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Friday, September 27, 2013

Angry Birds: New Angry Birds on Toons.TV Passes 1 Billion Views

Rovio declared it would be increasing its simulation line up after its online-only cartoon entry exceeded 1 billion views after it was launched in March.

The Channel Toons.TV is accessible on all Angry Birds games, video-on-demand and smart TVs services and 20 tv channels all over the world. To go together with the Angry Birds cartoon, Rovio will create a swing of latest data accessible in the next upcoming months in this year.
In addition to the latest season of Angry Birds Toons, two latest Angry Birds-branded sequences are in the works: one concentrating on the Evil Piggies and one concentrating only on the pink bird, Stella.
Toon.Tv is already try out an offering content from Sony pictures. A Five minutes clip of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is made available on Toons.TV ahead of the movie’s release on Friday.
Interview given by CEO, Mikael Hed to Rovio Entertainment at Advertising Week in New York, he quoted, “We are extremely excited about the positive reception from our fans with the original Angry Birds Toons series. Given the size of our reach and our massively engaged audience, it seemed only natural to extend beyond our own storytelling and partner with the best content creators to bring our fans even more fun entertainment,”
Year 2016 is confirmed for an Angry Birds movie produced by Sony Pictures will hit the big screens.Source:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Apple iPhone 5c Review: A Colourful iPhone 5 with Better Battery Life

iPhones have always been aspirational, high-end products, for which people have been prepared to pay a hefty price in order to join the (not particularly exclusive) club. With Apple's 2013 handset launches that approach has changed slightly: the flagship iPhone 5s occupies the traditional premium-product slot, while the iPhone 5c, reviewed here, and comes in for those with less money to spare.

However, pricing is still high compared to the iPhone 5c's many Android-based rivals, with the entry-level 16GB model costing £469 (inc. VAT; £390.83 ex. VAT) SIM-free, rising to £549 (inc. VAT; £457.50 ex. VAT) for the 32GB model. Two-year contract prices from Vodafone, supplier of our review sample, start at £42 a month for a 3G plan with a free handset, or £47 a month for a '4G-ready' plan.

The flagship iPhone 5s costs £549 (inc. VAT) for the 16GB model, £629 for 32GB and £709 for 64GB, while Google's Nexus 4 — perhaps the best-value Android smartphone of the past 12 months — costs £159 (inc. VAT) for the 8GB model and £199 with 16GB of internal storage.
The iPhone 5c may be a budget buy in Apple's terms, but it isn't really one in the broadest sense.


The most obvious innovation in the iPhone 5c is the chassis build, which uses a seamless plastic shell over a steel-reinforced frame. The general design is immediately recognisable as an iPhone, with the telltale home button beneath the screen, rounded corners and Apple logo on the back.


But Apple has decided, for the first time, to produce a handset with a range of pastel-coloured casings in addition to white: you can opt for green, blue, yellow or pink alternatives. There's no black, though. We were sent the pink version, which is unlikely to find its way into many businesses. It's worth noting that the only other handset maker that dares to be as bold with its handset chassis colours is Nokia.
The plastic that's used for the outer shell has a shiny but grip-friendly finish that's not completely scratch resistant. As with previous iPhones, the battery is sealed in behind a non-removable backplate.
The silent-mode switch and volume buttons are on the left edge, while the power switch is on the top. The headset jack is on the bottom edge, alongside the microphone, Lightning connector and speaker. There's a caddy for a nano-SIM on the right edge of the chassis.


The 132g iPhone 5c feels solid and substantial in the hand, yet is quite comfortable to hold — even for people with small hands. It's quite thin at 8.97mm and has a moderate-sized footprint at 59.2mm by 124.4mm.
The Retina display measures just 4 inches across the diagonal, but its 1,136-by-640-pixel resolution makes for a sharp and clear 326-pixel-per-inch (ppi) image. The backlit IPS LCD screen is vibrant and content seems to jump out at you. The iOS 7 feature that sees application icons jiggle about slightly as the phone moves in your hand is a little disconcerting, but it lends a faux 3D appearance to things.
There's nothing new about the screen specification — it's the same as both the iPhone 5s and the now-discontinued iPhone 5. That sets the tone for much of what's on offer here, for the iPhone 5c is essentially a rebadged iPhone 5 in terms of its core specifications.


The iPhone 5c uses the same A6 processor as the iPhone 5. It also sports the same 8-megapixel iSight camera at the back, the same 4-inch Retina screen and the same local- and personal-area wireless connectivity (dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4 respectively).
There are some differences between the iPhone 5 and 5c though. The sensor on the front-facing 1.2-megapixel FaceTime camera has bigger pixels for better low-light performance, for example. The 5c also supports a full set of LTE frequency bands, while the iPhone 5 has limited LTE support. Battery life is better, too, the 5c offering a claimed 10 hours of 3G talk and LTE internet use compared to the 8 hours of each on the iPhone 5. As ever, one person's average usage is another's light use, so it's difficult to be definitive about battery life. Still, if you're a current iPhone 5 user, you should go longer between battery charges with the 5c. During testing, we certainly didn't need to rush off and find mains power during a typical day's use.
The 5c may not be Apple's flagship handset, but its price sets it apart from mid-range offerings from other vendors — and for the money, its feature set is a little bland. Apple has saved its iTouch fingerprint scanner for the top-end iPhone 5s, for example, and we're surprised there's no place for Near Field Communications (NFC) here (or on the 5s for that matter). And while some people dislike the huge array of extras with which Samsung peppers its handsets, we'd have appreciated a little more innovation from Apple on the iPhone 5c.

OS upgrade: iOS 7

The main innovation work with this refresh cycle has gone into building iOS 7, of course — but that's not exclusive to the new iPhones. Apple's new mobile OS is downloadable to the iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, and the 5th-generation iPod Touch — although not all devices get the full gamut of features. This is not the place for a full review of iOS 7, but it's worth noting some key points.


iOS 7 has had a complete visual makeover. Apple follows the chassis colour through to the iOS 7 theme, and the overall design is flatter, cleaner and leaner. Third-party apps are already starting to follow suit. There are plenty of new features, including a swipe-up settings area that you can set to be accessible from the lock screen and which, among its features, lets you use the camera's LED flash as a torch.
A new app switcher appears when you double-tap the home key, letting you see everything that's running and sweep anything upwards off the screen to close it. There are many other changes under the surface that add new features and enhance older ones.
LTE ('4G') support is likely to be a key draw for some users, and if that's the case then it's worth checking your chosen operator's coverage. Our iPhone 5c review sample came from Vodafone, where it's available with Spotify or Sky Sports Mobile TV preinstalled. If you sign up for the handset before the end of October, you get 4GB of 4G data added to your contract for its duration. Vodafone's UK 4G rollout currently only covers London. At the end of September Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield will be added. By the end of the year 4G coverage will also include Bradford, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle.
The iPhone 5c's colourful appearance puts it firmly in the consumer camp, although the relatively sober white version is certainly an option for business users. If you're an existing iPhone user and weren't tempted by the iPhone 5, then the 5c is worth considering as an upgrade. However, iPhone 5 owners should think carefully: there's very little difference between the core specifications of the two handsets, and iOS 7 is just a download away.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Samsung Group Earns Over W300 Trillion

The Samsung Group's total sales exceeded W300 trillion for the first time in the history of Korea's biggest conglomerate (US$1=W1,085).

Samsung on Saturday said its total sales last year amounted to W302.9 trillion. It made W220.1 trillion in 2009, surpassing the W200 trillion level for the first time, and only took three years to cross the next milestone.

The main driver was the rapid increase in sales at core subsidiary Samsung Electronics. Samsung Electronics' sales have climbed from W136.3 trillion in 2009 to W201.1 trillion last year, with the electronics giant now accounting for 66 percent of the group's revenues thanks to brisk sales of mobile phones.

The Samsung Group's net profit also reached a record of W29.5 trillion last year. Group-wide net profit rose from W11.8 trillion in 2008 to W20.3 trillion in 2011.

The conglomerate said its total assets stood at W503.6 trillion last year, surpassing the W500 trillion mark for the first time. As of the end of last year, the group employed 425,000 people.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Does ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ Mean the End of Hollywood?

There’s a good chance you’ve heard: “Grand Theft Auto V,” the latest installment of the storied video game franchise, took in over $1 billion in its first week. That’s more than any movie released this year, with the exception of “Iron Man 3” (which happens to be the fifth highest-grossing movie of all time). At this rate, “GTA V” could be a nontrivial contributor to the U.S. gross domestic product. It’s a cultural event. Even Apple Inc. should be impressed.

It’s not a stretch to think that the people who didn’t go to the movies this summer might have said, ‘you know what, I’m skipping a few and using the cash for a different kind of blockbuster.’
In that case, the most interesting number to keep in mind may be 100 -- the approximate number of hours of gameplay that “GTA V” reportedly offers. For those diligent and conscientious enough to explore all the side quests, excursions and games-within-the-game, it provides weeks of entertainment.
That makes the $60 retail price a bargain: 100 hours of gameplay at $0.60 an hour. Compare that with the price of admission to a movie, even a two-and-a-half hour megaproduction. The other advantage for video games -- driving the usage cost down even further -- is that buyers get to keep the game.
So, could the multiple box-officedisappointments last summer reflect the beginning of a shift that goes well beyond blockbuster fatigue?

Merging Forms

There’s little reason to think that movies and video games couldn’t continue to co-exist. But if audiences are becoming overly familiar with Hollywood’s version of the three-act-structure and if games continue to grow as a form of narrative entertainment, it’s tantalizing to think that the next few years or decades might bring some more serious attempts at experimentation and cross-pollination.
It’s already been tried. Most of the results, however, have been marketing masquerading as “interactive storytelling.” Despite efforts in both industries to find some creative alchemy, most attempts, though admirable for the effort, fall short of true invention. Movies made from games, games made from movies, movies and games released simultaneously with added content end up being less than the sum of their parts, more like two conventional forms of entertainment smushed together and repackaged as a new product.
Movies and video games both take place in a larger, common universe of possible narratives. But are they fundamentally incompatible? Could anything interesting ever emerge from recombining the DNA of the two?
That’s where a game such as “GTA V” breaks through. It’s tempting to think of it as an open-ended movie: it’s written and directed by storytellers skilled in the cinematic form and produced by an expert group of visual designers. In that sense it feels like a big movie production. As the scale and complexity of these games increase -- and as our ability to simulate and render nuance and emotion and ambiguity increases - - these games are starting to verge on something entirely new. Whatever one might feel about the storyline of “Grand Theft Auto V,” it is hard to deny that it is pushing the boundary of the form.
Open world games have come a long way in a short time, but as impressive as they are, they’re still operated on rails -- theme-park rides rather than free-driving cars. “GTA V” points the way to games with a narrated openness in which players wouldn’t be presented with options so much as they would have tools to model their experience. Giving players the ability to create their own stories within the connected world of a larger story creates a natural, social evolution within the system. In this sense, “Grand Theft Auto V” and “Minecraft” show us what may be coming when the mediums we have now are reimagined as virtual worlds that can grow and evolve over time.

Next Generation

If anyone is going to invent a new form of entertainment from this model, she’s probably 15 years old right now, unbound by the conventions and assumptions of received forms. She’s growing up in a world in which a significant number of her interactions with other people are online (for better or worse). She consumes serialized programming in 13-hour blocks and doesn’t really distinguish between TV shows, movies or Internet videos. She consumes these stories on her phone, tablet and laptop whenever she wants, a few minutes at a time or maybe three hours at a stretch. She makes calls on her computer and surfs the web on her television. She makes no distinction between screens, small or large.
Maybe she’ll be the first auteur of this new kind of entertainment -- an environment with infinite horizons. She may imagine a platform where players are both the creator and the narrator, able to write the game as they play through it. Perhaps she’ll create the first Great American Possibility Space.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Gold iPhone 5S No Longer Available Online This Month

If you're planning to order a new gold iPhone 5S online, don't expect to have it in your hands just yet.
Apple updated its shipment times for online purchases on Friday and gold models won't be ready until October, according to its website. Meanwhile, silver and space gray models won't ship for seven to 10 days after an order is placed.

Apple fans lined up nationwide to get their hands on the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C on Friday morning, but those looking for higher-end devices in gold have largely been out of luck. The good news is Apple reportedly asked suppliers to increase the production of the model by one third.
The iPhone 5S comes in three shades (space gray, silver and gold), with pricing starting at $199 for the 16GB version, $299 for 32GB and $399 for 64GB.
Apple's flagship store in New York City attracted the largest crowd ever for an iPhone launch day, with about 1,417 people in line as of 8:00 a.m. ET Friday, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. But lines in other parts of New York City were relatively flat with a slight tick upward.

Apple is expected to sell between 5 million and 8 million new iPhones this week.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Nexus 4 16GB showing as sold out on Google Play, Nexus 5 expected soon

 It looks like the curtain is slowly coming down on Google’s flagship Nexus 4 handset, with the 16GB version of the popular device on Monday showing as ‘sold out’ on the US Google Play store. The 8GB version sold out at the start of the month.
Of course, the “we’re out of inventory, please check back soon” message doesn’t rule out the possibility that new stock will come in, but recent price cuts for the handset make it look very much like a stock-clearance move prior to the launch of the expected Nexus 5.
The timing looks about right too – the Nexus 4 hit the market in November last year, while its predecessors, the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus, were also both released at the tail end of the year (December 2010 and November 2011, respectively).

In addition, a report from the Australia-based Ausdroid site over the weekend said Google’s new phone will be announced on October 14, though the site didn’t name the source of its information.
It’s widely believed the new handset is being manufactured by LG – also the maker of the Nexus 4 – despite LG’s vice president appearing to claim earlier this year that the company was done with building Nexus devices.
The current Nexus 4 smartphone launched in November last year sporting a 4.7-inch display with a 1280 x 768 resolution, a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, an 8-megapixel rear camera and 1.3-megapixel front one, and 2GB of RAM. The new model is rumored to be based on LG’s new G2 flagship smartphone, and come with a larger display, Snapdragon 800 processor and LTE support.
Google itself has remained tight-lipped about Nexus 4 successor, although it seemed to make an early appearance a couple of weeks ago when it apparently turned up in a Google video promoting the next version of its Android operating system, 4.4 KitKat. In a short piece documenting the unveiling of a KitKat-esque statue on the company’s Mountain View campus, we get a glimpse of a guy holding what appears to be the Nexus 5. Google pulled the video when word got out about the boo-boo.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Bump Mobile Contact Sharing App Acquired By Google, Will Stay Alive For Now

After raising nearly $20 million and becoming one of the most downloaded mobile apps but failing to find real revenue, Bump Technologies has been acquired by Google. Its namesake app Bump lets you physically tap phones together to share contact info and more, and it will stay open for download. Congratulations might not be the right word, but Bump could have a bright future at the Googleplex.

Bump’s David Lieb writes “We strive to create experiences that feel like magic, enabled behind the scene with innovations in math, data processing, and algorithms. So we couldn’t be more thrilled to join Google.” It appears that the whole 25-person team including Lieb and fellow co-founder Andy Huibers will be coming aboard at the search giant.
Bump and the collaborativephoto sharing app called Flock it released last year “will continue to work as they always have for now; stay tuned for future updates.” The blog post doesn’t mention what will happen to the Bump Pay app the startup built on top of PayPal that lets users make peer-to-peer mobile payments by knocking fists.

Terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed, so it’s hard to tell exactly how strong of an exit this was for Bump and its investors, which include Y Combinator, Sequoia Captial, Felicis Ventures, SV Angel, Andreessen Horowitz, and many angels.
Bump gained huge popularity by being an early App Store hit. Instead of having to clumsily type out a new friend or professional colleague’s contact information, you and someone else could both open Bump, bump fists together while holding your phones, and the contact info, photos, audio, video, or other selected files would be shared between you instantly. As of March it had hit 1 billion photos shared and 125 million downloads, up from 100 million in August.
With time, though, other ways to quickly share contact information emerged. Meanwhile, Bump remained free and wasn’t earning any meaningful revenue so paying its strong mobile engineering team may have burned through the $16.5 million round led by Andreessen that the startup raised in November 2011.
Then Apple dropped a bomb on Bump. It announced a new feature called AirDropfor iOS 7 that would make sharing files between nearby phone a native feature. That could have curtailed Bump’s steady growth. It was time for Bump to throw in the towel.
Based on these factors, the acquisition may have been more lucrative than a basic acquihire, but not big enough to be considered a home run.

From one perspective, the sale might be considered a failure. Bump could have minted if it found a way to monetize its huge user base, but couldn’t find a way to go it alone and so instead folded into a tech giant. From a different perspective, Bump’s soft landing could be said to have kept investors from losing money while giving its team an opportunity for greater impact thanks to Google’s resources.
What may have interested Google actually isn’t Bump itself, but Flock. The app uses geolocation to determine which of your Facebook friends you’re nearby, and then offers to create a collaborative photo album with them that includes all the shots any of you took at that party, concert, or day in the park. The idea is that your friends might not broadcast all those photos to social media, but you’d still want to see them as you all shared the experience together. The Flock design philosophy was to strip as much out of the photo sharing process as possible to make it seem almost automatic.
Google might look to turn Flock into a part of Google+ as a way to simultaneously compete with Facebook’s photo sharing and Dropbox’s photo saving services. Google+’s Party Mode was a pioneer in collaborative photo sharing centered around events, but the late-comer social network has still failed to gain serious engagement. Facebook recently launched shared albums, making it more dire for Google to get deeper into the space.
The acquisition also scores Google a trove of mobile communicationpatents that it could use to help nearby devices sync up. These include an app noticing that sensors on two devices share similar readings to determine that they’re in proximity. Google could use these patents to improve Android and create richer alternatives to near-field communication (NFC).
With Bump and Flock’s features combined with Google’s built in-audience, the ideals of“irreducible” design the startup embodied could make a bigger impact without having to generate revenue directly.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Behind Microsoft Deal, the Specter of a Nokia Android Phone

SEATTLE — Before Microsoft reached a deal to buy Nokia’s phone business, there was a possibility that Nokia could have switched its smartphones to Google’s Android operating system sometime after late 2014.
And now, it is clear that a Nokia Android phone was more than a possibility. It was real.

nokia lumia

A team within Nokia had Android up and running on the company’s Lumia handsets well before Microsoft and Nokia began negotiating Microsoft’s $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia’s mobile phone and services business, according to two people briefed on the effort who declined to be identified because the project was confidential. 
Microsoft executives were aware of the existence of the project, these people said.
Another person said the idea of Nokia using Android wasn’t a part of Microsoft’s discussions with the company about an acquisition, even though that was widely recognized as a possibility.

On one level, Nokia’s Android effort is not shocking. Companies often have “plan Bs” in the works in case they need to change course on strategy or want to help negotiate better terms with partners. Getting Android to run on Nokia’s hardware was not a Herculean engineering effort, according to the people familiar with the project.
Still, a functioning Nokia Android phone could have served as a powerful prop in Nokia’s dealings with Microsoft, a tangible reminder that Nokia could move away from Microsoft’s Windows Phone software and use the Android operating system, which powers more than three out of every four smartphones sold globally.
Susan Sheehan, a spokeswoman for Nokia, declined to comment, as did Frank Shaw, a Microsoft spokesman.

Nokia reached a deal with Microsoft in 2011 to use Windows Phone on its smartphones, but Nokia had an option to exit that partnership at the end of 2014. Unraveling that deal would have been painful for both parties. It would have been devastating to Microsoft’s mobile phone efforts since Nokia accounts for more than 80 percent of the Windows Phone handsets sold. For Nokia, changing such an important ingredient in its products would have been a costly setback too.

Nokia has faced criticism that it made the wrong decision in choosing Windows Phone over Android several years ago. Nokia’s share of the smartphone market fell to 3 percent during the first half of 2013, from 32.8 percent in 2010.

There is no telling for sure whether Nokia would have been better off with Android over that time. It is possible the design of the operating system and greater abundance of Android apps might have put Nokia in a better spot.
The current status of Nokia’s Android project is unclear. Presumably, after Microsoft completes its acquisition of Nokia’s phone business early next year, there won’t be much future for it.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

More Chromebooks are coming from companies like HP, Acer, and Toshiba, but they might not be the ultra-cheap, browser-based laptops we've gotten used to seeing over the last year.

That's because the next wave of Chromebooks will run Intel's fourth-generation Core processors, codenamed Haswell. These processors are far more powerful than the low-end Intel Atom and Celeron processors that most Chromebooks have used so far.
It's a sign that Chromebooks are trying to grow up, and to move from secondary PCs to your primary computer—but it's also a risky move. By using Haswell instead of Intel's low-powered Bay Trail chips, the new Chromebooks may be targeting a use case that doesn't yet exist.

The story so far

Chromebooks, whose Chrome OS operating system is essentially Google's Chrome browser and very little else, have been around for a couple years now, and the earliest machines hovered around a $500 price point. Not surprisingly, the earliest Chromebooks were not very popular.

Chromebooks didn't start to gain traction until last year, when sub-$300 machines from Acer and Samsung hit the market. Sure, these Chromebooks weren't as full-featured as Windows PCs, but they were fast and efficient at getting onto the Web, and the prices were hard to beat.
The funny thing is that Chromebooks don't need a lot of power. I personally use Samsung's Series 5 550, a $450 Chromebook with a Celeron processor and 4 GB of RAM, and performance has never been an issue. Some cheaper Chromebooks—those with just 2 GB of RAM—struggle with keeping lots of browser tabs open, but that's a memory problem, not a processor one. If all you're doing is checking e-mail, typing in Google Docs, browsing Facebook, and using a few Chrome Apps, your power needs are minimal, and a cheap Chromebook ends up being a good fit.

Enter Haswell, not Bay Trail

Intel's Bay Trail chips seem like a natural next step for Chromebooks. They allow for thin, light, fanless designs with long battery life, they can accommodate up to 4 GB of RAM, and they're much more powerful than Intel's previous-generation Clover Trail processors.
So why are the next Chromebooks using Haswell instead? NPD analyst Stephen Baker said that as Windows PC sales fall, hardware vendors want to move into mid-range Chromebooks, following the success of the entry-level models. (NPD estimates that Chromebooks account for nearly a quarter of sub-$300 laptop sales.)
“With the state of notebook OEMs right now, they don't have a lot to lose trying to move up market a little bit,” Baker said. “It makes sense to test the water and see what'll happen.”

Still, it's unclear what kind of use cases these Haswell-based machines will open up. Baker mentioned better gaming and video playback as possibilities, but Bay Trail is no slouch in these areas, especially for the kind of games you get from a Web browser. More powerful applications may someday arrive as Chrome Apps, but we've yet to see anything that really demands a huge boost in power.
In theory, a PC maker could create a premium Chromebook by using high-quality build materials and a high-res display, but could still use Bay Trail to bring the cost down. All Bay Trail processors support 2560-by-1600 resolutions, for example.
That may still happen eventually. Intel has not ruled out Bay Trail-based Chromebooks, and when asked about the possibility at a reporters' roundtable this week, Intel's Navin Shenoy said to “Watch this space.”
It's just a question of when, than if. As last year's $200 to $300 Chromebooks start to get stale on store shelves, hopefully the answer is “soon.”

Dell To Revive Venue Mobile Brand With New Windows 8.1 Tablet

Dell showed a new Windows 8.1 tablet Wednesday called Venue, which is a brand name for mobile devices the PC maker abandoned when it discontinued shipment of smartphones early last year.

The Venue tablet has an 8-inch screen and runs on Intel’s Atom chip code-named Bay Trail. It was demonstrated as shown above on stage by Neil Hand, vice president at Dell, during a keynote at the Intel Developer Forum being held in San Francisco.
The tablet will be marketed to both consumers and enterprises, and will have long-battery life and cellular data connectivity. More details about the new Venue tablet and other devices will be shared at an event in New York City on October 2, Hand said, hinting that more mobile devices from Dell could be on tap.
The new tablet also marks Dell’s reentry into the consumer tablet market. The company today offers the XPS 10 with Windows RT and the Latitude 10 with Windows 8, both targeted at enterprises. Dell last year discontinued its Streak line of consumer tablets, but has reiterated its support for the consumer tablet market and Windows 8 OS.
Toshiba and Aava Mobile recently announced Windows 8.1 tablets. Asustek also showed a Bay Trail tablet on stage during the IDF keynote.
Also on Wednesday, Intel announced new quad-core Bay Trail chips for tablets. Bay Trail tablets could weigh as little 14.1 ounces and offer 8 hours of battery life when the users is watching high-definition video.

Friday, September 6, 2013

New Consoles Special Game: Waiting For PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Best Games May Have to Wait

Video game players are always excited to get their hands on new consoles, and in November, two new game machines are scheduled to be introduced: Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4. But while new consoles usually lead to better games, often that happens only in the long run. Some of the final games made for aging consoles have been better than the first games that were released for brand-new systems. Neither the PlayStation 3 in 2006 nor the Xbox 360 a year earlier went on sale with a single memorable initial title.

PlayStation 4

Xbox 360 gamers waited four months for their system’s first great game, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and an entire year for the next one, Gears of War. Likewise, a full 12 months went by before PlayStation 3 players were able to get their hands on that system’s first noteworthy exclusive, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. At the same time, two of the PlayStation 2’s most highly regarded games, Bully and Okami, were released mere weeks before the release of the PlayStation 3.
While it’s too early to say for sure, something similar looks as if it will happen in 2013. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One each have a long list of launch titles, but the most interesting games that will be playable on the new consoles from Sony and Microsoft seem to be coming next year, including Titanfall from Respawn Entertainment and Project Spark from Microsoft Studios, both of which are Xbox exclusives on console; The Witness from Jonathan Blow’s Number None, a console exclusive for the PlayStation 4; and Destiny from Bungie, which will be playable on both (and on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3).
Who knows? There might be surprises among the first batch of games being released with the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. Maybe Ryse: Son of Rome, an initial Xbox One title, will end up as one of the year’s best games. But Ryse’s E3 demonstration didn’t do much to auger that, instead promising to immerse players in antiquity by letting them repeatedly stab people in the neck. The developers of Dead Rising 3, another Xbox One exclusive, have talked about using the system’s superior technology for the important work of improving the graphical fidelity of zombie blood and teeth. Sony’s big-budget exclusives don’t look any more enticing.
Many games will be released with versions for currently available consoles — the Xbox 360, the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo’s Wii U — as well as for the new ones. The most exciting of these games is Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs, coming Nov. 19 for PC, PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii U. (No release date has been announced for the PS4 and Xbox One.) An open-world game about information hackers in a near-future Chicago, Watch Dogs seems impossibly well-timed for the year of Edward Snowden.
Perhaps because two new consoles are coming out nearly simultaneously, the next few months seem to be the most unpredictable video-game autumn in memory. Can the gameplay in Watch Dogs possibly live up to its alluring premise? Will the military shooters Call of Duty: Ghosts and Battlefield 4 be hurt by a form of the blockbuster fatigue that afflicted moviegoers this summer? Will Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag mount a comeback for that series after last year’s divisive Assassin’s Creed III?
And many of 2013’s most-anticipated games won’t be playable at all on the PlayStation 4 or the Xbox One. Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V, the first Grand Theft Auto game in five years, will be released on Sept. 17 and can be played only on an Xbox 360 or a PlayStation 3. Set in an immense virtual Los Angeles, the game features three criminal protagonists instead of the usual one, and players can switch freely among all three characters in the game’s open world. Rockstar says the world that it has built for Grand Theft Auto V is bigger than the ones inside Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Grand Theft Auto IV and Red Dead Redemption combined. I played Grand Theft Auto V for about four hours at Rockstar’s offices in SoHo last month, and it felt las if I only sampled the game’s possibilities.
Likewise, Batman: Arkham Origins, the third title in an exceptional series of games about that comic book hero, comes out Oct. 25 for PCs, PlayStation 3s, Xbox 360s and Wii U’s.
And Quantic Dream’s Beyond: Two Souls is a PlayStation 3 exclusive that stars virtual renditions of Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe. It lands on Oct. 8. Quantic Dream’s previous game, Heavy Rain, was a bold experiment in interactive storytelling, even if it didn’t entirely succeed.
Super Mario 3D World is the season’s most promising Nintendo game. For decades, Nintendo has often broken the rule of thumb that new consoles don’t ship with their greatest games. New Nintendo systems have been packaged with games like Super Mario Bros., Mario 64 and Wii Sports, after all.
But the Wii U, Nintendo’s newest console, went on sale last year and it is still waiting for its system-selling game. Super Mario 3D World, slated for Nov. 22, gives Nintendo reason to hope. It is being designed by the people behind the extraordinary Super Mario Galaxy games. For the first time since 1987’s Super Mario Bros. 2, players will be able to play as Princess Peach, rather than just saving her from a kidnapping. And now, the damsel can throw fireballs, too, just as Mario can.
There are also a number of intriguing games without scheduled release dates that might come out this fall but also might get pushed to 2014, including South Park: The Stick of Truth, a game for the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 that has the close involvement of the TV show creators Matt Parker and Trey Stone; TheWalking Dead: Season Two, the sequel to Telltale Games’ acclaimed series of downloadable episodes inspired by Robert Kirkman’s comic books; and Silent Enemy, a game about bullying from Minority Media, the independent studio that made Papo & Yo, my favorite game of 2012.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Lenovo Vibe X joins the 5-inch Android 4.2 Fold

Lenovo trotted out its latest smartphone at IFA 2013, an Android 4.2 smartphone it's dubbed the Vibe X.

Joining others in the class of 5-inch 1080p HD screens, the Vibe X encases its large, gleaming display in a slim polycarbonate shell that measures 0.27 inch thick. Lenovo boasts about the Vibe X's laser-engraved 3D finish. From a specs perspective, the Vibe X's Gorilla Glass 3-topped display should look nice and sharp with a screen resolution of 440 pixels per inch.
Weight is also on the manufacturer's mind. Lenovo fancifully describes the 4.1-ounce device as the weight of five AA batteries.
Camera specs on the Vibe X are also sky-high: a 13-megapixel sensor with BSI for the back and a whopping 5 megapixels for the front-facing camera, an 84-degree wide-angle lens.
A 1.5GHz quad-core MTK 6589T processor serves as the Vibe X's engine, and the smartphone comes with 16GB of internal storage and 2GB RAM.
Going hands-on with the Vibe X, we were disappointed to see a slightly sluggish response when we were swiping through the phone's home screens and menus, despite the quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM.
The phone isn't out yet, so here's hoping Lenovo will iron those kinks out before the Vibe X hits ship shelves. It's rare to find a relatively high-spec Android phone that judders during use these days, so those issues ought to be addressed.