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The Morning After: Sony has three new smartphones

A mid-range one, a flagship one and a professional one.

Mat Smith
Mat Smith|@thatmatsmith|February 24, 2020 7:34 AM

Hey, good morning!

Even if MWC isn't happening, companies want to show you new phones and devices to buy.

Sony went first at a disgustingly early 8:30am in Europe, and it didn't do things by half. It had three new smartphones -- a record for Sony's recent smartphone reveals. We saw a new flagship, in addition to that, a pro-level phone for video professionals demanding the best 5G connections and, finally, a mid-range phone that will probably vanish into the sea of middle-weight smartphones. Sony knows that. Sure, it saw a bump up in phone sales last quarter, but its mobile arm is still operating at a loss.

There's no easy answer, it seems. Mobile is important to Sony, combining its expertise in displays, entertainment and imaging. It makes smartphones a handheld showcase for the company in general, but Sony has struggled to convince people into buying them. The Xperia 1 Mark II, with its speedy 20 fps auto-focus shooting, is another phone that hangs on the company's strengths, but how can it make it even more tempting? We don't know the prices of these new phones, but keeping them cheaper might help. Xperia phones have traditionally been priced at the top of the high-end phone range. iPhones and Galaxy S phones have gotten even more expensive, maybe this is Sony's chance?

-- Mat

It also has a headphone jack.Sony's first 5G smartphone is the Xperia 1 II

MWC is canceled, but Sony still wants to tell you all about three new phones it's planning. The Xperia 1 Mark II, its new flagship, might be the most notable, with a 6.5-inch 4K OLED screen, that cinematic 21:9 aspect ratio and 5G capability. Future network connectivity aside, the cameras are the coolest part: a new triple-camera system. There's a 24mm, f/1.7 lens with 82-degree field of view, a 70mm f/2.4 lens with a 34-degree field of view and a 16mm f/2.2 lens with a 124-degree field of view. There's also a fourth sensor on the back of the phone, a 3D time-of-flight unit for enhanced zoom.

This combination and Sony's camera expertise has resulted in 20 frames-per-second autofocus burst shooting. It sounds like one very fast camera phone. The Sony Xperia 1 II will begin shipping in the US in spring, price still TBC.

The company also revealed new mid-range phones, the Xperia 10 II and the Xperia Pro. The latter is for professional videographers, with 5G mmWave tech for broadcast-quality video broadcasts through a phone alone.

It has HDMI input too, whoa.

It could wipe out resistant bacteria strains.
AI discovers antibiotic that kills even highly resistant bacteria

This isn't about the coronavirus, but it's good news. MIT scientists have revealed their AI discovered an antibiotic compound, halicin (named after 2001's HAL 9000), which can not only kill many forms of resistant bacteria but does so in a novel way. Where many antibiotics are slight spins on existing medicine, halicin wipes out bacteria by wrecking its ability to maintain the electrochemical gradient necessary to produce energy-storing molecules. That's difficult for bacteria to withstand -- E. coli didn't develop any resistance in 30 days.

MIT successfully used the medicine to eradicate A. baumanii (a common infection for US soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq) in mice but hasn't used it in human trials.

The attacker also made an (unsuccessful) attempt at extortion.
Ninja's Twitter account was hijacked

An intruder compromised the account of streamer Ninja (aka Tyler Blevins) midday on February 22nd, trying to use the opportunity to rack up followers, start a beef with Fortnite star Tfue and complain when an account (possibly the perpetrator's) was inevitably suspended. Not surprisingly, Ninja wasn't fazed either. Besides deleting the tweets, he posted a video blasting an "irrelevant" person for grasping, in vain, for popularity. Two-factor authentication is your friend, no matter how many streaming fans you have.

The company unveiled the dancing robot at the 2020 Toy Fair in New York.
Tomy's Dancy Beatz is a dancing disco ball you can choreograph

At the 2020 New York Toy Fair, Tomy unveiled a new dancing toy that shows shades of the Sony Rolly. It's called Dancy Beatz, and based on the video render the company has released, it will look like a disco ball with arms. The dancing robot will have five modes, including a Dance Battle Mode to teach it pre-recorded routines. If you want to teach it your moves, though, you can put it in Program Mode -- it will save the dance you choreograph and use it later. It is expected to hit shelves in August 2020.

But wait, there's more...

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The Morning After: Sony has three new smartphones