For the last several months you may have noticed a huge drop in posting activity here at Sony Insider. The reason: I accepted a position at CNET earlier this year and have been writing there ever since. As much as I enjoyed obsessively exploring some of the fascinating details of the Sony brand and its products, it became apparent to me after several years of doing so that I needed to shift to bigger and better things.
When I first started SI, Sony had a lackluster social media presence; a site like ours was critical as the brand transitioned its social media presence. For many months (and years), we were one of the biggest Sony blogs on the Internet, assisting with the launch of many products (and leaking them, too). Traffic exploded as the months rolled by, and Sony Electronics was a very gracious host by accommodating many of our needs. Sony Electronics also gave us access to incredible opportunities and events, which I will always be thankful for. However, it was around late last year when I realized Sony was investing an incredible amount of energy in its own blog and SGNL video series, making Sony Insider less necessary. I also felt a sense of competition between Sony and SI, whereas the original goal was to hopefully one day be an official part of Sony. That obviously never materialized, which was a severe disappointment.
Sony Insider is not dead, but rather on a hiatus for now as I further my professional career and spread my wings. This isn’t over; we will return at some point and be better than ever. No one covers Sony like Sony Insider. Stay tuned.
Sony continues to surprise us here and there and today in its press release the electronics company revealed some interesting plans regarding Augmented Reality and its new developments within. This new technology that the company has been working on for years has been perfecting and what you will see in the video above may surprise you. I remember way back in the day when I bought my first VAIO webcam PCGA-VC2 (only sold in Japan), it came with a software called CyberCode Finder and a number of QR codes with the help of which a user could start an assigned programs by just flashing the code in front of the camera and do other Windows related operations.
The latest generation AIBO ERS-7M3 also used specially marked cards to perform dances, go into a certain mode or play with you. I have used those QR type cards a number of times with my Champagne AIBO pup and it worked flawlessly, as long as his little webcam built into his nose could recognize the commands. As the time passed by, Sony introduced a simple but cute PS3 game called EyePet where with a help of a special marker, later replaced by a PlayStation Move device you could interact with your pet on the flat screen TV. And I am sure a number of you are familiar with the Eye of Judgement PS3 game which uses similar techniques.
Today Sony stepped further by integrating markerless 3D integrated augmented reality which may revolutionize the way we play, read books and interact with others. Read about all the new developments and what this AR tech can bring later on into your every day life. Watch how the PostPet character can be brought to reality we live in below:
Sony has developed integrated ‘Augmented Reality (hereafter referred to as ‘AR’) technology’ called as “Smart AR.” When capturing visuals through a camera on a device such as a smartphone, the technology enables additional information to be displayed on the device’s screens such as virtual objects, or images and texts that cannot be identified by visual perception alone. The technology employs the markerless approach, forgoing any requirement for special markers such as 2D barcodes. The object captured by the camera is quickly recognized and can be tracked at high-speed along with the movement of the camera, as it is displayed over the actual 3D space.
AR technology has recently been the subject of much interest, and is being used in a variety of applications such as advertisements, promotions, games, and information searches. Sony began researching AR in 1994 with two-dimensional barcodes recognition (marker approach), and in 1998, it developed VAIO “PCG-C1″ personal computers equipped with software which automatically recognized ‘CyberCode*2.’
”SmartAR” technology combines ‘object recognition technology’ (markerless approach in which no special markers are required) for recognition of general objects such as photographs and posters with Sony’s own proprietary ’3D space recognition technology,’ which has been fostered through the research of robots such as “AIBO” and “QRIO.” With “SmartAR” technology objects can be recognized and tracked at high-speed. In addition to displaying virtual objects or additional image or text information (hereafter, ‘AR information’), the technology also facilitates the expression of AR information over an extended space, thus producing a dynamic, large-scale AR experience.
Furthermore, information can be acquired or navigated by simply touching the AR information directly on the screen of the smartphone or other device, thus achieving an intuitive and seamless user interface that is unique to “SmartAR.”
Sony will continue to experiment with “SmartAR” technology with the aim to add new value for various services and business applications such as advertising and games.
< Main features >
(1) Object recognition that enables the markerless approach
AR information can be displayed on the captured image which appears on a device’s screen, including those images that do not have any special markers for AR. This technology is also compatible with image recognition technologies that use conventional markers (such as “CyberCode*2″). Because “SmartAR” can recognize everyday objects such as posters and menus, it has the potential for a wide variety of applications.
”SmartAR” object recognition technology identifies objects by analyzing features detected from a portion of the image (hereafter, ‘local features’) together with their positional relationship. Our feature matching technology that employs a proprietary probabilistic method that matches local features with minimal calculations enables high-speed recognition that is resistant to changes in lighting or the position of the object. In addition, recognition is still possible even if the object captured appears to be comparatively small in the display.
(2) High-speed tracking (‘rapid & accurate’)
Sony achieved its natural-feeling ‘rapid & accurate’ AR by quickly displaying AR information on the screen and then tracking the camera’s movements at high-speed. This has been realized by combining object recognition technology with our proprietary matching technology that uses features detected from a portion of the image (‘local features’) and image tracking technology that is capable of dealing with changes in the shape of the object.
(3) 3D space recognition
With our dynamic, large-scale AR, virtual objects can be merged with 3D structures detected in the physical world. For example, even if the AR image is a gigantic virtual character whose size exceeds the dimensions of the device’s screen, the technology allows the user to grasp the entirety of the virtual character when the camera is moved around. Furthermore, it is also possible to move the virtual object in the actual 3D space as if it were really there.
Three-dimensional space recognition technology is based on use of the disparity observed by the camera movements to estimate the shape of the 3D space and the position and angle of the camera. By combining this with object recognition technology, devices become capable of identifying and remembering 3D space constructions.
(4) AR Interaction
Information can be intuitively acquired and navigated by directly touching the AR information displayed on the smartphone or device’s screen. The distinctiveness of “SmartAR” technology comes from the user interface which enables users to naturally use and operate additional information and virtual objects.
This video below was uploaded back in 2007, check out how similar it is to the Sony development in this area:
Sony Europe announced today that the well known and preferred media by Sony is getting even faster in transferring and recording your AVCHD videos and what not. This new Memory Stick is getting a longer title (PRO-HG Duo HX) it seems like every time we see a new evolution. I guess by the time we see a 128 GB Memory Stick it will have quite a title (how about this one Sony – Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo HX HD Super HighVision XGX).
Joking aside, the memory media will be suitable for the upcoming 3D camcorders as well as new NEX as well as Cybershot cameras.
Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo™ HX with up to 50MB/sec transfer rates
· New HX Engine technology for fast, reliable data transfers
· Faster than UHS-I SD cards used with devices by Sony
· Available in 8/16/32GB capacities
· Ideal for high-speed burst shooting with DSLR, Full HD movies and 3D imaging
· High reliability with 10 year warranty
· Includes free File Rescue and x-Pict Story™ software
· Same price as previous Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo™ HX models
Now photographers can fully exploit the high-speed, high-resolution shooting potential of the latest digital cameras and camcorders from Sony.
The range-topping Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo™ HX now boasts blazing data transfer speeds of up to 50MB/sec1. 1.6x faster than previous Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo™ HX cards – and available at the same price – it’s quicker than today’s fastest commercially available UHS-I SD cards when used with devices by Sony.
This phenomenal performance makes new Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo™ HX an ideal shooting, storage and data transfer solution for demanding digital imaging users.
Available in capacities from 8GB to 32GB, the fastest-ever Memory Stick is optimised for sustained burst shooting with today’s high-resolution DSLR, SLT and interchangeable lens cameras.
Teamed with the NEX-5 ultra-compact camera by Sony, the card can capture 190 JPEG images in one minute in high-speed burst shooting mode. That’s well over double the rate of 80 images/minute using a standard Class 4 SD card. The high performance of Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo™ HX also makes it ideal for recording Full HD and 3D movies with the latest Handycam® camcorders. For more information please see the HX Memory card file which is attached to this release.
Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo™ HX makes post-shooting file transfers and back-ups faster, too. Copying a 32GB AVCHD movie file to your PC2 takes just 11 minutes. That’s more than twice as quick as transfers using today’s fastest SDHC cards.
These significant improvements are made possible by new HX Engine that’s been specially developed by Sony. This intelligent flash memory controller enhances data transfer efficiency and error handling for quicker, more stable read/write performance with large files.
For maximum peace of mind, the card’s high reliability is backed by a 10-year warranty by Sony.
Available from www.sony.net/memorycard for registered Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo™ HX owners, File Rescue recovers accidentally damaged or deleted files. With a 90% successful recovery rate3, it’s an essential utility to help restore precious data including JPEG photos, MPEG or AVCHD video and MP3 music files4.
Also available as a free download to registered owners, x-Pict Story™ software helps anyone create memorable photo slideshows. This friendly package combines your favourite photos and music with beautiful visual effects to create professional-looking presentations. Integration with Picture Motion Browser software makes it quick and easy to upload slideshows to sharing sites like YouTube™.
The top of the line Bravia XBR929 sets are barely hitting the store shelves (a few lucky owners are already posting their impressions on the AVS Forum), and a new and quite feature-
filled juicy firmware update popped up on Sony Support site. The following enhancements will be available to your new set.
This software update (version PKG3.121AAA) provides the following benefits:
- Adds the ability to use the Skype® online calling service
- Adds the “What’s New” feature
- Media Remote (Software keyboard, Full / Simple Remote and Shake Track ID)
- VAIO® Remote Keyboard
- Media Remote (text by voice)
- Audio Theatre Control Widget
- WMV/WMA Codec for DLNA / USB
- 3D on IPTV and USB for NX and above
- Improves performance and stability of IPTV (Internet Protocol TV) features.
Note: IPTV allows you to enjoy HD (High Definition) programming from the Internet on your BRAVIA television that is connected to a broadband Internet connection.
Now, if only I could get this 63 Mb loaded on my already forgotten by Sony HX909…
It’s not very often you would see a public and personal letter from CEO of the corporation, but Sir Howard came through and addressed the PSN nation with the following letter today:
I know this has been a frustrating time for all of you.
Let me assure you that the resources of this company have been focused on investigating the entire nature and impact of the cyber-attack we’ve all experienced and on fixing it. We are absolutely dedicated to restoring full and safe service as soon as possible and rewarding you for your patience. We will settle for nothing less.
To date, there is no confirmed evidence any credit card or personal information has been misused, and we continue to monitor the situation closely. We are also moving ahead with plans to help protect our customers from identity theft around the world. A program for U.S. PlayStation Network and Qriocity customers that includes a $1 million identity theft insurance policy per user was launched earlier today and announcements for other regions will be coming soon.
As we have announced, we will be offering a “Welcome Back” package to our customers once our PlayStation Network and Qriocity services are up and running. This will include, among other benefits, a month of free PlayStation Plus membership for all PSN customers, as well as an extension of subscriptions for PlayStation Plus and Music Unlimited customers to make up for time lost.
As a company we — and I — apologize for the inconvenience and concern caused by this attack. Under the leadership of Kazuo Hirai, we have teams working around the clock and around the world to restore your access to those services as quickly, and as safely, as possible.
I know some believe we should have notified our customers earlier than we did. It’s a fair question. As soon as we discovered the potential scope of the intrusion, we shut down the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services and hired some of the best technical experts in the field to determine what happened. I wish we could have gotten the answers we needed sooner, but forensic analysis is a complex, time-consuming process. Hackers, after all, do their best to cover their tracks, and it took some time for our experts to find those tracks and begin to identify what personal information had — or had not — been taken.
As a result of what we discovered we notified you of the breach. Our investigation is ongoing, and we are upgrading our security so that if attacks like this happen again, our defenses will be even stronger.
In the last few months, Sony has faced a terrible earthquake and tsunami in Japan. But now we are facing a very man-made event – a criminal attack on us — and on you — and we are working with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies around the world to apprehend those responsible.
In the coming days, we will restore service to the networks and welcome you back to the fun. I wanted to personally reach out and let you know that we are committed to serving you to the very best of our ability, protecting your information better than ever, and getting you back to what you signed up for – all the games and great entertainment experiences that you expect from Sony.
With best regards,
Right off the press, Sony Japan unveiled two Sony Tablets this early morning: S1 and S2 intricately designed in Sony fashion. Read on the full press release below, view the demo vids and let us know if Sony is back with its ingenuity and uniqueness we so all missed for a while.
Sony Announces Optimally Designed “Sony Tablet” with Android 3.0 that Complements Network Services for an Immersive Entertainment Experience
-Also strengthening VAIO in expanding PC markets-
Sony Corporation (“Sony”), announces “Sony Tablet” that delivers the perfect combination of hardware, content and network with seamless usability for a high-quality, engaging entertainment experience. Based on decades of engineering heritage, Sony is developing two tablets with unprecedented design, including S1 (codename) which is optimized for rich media entertainment and S2 (codename) which is ideal for mobile communication and entertainment. “Sony Tablet” will become available in the global market starting in fall 2011.
“Sony Tablet” is equipped with the latest Android 3.0 which is designed for devices with larger screen sizes, particularly tablets. Both tablets are WiFi and WAN (3G/4G) compatible and users can not only browse the internet or check e-mail but they can also smoothly access digital content including videos, games and books through Sony’s premium network services and more, on-the-go at any time.
S1 has a 9.4-inch display for enjoying the web and rich content on a large screen. Its off-center of gravity design realizes stability and ease of grip as well as a sense of stability and lightness, offering comfortable use for hours.
S2 has two 5.5-inch displays that can be folded for easy portability. In contrast to existing tablets, its unprecedented dual screen presentation and usability allows its displays to be combined and used as a large screen or for different functions such as playing video on one screen while showing control buttons on the other.
“‘Sony Tablet’ delivers an entertainment experience where users can enjoy cloud-based services on-the-go at any time. We’re aiming to create a new lifestyle by integrating consumer hardware, including ‘Sony Tablet’ with content and network,” said Kunimasa Suzuki, Corporate Executive, SVP, and Deputy President of Consumer Products & Services Group.
“Android 3.0 is a new version of the Android platform with a new holographic user interface that is designed from the ground up for devices with larger screen sizes, particularly tablets. I’m excited about “Sony Tablet” as it will further spur the development of applications and network offerings which users are looking for.” said Andy Rubin, Senior Vice President, Mobile, Google Inc.
Also, in the mobile computing category, the market for PCs which realize high productivity is expected to steadily grow, particularly in emerging markets. Therefore, Sony will also remain committed to strengthening its VAIO brand and introduce increasingly compelling products which offer new value propositions to the market.
“Sony Tablet” features.
Designed for portability and intuitive gripping
With its off-center of gravity form factor, the 9.4-inch S1 offers stability and a sense of lightness, offering comfortable use for hours.
The dual screen S2 comes with two 5.5-inch displays which can be used together as one large screen to browse websites and more. They can also be used for different functions as users can watch a video on one screen and input commands on the other, or check email on one screen and use the other as a soft keyboard.
Seamless Usability and Performance
Through Sony’s knowhow for combining hardware and software, “Sony Tablet” realizes optimal usability and performance. Because of Sony’s rapid response technologies, users can perform smooth, quick touch-screen operations and enjoy fast and efficient website loading. The keyboard arrangement is also optimized for the large screen, making email and SNS communication a breeze.
Rich entertainment experiences through various network services
Through Qriocity1 music and video services, users can enjoy rich video and music content. Also, through PlayStation®Suite, users can immerse themselves in high quality first generation PlayStation® titles. Additionally, users can easily download ebook content from Reader™Store2 and use both tablets as digital reading devices. The integration with various services allows users to take their entertainment experiences on-the-go. Furthermore, “Sony Tablet” is equipped with functionality that organizes content for easy access.
Remote access functionality with AV devices
Through “Sony Tablet”, users can control home entertainment devices as well as enjoy content in new ways. S1 uses infrared technology and works as universal remote controls for a variety of AV devices starting with . Users can perform functions like turning on their TVs, changing the channel and adjusting the volume. Also, through DLNA functionality on “Sony Tablet”, users can “throw” personal content to large screen televisions or music to wireless speakers.
In 2010, Sony launched a network platform called “Qriocity” which connects many of Sony’s network-enabled devices, and has been expanding its services into global markets. Also, Sony Computer Entertainment has been providing various contents and services for PlayStation users through PlayStation®Network, which now has over 75 million registered accounts (as of March 20, 2011) worldwide.
Simultaneously, Sony will continue to announce various devices which leverage these services. Starting in early 2011, Sony Computer Entertainment announced the next-generation portable entertainment system (codename: NGP) while Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications brought “Xperia™PLAY” to the market. Sony is introducing “Sony Tablet” to deliver an entertainment experience which integrates hardware with network services that deliver rich content.
Most of you have probably heard by now that Sony’s UMD-less PSP is facing a doomed future and it has been reported by Engadget that its production will slowly come to its end pretty soon. The signs of its demise have been out there with recent price reductions, however Sony Electronics in the US is claiming that it is not being discontinued which they also never acknowledged when we reported that Sony Rolly has had a similar fate, but at the end disappeared like other almost successful gadgets.
The place of PSP®go on market has become questionable after introduction of Sony Ericsson Xperia Play – PlayStation branded phone that got its familiar looks from its older PSP®go sibling. And of course the forthcoming NGP is definitely something to consider and is a huge player in this portable gaming world.
Grab one or wait for phenomenal breaks in price, it’s a neat system, especially when it is paired with Dual Shock Controller via bluetooth, makes gaming definitely fun.
Update: Patrick Seybold, Sr. Director, Corporate Communications & Social Media followed up today and informed the vast population of PlayStation universe that the attack on the network was pretty serious that involved about 70 million accounts and its information being at risk.
“Although we are still investigating the details of this incident, we believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided: name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID,” wrote Patrick Seybold, senior director of corporate communications for Sony Computer Entertainment America. “It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address … and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained. … While there is no evidence at this time that credit card data was taken, we cannot rule out the possibility”. Users who stored their credit card information are advised to contact the credit bureaus and flag your profile under fraud alert for credit approvals. It looks like the platform is being built from the ground up and Sony is working 24/7 to restore its services, however it will take a few weeks before everything is completed. Read more about this update here.
Yes, it happened again. If you found yourself not being able to play online or access any network related services, it’s been reported that you may be out of luck for a day or two. According to PlayStation Blog: “While we are investigating the cause of the Network outage, we wanted to alert you that it may be a full day or two before we’re able to get the service completely back up and running. Thank you very much for your patience while we work to resolve this matter. Please stay tuned to this space for more details, and we’ll update you again as soon as we can.”
So gear up for your offline mode, or maybe just do some home work for a change? Oh and it’s beautiful outside too.
With the launch of new Sony Bravia TV line up this year (even though there are rumors that the HX929 65″ behemoth may not even hit the market later this summer), Sony created a pretty enticing, blast from the past integrated ad that was “aired” exclusively to Sony Electronics YouTube™ viewers and Facebook fans. The 30 second version will be airing in select TV markets. However enjoy the 60 second of goodness and let us know if this is a true representation of Sony TV empire.