Live sports, new production, high bandwidth will drive 4K adoption

7 January 2015 by Steve Blum
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The killer app.

There’s not much true 4K ultra high definition content available right now, and it’s going to take time for inventories to build.

Sony Pictures has about 75 feature films and fewer than 100 television episodes available now, according to Rich Berger, senior vice president for advanced platforms at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

He was the only representative from the production side of the business at a panel session on 4K content at CES yesterday.… More

Sony tries to reclaim premium brand glory with $1,120 Walkman

6 January 2015 by Steve Blum

The high resolution NW-ZX2 Walkman introduced by Sony yesterday will sell well enough at $1,120, but its purpose isn’t to drive revenue.

It’s a strategic brand positioning move. It’ll be bought by audiophiles, but the news is that Sony’s trying to position itself for high end mobile audio. Sony’s premium reputation has all but disappeared, and the high resolution Walkman is part of the effort to reclaim it that began last year.

North Korea versus Comcast: guess who's fighting for an open Internet?

20 December 2014 by Steve Blum
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What do you mean, my Netflix is buffering!

As terabytes of emails and other data bounce around the web, the bad guy in the latest mega-crack story is beginning look less like North Korea and more like Sony and its corporate brethren. First, Sony hires one of the more notorious members of the predatory bar to threaten news outlets if they dare to use any of that information. Then it caves to pressure and threats – apparently originating in North Korea – and cancels the release of The Interview.… More

Sony picks in-house OS for wearables and survival

Used to be staying alive was innovation enough.

Google’s try at adapting its Android operating system to specifically support wearable devices isn’t getting much love from manufacturers. Following Samsung’s lead, Sony has decided to make its own Android mod for wearable products, instead of using Google’s Wear platform. It’s a necessary gamble if Sony still wants to be Sony.

The company is trying to remake itself into a mobile-oriented, innovative brand. Like it used to be when Sony launched the Walkman 35 years ago.… More

Sony axes legacy PCs, TVs to focus on mobile

7 February 2014 by Steve Blum
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Innovation deficit.

Sony is distancing itself from the soon-to-be-legacy television and personal computer markets, in a effort to play catch up in the mobile device game. The company that redefined color quality in the 1970s is spinning its television business off into a separate subsidiary, and is selling its Vaio computer brand to a Japanese corporate restructuring specialist. It’s a response to what it calls “drastic changes” in the global PC industry…

Sony has determined that the optimal solution is to concentrate its mobile product lineup on smartphones and tablets and to transfer its PC business to a new company.


Sony sees but doesn't raise the mobile game

15 October 2013 by Steve Blum
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Coincidentally, it costs $200.

As the last MobileCon opens in San Jose, Sony announced today that it’s launching three mobile products in the US: the Xperia Z1 and Z Ultra smartphones and its new Smartwatch 2.

I don’t see any Wow! factor. The smart phones are standard, high-end Android devices and the smart watch seems more or less in line with Samsung’s Gear, although the fact that it can be used with any late model Android device (or so they say) and is a hundred bucks cheaper is a competitive advantage.… More

Mobile OS buzz for some, deafening silence for others

3 March 2013 by Steve Blum
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Firefox hasn’t quite landed yet.

Firefox has sharpened the debate over prospects for HTML5. The open source, connectivity-centric mobile operating system developed by the Mozilla Foundation gained a lot of attention at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Sceptical attention, mostly.

When the OS landscape is so thoroughly dominated by two superpowers – Apple and Google – it’s risky to bet on a challenger. Several mobile carriers expressed support, but manufacturers lagged behind. Geeksphone, a small Spanish company, had demo units to show at Barcelona, but missed its February ship date for SDKs.… More

Three elephants still standing

Samsung had their attention at CES 2013.

Samsung left Las Vegas with a firm grip on the industry’s leadership crown. Its CES presence overshadowed other traditional consumer electronics companies, cementing its position as a dominant global technology player.

Paying Bill Clinton to guest star at its keynote address was just icing on the cake. Arguably, the flexible touch screen that Stephen Woo, Samsung’s president of electronic device solutions, also demonstrated on stage drew more attention than the ex-president.… More

The mobile phone is the set top box

Long-odds prediction for the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show: the mobile phone will be the set top box. Expect a prototype that tethers a large screen display to a media-rich smart phone. You walk in the room and your stuff appears on the screen. You will only have one channel and it will be whatever you want to watch, where ever you happen to be.

If someone doesn’t roll it out here in Las Vegas this week, you’ll see it shortly from Apple (which is too hip to hang at CES these days) or at a mobile phone event in someplace like Barcelona or Orlando or San Diego, at the latest.… More


6 January 2010 by Steve Blum
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The set top box is on the run, harried away by television manufacturers. Toshiba sounded the hunting horn this morning, unveiling its Cell TV product line. Don’t be fooled by the name, it’s a classic case of branding in a vacuum. It has nothing to do with mobile phones. It’s a computer morphed into a set top box and wrapped with a big screen TV. The set top box is the TV.

Toshiba Cell TV
 Spot the set top box
Toshiba calls the chip that powers it the Cell TV Broadband Engine, which was developed in a joint venture with Sony and IBM.… More