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.
What’s up is not yet clear, but there’s something nasty afoot that PlayStation 3 (PS3) owners definitely want to be attentive to. It’s being reported that a “bug in the clock functionality incorporated in the system” is causing problems in older PS3s (PS3 Phats--slims aren’t affected). Being dumped from the PlayStation Network looks to be the least of owner worries.
Griffin McElroy, of Joystiq, is reporting that the problems being experienced trace back to a 8001050F error code. Besides being unable to join PSN, users are having their trophy information corrupted, most likely due to the system clock resetting to “1/1/2000”. Phat owners are reporting even with their system offline the problem is occurring, leading McElroy to surmise the problem may be firmware related.
An OS memory hog is a thing to fear, especially in a system where memory is fixed, like the PlayStation 3 (PS3). Sony initially gobbled up 120MB of the available memory, spread across both the XDR and DDR ram, which was later reduced to 96MB. But that still looked pretty chunky in comparison to the Xbox’s OS svelte 32MB. Oink, oink.
Sony’s put the PS3 OS on an even stricter diet, and has reduced the memory footprint to 50MB, at the same time Sony has upgraded the OS’s capability. Now game developers have 70MB of memory more to play about with than when the PS3 was first introduced, and the PS3 is a more capable console--a win-win.
Mark Wilson at Gizmodo likes seeing the OS trimmed down, and handing over to developers what’s best left under their control. But, he doesn’t see this as remaking the PS3 into something it already isn’t. Wilson says about the best that will come from this are “slightly nicer lighting effect[s]”. Still, it's a start.
In retrospect, 2009 was really the year of the PS3. Sales of the oft maligned console finally began picking up after price drops and the introduction of the PS3 Slim. The continued ascendancy of Blu-Ray certainly didn’t hurt either. Even with all the focus on Sony’s console, they thought they could sneak some new versions through the FCC without anyone knowing. Not so much.
The two new versions are identified by their model numbers: CECH-2101A and CECH-2101B. The current PS3 Slims have model numbers CECH-2001A and B, denoting the 120GB and 250GB versions. So we can be fairly certain that these new models are differentiated by their hard drive size, but what’s changed from the current gen?
The wireless components tested by the FCC seem to be the same. It is possible, though depressing, that Sony may have just tweaked the manufacturing process to save money and slapped a new model number on them. But maybe… just maybe there’s some secret Sony magic under the hood of these new models. We can only hope. What do you think?
Word of this comes straight from Masashi ‘Tiger’ Imamura, the president of Sony’s Personal Imaging and Sound Business Group. He says that Sony is indeed interested in 3D imaging, following Hollywood’s recent push for 3D movies, and Fujifilm’s new 3D still camera, the FinePix Real 3D W1.
In traditional patent-ese the application describes the device as “a universal game console controller that has an LCD presenting, depending on what type of game console a user has input, a controller key layout for a first type of game console or a controller key layout for a second type of game console”.
And universal here means just what you think it does. Sony intends the device, if ever built, to emulate controllers produced by itself, Nintendo, Microsoft (Xbox), Amiga (CD-32), Atari (Jaguar), Gravis (Gamepad), Sega, and Turbographics. (It’s so universal it includes consoles no longer on the market! How cool is that?)
Sony's just-announced TX5 Cyber-shot digital camera might just be a dream come true for clumsy or masochistic photographers.
Unlike your wimpy point-n-shoot, the TX5 can be dunked in up to 10 feet of water, which means you can safely take it snorkeling and capture the underwater world in photos, panoramic shots, or 720p HD video.
Sony also claims its TX5 is freeze-proof down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, so once you're finished with your vacation in Hawaii, you can head over to Aspen and take it on the slopes. And should a sand storm blow through the Colorado mountains (or in areas you're much more likely to be caught up in such a scenario), the TX5 is dust proof. It's also shock-proof and able to withstand drops from about 5 feet.
"Only Sony can deliver a technology packed, ultra slim, fashionable T-series camera that is also durable. Until now, you couldn't have it all in one camera," said Kelly Davis, director of the Digital Imaging business on Sony Electronics.
Available in silver, black, pink, green, and red, look for the TX5 to ship this April for around $350.