Sony's decision to drop the Walkman brand from its music app left people strangely upset, but maybe this will cool some hot heads. The latest update of the beta music app adds Google Cast support. It's "experimental," but it's better than nothing.
Some of Sony's older hardware (well, relatively speaking, anyway) is getting updated to Lollipop today. If you own an Xperia Z (LTE model), Xperia ZR (LTE model), Xperia ZL, or Xperia Tablet Z, all released in 2013, check your status bar for an over-the-air update. According to Xperia Blog and the always-reliable XDA, all four of these devices are being upgraded as of now. As usual, it may take a few days or even a week or two for the rollout to reach you.
When I was in Istanbul last week, I saw street vendors waving selfie sticks (aka the wand of Narcissus) and offering for a few liras to hold your phone so you can take a selfie from a better angle. If something hits the hawker market, it's safe to say that it's pervasive and in-demand. That's the angle that the newly announced Sony Xperia C4 is coming from. Sony even has a name for all the cool selfles that this smartphone can take — PROselfies. Because regular selfies aren't enough.
The recipe for cooking up a PROselfie involves a 5MP 25mm wide-angle lens with Sony's Exmor R sensor, a soft LED flash, and HDR for balancing the exposure as much as possible and capturing both you and your background clearly.
To address several relatively minor problems and requests, Sony's Xperia Z2 and Z3 devices will be getting an update to their firmware. They will remain on 5.0 Lollipop, which speaks to the fact that these are mostly optimizations rather than wholesale changes. The headlining feature is probably the fact that the app switcher now has a close all button, but there are some other goodies as well.
Another feature change is making the LED light independent of the sound settings. Previously, putting the device on silent also turned off the LED indicator. This was probably annoying, since the light is the exact thing you would want in place of audio.
Back at MWC, while everyone was waiting for Sony to announce its follow-up flagship, the Xperia Z4, the company decided to keep it under wraps and instead unveiled the mid-range Xperia M4 Aqua and the Xperia Z4 Tablet. Today, the phone has finally been made official in Sony's home turf of Japan during a press conference that made all of the Z4's details public but left out any information regarding its global release or price.
The Xperia Z4 follows the same design as its predecessors, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on how you look at it. The squarish shape, metal frame, and glass back are part of the brand's identity, but at the same time they're iterative and have become boring.
The Nexus 6 is a pretty fantastic piece of Android hardware. The Nexus 9 is... a tablet that runs Lollipop. And even some hardcore Android fans have yet to be sold on Android Wear. But if you're in the market for any of those devices right now, you want to get them from the new Google Store, at least if you live in the United States. Google is offering $50 of free Play Store credit with a new purchase of the N6, N9, or any Android Wear device.
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.
Used in conjunction with Sony's Voice Control Extension app, it can perform daily tasks such as setting alarms and timers, making phone calls, checking the weather, and more. It doesn't seem like it will have access to more thorough searches a la Amazon Echo or Google Now, but like them, it can be activated from afar with an "OK Speaker," command thanks to its built-in microphone.
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.