Sony was already an experienced veteran of the smartwatch market when Android Wear was announced. Of course, I don't mean that they were experienced selling them—oh, goodness no. Sony sure did make smartwatches, though. When asked if there would be an Android Wear device in Sony's portfolio, the company said it would continue to do its own thing. Well, that didn't last long. The SmartWatch 3 is essentially a beefed up version of Sony's past smartwatches running Android Wear, and that could make it a potent competitor in the burgeoning wearable wars.
Sony is making it easier to get AOSP ROMs up and running on its flagship devices with a few goodies for developers. After showing off stock Android 5.0 running on the Xperia Z3 recently, the company has posted source code and binaries for the Xperia Z3, Xperia Z3 Compact, Xperia Z2, Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z1 Compact.
Sony is releasing flagship smartphones at a furious pace. Barely six months after the Xperia Z2 was announced, the Z3 is already here. If you don't need to have the absolute latest and greatest, there's a good deal on the Z2 today. Just $399.99 gets you a new unlocked device compatible with US LTE bands.
The Sony SmartWatch 3 has occupied a spot in the Play Store since mid-October, where it has sat priced at $249.99 and marked as "coming soon." Soon means now, as the watch has gone live. You can still find it at the same link and for the same price, only now it's available for purchase.
The watch is more fitness-oriented than the other options in the Play Store, eschewing a metal frame and any attempt at luxury in favor of a plastic band that covers everything except for the screen.
Sony's back to its AOSP tricks, working to release some functional (if not exactly ideal) versions of the latest release of Android based on open-source code. This time they've quickly put together Android Open Source Project builds for the flagships of the last two years: the Xperia Z1, Z2, and Z3. You can see the bone-stock builds running in the video below.
As always with Sony's developer promotions, these builds aren't intended for end users - they aren't provided with any kind of promise for reliability or functionality.
Sony is very serious about giving PlayStation 4 owners the ability to play their console without actually playing with their consoles, so the company is expanding its remote play functionality to more devices. The required app hit the Play Store just last week, but it only worked for the Z3 line of devices. Now that's gradually changing.
Following the latest over-the-air update, the Xperia Z2 and Z2 Tablet will be able to share in the experience.
To be frank, October was a bit bare of notable game releases, unless you count ports and adaptations of older titles. Our monthly top seven contains three ports, one adaptation of a card game, and one modified version of a casual PlayStation title. Only Botanicula and Rovio's surprisingly engaging Retry stand on their own. Still, there's plenty to choose from if all you need is a diversion, and our Honorable Mention section includes some choice entries for RPG and horror fans.
Over the last week there have been a rash of reports that folder with labels mentioning the Chinese search engine Baidu have been appearing on phones. The most obvious and prominent examples have been Sony's new Xperia Z3 series of phones and others running KitKat. Many users (and media outlets) jumped to the conclusion that these files were evidence of spyware, perhaps bolstered by recent and more credible reports of digital spying and hacking linked to the Chinese government.
Chromecast's screen casting feature works on a limited number of devices, but that list is gradually growing. For now, Sony appears to have cut to the front of the line of handsets waiting to get support. At the beginning of this month, the Chromecast gods smiled favorably upon the Xperia Z3 and the Z3 Compact.
Now at the end of the month, that attention is being poured upon the Xperia Z3v, Z2, and Z2 Tablet.
A reasonable person would expect Sony to release a single companion app for its SmartBand Talk activity tracker, which comes equipped with a small e-ink display. In this case, a reasonable person would be wrong. Sort of, anyway. Yes, there's one primary app for the SWR30, but you're going to need to install some separate extensions to get full use out of the fitness band once it hits store shelves next month.