Need all the new Sony gadgets in your life? You won’t have to wait long: Sony has taken the covers off its next-generation smartphones, tablets and camera gear. Get in here and follow all the news as it happened here at IFA, Europe’s biggest tech fair.
Campbell Simpson travelled to Berlin and IFA 2014 as a guest of Sony Mobile Australia.
Image: Ethan Miller / Staff
That’s right, we’re on the ground reporting live from Sony’s press conference as it happens to bring you the latest news.
The press conference kicks off in earnest at 12 midnight on 4 September, Australian time (that’s 4PM CET in Berlin, for anyone playing along internationally).
All times below are in Australian time.
2:30pm, 3 September:
And we’re live! Check back here at midnight to see what Sony has to announce.
Sony’s IFA Press Conference is one of the ones to watch at every IFA show, simply because of how important it is on the Sony Mobile calendar.
Here’s hoping this year we get something similar, maybe the Xperia Z3, if the naming conventions are being followed to the letter? We’ll all find out soon enough.
Hello from Berlin! We’re here at the Sony IFA 2014 press conference, just waiting for it to kick off. Thank God the Wi-Fi here is nice and strong. Alicia Keys’ Girl On Fire is playing, if you were interested. You can watch the live stream here.
Kick-off! The conference is underway as of right now. We’re starting with a video on a huge 180-degree, 50-metre wide projection screen. It’s amazing.
President and CEO of Sony, Kazuo Hirai, is on stage. He’s about to talk about all the new products that Sony is introducing here at IFA 2014. “The very best” in a whole lot of things including TVs, mobiles, cameras and hi-res audio.
Hirai is talking about kando, Sony’s aim of eliciting an emotional response — its desire to create a wow. We’re watching the previous CES 2014 keynote, with a ticker of Hirai’s wows. 23 wows in total.
Hirai is talking about creating things, about how different people across the world are doing exciting things. “Sony embraces a spirit of innovation, curiosity and passion.” “Every product is a result of rigorous development.”
We’re onto cameras, both personal and high-end professional. Big props to Sony’s RX 100 III compact from Hirai, who is clearly a huge fan.
Hirai is talking about the Xperia Z2, announced and launched earlier this year. Talking about all the big awards it has won, and the advancements involved in it. I wonder what he could be alluding to?
The third pillar of Sony’s product portfolio is, of course, gaming. As we all know, there are 10 million PS4s out there, but interestingly a full half of those are registered for PlayStation Plus. Big numbers for Sony’s gaming market — I wonder whether it’ll be launching a new console variant or tie-in device at IFA?
Now up on stage is Masaru Tamagawa, President of Sony Europe. There’s more talk of kando, Sony’s product philosophy. He’s introducing a new range of X9000B 4K TVs, being introduced into Europe at the beginning of October. They’re also coming to Australia around that time, and sit just below the top of the line X9500B.
Sony has “an impressive track record” in 4K production, including of course a hell of a lot of FIFA World Cup 2014 video. I’ve seen plenty of that footage, and it’s sharp. Seriously impressive stuff.
“When people think 4K, we want them to think Sony.”
We’re now watching a hero video for Sony’s 4K production, with some seriously beautiful footage — lots of it is CGI, though. I wonder what the production budget is for this keynote?
Digital imaging is on the discussion sheet now. In particular, Sony’s hardcore Alpha series cameras, the A7s, A7 and A7r.
We’re getting a rundown of the various cameras Sony makes and reasons why they’re brilliant. I’m actually shooting on the e6000 at the moment and its autofocus is pretty fast, to be fair. And I love the A7s. #sorrynotsorry
Two new lens cameras. Including, wow, an APS-C sized interchangeable lens camera. Whoa — that’s seriously cool, I wasn’t expecting that in the slightest. There’s an Action Cam Mini, with a Zeiss Tessar lens taking up the vast majority of its otherwise tiny body.
We’re now onto Hi-Res Audio, “one way to revitalise the music scene” with a better listening experience that is, end-to-end, superior to MP3. Sony is really pushing hi-res audio, including by rereleasing Daft Punk, Pharrell and Michael Jackson music in Hi-Res. 300,000 hi-res tracks are already available worldwide. Apparently people really want high quality sound.
There’s a new Hi-Res audio Walkman, the NWZ-A1E and new high-end headphones, the MDR-1AADAC and MDR-Z7. Both look appropriately chunky. I happen to love the MDR-1RBT Mk2, so hopefully that trend of high quality continues.
To introduce some new Xperias, Kunimasa Suzuki is on stage — he’s EVP of Sony Mobile.
Before he gets into the new Xperia game, Suzuki wants to introduce a couple of new SmartWear products. Fingers crossed it’s a new Android Wear watch, and one that is actually high quality and versatile…
New Smartwear is actually a SmartBand Talk and the SmartWatch 3. Android Wear for the SmartWatch 3, Bluetooth 4.0 for the SmartBand Talk.
The SmartWatch 3 is, of course, waterproof. Both will go on sale from this autumn. The SmartBand Talk has a little e-paper display which should massively improve battery life, and the fact that it actually has a microphone and speaker inside should make for some great Dick Tracy-esque phone calls on the go via Bluetooth.
There’s also a prototype glasses-and-camera display on show from Friday. But now, we’re on to the Xperias!
“At Sony, we don’t think you should settle for good. We think you should demand *great*.” Suzuki is talking great battery life, a refined design, and great specs. Two days of battery life — among the industry’s best — is the claim made for the Z3.
Z3 has the highest level of waterproofing that you’ll find in a smartphone. A 25mm wide-angle G lens, and ISO 12800 — the first time in a smartphone. “Superior photos even in low light.”
Here’s my hands-on with the Z3 and Z3 Compact, which is of course the smaller variant of the large-screen smartphone. In short, I love them both. I’m usually pretty sceptical about these incremental improvements, but the Compact especially just feels right.
“With Z3, nothing is compromised” says Suzuki. Great waterproofing, good photos, stunning audio quality — everything you need and more. Whatever will they put in the next one if the Z3 is so perfect? But ah, there is choice — here’s the official announcement of the Z3 Compact — the same phone as the Z3, except smaller.
Fancy that! Alongside the Z3 and Z3 Compact, there’s a tablet. Unsuprisingly, it’s called the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact. You can read allll about it right here.
Oh, and this is the one more thing. Each of those new Z3 smartphones and the tablet support PS4 Remote Play — as long as you’re on home Wi-Fi, you can play your PS4 wirelessly on your phone or tablet screen with a DualShock controller.
This is seriously cool — a master stroke from Sony:
Sony is talking about LifeSpace UX, which is a series of technologies including a pretty weird and sweet looking floor-mounted 4K ultra short throw projector. Ultra short throw means massive screen sizes even in small rooms, so you might want to look forward to that Minority Report wall-screen. This isn’t especially new, but it is awesome.
We’re wrapping up, with another reference to kando. Thank you so much for tuning in! Check out the front page for all the info on today’s big announcements from Sony. Sign me up for an Xperia Z3 Compact, guys.
Thanks for checking in!
Campbell Simpson travelled to IFA as a guest of Sony Australia.