The most obvious benefit is a reduction of cost. One less model would potentially mean that Sony could cut down on marketing, R&D and everything in between. Considering Sony’s mobile division isn’t exactly swimming in money, such a move could really make sense for the company.
or consumers, the benefit is that new flagships would actually be worth the upgrade.
For consumers, the benefit is that new flagships would actually be worth the upgrade. The Xperia Z2 and Z3 are almost identical from a spec sheet point of view, and while this doesn’t matter to new Sony fans or those upgrading from much older models (like the original Z or the Z1), some folks like to be on the bleeding edge of tech and don’t like to see that their “new phone” isn’t the latest just a few months after buying.
Okay, so how “new” your model is shouldn’t really matter to folks, but some people do care and therefore they might pass on Sony devices altogether because the two-flagship-a-year model turns them off. I genuinely think that Sony’s current release schedule is a turn off for hardcore buyers and considering Sony phones are mostly sold unlocked in the western markets, that could be a very real problem for Sony’s bottom-line.
Are there any negatives to leaving the two-a-year model behind?
With Sony switching to a once a year release schedule, they’d be more attractive to consumers that like having the bleeding edge and don’t want to have a new model released only months after they invest in a new phone. Sony would also save (theoretically at least) save money on R&D, marketing and other associated costs that come with a two year a model. But what would they lose?
Currently, Sony fans know that whenever they are ready to upgrade from an older model, the phone they buy should have the most advanced specs around.
Probably the biggest advantage of the two-a-year model is that Sony fans know that whenever they are ready to upgrade from an older model, the phone they buy should have the most advanced specs around, since it won’t be any older than six months by the time they make the purchase. Then again, this doesn’t always hold true, considering when the Z3 was released the Note 4 rolled out with a Snapdragon 805 but the Z3 stuck with an 801.
Beyond this, I personally don’t see any advantages to the two year release schedule, especially since the jumps in mobile technology seem to be lessening with each year.
Reducing the number of phones and the number of releases won’t magically fix Sony
Of course, reducing the number of phones and number of releases is a start, but won’t automatically mean that Sony will start to see its sales numbers pick up. Sony also needs to work on improving marketing around the globe, expanding to new markets (more carrier partnership in the US, perhaps?) and finding new ways to compete with bigger players like Samsung and up-and-coming players like Xiaomi and other Chinese companies. Of course, talk is easy and I admit I am just a writer, not someone with deep inside knowledge as to how things go on at Sony or what it would take for Sony to rise to the top.
With that said, what would you like to see Sony do differently in 2015? What would it take to convince you to jump onboard and get yourself an Xperia Z4 or really any Sony device?
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According to a report earlier today, Sony is working on extending their smartphones’ life cycles, specifically in the Taiwan market. Jonathan Lin, General Manager of Sony’s Taiwan branch, told reporters that on top of extending the lifetime of devices, the company is planning on shifting focus to mid-range and high-end devices.
Lin explained to the reporters:
Our current strategy is on how to extend product life cycle, for which we plan to offer more mobile content and new color phones.
Lin also mentioned that most Android phones fall to the wayside 3 to 6 months after their release, and the company is working to change that. Lin explains that Taiwan’s purple version of the Xperia Z2, which launched in May 2014, accounted for nearly 40% of the device’s sales in the country. So, the company is planning on limiting smartphone releases every year and gradually launching new color options to increase profits, at least in Taiwan.
We know that Lin told Taiwan reporters this information exclusively, but we could imagine this to be true for all areas of Sony’s mobile branch. We’ve already heard reports of Sony shrinking its smartphone line, cutting 1,000 jobs and reporting a loss of $1.7 billion last year, so we already know drastic changes are ahead.
In addition to the reports from Taiwan, the Xperia Blog has received new information regarding Sony’s plans not to release the upcoming Xperia Z4 at this year’s MWC 2015. The blog also entertains the idea of a Summer release for the handset, which, if true, would leave Sony’s presence very scarce for the trade show.
Only time will tell whether or not these reports are true, so in the mean time, take a look at our Sony Xperia Z4 rumor roundup! Do you think we’ll see the Z4 at MWC this year? And if Sony extends their device’s life cycles, how much do you think it will help the company?
After several years years of hiatus, an official announcement, and the shockingly rapid decline of the music game market, Rock Band suddenly leapt back to life this month. Harmonix Music Systems — the studio responsible for the music game craze, and the studio that created Guitar Hero, Rock Band and Dance Central — announced new tracks heading to the Rock Band online store, which works with both Rock Band 3 and Rock Band Blitz. Why in the world is Harmonix releasing new tracks as paid, downloadable content for games that only exist on previous generation consoles? The official word is full of public relations obfuscation:
“We had an exciting opportunity to add new content to the already-massive Rock Band library with a song from Arctic Monkeys – a band that’s never been in a Rock Band title before! – as well as new music from fan favorites Avenged Sevenfold and Foo Fighters. We couldn’t pass it up. Also, we wanted to see if we could still do it. Turns out we can. It’s sort of like riding a bike.”
Great. That out of the way, what’s really happening? Companies don’t just casually release new content for years old games. That’s not a thing that happens. I’d call it “testing the waters.”
First and foremost, here’s an interesting, not exactly surprising fact: “hundreds of thousands” of people are still playing Rock Band every month. That’s what a Harmonix rep told me, and it refers to folks playing online on “all platforms where DLC is available” (there’s no way of measuring how many folks are playing offline, but let’s wager that it’s not a lot).
For those of you wondering who’s still holding onto all those plastic instruments, the answer is “a surprisingly large group of people.”
As for the rest of us, well, my house is purged of all the fake guitars, wireless microphones, and plastic drum kits that accumulated across the Guitar Hero / Rock Band years. The same goes for most of my friends, and I doubt you’re much different. Beyond the burnout that comes with releasing several junky, obvious cash-in games — Activision flooded the market with constant variations on the Guitar Hero franchise — many of us didn’t want to fill closets/basements/dorm rooms/etc. with clunky gaming peripherals.
Harmonix is actually trying to determine how you feel about those peripherals in a survey sent out via Twitter. More importantly, not only is Harmonix trying to determine if you still own old peripherals — the company is asking very specific questions about which aspects of a Rock Band game (local multiplayer? a robust on-disc song library? etc.) are most important to you. It’s also asking which current-gen game consoles you own.
Smells an awful lot like Harmonix is pretty seriously considering a re-birth of its biggest ever franchise — the franchise that both helped popularize music games and managed to get more than one Beatle on stage during a video game press conference.
It certainly doesn’t hurt that the company is being asked about Rock Band all the time. When Forbes‘ Jason Evangelho asked about “Rock Band 4″ back in October 2014 (a theoretical sequel to Rock Band 3), here’s what Harmonix publicist Nick Chester said:
“We love Rock Band, it’s in the company’s DNA. We own the IP. And when the time’s right we will absolutely come back to it. There’s a whole bunch of factors to take into consideration before jumping in that pool again, but there’s a desire for it, absolutely.”
So, given that, and Harmonix CEO Alex Rigopulos outright stating that Rock Band would return at some point this console generation, the question of Rock Band’s triumphant return isn’t a question of if, but of when.
A clever dev over at the XDA-Forums has scored himself a touch of bounty for working out the xploit. Sorry… exploit. The method is not intended for the international Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact devices, which come with unlockable bootloaders, and are rather easily tinkered with by the AOSP and ROM enthusiasts. Nor is it for the Verizon variants with modified hardware. Instead, the exploit is for markets like the U.S. where carriers tend to lock things down.
Let’s not beat around the bush here, with Android Lollipop set to release for Sony hardware soon, You are likely better off waiting for the OTA before rooting. Also, this is not an easy process. Right off the bat, up to date firmware is not compatible, so you’ll need to first roll back to version 23.0.1.A.5.77. From there, it is a matter of simply creating a pre-rooted version of the phone’s hardware, flash a recovery image for your model, then apply the root exploit itself.
XDA user zxz0O0 is who you have to thank for bringing root to your locked Sony Xperia Z3 or Xperia Z3 Compact. He’s been known to bring exploit and similar tools to the forums and will take home at least a part of the current $3017 bounty available for breaking the lock on Sony gear.
Head on over to the XDA post on the matter to get all the resources and instructions to root your Sony Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z3 Compact handsets.
Will you go for root on your Xperia Z3 or Xperia Z3 Compact?
Been waiting for Sony to start dishing out the $15 million in restitution for the 2011 breach that took its PlayStation Network and Qriocity services down back in 2011? Well, thanks to the outfit putting a claim form online, now you can start the payment redemption process. It’s limited to those who had either a PSN, Qriocity or Sony Online Entertainment account prior to the intrusion (May 15, 2011), and the payouts aren’t all that different from what the firm gave out as part of its “Welcome Back” program at the time. Of course, back then PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable games and themes were a bit more desirable, but three months of PlayStation Plus is actually a bit more valuable now than it once was. Sony doling out the goods could still take a bit longer, though.
You see, there’s still a chance that the class-action suit will see an appeal come its May 1st Fairness Hearing, and payments won’t be made until the court grants final approval and any appeals are resolved. Until then, there’s always the PlayStation 4 for gaming — we’ve heard it’s pretty popular.
AnTuTu, one of the most trusted and stable benchmarking app recently released a report on the top most popular smartphones of 2014. What can be a better way to bid adieu to 2014 than knowing how smartphones performed against each other? We got to see some new names in this year and though being new, they too didn’t fail to amaze.
So, we will kick off with how smartphones are ranked globally first. Xiaomi, currently in the lead, snatched the global market share by 16.90% with its Mi4. Last to last year that is in 2013, Xiaomi was in second place and so, indeed it has progressed since then. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S5 being the second and third in the list also got a market share of 15.69% and 15.55% respectively. Not bad Samsung. Some notable runner ups were the Asus Zenfone 5, Meizu MX4 and OnePlus One.
Comparing 2013 with 2014, we see that only Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Google Nexus 5 are the ones which really progressed. On taking a deeper look at the smartphone rankings country-wise, it was the newest OnePlus One that has managed to capture global interest more than Xiaomi. Xiaomi’s large global market share is mostly because of its popularity in Mainland China. It also stands to prove that China is growing to become a big smartphone market.
Keeping these statistics in mind, I noticed a new trend. That is the rise of Chinese OEMs. Definitely, if we group all the Chinese firms together, they will form a large market share. Also, Samsung held the largest global market share with four of its devices in the top 10. And where the hell are you? Sony? LG? HTC? I don’t see them anywhere on the global list. They sure need to pump out some serious efforts or else this year will also go in vain.
Have you ever wanted to play a game that puts you in the shoes of an escaped farm goat that moonlights in a rock band? You might have an odd taste in video games, but Sony’s Music division has you covered. They’ve released Rockin’ Goat onto the Google Play Store that stars Elwood the goat as he builds a band and put on rock shows in a 2D platforming experience.
The game looks fairly well done and features music from a few different artists under Sony Music’s arm. Between the music and several mini-games, this one might be worth checking out for a few laughs while killing some time.
The app itself is free, but there are in-app purchases. You can check out some screenshots and download the game below.
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Sony Music Entertainment today announced the launch of ‘Rockin’ Goat,’ a raucous new mobile adventure game set against the backdrop of Rock and Roll that sends players on an off-the-wall quest blending elements of fantasy, explosive action and music.
Full of fun, unpredictable challenges and exciting mini-games, ‘Rockin’ Goat’ follows the wild exploits of Elwood the goat, a barnyard bandleader who has just escaped the family farm in order to pursue his music dreams.
But making it big as a rock star is anything but easy. Players must collect gold records and tear up the stage all the while watching out for dangerous enemies and obstacles, including flocks of seagulls, angry cacti, toxic boxes, and earth-shattering meteors.
‘Rockin’ Goat’ offers a rollicking 2D platform game play experience in which gamers ram and jam through nine levels and three different environments of vast landscapes and raging concert venues, and recruit other band members in challenging mini-games.
The game also features tracks from artists distributed through RED, a division of Sony Music, including Sister Sin (Victory Records),New Device (Four Worlds), Hark, Menace, Wildlights (Season Of Mist), and Adrenaline Mob (Century Media Records).
The Rockin’ Goat App is available for free from iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rockin-goat/id947041192?mt=8 and Google Play at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ariama.goats
About Sony Music Entertainment:
Sony Music Entertainment is a global recorded music company with a current roster that includes a broad array of both local artists and international superstars. The company boasts a vast catalog that comprises some of the most important recordings in history. It is home to premier record labels representing music from every genre, including Arista Nashville, Beach Street/Reunion Records, Bystorm Entertainment, Columbia Nashville, Columbia Records, Day 1, Epic Records, Essential Records, Kemosabe Records, Legacy Recordings, MASTERWORKS, Polo Grounds, RCA Inspiration, RCA Nashville, RCA Records, Sony Classical, Sony Music Latin, Star Time International, Syco Music, Vested in Culture and Volcano. Sony Music Entertainment is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America.
SOURCE Sony Music Entertainment
Come comment on this article: Sony releases action packed Rockin’ Goat on the Play Store
Sony’s flagship devices have become stale in recent years, with most enthusiasts agreeing that Sony makes good quality smartphones without the required innovation to boost sales. This has resulted in an overwhelming loss for Sony’s smartphone division (almost two billion dollars). Console sales are keeping the company afloat for now, but that might change soon with the Sony Xperia Z4 rumors painting a picture of a powerful new smartphone with perhaps enough changes from the previous generation to boost sales.
Note: This article contains some of the most popular leaks and rumors for the Xperia lines’ new generation, and will be continually updated to include more as they become available.
Very little has been leaked about the design of the Xperia Z4, however the few leaks that do exist seem very promising. The image at the top of this post (if you are on a mobile device, switch to the desktop version of the site to see it), shows an apparent leak from an e-mail between Sony executives. Gizmodo reveals that the message was between the Sony Picture Entertainment CEO (Michael Lynton) and the vice president of consumer marketing (George Leon), as the image is supposedly an official concept for the phone’s design that will be showcased in a new James Bond movie called “Spectre.”
The concept art above seems to further solidify the idea that Sony has decided to take a somewhat more futuristic approach to designing the handset. The new model doesn’t do away with much of the company’s previous design though, as it is still very square and button placement does seem to have remained the same.
Compact and Ultra
Two additional variants of the Xperia Z4 are rumored to be in the works as well, the Z4 Compact and Z4 Ultra. GSM Arena cites a Japanese Blog as confirming the release of the two Z4 variants. Unfortunately I do not speak Japanese, and the Google Translated page makes little sense, so we’ll just have to take their word on this one.
5.5 inches seems to be the consensus when it comes to the rumors on the Z4’s display. Resolutions from 1080p up to 4K have been “whispered” around the web, though a QHD (2560×1440 pixels) is the one most frequently seen. The Z4 Compact and Ultra are said to be 4.7 and 6.44 inches respectively. Most rumors on the web seem to agree that the Compact will sport a 1080p display, whereas the Ultra will sport a 4K display.
According to Android Origin, the newest flagship from Sony will have specs to match the smartphones of the future, with:
– 4 GB of RAM
– Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 CPU (2.8 GHz)*
– Adreno 430 GPU
– 32 GB of internal storage (base)
– 3000 to 3500 mAh battery
– 3 GB of RAM
– Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 CPU (2.8 GHz)*
– Adreno 430 GPU
– 32 GB of internal storage (base)
– 3000 mAh battery
– 3 GB of RAM
– Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 CPU (2.8 GHz)*
– Adreno 430 GPU
– 32 GB of internal storage (base)
– 3500 to 4000 mAh battery
The phones should also include all the newest wireless sensors such as bluetooth 4.1 and Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac. All three variants are also said to be IP68 water and dust resistant. The only significant reported difference between the variants’ hardware is that the Z4 Ultra may include a stylus in order to better compete with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.
*Note: The newest leak from TechRadar seems to suggest a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 will be used instead, though this will soon be outdated and all other leaks I’ve seen have pointed to the 810 instead.
Cameras on smarphones are continually getting better, and the rumors for the Z4’s cameras show no signs of slowing down.
Supposedly the Z4 Compact and main variants will have the same 5 megapixel front-facing camera, paired with a 20.7 megapixel rear-facing shooter. The sensor is reported as being quite large for these cameras, which should help improve low-light performance.
The Z4 Ultra however is said to include a 16 megapixel rear-facing camera, with a smaller sensor than the other two devices.
Audiophiles rejoice, for most rumors of the Xperia Z4 include some pretty major audio enhancements. An amplifier, paired with better stereo separation in the loudspeakers should improve on the previous generation’s audio quality. The walkman app included with all Xperia devices should also be getting a major update, as reported by Digital Trends, most likely because of the Sony Walkman ZX2, which is an audiophile based music player going for $1200 in the US. If you’d like more information on the ZX2, check out our article here.
Not much has been said about the OS for the Z4 at all, however this picture was also leaked in the e-mail between Sony execs:
The image suggests some kind of newly designed lockscreen, and possible even an adaptive display of some kind (though they could just have set it up nicely too).
So when can you get your hands on these devices? Rumors and leaks point to around November 2015 for the variants, which is still quite a ways away unfortunately. The release of the Compact and Ultra variants may have been delayed due to complications with their CPU’s (there have been rumors of overheating). It’s not all bad news though, as the main Xperia Z4 variant is rumored for a May 2015 release which is only a couple of months away!
The post What we know: Sony Xperia Z4 rumors and leaks thus far appeared first on AndroidGuys.
Sony has announced a new variant of their Xperia Z3 smartphone that will be headed to Hong Kong by the end of the month. The new version introduces the color purple to Sony’s portfolio of Xperia Z3 devices and has been officially dubbed the Purple Diamond Edition. Sony also struck a deal to pre-load some content from Disney’s Frozen movie on the device.
The new Purple Diamond Edition will sell for HK$ 4,998 ($645 USD) when it is available for order.
source: Sony Mobile (Facebook)
Come comment on this article: Purple variant of the Sony Xperia Z3 announced for Hong Kong
Purple your favourite color? Like the look of the Xperia Z3? Then Sony’s new Purple Diamond Edition Z3 will certainly appeal to your tastes. Unfortunately, you will have to live in Hong Kong and have a spare HK$4998, about USD$645, lying around before you can get your hands on one.
Sony had offered some previous Xperia Z smartphone models in purple right from release in certain regions, but perhaps the color wasn’t popular enough to warrant a global release this time around.
Although there aren’t any actual diamonds hammered into the smartphone’s case, Sony has thrown in a small selection of new themes for free with this edition of the Xperia Z3 as well. They all originate from various Disney movies, including one for the hugely popular Frozen film, as well as Cinderella and Mickey And Friends themes. Sony has also included an amethyst phone strap in the package, for color co-ordination and what have you.
Other than that, the Purple Diamond Edition is exactly the same as the regular Xperia Z3, featuring a 5.2-inch 1080p display, Snapdragon 801 SoC, 3GB RAM, and a 20.7 MP camera.
The very purple Sony flagship will go on sale in Hong Kong on January 31st.