Sony announced on Tuesday that it is lowering the price of its 160GB PlayStation 3 console to $249, down from the console’s original $299 price tag. In addition, Sony will now sell the 320GB version of the PlayStation 3 for $299 instead of $349. The Japanese consumer electronics firm also dropped the price of the system in Japan and in Europe. The move is likely an effort to tackle Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console, which has been the best-selling console in the United States for past seven months according to the latest data from The NPD Group. Recent rumors have suggested Sony is already working on the PlayStation 4, which could launch as soon as next year to compete with Nintendo’s Wii U and Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox. More →
Nintendo’s recent decision to drop the price of its Nintendo 3DS handheld gaming device looks to have paid off. In the device’s first full week of sales following Nintendo’s price drop, the company sold 215,000 units in Japan alone, where the 3DS now retails for 15,000 yen following its launch at 25,000 yen. Weekly sales of the portable 3D console dipped from 31,826 units to 16,415 in the week following Nintendo’s announcement that the price would soon drop, for obvious reasons. With sales in Japan having exploded by more than 13 times in the week following the 3DS price drop, it looks like the initial high price point may have been a big factor in the 3DS’ slow adoption up to this point. Nintendo lowered the price of its 3DS from $249.99 to $169.99 on August 11th in the U.S., so this week will mark the first full week of sales at the new lower price point here in America. More →
Sony’ next-generation portable video game console will not launch in the U.S. until early 2012, Sony Executive Vice President Kazuo Hirai told The Associated Press on Thursday. Sony’s PlayStation Vita will become available later this year in Japan, but it will miss the all-important holiday shopping season here in the U.S. and in Europe as well. Some, such as Daiwa Securities Capital Markets analyst Koki Shiraishi, believe Sony’s sales will take a huge hit as a result. “That’s when you do half your year’s sales,” Shiraishi told the AP. “This is going to prove painful for Sony.” When it finally does launch next year, the PlayStation Vita will start at $249 for a Wi-Fi-only model and a 3G-equipped version will be available for $299. More →
Immediately following news that Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” has been released to manufacturers, Toshiba-Fujitsu became the first vendor in the world to announce a Mango phone. The stylish smartphone will launch with a less-than-memorable IS12T moniker in September, and it will be a KDDI exclusive in Japan at that time. Beyond being the first Mango phone announced, the IS12T will also be the first Windows Phone-powered smartphone to launch in Japan. Spec highlights include a 3.7-inch WVGA display, a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 32GB of storage and a 13.2-megapixel camera. Toshiba-Fujitsu’s announcement is the first in what we hope will be a long line of new smartphone announcements from Microsoft’s Windows Phone partners. New devices are expected later this year from vendors including Samsung, HTC, Dell and of course Nokia. More →
Nearly two and a half months after its networks were breached by the hacker group LulzSec, Sony will finish restoring its PlayStation Network later this week when it reactivates the service in Japan. According to Bloomberg, Sony has been working with the FBI to identify the LulzSec hackers who were responsible for the attack on its San Diego data centers, during which the hackers obtained account information for more than 100 million PlayStation Network users. Reportedly, LulzSec rented and used servers from Amazon.com’s cloud service to facilitate the attack. Sony CEO Howard Stringer apologized after the attacks and offered a year of identity theft protection to those affected by the breach, as well as a free month of access to PSN. More →
Sony Chief Financial Officer Masaru Kato announced to the press on Monday that the company expects to post an annual loss of $3.2 billion for its fiscal year ending in March 2011 — the second largest loss in company history. The news comes as yet another blow for the Japanese consumer electronics giant, whose online networks have been the target of a series of cyberattacks that impacted more than 100 million customers. Sony had previously expected to post a profit this year, however the company had to write off $4.4 billion for a tax credit from a previous quarter. A series of earthquakes that rocked Japan earlier this year had a negative impact on the company as well, slowing production and destroying factories. The affect of the quakes carried over to the company’s first quarter, Kato told the press, but Sony is still optimistic about 2011/2012. For the fiscal year ending in March 2012, Sony expects to post an operating profit of 200 billion yen, or $2.45 billion at today’s exchange rate. More →
Twitter’s vice president of international strategy, Katie Stanton, recently confirmed that the social network now has more than 200 million users. With 70% of those users are tweeting from outside of the United States. Japan is home to the Emperors’ share of tweets with more than 25% of posts originating from there. Twitter, which launched in July of 2006, adds a whopping 500,000 new users per day.
Speaking during an investor briefing on Tuesday, Nintendo’s president Satoru Iwata said that sales of his firms new 3DS portable gaming system failed to meet expectations. “Sales of the 3DS have been weaker than expected since the second week of launch in the US and Europe,” Iwata said while discussing the device’s launches in Europe, the United States, and in Japan. Nintendo had expected to sell 4 million units last quarter, but sales fell short at 3.61 million units. Iwata said that he hopes sales will increase as much as 40% during the next year, AFP reported. We reviewed the 3DS earlier this month and argue that the gaming system doesn’t offer enough features to justify its $250 price point. More →
It didn’t take a crystal ball to see this move coming — Samsung on Friday filed multiple patent infringement suits against Apple. Just four days following Apple’s filing of a lawsuit alleging Samsung smartphones like the Galaxy S “copy Apple’s technology, user interface and innovative style,” Samsung has filed three separate suits alleging infringement of a total of ten patents. The suits were filed in Seoul Central District Court, Korea; Tokyo, Japan; and in Manheim, Germany. In a statement, Samsung said it is “responding actively to the legal action taken against us in order to protect our intellectual property and to ensure our continued innovation and growth in the mobile communications business.” Ebb and flow… yin and yang… suits and countersuits. More →
According to AV Watch, Sony has announced that it’s ending sales of its PSP Go portable gaming console. Sony let the wraps off of the PSP Go in June 2009, and while it is both smaller and lighter than the PSP, that comes at the cost of a UMD gaming cartridge slot. The requirement to side-load games or purchase them over the air no doubt played a role in Sony’s poor hardware and software sales in Japan. While the Japanese firm will no longer produce the PSP Go, it will continue to offer device support for repairs and updates. Sony said it will focus its efforts on the PSP-3000 and its successor, currently codenamed “NGP.” More →
RBC Capital Markets Managing Director Mike Abramsky on Tuesday reiterated the firm’s position that sales of popular Apple products like the iPad 2 likely helped Apple record an impressive fiscal second quarter. In a note to investors, Abramsky wrote that tremendous demand for Apple’s iPad 2 tablet along with solid sales of the iPhone 4 (17 million units) and Apple’s refreshed MacBook Air and MacBook Pro notebooks (3.6 million total Macs) may have led to $24 billion in revenue in the second quarter. The figure would represent 78% growth over the same quarter last year, and is above Wall Street’s consensus of $23 billion. RBC sees Apple having shipped 7 million iPads in the second quarter, which includes 2-3 million iPad 2 units and is down 5% from the year prior. The firm estimates 8 million third-quarter iPad shipments, and also notes that Apple will likely launch the iPhone 5 in September — but if it instead launches in June, it could add $1.2 billion to the firm’s $23-$24 billion third-quarter revenue estimates. RBC adjusted its full-year iPad sales forecast up from 25 million to 31 million units, thus pushing its fiscal 2011 revenue estimates from $99 billion to $102 billion and possibly helping Apple to cross the $100 billion milestone for the first time. Apple will report its fiscal second-quarter earnings on April 20th.
Sony Ericsson released a statement on Friday delaying the broader launch of the Xperia Neo until the third quarter due to supply chain disruptions caused by the earthquake in Japan. The firm said that volumes of its Xperia arc and Xperia PLAY were also affected, but it doesn’t appear that there are any delays with those launches. Sony Ericsson’s official statement is as follows:
As Sony Ericsson continues to assess the impact of the situation in Japan on its business, we have communicated to our operator customers and distributors that some volume of Xperia arc, Xperia PLAY and Xperia neo phones has been affected. Xperia neo has already been introduced to the marketplace in limited quantities. However, due to supply chain disruptions resulting from the situation in Japan, we have shifted the timing of Xperianeo’s broader launch and it is now planned for early Q3.
We will address this topic at the time of our Q1 financial results announcement call that is scheduled for April 19, 2011.
Sony Ericsson’s Italian Facebook page has a similar explanation, and confirms that the Neo will launch in July. More →
eBay has revealed sales figures for the iPad 2 during its first two weeks on the market. The online auction house created a chart that shows just under 12,000 iPad 2 units were sold during the two week period that it was exclusively available in the United States. The graphic notes that 35% of iPad 2 units sold during that 2 week period were to international customers looking to get an early taste — that figure is down from the 65% of international customers who purchased the original iPad on eBay. Canada and Russia were the two largest importers, each purchasing about 500 iPad 2 tablets. Hong Kong, Japan, and the United Kingdom each bought about 350. Australia purchased 317 iPads last year, but only purchased 110 iPad 2 devices in 2010. The 16GB Wi-Fi version of the iPad 2 was the most popular, as it represented 30% of all iPad 2 sales. Apple has yet to release its official iPad 2 sales figures. More →