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Sony's weird Future Lab Program N prototype gadget gets an Android companion app

Never let it be said that Android Police discourages innovation. Even so, the "N" device from Sony's Future Lab Program is a little hard to wrap your head around. At first glance it looks like one of those neckband-style Bluetooth headphones, and indeed, it does fulfill that function (with a pair of "open ear headphones" that are similar to, but not the same as, bone conduction buds). But it also has a pair of open-air speakers on the neckband, like a tiny little boombox. It isn't limited to music, either: according to Sony's site for the N, it also delivers "up to the minute information" like news, weather, fitness data, and notifications.

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[Update: Price now $99] Deal Alert: Grab a set of refurbished Sony Extra Bass Bluetooth Headphones (MDRXB950BT) for just $75 (normally $200)

I own quite a few different sets of over-ear headphones that I use for different purposes. My Bose headphones I wear when working at the computer because they are so light and comfortable that they never cause fatigue. When I travel, I bring a set of Sony wireless noise cancelling headphones to drown out the sound of the jet engines and crying children (which are usually my own). During my lunch break at work I rock my V-Moda Crossfades, because they sound awesome and look intimidating, so no one bothers me while I listen to Audible.

I also own a pair of Sony Extra Bass headphones (MDRXB950BT) and those I wear when I am craving some sick bass notes.

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Sony's intelligent personal assistant and bluetooth bud Xperia Ear is now up for pre-order in Europe

We've known about the Sony Xperia Ear since February when it was announced at MWC along with 3 other prototype projects. At the time, Sony said it was coming late in the summer, but the date was later postponed to November, and here we are. The Xperia Ear is now available for pre-order exclusively on the Xperia Store online in Europe. It'll cost GBP 179 in the UK and EUR 199 in France, Spain, Germany, and other European countries.

So what's the Xperia Ear? It's a Bluetooth headset, but it's not made for music as much as it's a personal assistant living inside your ear.

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[Deal Alert] Sony Xperia XA, X, and X Performance all marked down 25% on Amazon today only, lowest prices yet

Sony, for a couple of years, was my very favorite smartphone manufacturer. The Z3 was, in my opinion, the best smartphone of its generation. I have since moved on to a Nexus 6P, but my wife still uses my old Z3 and I still miss its epic battery life and water resistance.

The Japanese manufacturer has hit a bit of a rough patch the last couple of years, but they are still cranking out phones, and I'd wager some of you readers are still on team Sony, lusting after their hardware.

If that's the case, then you really should check out the sale going on over at Amazon today.

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[Update: All colors ~$390] [Deal Alert] Sony Xperia X down to $399 ($81 off) on Amazon

Sony has tried more than once to wedge themselves into the North American smartphone market, but often to no avail. Perhaps in an effort to clear stock for their recently-released Xperia XZ and X Compact, Sony is now offering the Xperia X for $399 on Amazon.

Even at that price, I'm not sure I would recommend this phone. If you read our review of the device, you'll know that it didn't impress us.

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Sony's Xperia XZ is now officially available in the US for a whopping $700

Sony Mobile, despite its lackluster presence here for the past few years, is gradually re-entering the US market. The Japanese company's latest flagship, the Xperia XZ, went up for pre-order a little over a week ago, and it's now available for purchase. Unfortunately, at $700, I don't see the XZ helping Sony's dwindling smartphone business much.

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Xperia X Compact now available on Amazon, unlocked for $499

One week ago, the Xperia X Compact became available for pre-order on Amazon for $499 with a $50 credit. Today, as expected, it is officially available for sale on the site (we have yet to locate other sites currently selling it).

The X Compact, the smaller version of Sony's latest smartphone offerings, features a 4.6" 720p screen with a Snapdragon 650 CPU. The phone also has 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage with microSD expansion, USB Type-C with Qualcomm Quick Charging 3.0, and a 23MP rear camera. Keep in mind that the X Compact does include Android 6.0 Marshmallow at launch, but you can easily unlock the bootloader through Sony's Open Device Program.

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Sony Xperia XZ pre-orders go live, available on October 2

It is no secret that Sony is not the largest smartphone player in the U.S. While the phones (and tablets) are typically pretty good, they are not too commonplace here. Regardless, some of us still get excited when Sony announces new devices. That excitement is easily doubled whenever those make it to the States.

The Xperia XZ was announced at IFA back at the beginning of this month with U.S. availability. You can now pre-order it from Amazon for $699 in blue, silver, and black (though, at the time of this writing, the black was showing at $717.59 for me). The official date has been given as October 2, where you should also be able to purchase this phone at Best Buy (and "other participating retailers").

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[Deal Alert] Best Buy offers the Xperia X for $430 ($120 off) and Xperia X Performance for $585 ($115 off)

The Xperia X line is decent, but considerably behind competitors from Samsung and LG this year, with prices that border on the astronomical for their features. So what happens when you price your flagship phones too high and nobody buys them? Discounts, baby. Best Buy is already offering the mid-range Xperia X and flagship Xperia X Performance for considerably less than retail, and as unlocked GSM phones, too - no carrier shenanigans to be seen.

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Xperia C5 and C5 Ultra receive update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow

The Xperia C5 Ultra launched last year with Android Lollipop, as in 5.0. An over-the-air update to Android 5.1 arrived this past January. Eight months later, Sony is pushing the device up to Marshmallow.

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