Amid all the gadgets and gizmos at CES, Sony has quietly announced a new in-car entertainment system, the XSP-N1BT. It was announced so quietly, in fact, that everyone seemed to miss it until @evleaks pointed it out. It seems like Sony should have made a bigger deal, because it looks neat.
Sony understands wearables, for the company's no stranger to Bluetooth headsets, earbuds, and, more recently, smartwatches. Now it's hitting CES with a new vision of SmartWear, a.k.a, basically whatever Sony makes that can pair with a phone and fit comfortable on, or in, your body. The most interesting of the newly unveiled gadgets is the SmartBand, a FitBit Flex-style bracelet that logs your activities throughout the day. It's thin, safe to wear in the shower, and has enough battery life to last for up to five days.
Sony has two new phones to announce here at CES in Las Vegas: one specifically for the purple people over at T-Mobile, and one meant to appease users who want a premium phone without the bulk. The Xperia Z1s is T-Mobile's branded variant of the slightly older Xperia Z1. Aside from the extra letter and doubled storage, it's identical to Sony's international flagship. The Xperia Z1 Compact is a smaller 4.3" phone that keeps most of the premium features.
Update: It looks like some signals got crossed. This is the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact - the "Z1s" is a T-Mobile branded variant of the original 5-inch phone.
It's been said that those who want a powerful modern smartphone with a non-gigantic screen don't have a lot of options. If a new post from the tireless Evleaks is to be believed, they'll have at least one more on T-Mobile very soon.
If you want a smart watch but aren't compelled by the Galaxy Gear or enamored with the Pebble, there are other options out there to sate your desire. One of those options is Sony's Smart Watch 2. Best Buy is offering the second iteration of Sony's smart watch effort for $159.99, forty dollars off its normal price from the retailer, and thirty dollars off its price at Amazon.
With a 1.6" transflective LCD display (which, unlike regular LCD displays, actually reflects and transmits light), IP57-certified water resistance, and a design language reminiscent of Sony's Xperia devices, the Smart Watch 2 isn't a bad choice for those looking to try a wrist-mounted wearable.
How's that new Google Play Edition Xperia Z Ultra? Pocket-stretchingly good, you say? The Z Ultra's massive frame might be an advantage in some regards, but it's a problem in others – Sony's QX10/QX100 lens cameras don't mount quite right. The company will be rectifying that with a new Z Ultra case that has an attachment for the lenses, so you can finally rest easy.
Typically Christmas day is a slow one for technology news, but apparently the good folks at the Android Open Kang Project have dragged their coding machines in front of the open fire. Today AOKP has posted the first nightly builds of Android 4.4.2, granting deliciously fresh custom ROMs to all the good little girls and boys. And all the bad ones too, I suppose.
The list of initially-supported devices doesn't cover AOKP's official support list yet, but it covers most of the major Nexus devices, Samsung's Galaxy SIII and S4 American and international incarnations, all five major versions of the HTC One, and a handful of Sony devices (because they tend to be pretty open as far as bootloaders and modifications go).
While the Nexus elite have since moved on to KitKat, there are still a lot of devices just getting by with some flavor of Jelly Bean. At least Sony is keeping its promise of updating devices to the latest version of that sweet-themed platform. Android 4.3 is beginning to make its way to the Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, Xperia ZR, And Xperia Tablet Z.
In addition to things like stock Android and being carrier-unlocked, one of the big features of Nexus and Google Play Edition devices that Android power users love is an easily unlockable bootloader. While OEMs and carriers often make a policy of locking their devices' bootloaders to prevent installation of unauthorized software, Google makes it very easy for us to tinker with devices bearing its brand. All you really need to unlock a Google device is a tool called "fastboot," which is made available through the Android SDK.
In case you haven't been paying attention, there has been a storm of Android 4.4.2 updates for Google Play Edition devices over the past few days. It started Friday with the HTC One and Galaxy S4, and continued yesterday with the G Pad 8.3. Now, it's time for Sony Z Ultra GPE owners to get in on the action. The OTA weighs in at hefty 444 MB and, like all other recent GPE updates, will bring the phone up to date with current Nexus devices at Android 4.4.2/KOT49H.