Epic skydiving with the Sony A7R camera

(Credit: Screenshot by CNET)

Simon Hammond has previously been the visual brain behind campaigns for brands like Red Bull, Olympus, and Motorola. In this marketing video for Sony, he takes the concept of changing lenses to an entirely new — stratospheric — level.

The Sony A7R is an interchangeable-lens camera with a 36-megapixel sensor and no optical low-pass filter, which means images should be sharper than those from cameras with the filter in place. You can read our review of its companion camera, the A7, here.

There isn’t really any other information about the video or how it was made, so we suggest you just sit back and enjoy a look at the most epic lens change we’ve ever seen. It’s a clever bit of marketing, even if we’re not entirely sure that the lens swap in the closeup could really be performed so steadily while hurtling toward the ground.

(Source: CNET Australia)

[Read more]

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Crave: gorgeous gadgets and other crushworthy stuff. – CNET

Sony patents ‘smart wig’: Toupee with sensors on the way?

(Credit: USPTO)

A talking toupee? It might be a reality one day if Sony decides to do anything with a new patent it’s been awarded.

The patent’s broadly titled “Wearable Computing Device,” but things get more detailed in the patent abstract:

“Wearable computing device, comprising a wig that is adapted to cover at least a part of a head of a user, at least one sensor for providing input data, a processing unit that is coupled to at least one sensor for processing said input data, and a communication interface that is coupled to the processing unit for communicating with a second computing device. The at least one sensor, the processing unit, and the communication interface are arranged in the wig and at least partly covered by the wig in order to be visually hidden during use.”

(Credit: USPTO)

Yes, that’s exactly what it sounds like: a hairpiece with hidden embedded electronics and sensors, aka the smart wig. These are designed to provide tactile feedback — either vibrations or small electric shocks — directly to the wearer’s scalp. They could be used to notify the wearer of a text message, phone call, or e-… [Read more]

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Sony unveils PlayStation Vita TV

The new PlayStation Vita TV

(Credit: Sony/Screenshot by CNET's John Chan)

Sony on Monday unveiled the new PlayStation Vita TV, which will serve as a multimedia streaming station that connects to the PlayStation 4. This allows gamers to play games on a TV remotely from the PS4 in another room using a DualShock 3 controller, according to what was announced at the press conference.

The device is a small box that measures just 6 x 10cm and will also allow users to play their Vita games on the big screen. Sony mentioned that there will be up to 1,300 Vita titles that can be played using the Vita TV with the DualShock 3 controller. The Vita TV will also offer video-on-demand and network services with video content from Tsutaya TV and Hulu as well as the PlayStation store.

The Vita TV will retail at 9,480 yen (US$ 95) from November 14 in Japan, ahead of its international release. The value pack, which comes with an 8GB memory card and DualShock 3 controller, will retail for 14,280 yen (US$ 143).

This story originally appeared at CNET Asia under the headline “Playstation Vita TV unveiled.”

[Read more]

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Crave: gorgeous gadgets and other crushworthy stuff. – CNET

Sony debuts camera-centric Experia Z1 Android phone

Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai unveils the Experia Z1 Android phone, a high-end waterproof model with a 20.7-megapixel camera, at the IFA trade show.

(Credit: screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET)

Sony announced its new flagship Android smartphone, the Experia Z1, putting the Android phone’s camera front and center at the IFA trade show Wednesday.

The waterproof phone, which had been code-named Honami, comes with an expected 20.7-megapixel camera and a host of technologies to make the most of it.

“The Experia Z1 offers you best-in-class imaging and a revolutionary new way to capture and share your memories,” Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai said during a press conference.

More from IFA:

Sony tweaks PlayStation Vita with latest update

Sony's PlayStation Vita.

(Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment Japan)

Owners of Sony’s PS Vita will find at least one cool new feature in the console’s latest update.

Released on Tuesday, the Vita software update version 2.60 lets you play games and other content from a PS3 console or a computer without having to copy those items to the Vita. To access this feature, simply select the connected device from a list of categories and then choose the content you wish to play. Grabbing media from a PC or Mac requires you to first download and install Sony’s Content Manager Assistant for PlayStation software.

You should now find it easier to upload or download saved data via the PlayStation Network servers, according to Sony. You can now customize the console’s home screen through the Vita’s system buttons. And finally, you’ll discover new ways to control certain browser and video settings.

Vita owners … [Read more]

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Crave: gorgeous gadgets and other crushworthy stuff. – CNET

Sony prices, dates PlayStation 4: $399, coming for holidays

Sony's PS4 will cost you four bills.

(Credit: Sony)

Sony’s next-generation console not only had its hardware shown off on Monday, but its price too.

At the tail end of its E3 press conference, Sony said it would charge $ 399 for the PS4 in the U.S., which it plans to launch in time for the holidays in the U.S. and Europe. The pricing in those other countries is 399 euros and 349 British pounds.

The price comes in $ 100 less than what Microsoft plans to charge for its Xbox One, news that was delivered earlier Monday.

(Credit: Sony)

Alongside the price reveal came the unveiling of the actual PS4 hardware, which differed from several previous leaks. The black box is physically larger than Sony’s latest “slim” PS3s and sports a two-toned black body that can be used in portrait or landscape. It also has a blue band around the side that’s a bit of a throwback to Sony’s initial PS2 model.

[Read more]

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Crave: gorgeous gadgets and other crushworthy stuff. – CNET

Zeiss ships 12mm, 32mm lenses for Fujifilm and Sony cameras

The Zeiss Touit 2.8/12, an ultrawide-angle lens for Sony NEX and Fujifilm X cameras.

(Credit: Carl Zeiss)

Carl Zeiss has begun selling its first two Touit lenses for Sony and Fujifilm compact cameras, high-end prime lenses whose existence reflects the steadying maturity of the market for smaller “mirrorless” cameras.

The $ 1,250 Touit 2.8/12 and $ 900 Touit 1.8/32 autofocusing lenses are geared for the Sony NEX and Fujifilm X series of cameras, both of which employ an APS-C-sized sensor common in lower-end digital SLRs. That means the 12mm lens has a field of view equivalent to an ultrawide 18mm lens on a full-frame SLR, while the 32mm is equivalent to about a 50mm lens.

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The German company also plans to sell a 50mm f2.8 macro lens in the same family later this year, it said.

A few years ago, … [Read more]

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Crave: gorgeous gadgets and other crushworthy stuff. – CNET

13.3-inch Sony tablet is like Etch A Sketch on steroids

Sony's 13.3-inch Digital Paper tablet is based on durable plastic TFT technology.

(Credit: Sony)

If you love doodling with a pen but hate accumulating paper, Sony and E Ink are coming out with a tablet/digital notepad that’s large and light.

The 13.3-inch Digital Paper touch-panel display was recently shown off at Educational IT Solutions Expo (EDIX) in Tokyo. Sony is planning to try it out at Japanese universities and bring it to the general market this year.

It incorporates the E Ink Mobius electronic paper display, announced earlier this month. Mobius is based on thin film transistor (TFT) technology developed by Sony and is being billed as the first large-format flexible display to enter mass production.

Built on a plastic substrate, they can be much lighter than glass-based TFTs, with 13.3-inch screens weighing only 2.1 ounces.

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Sony Xperia ZL phone now up for pre-orders

(Credit: Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET)

Smartphone buyers eyeing Sony’s Xperia ZL can now pre-order the phone directly through Sony’s online store.

The ZL is available in two flavors and at two prices, both versions unlocked and carrier-free.

The C6506 model sells for $ 759.99 and offers 4G LTE connectivity. The C6502 model goes for $ 719.99 and is compatible with the HSPA+ networks used by AT&T and T-Mobile. Both models are available in black, white, and red.

The phone is pre-selling online only through the Sony Store for now but should soon pop up at other select online retailers, Sony said today. Sony’s order site shows an estimated ship date of April 8.

Sporting Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the Xperia ZL offers a Full HD Reality Display 5-inch screen. The Reality Display taps into technology from Sony’s Bravia TVs to make the picture brigher and sharper. The phone’s Mobile Bravia Engine 2 automatically optimizes the picture based on the image being displayed.

Powered by a 1.5 GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, the ZL comes with 2 gigabytes of memory and 16GB of internal storage. Users… [Read more]

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Sony needs help naming its pink balls

The Sony SRS-BTV5 portable speaker features Bluetooth, NFC, and 5-hour battery life.

(Credit: Sony)

It’s not every day the president of Sony writes a blog post headlined “Help Sony’s President Name His Pink Audio Balls.”

What balls are we talking about? Today, Sony U.S. President Phil Molyneux took to the company’s official blog and asked the Internet to leave a comment with a new name for the anemic-sounding SRS-BTV5 Bluetooth Wireless Mobile Speaker. If he likes the name, he’ll push it through as the product’s new moniker. The people behind the top five names get free — ahem — balls.

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“In my 25 years with Sony, we’ve tended to drift away from some of the more clever and catchy product names like Walkman,” Molyneux said in the post. Molyneux noted that setbacks from trademarks, international laws, and focus group testing, as well as packaging considerations, can turn the simple idea of… [Read more]

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Crave: gorgeous gadgets and other crushworthy stuff. – CNET