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.
Along with its Xperia Z4 Tablet announcement at MWC, Sony unveiled a set of accessories including this adorable little thing. Officially dubbed the "Smart Bluetooth® Speaker BSP60," this round black ball that slightly looks like Mickey Mouse's head if his ears were squashed (or the 8 ball in pool, or the pendulum's head in Beauty And The Beast, or maybe a black version of Eve's head in Wall-E) is an alarm, a 2.5W Bluetooth speaker, and a voice assistant.
Sony's recent Xperia phones and tablets have included themable skins for the proprietary Sony UI that runs on top of Android. Now Sony wants you (yes, you!) to make themes for its devices using a custom Java desktop program. The company has released a beta version of the application for aspiring theme makers, available from the Sony Developer site.
The program allows you to apply different colors and graphical elements to the various bits and pieces of Sony's themes.
Along with the Xperia Z4 Tablet, Sony has announced the mid-range waterproof Xperia M4 Aqua today at Mobile World Congress.
With a 5" 720p display, 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 Octacore, and 2GB of RAM, the Xperia M4 Aqua doesn't seem too impressive to begin with. However, when you start factoring in all the other specs, you'll understand why Sony says that there are "no compromises" in this mid-ranger.
First up, a 13MP camera (remember when that was a feature of high-end smartphones?) with Sony's Exmor RS sensor and a large F2.0 aperture with 3200 ISO sensitivity dons the back of the Xperia M4 Aqua and adapts to various environments.
Sony's mobile division may be spiraling into oblivion, but that isn't stopping the company from dropping new hardware at Mobile World Congress. First up is the really hot Xperia Z4 Tablet, a very light and thin 10.1" tablet.
Sony's Folding@Home app turns your Android device into a weapon in the war against diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's by contributing your spare computing power to research. It entered the Play Store in early January as a beta exclusively available to certain Xperia phones. Now Sony is expanding the experience to other hardware, including devices running Android Lollipop.
Here you can see Folding@Home running on my HTC One M7, a non-Sony device with the latest version of Android.
While it's nice to see Folding@Home opened up, the app is still incompatible with tablets and slightly older devices such as the Nexus 4, the Galaxy Nexus, and the Galaxy Note II (the Nexus 5 and the Note 3 are supported though).
I don't know how many tablets Verizon typically sells, especially if you limit that to non-iPads. But however many of you picked up the admittedly neat Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet from Big Red, check your status bar for an update alert. Today's software update adds something even neater: the ability to remotely play games on your PlayStation 4 over your home Wi-Fi network. You'll need the official Remote Play app and a Dual Shock 4 controller to take advantage of it.
OTA update 23.0.1.E.0.208 also includes "optimized touch sensitivity," better performance for users who encrypt their tablet, improved support for TalkBack (Google's accessibility service for the visually impaired), and minor UI tweaks to fonts, icons, and layouts.
Anyone eager to see what Sony has planned for the Xperia Z4 Tablet won't have much longer to wait. According to XperiaBlog, Sony has let slip its plans to show off the tablet on March 3rd. That date lines up with a certain Mobile World Congress taking place at the time where a bunch of other manufacturers will also be showing off their upcoming products.
Sony announced the budget-oriented Xperia E4 just a few weeks ago, and there's already a new variant of the device. The Xperia E4g has the "g" at the end because it has more Gs in its cellular radio. Yes, this version has 4G LTE instead of just 3G. There are a few other differences as well.
Sony slipped the official SmartEyeglass app into the Play Store yesterday, and now here we are with an official announcement on availability (sort of). The developer edition SmartEyeglass is available for pre-order in the UK and Germany today and ships in March. It'll cost you a hefty sum to get a piece of the next wearable concept. Sony is asking $840 (£520, €670) for the developer unit.