Fri, Sep 05, 2014 - Page 13 News List

Sony unveils PlayStation-compatible phones

Staff writer, with agencies

Visitors look at a display of new Acer Inc. mobile devices on an electronic screen at the IFA consumer electronics fair in Berlin, on Wednesday. IFA is Europe’s largest consumer electronics show and runs through Wednesday next week.

Photo: Bloomberg

Sony Corp on Wednesday unveiled new mobile devices which can function as displays for PlayStation games, as it adds features to win sales in a market dominated by Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co.

The marquee Xperia Z3 smartphone is waterproof and comes with a battery that can stay charged for two days, Sony said on its Web site. The Tokyo-based company also announced the Z3 Compact smartphone with a 4.6-inch screen and an 8-inch tablet computer.

Chief executive officer Kazuo Hirai has been pushing his “One Sony” plan aimed at better integrating the company’s electronics and entertainment assets to revive earnings.

The PlayStation 4 has been one of the few bright spots for Sony, outselling Microsoft Corp’s Xbox One, amid a decade of television losses and lackluster demand for Xperia smartphones, which barely crack the top 10 globally in shipments.

Sony is forecasting its sixth annual loss in seven years and Hirai cut the company’s full-year smartphone sales projection to 43 million units from an earlier forecast of 50 million.

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Acer Inc (宏碁) and Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), as well as South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co and other electronics companies, on Wednesday unveiled their latest product lineups ahead of the Sept. 5 through Sept. 10 IFA electronics trade show in Berlin, Germany, with an eye on the year-end holiday shopping season in the US.

Acer showcased three Iconia series tablets running on Windows and Android operating systems, and a new Liquid series smartphone, claiming it is the smallest and lightest 5-inch device on the market. It announced plans to release a 50 euro (US$66) smartphone next year.

However, the Taiwanese company insisted that the keyboard computer market was not dead and introduced two Aspire R series convertible notebooks and two Aspire Switch series two-in-one PCs.

The company is optimistic about its turnaround progress and expects its third-quarter revenues to maintain growth momentum, based on its back-to-school promotions and the worldwide release of new products scheduled for the second half of the year.

As for fellow Taiwanese manufacturer Asustek, the company took the wraps off the ZenWatch, its first smartwatch using the Android Wear operating platform. The wearable can be paired with newer Android phones to display information and monitor the wearer’s activity. The watch can be used to find a smartphone, something Samsung has done with some of its watches, as long as the phone is also made by Samsung.

ZenWatch comes at a higher-than-expected starting price of US$262, more expensive than LG Electronic Co’s G Watch priced at US$179 and Sony’s SmartWatch 2 at US$199, but cheaper than the Samsung Gear 2 which starts at US$299.

Other new products Asustek showcased included the 13.3-inch Zenbook UX305 laptop, the 11.6-inch EeeBook X205 laptop running the Windows 8.1 operating system, and the 7-inch MeMO Pad 7 Android tablet powered by an Intel Atom 64-bit quad-core processor.

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