The market for gigantic waterproof phones just got a lot more competitive. Google has slashed the price of the Sony Z Ultra Google Play edition by $200. That brings the price down from $649 to a much more respectable $449.
Taking the background in an image and blurring it is currently the big thing in mobile photography. HTC touted the feature when raving about the M8's duo camera. Google added a similar lens blur effect in the camera app it recently uploaded to the Play Store. Samsung, too, unsurprisingly packed this feature in alongside the plethora of others it crams into the Galaxy S5. Now Sony has uploaded its pre-existing effort to the Play Store, where it can more easily roll out future updates.
Smartwatches get all the credit, but they're largely nothing without the companion app calling all the shots from a nearby smartphone. So when said companion receives a pretty substantial update, it breathes new life into the accessory it's paired with. Today Sony has rolled out such an upgrade for its Smartwatch 2 companion app, introducing a brand new watch face editor.
From this interface, wearers can choose which watch face and widgets (weather, calendar, etc.) that they want on their watch.
It doesn't matter which phone a Sony QX10 or QX100 owner uses, these cameras are better. The drawback is that the user experience is nothing short of awkward. One particular issue is slow NFC connection times, making it challenging to capture spontaneous shots (and aren't those the best kind?). Fortunately, this is the type of problem an update can address. Firmware version 3.0 is now available for both models, doing precisely that.
Back at this year's Mobile World Congress, Sony unveiled its new SmartBand SWR10 activity tracker (like everyone else) and a Lifelog app to go with it. Together, the pair will be able to track your location, activities, and certain social data. Sony still has the SmartBand listed as coming soon on its site (despite Newegg showing it as in-stock and the accessory being temporarily available on Amazon last month), but the company has now released the Lifelog companion app into the Play Store.
Sony has steadfastly refused to abandon its smart watch plans for Android Wear, which is totally its call. It might not work out well down the road, but you can get your hands on Sony's latest Smartwatch SW2 right now on the cheap. How cheap? Just $119.99 with free shipping (continental US only).
Sony's latest and greatest is getting a little bit better today as an update for the Xperia Z2 begins making its way out to devices. The Z2 was already on Android 4.4 KitKat, so there's no change on that front. The update (version 17.1.A.2.55) does include a number of notable tweaks and improvements, though.
Google won a lot of minds when it unveiled Android Wear, and Motorola made off with a ton of hearts when it followed up with the Moto 360. The thing is, not everyone wants a device that's so integrated with their Google accounts, and this leaves room for earlier smartwatch manufacturers to wiggle. The Sony SmartWatch brand has been around long enough to draw quite a few apps into its ecosystem, making it worth a look for some.
Sony's typically quick about releasing the open source underpinnings of its devices. After having announced the Xperia T2 Ultra earlier this year, the company has now made the kernel files for the device available for download. The company's offering these files up for three variants of the device, the D5303, D5322, and XM50h. The software version for the first model is 19.0.1.A.0.207, while the latter two fall under 19.0.D.0.253.