Tag: Sony

Sony releases the world’s fastest SD card

Sony has expanded its memory card line-up with the addition of the SF-G series cards – offering what it is claiming some rather impressive ultra-high-speed read and write times.

The SF-G series is supposed to be the world’s fastest SD card and is designed for high-performance DSLR or mirrorlesscameras, offering up to 299MB/sii write speeds, contributing to longer high-speed continuous burst mode shooting for high-resolution images with cameras supporting UHS-II.

Sony said the SF-G cards will allow more effective continuous burst mode shooting for high-resolution images so long as the camera in question supports UHS-II.

Write speeds will also be of considerable benefit to the wide range of high-end DSLR and mirrorless cameras that are capable of shooting 4K quality video. Faster write speeds also mean a shorter buffer clearing time, when shooting fast-moving action.

The series’ read speed is reaches up to 300MB/s, resulting in faster and smoother performance when transferring large files across to other devices for editing and sharing.

Available in 32GB, 64GB or 128GB from March 2017, all versions of the cards are compatible with Sony’s free file rescue software, for recovering lost content. No word on pricing yet.

Alongside the SF-G series, Sony has also introduced a new memory card reader, the MRW-S1, due for release in April. It features an in-built SuperSpeed USB port for cable-free PC connection, so that your files can be copied faster than by using the slower SD slot on a PC.

Sony loses a billion at the movies

12a719ae45c2c72fea1a5493b62c4679There have been rumours for a while now that Sony was thinking of off-loading its movie business, and now it is clear why.

The outfit has dropped nearly a billion dollars on its entertainment business. Sony said it will write down $976 million in the third quarter, blaming weaker film profits as online streaming services sap demand for movie DVDs.

Sony said it had cut its outlook for earnings from DVD, blu-ray discs and other home entertainment in line with a market decline.

Sony, under Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai, has been slashing costs to end years of losses across its sprawling business, writing down over-optimistic valuations. It said on Monday that the pictures segment overall – including television – expected to see profits improve because of the changes.

The company said that it was pressing ahead with a turnaround plan, strengthening markets outside the United States, including India and China, bolstering income from intellectual property and cutting costs.

Sony’s movie studio has recently fell behind competitors in box office share and big hits, and underperformed its rivals in the global box office.

In 2016, Sony films accounted for eight percent of US and Canadian ticket sales, ranking fifth among major Hollywood studios, according to the Box Office Mojo website. This year, Sony will be counting on films such as “Spider-Man: Homecoming”, which it is co-producing with Walt Disney’s Marvel Studios, animated movie “Smurfs: The Lost Village” and action flick “Jumanji”, starring Dwayne Johnson.

It is a bit risky placing your hopes in Smurfs. The little blue demons are evil.

Sony has been writing down things faster than a journalist hearing a Trump confession and its shareholders are more rattled than a set of Victorian windows in a tornado.

Most of the movie write down relates to goodwill recorded at the time of Sony’s acquisition of Columbia Pictures in 1989.

But it also comes two weeks after it announced the departure of its long-serving Sony Entertainment chief executive, Michael Lynton, who steps down next month to become chairman of messaging app owner Snap.

To help cushion the impact of the write down, Sony said it would sell part of its stake in M3 which runs medical-related online services, trimming its holding to 34 percent from 39.3 percent.

3D telly dropping fast

Tigre-3DThe last two telly makers to support the standard are giving up on 3D this year

LG and Sony have decided to kill off the standard this year. None of their TVs, including the high-end OLED TV models, will be able to show 3D movies and TV shows.

The 3D feature has been offered on select televisions since 2010, when the theatrical success of “Avatar” in 3D helped encourage renewed interest in the technology.

Despite enthusiasm at the box office and years of 3D TVs being available at affordable prices, the technology never really caught on at home.

There are plenty of 3D Blu-ray discs still being released, such as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” but if you want to watch them at home you’ll need a TV from 2016 or earlier — or a home theatre projector.

Sales of 3D home video gear have declined every year since 2012. According to data from the NPD Group, 3D TV represents just eight percent of total TV sales dollars for the full year of 2016, down from 16 percent in 2015 and 23 percent in 2012. Native 3D-capable Blu-ray players fell to just 11 percent of the market in 2016, compared to 25 percent in 2015 and 40 percent in 2012.

The big problem is that while people like 3D they never use it because of the arsing around with glasses.  Higher quality pictures using 4K have made the picture good and most people are happy with what they see.

Going to the movies and seeing 3D is a different concept and people are happier to have that experience.


EU fines three lithium-ion battery makers

lemon batteryThe European Commission has fined three Japanese makers of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries $176.2 million for their involvement in a price-fixing cartel from 2004 to 2007.

The Commission said that Sony, Panasonic, Samsung and Sanyo agreed on temporary price increases and exchanged commercially sensitive information, such as forecasts or plans concerning bids for manufacturers of phones, laptops or power tools.

Sony received a fine of 29.8 million euros, Panasonic of 38.9 million euros and Sanyo 97.1 million euros. Samsung grassed the cartel up to the Commission.

The Commission said that all the companies had acknowledged their involvement in the cartel and had agreed to settle the case.

European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the fines sent an important signal to companies.

“If European consumers are affected by a cartel, the Commission will investigate it even if the anti-competitive contacts took place outside Europe,” she said.


Sony having problems moving past the quake

9781596438286_zoomSony does not seem to have moved past the curse of Poseidon the god of earthquakes who seems to have put his trident firmly in the outfit’s bottom line.

Sony delayed its earnings forecast from late April after quakes shook the southern city of Kumamoto, home to one of its five image sensor plants. It partially resumed operations this month and on Tuesday said wafer production would resume by the end of August.

The outfit reported a 48 percent drop in operating profit for the July-September quarter as earthquake damage continued to affect its cash-cow imaging sensor business.

Second-quarter profit nearly halved to $435.90 million. The result came a day after Sony lowered its full-year profit forecast by 10 percent to $257.05 million due to the sale of its battery business.

Investors were not too concerned as Sony maintained its sales outlook and losses related to the battery business sale had been flagged earlier.

Emerging from years of restructuring, the consumer electronics manufacturer is refocusing its business to concentrate on videogames, entertainment and imaging sensors, and the sale of its battery business was part of that effort.

Its sensors business continued to struggle in the second quarter as a key factory damaged by a series of earthquakes in April took almost half a year to recover to pre-disaster levels.

Investors are betting on momentum in the gaming business to pick up toward the year-end holiday shopping season with the launch later this month of the PlayStation 4 Pro, an upgrade capable of rendering high-definition graphics.

Sony is also widely expected to build an early lead in the fledgling virtual-reality (VR) market, with a headset priced more modestly than those of rivals and available to its 40 million existing users of its flagship consoles.

Apple loses to Patent “Troll”

Wikia_HP_-_Mountain_TrollFruity tax-dodger Apple has lost a patent law suit to MobileMedia Ideas and not in an East Texas Court for once.

Apple apparently infringed MobileMedia’s patent RE39,231, which relates to ring-silencing features on mobile phones and the court ruled that Jobs’ Mob will have to write a cheque for $3 million.

The Tame Apple press has waded into MobileMedia on two fronts for daring to take Apple to court. Firstly, it called it patent troll when it really isn’t.  It is a patent pool majority-owned by MPEG-LA, a that licenses common digital video technologies like H-264, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4.

Secondly, the Tame Apple Press claimed that it was a “proxy war” being waged by Sony and Nokia, which both contributed the patents owned by the company.

The case took years and was initially for three patents, and the ring-silencing was the last one remaining. It is likely that Apple will not take this lying down either and will appeal to the Federal Circuit.

Apple’s defence was that when Sony had direct control of the patent it failed to mention it to Apple, however when it moved the patents to the pool suddenly it was sued. We know, it is hardly a defence – it just means that after farming out its patents to MobileMedia their enforcement became more efficient.

Sony thinks you can build smartphones to last

sonyOne of the big problem that keep smartphones from lasting longer is the battery and this problem is forcing users to upgrade long before they really need to.

Once people updated their smartphone every 18 months but it is looking like they are getting less interested now that the changes on each model is small. In the US it’s suggested that nearly half of smartphone users now wait at least three years between upgrades, while data from Gallup suggests more than half wait until their phone stops working or becomes “totally obsolete”.

Sony thinks that it might can fix the battery so that it lasts a bit longer and extend the life of phones.

It is not that the lithium ion cells within smartphones break, but their ability to hold their original amount of charge rapidly diminishes with repeated recharging cycles.

Sony’s new top-end Xperia XZ and Xperia X Compact Android smartphones both have the company’s new battery longevity technology.

Jun Makino, Sony mobile’s senior product marketing manager said that Sony had started learning your charging cycles so that our new Xperia X smartphones only complete charging to 100% when they estimate you’re about to start using them, so that the damage caused by maintaining a battery at 100% is negated.

A battery that’s usually kept at a charge between 20 per cent and 80 per cent of its capacity is much healthier – it’s going to the extremes that wears it out at a faster rate.

The Japanese electronics firm has partnered with Californian adaptive charging company Qnovo to put technology into its Xperia smartphones. This includes the new top-end Xperia XZ and Xperia X Compact, which Sony reckons will double the life of the battery to around four years.

Qnovo’s technology controls the voltage put into the battery at the same time as delaying the full charge, helping to fast charge without damaging the cells.

“Of course, we’d still like it if you bought a new Sony phone, but we realise longevity is a trend and we want to help with battery technology and services on the phone such as the Smart Cleaner and Xperia tips that learn your behaviour and help keep it running like new for longer,” said Makino.


Sony issues take-downs of Playstation 4 news

euro gamerSony is issuing take-down notices against news blogs which show leaked pictures of the upcoming PlayStation 4 Slim.

The outfit is expected to announce the new consoles on 7 September in New York but it seems the organisation has sprung a few leaks and snaps have started appearing online.  Sony however is not taking this lying down and has been issuing take-down notices on social media accounts.

Erik Kain via @erikkain on Twitter tweeted “Sony issued a takedown and had this post removed from my Facebook page: https://t.co/fIjP0buTdY.”  Now that tweet has also gone along with others on Facebook.

The source of the leak is Eurogamer which even visited the leaker of the image to confirm the console is for real.  It generated its own image and even video of the console working for its story on the leak.

The Eurogamer video has been pulled after taking “legal advice”. It is pretty likely that they received notes from m’learned friends from Sony too.  It left the photographs it took up and we have borrowed one to show you what all the fuss is about.


Sony to buy Altair

sonySony is to write a cheque to buy the Israeli chipmaker Altair Semiconductor for $212 million.

The move is widely seen as the PS4 maker stepping up its investment in chip technology after strong sales of camera sensors in the last few years helped turnaround the business.

Altair Semiconductor has developed technology to allow small devices such as security alarms and electricity meters to connect to mobile networks, told Reuters last year that it was considering an initial public offering.  The sudden buy out then is surprising but a sensible move for Sony.

There has been a lot of consolidation in the chip industry of late and it is fast getting difficult to find someone to consolidate with.  It is thought that those who can merge with other companies have already done so and will spend the rest of this year restructuring ready for next year.

Sony said it expects to close the deal in early February.

Notebook vendors face fresh challenges

_asustek_and_amd_new_partnership_to_boost_upcoming_desktop_apuA report said that Chinese entrants into the notebook market in Western Europe and the USA will pose new challenges to existing vendors.

Digitimes said that Xiaomi and Huawei will launch products in the more “mature” markets next year, giving HP, Dell, Lenovo and the other traditional players a run for their money.

The same report suggested that Samsung is preparing a fresh foray into the notebook market soon after it withdrew from the fray last year.

And it suggests there is pressure on Taiwanese giants Acer and Asustek to merge in face of declining sales in the notebook sector. Acer is firmly against such a move.

Lenovo is in the doldrums, while Digitimes said in its report that Toshiba and Fujitsu are likely to consign their notebook lines to Japan Industrial Partners (JIP).

JIP had previously taken over Sony’s notebook business, once one of the corporation’s jewels in its crown.