Spotify once set a goal of infiltrating the U.S. market before the end of 2010, which on hindsight turned out to be overly ambitious. Perhaps the first half of 2011 will prove a bit more reasonable.
The European streaming music service isn't bound for North American homes just yet, though it took a giant leap towards that goal by signing a U.S. distribution deal with Sony, All Things Digital reports.
Under terms of the deal, which are being passed on by "multiple sources," none of which include Sony or Spotify, the streaming music service will offer a set number of hours per month of free streaming music, with the option of shelling out for an ad-free version. There will also be a service compatible with mobile devices.
For this to actually happen, All Things Digital says Spotify needs at least one more major music to hop on board, and preferably Universal Music Group, the largest of them all.
Everyone's talking about Nintendo's upcoming 3DS console, but there's another handheld on the horizon: Sony's PSP2. Sure, the PSP2 is a 2D device, but what it lacks in 3D functionality, it makes up for in performance.
According to MCV magazine, Sony is telling developers that its PSP2 "is as powerful as the PlayStation 3."
If true, the PSP2 bodes well for the future of handheld gaming and could help keep dedicated portable consoles relevant as increasingly powerful smartphones carve out a slice of the mobile gaming market. It's also proof that Sony Ericsson's Xperia phone (aka PlayStation Phone) isn't a sign that Sony's moving away from dedicated handheld gaming systems.
Sony will officially announce the PSP2 at a press event in Tokyo on January 27th. According to MCV, Sony plans to launch the device in December.
As the saying goes, 'Keep your friends close, and sue your customers.' Wait, that isn't exactly right, but it's the motto Sony's sticking with as it takes legal action against a band of hackers who uncovered and published security codes for the PlayStation 3 console, BBC News reports.
Sony named 21-year-old George Hotz and more than 100 others associated with a hacking group known as "fail0verflow" in its lawsuit.
"I am a firm believer in digital rights," Hotz said. "I would expect a company that prides itself on intellectual property to be well versed in the provisions of the law, so I am disappointed in Sony's current action. I have spoken with legal counsel and I feel comfortable that Sony's action against me doesn't have any basis."
If George Hotz sounds at all familiar to you, it's because he's the same person who cracked the iPhone's security measures. In this case, Sony is upset that Hotz figured out Sony's secret codes, including a number used to digitally sign all PS3 games and software as genuine. With that key, any software can be signed as legit, including pirated games.
According to Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter's numbers, Nintendo moved around 2.6 million Wii consoles in December, edging ahead of Microsoft's Xbox 360 with 2.5 million units and way ahead of Sony's PlayStation 3 (1.2 million units), CNet reports.
Good for Nintendo, right? Not so fast. If those numbers are accurate, it means Nintendo Wii sales declined 32 percent compared to December 2009. PS3 sales also dropped (to the tune of 12 percent year-over-year), while the Xbox 360 exhibited a healthy 91 percent growth rate compared to one year prior.
There's more bad numbers for Nintendo. For the six month period ended September 2010, Nintendo posted a $24.6 million loss, the result of weak Wii and DS console sales. Going forward, Nintendo hopes to gain some ground with its upcoming 3DS handheld console, but with no living room consoles on the horizon, it will be interesting to see if Wii sales continue to decline or have simply leveled out.
"Suck it up, buttercup, you're going to have to defend your actions." The Supreme Court didn't word things that it way, but it might as well have when it refused to review a ruling that reinstated an antitrust lawsuit accusing major record labels of conspiring to fix song prices, Reuters reports.
The lawsuit, filed by a group of music buyers, alleges that several record companies (including EMI Group, Sony, Universal Music Group, and Warner) agreed to set a wholesale price floor of around 70 cents per song when competitors started to sell music online for lower prices.
In addition, the suit claims shenanigans on MusicNet and Pressplay, a pair of services the record labels started way back in 2001 to sell songs online.
"All defendants signed distribution agreements with MusicNet or Pressplay," the lawsuit contends. It goes on to say that the labels "sold music directly to consumers over the Internet through these joint ventures. Both the joint ventures and the (RIAA) provided a forum and means through which defendants could communicate about pricing, terms, and use restrictions. To obtain Internet Music from all major record labels, a consumer initially would have had to subscribe to both MusicNet and Pressplay at a cost of approximately $240 per year."
The case was dismissed in 2008, but an appeals court ruled that the federal judge involved erred in doing so, a decision upheld by Supreme Court justices refusing to review the case.
Skype video conferencing on the PC has been the reality for a while now, and their recent expansion into mobile devices has helped turned the software client into a household name. With few places left to expand it should be no surprise that the VOIP solution is coming to the living room, but this time you’ll find it packed into upcoming Sony Blu-Ray players.
At the Sony CES booth in Las Vegas they were showing demos of the interface which requires not just the player, but a separate proprietary camera accessory. Video quality will be limited to SD resolution at launch, and according to Sony representatives they have no plans at the current time to make the leap to HD.
With Video calling being a built in feature of Kinect, I’m a bit surprised Sony hasn’t tried to make this happen first on the PS3 first. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see if they end up changing their mind, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time.
For those of you who were betting on Sony announcing a PSP phone at CES: get ready to be disappointed and pay up. The company instead opted to push its “total 3D solution” by announcing a series of 3D products in the form of 27 new models of 3D Bravia TVs, 3D Blu-ray disc players and the Bloggie handycam. They also announced a 3D Vaio laptop that can be connected to 3D compatible TVs and can convert 2D to 3D in real time – with the push of a single button. The Vaio F-Series features a built-in 3D sync transmitter, 16” widescreen display, Sandy Bridge, USB 3.0 and comes bundled with 3D active glasses.
During their CES announcement, Sony stated that this is the year that 3D will become personal. They’re banking on further adaption of 3D with the Sony 3D cable network, 3net, due out in the coming months. 3net, part of a partnership with Imax and the Discovery Channel, is only part of the plan which includes 3D production of films – think Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – and should help to counter the argument by critics that 3D content hasn’t kept up with the hardware.
Hey, just what the world needs, another subscription streaming music service, right? Not exactly, but it's getting one anyway, this time courtesy of Sony, Yahoo News reports.
Sony's "Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity" is based entirely in the cloud, meaning you can't download tracks. What music lovers do get is access to some 6 million songs, and they can be streamed across Sony's Internet-connected devices, including the PlayStation 3 console and Bravia TVs.
By integrating the service into its products, Sony's hoping its existing userbase will help it chip away at iTunes, though acknowledges this won't be easy.
"We realized that if we were playing catch up with the same (iTunes) model, it would be difficult to appeal to users," Kazuo Hirai, executive VP and head of Sony's Networked Products and Services division, told reporters in Japan. "But over time, it needs to stand on its own."
The service launched in the U.K. and Ireland this week. Sony said it plans to expand the service to Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, and the U.S. sometime next year.
Fancy yourself a tree-hugger? That doesn't mean you have to give up gaming on the console, you just have to choose your system wisely. So which one gets the nod? According to findings by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the Nintendo Wii consumes about a sixth of the power of Sony's PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360 consoles.
"We included only a small sample of the many gaming systems available, but it reveals the differences in energy use can be significant," said Mark McGranaghan, vice president of Power Deliver & Utilization for EPRI. "With the holiday shopping season in full swing, now is a good time to consider this factor."
EPRI conducted its tests by playing EA's Madden 2011 football game for one hour on each system. In doing so, EPRI found that the Wii used an average of 13.7 watts, while the PS3 and Xbox 360 pulled 84.8 watts and 87.9 watts, respectively.
"Obviously there are many considerations when looking at a gaming system and we're only about energy use," said McGranaghan. "There are also trade-offs associated with graphics and speed that drive higher energy use and consumers will need to factor those elements in as well. The more graphically intensive systems will, by design, require more energy."
Or you could say the hell with it and build a dual- or tri-videocard gaming PC, power consumption be damned.
The crowded SDHC market just got a little more cramped with the introduction of three new SD card series by Sony, all of which the company touts for their environmentally-friendly eco packaging. In addition, each new card comes with a memo space for handwritten titles and other notes, Sony says.
Sitting at the top of the heap is Sony's new Expert Series. These Class 10 SDHC cards come in 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB capacities and offer up to 22MB/s transfers.
Down below is the Value-added Experience Series rated at Class 4. These boast up to 15MB/s and are available in 2GB, 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB capacities.
Finally, there's the Entry-level Essential Series, also a Class 4 card, but only available in 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB capacities. Other than the added capacity options, all that separates the Value-added Experience from the Entry-level Essential is that Sony offers its File Rescue HD software as a free download to owners of the former (as well as owners of the Expert Series).
The new cards will ship in January, 2011, for an as-yet undetermined price.