Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


Ford has In-Car Tablet Compatibility

Posted by JenThorpe at 2:02 PM on March 7, 2012

Ford has produced a brand new feature called SYNC. This is the perfect name for the first system designed to give you in-car tablet compatibility. In other words, SYNC will allow drivers to hook up their favorite tablet device to their car, and access it through voice commands while they are driving.

The voice commands make things safer. Drivers won’t need to actually look at their tablet, or touch it, in order to listen to an audiobook, a podcast, or a song. It truly makes a tablet into a hands free device, and does not require the driver to take his or her eyes of the road.

This is exciting in many ways! This is the first time that drivers will be able to safely make use of their tablets while they are driving. The voice commands that a driver uses to access their tablet make the road a safer place to be. We live in a world where people have gotten into car accidents, and died, while trying to send or receive a text message. The SYNC allows drivers to be entertained without making them into a distracted driver.

Imagine how great this would be for road trips! Tell your tablet to start reading you an audiobook. Choose your favorite playlist, and listen as you drive through places that you have never been before. The SYNC will charge some tablets and e-readers when they are connected through SYNC’s USB connection. You won’t have to worry about finding an outlet to plug your tablet into long enough to charge it. The Ford SYNC will do that for you!

Right now, Ford engineers are testing the SYNC’s compatibility with the new iPad3. The SYNC is already compatible with the original iPad and the iPad2. Other SYNC-compatible devices include: Amazon Kindle, Amazon Kindle Fire, HP Touchpad, HTC Flyer, Barnes & Noble Nook Color, and the Sony Tablet S.

The SYNC also allows you to make a hands-free call with your phone. Answer the phone with the push of a button. Make a call using a voice command. SYNC automatically downloads the names and numbers programed into your compatible phone. Tell your phone to call Mom, and it will do exactly that.

While you cannot put SYNC into an older model Ford, there are several different 2012 models of Ford vehicles that are SYNC compatible. They are the 2012 version of the: Fiesta, Focus, Fusion, Mustang, Taurus, Escape, Edge, Explorer, Flex, Expedition, Transit Connect, F-150, E-Series Wagon, and Super Duty.

Image: Autoshow by BigStock

Sony Releases Waterproof Handycam

Posted by Alan at 11:44 AM on March 1, 2012

Today Sony announced a new waterproof version of their popular Handycam video camera.  It won’t just withstand a little splashing from the poolside, but can actually work while submerged.  Don’t expect to take it scuba diving, but a snorkeling trip will be just fine, since it’s maximum rated depth is 5 meters (about 16 feet).

The new camera packs a “a high-quality G Lens”, 10x optical zoom, 17x extended zoom, 120x digital zoom, MPEG4-AVC/H.264 AVCHD video formats, 1080p and 720p video shooting, 20.4 megapixel 16:9 still images, built-in GPS, and is Memory Stick Micro and Micro SD/SDHC compatible.

  • Exmor R™ CMOS sensor captures beautiful Full HD 50p video, even in low light
  • G Lens with 10x optical zoom (Extended Zoom 17x) and 29.8mm wide angle
  • Optical SteadyShot with Active Mode for clearer footage when walking or zooming
  • Detail-packed still photos up to 20.4 megapixels
  • Intelligent AUTO adjusts settings for great results every time
  • 7.5cm/3″ Xtra Fine LCD touch-panel

There was no word yet on pricing, but the Waterproof Handycam should be available somtime around mid-May.

Sony’s new Cameras with the OLED Viewfinder

Posted by Mike Dell at 12:44 PM on January 29, 2012


Todd talks with Al Dean from Sony about the SLT A77V and A65 Cameras and their incredible OLED Viewfinder.

When Todd walked up to it an looked into the viewfinder he said a few words that were not fit for video. But, he regained his composure and did the interview.

The A65 and A77 cameras use a translucent mirror which means that the mirror does not have to move out of the way to make a shot. The A65 will shoot 10 frames per second (double what normal mirror viewfinder cameras can do) and the A77 can shoot 12 frames per second. Also, when shooting video, the mirror stays in place so the viewfinder works unlike most other DSLR type cameras.

The A65 goes for $1000 with lens kit and the A77 goes for $1300 for the body only and $1999 with the lens kit. They are available in limited quantities now with general availability later this year.

For more information go to Sony.com

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New Sony Google TV Products

Posted by Alan at 4:08 PM on January 28, 2012

Sony was the first to market with Google TV and, while the platform had a rocky start, Google is sticking with it and working hard to improve it.  Sony is also sticking with it and at CES they showed off their latest Google TV products.  The two big releases are a new version the Sony Google TV-enabled BlueRay player and a brand new Networked Media Player with built-in Google TV.  There is also a new dual-sided remote control with a simplified user experience – one side has the basic buttons along with a touch pad for mouse-like control , while the reverse side features a QWERTY keyboard which is only active when it is facing up, eliminating those accidental clicks.

The BlueRay player and Networked Media player are expected to be released sometime in the late spring or early summer.  No pricing information is available as of this writing.  You can check out the boxes and the really cool new remote control in the video below.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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Sony’s New Google TV – CES 2012

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 12:36 AM on January 18, 2012

When the Google TV first came out I thought it was an interesting concept. However the one thing that I didn’t like was the size of the remote. The idea of having a remote the size of a regular keyboard was not very appealing. Sony introduced a new generation of the Google TV at CES 2012. There are three versions, the one that is embedded within a TV, a BluRay player with an integrated Google TV and a stand alone Google TV. Both the BluRay player and the stand alone player have a smaller form factor than before. They all run Android 3.2 with Android Market well-integrated and is full HD capable.

The thing that caught my eye the most was the remote control. It now looks like a real remote control instead of large keyboard. The front of the remote is set up like a traditional remote with a touchpad on it. On the back is a keyboard when you need it. The keyboard works only when it is facing up. So there is no chance of typing while you are trying to hit play or record. This is a great improvement on the first generation of Google TV. I can’t wait to get a hold of one later this year.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central

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Phones 4u Gets Xperia S in White

Posted by Andrew at 5:30 AM on January 14, 2012

Phones 4u LogoWhile the Sony Xperia ion might have been getting much of the attention at CES, the Xperia S was running a close second. A flagship Android phone, it’s the full HD experience with a 4.3″ 1280 x 720 pixel TFT screen, 12 megapixel 1080p video recording rear camera, 720p front-facing camera and HDMI TV out. PlayStation-certified, 3D support, DLNA certified, Sony Entertainment Network, 1.5 GHz dual core processor, 32 GB memory; this is the mutt’s nuts as they say.

At launch, the OS will be Android 2.3, but Sony has promised Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) for the Xperia S in the second quarter of 2012. Most excellent.

Sony Xperia S smartphone

For the fashionistas out there, the Xperia S will come in two versions, a black one and a white one. (I hesitate to say “colours”, as all the pedants will weigh in with their view as to whether black and white are colours). Anyway, defectors from Apple will feel right at home.

In the UK, Phones 4u has managed to snaffle the exclusive rights to the white model, which will be available along with the black one from March onwards. Pricing and exact launch date will be confirmed nearer the time. In the meantime you can see a hands-on review of the new Xperia S and pre-register your interest in Sony’s new flagship device.

Scott Hooton, Trading Director at Phones 4u said: “The Xperia S takes the mobile HD experience to a whole new level and packages it all up in a slick new innovative design for Sony. Being the only retailer to offer both the white and black variants, along with free 4u Wi-Fi, we’re expecting the Xperia S to be a popular smartphone of choice at Phones 4u as we enter the New Year.

With luck, Geek News Central will be able to provide you with a hands-on review close to the launch.

Sony Connects Up At CES

Posted by Andrew at 7:30 AM on January 10, 2012

Sony LogoSony‘s CES focus this year is on electronics, content and network services combining to deliver high quality entertainment anytime and anywhere. Supported by a slew of product announcements, new connected devices range from TVs, Blu-ray players and A/V receivers through to tablets, smartphones and PCs and on to camcorders and mobile music players. Sony is combining these with online services for music, video and game delivery, creating a great user experience (as they say). TVs, PCs, smartphones and tablets are key to this experience as the four main devices used for entertainment.

Sony is committed to designing technologies for every aspect of consumer entertainment – in or out of the home, on the go, in the air, at work, at play, or wherever life takes you,” said Kazuo Hirai, Executive Deputy President, Sony Corporation. “When these products are combined with Sony Entertainment Network (SEN), which offers innovative services like Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited, as well as PlayStation Network, the user experience is truly unmatched and only made possible by a company like Sony.”

The Bravia TV line has been expanded in all three areas; entry level BX, step-up EX and flagship HX. Brightness and contrast levels have been increased and picture quality improved with Sony’s X-Reality and Motionflow video technologies. In particular the latter helps to reduce blur caused by rapid camera movements which is often a problem with LCD screens. Sony is sticking with the Google TV platform with a new network player and Blu-ray player featuring Google TV. Certain Bravia models will link seamlessly to these devices to provide Google TV features directly on the TV.

Sony Xperia ion smartphoneSony’s Vaio range of computers will continue to be updated with more entertainment feature and new designs that fit with consumers’ needs and increasing mobility. At CES, Sony will be demonstrating new technologies and prototypes for a range of technologies including glasses-free 3D.

In the smartphone space, the Xperia brand has done reasonably well, but increasing the smartphone share in North America is now one of Sony’s highest priorities. Sony Ericsson will be subsumed into Sony Mobile Communications and all new phones will carry Sony branding. The latest addition to the Xperia line-up is the Xperia ion, Sony’s first LTE smartphone coming with an HD 720p display and aluminium body. Also new is the Xperia S which comes with 3D image capture.

Sony Bloggie LiveOn the imaging front, no less than 13 new Handycam camcorders are being unveiled. A new image stabilisation system called Balanced Optical Steady Shot has been developed that controls the complete optical path from lens to sensor as a single floating unit. This reduces handshake blur by up to 13 times compared to the previous models. There’s a new camcorder model with a built-in video projector that has improved brightness and enhanced audio. The trusty Bloggie range now has a “Live” model which will live stream HD video over a Wi-Fi connection and there’s an unboxing over at sister channel TPN.tv. Of course, Sony has a bunch of new Cybershot digital still cameras.

Z Series Audio MP3 PlayerFinally, it wouldn’t be CES if Sony didn’t announce a Walkman or two. The new Z series of MP3 players comes with an application interface and connectivity to both Sony’s Music Unlimited and the Android Market. Content can be played from Z series devices either wirelessly using DLNA or via HDMI to Bravia TVs. To further improve the audio experience, no less than eleven new Balanced Armature earbud-style headphones are now available as well.

That’s it – a quick overview of the products on show at CES by Sony and they all look like fun.

Samsung Acquires Sony’s Stake in S-LCD for $939 million

Posted by J Powers at 9:43 AM on December 26, 2011
Sony

Sony

Back in 2004, Samsung and Sony joined together to produce Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD). More than TV’s and computer monitors, these LCD’s were also in phones, cars, appliances and other items needing a display. Two months after Sony announced it was reorganizing due to a 1.2 billion dollar loss, Sony has sold their part in the LCD venture for $939 million (1.08 trillion Korean won).

In the agreement, Samsung will acquire all of Sony’s shares (329,999,999) of the S-LCD Corporation. They will still cooperate in engineering efforts on LCD panel technology.

Transaction close date is expected on 1/19/2012

Sony Press Release

Samsung Press Release

Android Leads UK Smartphone Race

Posted by Andrew at 1:40 PM on November 1, 2011

Android LogoIn the UK, Android is beginning to dominate the smartphone space, with 50% of handsets sold in the last quarter running Android. RIM (Blackberry) and Apple are almost level pegging on 22% and 18% and with half of UK adults now owning a smartphone, Android has an impressive lead.

Breaking the Android figures down, HTC is the top dog, with nearly 45% of Android handsets sold. Samsung is picking up the pace at 38% but Sony Ericsson is the big loser, falling to 8.5% of the Android market.

Surprisingly, this means that HTC, Samsung, RIM and Apple are each taking about a quarter of the market. Compared with mindshare that Apple generally has and the dominance in the tablet market, it’s clear that the iPhone is under performing.

Personally, I would agree with the figures. Looking round the office, Android phones are definitely in the majority followed by iPhones and Blackberries. I think Blackberries are popular with younger people as both my nephews have that brand of phone. The breakdown of the Android shares also rings true. This time last year, it would have been exclusively HTC smartphones but now there are quite a few people sporting Samsung devices.

The research was carried out by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech over the past 12 weeks. To be fair, this probably means that iPhone sales were down as people waited for new model but there’s no doubt that Android is the no.1 smartphone OS in the UK.

 

Sony Releases New ICF-DS15iP iPod iPhone Clock Radio Dock

Posted by Alan at 12:36 PM on October 17, 2011

Sony ICF-DS15iP

iPod and iPhone users have no shortage of accessories to choose from.  Now Sony is introducing one more.  Known as the ICF-DS15iP (catchy, huh?), it’s a clock radio dock that allows the user to plug in an iPod or iPhone to what looks like a traditional clock radio backed by a large speaker.  It’s designed to sit on the nightstand and will use music on your device, the radio, or a built-in alarm to wake you up.  But it’s portable so it can be moved around to sit on a desk or anywhere you want to listen to some tunes without headphones.

It features 3.5W + 3.5W audio output with “enhanced MEGABASS” to deliver what Sony is calling “clear, commanding music and vocals with radio or iPod/iPhone sources. With crystal-clear highs and solid bass.”  It also comes with a small remote control, just in case the device is out of your reach.  The technical specs, given by Sony, are listed below.

Model ICF-DS15iP
Type Digital radio
FM/AM reception Yes
Preset 30 (FM 20, AM 10)
DAB/DAB+ No
LCD Display Yes
Brightness Control High / Middle / Low / OFF
Number of Display Time Single
Buzzer Alarm Yes
Radio Alarm Yes
CD Alarm No
Dual Alarm Yes
Extendable Snooze Yes
Sleep Timer Yes
Power Back-Up Yes
Date Display Yes
Volume Control Yes (Electronic Formula)
Speaker Type Stereo Speaker
Speaker Size 57mm
Speaker Power 3.5W + 3.5W
Battery Type Lithium Battery (CR2032 – Backup Battery)
Power Type External AC Adapter
Inputs and Outputs Audio-in (Stereo Mini Jack) /30pin plug for iPod
Dimensions (W x H x D) 290 x 165 x 145mm
Weight Approx. 1.65kg
Supplied Accessories Backup Battery, Remote Control (Card Type), Batteries for Remote Control, Operating Instructions, Quick Start Guide

The ICF-DS15iP is available today, October 17th, for an unknown price because it isn’t actually listed yet on the Sony website which the press release directs to.  It also isn’t yet listed on Amazon.  Similar Sony models, however, seem to be right around $100.