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Sony releases PlayStation Communities app to help gamers chat to their comrades

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Sony has released a new app which aims to help PS4 owners to connect while away from the console. PlayStation Communities hit the Google Play Store yesterday and allows users to find and interact with gamers who share similar likes and interests.

Sony Vice President of PlayStation Brand Marketing John Koller detailed the app in a blog post. You can join and discover gaming communities, post text and image messages to the community wall and receive push notifications to stay up to date with what’s happening in the communities you’re a part of.

See also:

Sony introduces Final Fantasy XV Walkman, headphones and Bluetooth speaker

2 days ago

“Within a Community, you can join parties and launch into games with other Community members, or talk about your shared interests,” Koller wrote, adding, “For instance, if you’re having trouble finding players to tackle Destiny’s newest raid, Wrath of the Machine, a Destiny community may help you fill out your fireteam.”

The app is available for free in the Play Store but you will need a Sony Entertainment Network account (also free) to use it.

Deal: Sony Xperia XZ and Xperia X Compact now 25% off

Sony branded smartphones haven’t been selling very well in recent years. Well, at least not as well as the company would like. In hopes of slightly increasing sales in one of its most important markets in Europe — the UK — Sony is offering a substantial discount for the Xperia XZ and Xperia X Compact.

The Japanese manufacturer is giving out a 25 percent discount on both devices but only when purchased through their official online store. The company’s flagship device, the Xperia XZ, which normally retails for £457.50, can now be yours for £411.75.

The more affordable and less powerful Xperia X Compact is normally available for £315.83, but you can get your hands on one for only £284.25 with the discount from Sony. Free shipping is included with both devices.

See also:

Sony Xperia X Compact gets September security update, Xperia C4 gets July’s

October 26, 2016

To get the discount, make sure you enter the code below during checkout:

Sony Xperia XZ code: 2XZDISCOUNT25
Sony Xperia X Compact code: 2XCOMDISCOUNT25

The Sony Xperia XZ is available in Mineral Black, Platinum, and Forest Blue, while you can get the Xperia X Compact in Universe Black, White, and Mist Blue. If you’re considering picking one up, head over to Sony’s official UK store by clicking the button below. And as always, we do suggest you hurry up as stocks won’t last forever.

Are you thinking of getting this deal? Will you be opting for the Xperia XZ or Xperia X Compact? Let us know in the comments below.

Buy Sony Xperia XZ
Buy Sony Xperia X Compact

Sony introduces Final Fantasy XV Walkman, headphones and Bluetooth speaker

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Sony has launched a limited edition Walkman to coincide with the release of Final Fantasy XV for PS4 and Xbox One. The A-Series Walkman comes with pixel-art versions of the heroes in the latest game – arriving November 29 – etched onto the rear, with Final Fantasy’s typical Roman numerals above it.

The Walkman, which also delivers Hi-Res audio, is accompanied by a pair of Sony hear.on MDR-100A headphones for 24,380 yen (~$220) and a hear.go SRS-HG1 Bluetooth speaker for 29,380 yen (~$260). Aside from its packaging, there doesn’t seem to be much separating the Walkman from a regular A-Series edition Walkman (though the icons in the software may have a slightly different color).

Sony introduces Final Fantasy XV Walkman, headphones and Bluetooth speaker

Final Fantasy XV is the long-awaited latest instalment in the main Final Fantasy series, reportedly in development for the last ten years. Though the single player version is exclusive to consoles, it was announced earlier this month that Machine Zone – the developers of Game of War – had partnered with Square Enix to make a Final Fantsy XV mobile MMO.

The FFXV Walkman will go on sale for 33,880 yen (~$300) in Japan but, like the other accessories, it probably won’t be sold in the West.

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

Update, November 22: The second and final Android 7.1 developer preview has now rolled out for supported Nexus devices, which this time includes the Nexus 9. Meanwhile, multiple Nougat betas have been announced while some lucky device owners have already received the official Nougat update.

Google gave itself a couple of months head start on getting Nougat ready by releasing the first beta release on March 9. But it also gave app developers and manufacturers an even earlier look at what to expect from Android 7.0 Nougat and additional time to get the update ball rolling.

When Android 7.0 landed in its final form on August 22, it was actually slightly ahead of schedule. But that now leaves us with the question: when will Nougat hit our devices? The answer to this varies wildly depending on the OEM in question, so head to your OEM section below for our estimated arrival date.

Latest Android Nougat news

On November 22, the second and final Android 7.1 Nougat developer preview rolled out for the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Pixel C and Nexus 9. There was nothing really new in the builds other than “near-final system behaviors and UI”. The public release of Android 7.1 Nougat is due in early December.

As always, you can find factory images and over-the-air (OTA) images on the Android Developers blog:

If you’ve never flashed a factory image, you can follow our guide here.

See also:

Android Nougat: all the features you need to know

October 21, 2016

On November 20, the Sprint LG G5 became the first major flagship to receive the official update to Android 7.0 Nougat.

On October 19, the first developer preview of Android 7.1 Nougat went out for the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X and Pixel C, after being teased on the Android Developer’s blog in early October.

Android 7.0 Nougat formally arrived on August 22nd. The first official version of Nougat didn’t bring anything notably different from the final Android 7.0 developer preview, although a ton of bugs were squashed in order to bring the most stable experience possible.

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

Nexus Nougat update situation

While the new Google Pixel phones ran Android 7.1 out of the box – along with several Pixel-only features – Android 7.1 will be coming to supported devices in its final version in “early December”.

The phones getting the Android 7.1 update at that time include the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, Pixel C and supported Android One devices. Developer preview builds of Android 7.1 began rolling out on October 19 with the final preview arriving on November 22.

As always, the beta program is the easiest method for getting the latest and greatest Android version as quickly as possible via OTA, but you can also flash the factory images if you’re not in the beta program (see links above).

On August 22nd, Android 7.0 OTAs began for the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus Player, Pixel C and General Mobile 4G (Android One). The Nexus 5 did not join in on the fun, though that’s of little surprise considering Google’s usual device update support patterns. The factory images can be found here.

Android 7.0 update: when will I get it?

Samsung Android 7.0 update

Even though Samsung isn’t exactly speedy when it comes to rolling out Android updates, there’s at least some good news where the Samsung Android 7.0 update is concerned.

The first Galaxy beta Nougat firmware arrived for the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge on November 9 for U.S., UK and South Korean participants, with a second build coming soon. When the final release will arrive we can’t yet say but Samsung has said the program will run until mid-December.

For reference, there was a five-month timeframe between the Android 6.0 launch on September 29, 2015 and the first U.S. update to Marshmallow with the Verizon Galaxy Note 5 on March 3, 2016. Using that as a benchmark, Galaxy owners could easily be waiting until some time in January 2017 for the first Samsung Android 7.0 update.

Following the Note 7 recall, however, Samsung might try to get Nougat out for the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge before the end of the year with the Note 5, Galaxy Tab S2, Galaxy S6, S6 Edge and S6 Edge+ after them. The Note 5 and Tab S2 update is currently underway and an S6 running Nougat appeared on GFXBench recently.

The Galaxy S8 will arrive in early 2017 running at least Android 7.0 and maybe even Android 7.1 out of the box.

Best case scenario: 5 months after Android 7.0 launch (January 2017)

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

LG Android 7.0 update

With Android Nougat, LG took just 78 days to update its first device to Android 7.0 (the South Korean LG G5 on November 8) – the fastest of all OEMs. In the U.S., the Sprint LG G5 got Nougat on November 20, making the LG G5 the first major U.S. flagship to receive the official Android Nougat update as well.

LG was pretty good with its update speed for Marshmallow too, with less than two months separating the release of Android 6.0 and the first LG handset to receive it (the Sprint LG G4 on December 21, 2015).

In fact, LG was the first OEM to get a carrier-based Marshmallow update out after Google. The LG V10 eventually got the update internationally in early March 2016, after the LG G3 and LG G Stylo already had Marshmallow in the U.S..

Of course, the LG V20 had the honor of being the first phone to arrive with Android 7.0 out of the box, beating even the Nexus range to the punch (much to the irritation of Nexus owners everywhere).

Best case scenario: 2 months after Android 7.0 release (November 2016) – CONFIRMED

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

Sony Android 7.0 update

This year, certain Sony Xperia owners were treated to an Android N preview build just as they were last year with Android M. Sony’s Nougat Concept rolled out on November 1 for the Xperia X Performance. Then, on November 21, the Xperia X assumed the top spot for future Sony Concept builds, and received the latest beta from Sony on that date.

However, for those of you not interested in installing a non-final developer version, the official Sony Android 7.0 update has already been confirmed for the Xperia X, XA, XA Ultra, X Performance, XZ, X Compact, Z5, Z5 Compact, Z5 Premium, Z3+ and Z4 Tablet.

The exact date for the first Sony Nougat update is less certain though. If we look at Sony’s efforts with Marshmallow last year, our predictions aren’t very optimistic.

Based on the Xperia Z5 series, Z4 Tablet and Xperia Z3+ all getting the Marshmallow update five months after Google first pushed it out, we wouldn’t expect any Xperias to see Nougat until mid-January 2017. Sony has undergone some pretty serious changes internally in the last year though, so let’s just hope Sony is aiming to up its game with the Nougat rollout.

Best case scenario: 5 months after Android 7.0 release (January 2017)

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

Motorola Android 7.0 update

For a little while it looked like Motorola had toppled LG as the first OEM to get a new Android version out, but reports of an October 21 release for the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus in India turned out not to be the case.

Moto owners had to wait almost another whole month to see the first official Nougat update, with the Verizon Moto Z and Moto Z Force getting the update on November 18. Motorola ultimately took 88 days to get Nougat out for its first devices.

Looking at Moto’s past efforts, the Moto X Style got Marshmallow first, on November 12, 2015 and the Moto X Pure Edition got the first U.S. Moto update to Marshmallow on December 7, 2015. Marshmallow arrived from Google on October 5, 2015, but most Moto devices had to wait at least two months to get Marshmallow.

Lenovo has confirmed a list of devices confirmed to get Android Nougat and we know the new near-stock Moto devices will receive both the Android N and Android O releases.

Best case scenario: 2 months after Android 7.0 arrives (October 2016) – DELAYED

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

HTC Android 7.0 update

HTC developer @LlabTooFeR has claimed the HTC Nougat update is scheduled for late-November for the HTC 10. The developer later posted screenshots of Nougat on the HTC 10, claiming it was stable and almost ready.

As you may recall, HTC did pretty well with its first update to Marshmallow. The unlocked Developer Edition HTC One M9 and all variants of the HTC One A9 got the Marshmallow update in December 2015. The HTC 10 arrived in April running Android Marshmallow out of the box and will be the first HTC device to receive Nougat.

HTC’s next flagship, presumably the HTC 11, should arrive with Android 7.0 at launch (if not Android 7.1). HTC has already confirmed several devices (10, M9, A9) to be on the update train and T-Mobile has the HTC 10 and HTC One M9 on its own update list.

Best case scenario: 3 months after Android 7.0 unveiling (November 2016)

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

Huawei Android 7.0 update

The Huawei Mate 9 arrived recently running Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box. Huawei pulled the same “latest version” rabbit out of its hat with the Mate 8 in November 2015, which ran Marshmallow out of the box just weeks after Google released it.

Meanwhile, a beta preview of Nougat for the Huawei P9 appeared as far back as July, a whole month before Google officially released it for Nexus devices. Update news for the P9 has been suspiciously quiet ever since though, even if the P9 series along with the Nova and Nova Plus are likely to be the first Huawei phones to get updated (as opposed to arriving with Nougat).

As far as honor devices are concerned, last year, the honor 7 Enhanced Edition arrived on December 14, 2015 with Android Marshmallow on board and the honor 5X and honor 7 followed with the Marshmallow update at the end of February. The honor 8 has a Nougat beta available, but we’ve no information on when the official update will arrive.

Best case scenario: Mate 9 running Android 7.0 at launch (November 2016), honor updates in January 2017

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

OnePlus Android 7.0 update

OnePlus has promised to have a Nougat “community build” for the OnePlus 3 out by the end of November. Both the OnePlus 3 and newer OnePlus 3T are due for the official OnePlus Nougat update in December. Furthermore, OnePlus has confirmed that the OnePlus 3 will get every Android update the OnePlus 3T gets, effectively adding an extra six months to its support shelf life.

OnePlus isn’t exactly renowned for its software updates, seriously dropping the ball on the OnePlus 2 and taking forever to deliver Marshmallow to the OnePlus X. With those updates coming June 5 and September 28 respectively, that equates to a full 245 days and 360 days after Google first made Marshmallow available on October 5, 2015.

Nevertheless, OnePlus has promised to get its update game in shape and has combined its software teams to streamline Android updates from here on out. Even if the Nougat update arrives on the last day of 2016, OnePlus will have shaved more than 100 days off its Marshmallow effort.

Best case scenario: 4 months after Google (December 2017)

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

Xiaomi Android 7.0 update

Xiaomi had a pretty bad case of the hiccups when it came to the Marshmallow update, so it may not be entirely representative to base assumptions about the Xiaomi Android 7.0 update based on its most recent update performance.

As you may remember, despite announcing Marshmallow was in the final stages of testing back in December 2015, it wasn’t until early April that the Mi 4, Mi 3 and Mi Note finally got Android 6.0.

Perhaps learning from this mistake, Xiaomi hasn’t made any Nougat promises this time around, but began looking for Mi 5 Nougat beta testers on November 18. With a Nougat beta starting just now, it will likely be a few months before we see the Xiaomi Nougat update rolling out.

In the worst case scenario, Xiaomi suffers similar problems with Android 7.0 and users won’t see it until six months after Google releases it. In the best case scenario, Xiaomi has a successful public beta and has the update out in December 2016 or January 2017. But no matter when the update comes, we’ll likely see a Xiaomi device launch with Nougat out of the box first.

Best case scenario: 4-5 months after Google (December 2016/January 2017)

(Update: Final 7.1 preview rolls out) Android Nougat update: when will you get it?

Android One Android 7.0 update

Android One devices occupy a particular sweet spot when it comes to Android updates. Because they run stock Android, Google handles firmware updates, meaning the Android One Android 7.0 update will always arrive at the same time as it does for Nexus devices with both OTA and flashable factory image options.

OTAs will likely take at least a few weeks or more to reach all Android One devices getting the upgrade, and as always, the factory images will be right around the corner. Note that not all Android One devices make the initial rollout alongside Nexus devices though.

When do you expect your manufacturer and carrier to get Android 7.0 into your hands?

Sony’s Xperia X Nougat Concept updated with security patches and more

Owners of Sony’s Xperia X smartphone in Europe who are also signed up for the “Concept for Android” program can download the first update for the software since it first rolled out a couple of weeks ago for Android 7.0 Nougat. The program offers Xperia X owner a chance to get some hands-on preview time with upcoming features before they are made available for all owners of the smartphone.

See also:

How to activate the Xperia XZ & X Compact fingerprint scanners in the US

October 6, 2016

In this case, the build number for this update is build number 38.1.A.0.342 (NBD91K4). It includes the latest November Android security updates from Google, along with adding X-Reality support in the Album app, and also includes new versions of Sony’s Xperia Home and Xperia Transfer apps. As you might expect, there are also some bug fixes in this Nougat-based release, including a new version of the fingerprint driver and bug fixes for the camera and FM Radio features.

Additionally, there’s a known issue with the updated Xperia Home app and icon packs, and users should remove those packs from the Home settings before they download the latest Concept update. If you want to be on the cutting edge of software for the Xperia X, and you live in Europe, you can get these “Concept for Android” updates by downloading the Sony Concept Installer app right now from the Google Play Store.

Get it at Google Play

Sony Xperia Ear launching in the USA this December 13th for $199.99

It has been a while since the Sony Xperia Ear was announced at MWC 2016. The small earbud looks to be an interesting solution for those in need of a digital assistant device to take everywhere, but months have passed and we have seen no launch in the USA. This is why you will be glad to hear the wait is about to end!

The Sony Xperia Ear will finally launch in the USA this December 13th, on Amazon. Other retailers will be following suit soon afterwards (these include Fry’s, Abt and B&H). But of course, this won’t exactly be a cheap product, as it promises quality help for your daily needs. Retail price is set at $199.99.

Sony Xperia Ear launching in the USA this December 13th for $199.99

What you get may be worth every penny, though. The Sony Xperia Ear is considered a personal assistant that is always awaiting your commands. You can obviously do basic things like make calls, send messages and schedule appointments, but its capabilities go far beyond these simple commands.

See also:

Best Bluetooth headsets for when you’re on the go

5 days ago

It’s also possible to ask the Ear about your schedule, the weather, local businesses and directions to places. Oh, and get this – it supports head gesture commands, so you don’t always have to look crazy talking to yourself.

We have seen similar products, like the Motorola Moto Hint+, but that one only supports advanced features with Motorola phones. And even then, the Sony Xperia Ear seems like a much more polished product. It should be a good solution for those who keep busy and need a little help getting things together on-the-go.

Are any of you signing up?

Sony to launch its own lineup of mobile games on December 7?

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Sony may launch of its own lineup of smartphone games before the end of 2016. The news arrives from Wall Street Journal technology reporter Takashi Mochizuki, who Tweeted that Sony would announce “software titles and partner companies for its smartphone game project” on December 7.

Sony revealed in March that it had formed a new Japanese studio, Forward Works, aimed at bringing its PlayStation games and IPs to Android and iOS. Now it seems that there is a date for when the titles might appear, but the rollout could be set for Japan only at the moment (as was previously expected).

Though Sony is already involved in the Android world as a smartphone manufacturer – and a number of titles published on its PlayStation console have also been ported to the Play Store – the Japanese company is yet to succeed in developing its own games for Android.

Meanwhile, Nintendo produced its first smartphone game earlier this year named Miitomo, and collaborated on another reasonably successful mobile title: Pokemon GO.