Dec 24, 2008

PS3 to turn 3D in 2009?

Geeky glasses for all!

At last year’s CES, 3D HD displays and projectors were making their grand debut. At this year’s event, we’re expecting even more impressive hardware and a lot more content to take advantage of it. Even so, 3D runs the risk of remaining a niche market – seeing as it requires a special kind of display, highly unfashionable specs AND an appropriate player. What 3D really needs is to find a home inside a commonplace entertainment hub of some description. A games console maybe?

And would you believe it, that’s exactly what is being planned. According to one reputable source - Neil Schneider, President and CEO of Meant to be Seen – Sony “fully intends” to introduce stereoscopic 3D technology to PS3 next year. This info comes from Blitz Games Studios, whose Blitz Tech engine is going to make it happen.

“The best part is console support will only need a bios upgrade to work,” said Schneider. “We are told that the ability to add this capability via bios may be unique to Sony PS3 versus the other console solutions.”

In fact, the PS3 may not be the only console to get a bit of 3D gaming goodness – given that there were 3D demos of Xbox 360 games on show at CES last year, it’s perfectly possible for developers on other consoles to make it work. However, although visually impressive, it still requires extra work on the part of the developer, and that effort will only be seen by a fraction of players. However, if Sony can introduce it as a standard and make 3D gaming more accessible and ubiquitous, it could dramatically help the uptake of the technology.

Now then, about those glasses...

Sources : Playstation3,

Dec 17, 2008

RIM BlackBerry Storm (Verizon Wireless)


The RIM BlackBerry Storm features an innovative touch screen that provides tactile feedback to confirm your selection. The Storm offers dual-mode functionality for world-roaming capabilities as well as EV-DO Rev. A and UMTS/HSDPA support. Other highlights include GPS and a 3.2-megapixel camera.

The Storm's SurePress touch-screen takes some acclimation and the onscreen keyboard is a bit cramped. The smartphone can be sluggish and buggy even after the firmware update.. Speakerphone quality was a bit choppy

The RIM BlackBerry Storm may blow in a frenzy for Verizon Wireless subscribers wanting a touch screen similar to the Apple iPhone. However, there are bugs and performance issues that prevent the Storm from delivering its full potential.

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A $2,000 Motorola Phone (Sapphire Crystal Display Included)

Would you pay $250 for a sandwich? Are you the sort who buys clothes, cars and electronics at full price, and considers sales to be a form of cheating? Do you wish your blender had gold plating?

Motorola has your new phone.

It’s called the Aura, and oh how it makes the iPhone, the Storm and other assorted smart phones look — what’s the word I’m looking for here — affordable? Reasonable? Sane?

The Aura, which was announced in October and went on sale Tuesday, costs $2,000. For that, you get a phone that has some new features, none of which cures major diseases or painful inflammation. But they do sound fancy:

- Chemically etched textures and patterns
- Three tungsten-carbon-carbide-coated main gears
- The main bearing is Swiss-made
- Protective PVD coating and mirror polish finish, same as used on luxury watches
- 130 precision ball bearings
- Scratch-resistant, 62-carat, grade 1 sapphire crystal display

I know what you’re thinking: Why doesn’t my cruddy old Nokia have more ball bearings? Well, who knows — maybe it’s got plenty. You’re still able to talk on it. But is that really enough to have you feeling up-to-date when everyone whips out their phone at a cocktail party and starts bragging about whose gears have more carbide coating?

I suppose this is what happens when touch screens and smartphones and embedded music players become the norm. This is what happens when entry-level phones have GPS, and WalMart starts to contemplate carrying the iPhone.

The ante has been raised, people. The chemically etched bar is higher than ever.

Oh, and here’s something else the Motorola Aura offers: a 2-megapixel camera. Seriously. That’s what you get. Two megapixels. Sure, you could get that same quality with a $59 phone. But why bother? That would be cheating.

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Nokia Continues to Dominate Global Cellphone Market

The latest data arrived from iSuppli looking at the worldwide cellphone market. Nokia is nearing 40 percent market share, more than the next three rivals combined. Nokia alone sold more than 111 million phones in the third quarter.

For what its worth, that is 100 times more phones than Apple sold iPhones in the same period.

Nokia was particularly successful with what it terms “convergence” phones which combine smart phones and media-playing features. Its sales in this category grew by 54 percent.

Motorola meanwhile fell out of its long-standing No.2 rank, as Samsung surged ahead with a 13.9 percent sales gain. LG Electronics, the other large Korean handset maker, grew at an even faster rate of 14.7 percent. Unlike Samsung, which concentrates on more expensive handsets, LG largely sells lower-priced phones in emerging markets.

The full chart runs after the jump.

Third Quarter Sales (Thousands)

Market Share

Growth from Second Quarter













Sony Ericsson




LG Electronics












Source: iSuppli Corp. October 2007

*Motorola’s shipments are preliminary until the company announces its results.

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Dec 16, 2008

Rumor: New Mac Mini Coming to Macworld 2009

Apple will launch an upgrade to its low-end desktop, the Mac Mini, at January's Macworld Expo in San Francisco, according to an Apple corporate employee who contacted

The source, who wished to remain anonymous (to keep his job), could not disclose details about the Mac Mini other than its upcoming announcement at Macworld Expo, which begins Jan. 5. That's where CEO Steve Jobs traditionally launches major products during his famous keynotes (assuming he does indeed show up).

An upgrade to the Mac Mini is long overdue: The product hasn't seen a refresh since August 2007, and Apple computers normally have a life cycle of roughly six months. This long period of silence led many to speculate that Apple was going to drop the Mac Mini from its product line. However, Apple has shown no signs of discontinuing the product. It's also noteworthy that although Apple has been quiet about Mac Mini sales numbers, the diminutive desktop appears to be selling quite well. For example, the Mac Mini has been among the top 5 of Amazon's best selling desktops; it currently stands at No. 3.

Though our source confirms there will be a new Mac Mini announced January, it's unlikely this will be Apple's big product launch at the show. (Last year's major Macworld announcement was the MacBook Air; the year before that was the iPhone.) However, speculation about Apple's next major Macworld launch has been surprisingly quiet, so word about the Mac Mini is the most we have so far.

Here's what believes will be in the next Mac Mini, based on trends seen in Apple's latest products:

  • Similar to the MacBooks, the Mac Mini will sport a silver enclosure composed of a block of aluminum.
  • Some internal parts will be PVC-free, and combined with its size and low power requirements, Apple will tout this as the "greenest Mac ever."
  • For video output, the Mac Mini will use the DRM-crippled DisplayPort for connectivity, which Apple is offering to manufacturers for a no-fee license.
  • It'll have a CD-DVD slot loader (i.e. Super Drive). There will be no Blu-ray player, because Steve Jobs believes the format is a "bag of hurt."
  • It'll ship with 2 GB of RAM, expandable to 4 GB — up from the current 1 GB, expandable to 2 GB. (The aluminum case should make expanding RAM easier than in the original Mini.)
  • It'll ship with at least a 160-GB hard drive.
  • The Mac Mini will come in two options with different processor speeds: a 2.0-GHz Core 2 Duo and a 2.3-GHz Core 2 Duo (up from 1.83 GHz and 2.0 GHz).
  • Like the higher-end MacBook and MacBook Pro, the 2.3-GHz Mac Mini will ship with an Nvidia video card, making this higher-end model a decent gaming device.
  • The 2.0G-Hz Mac Mini will ship with an Intel video card, perhaps the GMA X3100 graphics card found in the low-end, white MacBook.
  • The slower model will cost $500, and the faster model will cost $700 ($100 less than the current Mac Minis), in light of the recession.
Source :

Dec 3, 2008

Dead Space: Downfall

All that good stuff that made Dead Space - a completely new horror franchise - find a spot in the hearts of the many horror game fanatics out there, has been carried forward to the game's animated movie prequel - Dead Space: Downfall.

Dead Space took place aboard a mining ship - the Ishimura - which was torn asunder by a mysterious alien presence that revealed itself during the course of the game. Downfall takes place on the same ship, and covers the events that lead up to the devastation of the Ishimura.

The movie's protagonist is the ship's chief security officer - Alissa Vincent - who's completely dedicated to her job and would give her life for the ship's crew in the blink of an eye. The movie starts off with a video log of a distressed Vincent, talking of the outbreak and how the 'artifact' shouldn't reach earth. Then the movie moves back to where it all started - with the Ishimura going on an illegal mining mission, where they discover an alien artifact that's supposed to prove the existence of God. The relic awakens a slumbering race of malevolent alien beings, that gets aboard the Ishimura and lays waste to its crew.

The movie boasts of some of the most stylish brutal action out there, that's sure to satisfy those gore pangs. There's ample dismemberment, decapitation, evisceration, gibbage and enough blood to fill up an ocean. The movie's dark visual style goes really well with the grim and gruesome setting aboard the isolated vessel. With petrified crew-members running helter-skelter for their lives through corridors bathed in human organs and limbs, the film captures both the hopelessness and the chaos of the alien intrusion in all its menacing glory.

While it doesn't offer closure to many questions of the game's storyline, Dead Space: Downfall is one of the best pieces of game-inspired animated entertainment I've seen in a long time. The production values are really high, with 74 minutes of some really crisp 2D animation and an intense background score that's sure to keep you at the edge of your seat. If you've got a good TV and a great sound system, this movie's surely one of the best mature animated flicks out there. Unfortunately, the game isn't available in retail in India so if you're a fan of the franchise I recommend that you buy the game online. Just ensure that you watch it after you've played the entire game, else it may spoil the experience of the game a bit (with a few spoilers). The DVD packs a few extra goodies too, like some of the game's artwork, and the incredibly eerie, atmospheric 'Isolation' soundtrack that's sure to give you goose-bumps!

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Need for Speed Undercover

The Need for Speed series has been going through a pretty rough patch in recent times. Ever since Most Wanted, EA has failed to live up to the standards set by themselves as a result of which, every Need for Speed game from then on has been utterly disappointing. Need for Speed Undercover, pegged to be a spiritual successor to Most Wanted, was to redeem this series but all it’s done is made sure you never want to play another Need for Speed game ever again. Undercover is such a terrible game you’ll either slit your wrists or sit in a corner and weep or you’ll slit your wrists while weeping in a corner wondering what EA was thinking when they wasted time, energy and money on this garbage.

As the name suggests Undercover has you playing an undercover agent tasked with infiltrating an illegal street racing syndicate guided by your “handler”, Maggie Q (Balls of Fury, Live Free Die Hard). Now I know Need for Speed games are well known for their cheesy acting but this one takes the cake, the bakery and the entire block (where the bakery was located). In Undercover you’ll witness some of the worst acting you’ve seen in recent times across any media and not even Maggie Q’s hotness can salvage it. Each and every actor associated with this project should be lined up outside his/her house and shot so that we’re never subjected to their annoyingly painful hamming ever again.

Terrible acting aside this game is a technical nightmare and the first time you boot up the game you’ll literally be shell shocked not because it looks phenomenal but because you’ll wonder how Black Box actually managed to make a game that looks worse than Most Wanted - a three year old title. In recent times I have yet to come across such an ugly and a lifeless game that literally made me wanna tear my eyes out. Buildings are just plain blocky structures with no detail whatsoever, roads have absolutely no textures, car detail is appalling and I’ve seen better scenery in Burnout Revenge – the PS2 version mind you. To blind your eyes from the terrible visuals on screen EA has conveniently bumped up the bloom to insane levels but all the bloom in the world cannot hide the fact that this game is just plain hideous.

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Dec 2, 2008

Nokia Unveils The N97

Nokia has unveiled the Nokia N97 calling it the world's most advanced mobile computer.

Designed for Internet-savvy consumers, the Nokia N97 features a large 3.5" touch display with a full QWERTY keypad.

"From the desktop to the laptop and now to your pocket, the Nokia N97 is the most powerful, multi-sensory mobile computer in existence," said Jonas Geust, Vice President, heading Nokia Nseries. "Together with the Ovi services announced today, the Nokia N97 mobile computer adjusts to the world around us, helping stay connected to the people and things that matter most. With the Nokia N97, Nseries leads the charge in helping to transform the Internet into your Internet".
With the new concept of 'social location', the N97 with integrated A-GPS sensors and an electronic compass, intuitively understands where it is. The Nokia N97 makes it easy to update social networks automatically with real-time information, giving users the ability to update their 'status' and share their 'social location' as well as related pictures or videos.

The N97 features both physical QWERTY and virtual touch input and its 16:9 widescreen display can be fully personalized with frequently updated widgets of favorite web services and social networking sites while.

The Nokia N97 supports up to 48 GB of storage, including 32 GB of on-board memory, expandable with a 16 GB microSD card, has full support for the Nokia Music Store and features continuous playback time of up to 1.5 days. The Nokia N97 also has a 5-Megapixel camera with high-quality Carl Zeiss optics, 16:9 and DVD quality video capture, and support for services like Share on Ovi for immediate sharing over HSDPA and WLAN.

The Nokia N97 is expected to begin shipping in the first half of 2009 at an estimated retail price of EUR 550 before taxes or subsidies.

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Game Consoles, The War for the Living Room

Choosing a video game console means carefully weighing a wide variety of factors. Controller style, available titles, downloadable content and disc format support all come into play -- and don't forget price, of course. Here's what the big three -- the Wii, the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 -- have to offer.

In the contest to dominate the video gaming landscape, there are three powerful players, each with a magic weapon: Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) with its Xbox 360 , Nintendo with its Wii, and Sony (NYSE: SNE) with its PlayStation 3 (PS3).

Like any great heroes, they each have their strengths and weaknesses, though none, it turns out, has a fatal flaw. For those hapless consumers who haven't already made a choice, the differences between the three consoles offers up a wild list of pros and cons, and it's confusing enough to make any gaming newbie give up and start rolling the dice.

To help, we've broken out the consoles, what's going on in the industry, and the key decision points that can shed light into the deepest doubts of this year's video game console season.
Popularity Contest

In some respects, the best video game console to buy is the one with the largest base of consumers. Why? Because it presumably gives the video game publishing industry a bigger audience to sell new game titles to, which in turn encourages them to create the best games for that particular platform for years to come. Popularity, however, isn't always a good barometer these days.

In an effort to deliver its latest generation gaming platform first, Microsoft introduced the Xbox 360 in November 2005 -- an entire year earlier than Nintendo's and Sony's consoles. Did that year give Microsoft a big head start? Yes and no.

In the United States, The NPD Group reports that life-to-date retail sales of the Xbox 360 stand at 11.6 million units. The PS3 comes in at 5.7 million, while the Wii blows both out of the water with 13.4 million units sold. So in that regard, the Wii has the undeniable lead.

"Given the last several months' sales trends, I would expect that to continue for some time," Anita Frazier, a video game industry analyst for the NPD Group, told TechNewsWorld.

However, in different parts of the world, some consoles are more popular than others. Worldwide, the Wii extends its commanding lead to 37.26 million, while the Xbox comes in at 23.17 million, trailed by PS3 with 17.04 million in unit sales, according to Video Game Chartz. Either way, all three consoles have healthy sales numbers, virtually guaranteeing a solid foundation for a great gaming experience for years to come.
The Experience

There are lots of ways to describe the differences between the three consoles, but the surfaces will suffice for now. The 360 and PS3 are similar in that they use traditional, boomerang-shaped controllers with vibration feedback, and they have extensive libraries of diverse game titles for a range of users, including both young children and mature, blood-and-gore-lovin' gamers.

The Wii, on the other hand, uses a motion-sensitive dual controller system that features a remote control-shaped controller and a so-called Nunchuk that plugs into the remote controller. So how is this different from the 360 and PS3?

Other than shape, the entire function with the Wii controller system is opened up by using the controller with motion. For example, to swing a bat in a Wii baseball game, you swing the Wii controller as if you were swinging a bat. Or, to hit a golf ball, you swing the Wii controller as you would a golf club. Early adopters got all sweaty doing this in their living rooms, and some lost control of their Wii remotes, which broke more than a few big screen TVs. Nintendo quickly added extra-strength wrist straps to combat the slippery palms.

The net effect of the Wii system has been to attract non-traditional gamers and engage families with lightweight games that remain surprisingly fun. Hardcore gamers, however, have been mostly disinterested in the Wii games, which are often somewhat cartoonish.

On the inside, the Wii processor isn't as capable of handling intense graphics as the high-definition-capable 360 and PS3. Its supported resolution is limited to standard definition (480p), though it does have a widescreen mode.
The Game Titles

"In general, the most compelling reason a consumer purchases a hardware system is that it has the ability to play the games they want to play," Frazier noted.

Some game manufacturers deliver titles for multiple consoles, but the console manufacturers also work hard to create killer titles that are exclusive their own platform. For instance, Microsoft has its "Halo" franchise, which started with "Halo" and "Halo 2" on the original Xbox. Last year, "Halo 3" proved to be a blockbuster, and Xbox 360 reaped the rewards. Sony has its own exclusives, like "Resistance 2," "Metal Gear Solid 4" and "Little Big Planet," though none have defined the platform buying decision like Microsoft's "Halo 3."

Wii, on the other hand, ships with bundled-in Wii Sports titles -- Boxing, Baseball, Tennis, Bowling, and Golf.

"Game titles are important drivers for consoles, especially for the 360 and PS3. The Wii, although software is important, the Wii 'experience' seems to be the driver -- not necessarily particular titles," Ben Bajarin, director of the consumer technology practice for Creative Strategies, told TechNewsWorld.

"That being said, consumers are definitely beginning to view their hardware as investments as well, and they are looking for the right investment to fit their lifestyle," he added.
Beyond the Games

Still, all three consoles have their angles beyond games. "Wii Fit," which uses an exercise board peripheral, has transformed the Wii game console into a workout partner. The Xbox 360 has Microsoft's online Xbox Live experience, which provides movie downloads and even Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) movie streaming. The PS3 comes with a built-in Blu-ray disc players, letting owners enjoy the best possible high-definition movie experience on their 1080p flat-screen TVs.

When it first designed the 360, Microsoft put its money on HD DVD and offered an external disc player for watching movies. The format has since gone belly-up, though the Xbox does have an online marketplace for buying video content, as does the PS3.

"The Xbox 360, and to a lesser extent, the PlayStation 3, have the potential to emerge as dominant entertainment hubs in gamer households," Van Baker, a vice president of media industry research for Gartner (NYSE: IT) , told TechNewsWorld.

"The availability of multiple forms of media, such as TV shows and movies, enhance the position of these consoles significantly over time," he added.

Because the consoles are essentially computers capable of Internet connections, they can be updated to offer new software-based features. The Xbox 360, for instance, just got a new interface facelift with snazzy new avatars that Microsoft hopes will generate more 360 love.

Sony has been adding video content to its own online service, while the Wii Menu offers weather forecasts and news feeds.

"For all three consoles, it is the online experience dimension that consumers have been picking up on," Bajarin noted.
Price Wars

Despite all the different features of the three consoles, price is an important decision-making factor, as always.

"We have seen an uptick in sales when price moves are implemented by the manufacturers, which speaks to the impact of that marketing lever," Frazier said.

The Wii was for long regarded as the least expensive console, coming in with a base price of US$249, though Microsoft's low-end Xbox 360 Arcade model is now down to $199. It's Pro and Elite packages cost $299 and $399, and awireless network adapter for wireless Internet access costs another $80-plus. The PS3 starts at $399 and ramps up to $499.

This holiday season, the big three manufacturers will likely look to spur sales through special deals.

"Bundles will be the biggest promos," Bajarin said, though he noted that he didn't think any particular bundles were hot enough to tip the popularity scales.

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