Consumer Electronics Sony

Sony Reader review roundup

sony-reader.jpgReviews in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal today confirm that the Sony Reader isn’t quite ready yet. Pogue liked it more than Mossberg, but both had reservations.

I saw the Reader back at CES this year and despite my own skepticism, really liked it. The screen was incredible, highly legible and much easier on the eyes than LCD. The technology the Reader is based on, e-ink, has been around for a few years, but there have been no consumer applications until now.

If you’re inclined, here’s a bit from the Times explaining how e-ink works:

Sandwiched between layers of plastic film are millions of transparent, nearly microscopic liquid-filled spheres. White and black particles float inside them, as though inside the world’s tiniest snow globes. Depending on how the electrical charge is applied to the plastic film, either the black or white particles rise to the top of the little spheres, forming crisp patterns of black and white.

In any case, the screen looked great and the device had a lot of promise. Sadly, many of the features (which aren’t core ebook features to most) are either poorly implemented or require Sony’s PC only software. The device, besides reading books from Sony’s store, will also read RSS feeds, pdf and Word files.

And unfortunately, there is the rub. The Reader will only read RSS feeds that Sony has pre-selected and the Reader will only update those feeds once a day.

Pdf files must be re-formated for the Reader to render them properly. From Walt Mossberg’s review:

But the Reader’s claim to display PDF documents proved hollow. In every PDF document I tried, the text was nearly unreadable and the text resizing feature of the Reader didn’t help. Sony concedes that PDF documents work well on the Reader only if they are created for the Reader’s screen size and resolution. But it includes no conversion software to make them fit.

Maybe I’m being too nit-picky. The Reader will fit exactly one of my needs – I read a lot of books, but I never know what I’ll be in the mood to read. The Reader will reduce a stack of books to the size of a paperback and works almost as well as the paper it replaces.

I think I’m still waiting until version 2.

Downloads Social Media Sony Video

Sony acquires video sharing site Grouper for $65mm

Here’s a link and comment roundup regarding the purchase.

Sony is acquiring Grouper Networks in web-video bid – WSJ
“YouTube Inc., which had about 16 million unique visitors last month compared with 542,000 for Grouper, according to comScore Media Metrix, a research company. Grouper says comScore doesn’t measure its traffic accurately and claims its numbers were about eight million last month.”

Grouper sells for $65 million – TechCrunch
“the $65 million valuation on Grouper suggests a YouTube valuation of around $2 billion.”

Sony Pictures Buys Grouper – PaidContent
“valuation is not really based on traffic…what it does have is a solid management and technical team…and user tools”

It will be interesting to see what happens to Grouper as a result of this acquisition. Sony may actually be ahead of Apple in the NIH (not invented here) syndrome. Of course, this acquisition is from Sony Pictures, not electronics, which may or may not make increase the chances of a successful merger and integration.

Downloads Home Entertainment Microsoft Sony

The D: All Things Digital

d.jpgThe Wall Street Journal released their report from the Walt Mossberg’s CEO love-in from a few weeks back.

(FYI – “The D” is a small conference for executives from large companies and essentially is a series of discussions and interviews conducted by the Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher.)

Interviews include Bill Gates, “who showed off a dramatic new version of the dominant Office software, took shots at search rival Google, and declared the network-TV business dead,” Robert Iger (Walt Disney CEO), “who didn’t agree with him,” Sir Howard Stringer (Sony CEO), who was indicted by Martha Stewart for cluttering her life with wires, and Barry Sonnenfeld, (Movie Director) who thinks the movie to DVD release window is too short.

Much of this year’s conference was devoted to the changing media landscape and the disruption that technology is creating for old business models.

If you have a WSJ subscription, the D conference report is essential reading. I’ll provide some highlights in subsequent postings.


GPS Playstation Sony

PSP get GPS and VOIP from Sony

One other bit of PSP news today that I missed yesterday – at Sony’s announcement yesterday, Ken Kutagari also announced a couple of cool add-ons for the PSP, namely the rumored GPS add-on and an Eyetoy for video VOIP. Both of these devices should give Sony’s PSP a long deserved shot in the arm, but here’s one question, how about some kick-ass games?

Playstation Sony

PS3 officially delayed

If you were expecting to get that Japanese import PS3 for Mom for Mother’s Day, looks like you’ll have to wait until Thanksgiving. Sony has announced instead of a staggered world wide launch starting in the Spring, PS3 will be released simultaneously worldwide in November.

Further details for the console have been confirmed including their “Playstation Network Platform” for online game play and a 60GB hard drive that will ship with all units. PS3 will also be backward compatible with all PS1 and PS2 games.

Looks like Xbox 360 will have a full year of next gen gaming all to itself (if you can find one).


Digital Cameras Sony

Sony Digital Camera rumors

Now, these haven’t been announced, but a good source has confirmed them.

  • Cybershot DSC-H5 7 megapixels, 3.0 inch LCD, 12x zoom, 1000 ISO
  • Cybershot DSC-H2 6 megapixels, 3.0 inch LCD, 12x zoom, 30 fps 640×480 movie mode
  • Cybershot DSC-W100 8 megapixels, 2.5 inch LCD, 3x optical,
  • Cybershot DSC-W70 7 megapixels, 3.0 inch LCD, MPEG4 640×480 30fps movie mode

Sony Blu-ray disc pricing set


Not that I’m excited about the new format war (HD-DVD vs BD) and given the craptastic line up of movies announced, I’m not even sure why I’m reporting on this, but my adoring fan would be upset if I didn’t.

Sony announced today wholesale prices for new BDs at $23.95 and catalog (read:old) titles at $17.95, both commanding a slight premium over DVD. Now, remember folks, those prices are wholesale and vendors usually charge something a little extra so they don’t go out of business.

No release dates, but I’m sure they’ll come out around they same time the players arrive.


(Via Engadget)

Playstation Sony Xbox

PS3 Live?


Looks like Sony is planning an online service to launch with the new Playstation 3 to compete with Xbox 360 and Xbox Live. The folks over at Joystiq have been trolling the Playstation message boards and came up with a scan a user had uploaded from March’s Playstation magazine.

No real details other than Sony plans on matching Xbox Live “feature for feature and then some.”

Game geeks rejoice.


(Via Joystiq)

Home Entertainment Portable Entertainment Rumors Sony

AIBO, Qualia Roadkill


Sony, in a cost cutting effort, has cut the AIBO and Qualia lines from production, according to Akihabara News. I think quite a few geeks will be sad to see the AIBO line die, but few will lament the passing of Sony’s Qualia line.

Qualia, FYI, is Sony’s ultra high end line of consumer electronics. This line includes a $27,000 projector, $12,000 rear projections television, $3300 headphones, and my personal favorite the $3300 2 megapixel digital camera.

The problems withe Qualia brand were not just with prices, but it was incredibly questionable if there was a market for such devices. Sony wasn’t successful in making Qualia truly aspirational products. I mean, if the incredibly rich don’t want them, why would John Q. Public?

Oh well, no one is crying over Qualia, but AIBO lovers, you might consider the Robosapien or some other more-human robot companion.


CES Portable Entertainment Sony

Sony Reader


They Sony booth is always a big pain in the ass, teeming with waaaaaay too many people. They always have something cool, new and shiny to play with. This week, they introduced the US version of the Sony Reader, their implementation of E-Ink in a book reader format. I finally got my hands on one today.

First off, believe the hype. This machine is very sleek, the text is crystal clear and they’ve removed a variety of the the BS restrictions that the Japanese model had(very strict DRM, only used Sony proprietary book formats) and they added a bunch of new features including an RSS reader and the ability to open .doc and .pdf formats. I imagine it will be a little spendy (I recall $300 or $400), but for the first of its kind, not so bad. We’ll see if this thing does better than ebook readers of the past

HDTV Home Entertainment Sony

Sony KDS-R60XBR1 HDTV Review

sonysxrd.jpgSony felt like they were falling behind in creating acronyms so their latest, greatest television brings us the latest, greatest in alphabet soup product naming. Sony dubbed the technology behind their KDS-R60XBR1 as SXRD, which is basically a tweaked out version of LCOS.

Bottom line is that this television doesn’t seem to suffer any of the problems that other technologies seem to have (rainbows, screen-door, gigantism) and has a really great picture.

Don’t take my word for it – take a gander over at Home Theater Magazine for the full scoop.

(via HDBeat)