Back at MWC, while everyone was waiting for Sony to announce its follow-up flagship, the Xperia Z4, the company decided to keep it under wraps and instead unveiled the mid-range Xperia M4 Aqua and the Xperia Z4 Tablet. Today, the phone has finally been made official in Sony's home turf of Japan during a press conference that made all of the Z4's details public but left out any information regarding its global release or price.
The Xperia Z4 follows the same design as its predecessors, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on how you look at it. The squarish shape, metal frame, and glass back are part of the brand's identity, but at the same time they're iterative and have become boring. Read More
Google has spent years putting its search functionality into as many form factors as it can manage. It all started with desktops and laptops. From there, Search hopped to phones. Now we see it making its way into TVs, watches, and cars.
Today, the tech giant has announced a new product offering that's more adorable than any that has come before. Meet Google Panda.
To use Google Panda, you simply ask the stuffed animal a question. It will then provide answers to the best of its ability. There's no screen, nor any text to read. This is one tech toy you interact with as though it were another person. Read More
VAIO used to be a brand within Sony's electronics empire, but it was sold off last year. Now the new VAIO is going up against its former parent company in the smartphone space. The VAIO Phone is now official and is coming to Japanese carrier b-mobile on March 20th. North America? Probably not.
It seems that Google's apparent decision to make a 6-inch Nexus phone has upset many of you. Don't worry, though. There is a solution, and as with most things in life, it comes courtesy of Japan. It's a giant thumb that attaches to your regular thumb. Seriously, the Japanese must be years ahead of us.
Text-to-speech is one of those little pieces of an operating system that not many people use, but which is indispensable for those who do. Now if your first language is Japanese, you've got the option to play out text on your phone with Google's first-party Text-To-Speech (TTS) engine. The relevant app is on the Play Store and was updated today, so you might not have immediate access to it thanks to Google's rollout system.
To be clear, this is text-to-speech, not speech-to-text - Google's voice input already works in Japanese for the keyboard (voice typing) and Google Now commands. Check the Language Input section of the main settings menu for that. Read More
It's easy to scoff at Amazon Coins, but with offers of free ones popping up every now and then, it's just as easy to take that virtual money laughing as you walk away with awesome apps and games. Doing what it does rather well, Amazon is now expanding its reach to additional countries. The company's coins are now available in Australia and Japan.
As was the case when Amazon Coins first launched in the US in 2013, Kindle Fire owners in Japan and Australia will find that the company has already deposited 500 Yen or $5 AUD worth of coins into their accounts. Read More
Phones produced for the Japanese market are usually so radically different than the ones we're used to that you don't really feel like you're missing anything. However, the new Sharp Aquos Crystal may pique your interest. The difference is that you might have a chance to buy this one soon. This device comes in two sizes—5-inches and 5.5-inches. Both of them have teeny tiny, miniscule bezels. Almost none of the body peeks out from the edge of the screen.
The 5-inch version is a mid-range device with 720p resolution, a Snapdragon 400, 1.5GB of RAM, and Android 4.4. The 5.5-inch device is a premium offering packing a Snapdragon 801, 2GB of RAM, Android 4.4, and steps the resolution up to 1080p. Read More
We've heard about the newest HTC Butterfly before from Japanese carrier KDDI, but now HTC is officially welcoming it into the Butterfly family. That's not a name you hear much in the US, but it's one of HTC's premier brands overseas. This device will be known as the J Butterfly HTL23 in Japan and the Butterfly 2 in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and throughout Southeast Asia. It's a reasonably high end device, but it's not all metal like the M8. As a tradeoff, it's water-resistant.
HTC's Butterfly series is an interesting one. While this particular range of models rarely makes its way outside of Asia, HTC often uses it as a testbed for new technology and features, and some of the highlights of these phones make it into the primary international lines on the next go-round. The latest version of the J Butterfly, which will launch exclusively on Japanese carrier KDDI next month, has some additions to the basic One design that might be worth watching.
First of all, the body is designed differently, with what looks like high-quality polycarbonate (read: plastic, but nice plastic) instead of the metal we've become used to with the One family. Read More