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Sony HIDC10 Dash Personal Internet Viewer (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
- Get information and entertainment in your bedroom, kitchen, or office, without being tethered to your PC
- 1,500+ apps available to deliver weather, traffic, social networking, movies, music, and more
- 7-inch touchscreen with gesture support and WVGA (800x480) pixel resolution
- 802.11b/g Wi-Fi to easily connect to your wireless home network
- 500Mhz processor with 32kB I/D L2 cache; 256 MB, 667MHz DDR2 DRAM
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Your favorite parts of the Internet customized the way you choose, available in a dash. Over 1,000 free apps can be displayed at the touch of a finger. Choose from your favorite information and entertainment content including weather, traffic, social networking, movies, music and more pushed right to your kitchen, bedroom, or office. The Dash Personal Internet Viewer connects quickly and easily to your existing wireless network and features a vibrant 7-inch LCD touchscreen for accessing a variety of video services for online music and viral videos, full-length feature movies and TV shows. You can also listen to MP3s and Internet radio via the built-in stereo speakers, or by using the headphone jack (headphones not included).
Your favorite parts of the Internet customized the way you choose, available in a dash. Over 1,000 free apps can be displayed at the touch of a finger. Choose from your favorite information and entertainment content including weather, traffic, social networking, movies, music and more--pushed right to your kitchen, bedroom, or office. The Dash Personal Internet Viewer connects quickly and easily to your existing wireless network and features a vibrant 7-inch LCD touchscreen for accessing a variety of video services for online music and viral videos, full-length feature movies and TV shows. You can also listen to MP3s and Internet radio via the built-in stereo speakers, or by using the headphone jack (headphones not included).
Make the Internet uniquely yours and access over 1,500 free apps with the Dash Personal Internet Viewer. Click to enlarge.
The compact size maximizes counter, bedside, and desktop spaces.
Access a variety of video services for online music and viral videos, full-length feature movies and TV shows.
Your favorite parts of the Internet customized the way you choose, available in a dash.
Streamline Your Life with Free Apps
The 1500-plus apps available for the Dash Personal Internet Viewer deliver the information and entertainment you want--weather, traffic, social networking, movies, music, and more--right to your kitchen, bedroom, or office.
Listen to What You Want
The Dash Personal Internet Viewer is a compact audio multi-tool: listen to MP3s and Internet Radio out loud with the built-in stereo speakers, or privately by using the headphone jack (headphones not included).
Customizing the Dash home screen to fit your own personal needs and style is easy. Simply choose your favorite apps and theme that you want displayed.
Access to Sony Content
Get access to the best Sony has to offer: movie trailers, minisodes, music videos, game trailers, and the latest deals from SonyStyle.com.
7-Inch LCD Touchscreen
The WVGA 800x480 LCD touchscreen displays crystal clear photos and video from a wide viewing angle, and automatically adjusts the display for an upright or horizontal orientation.
Connect quickly and easily to your existing wireless network.
Elegant and Space Saving Design
The compact size maximizes counter, bedside, and desktop spaces, and the timeless design blends in with any décor.
Easy-to-Use Clock and Alarms
When you enter your zip code the device automatically sets the time for you. Set up custom alarms, either one-time or recurring, with the option of waking to Internet radio stations, built-in alarm sounds, or your favorite app.5
Multi-Source Video Content
Access a variety of video services for online music and viral videos, full-length feature movies and TV shows you can watch and control on the brilliant LCD.
Stream the web content you specify through Internet apps, without the distraction of a PC. It's always on, always fresh, always available at a glance without the delay of booting up your PC.
Online Photo Access and Sharing
For a great photo viewing experience the Dash Personal Internet Viewer conveniently loads and displays your photos from online services such as Photobucket, or you can simply view your photos directly via USB. The touchscreen user interface allows you to set effects, rotate photos, zoom, and play or pause photo slide shows.
USB 2.0 Interface
Access audio, video or photo content stored on mass storage USB devices by connecting to the USB port.
What's in the Box
Sony Dash Personal Internet Viewer and user's manual.
Top customer reviews
The Sony Dash is marketed as a "personal internet viewer." In my opinion, it does not live up to that name. Others are more accurately calling it "glimpse internet" and "upgraded alarm clock." It's a 7-inch touch tablet designed with a weighted wedge style, meant to sit on a countertop or bedside table. Sony basically licensed or bought the Chumby OS and added its own internet video service as well as re-designing the UI a bit for the larger screen. I was attracted to this device because I liked the idea of a Chumby, but it seemed overly bulky and too small of a screen. The Dash takes all the good parts about a Chumby and adds a bigger screen and a better design.
I'm giving a lot more detail below, but to sum up: what you think of this device is largely going to depend on what you want from it. To me, this device's best tagline would have identified it as a "wake-up station"...telling you everything you need or want to know as you wake up to begin your day. My rating of this device is based on what I expected out of it: in short, a glorified alarm clock. If your alarm clock could:
* tell you weather and traffic at a glance
* have multiple alarms per day, each with their own sounds, configurable in any way you want...if you want to wake up at a different time each day, with a different tone each day, it can handle that. (Really, if you've ever used your cellphone as your alarm clock, consider everything your cellphone can do as an alarm clock...this can do all the same stuff, without ever having to worry about all the problems of cellphones as alarm clocks.)
* quickly show you a few e-mails, status updates, or photos
* let you go to sleep/snooze to a podcast or internet video
If you look at that list and think, "wow, that's exactly what I want in an alarm clock," then you're the target user for the Sony Dash. Sadly, they're not marketing it to you at all. Really, they're barely doing anything to sell this device. I've seen exactly zero ads. Were it not for Engadget, I wouldn't have even known it was available or what it was. And, stupidly, what Sony is doing is positioning this so it goes up against things like the iPad and Archos tablet. Sony should be positioning this as the best damn alarm clock in the world. That's their mistake and what will, IMO, make this device fail.
On that note, I've seen alot of reviewers poo-poo the Sony Dash by saying "oh, my cellphone could do this" or "oh, my iPad does this better". Well, your cellphone and iPad don't do what this does, because neither of those devices are meant to sit still on a bedside table. Your cellphone and likely your iPad get up and leave when you do, which makes them nearly useless as an alarm clock unless you are a single person living alone. Even if you are a single person (or if you are willing to have separate devices for each person), you'd need to buy several accessories to make a cellphone or iPad sit as nicely as this does on a surface. So, long story short, a cellphone and an iPad appeal to a broader audience, no doubt, but, this device hits a very necessary niche for which the iPad and cellphone are ill-designed.
* Very fast and easy setup on the device -- you can use the device without going to the web, but there are quite a few apps that require configuration via the web, and the web config has issues (see Cons list)
* Design is sleek. It looks damn cool on your bedside table.
* Pleasing UI, simple to navigate
* AccuWeather weather (a plus over other weather services, IMO)
* Sits securely (can be rubbed by cat without falling over)
* Bright and colorful screen, videos look great
* Completely customizable alarms and alarm clock
* NEW IN 6/2010 UPDATE: Customizable snooze length - 1,2,3,4,5,10,15,20,25, or 30 minutes
* "night mode" that dims the screen and shows only the clock, when the next alarm is set for and the weather in black and white...though I did notice today that it's got a little "mom" that writes itself in in cursive, which is kind of a cool "surprise" bit of chrome
* Price is just about right, in my opinion. If Sony ripped out everything but the alarm clock and weather functions, shrank the screen, and got it to $99 or $79, that'd be a very nice product...would beat the heck out of the American Innovative Neverlate Executive Alarm Clock. At $199, it's less than a netbook, less than many cellphones, and far less than the Apple products that could fit this space.
* Usable touch keyboard, fine for posting to Twitter or Facebook, but I wouldn't use it to type a long e-mail
* Really good selection of default sounds loaded
* Was able to access my Amazon Video on Demand purchased videos and play them easily, and since I haven't bought anything else that does that yet (except my PCs, of course), that's a nice feature for me.
Now for the bad news. There are three issues that, in my opinion, are near blocking issues, but the silver lining to the cloud is that all three are likely to be resolved by Sony soon, and my rating reflects my strong belief that these will be resolved soon. Still, were I Sony, I'd feel great shame to have shipped this device with these issues as they are:
* USB drives are not working yet. This is huge, because they promise this on the box, and it's the only way to access your own music from the box (no DLNA or other wireless transfer support). It says "coming soon" if you attempt to play music or view pictures from a USB drive. Were I not in love with this as my alarm clock, I'd return it based on this alone. - RESOLVED IN JUNE 2010 UPDATE - USB drives are now accessible! You still cannot set an MP3 as a wake-up alarm, however.
* The web setup is a mess. The site itself looks shoddy, like no one actually cared enough to make it look nice...and the configuration area is not easily accessible from Sony's main site. You have to go to Sony's "MyEssentials" site (a term/brand that is in no way associated with the Dash), and that site is not linked from the Sony Dash page on Sony's site, nor from Sony's main site. Logging in from Sony's main site and clicking on "my devices" takes forever to load, so I never found out if I could get to the Dash config site from there. To find the config site after the initial setup, I ended up going to [...], trying my Sony login, and then Chumby re-directed me to the MyEssentials site. Basically, the setup on the Dash itself is so simple, but as soon as you hit the point that you need to use the web to configure something, you're lost. For this reason alone, I can't recommend this for non-geeks...which sucks because if this were fixed, I could see this being a really nice gift for a number of non-geeks in my family. I mean, this is basic stuff that they blew off, and it speaks volumes to Sony's lack of commitment to this device. - IMPROVEMENT IN JUNE 2010 UPDATE - It is no longer necessary to use the MyEssentials site to configure the Dash. You can do most day-to-day aspects of configuration from the device itself, though the device will still prompt you to register on MyEssentials during initial setup. This is particularly good because it turns out that Sony STILL has not improved the MyEssentials site for the Dash, and they can't reset passwords for your registered account through the website. You have to call customer service. If you try to reset your account's password through the MyEssentials site, it sends you to the SonyStyle site, which uses a different database of usernames and thus will not work.
* No web browser...which I wouldn't care about if there were more apps or if this weren't being sold as a "personal internet viewer"...but to call yourself an internet viewer and not have a browser is just sad. Plus, this makes the apps themselves frustrating. Most of them are just ported iPhone apps, which means they assume you can click links to view more.
There are also quite a few minor issues which Sony/Chumby could resolve in the next few months via software updates:
* Not enough "apps" (really, they're widgets)...lots of popular news and info sites are not represented, and the apps themselves are not the greatest quality.
* The layout options are limited. There's only two layouts, and neither of them are satisfying. For example, there's no layout that has two app panes. You can't customize shortcuts in any of the layouts, either, so you can't (for example) make sure that the Amazon Video shortcut is the first (or only) one available. - IMPROVED IN JUNE 2010 UPDATE - 2 new layouts are available, and they definitely improved on the usability.
* Not easy to switch between "channels" (different views with different apps...for example, I have a productivity channel that has my Gmail and Gcal in it and a separate social networking channel that has all of my social networks and news feeds), takes 4 steps to switch plus a not-insignificant load time. Basically makes the channel feature useless because it's too annoying to switch channels. You're better off just loading all the apps you want into your default channel.
* No copy/paste functionality...a pain if you're wanting to post a status to multiple sites
* No podcast browser. NYTimes podcasts are accessible via their pre-loaded app, but if you want any other podcasts, you're SOL.
* Chumby's little flying monster logo still shows up on most of the apps, which could confuse people as to what it is or why it shows up, since Sony does not acknowledge Chumby's existence at all in the Dash's UI or setup.
Then there are some issues which are, admittedly, by design. That is, Sony never intended the device to have these features and will probably never give it these features, but they're features that I really think would have made the device better and more usable to a broader audience.
* No accessible internal memory...and assuming they get USB sticks working, there are two issues with this. First, you have to keep your USB stick in all the time if you want to wake up to an MP3. Second, knowing that you have to keep a USB drive in it, the little rubber cover over the USB and 3.5mm port makes that uglier than it needed to be. I do think if you got a nano USB drive, the rubber cover might close over it, but you shouldn't have to do that. They should have made the USB port more public since they knew people would need to keep memory in it. Or, heck, put in an SD card slot instead, to align more with the picture frame type device.
* No DLNA or wireless drive access...again, this is mostly a problem because there's no accessible internal memory. If I could tell this to wake me up to an MP3 that is loaded on my Zune (which has DLNA) without having to connect my Zune, that'd be sweet.
* No battery - it must be plugged in to use it...and I complain less about this than Engadget or other reviewers have because the design of this is clearly meant to be a fixed device. It's heavy and relatively bulky, and it's weighted to be stable on a surface, not to be carried around
* No multi-touch - which, if they implement a browser, will be a bigger deal.
* No line-in to allow a separate PMP to use the speakers and/or screen (so, no waking up to music from your iPod) -- this one is something that is a big nice to have. I think with this kind of device, anything you can do to make it have more than one purpose is a good thing. If I could plug in a PMP or smartphone and have it take over the screen and speakers, that'd be a very nice feature.
Worked for a while - really liked it...then Sony turned it into a brick. Don't, do not, please, please, please, do not bother with this Sony product. If you do, however, be prepared for lots of frustration trying to get it to work, even more frustration with (typical) Sony customer service where they blame you for everything, and even better, try really, really, hard not to laugh when they tell you that it just needs "a MAC address change" for 180 more dollars.
Sony has had trouble with their servers and networks for a while - I think they've just stopped caring about their loyal customers and moved on. I used to swear by Sony the way people love Apple (okay, that's me too...) but this product definitely cured me of that bad habit. FYI, same software platform as their blu-ray and smart TV lines of past so, if your Dash isn't working, chances are they aren't working either. But sleep better knowing that it's not you, its Sony...then hate yourself for being suckered into another troubled and abandoned Sony product.
One more thing - if you think that you can use this as an alarm clock on those bad Sony days, or when you're internet connection might be down, think again. This alarm clock is, like everything else Sony, copy-protected and stops working if it can't check-in with the mothership, that is, if you can set the thing up at all. Bad Sony - very, very bad Sony for selling your customers an expensive alarm clock that won't even function as an alarm clock.
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