The Playstation Vita as a cellphone

Sony's tiny but powerful pocket game console has 3G, but no phone app. Skype to the rescue. [Ars] Read the rest

Sony takes down game downloads to prevent homebrew

Kyle Orland writes that Sony is preventing customers from re-downloading games they've already paid for, because code flaws in them may be used to run unsigned code on the portable console. The hack is reportedly useful only for homebrew, not for piracy. [Ars] Read the rest

Sony Xperia S reviewed

Vlad Savov reviews Sony's Xperia S for The Verge. With a 1280x720 display, 12 megapixel camera and a dual-core CPU, it's the company's first major new design since buying out Sony-Ericsson. How does it do?

The Xperia S isn't a bad phone, it's just not particularly good at any one thing. I find this disappointing because Sony's brand ethos has always been about conquering the heights of technology, not settling for a moderately good device in the middle of the pack.

Dead on arrival, in other words. You can tell Sony is trying hard to catch up, however, because the edition of Android on it is only 14 months old. Read the rest

Sony's dual-screen Tablet P arrives

Sony's double-screened Vaio P Tablet comes with "4G" internet via AT&T, dual 5.5" touchscreen displays, and a selection of apps optimized for the new format. Running Android 3.2, the data plan costs $35 a month for 3GB and $50 for 5GB. At $550, though, it'll be a difficult sell. With a two-year contract--itself a thousand dollar proposition--it's $400.

Product Page [Sony] Read the rest

Sony raised price of Whitney Houston albums after death

At The Guardian, Josh Halliday writes about Sony's rush to profit from Whitney Houston's death.

Sony Music has come under fire after it increased the price of a Whitney Houston album on Apple's iTunes Store hours after the singer was found dead.

The music giant is understood to have lifted the wholesale price of Houston's greatest hits album, The Ultimate Collection, at about 4am California time on Sunday. This meant that the iTunes retail price of the album automatically increased from £4.99 to £7.99.

The clockwork regularity of Sony PR disasters is really something. It's as if a Division of Unbridled Cynicism lurks deep in the bowels of its vast workforce, issuing Spite Directives to ensure an ingeniously varied drumbeat of fail. Read the rest

EFF's PlayStation 3 PSA: jailbreaking shouldn't be a crime

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is petitioning the US Copyright Office for a DMCA exemption legalizing "jailbreaking" -- modifying the devices you own so that they can run software of your choosing. The Copyright Office holds hearings every three years on DMCA exemptions and these need to be renewed at each hearing.

To highlight the need for a jailbreaking exemption, EFF has made this video showing how Sony shipped its PlayStation 3 with the promise that users could run GNU/Linux on it, a promise that was taken up by many purchasers, including the USAF, who used a room full of PS3s running Linux to make a clustered supercomputer. But Sony changed its mind and revoked the feature after the fact and began to actively pursue legal penalties against researchers who attempted to restore it.

However, in April 2010, Sony’s mandatory firmware update -- version 3.21 -- removed the ability to install "Other OS" -- meaning no more Linux on your PlayStation. To add legal muscle to its firmware, Sony sued several security researchers for publishing information about security holes that would allow users to run Linux on their machines again. Claiming that the research violated the DMCA, Sony asked the court to impound all "circumvention devices" -- which it defines to include not only the defendants' computers, but also all "instructions," i.e., their research and findings.

This means you can set your PlayStation on fire, but you can’t run Linux on hardware you own. To illustrate how ludicrous this is, we made a video illustrating what an owner can do with a PlayStation -- and what Sony contends they can’t.

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Sony "Other OS" lawsuit dismissed

Though a judge tossed a lawsuit filed against Sony for removing the "Other OS" feature from the Playstation 3, even he could not let it pass without a note of disbelief: "As a matter of providing customer satisfaction and building loyalty, it may have been questionable." [Ars Technica] Read the rest

Three sad things Sony did this weekend

1. The new Playstation Vita will only permit one account per device. Preventing people from conveniently switching accounts thereby makes it harder to switch between accounts established in different regions, which have different releases and prices. Also, Sony recently added additional DRM restrictions to games: you can only play them on 2, instead of 5 different consoles. You are allowed to take a game to one (1) friend's house. [Kotaku]

2. Despite buying out its failed joint-venture with Sony-Ericsson, Sony will be not be ditching the brand until later next year. Say what you want about RIM, at least it's prepared to write off inventory that it can't sell.

3. It tried to bully journalists who attended screenings of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo into not writing about it before the embargo, even though one of them has already broken it. Which, of course, turns the original offender, The New Yorker, into the recipient of a post facto exclusive. [Deadline] Read the rest

What the Vaio Z says about Sony's little design problem

Sony's latest ultraportable laptop is stunning. It's beautiful and lightweight, with a classy metal chassis and impeccably tasteful trim. It has a powerful i7 CPU, 1600x900 13.1" display and a lightning-fast SSD. It's half a pound lighter than the competition. And it exemplifies everything that is wrong with its creator. Read the rest

Mandatory "agreement" for Playstation Network users waives your right to class actions over future hacks

The next time you log into your Sony Playstation Network account, the company is going to ask you to click through a EULA whereby you promise not to sue them in a class action if they get hacked again, even if they're negligent, and even if you get screwed over as a result. If you don't agree, no more PSN for you. (Thanks, @sickkid1972!) Read the rest

Sony's HMZ-T1: Home theater in a headset

Sony's HMZ-T1 is a head-mounted 3D headset, to be released later this year in Japan. Two 1280x720 OLED displays, each just 7/10 of an inch across, create a virtual 750" screen. Perceived 20m from the viewer, it "corresponds to the sense of cinema as seen from a large central seat." It'll be 60,000 Yen ($785) from mid-november.

Source [Impress.co.jp] Read the rest