Finally, someone has announced an iPhone killer that we can all get behind. The Palm Pre surprised everyone at CES with its best-of-all-worlds specs and features. We’re talking about a multi-touch phone with slide-out QWERTY keyboard and a truly innovative web-integrated user interface.
Early impressions indicate a really smooth and fast interface and web-browsing experience, with all the productivity and media features that we’ve come to expect from a modern smartphone. It’s as if Palm designers made a list of everything that was lacking from the iPhone and made a point to incorporate it here. Real GPS, MMS messaging, USB port, and removable battery lets Palm blow a raspberry at the competition. Copy and paste is just gravy. But too bad it won’t be converting iPhone users anytime in the near future – the Pre is a Sprint exclusive.
So much for the $2.2 billion operating profit Sony predicted just three months ago. Perhaps the company was looking at the balance sheet upside down, because now Sony is expected to report a 100 billion yen (that's $1.1 billion in homegrown U.S. currency) loss for fiscal 2008 ending in March, says Nikkei business daily. And that's just the beginning. Nikkei says the loss could reach as high as $2 billion, and will depend on whether or not Sony is successful in cutting inventory in Q1 2009.
If Nikkei's prediction comes true, this will mark Sony's first loss in 14 years. But unlike the one-time charge the electronics took for its picture division over two decades ago, losses this time around can be attributed to less than expected sales of Sony brand flat-panel TVs and other electronics, particularly in the U.S. market.
Two terabytes of storage on a single memory stick might have been unheard of just a short while ago, but now it appears it will be a race to see who can reach the capacity milestone first. Taking a tag-team approach, SanDisk and Sony are working together to create two expanded formats in the Memory Stick series, the Memory Stick format for Extended High Capacity and the Memory Stick HG Micro format.
It's the Extended High Capacity format that boosts recording capacity up to 2TB, or 60 times more storage than the Memory Stick PRO format's 32GB ceiling. Meanwhile, the HG Micro format sports some technical enhancements, including an enhanced 8-bit parallel interface and 60MHz interface clock frequency, to make a 60MBps (480MBps in theoretical value) data transfer speed possible. By comparison, the Memory Stick Micro format uses a 4-bit parallel interface and a 40MHz interface clock frequency.
No release date has yet been given, but SanDisk and Sony have to be feeling the pressure from the SD Association, who recently announced a new card spec called SDXC, which also promises up to 2TB of memory and read/write speeds of 104MB/s. As our own Andy Salisbury points out, that's enough to accommodate 100 high-definition movies, 60 hours of HD recording, or up to 17,000 high-res photos. Wicked.
In our recent roundup of netbooks, we dubbed these little PCs to be a “great second computer” but a “pathetic first one.” At CES 2009, Sony’s introduction of the new Vaio P has turned some heads about the full potential of this so-called netbook-in-disguise. Weighing in at only 1.4 pounds and measuring in at just under an inch thick, this little guy packs an 8-inch widescreen with a 2.08:1 aspect ratio and a supported resolution of up to 1600x768.
Inside the Vaio P you will find a 1.33GHz Atom processor, 2GB of ram and a SSD drive ranging from 64GB to 128GB of storage space. Built-in is wireless WAN 3G (Verizon Only), 802.11 Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. The P’s instant-on OS allows for quick access to the Sony’s Xross Media bar interface making access to photos, music, videos, and the web seemingly fast. Included also is an integrated real-time GPS functionality with turn-by-turn directions. An internet connection is not required in the United States or Canada.
Expect a starting price of around $900 and shipments beginning in February.
It looks like MITM attacks aren’t the only things ripping off SSL certificates these days, it looks like Sony’s PS3 is capable of the act as well!
In a recent study conducted with more than 200 PlayStation 3 consoles, researchers were able to create a secure sockets layer certificate for absolutely any web page. The forged certificates were made through a proof-of-concept attack. This particular attack runs by generating millions of possible certificates, and once a pair that contains a special collision in the MD5 hash is found, a legitimate website certificate is requested from one of the authorities that relies on only MD5 to generate signatures. These certificates have been accepted by every major browser.
“This break is major,” stated Karsten Nohl, cryptography expert and researcher at the University of Virginia. “It definitely is the most wide-scale attack, because anything short of patching all browsers in the world to not accept the certificates, there's nothing you can do to prevent it.”
Still, there’s no stated fix for the issue today. Let’s just hope that since the researchers possess the information on how the attack is conducted, they’ll be able to make one soon.
We still don't know what exactly Sony has up its sleeve, only that "On the 9th of January you will change the way you look at laptops. Forever." Or at least that's what the mysterious tagline read on Sony's pre-launch website before the company inexplicably took it down.
But while the countdown has been whisked away, Sony continues to tease one picture at a time. The latest shots to make it to the web show a full size keyboard like the one on the Vaio TZ, along with a track stick. Not much else is visible from the cryptic pics.
It looks like we'll have to wait for CES for the full skinny. In the meantime, we're left with speculation and leaked specs. According to preliminary reports, the notebook that will apparently knock everyone's socks off will be the smallest in Sony's lineup, likely a netbook running an Intel Atom processor. The presumed netbook will come with an 8-inch LED backlit screen with a 1600x768 resolution, and either a 60GB HDD or 128GB SDD, if reports hold true.
Well, it’s not completely a mystery, but with a tagline like “On the 9th of January you will change the way you look at laptops. Forever,” you can’t help but be a little titillated.
It looks like Sony couldn’t let Dell be the only laptop vendor that had a secret (but not so secret) launch on the horizon. Their latest in the Vaio series was packing its very own launch site with a counter, but it would appear that at time of press they’ve taken it down. Still, the secret lingers.
We’re not sure if the pressure was just too much, or that they’ve mixed up on the release counter somewhere, but it is still expected that at CES 2009 they will announce the new notebook (or netbook?).
If anyone else out there would care to keep the rumor mill going with your own secret launch, do so now. It appears to be the thing to do!
With pirates closing in on all sides, many publishers abandoned PC gaming's ship as though it were already a potential set for Little Mermaid 9: I Don't Want to Be A Mermaid; I Want to Be A Boat. PC Gaming Alliance president Randy Stude obviously wasn't one of those naysayers, but he does have a few choice words for them.
"If someone wants to leave the PC market [because of piracy], we’ll miss you," he told Gamepolitics. "We’ll watch with admiration as your titles ship in a diluted fashion without a whole lot of game play innovation, at least until you copy the innovation that occurs on the PC. We'll find the great games on PC and we’ll play those."
On top of that, Stude believes PCs and consoles aren't so different from each another, and thinks the two walks of life will end up meeting somewhere down the road.
"The guts of every console should tell you that the capability is there for the PC to act as the central point for all the consoles," he said. "If you bought a PC and as part of that equation you said, Okay, when you’re on the phone with Dell, 'Hey, Dell, on this PC, this new notebook I’m buying, can you make sure it has the PlayStation 4 option built into it?'"
"Well, why not? Why shouldn’t that be the case? [Sony is] certainly not making any money on the hardware. I mean, can’t they create a stable enough environment to specify that if Dell’s going to sell that notebook and say that it’s PlayStation 4 [compatible] that it must have certain ingredients and it must meet certain criteria? Absolutely they could do that."
Sony’s latest addition to the Walkman line is slated for a 2009 debut at CES. The supposed touchscreen Walkman will come in 16GB and 32GB flavors, sport an OLED screen, and even feature some Wi-Fi capabilities! You know, so you can watch YouTube and other completely original tasks for a internet-capable touchscreen MP3 player.
It’s suggested that the software of the Walkman will remain essentially the same, and there won’t be much difference between the menu structure of current Walkman players and the expected arrival. It’ll support MP3, WMA, AAC and PCM audio codecs along with AVC, MPEG-4 and WMV video.
Heck, the player is so advanced that it even features a fully featured music store, a web browser, and to help set it apart from anything else on the market that might bear any resemblance, an FM tuner! Booyah!
It’s rare that in today’s market you’ll see fresh and original pieces of technology like this. It’s always great when a big company like Sony takes it upon themselves to really break the mold. I wonder what Appl--- err, Sony will come up with next?
Sony BMG has agreed to pay $1 million to the Federal Trade Commission to settle charges claiming Sony violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). While $1 million might seem a drop in the bucket to a company like Sony, the FTC points out the $1 million penalty matches the largest ever paid in a COPPA case.
The suit, which was filed just yesterday, alleged that Sony managed to collect personal information on roughly 30,000 users under the age of 13, including full names, gender, birth date, email addresses, mobile phone numbers, and in some cases, full mailing addresses. According to the FTC, the information was obtained through various Sony-owned websites designed to promote and advertise the company's music offerings, but didn't restrict visitors under the age of 13 from registering.
"Sites with social networking features, like any Web sites, need to get parental consent before collecting kids' personal information," FTC Chairman William Kovacic said in a statement. "Sony Music is paying the penalty for falling down on its COPPA obligations."
In addition to the $1 million penalty, Sony must also delete all personal information it had collected from those under 13 years old, and must also distribute the FTC's "How to Comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule" to all of its employees. In addition, Sony's also required to link to the children's privacy section of the FTC's website for five years.