Saturday, June 11, 2011

Why 2011 is an epic year for video games

This year's Electronic Entertainment Expo was one of the most exctiting in recent history. Here's a look at the big trends that emerged and the big ideas that will be leading the video game industry for months and years to come.a

By Winda Benedetti

In the last week’s time, Nintendo has unveiled its brand new Wii U home game machine, Sony has taken the wraps off its handheld PlayStation Vita gadget and Microsoft has breathed new life into the historic “Halo” game franchise.a

Meanwhile game companies from around the world have revealed dozens of games for the very first time and showed off hundreds of other games they’re working on and will release in the coming months.a

The Electronic Entertainment Expo — the video game industry’s biggest trade show — swept through Los Angeles this week and in doing so showed the world just how important a business, entertainment medium and even artistic endeavor games are these days.a

Winda Benedettia

Famed film director Steven Spielberg could be found checking out and talking up video games at the Microsoft booth at this year's E3. a

It brought with it some 46,800 video game industry professionals, analysts, retailers and reporters. That’s up from 45,600 the year before, according to event's hosts. But it wasn’t just the big name developers and publishers who were on on hand. Stars from all corners of the entertainment industry — Kobe Bryant, Ice-T, Hulk Hogan and even Steven Spielberg — have all gotten involved in gaming and showed up at E3 to talk up the rapidly growing industry.a

"It feels like there is a renewed level of energy and optimism at E3 this year and I think that's directly parallel with the energy and change going on dynamically in the industry right now," said Dr. Ray Muzyka, co-founder of highly respected development company BioWare. His company wowed the E3 crowds by offering demos and previews of two highly anticipated games — “Mass Effect 3,” and “Star Wars: The Old Republic.”a

[PHOTO GALLERY: Games, gadgets, celebrities — highlights from the Electronic Entertainment Expo]a

"There are so many new platforms and so many new ways to connect with consumers world wide," he said. "It's probably the most dynamic period of change in the industry in 30 years and that's really cool."a

Yes, a lot happened over the last week — but taking a look at the big picture, we spotted five big ideas that emerged during this year’s E3. These are trends that will affect the game industry for years to come.a

Big games and big entertainment still matterIf there’s one thing E3 reminds us, it’s that gamers still want those epic experiences. Sure, smartphones and tablets may be shoving their way into the gameing space and into our hearts with their small, bite-sized games and their small prices.a

But walk the miles of E3 show floor and you’ll find the place filled with giant booths and towering displays showing off titles like “Modern Warfare 3,” “Battlefield 3,” “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim,” and “Batman: Arkham City.” That’s because publishers and developers know that game enthusiasts still want those big experiences full of dazzling visuals, larger-than-life adventures and intense action.a

These are the game industry’s equivalent of the summer blockbuster films — and at E3, all you have to do is take a look at the hundreds of people waiting in long lines just to get the most meager of glimpses as these projects still in the works to know that enthusiasm for big games hasn’t diminished.  a

Motion is still in motionIf you thought or perhaps hoped motion control gaming was a fad that would eventually fade … you thought wrong. This week, Microsoft and Sony made sure to let the world know that they are not only standing behind their motion control gaming devices – Kinect and Move – they are preparing to release new games that push motion gaming even further.a

For its part, Microsoft unveiled and highlighted a slate of motion-controlled games for hardcore players. These are the folks who have been most dismissive of the trend’s staying power and most resistant to jumping in.a

Valerie Macon / AFP - Getty Imagesa

Love them or hate them, motion controls are here to stay.a

But Microsoft set out to convince these skeptics that Kinect was relevant to them by revealing that games like “Mass Effect 3” and “Ryse” would incorporate Kinect voice and body controls into their more intense gameplay. And other publishers jumped on board to throw Kinect their support too. Ubisoft announced that all future "Ghost Recon" games would support Kinect and Sega showed off “Rise of Nightmares” — a fully Kinect-controlled horror game.a

Meanwhile, Sony brought stars to the stage during its press conference this week to throw their weight behind the company’s Move controls. Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant played some Move-controlled basketball for the cheering crowds while former Move-skeptic Ken Levine of Irrational Games surprised everyone by announcing that highly anticipated game “BioShock Infinite” would come with some Move-enabled moves of its own.a

And then there was Nintendo — the company that pioneered motion control gaming. Executives announced that the controller for Nintendo’s forthcoming Wii U game console will not only feature a built-in touch screen, it will also sense motion and put that to use in new ways.a

No, traditional thumb-stick and button game controls aren’t going away. But whether you love motion controls or despise them, you can bet they’re here to stay.a

Games that play where you playWe’re seeing it more and more — the future of gaming is to be found in offering people the ability to play their favorite game on whatever gadget they want to play it on.a

And this week Sony made a big push into this kind of cross-platform play. In fact, we fell in love with Sony’s PlayStation Vita in good part because they showed us how the handheld gadget will work in conjunction with the PlayStation 3 home console. For example, Sony announced that PS Vita owners will be able to play the forthcoming action/role-playing game “Ruin” on the handheld device, pause their game, save it to the cloud, go home and pick it up right where they left off on their PS3.a

Meanwhile, CCP Games showed off the forthcoming PlayStation massively-multiplayer online shooter "DUST 514" which is set in the same universe as the online PC game "EVE Online" and interacts with it heavily. At E3 this week, they further revealed details about how "DUST" will allow players to carry elements of their PS3 gameplay over into their online "EVE" game and how the two games will interact with and affect each other.a

We expect to see many more companies from all corners of the industry pushing into this same cross-pollinating, cross-platform territory in the coming months.a

Games that connect us There's no denying, Facebook and "FarmVille" have changed the face of gaming. And this week, big game publishers made it clear that the social element of gaming is more important than ever.a

Matt Riveraa

The show floor was packed at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo with thousands of people hoping to get a glimpse at what the future has in store for video games.a

Electronic Arts, for example, talked up the social aspects of a number of its games — introducing its first "Sims" game made especially for Facebook called "Sims Social." The company also revealed the forthcoming Battlelog – a free social networking service to help "Battlefield 3" players connect with each other, create platoons, look up real-time statistics, and just generally socialize more with each other.a

This comes on the heels of Activision announcing its own online gaming social network service for "Call of Duty" players called "Call of Duty Elite."a

The fact of the matter is, humans have been playing games with other humans since the beginning of time. The video game industry is just bringing this ancient tradition back in style in new ways for the modern player.New ways to look at and touch our games One of the great things about this year's E3, was the glimpse it gave us of the innovations that will be carrying games into the future. And a lot of what this year's innovations seemed to be about was finding new ways to let us immerse ourselves into the games we're playing.a

Sony gave us hands-on time with the Vita, which is the first game gadget to incorporate a back-side touch pad. Though we were skeptical of the impact this would have when the machine was first announced, our time with the gadget proved it to be a truly fantastic idea. That touch pad gives gamers an increasingly tactile way to interact with a game like “Uncharted: Golden Abyss" which adds to the immersiveness of the gaming experience.a

Meanwhile, Nintendo’s Wii U is all about giving us an additional window into our video games. The home console comes with a controller with a screen of its own. And as we had a chance to experience for ourselves, having two screens to view your game through offers many very compelling and unique new ways to play a game either by yourself or with friends.a

Cloud-gaming service OnLive pushed into similar territory. The company was on hand at E3 to demonstrate its forthcoming OnLive Player App which not only brings streaming PC games to iPads and Android tablets but which allows gamers to use their tablet as a touch-and-motion-based controller when connected with an HDTV and to use that screen as another perspective on the game you're playing.a

We have so many screens in our lives these days — game companies that make them work together in unique ways are definitely leading an important charge into the future.a

And certainly after this week's E3, the future of games is looking bright and exciting. It should be a fun ride as we see how all the above trends play out in the coming months. a

For more of our E3 and video game coverage, see:a

VIDEO: 'Bioshock: Infinite' tears reality Seven things to love about PlayStation Vita VIDEO: 'Modern Warfare 3' vs. 'Battlefield 3' Hands on with Nintendo's Wii U VIDEO: Dragons descend on E3 in 'Skyrim'  The zombies of 'Dead Island' will hunt and haunt you Can Mario and Luigi rescue the Nintendo 3DS? VIDEO: Star Wars the next World of Warcraft? Dance Central 2' delivers more dancers, music, laughs Microsoft woos hardcore with new Kinect games VIDEO: A window into Nintendo's new Wii U 'Uncharted: Golden Abyss' will push Vita into your hands VIDEO: Sony makes up to gamers with PSVita, 3DTVs, and loads of games VIDEO: Lightsabers, Halo games, and Mass Effect Kinect

Winda Benedetti writes about games for You can follow her tweets about games and other things right here on Twitter.a

Facebook facial recognition gets 'animated'


By Suzanne Choney

If you're creeped out by Facebook's facial recognition program — under fire this week by European regulators — Taiwanese animation company NMA has a thing or two to share with you about that (including the outrage being "ironic, considering the pervasive nature of public surveillance in Europe.")a

And, as we explained in December when Facebook rolled out the app in the U.S., you can turn off the "photo tag suggestions" feature, for which facial recognition is used.a

Still, the program seems to be kicking up a lot of dust, and there's no entity better to take it on than NMA, known for its caustic comedy on such events as Tiger Woods' Thanksgiving Day car accident, Mark Zuckerberg being stalked and Lindsay Lohan's jail time.a


Related stories:a

How to turn off Facebook's creepy face recognition Facebook gives regulators info on facial recognition Zuckerberg's stalker caught on video — sort of

Check out Technolog, Gadgetbox, Digital Life and In-Game on Facebook, and on Twitter, follow Suzanne Choney.a

Nokia Deal Could Make Phone 7 No. 2 in World Market

If a research group's reading of the tea leaves is correct, time is on Microsoft's side in the fast-changing smartphone Relevant Products/Services market.

Framingham, Mass.-based International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts the software giant's Windows Phone 7 will be the second most popular mobile Relevant Products/Services operating system in the world by 2015 with 20.5 percent of the market after Google Relevant Products/Services's Android, which would dominate with 43.8 percent.

Replacing Symbian

That would be a huge boost from the measly 3.8 percent forecast for this year by IDC. The growth would largely come at the expense of Nokia's declining Symbian platform, which will be gradually replaced with Phone 7 in a deal between Microsoft and the Finnish phone manufacturer announced earlier this year.

Symbian would shrink from 20.6 percent this year to an abysmal 0.1 percent in that analysis, while other major platforms would decline less -- 14.2 percent to 13.4 percent for Research In Motion's BlackBerry and 18.2 percent to 16.9 percent for Apple's iOS, which is currently number two. The only other system to grow in this time frame would be Google's Android, from 38.9 percent to 43.8 percent.

Android's open-source operating system is available on a wide range of devices offered by all major wireless carriers. Microsoft has similar designs for Phone 7, with handsets made by Acer, Fujitsu and ZTE expected to join the current slate of Dell, HTC, Samsung and LG smartphones.

"If you take a look at the devices coming out for 2012 and the anticipated cadence of device releases, it helps push their numbers up," said IDC wireless industry analyst Ramon Llamas, citing conversations with Microsoft and Nokia officials.

He acknowledged that both Nokia and Microsoft have "a pretty low profile" in the important U.S. smartphone market, but in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Asia/Pacific region, "Nokia has out-and-out leadership across those regions' smartphone business Relevant Products/Services, which gives us that much more to hang our hat on" in making predictions.

Nokia Denies Sale Rumors

The updated numbers from IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker come as rumors swirl about a possible takeover of Nokia, whose profits have been slipping, by either Microsoft or Samsung.

Llamas said he accepts the word of Nokia CEO Stephen Elop -- a former Microsoft exec who made the deal to replace Symbian with Windows Phone 7 on most Nokia devices -- that the company is not for sale.

To get ahead in the U.S., Microsoft will need to generate more enthusiasm among carriers and customers. A PC magazine report Friday said that at retail outlets of the four major carriers in Manhattan, Windows Phone 7 devices were in short supply and salespeople were blasé about them.

A Verizon Wireless employee Relevant Products/Services told the magazine that "one out of 500 customers comes in here asking for a Windows phone."

Nokia is expected to ship its first Phone 7 devices, complete with the system's Mango update, later this year.

Add contact photos to Gmail inbox

aaaaaA picture is worth a 1000 words, and in case of this Chrome extension.. a picture is worth a long email address. Gmail Photo is a Chrome extension that shows a sender’s profile picture in the mail list and in the mail view. It makes it easier to spot which mail is from which user.


aaaaaThis extension is right now for Google Chrome only. Get it @ Chrome extensions

Booming Apple Is World's Largest Semiconductor Buyer

Apple surpassed Hewlett-Packard in 2010 to become the world's largest buyer of semiconductors among original equipment manufacturers, according to a new report from IHS iSuppli. Driven by booming demand for the company's iconic mobile Relevant Products/Services devices, Apple spent $17.5 billion on semiconductors last year -- up 79.6 percent from 2009 and $2.4 billion higher than what HP paid for semiconductors in 2010.

What's more, iSuppli forecasts that Apple will continue to extend its expenditure lead this year by spending $22.4 billion on semiconductors, while HP and Samsung Electronics are expected to spend $14.8 billion and $14.3 billion, respectively.

Apple's iPhone and iPad Relevant Products/Services products "consume enormous quantities of NAND flash memory Relevant Products/Services, which is also found in the Apple iPod," said iSuppli analyst Wenlie Ye. "Because of this, Apple in 2010 was the world's No. 1 purchaser of NAND flash."

High Mobile Growth Rates

A major factor behind Apple's growing semiconductor expenditures is the high growth rates for mobile devices such as smartphones and web tablets in comparison with growth rates for the desktop Relevant Products/Services PC, notebook Relevant Products/Services and server products sold by HP. According to Ye, 82 percent of HP's semiconductor spending during 2010 was dedicated to those three PC segments.

IDC expects global PC shipments to rise just 4.2 percent this year because of heightened consumer interest in media tablets as well as rising global economic concerns. Still, the firm's analysts see microprocessor shipments in the PC market's mobile, desktop and x86 segments growing 10.3 percent this year. "Generally, the demand environment for the second half of this year looks decent," said IDC Director of Semiconductors Shane Rau.

When it comes to robust growth, however, the tablet Relevant Products/Services and smartphone Relevant Products/Services markets clearly offer gadget makers the best revenue opportunities. IDC predicts tablet shipments will achieve a growth rate of nearly 350 percent this year.

A total of 44.6 million media tablets are projected to ship this year, with Apple expected to maintain a 70 to 80 percent market share. Furthermore, IDC forecasts that global smartphone shipments will grow 55 percent year over year to 472 million this year, with shipments expected to nearly double by the end of 2015. (continued...)

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i4i Wins $290M Patent-Infringement Case Against Microsoft

On Thursday, Microsoft lost a major patent-infringement case in the U.S. Supreme Court, which left standing the largest patent award ever upheld on appeal -- a fine of $290 million. The case could have established a new threshold of evidence required to overturn a patent.

In 2007, a small Canadian company called i4i filed suit against the software giant, alleging patent infringement in Word 2003 and 2007 because of a tool that enabled document manipulation. A 2009 decision by a U.S. District Court in Texas ruled in favor of i4i, and Microsoft was forced to drop the XML feature in order to continue selling Word while it appealed.

'Preponderance' or 'Clear and Convincing'?

Microsoft asked the Supreme Court to overturn the ruling, largely on the grounds that the wrong jury instructions had been given by the judge.

The Redmond, Wash.-based company contended the patent was invalid because patent protection cannot be sought if an invention has been on sale in this country more than one year before filing a patent application Relevant Products/Services to protect that invention.

Both parties agreed that i4i sold a software program called S4 more than a year before the patent filing, but there was disagreement about whether that software contained the invention presented in i4i's patent. Microsoft said S4 was never examined by the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) as "prior art" during the patent-application process.

Microsoft said this was grounds to invalidate the patent, and that it only needed to present "a preponderance" or majority of evidence, rather than the stricter standard of "clear and convincing evidence," which it said was too high a requirement.

Amicus Briefs

Despite Microsoft's objections, the jury in the District Court had been instructed by the judge, at the urging of i4i's lawyers, that only the "clear and convincing evidence" standard could be used.

In an unanimous verdict, the Supreme Court found that the current burden-of-proof standard of "clear and convincing evidence" should remain, as the lower court found. It also said that only Congress can change the standard of proof.

After the verdict, Microsoft said that, while the "outcome is not what we had hoped for," the company will continue to press for changes in patent law to "prevent abuse of the patent system."

This issue goes to the heart of patent suits and defenses, and both i4i and Microsoft had a variety of heavyweights filing amicus briefs in their support. One of i4i's was the PTO, which said that "because the practical effect of a successful challenge to the validity of a patent is to overturn the PTO's administrative decision, the United States has a substantial interest in the question presented."

Also in i4i's corner were 3M, Proctor and Gamble, General Electric, Genentech, Eli Lilly, BP and 19 venture-capital companies. Briefs favoring Microsoft's position were filed by Apple, SAP, Google Relevant Products/Services, EMC, Cisco and others.

Google Chromebooks now can be pre-ordered


Acer's Chromebooks cost $379.99 for a Wi-Fi only model, or $449.99 for one that also has 3G.a

By Suzanne Choney

Google's Chromebook laptops are now available for pre-order from either or Best Buy. The laptops, made by Samsung and Acer, start at $379.99 with the most expensive of the six models at $499.99. They'll be shipped starting June 15.a

The minimalist Chromebook, which uses Google's Chrome operating system, has an 8-second boot-up time and lots of other promising features for those who aren't looking to store gigabytes of data on their laptops. Chromebooks are "not typical notebooks," wrote Linus Upson, Google's v-p of engineering and Sundar Pichai, Chrome senior vice president, on a blog:a

With a Chromebook you won’t wait minutes for your computer to boot and browser to start. You’ll be reading your email in seconds. Thanks to automatic updates the software on your Chromebook will get faster over time. Your apps, games, photos, music, movies and documents will be accessible wherever you are and you won't need to worry about losing your computer or forgetting to back up files. Chromebooks will last a day of use on a single charge, so you don’t need to carry a power cord everywhere. And with optional 3G, just like your phone, you’ll have the web when you need it. Chromebooks have many layers of security built in so there is no anti-virus software to buy and maintain. Even more importantly, you won't spend hours fighting your computer to set it up and keep it up to date.a

Pricing on the Chromebooks is comparable to that of many Windows netbooks. Google is also offering to lease the Chromebook to students for $20 a month and $28 a month to business users over a three-year period.a

One of the higher-end Chromebooks, Samsung's Series 5 Arctic White 3G Model ($499.99 on Amazon), has a 12.1-inch screen, 2 GB memory,  16 GB flash drive and uses Intel's Atom Processor N570. ('s Wilson Rothman will be reviewing Samsung's Chromebook soon).a

You can learn more about the Chromebooks here.a

Related stories:a

Lease Google Chromebook for $20/month Why Google's Chrome notebook will succeed Google reveals Chrome notebooks, Web app store

Check out Technolog, Gadgetbox, Digital Life and In-Game on Facebook, and on Twitter, follow Suzanne Choney.a

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dancing Driod bot controlled via Android


aaaaaGoogle had announced ADK for Android which allowed developers to control or take input from external hardware via android usb port. And here we have a homage to androids using the very same feature. A Dancing android bot being controlled via an Android tablet. The bot is made up of 4 servomotors and the developer is confirming that once he does polish on his project he will release it as open source for everyone to make their own bots or other similar things to be controlled via this Android software. check it out in action below:


aaaaaFollow the developments from developer @ Youtube channel

T-Mobile real life Angry Birds game


aaaaaT-mobile made giant size real life Angry Birds game played by public via smartphone. Angry Birds has really become this generations pac-man. and this great AD campaign is a testament to the fame of it all.

Best Buy customer database corrupted, says service rep

HD Gurua

By Gary MersonHD Gurua

Attention Best Buy online shoppers: Your shipping info may be tainted.a

When I went to check-out on Thursday, I discovered the "ship to" address information was changed. No longer were orders to be sent to my address, but instead to some guy in Houston. The corresponding phone number had a 713 area code, also Houston.a

What was going on? Was I hacked? Was this guy stealing my identity? Or at least my ability to buy electronics? If I had completed the order without catching the alteration, the chap in Texas would have received all the items I ordered.a

Calling Best Buy customer service, I asked if their accounts were hacked. As many know, Best Buy used the Epsilon email service, and its customer email database was hacked as part of the overall breach.a

However, the representative replied, no, this was actually caused by a glitch in their system which resulted in the intermingling of customer information. I did not receive any notice of such a glitch. Furthermore, the rep's response indicated this problem was not limited to just my account, but the rep was unable to say how widespread this problem is. a

I contacted a Best Buy spokesperson by email, who replied promptly, but without detail. In fact, the news may have come as a surprise. "We will need time to connect with the right people internally to determine what is really going on and to capture an accurate picture of this," he wrote.a

Assuming that this is just a case of database corruption, you should look into your account now, and make sure the shipping address and phone number read correctly. And even if this isn't some sort of hack to steal electronics (it's unlikely, but we're not ruling it out), it's probably wise to change your login password, just to be on the safe side. I did.a

More from HD Guru:a

Mitsubishi’s 2011 HDTV line and new 3-D glasses announced CEA wants to eliminate free HDTV LG Blu-ray player review 40- to 42-inch TV buying guide

Nokia Drop: push content to your phone wirelessly

aaaaaMy wife has an Android phone, while I still use a Nokia phone. And although it serves me well but I really am jealous of one feature of Android. Its ability to install apps over the air. I can select app to install on my PC and it installs over to her phone. But Nokia users have also something similar to look at in the future and its called: Nokia Drop.

aaaaaNokia Drop goes one step ahead of using this “over the air” transfer by pushing any type of content. The software is still in Nokia labs which mean its beta and thus not officially marketed, or full featured. But you can still download and start using it right away.

aaaaaIt uses push notification to send data like images, wallpaper, rss feeds, urls, map markers to your phone via PC without need of usb cable connection or bluetooth.

aaaaaGrab the app for free @ Nokia labs

The zombies of 'Dead Island' will hunt and haunt you

Techland/Deep Silvera

By Winda Benedetti

We knew this the moment the first trailer for “Dead Island” was released — the game was not going to be a light-hearted, undead-fightin’ romp through the lighter side of the apocalypse.a

The “Dead Island” teaser trailer, which went viral seemingly in a matter of minutes after it was released in February, revealed in reverse order the heartbreaking tale of a very young zombie in the making. And from the trailer’s haunting music to its cinematic narrative to its bleak tone, it grabbed our attention like no game trailer has in a long time. And yes, it certainly raised our hopes and expectations.a

Of course, the question has been — will “Dead Island” the game live up to “Dead Island” the game trailer?a

This week at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in L.A., folks from Techland and Deep Silver — the developer and publisher behind “Dead Island” — have been giving attendees some hands-on time with this open-world action/horror/role-playing game coming to the Xbox, PS3 and PC. In particular, they’ve been showing off the multiplayer component.a

And while playing this small bit of the game (which launches Sept. 6) does not yet answer that big question about how good “Dead Island” ultimately will be, it does reveal that the game stays pretty darn true to the trailer. No, you won’t find a sad little zombie girl chasing you down. But what you will find is that “Dead Island” is going to be gritty and grim in tone … just like the trailer. And personally, I think that’s a good thing.a

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy me some zombie-killin’ fun dripping in dark humor. But I also entertain the occasional fantasy about what it might really be like if the zombie apocalypse struck. And I’m thinking … “Dead Island” is nailing it pretty close.a

During a hands-on demonstration Thursday, myself and three other players found ourselves dropped into a once-beautiful resort city — a city now rotted and chaotic from an infection run rampant — on an island off Papua New Guinea. The devastation you see on screen is epic in scale. Buildings gutted, cars burning, the place is a mess of terrified survivors and hungry infected.a

Techland/Deep Silvera

If you like fighting zombies off, "Dead Island" is the place to visit. Just prepare yourself for the nightmares.a

You can play the game single player all the way through, or you can play with up to four people. And friends can jump in and out as they please with the intensity of the combat scaling up and down depending on how many players are present.a

This emphasis on four-player co-op as well as “Dead Island’s” open-world and role-playing elements makes this game feel like something of a cross between “Left 4 Dead” and “Borderlands.” And as with the game “Dead Rising,” the combat in "Dead Island" is very melee focused.a

That means guns and ammo are hard to come by and you instead must rely on finding all manner of objects to swing and throw at the zombies — baseball bats, wrenches, kitchen knives, etc. You’ll even have to use your hands and your feet to keep the beasts at bay. I was told that there are hundreds of different objects to be found around this world — yes, even some guns. And to keep things interesting, players will be able to modify the objects they find in the “work bench” areas to make them more powerful.a

Personally, I like the in-your-face melee focus — especially for a game that seems to be trying to simulate something akin to reality. If the zombie apocalypse really does happen, you can bet most of us will be sharpening kitchen spoons and tricking out hockey sticks to fend off the undead.a

The newest trailer for "Dead Island" isn't as heartbreaking as the first ... but it's just as graphic. So consider yourself warned. a

Meanwhile, as we made our way through the wrecked streets and buildings found in the demo level at E3, we ran across a variety of zombies — the more run-of-the-mill Walker zombies, the giant-sized Ram zombies, the explosive Suicide zombies. And there are others — the agile Butcher zombie and the Floater zombie (found in the sewers) among them. And yes, these zombies are the stuff nightmares are made of.a

As with “Left 4 Dead,” staying with your three fellow human partners is important if you want to survive. And each of the four characters has unique skills as well as access to a Fury power which makes you stronger for a short period of time.a

“Dead Island” includes a variety of role-playing elements — there is an experience system and a skill tree to work your way through, but the demo didn’t reveal those details. And since this is an open-world, sandlot-style game, you’ll be able to take on various side-missions as you choose.a

Almost nothing in the way of story was revealed in the demo I was shown, though Techland has released an additional trailer for this week’s E3 event that reveals a bit more of what’s going on (see above).a

From my experiences during the demo, “Dead Island” is certainly a game I’d like to pay a visit to when it arrives in September. I’ll be bracing myself for the nightmares until then.a

For more E3 and video game coverage, see:a

This Dead Island trailer will  make you cry Can Mario and Luigi rescue the Nintendo 3DS? Dance Central 2' delivers more dancers, music, laughs Microsoft woos hardcore with new Kinect games 'Uncharted: Golden Abyss' will push Vita into your hands Seven things to love about PlayStation Vita Hands on with Nintendo's Wii U

Winda Benedetti writes about games for You can follow her tweets about games and other things right here on Twitter.a

Nokia Ovi features coming to Windows phone from rivals too


aaaaaNokia chief Stephen Elop confirmed at Open Mobile Summit in London today that all Windows Phone manufacturers would get access to whatever services Nokia crafts for the Ovi platform. This is being done due to an agreement between Nokia and Microsoft to support each other against the two mobile OS giants: Android and iOS.

aaaaaSpeaking during a Q&A on stage, Nokia CEO Elop was asked whether Samsung phones be able to use Nokia maps?

aaaaa“Absolutely, I sure hope so, that’s very much the intent,” he said. “It’s about the Windows Phone eco-system, heavily contributed to by Microsoft, by Nokia and others. It is the case that we’re building an ecosystem in and around Windows Phone as the operating system…(but) it is the case that we want multiple OEMs to compete to participate in this ecosystem.”

aaaaaNokia owns mapping giant Navteq and provides free turn by turn navigation on its Symbian phones through Ovi Maps. It is widely expected that it will offer something similar for Windows Phone. Which is good news for Windows mobile users as Nokia Ovi maps navigation is really great. Plus with offline maps ability which Google doesn’t provide just yet, it is a blessing where data packages cost an arm and a leg. Ovi and Windows mobile both users will gain a lot through this deal.

Three New Motorola Smartphones Offered by Sprint

Sprint Nextel said Thursday it plans to launch more than 10 new Motorola smartphones, including its new business Relevant Products/Services-class XPRT that slid down the chute last Sunday at a price of $129.99. Up next are Motorola's Android-based Photon 4G and Triumph handsets, which are slated to take their inaugural bows this summer at prices to be disclosed later.

The Photon 4G, which integrates several advanced multimedia capabilities, is capable of functioning as a world phone. When deployed at enterprises and government agencies, the smartphone Relevant Products/Services also will offer support for critical IT Relevant Products/Services policies, such as integration ease, cost of management, and security Relevant Products/Services concerns, Sprint-Nextel said.

The Motorola Triumph comes pre-loaded with a Virgin Mobile Live app that provides free access to Virgin Mobile's music streaming service, which also offers live video Relevant Products/Services performances and special events. Like the Photon 4G and the XPRT, the Triumph will have access to Google Relevant Products/Services's suite of mobile Relevant Products/Services services as well as third-party apps Relevant Products/Services at the Android Marketplace.

Motorola Photon 4G

The Photon 4G sports a one-gigahertz dual-core Tegra 2 processor from Nvidia, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of onboard memory Relevant Products/Services, and an SD expansion slot capable of supporting an additional 32GB of data Relevant Products/Services storage Relevant Products/Services. The device also has mobile hot-spot capability for up to eight devices on Sprint's 3G or 4G networks, as well as a single hot spot capable of roaming internationally on GSM.

Motorola's new smartphone also integrates dual cameras -- a front-facing eight-megapixel camera that doubles as an HD (720p) camcorder and a rear-facing VGA camera for chat sessions. Furthermore, the device sports a 4.3-inch touchscreen featuring 960×540 pixels arranged in a 16:9 cinematic aspect ratio. Equivalent to three-quarters of a 720p frame, the screen's qHD resolution is one-quarter of a full 1080p frame.

On the software side, the Photon 4G is powered by Google's Android 2.3, Gingerbread. It ships with a new Motorola app for displaying multimedia content at full resolution when connected to an optional docking station with a bigger screen and keyboard. (continued...)

1  |  2  |  Next Page >


Wii U Goes Against Market Trend as Nintendo Gambles

Nintendo has taken the cover off the successor to its market-shaping Wii. The company introduced the Wii U at the E3 Expo, making it the first to demonstrate the next generation of video Relevant Products/Services-game consoles.

Though the Wii U has met with mixed reactions, Nintendo is hoping for another success with its latest console. Here's what you can expect: A controller with a 6.2-inch screen that promises to drive new gaming experiences and the ability to customize entertainment.

To be sure, Nintendo is taking a different approach to gaming with the Wii U. Typically, video games played on a home console are confined to the TV. Each player in a multiplayer game has the same perspective. Nintendo is shaking up that paradigm by blending the experience of watching TV and playing games with the Wii U and its new controller.

Investor reactions to the Wii U were not favorable, and Nintendo's stock dropped Wednesday in Tokyo after the Wii U's introduction.

Nintendo's Huge Risk

Nintendo demonstrated the possibilities at E3, including the controller's ability to display information on its screen that doesn't appear on the TV and shifting viewpoints based on the orientation of its gyroscope.

"Nintendo is taking a huge risk here, both moving against the conventional wisdom of enhancing their motion interface and trying to embrace the tablet Relevant Products/Services with a non-tablet product," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

"I think this may be a bridge too far for them as games for twin screens won't port easily or at all to other systems, which creates a huge risk for the game developers. In the end they have come to market with a heavy expensive controller when the trend being driven by Microsoft and its Kinect is no controller at all. That is swimming upstream, which is vastly different than what they did with the original Wii. With the original they carved out a new gaming space."

The Next Generation

Beyond the 6.2-inch screen on the controller, the Wii U also offers high-tech bells and whistles like an accelerometer and a gyroscope, a rumble feature, an inward-facing camera, a microphone, and speakers. The controller comes equipped with all the classic control buttons and two analog circular pads.

With the Wii U, Nintendo worked to combine motion-sensing game play with the ability to support full HD graphics. The system is backward compatible and can play all Wii games and use all Wii accessories. Nintendo said developers are already working on new games and experiences for the console.

Handheld Competition

In the wake of Sony announcing its latest portable gaming device, the PlayStation Vita, on Monday night, Nintendo swiftly announced upgrades to its 3DS handheld gaming system.

The Nintendo 3DS launched in March, offering gamers the ability to see 3D images without special glasses. But Nintendo said the device has evolved with new content and updates by Nintendo and third parties.

Nintendo launched a system update that users can download via a wireless broadband Internet connection by tapping into the Nintendo eShop. The eShop offers games and apps Relevant Products/Services for sale, including 3D software, classic games remastered for 3D, classic Game Boy games, and more than 350 games and apps for the Nintendo DSiWare service.

Mike Kent also contributed to this story.

Android market share to surpass 40 percent this year

By Suzanne Choney

Android's worldwide onslaught, with 38.9 percent of the market, will easily surpass 40 percent in the second half of this year and take 43.8 percent of the market by 2015, according to a new report from IDC. By 2015, Windows phones, because of Microsoft's partnership with Nokia, may reach the No. 2 spot.a

By 2015, Nokia's Symbian operating system, in second place right now with 20.6 percent of the market, is expected to dwindle to 0.1 percent by 2015. Apple's iOS, which is third at 18.2 percent, is expected to be 16.9 percent by 2015.a

Research In Motion's sagging BlackBerry OS now has 14.2 percent of the market, and will continue to dip, to 13.4 percent by 2015.a

Android passed Symbian as the leading mobile OS in late 2010 and should "grow to more than 40 percent of the market in the second half" of 2011, IDC said in its Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report.a

But in the years ahead, Windows Phone 7 and Windows Mobile will benefit hugely from "Nokia's support, scope, and breadth within markets where Nokia has historically had a strong presence," IDC said. ( is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)a

"Until Nokia begins introducing Windows Phone-powered smartphones in large volumes in 2012, Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile will only capture a small share of the market as the release of Mango-powered smartphones are not expected to reach the market until late 2011," IDC said. "Nevertheless, assuming that Nokia's transition to Windows Phone goes smoothly, the OS is expected to defend a number 2 rank and more than 20 percent share in 2015."a

Mango is the next major software release for Windows phones, and is due out this fall.a

Here's more on what IDC had to say about each mobile OS:a

Symbian:"... will steadily lose share throughout the forecast period as its biggest supporter Nokia transitions its smartphone strategy to Windows Phone. This will present a huge opportunity for competing operating systems to gain footing. Still, Nokia's commitment to support Symbian devices until 2016 will keep the installed base of Symbian-powered smartphone users on par withits competitors."a

Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile:" ... assuming that Nokia's transition to Windows Phone goes smoothly, the OS is expected to defend a number 2 rank and more than 20 percent share in 2015."a

Apple iOS:"... will remain a force in the mobile phone market throughout the forecast. After an initial explosive growth period, iOS is expected to grow at a more modest pace throughout the latter half of the forecast as the smartphone market matures and diversifies. Although a small market share decline is expected, IDC expects significant overall shipment volume growth through the end of 2015."a

BlackBerry OS: " ... Like iOS, the BlackBerry OS will experience market share decline even as shipment volumes grow throughout our forecast."a

Smartphones continueto be hot products; the worldwide smartphone market is expected to grow 55 percent in 2011, as more users trade in their "dumb phones," or feature phones, for devices with these sophisticated operating systems.a

 Related stories:a

25 reasons Android should fear iOS right now Copycat! 10 features iOS 5 borrows from others More smartphone users turning to Wi-Fi What's new in Mango, the next version of Windows Phone

Check out Technolog, Gadgetbox, Digital Life and In-Game on Facebook, and on Twitter, follow Suzanne Choney.a

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sony camcorder sees your 3D, doubles it

aaaaaPress release: Sony Gulf, the leading consumer electronics brand today announced the Middle East launch of the world’s first ‘Double Full HD’ 3D Handycam HDR-TD10, and the only 3D-enabled consumer camcorder.

aaaaaUnveiled at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) at Las Vegas earlier this year, the 3D Handycam is a feature-packed Full High Definition (HD) revolutionary innovation. The camcorder employs an integrated dual lens system, which includes two of each key component – double Sony G Lenses, double ‘Exmor R’ CMOS image sensors, and double BIONZ image processors.


aaaaaThe dual recording system allows 3D content to be recorded in 1920×1080 Full HD resolution and viewed with 3D active glasses on 3D-capable HDTVs or in Full HD 2D on non-3D displays. The 3D footage can also be played back without glasses on the camcorder’s 3.5-inch Xtra Fine LCD 3D touch screen. In addition to other innovative features, 10x optical zoom incorporating Optical SteadyShotimage stabilisation with Active Mode and iAUTO are offered even in 3D mode. It is further enhanced with a 64GB flash memory.

aaaaaIn line with Sony’s camcorder family, the HDR-TD10 boasts sleek designs and best-in-class features such as high-speed BIONZ® imaging processor that offers unparalleled performance. This model uses the “frame packing” 3D signalling method to send data over HDMI by switching between two Full HD videos signals, one for the left and one for the right, to achieve very high 3D image quality.

aaaaaThe HDR-TD10 provides ultra-realistic stereoscopic effect with optimum distance between each lens. Studies show that the optimum distance between the two lenses of a 3D camera should be in the range of 20-35 mille-metres when compared to the human eyes (roughly 64 mille-metres between the human eyes). To maximize the 3D depth effect without sacrificing the usability of the camcorder, a distance of 31mm was chosen to provide the best 3D experience.

aaaaaIt is also equipped with new features like ‘Event Browse’ for automatic grouping of content by events, and ‘Highlight Playback & Share’ to create simple highlight reels automatically.

aaaaaRecognising that optimal sound plays a vital role in a good video, Sony equips the model with a high quality built-in microphone with 5.1ch surround system, stereo speakers with ‘Clear Phase’ and ‘S-Master’ technology, wind noise reduction, and a mic/headphone jack.

aaaaaIn addition to the built-in flash memory, the new camcorder can record video and still images directly to Memory Stick PRO Duoâ„¢ media, Secure Digital (SD), or SDHC media card (all sold separately).

aaaaaThe Direct Copy feature lets users copy footage directly from Handycam camcorders to any brand of external hard disk drives (USB2.0; under2TB) via a USB cable (VMC-UAM1; sold separately), when connected to AC power, for PC-free back-up and archiving. Video stored on the external HDD can be played back through the camcorder for viewing on a compatible TV.

aaaaaThe Handycam camcorder is compatible with both PC and Mac computers.  Mac users can transfer AVCHD content and edit video clips in HD quality using iMovie software (sold separately). For PC users, the bundled Picture Motion Browser (‘PMB’) software allows viewing, editing, organizing and uploading images to most video and photo sharing websites.

aaaaaThe 3D Handycam HDR-TD10 is currently available at select Jumbo Electronics showrooms and will be available shortly in other leading electronics stores in the UAE.

'Dance Central 2' delivers more dancers, music, laughs

Matt Riveraa

"Dance Central 2" knows that it takes two to tango. Harmonix showed off the forthcoming Kinect game at the Electronic Entertainment Expo this week.a

By Winda Benedetti

If you own a Kinect and an Xbox 360 and you’re old enough to drink, then you know this: the very best way to enjoy Microsoft’s new motion controller is by popping “Dance Central” into your console during a party, tossing back a few drinks and cranking up the volume.a

“Dance Central” has been the hands-down favorite of the first wave of Kinect games. With the Kinect camera reading your body movements, the game challenges you to break out your inner dancing king or queen and try to perform the dance moves you see on the screen. It also challenges you to pit your rhythmic abilities against those of your friends.a

It is certainly a fantastic party game – especially when you hand out glasses of wine (or, say, shots of tequila) to encourage the wall flowers to bust a move. But the next installment in the series – “Dance Central 2” – looks to be an even better offering, especially if you have a social gathering you’d like to pump some life into.a

"Dance Central" doesn’t launch until fall, but I had a chance to try it out at the Electronic Entertainment Expo taking place in Los Angeles this week. Matt Boch, a senior designer from Harmonix, was on hand to show off the game and walk/dance me through the improvements they’ve made to it. And the biggest, most obvious and most excellent improvement they’ve made is adding two-player simultaneous dance battles.a

If you’ve played “Dance Central 1” you know that when you jump into the Dance Battle mode against a friend, you have to take turns in front of the TV screen, allowing Kinect to read how well you each perform your moves one at a time.a

But with “Dance Central 2,” two players can dance to the same song at the same time. And even if one player is dancing at the start of a song, a second player can hop in mid-song and join the fun. And from what I saw during the demo, Kinect had no problem tracking both me and the second dancer. Meanwhile, the game offered some beefed up feedback to let me know just how well I was performing compared to my competition. Let's just say ... I could use some practice.a


Speaking of which: Changes have also been made to the Break It Down mode which teaches players how to perform each of the dance moves they’ll be faced with during a song. “Dance Central 2” will do a better job allowing you to focus on the particular moves that are giving you the most trouble, Boch explained.a

Also in “Dance Central 2,” you’ll be able to completely turn off the Freestyle segments. Freestyle is that portion of each song in which you’re encouraged to perform your own boogie moves – no matter how wacky or humiliating – while Kinect takes pictures of you. I don’t know how “Dance Central” plays out at your house parties, but in my home Freestyle is where all the best laughs are to be had. So why anyone would ever want to turn this feature off is beyond me.a

Boch said the new game will ship with 40 songs and will allow us to import any original “Dance Central” songs into the game. He also said Harmonix is working on a new feature for the game that they will reveal soon … but it’s still all very hush-hush.a

Certainly “Dance Central 2” looks like it will be largely the “Dance Central” we already know and love, but with some nice polish, additional songs and, of course, the excellent addition of simultaneous multiplayer. You will dance. You will sweat. You will laugh at yourself, your friends and your sorry dance skillz. So overall, I say cheers to what I’ve seen so far.a

For more E3 coverage, see:a

Microsoft woos hardcore with new Kinect games 'Uncharted: Golden Abyss' will push Vita into your hands Sven things to love about PlayStation Vita Hands on with Nintendo's Wii U Microsoft reveals 'Halo 4,' revamps original game Microsoft brings live TV to Xbox 360

Winda Benedetti writes about games for You can follow her tweets about games and other things right here on Twitter.a

Facebook’s creepy Facial Recognition and how to stop it

aaaaaFacebook recently launched their new Face Recognition function that allows users the ability to automatically tag photos of their friends when Facebook recognizes them. It’s an admittedly easy way to tag friends when uploading photos because you can upload multiple pictures and tag your individual friends all in one go instead of selecting every photo and tagging friends one by one.

aaaaaWhat you might also want to consider is that Facebook is now capable of recognizing your face from the multiple pictures you were, and will be tagged in (sometimes even inadvertently) by your friends. It won’t be long before a search of your name will lead to multiple photos of yourself along with your personal info online for everyone to see. As usual, this setting, which many consider an invasion of privacy, has been enabled on your account by default. Obviously there are a lot fo countries that are also not taking this issue lightly, which is why authorities from the UK, Ireland and the EU data protection regulators are looking into this for any breach of privacy law violations as reported by Bloomberg Businessweek.

aaaaa“We should have been more clear with people during the roll-out process when this became available to them,” Facebook said in its statement to Information Week yesterday. “Tag Suggestions are now available in most countries and we’ll post further updates to our blog over time.”


aaaaaIf you don’t want to wait for these “suggestions” from Facebook directly, you can (and should) manually disable this feature by going to Account > Privacy Settings > Customise Settings > Things Others Share and disabling “Suggest photos of me to friends.”

25 reasons Android should fear iOS right now


By Rosa Golijan

When Apple presented iOS 5 — the latest version of its mobile operating system — we couldn't help but point out how many features and elements it seemed to borrow from other platforms and apps. But as we started examining the software we realized something: The combination of those features with Apple's special touch should have Android — the biggest competitor to iOS — shaking in fear.a

Yes, we realize that when it comes to a lot of features — notifications, in particular — it seemed like Apple was playing catch up with Google's baby. But with iOS 5 Apple isn't just catching up — it's leapfrogging Android.a

Of course, not everything we're about to list will make everyone's jaw drop as the earth shakes, but, along with the nearly 200 other new features found in iOS 5? They form the most compelling mobile operating system available today.a

So let's just look at some of these highlights, so you can see for yourself.a

The notification system in iOS 5 is one of the bigger features to be added since iOS 4. It's a well-designed and perfectly integrated scheme of notifications, alerts and popups which revolve around one central drop-down pane — which Apple has dubbed the Notification Center.a

New emails, text messages, multimedia messages, reminders, Game Center notifications, mail alerts, Twitter notifications and any other sort of items which could normally trigger a push notification can find their way into the Notification Center. They'll be called to your attention on your iOS lock screen, via a regular pop up alert, or with a small non-intrusive banner which briefly flashes across the top of your screen.a

So far this sounds a lot like what you get out of Android, right? But hang on ... there's a reason it's better: Control.a

Built straight into iOS is a set of controls which will allow you to arrange the notification system of your dreams. Do you want emails to trigger a banner but not appear on the lock screen? Do you want Twitter alerts to make a sound but not appear anywhere? Should voicemail alerts show up in the Notification Center and on the lock screen and as a banner? No problem!a

You can customize the notification system however you want — right down to custom sounds for voicemail alerts, text messages and so on. (Yes, you can finally set custom sounds for those types of alerts.)a

Another one of the great little details about iOS 5 is that it has full Twitter integration. You can tweet straight from the Photo app, Safari or just about any other apps. All you need to do is log in with your regular Twitter credentials once, and let iOS prompt you to download the official Twitter app. It'll take care of the rest and present you with new buttons in the appropriate places.a

Smile! The Camera and Photo apps have received a tune-up in iOS 5. There's a lock screen shortcut to the camera app — which unfortunately does not appear to work in the first beta version of the operating system — and a pinch-to-zoom feature that you can use while taking a picture. If that's not enough, you can use a volume button as a shutter button and keep your greasy fingers off the screen.a

As far as the Photo app goes, there are now some basic image editing features built right in. You can enhance, remove red-eye or crop images right on the spot — without having to open up a third-party app. (Sorry, third-party apps!)a

It wouldn't surprise us if many iOS users considered the Mail app one of the most important items on their devices, so we're definitely happy to see that it too has gotten a little bit of an upgrade as well. It now offers rich text formatting, address dragging, indentation control, message flagging, full message searches and S/MIME support on top of the usual assortment of features.a

Now Android's not the only one who's got something to fear when it comes to the new iMessage system — Research In Motion should be dreading that BlackBerry Messenger users finally have a solid alternative, provided all their friends jump to iOS too.a

iMessage is basically an iOS-only messaging client which allows you to send text, photos, videos, contacts and group broadcasts to iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users. It basically is a lot like BlackBerry Messenger, and will show delivery receipts, read receipts, even IM-style typing indicators.a

But as a bonus, messages will be pushed to all your devices over Wi-Fi or 3G — and will be encrypted. And you can start a conversation on your iPhone and switch over to your iPad to continue things there without missing a word.a

Little ol' Safari has grown up quite a bit with iOS 5. The mobile browser now features an Instapaper-style Reading List feature which allows you to mark and sync articles for later reading, something called Reader which'll format articles to be easier on the eyes, and private browsing for — ahem — the things that you don't want to be saved to your browser history.a

There are several other little features in iOS 5 which you might not notice right away, but will quickly learn to love and appreciate.a

There's a text expansion tool called Shortcut. It basically allows you to create keywords which will trigger a custom replacement text. Just imagine how much time that can save you when it comes to commonly used phrases such as "Oh, hey! Do you think you can grab some ice cream on the way home?"a

And if you don't have a shortcut that applies to a situation, then perhaps a global dictionary will help you make sure that you sound as coherent as possible most of the time.a

There's also Photostream, which will sync your photos to the iCloud and download them across all your iOS devices. Pretty handy if you want to edit photos on your iPad, but don't want to fuss around with cables or manually upload images.a

Speaking of the iCloud, that's another feature that'll make your life a great deal simpler. You can sync all the important things to it and always have easily accessible copies of your images and documents.a

And if that's not wireless enough for you, then take a gander at iTunes Sync. It's just what it sounds like: A way to sync your devices to iTunes over Wi-Fi. Oh, and your iOS device will back itself up — wirelessly — before it syncs, so you'll have daily backups. Believe us, those are more valuable than you might realize.a

Of course you'll be able to do more than just back up your device over the air — you'll finally get to update your device over the air as well and you can go entirely PC-free as no connections to iTunes are necessary to activate an iOS device now.a

Once you're up and running with iOS 5 in the fall, you'll be able to enjoy all these features along with new default apps such as Reminders and Newsstand which will basically be your one-stop shops for to-do lists and digital magazine consumption respectively.a

Sound good? Or are you still rolling your eyes and muttering that that most of these features are available on Android already? If you are, then allow me to remind you about what I said at the beginning of our little exploration of iOS 5: It's a threat to Android not just because of the individual features, but because of the punch they pack when wrapped in a rather gorgeous user interface.a

We know where Apple stands for the next year or so. It's your move, Google.a

Rosa Golijan writes about tech here and there. She's obsessed with Twitter and loves to be liked on Facebook.a

Apple now lets you can grab your purchases anywhere, and soon will even give you music you didn't buy from Apple — for a nominal fee of course.'s Wilson Rothman walks you through the new service.a

Related stories:a

Steve Jobs clears up rumors about iCloud Apple unveils iOS 5: Here's what's new Copycat! 10 features iOS 5 borrows from others


Facebook 152-friends-on-arm tattoo is a lie

The video of the fake Facebook friends tattoo. It's a "try-out" tattoo -- a publicity stunt. a

By Suzanne Choney

That story about a woman who had 152 of her Facebook friends' photos tattooed on her arm, a kind of "Facebook sleeve" — shared in a YouTube video that went viral, including here? It's a hoax, a fraud.a

The woman, from the Netherlands, identified as Suzyj87, touted the (fake) Facebook "sleeve" in the video called "My Social Tattoo." But none of it was real.a

DutchNewsreported Wednesday that Rotterdam tattoo artist Dex Moelker "came clean on the Telegraaf website, admitting the tattoo and video is an advertising stunt":a

'It is a try-out tattoo, a transfer, that washes off in a couple of days,' Moelker, who has a tattoo shop in Rotterdam, told the paper. It took a couple of hours to apply the transfer not the 30 hours the video claimed to produce the real tattoo.a

The video credits also thank a local Dutch firm which specialises in making gifts out of Facebook profile pictures.a

The only thing these folks had up their sleeves was no good. Shame on them. But shame on us in the news media (and me) for biting on this one so quickly.a

— Via Forbesa

Related stories:a

Woman literally 'armed' with Facebook friends Teen feels 'terrible' about wild Facebook party T-Pain's Facebook tattoo so hardcore, it's hexacore

Check out Technolog, Gadgetbox, Digital Life and In-Game on Facebook, and on Twitter, follow Suzanne Choney, who hates lies more than just about anything in the world.a

Chrome 12 Accelerates 3D on Hardware, Boosts Security

Google Relevant Products/Services has rolled out a Chrome browser update featuring hardware-accelerated 3D graphics capabilities, additional privacy controls, and improved security Relevant Products/Services features. On Tuesday, Chrome 12 was automatically installed on many PCs running earlier editions of Google's browser.

Chrome 12 will display a warning about web sites a user is about to visit that are suspected of phishing -- attempting to trick the user into sharing Relevant Products/Services personal or other sensitive information. Warnings also will appear in the browser window about any web sites containing malware designed to steal personal information.

"We've carefully designed this feature so that malicious content can be detected without Chrome or Google ever having to know about the URLs you visit or the files you download," Chrome's development team wrote in a blog.

Improved Graphics

Chrome 12 gives web surfers more control over the tracking files that web sites store on PCs, such as the local shared object (LSO) data Relevant Products/Services files generated by Adobe Systems' Flash technology. These so-called "Flash cookies" can now be managed from within Chrome 12 instead of a special tool created by Adobe for this purpose.

"We've worked closely with Adobe to integrate Flash LSO deletion directly into Chrome, making it easier for you to manage your online privacy," Chrome's development team explained.

Chrome 12 also sports improved graphics capabilities such as support for hardware-accelerated 3D cascading style sheet (CSS) and application Relevant Products/Services designs. "You'll get a snazzier experience in some web pages and web apps Relevant Products/Services that choose to implement 3D effects," the developers noted.

However, probably the single most important feature that all Chrome versions have is automatic updating, noted Al Hilwa, director of applications software development at IDC. "This means everyone will be able to take advantage of the improvements quickly, which is saying a lot in the software industry," Hilwa said.

Rivals Catch Up

At the end of May, Chrome held 12.5 percent of the global browser market -- up from 11.94 percent in April and 7.16 percent in July 2010, according to Net Applications. Google has been successful in attracting users by touting Chrome's speedy performance, noted Net Applications Executive Vice President Vince Vizzaccaro. "Then they began to seriously start marketing Chrome, and that's also proven to be successful," Vizzaccaro said.

However, Firefox and Internet Explorer have matched Chrome's speed as well as added resources and increased their rate of updates this year to match Google, Vizzaccaro noted. "So we'll see if Chrome's growth continues, or if it hits a plateau like Firefox did at 25 percent usage share," Vizzaccaro said.

Chrome's growth has been good, but it's to be expected since Google is a huge online destination and it uses that to market Chrome, Hilwa observed. "But at the same time, if the product wasn't good, it would not have reached this share," Hilwa said.

The only other browser to make steady gains during the past year is Apple's Safari, which held a 7.28 percent market share in May -- up from 5.09 percent last July.

"Safari's usage share on Windows devices is only 0.57 percent," Vizzaccaro said. "So it's safe to say Safari has grown in usage due to the overwhelming success of Apple's sales of iPhones, iPods, iPads and Macs, [as] we do include all devices in the global data shown on our site."

Sony NEX-C3: Slimmest DSLR camera announced


aaaaaSony NEX series is a great for camera fans who want a DSLR camera in slightly compact size. The latest C3 model is perfect fit for a slim yet powerful camera.

aaaaaSony NEX-C3 weights 225g. Supports a resolution of 16.2MP stills, 720p video and includes a Picture Effect function (giving you lots of crazy and retro effects to choose from), 3D sweep panorama, 3″ Xtra fine LCD screen, auto HDR and a twilight mode. And Photo Creativity app inside the camera to easily edit images inside camera.

aaaaaSony NEX-C3 starts shipping in end August with 16mm or 18-55mm kit lenses for $599 and $649 respectively. It is a feature packed camera designed to fit snugly in the gap between point-and-shoot digital snappers and full-fat DSLR cameras.

Developer Interest In Windows Phone 7 Tops iOS

A new global survey of mobile Relevant Products/Services-app developers underscores a major shift in their outlook, with interest in building apps Relevant Products/Services for Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 (32 percent) now second only to Google Relevant Products/Services's Android OS (35 percent). By contrast, Apple's iOS ranked third at 27 percent, according to Vision Mobile's latest survey of 850 developers worldwide.

More developers are planning to invest in Phone 7 because Microsoft is offering best-in-class XNA and Silverlight developer tools and encouraging an influx of PC and Xbox developers. However, Microsoft has "a challenging year ahead" as it begins leveraging Nokia's mobile brand to compete more robustly with Apple and Google, the report's authors noted.

Microsoft's "very strong developer tooling is a key enabler" for developers wishing to build and test their new apps long before Nokia's first Phone 7 handsets hit the market, noted Al Hilwa, director of applications development software at IDC. "We have seen Windows Phone pull ahead of competitors in developer appeal, helped by the Nokia deal," Hilwa said.

'The King of Developer Mindshare'

Still, Android is a formidable global competitor because it is the only mobile platform adopted by developers across Europe, North America, and Asia, according to Vision Mobile's new report. By contrast, developer interest in Apple's iOS is lagging in Asia, due to the relatively low penetration of Apple devices in the region.

Across mobile platforms, Android is not "just the king of developer mindshare -- it's also the easiest platform for developers to experiment with," the report's authors observed. It places fewer restrictions than Apple on "deep" APIs with access to multimedia codecs, SMS texting, telephony Relevant Products/Services and streaming functions, and developers appreciate the Android Market's "instant publishing" policy, which lets them bring apps to market quickly.

By contrast, Apple forces developers to go through an extended approval process before their creations can enter Apple's App Store. Still, one should never underestimate Apple's ability to potentially alter the mobile-device playing field.

iCloud Adds an Advantage

Piper Jaffray believes the free iCloud service unveiled by Apple this week could end up giving the device maker yet another marketplace advantage. "The bottom line is that Apple is increasing the likelihood that consumers buy multiple Apple devices," noted analysts Gene Munster and Andrew Murphy on Tuesday. Moreover, iCloud's halo effect would include Apple's Macs "because the computer Relevant Products/Services is tied into iCloud as well as devices, and Macs are more tightly integrated than PCs," Murphy added in an e-mail Wednesday. (continued...)

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Parrot AR Drone comes to all mobiles


aaaaaParrot AR Drone, made some big air waves last year by putting a video equipped flying drone in your hands controlled via iPod touch / iPhone. But now Parrot announced that it will now be coming to all mobile platforms: Android, Symbian and Bada.

aaaaaParrot has also released a SDK to develop new applications for AR Drone as well as AR Race, a race game which supports one to four pilots. AR race is more than a free app for creating custom circuits to race your Drone. There’s actually physical accessories (available at for your courses such as pylons and donuts.

aaaaaAR Drone Challenges which kick off on June 24th. After registering at participants will have three video challenges where they’ll have to film their flying skills. The top 14 win a spot in the grand international final, set to take place in Paris on October 1, 2011.


Mammoth Apple 'spaceship' HQ to land in Cupertino

By Nidhi Subbaraman

Steve Jobs has unveiled plans for a spanking new Apple campus in Cupertino, CA, which will hold 12,000 employees in a single building shaped like a spaceship.  a

The Apple CEO shared his proposal for the sprawling 150-acre campus with the Cupertino City Council on Tuesday evening, and didn't mince his words: "It looks a little like a spaceship landed."a

Jobs told the council they’d submit formal plans as soon as possible, break ground by next year, and "plan to move in by 2015."a

Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs presents his proposal for a new Apple Campus to the Cupertino City Council. This presentation was recorded Tuesday, June 7, 2011 at the Cupertino Community Hall.a

In addition to the circular main building, the campus will have a parking garage, an energy center, cafes to seat 3000 and a new fitness center. a

The curved building will have a glass front, and with a courtyard in the middle. "There's not a straight piece of glass in this building," Jobs said. a

The upcoming campus will also be energy independent. According to Jobs' plans, the campus would be powered by an in-house energy center, and would use the grid as a back-up source. a

Converting what's currently asphalt to apricot orchards, Jobs said 80 percent of the campus would be landscaped, and much of the parking would be hidden underground. Part of the 150-acre plot was once owned by HP, and recently bought by Apple. a

Apple's current campus now contains about 2,600 of its employees, but the company actually employs about 9000 more people in the area, housed in rented buildings close by. The new campus would "augment" the Apple's current campus, Jobs said.a

The council members were pleased to note that Jobs' "mothership" had in fact landed in Cupertino, and wondered if Jobs if he had other plans for Cupertino citizens, like a free Wifi service perhaps? Of course, Jobs responded, "If we can get out of paying taxes." a

[via TechCrunch]a

More about Apple announcements at a

Steve Jobs clears up rumors about iCloud Apple unveils iOS 5: Here's what's new Mac OS X Lion: Only available through Mac App Store

Nidhi is's tech and science news intern. Catch up with Nidhi on Twitter, and find Technolog, Gadgetbox and InGame on Facebook.a

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Samsung research: 90% of US consumers either have a tablet or want one

aaaaaSamsung has posted a particularly interesting research report on the desirability of tablets among consumers in the US.

aaaaaAccording to the survey, 90% of US consumers either already own a tablet device or are planning to purchase one in the near future. Of the 1000 tablet owners polled, 76% said they use the tablet to read news or books, 64% use it to watch shows or movies, 61% use it to listen to music, and 56% use it update their social networking profiles (I guess they do that with their smartphones, there is no way this number is so low).

aaaaaInterestingly, 53% of the survey respondents said that would rather play games on a tablet than sit on a PC or kick it back with a console – a worrisome figure indeed for developers and publisher investing in multi-million dollar IPs. Press release attached below.

aaaaaPress release: Samsung Mobile, the No. 1 mobile phone provider in the U.S. 1, today announced the results of an online survey that showed that mobile tablets are becoming the new must-have device for an overwhelming majority of Americans. The survey revealed that 90 percent of U.S. consumers either already own a tablet or would consider buying one.

aaaaaThe survey examined the most common use cases for mobile tablets among Americans who already own or would consider purchasing a mobile tablet, include:

aaaaa- 76%: reading the news or books - 64%: watching TV shows or movies -61%: listening to music - 56%: updating their social networking profiles

aaaaaMore than half (53%) of survey respondents would choose to use their mobile tablet to play games instead of on a PC or standalone video game console. In addition, the survey showed Americans would use a tablet to take pictures or film videos (44%), video chat with loved ones (41%) or stay connected with their co-workers (34%).

aaaaaThe survey was conducted as part of Samsung’s upcoming retail launch of the Samsung Galaxy Tab™ 10.1, the world’s thinnest tablet measuring just 8.6 millimeters thin and weighing 1.24 pounds. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is powered by Android™ 3.1 Honeycomb, offering faster and smoother transitions between different applications, more intuitive navigation to and from home screens and broader support of USB accessories, external keyboards, joysticks and gamepads. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is designed with an NVIDIA Tegra 1GHz dual core application processor for powerful gaming and multimedia performance. The Tab’s ultra-thin design does not sacrifice battery life, thanks to a 7000 mAh battery providing up to 9 hours of continuous use on a single charge.2

aaaaaFrom June 8, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 WiFi edition will be available exclusively at the Best Buy Union Square location in New York City. It can also be pre-ordered from select retail partners. Starting June 17, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 will be available at Best Buy online and in-store along with Fry’s Electronics,, Micro Center, Tiger Direct and Newegg. These retail outlets will have 16GB version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 WiFi edition for $499, and the 32GB version of the device will be available for $599. In addition, the WiFi version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 will be available through Sprint starting mid-summer 2011. Visit for additional details.

aaaaaThe national survey, commissioned by Samsung Mobile, was conducted by Kelton Research and included 1,000 Americans ages 18 and older.

aaaaa*All decimals are rounded to the nearest percentage point. This may result in certain numerical totals adding up to slightly more or slightly less than 100%.

aaaaa1 Number one mobile phone provider in the U.S claim for Samsung Mobile based upon reported shipment data, according to Strategy Analytics, Q1 2011 U.S. Market Share Handset Shipments Reports.

aaaaa2 Battery power consumption depends on factors such as network configuration, signal strength, operating temperature, features selected, vibrate mode, backlight settings, browser use, and frequency of data and other application usage patterns.

Nintendo Introduces Tablet-Controlled Wii Successor

A while back, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said the new design of the MacBook Air was meant to look like what would happen if an iPad Relevant Products/Services and a MacBook mated. Now Nintendo's updated game console may appear to some as the product of an iPad that hooked up with a Wii.

The Wii U was launched Tuesday by Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, known as E3, at the Los Angeles Conference Center. Taking wireless control and motion-sensing to a new level, the Wii U's controller is a 6.2-inch touchscreen device similar to a tablet Relevant Products/Services computer Relevant Products/Services. In addition to touch input, the controller supports interaction with classic action buttons, and it's also equipped with a directional pad, a microphone, a front-facing camera and a gyroscope.

The Wii U will display games in high definition and allow a game to be switched from TV display to the touchscreen.

Long Wait

The Wii U will be backward compatible with games from its Wii predecessor, but it won't be available until next year. Nintendo didn't even give a specific time frame, saying between April and December. The price, too, is up in the air for now.

News about the tablet controller and high-definition display was leaked by gaming sites back in April. Some speculated that the refresh would support 3D play, but for now the Japanese game giant seems to be investing only in its portable player, 3DS, for three-dimensional images.

The Wii is the top-selling video Relevant Products/Services-game platform worldwide, but has been losing ground. Units shipped slipped from 24.8 million in 2008 to 22.5 million in 2009 and 17.2 million last year.

At the same time, Microsoft's Xbox shipments grew from 10.2 million in 2009 to 12.1 million last year, while Sony shipped 14.35 million PlayStations last year, up from 12.46 million in 2009, according to figures released by the companies.

New Life?

Nintendo seems to be banking on the soaring tablet market fueled by the iPad craze to reach new audiences and spur some upgrading among current Wii customers.

"With touchscreen interfaces being all the rage, the new Wii U seems interesting," said Charles King of Pund-IT Relevant Products/Services. "I was particularly intrigued by the inclusion of an accelerometer and gyroscope, which could be leveraged in any number of game scenarios."

King said it will be interesting to see what developers come up with for the device.

"On its surface, a handheld technology like the Wii U -- along with previous Wii controllers -- doesn't seem as seamlessly usable as Microsoft's Kinect, so the device's success will depend largely on the imagination and innovation Relevant Products/Services of Nintendo developers. They obviously enjoyed significant success with the original Wii, and I'm sure they'll give the Wii U a good shot. But whether or not there's still life in handheld controllers is a question whose answer is up for grabs."