In a effort to cut costs and improve its financial situation, Sony is eliminating two divisions at its main electronics unit, promoting three executives and keeping a close eye on its money-losing television unit, Bloomberg’s Businessweek reported on Tuesday. The Japanese company will shut down its consumer products and services group, which handled consumer-level electronics, and the professional device and solutions group, which handled business oriented products and components. Executive Deputy President Hiroshi Yoshioka, who oversaw the professional device and solutions group, will head the company’s newly created medical business unit. Sony spokeswoman Satsuki Shinnaka said all changes will be effective April 1st and are aimed at speeding up management decisions. On the same date, the company will welcome its new president and CEO Kazuo Hirai. Hiari is largely credited with making Sony’s PlayStation game business profitable and will be looking to do the same with the company’s Bravia television unit, which is expected to post its fourth straight annual loss. More →
Sony Corp. on Wednesday confirmed that it is recalling approximately 1.6 million Bravia-branded LCD televisions. Sony said it has received 11 reports to date, all from within Japan, from customers complaining that their TVs have overheated or begun to smoke. The problems are caused by a defective inverter transformer used with the LCD backlighting assemblies in the Bravia TVs, and the part is found in televisions sold both locally in Japan and overseas. Sony told the Associated Press it will issue local recall information in each market that sells the affected television models, which include the Bravia KDL-40X5000, KDL-40X5050, KDL-40W5000, KDL-40V5000 and KDL-40V3000. More →
Sony Ericsson has just taken the wraps off their Xperia Pro handset, and it’s a large one. The phone is a full QWERTY keyboard sliding device, and nicely joins the Xperia Neo and Xperia Play that have been announced. There’s an EXmor 8.1 megapixel camera sensor on the Xperia Pro, Sony’s mobile Bravia engine for the display, HDMI out, and Google’s latest mobile OS, Gingerbread 2.3.
Sony Ericsson, just moments ago at their press event in Barcelona just announced their newest Android device, the Xperia Neo. It features HD video, HDMI out, Sony’s mobile Bravia engine, a 8 megapixel camera and front-facing camera. It has a 4-inch, 854×480 resolution display and is powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU in addition to running Gingerbread 2.3
Via a quick blog post, Skype announced a partnership with Sony and VIZIO that would bring its video-chat software to BRAVIA and VIA TVs later this year. “Last year at the Consumer Electronics Show, we ushered in a new era of face-to-face communications with the introduction of Skype-enabled TVs,” reads the article. “This year at CES, we’re making further strides in the living room by making it even easier to get Skype on your TV.” Skype reaffirms its commitment to allow you to “make calls wherever you choose” and notes that it is working with additional vendors to bring its software to more mediums. More →
Here’s a bit of good news: Hulu has just announced that its Hulu Plus premium subscription service will shed $2 from its monthly price tag. As the press release reads: “The monthly price for Hulu Plus moving forward is just $7.99. Any current subscribers who joined during our preview period will receive a credit for the difference from the $9.99 preview price. This credit will automatically be applied to their next billing cycle.”
But the juice doesn’t stop there. Hulu has also announced the following promotions:
• One free week trials for all new subscribers. In addition, current subscribers who joined during the preview period will receive a credit for one week of Hulu Plus toward their next month’s subscription.
• Two free weeks of Hulu Plus for both current subscribers and friends they invite through our referral program. Subscribers can learn more by clicking on the “Referrals” tab on their Hulu profile page.
• 11 weeks ($20 worth) of free Hulu Plus with the purchase of a Sony BRAVIA connected TV or Blu-ray player through January 31, 2011. (See sony.com/huluplus.)
• One free month of Hulu Plus with the purchase of a Roku device through December 15, 2010. (See roku.com/hulu.)
The release also notes that the service is launching on Roku today and will be coming to “Internet-connected Vizio, LG Electronics, and Panasonic Blu-ray players and HDTVs; TiVo Premiere DVRs; the Xbox 360; and Western Digital’s WD TV Live Hub Media Center and WD TV Live Plus Network Media Player,” in the coming months. Updates to the Hulu Plus iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Samsung, and PlayStation 3 players will be made available this week.
Anyone reconsidering Hulu Plus after the price drop? More →
You judge us every day in the comments section and now it’s our turn to return the favor! Last month we told you about a big promotion Comcast is currently running and now that things are coming down to the wire, we wanted to remind you guys to enter. In short, contestants use Comcast’s virtual room designer to build their own virtual pads in Comcast Town. The judges, your pals at BGR included, will then judge each room and the top ten finalists will go on display for a community vote. One lucky winner will be selected to win up to $30,000 in prizes including a brand-new 40-inch Sony BRAVIA HDTV, a Sony VAIO AW laptop and a Philips digital phone. Are you independently wealthy and already living in the lap of luxury? Move along, nothing to see here. If you’re like the rest of us though and the recession’s got you down, there’s no better way to get your hands on a truckload of free gear than Comcast’s contest. Entries must be submitted by 11:59PM PT for a chance to win so get a move on…
Here’s the deal… Comcast just launched this big marketing initiative called ComcastTown (you’ve probably seen the ads on BGR by now) and we’ve agreed to be judges. We wouldn’t participate in a campaign that we didn’t like ourselves and the ComcastTown.com concept is actually pretty cool. Here’s how it works: Using an interactive design interface, you can set up your own apartment using a whole boat load of available stuff — furniture, electronics and even some BGR-specific items, too. We and other people judge it and if you win, Comcast will redecorate your apartment with whatever you created. Stuff like Sony BRAVIA HDTVs, Sony VAIO laptops, phones, and more all worth up to $30,000 are up for grabs for your apartment. Comcast didn’t tell us if they’d include Comcast service but if you win, we’re pretty sure we could con them into it. You can see our apartment up above, but maybe you can do better? Hit the read link if you’d like to participate!
Sony today rolled out three new additional lines of TVs under its high-end XBR Bravia brand. The XBR8 draws inspiration from the uber-luxurious XBR3 line, with 46″ and 55″ sets that sport Triluminos backlights, 120hz MotionFlow, and the Bravia Engine 2 processing machine. The mid-line XBR7 slots in with a huge 70″ set, in addition to a 40″-er, that both come complete with an WCG-CCFL backlight, in addition to the 120hz MotionFlow and the Bravia Engine 2 found on the XBR8s. Finally, the XBR6 brings up the “low end” with 40″, 46″, and 52″ screens. We have no word on pricing at the moment, but expect to see these hit store shelves sometime in the fall. Anyone drooling yet over the XBR8 55″ screen? Yeah, we thought you might be. Damn, didn’t we leak this already? Oh yeah.