Sony’s Music Unlimited service powered by Qriocity is now available for Android smartphones. The service originally made its debut in Europe back in December 2010 and launched in the United States this past January. The Music Unlimited for Android app comes with a 30-day free trial, granting users access to more than 7 million songs that can be synced from a PC. After the 30-day trial users will have to plop down $3.99 or $9.99 per month for the basic or full blown premium services, respectively. As you may assume, the service requires that you create a Qriocity account, or use an existing account. That has us a bit wary to give the app a whirl ourselves, given Sony’s recent massive security breach — although, to its credit, the firm did say that it’s ramping up security its measures. Music Unlimited is available for phones running Android 2.1 to 2.3.3 from the Android Market now. More →
Sony on Tuesday stated that services associated with its PlayStation Network will be fully restored by the end of this week in all regions outside Japan, Hong Kong, and South Korea. Sony also said it would fully restore the Music Unlimited services tied to its Qriocity streaming music offering for the PlayStation 3, PSP and PCs. “We have been conducting additional testing and further security verification of our commerce functions in order to bring the PlayStation Network completely back online so that our fans can again enjoy the first class entertainment experience they have come to love,” said Kazuo Hirai, Sony’s Executive Deputy President, in a statement. “We appreciate the patience and support shown during this time.” Sony recently suffered a series of cyberattacks across various networks that exposed personal data belonging to over 100 million of the company’s customers. Sony is currently working with the FBI to identify the parties responsible for breaching its various digital networks. Hit the break for Sony’s full press release. More →
Sony has made good on its promise to offer free identity theft protection to customers whose private information was stolen during a major security breach of its PSN and Qriocity networks. If your account was compromised, you just have to provide the email address that was used to register for Qriocity or PSN, and Sony will provide a free activation code for AllClear ID Plus within 72 hours. AllClear ID Plus will offer free ID theft alerts and will help Sony’s customers get in touch with fraud investigators, should the need arise. More →
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that hackers have accessed the customer accounts of Sony subsidiary So-net Entertainment Corp, an ISP, and have stolen about $1,225 worth of redeemable gift points. The news comes just weeks after Sony’s massive security breach, during which private information and 12.3 million credit card numbers were stolen from more than 100 million Sony’s Qriocity and PlayStation Network users. Sony said the So-net hacker tried to break into its systems more than 10,000 times before he or she was able to successfully log-in. The intruder was able to access 201 accounts, and he or she stole the redeemable points from 128 customers. “Although we can’t completely rule out the possibility that there is a connection with the PSN issue, the likelihood is low,” said So-net Entertainment spokesperson Keisuke Watabe, noting that the style of attack was different. So-net does not believe that personal information was taken during the break-in. More →
According to reports from numerous gaming sites, the password reset page for Sony’s PlayStation Network has been exploited. Sony built the page in an effort to allow users, whose accounts were already compromised during a major security breach last month, to reset their security credentials. However, hackers who stole the information from Sony can reset users’ passwords by knowing and account holder’s email address and birthday — information they’ve already stolen. Forum members on Nyleveia have suggested that PSN users create a new email address specifically for use with PSN. Sony has taken the website offline, and said: “Unfortunately this also means that those who are still trying to change their password via PlayStation.com or Qriocity.com will still be unable to do so for the time being.” Sounds like Sony really needs to get those new security measures in place, stat. More →
Speaking to The New York Times in an interview on Tuesday, Sony’s CEO Howard Stringer discussed the company’s recent security breach, and what his firm is doing to make sure such a large scale attack doesn’t happen again. Stringer argued that Sony reported the breach quickly, despite waiting nearly a week to notify its customers that hackers had stolen personal information, including credit card numbers. “We still have a lot of investigation to do to find out how this happened, but we’re not there yet,” Stringer explained. Sony’s corporate executive officer and executive vice president, Kazuo Hirai, said also noted that Sony is working to examine security on “every level of the company … from televisions to eBooks, and onwards.” Sony will create new security positions within the company, and the security employees with be tasked with setting up a “system to avoid this type of event again — putting a new system in place,” Hirai explained. Sony began restoring its PlayStation Network services in the United States last weekend after issuing a firmware update for the PlayStation 3. More →
On its PlayStation Network blog today, Sony gave an official statement on when the PlayStation Network will be back online. The short answer is “at least a few more days.” Sony has also promised that both Qriocity and PSN should be available by May 31, however, so it could take a bit longer, too. Both networks went down after Sony suffered a massive security breach during which hackers stole 12.3 million credit card numbers and compromised personal data from 101 million accounts. “I know you all want to know exactly when the services will be restored,” Sr. Director, Corporate Communications & Social Media Patrick Seybold wrote on Sony’s PSN blog. “At this time, I can’t give you an exact date, as it will likely be at least a few more days. We’re terribly sorry for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience as we work through this process.” More →
Sony’s president, chairman, and CEO, Howard Stringer, has issued letter of apology to PlayStation Network, Qriocity, and other Sony users who have been affected by the firm’s massive security breach. “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,” Stringer said. “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.” A total of 101 million accounts across Sony’s network were compromised and 12.3 million credit card numbers were stolen by hackers. However, Stringer said that there’s currently no evidence that those numbers have been misused and that Sony has issued a $1 million identity theft insurance policy for U.S. PSN and Qriocity customers, with other regions to follow. Hit the jump for more from Stringer’s letter, including information on Sony’s “Welcome Back” package.
On Tuesday, Sony issued an update explaining the recent PlayStation Network and Qriocity outages. The company said it has discovered that between April 17th and April 19th, someone broke into its network and stole user information. In an effort to stop the security breach, Sony temporarily killed access to its PlayStation Network and Qriocity services, hired a security firm to investigate, and started beefing up its security measures. However, the leaked information may be alarming to PlayStation network users. Here’s part of Sony’s statement:
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. It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained.
Sony said that it doesn’t think credit card data was taken, but that it will not rule out the possibility, and says that it’s possible credit card numbers – excluding the security codes – may have been obtained by the intruders. The firm advises that its customers “remain vigilant” by closely monitoring credit statements. Sony says the services will be reactivated as soon as possible and that customers can dial 1-800-345-7669 with any questions. Hit the jump for Sony’s official statement. More →
Sony on Tuesday finally unveiled its first two tablet devices, which have been rumored for several months. For the time being, the tablets are known as the “S1” and “S2,” though these are codenames and not launch names. Sony’s S1 is a 9.4-inch tablet that features an “off-center of gravity design,” and the S2 sports a folding form factor with dual 5.5-inch displays. Both tablets will feature Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) along with custom Sony software that focuses on media and entertainment. Gaming will be a core element of Sony’s tablet strategy, as it will be with Sony Ericsson’s smartphone strategy, and the S1 and S2 will both feature PlayStation integration and PlayStation Network compatibility… if PSN is back up by then. Sony’s Qriocity music services will be featured as well, and eBooks will be readily available through Sony’s Reader Store. Hit the break for the full press release. More →
Sony has officially dropped the suggested retail price of the PSP in Europe to €129.99 ($187.29). This follows the company’s February 25th announcement that it was slashing the price of its gaming system to $129.99 in the United States. Sony also said that — beginning on April 14th — PSP owners will be able to access an unlimited cloud-based music service called Music Unlimited. Powered by Qriocity, Music Unlimited will allow PSP owners to listen to customized music channels or sync up with tunes stored on their PlayStation 3, PC, or other Sony devices. “The price cut is aimed at increasing adoption of the player in Europe,” said Sony spokesperson Satoshi Fukuoka. The move may also be tied to the recent launch of the Nintendo 3DS, which we reviewed earlier this month. More →
An unconfirmed report on Monday suggests that Sony is working on two unannounced tablets slated for release later this year. Struggling electronics giant Sony has been noticeably absent from the tablet tsunami coming our way this year, but it looks like the company has plans to change that in time for the holidays. Sony is already rumored to be working on a PlayStation certified S1 tablet, and now two new slates are supposedly in the works as well. The first, codenamed S2, is set to be a clam shell Android device with dual 5.5-inch displays, a Tegra 2 processor, Wi-Fi, embedded 3G and a modified version of Google’s Honeycomb OS designed to take advantage of two screens. The other rumored tablet is said to be VAIO-branded. It will allegedly run Windows 7 and feature a 9.4-inch display, an Intel Atom processor and a sliding QWERTY keyboard. Sony is said to be targeting a $699 price point with the S2, and the Windows 7-powered VAIO tablet will cost $799 or more. Both devices are rumored to be scheduled for launch ahead of the 2011 holiday season. More →
Sony announced Wednesday that its new subscription music service is now available in the U.K. and Ireland, with availability in the U.S. Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Australia and New Zealand to to follow in 2011. “Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity” is a music streaming service that competes with Microsoft’s Zune service as well as offerings like Spotify, Rhapsody, Napster and others. The Basic plan affords unlimited ad-free music streaming via genre, era or mood-based stations for £3.99 / €3.99 each month. The £9.99 / €9.99 Premium plan adds the ability to create playlists and stream any tracks in Sony’s Qriocity catalog on demand. Premium subscribers will have access to Sony’s Top 100 channels as well. “Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity” is currently available on Sony’s PlayStation 3 console, Blu-ray players, BRAVIA TVs, VAIO laptops and other PCs. The service will also soon be available on Sony’s portable devices and Android phones. More →