Nintendo announces alliance with DeNA

For decades, Nintendo has been heralded as a massive influence on the world of video games. From the NES to the N64 to the 3DS, Nintendo has rolled out games and game devices that have entertained many generations of kids and young adults. With Nintendo’s reputation built primarily on console gaming, it was a bit of a shock when Nintendo announced earlier this week that they’d be entering the world of mobile gaming with the help of internet company DeNA.

A little surprising to hear, but it seems like a move that makes a lot of sense for Nintendo. The Wii U has struggled relative to it’s competitors over at Sony and Microsoft and the mobile gaming industry has exploded in recent years, with games like Angry Birds and Temple Run.

In combination with Nintendo’s intellectual property and game development, as well as DeNA’s world-class expertise in mobile gaming, this alliance will help the development and operation of game apps, based on Nintendo’s assets, for mobile devices. The alliance will allow Nintendo to expand their reach past console gaming, while DeNA will be able to bolster their gaming business by leveraging Nintendo’s assets. To ensure the high-quality of the game experiences that consumers expect from this alliance, only new, original games optimized for smart phone functionality will be created, rather than trying to transfer games created for the Wii U console or the Nintendo 3DS.

Nintendo and DeNA also announced that they’ll be developing an online membership service as a replacement for Club Nintendo. The service will be accessible from smart phones, PCs and Nintendo systems, such as the Nintendo 3DS portable system and the Wii U home console. The membership service, which is targeted to launch in the fall of 2015, will be built on DeNA’s extensive experience and capabilities in online membership services.

Nintendo also announced that they’re in the process of developing a new game console, codenamed “NX”. This is a slightly less shocking announcement, as new hardware takes years to build, so designers, developers, engineers and the like, are working on the next new console while we enjoy the current ones. Not a lot of details were released other than it’ll involve new hardware and gameplay concepts. The NX hardware will also tie into the new membership service that Nintendo is developing with DeNA.

The Xperia M4 Aqua

At the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, on March 2 2015, Sony Mobile announced the release of the Xperia M4 Aqua. A smartphone highlighting their innovation in camera, design, battery and performance to a reasonable price point.

Dennis van Schie, Senior Vice President and Head of Sales and Marketing at Sony Mobile Communications states that the “Xperia M4 Aqua represents our renewed mid-range focus – with no compromises. Offering the most popular standout features made famous by our Xperia Z Series; camera capability, two-day battery life and waterproofing – Xperia M4 Aqua brings a proposition and price, products in this section of the market simply cannot match.”

Great pictures. No effort.

The M4 Aqua features a 13MP rear camera, fuelled by Sony’s Exmor RS™ mobile sensor with a large F2.0 aperture, and ISO 3200 sensitivity. The powerful camera technology and the well-engineered ‘Auto’ mode make taking pictures a breeze, the camera can automatically detect over 50 different scenarios, ranging from lowlight to strong, backlit situations.

The M4 also features a 5MP selfie camera with a wide-angle lens that has an 88 degree field of view, so fit as many of your friends and family into your selfie as you can. ‘Portrait Retouch’ allow you to add finishing refinements. The popular selfie editing feature sits alongside Sony’s full suite of preloaded Xperia Camera apps, which makes collecting memories and/or sharing on social media, quick and easy.

Sleek hardware. Simple UI. Android 5.0 Lollipop.

The Xperia M4 Aqua displays a sleek design, as usual – a tempered glass display, with a lightweight 136g waterproof (IP65/8 rated) case. It has also been reengineered for cap-less microUSB charging, offering flexibility wherever you go.

The M4 Aqua will be available in it’s classic white and black colours, but also in coral and silver. Sony’s adopted the same sleek principles for its take on Android 5.0 Lollipop’s material design, keeping that distinctive minimalist look to the UI, interactions and native apps.

A powerful smartphone

The M4 Aqua boasts a two-day battery life, effectively eliminating the need to charge your phone on a daily basis. What’s more, take advantage of the M4 Aqua’s ‘STAMINA Mode’ to optimize how your battery is used and ‘Ultra STAMINA Mode’ to keep your smartphone running on its core functions for up to a week!

Supporting this excellent balance of performance and power is a Qualcomm® SnapdragonTM 615 processor featuring octa-core 64-bit CPUs, advanced multimedia processing and an integrated 4G LTE modem. This allows users to experience fast information download and searching, finding your way using maps, send and receive emails in seconds and experience buffering-free music and video streaming.

The Xperia M4 Aqua is set to be released in 80 countries, including Canada, starting in Spring of 2015. It will be supported across more than 100 carrier partners and cost around $400 CAD.

Sony unveils the Xperia Z4 Tablet

After being teased twice in the past week and a half, Sony announced the reveal of their Xperia Z4 Tablet at the Mobile World Conference this year.

Not willing to sit back and watch Apple and Samsung to dominate the tablet market, the Xperia Z4 features a 10.1 in IPS display with a 2560 x 1600, 300ppi resolution. Sony promises the tablet will provide the “best viewing experience you will hold in your hand.”

Pegged as the replacement to the Sony VIAO laptop series, the Xperia comes equipped with a Snapdrgaon 810 processor, being just 6.1mm thick; matching the iPad Air’s thickness and weighing just 389 grams for the base model and 393 grams for the LTE model. It’s waterproof, runs Android Lollipop, has 3GB of RAM, 32GB expandable memory, has a USB port, and an improved battery that reportedly gives “17 hours video playback.”

Now that Sony is no longer producing the VIAO laptop line, the Xperia Z4 comes with a Bluetooth keyboard and Microsoft Office’s Productivity Suite. Possibly a step in the right direction for the longevity of Microsoft Office software.

“We will not compromise on stamina at all,” says Sony when talking about the Xperia’s power. It has the same 6,000mAh battery as its predecessor, only this time Sony claims it’s more powerful, lasting for 17 hours of video playback. That’s in spite of raising the display resolution to 2,560 x 1,600 and moving up to the new Snapdragon 810 processor. More powerful, a longer-lasting battery and somehow even thinner than it’s predecessor, Sony’s devices continue to be wonders of design and engineering.

For all of the accomplishments surrounding the Xperia Z4, Sony is well aware that their primary goal is to convince users that an Android tablet provides more value over their competitor, the Apple iPad. Not an easy task to accomplish, so it’ll be interesting to see how this situation plays out.

The Xperia Z4 Tablet is set for a global release in June of 2015. It will come with 32GBs of onboard storage, expandable via a microSD card, and will be offered in both LTE and Wi-Fi-only variants. Price points are currently not available yet.

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