To Geeks the floppy disk is more than just an old storage medium indicative of days gone past, but instead is an icon of an era when you really needed to know your stuff to operate a PC. Motherboards required jumpers, IRQ settings were still important, and the world was a magical place where an entire lifetime of important documents finally fit on a plastic disk that could slip easily into your pocket. If like me and you harbor a bit of nostalgia for the vintage 3.5-inch floppies, you might want to pickup a box now before they disappear completely.
According to Sony, who is the only remaining manufacturer of 3.5-inch floppies, production will end in March 2011 effectively killing off the technology once and for all. Inexpensive CDs, DVDs, and USB thumb drives are cited as key reasons why, but I'm sure everyone knew it was only a matter of time. Global disk sales have dropped from 47 million a year in 2002 to just 12 million in 2009 and the drive itself hasn't been standard on most PCs since around 2003. I'm sure decades from now you'll still be able to find the odd person still booting off one, but don't count on seeing them at your local retailer past mid next year.
In a blog post on Wednesday, Eric Lempel, Director of Sony's PlayStation Network Operations, announced a "mandatory update" (version 3.30) which he says will be available shortly. Most of the added features have to do with sorting options within Trophies, including:
Trophy Enhancements: It's now easier to sort trophies in the Trophy Collection and Comparing Trophy sections.
Trophy Folder (Title List): this can be sorted by game name or title according to teh date in which they were earned
Add-on List (Group List): can be sorted by original/the date in which yu earned your last trophy (ascending/descending)
Trophy List: can be sorted by original/trophy name/grade/date of obtaining the trophy (ascending/descending)
The update also readies the PS3 console for some upcoming features, most notably 3D stereoscopic gaming "which is coming soon to the PS3."
This is the Sony's second firmware upgrade in less than a month, and it's interesting that this latest one is being described as mandatory. On April 1st, Sony released firmware version 3.21, which was primarily to kill off the "Install Other OS" feature. While this was an optional update, users who opted not to install it would lose key features, such as the ability to sign in to the PlayStation Network.
Don't assume that your next Vaio laptop will be built by Sony. In an interview with PC Pro, Ryosuke Akahane, deputy president of Sony Vaio's Business Group, announced a two-tier strategy for the company's laptop division. According to Akahane, Sony will continue to design and build Vaio laptops designed as "division one," while "division two" will be built by the company's partners.
All laptops will still carry Sony branding, as well as have the "taste of Vaio [and] the style of Vaio." Sony will have to approve all third party designs, which Akahane ensures will be just as reliable as division one laptops.
"The quality criteria itself is no different between division number one and division number two," Akahane explained.
So why the change? Put simply, the company wants to sell more laptops. Ten million to be exact, which is the goal Akhane laid out for 2010.
"We need a certain market share," Akhane said. "And if we don't have a certain market share, it's tough to survive."
Having already conquered most of the online world, Google's developers are looking for new territory to invade, and they may have found it in your living room.
According to a report in The New York Times, Google has buddied up with Intel and Sony to develop a new platform called Google TV. Unlike existing televisions and set-top boxes with limited Web content, Google TV is being designed as an open TV platform based on Android.
Citing a "person with knowledge of the project," NYT says Google TV will use a version of Google's Chrome browser, even though it doesn't yet work on Android phones.
Other details remain pretty sparse, but those willing to speak about the project (anonymously, of course) say the technology is far enough along that Google has been able to begin a limited test run with Dish Network.
While addressing a bunch of gaming geeks at this years Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, PlayStation researcher Anton Mikahilov made some pretty big claims about Sony's upcoming PlayStation Move motion controller.
Much of the demonstration revolved around the controller's level of precision. According to Mikahilov, the PlayStation Eye can track the Move's movements down to about one millimeter in the X and Y planes. To prove he wasn't blowing smoke up everyone's tailpipes, he zoomed down to the pixel level.
On the Z plane, the Move's level of precision is about one centimeter, and as Mikahilov twisted the controller, he noted that the PlayStation Eye could detect rotation to the degree level.
So what does it all mean? Translated in manner we can better identify with, Mikahilov says they've been able to use the motion controller to control the PC version of StarCraft.
What happens if you take Nintendo's Wii remote and nunchuck and paint them black, streamline the controllers, and cut the tail? You get Sony's PlayStation Move motion controller and sub-controller.
Instead of a sensor bar, the PlayStation Move platform relies on the PlayStation Eye camera to help "deliver an innovative and highly immersive experience." The camera purports to detect precise movement, angle, and even how far away the player is from the console.
As for the motion controller itself, it includes a three-axis gyroscope, a three-axis accelerometer, and a terrestrial magnetic field sensor, as well as a color-changing field sensor that the camera uses to track movement. According to Sony, this combination allows for both fast and subtle motion.
Kotaku has put together a handy list outlining the differences between the PlayStation Move and Nintendo's Wii remote (see here), including fewer buttons, "a smarter controller," and no wire between the motion- and sub-controller.
Sony says it will launch the new controllers worldwide this fall, but didn't offer up any pricing info.
The Sony Vaio P is a weird device. It’s much smaller than a netbook, but much better-equipped. It has wireless broadband access from Verizon, onboard GPS, a ThinkPad-style pointing stick, and an eye-straining high-resolution screen. It’s also incredibly expensive. So who exactly is the Vaio P for?
At just 9.8 inches across, 0.8 inches thick, and 4.8 inches deep, and weighing just one pound, five ounces, the Vaio P is made for mobility—it makes a 10-inch netbook look like a desktop replacement. Into those tiny dimensions Sony crams parts that—on paper—put your old Atom netbook to shame. The Vaio P uses a 2GHz Atom Z550 paired with the US15W chipset and GMA500 integrated graphics. By comparison, last year’s typical netbook used a 1.6GHz N280 on an Intel GSE945 chipset with GMA950 graphics. The Vaio P also ships with 2GB of DDR2/533 and a whopping 256GB Samsung MLC SSD, which itself is responsible for $700 of the Vaio P’s price tag. The full Windows 7 Professional OS is a welcome change from Windows XP—or worse, Windows 7 Starter.
The Vaio P’s eight-inch screen offers an eye-watering 1600x768 resolution. This is the first time we’ve ever seen a screen that was too sharp; reading text on it for more than a few minutes hurt our eyes.
Somebody's feeling a little jealous of Apple's success in the mobile space, and that somebody is Sony. Citing "people familiar with the matter," the Wall Street Journal reports that Sony is readying a plethora of handheld gadgets in an attempt to steal away some of Apple's market share.
Two of these upcoming gadgets include a smartphone capable of downloading and playing games, and a portable tablet-like device that combines elements of a netbook, e-book reader, and handheld gaming systems.
It's important to note that Apple's success has been the result of not only its hardware, but its software distribution model, and towards that end, both of Sony's aforementioned devices are expected to work with Sony's new online media platform, which launches later this month, the WSJ reports.
But can Sony truly tap into Apple's market share?
"That's the vision, but it's still not quite clear what specific steps Sony will take to achieve that, especially when iPad and other highly capable mobile devices are crowding the market," said Nobuo Kurahashi, a consumer-electronics analyst a Japanese brokerage Mizuho Investors Securities.
According to its sources, Sony is developing a host of portable media devices and the PlayStation-compatible phone is one of them. The report comes days after Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) SVP of publisher relations, Rob Dyer, told Industry Gamers that the PSP Go has turned out to be confusing and expensive.
And they say PC gaming is user-unfriendly. Earlier today, we brought you word of a global PlayStation 3 outage that sent PS3 owners flocking to their exploded chess pieces and Rubik’s Cubes in a sad attempt at entertainment. Fortunately, just as Sony prophesied, after only 24 hours, the problem’s nothing but an unpleasant memory.
“We are aware that the internal clock functionality in the PS3 units other than the slim model, recognized the year 2010 as a leap year. Having the internal clock date change from February 29 to March 1 (both GMT), we have verified that the symptoms are now resolved and that users are able to use their PS3 normally,” said Sony Sr. Director Patrick Seybold in a blog post.
Sounds like all systems are go, then. “Corrupted” data’s also syncing properly again, in case you were worried about that.
And so ends the darkest moment in Sony’s history since, well, the PS3’s hilariously over-priced launch. Here’s hoping this is finally the last of the PS3’s many troubles.