Sony today announced the Xperia Z2, its latest flagship Android smartphone. The Z2 picks up with the Z1/Z1S left off. It uses Sony's omnibalance design language and is formed by two glass panels and an aluminum frame. The Z2 features a 5.2-inch 1080p HD LED X-Reality display that makes use of Sony's Mobile Bravia Engine for added clarity. Sony has improved the water and dust resistance of the phone, so it is able to spend more time submerged than before. The device includes a 20.7-megapixel main camera with Sony's Exmor RS sensor and G Lens. It is able to capture 4K video and includes multiple microphones to eliminate noise and capture stereo sound. It can shoot 1080p HD video at up to 120 frames per second for slow-motion playback, and it can make use of new augmented reality backgrounds for creative results. The Z2 is run by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with four cores clocked at 2.3GHz each, paired with the Adreno 330 GPU. It includes a wide array of Sony apps and services, such as Walkman, Music Unlimited, PlayStation, and Play Memories Online. The Z2 has a 3,200mAh battery and Sony's Stamina Mode software to improve battery life. It measures 8.2mm thick and offers the expected set of connectivity options, such as NFC, Bluetooth, GPS, Wi-Fi and LTE. The Sony Xperia Z2 will be available worldwide in April.
Verizon Wireless is offering a system update to the Sony Xperia Play gaming Android smartphone. The update adds continuous auto-focus when shooting 720p HD video, improves the user experience when loading games, and lets owners use the right trigger button as a camera/shutter control. Other benefits of the update include the addition of VZ Navigator, the Wireless Emergency Alerting System, and Verizon Video-on-Demand; fast-forward and rewind Bluetooth controls for the music player; the ability to turn off the mobile hotspot ID broadcast; and numerous big fixes.
The U.S. Department of Justice today gave Rockstar Consortium the permission it needs in order to move ahead with its planned purchase of approximately 4,000 patents from the defunct Nortel. The consortium, which includes Apple, Microsoft, RIM, Ericsson, and Sony, said it would buy the patents for $4.5. billion, with Apple contributing the lion's share of the purchase price at $2.6 billion. The patent portfolio consists of assets related to a broad array of networking, communications, and internet technologies.
Sony Mobile recently made beta preview versions of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich available to a number of its smartphones. The beta ROM is available to the Xperia Arc S, Neo V, and Xperia Ray. It follows an alpha build of Android 4.0 released for these same phones at the end of 2011. Sony has said it will deliver a final version of Android 4.0 to these phones by March. The preview gives the owners of the Arc S, Neo V, and Ray a chance to get use Android 4.0 without the need to root their phones. Not all features and functions work 100%, but the majority of them do.
Research In Motion today provided an update to the Bridge application used to connect BlackBerries with the company's PlayBook tablet. The new Bridge software makes use of the HID Bluetooth profile to turn BlackBerry smartphones into remote controls for other HID-capable devices, such as the PlayBook, Android tablets, Sony PS3's, and Windows and Apple PCs. The updated Bridge software was released in coordination with the availability of PlayBook OS 2.0 for RIM's tablet. It is a free download from BlackBerry App World.
Sony announced that it has finalized the acquisition of Ericsson's shares of the two companies' joint venture, Sony Ericsson. Sony Ericsson is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony Corp. and has been renamed to Sony Mobile Communications. Sony said that it will work to integrate Sony Mobile and its handsets across Sony's line of consumer electronics.
Qualcomm today announced that it and partner Ericsson have successfully completed the first voice call handover from an LTE mobile network (using voice over LTE — or VoLTE) to a WCDMA network. The call used Single Radio Voice Call Continuity (SRVCC), which is required for VoLTE calls to seamlessly switch to a WCDMA network when a consumer on a VoLTE call leaves the LTE network's coverage area. SRVCC and its predecessor CSFB (circuit-switched fall back) allow both LTE and 3G network connections to be supported on a single chip, which lets handset makers design smaller, less expensive, more power-efficient phones. The test was completed using an Ericsson handset with Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 3G/LTE multimode processor.
The European Commission has approved Sony's intent to buy Ericsson's portion of the two companies' cell phone joint venture. Sony first announced in October that it planned to buy Ericsson out for $1.39 billion. EU regulatory approval was necessary for the deal to move forward. Sony said the first "Sony" branded Xperia smartphone will be released soon.
Sony recently indicated that it plans to make its WebGL implementation created for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich available as open source. Sony explains that the "WebKit code for Android 4.0 is much more recent, and therefore the required modifications are more manageable." Sony made this decision based on feedback from its developer community and because it says it is committed to open web standards. The code is free for anyone who is interested in using it and/or modifying it to suit their own purposes.
Sony today announced a new back-illuminated CMOS image sensor for smartphones, tablets, and other devices. Sony says that this sensor was made by laying the "pixel section containing formations of back-illuminated structure pixels onto chips containing the circuit section for signal processing." According to Sony, the chief benefit of this design is to reduce the size of the image sensor to be installed in end-user devices. Other benefits include the ability to handle higher-quality images, faster processing speeds, and lower power requirements. The sensor will begin sampling in March, and Sony says that devices using it will offer RGBW Coding for low noise and good low-light performance, as well as Sony's new HDR Movie processing for better color in bright light.
Here is a quick look at the Sony Xperia Ion, an LTE smartphone for AT&T
One of the first phones to bear only the "Sony" name, the Xperia S is a sleek Android smartphone.
Sony today announced the Xperia S, a new Android smartphone that is among the first wave of products to lose the Sony Ericsson branding. The Xperia S is similar to the Xperia Ion announced earlier today. It has a 4.3-inch 720p HD display, 12-megapixel Exmor camera, and a 1.5GHz dual-core processor. The Xperia S will include support for near-field communications and ships with Android 2.3 Gingerbread with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich promised for the second quarter of the year. It will come in black and white, and will be available in select markets by the end of the first quarter.
AT&T today announced six new LTE phones, some with record-breaking high-resolution cameras.
- Sony Ericsson Xperia Ion, an Android phone with a 12-megapixel camera with Sony Exmor R sensor and 4.7-inch full HD display. A front camera also supports 720p capture. It also sports HDMI-out and is PlayStation Certified.
- HTC Titan II, with a 16-megapixel camera and a 4.7-inch Super-LCD display. Powered by a Qualcomm 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S2 processor.
- Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket HD, with a full HD display measuring 4.65 inches, powered by a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor.
- Samsung Galaxy Note, with a huge 5.3-inch display that borders on tablet size. A stylus is included, but not required. 1.5 GHz dual-core processor.
- Samsung Exhilarate, an affordable LTE smartphone with a 4-inch Super AMOLED display and made from 80 percent recycled post-consumer materials.
- Pantech Burst, with 4-inch Super AMOLED display and Android.
Sony Ericsson today provided more information about when it expects to update its Xperia Android smartphones to Ice Cream Sandwich. The first wave of handsets (Xperia Arc S, Neo V, and Ray) will be updated in late March or early April, says Sony Ericsson, which is currently in the process of merging Android 4.0 with its Xperia software. The rest of the Xperia line (Xperia Arc, Play, Neo, Mini and Mini Pro, and Active) will receive Android 4.0 in late April or early May. Sony Ericsson said owners of Xperia-branded smartphones will be notified when the update is ready for their phone.
Sony Ericsson today revealed that the Xperia Active Android smartphone is available to U.S. buyers through a handful of online retailers, including Newegg. It costs $339.99, is being sold unlocked, and is compatible with AT&T's 3G network.
C Spire Wireless today announced the launch of Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play gaming smartphone. The Xperia Play is available immediately through most C Spire retail channels for $49.99 after rebate with a new two-year agreement.
Sony Ericsson recently revealed that it is going to discontinue its Sony Ericsson Sync service, which was meant to help users of Sony Ericsson devices, such as the Xperia line of smartphones, keep their contacts synced properly across devices. In a note posted to its support forums Sony Ericsson lays out the steps users need to take to make sure their contacts and other date are backed up. Sony Ericsson recommends that its users switch to Google Sync or other similar services for their future syncing needs.
Sony Ericsson today announced that it has made the Xperia neo V and arc S available to U.S. buyers through the online Sony Store. Both handsets are being sold unlocked. The neo V costs $349.99 and the arc S costs $449.99, no contracts required.
Sony Ericsson today announced on its blog that it will update its entire line-up of Xperia-branded Android smartphones to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. This includes the Xperia arc and arc S, Xperia Play, Xperia neo and neo V, Xperia mini and mini pro, Xperia pro, Xperia active, and Xperia ray. Sony Ericsson said that it is working to merge the features of its Xperia software with those of Android 4.0, and will have more information on the availability of the system updates at a later time.
Sony Ericsson today announced that it has partnered with Ingram Micro to help distribute its unlocked smartphones to retail points in the U.S. Ingram Micro ships devices to retailers world wide, and has a number of U.S.-based reseller partners, including Amazon.com, Best Buy, Buy.com, and Newegg.com. When Ingram Micro starts shipping Sony Ericsson's smartphones later this month, they will become available to U.S. buyers from the aforementioned retailers. The agreement covers a number of devices in Sony Ericsson's Xperia line of Android smartphones.
Sony today announced that it is going to purchase Ericsson's share of the two companies' Sony Ericsson cell phone joint venture for $1.47 billion. Once the purchase is complete, Sony Ericsson will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony, which intends to integrate the handset division into its other consumer electronics products. As part of the deal, Sony gains five essential patent families related to wireless technology, and also struck a cross-licensing agreement with Ericsson concerning other, non-essential patents. The transaction has been approved by the boards of both companies, and is expected to close in January 2012, pending regulatory review. The joint venture originally launched in October 2001.
Sony Ericsson said that it is going to shift its entire cellular phone business to smartphones only starting in 2012. According to Sony Ericsson, smartphones already account for 80% of its sales and its Android phones account for 12% of all worldwide Android sales. The company still makes some feature phones, but will cease doing so come next year. Reports surfaced last week that Sony might buy Ericsson out of the joint venture so that the company can more closely integrate its smartphone products with Sony's large line of consumer electronics. Sony Ericsson CEO Bert Nordberg declined to verify that report.
Sony is near to reaching a deal that would let it buy Ericsson's stake in the two companies' cell phone joint venture, reports the Wall Street Journal. According to sources familiar with Sony's plans, the company wants to fully control the cell phone and smartphone business so it can more fully integrate those products with its computer, tablet, media player, and other consumer electronics businesses. Sony Ericsson was created by the two companies in 2001 and is currently the world's sixth-largest maker of cell phones. The Journal said that the talks between Sony and Ericsson have been on-again / off-again for years, are still tenuous, and could fall apart at any time. The Journal believes Ericsson's stake in the joint venture is valued between $1.3 billion and $1.7 billion, though it is not clear what Sony would pay to Ericsson to regain full control over the company. Sony wants to be able to more effectively compete against companies such as Apple and Samsung.
Sony Ericsson CEO Bert Nordberg indicated during an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the company is not planning to adopt Microsoft's Windows Phone platform any time soon. "At this point I wouldn't feel comfortable investing in a platform that isn't as good as the one that we currently use," said Nordberg. "Therefore we have remained with Android, but I am quite curious about Windows Phone. However, our Android strategy has been successful and the best choice we could have made, considering the growth of the Android platform." The Journal also queried Nordberg on why Sony Ericsson has been slow to adopt the newest technologies in its handsets, such as Long Term Evolution and WiMax. Nordberg replied, "We are quite careful throwing ourselves into new technology, simply because there is no guarantee that consumers will buy, just because we develop it. But it's safe to say that Sony Ericsson should have taken the iPhone more seriously when it arrived in 2007." Nordberg went on to say that the company is using the Xperia Play Android smartphone, which is sold by both AT&T and Verizon Wireless, as a stepping stone to grow its share of the market in the U.S.
Sony Ericsson today announced that it is making the Xperia Ray Android smartphone available to buyers in the U.S. via newgg.com and other online retailers. The Xperia Ray runs Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread and features an 8.1-megapixel camera with an Exmor CMOS sensor, face detection/recognition, autofocus, touch-to-focus, and 720p HD video capture, and a 3.3-inch Reality Display with the Mobile Bravia Engine. The Xperia Ray retails for $429.99 and is sold without a contract. it is compatible with AT&T's 3G network.
Skype has updated its Android application to version 2.5. The new version of Skype adds compatibility with a number of new handsets, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1; HTC Nexus One and EVO 3D; Sony Ericsson Xperia Live and Xperia neo V; LG Optimus Black, Optimus 3D, and Optimus 2x; Motorola Photon, Droid 3, Bionic, Xoom, and Atrix; and the Acer Iconia. In addition to the new devices, Skype 2.5 for Android supports video calls in portrait and landscape; it includes double-tap to zoom; groups recent calls by contact; improves support for Bluetooth headsets; adds the ability to delete and edit IM messages; and adds in-app advertising for non-premium users. The software is free to download and install from the Android Market.
Isis today announced that a large number of handset manufacturers have agreed to adopt Isis' near-field communication technology for mobile payments. HTC, LG, Motorola Mobility, RIM, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, and DeviceFidelity will all introduce NFC-enabled mobile devices that use components backed by Isis' NFC standards. Isis is a joint venture between AT&T, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless that aims to bring NFC-based mobile payments to their customers. Trials are scheduled to start in early 2012.
AT&T today announced that it will sell its own version of the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play gaming Android phone starting September 18. The device will cost $49.99 with a new agreement.
Sony Ericsson today announced the Xperia Arc S, an update to the Xperia Arc that bumps the processor up to 1.4GHz. Sony Ericsson says the Xperia Arc S can open the camera application 25% faster and render web sites 20% faster. In addition to the faster processor, the Xperia Arc S includes an 8-megapixel camera with an Exmor sensor and can capture 2D and 3D panoramas, which can be viewed on 3D HDTVs via the HDMI output. The camera can shoot 720p HD video and has an LED flash, touch-to-focus, and image stabilization. The Xperia Arc S has a 4.2-inch Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA Engine and runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread. It will ship with Sony's Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited services, which provide access to music and video content. The Arc S will ship in two variants, including a quad-band 800/850/1900/2100MHz UMTS/HSPA version for use on U.S. networks. All variants include Bluetooth, GPS, FM radio, and Wi-Fi. The Xperia Arc S will ship in select markets starting in the fourth quarter.
Sony Ericsson today announced that it will provide a major software update to the bulk of its Xperia Android smartphones. The update includes Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread and a number of new features from Sony Ericsson. The update will add: Google Talk with Video Chat to devices with user-facing cameras; a 3D sweep panorama mode to device cameras; easier app and game sharing/discovery within Facebook; compatibility with USB-based accessories to the Sony Ericsson LiveDock multimedia station; swipe text input; and the ability to take screen shots from any application. This update will be delivered to the Xperia Play, Xperia arc, Xperia neo, Xperia ray, Xperia pro, Xperia mini and Xperia mini pro smartphones. The update will go out in select markets starting in October
Sony Ericsson today announced the Xperia Neo V, a new Android smartphone that will include refreshed Xperia software from Sony Ericsson. The Neo V is a monoblock slab running Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread with a 1GHz SnapDragon processor and a 3.7-inch, scratch resistant 480 x 854 FWVGA Reality Display with Mobile Bravia Engine. The new Xperia software heavily revises the Facebook experience on the phone; adds swipe text input and easy screen shots; adds 3D sweep panorama capabilities to the camera; and enables a wide array of USB-based accessories, such as mice, keyboards, and game controllers. Other features of the Xperia Neo V include a 5-megapixel camera with auto-focus/touch-to-focus, face detection, panoramas, LED flash and 720p HD video capture. It includes Wi-Fi, aGPS, Bluetooth, FM radio with RDS, and support for microSD cards up to 32GB. One variant of the Neo V will have support for AT&T's 3G networks. Pricing and availability were not announced.
Sony Ericsson today announced the Live, a new Android 2.3 Gingerbread Android smartphone with dedicated WalkMan features. The Sony Ericsson Live with WalkMan is a monoblock slab with a 3.2-inch display with 320 x 480 pixels. It comes with a WalkMan button to call up the device's music features, which include stereo speakers with xLOUD so they sound good at high volumes; Sony's Qriosity music and video content services; track ID to identify songs playing on the radio; and the Infinite button, which taps the internet to deliver content about the artist currently playing in the WalkMan application. The Live also includes an FM radio with RDS and Stereo Bluetooth. Other features include a 5 megapixel camera with autofocus, face detection, smile detection, touch-to-focus, flash/video light, and 720p HD video capture. The Live with WalkMan includes Skype, Sony Ericsson's TimeScape and Facebook applications, and 3D games. The Live comes in two different radio configurations, one of which is a quad-band GSM/EDGE and tri-band 850/1900/2100MHz UMTS/HSPA variant for North America. Sony Ericsson expects the Live with WalkMan to ship globally during the fourth quarter. Pricing was not released.
LG and Sony have settled a long-running patent dispute between the two companies that has spanned several years. The dispute involved smartphones, as well as TV and Blu-ray technology. The dispute began when the two companies failed to renegotiate a cross-licensing deal in 2008. Sony filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission seeking to block LG from important certain smartphones. The two companies affirmed that the patent litigation has been dropped, and that a new cross-licensing agreement has been signed, but didn't provide details on the terms.
According to sources cited by Bloomberg, Samsung and Apple have indicated their interest in acquiring patents from InterDigital. Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google has held preliminary acquisition discussions with InterDigital, too. InterDigital owns and licenses some 8,800 patents pertaining to cellular phones, including wireless data transmission, noise cancellation, and other handset-related technologies. The smartphone industry is embroiled with patent litigation. The Journal said that Google is interested in InterDigital's patents after its recent loss in the Nortel patent auction, which was won by a consortium of companies that included Apple, RIM, Sony, and others. Without many patents of its own, Google is more susceptible to patent litigation than its competitors. Purchasing InterDigital and its 8,800 wireless patents would give Google at least some legal protection. Samsung and Apple are in the middle of a heated lawsuit regarding smartphones, and the addition of InterDigital's patents could give one a courtroom-advantage over the other. InterDigital has hired a firm to help it explore patent sales options, but none of the companies has confirmed Bloomberg's or the Journal's reports.
Skype has provided an update to its Android application that adds the video chatting feature to a large number of new Android handsets. Skype notes that Gingerbread is required to use the video chat feature, so owners of the following phones are encouraged to make sure their system is up to date. The new handsets are: the Acer A5; the HTC Desire, Thunderbolt, Sensation, EVO 4G, EVO 3D, Incredible S, Desire HD, Flyer; the LG Revolution; the Samsung Galaxy S, Galaxy S II, Droid Charge, Galaxy Tab; and the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, Xperia ray, and Xperia mini pro. The update is free to install.
Sony Ericsson today announced that it will make its Xperia Arc Android smartphone available to customers in the U.S starting in August. The device will be sold directly to consumers via Sony Ericsson's online retail site, as well as Amazon.com, Newegg.com, and Buy.com. The Xperia Arc is compatible with AT&T's 2G/3G networks, runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and has an 8 megapixel camera. The full retail price of the Xperia Arc is $599.99.
Both the Motorola Droid X2 and the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 can be updated to Android 2.3 Gingerbread thanks to Verizon Wireless and Sony Ericsson. Droid X2 owners can update their handset over the air using the on-board system update tools. If they don't, Verizon's servers will eventually notify the user that the update is available. Xperia X10 owners will need to connect their handset to a computer to download and install the Gingerbread system update. It will become available at some point in the next few days. The update adds a number of new features to both handsets.
According to sources cited by the Wall Street Journal, Google has held preliminary acquisition discussions with wireless patent firm InterDigital. InterDigital owns and licenses some 8,800 patents pertaining to cellular phones, including wireless data transmission, noise cancellation, and other handset-related technologies. The Journal's sources say Google is interested in InterDigital after its recent loss in the Nortel patent auction, which was won by a consortium of companies that included Apple, RIM, Sony, and others. Without many patents of its own, Google is more susceptible to patent litigation than its competitors. Purchasing InterDigital and its 8,800 wireless patents would give Google at least some legal protection. Neither Google nor InterDigital confirmed the Journal's story, though InterDigital has hired banking firms to explore the idea of a sale.
AT&T revealed at a media event in New York that it will soon offer the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play. According to representatives on-hand, the device will run Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and can access AT&T's HSPA+ network at 21Mbps. Pricing and availability weren't available.