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January 26, 2006

Sony drops AIBO and QRIO

Michael Santo at Alice Hill’s Real Tech News did a little sleuthing in Sony’s quarterly report and discovered that the AIBO robot pooch is being put to sleep at the end of Sony’s fiscal year in March and development has ended for the humanoid QRIO robot. Make has a photo retrospective.

If you do some more spelunking in the report, you’ll find that Sony also said that it would:

stop development and manufacturing of PDP (plasma display panel) televisions, and stop selling in-car entertainment products in Japan. It will also kill its Qualia line of pricey, high-specification products.

All of this is by way of getting Sony back on track and they did report the strongest quarterly earnings in several years.

Posted at 2:33 pm. Filed under Companies, Robots, Sony

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January 20, 2006

Electronic Arts cuts console game prices

Troy Wolverton at

Some of Electronic Arts’ top games have just gotten a lot cheaper.

The retail prices of titles such as Madden NFL ’06, NBA Live ’06 and Need For Speed: Most Wanted have fallen by $10 to $20 this week, according to a report issued Thursday by Banc of America analyst Gary Cooper.

The price cuts, which only affected games made for current-generation consoles such as Sony’s PlayStation 2 and Microsoft’s original Xbox, are a reaction to weak video-game sales in recent months and likely will be the start of a trend, he said.

“We expect more price cuts to come from other publishers and believe very few new current-gen [eration] releases will be able to charge a premium price,” said Cooper…

Note that these are wholesale price reductions. What the retailers will do is another matter, but there seems little doubt that retail prices are going down.

Posted at 6:53 pm. Filed under PS2, Video Games, Xbox

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January 18, 2006

Compromise Wi-Fi MIMO standard coming?

You may recall that I have previously mentioned ([1], [2]) the ongoing battle over the next Wi-Fi standard. Now it looks like a compromise has been reached:

An industry group seeking common ground on the emerging IEEE 802.11n high-speed wireless LAN specification has agreed on a compromise proposal that may form the basis of a final standard.

The joint proposal group, which includes backers of all the major factions in the fight over how to boost the speed and range of wireless LANs, late Wednesday [Jan. 11 - ed.] approved a proposal by a unanimous online vote with two abstentions, according to Bill McFarland, chief technology officer at Atheros Communications, a semiconductor vendor that belongs to the group.

The IEEE is expected to formally accept the proposal in a meeting this week, but it likely won’t be formally adopted for about a year. The good news is that won’t slow down the vendors:

But partly because the standards process has taken so long and vendors have gained experience with the new technology, there will probably be pre-standard products on the market in the middle of this year that are mostly interoperable and can be upgraded to the final standard via software or firmware upgrade.

The advantages are 802.11n, or MIMO as it is often called, are greater range and faster speed.

Posted at 12:31 pm. Filed under MIMO, Wi-Fi

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