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Today Google debuted its first self-branded entry into the tablet market with the Nexus 7. With said device, Google looks to stake its claim as the premiere Android tablet device.
Nexus is Google’s series of Android devices produced in conjunction with select hardware manufacturers with the purpose of providing a “pure” Android experience. Pure in the sense that it does not come with carrier or manufacturer modification. Prior to today, the Nexus line was unique to phone devices.
The main reason for the Nexus line existing is that Android is a double-edged sword. The fact that it’s free and open-source makes it an easy decision for manufacturers, but also gives manufacturers the ability to do pretty much whatever they want to on their own devices.
Take the Amazon Kindle Fire for example. At a glance it looks nothing like any other Android device, yet it’s Android at the core, albeit a host of modifications. And in a broad stroke of irony, the Fire leveraged Amazon’s good name, along with a competitive price-point, to become the best-selling android tablet.
Last year the Amazon Kindle Fire was released to mostly-positive reactions. Specs were nothing to write home about, but the ecosystem and the price were its defining attributes. At one-hundred and ninety-nine dollars with a seven inch screen, is was in a class of its own for price and form factor. That is until today.
At a glance, a few differences can easily be noted. The Nexus 7 has a camera, while the Fire does not. The Nexus has a higher resolution screen. Other notable differences are processor and ram. The Nexus 7 runs on a 1.2 GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor and has 1 GB of ram, while the Kindle Fire has a 1 GHz Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 dual-core processor and has 512 MB of ram. Lastly the Nexus 7 has addition hardware features like a microphone, NFC, and GPS.
With the added caveat that the Kindle Fire is almost a year old now, the Google Nexus 7 has upped the ante in the seven inch table race, hitting the market with better specs than the Kindle Fire, while coming in at the same price point.
I’m sure everyone is expecting the Nexus 7 to sell like hotcakes, as am I, but the last card hasn’t been played as we are sure to hear news of this years version of the Kindle Fire sometime soon. The holiday season will the very interesting, as the Kindle Fire now has a true competitor in the seven inch tablet market.
I am sure you have already heard a tidal wave of news surrounding Microsoft’s Surface announcement, which was shrouded as “an event you don’t want to miss” in the press invites, effectively creating an Apple-like stir around a Microsoft product, which is seldom seen. Hype aside, Microsoft walks a thin line of the pursuit to make their Windows 8 operating system a success in the market, versus the mission to keep hardware manufactures happy.
If you haven’t heard the news, Surface is Microsoft’s entry into the tablet market. It is positioned as Microsoft’s branded experience for their new, re-imagined operating system. Microsoft is going all in as it readies for what is shaping up to be a real revolution in computing.
In reference to their position on how Microsoft’s entry into the tablet market will effect 3rd-party hardware manufacturers, Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer was quoted as saying that it was meant to “prime the pump” for hardware manufacturers, in essence, showing them how it should be done with their own signature branded tablet.
Specs for each of the Surface devices are as follows:
And if your wondering about the descriptions for the specifications (light, thin, clear), that is what Microsoft is using on their official press spec sheet.
First thing that jumps out at you about the specifications is that these tables are indeed larger diagonally in screen size than the iPad. The Apple iPad is about 9.7 inches, while the surface tablet is 10.6 inches. Kind of weird at first glance, but we have to remember that these tables are widescreen form factor, providing a true sixteen by nine experience for media consumption. The Window 8 Pro version has the “full” moniker attached to its display description, which implies the display will be 1080p (1920 by 1080 pixels) or greater, and both feature Gorilla Glass 2 technology.
The thickness and weight of the device is certainly a factor that weighs in on its design appeal in a culture where thinner and lighter in considered better. The WinRT version clocks in at 9.3mm thin and 676g, while the Windows 8 Pro version is 13.5mm thin and 903g. Not bad, but iPad does win out in this category at 9.4mm and 662g.
Microsoft describes their VaporMg Case & Stand as practical, which implies that it will be both durable and scratch-resistance to most wear and tear. According to MyElectricalExpert.com, VaporMG is “a combination of material selection and process to mold metal and deposit particles that creates a finish akin to a luxury watch. Starting with magnesium, parts can be molded as thin as .65mm, thinner than the typical credit card, to create a product that is thin, light and rigid/strong.”. –Works for me.
While the design does indeed seem impressive, maybe just as important are the features that accompany the overall design that complete the aesthetic. The kickstand is not a new concept, but is definitely a useful feature to have when needed. Added to the fact that the Surface can and will undoubtedly be used as a desktop, it is a must have feature.
Maybe most surprising is the Touch and Type covers introduced in the presentation. This definitely trumps anything I’ve seen on the Apple side as a keyboard solution, at least from a design stand-point. The Touch Cover is 3mm thick, attaches magnetically, senses keystrokes as gestures, and includes an accelerometer, which is supposed to make typing faster and allow the operating system to recognize key press force. Alternatively, the Type Cover is full-on tactile and includes a clickable track-pad, but is only 2mm thick. Both add important functional elements to the Surface tablet, as well as contributing to the overall design in a meaningful way.
While no official announcement on availability and pricing has been made, we can at least expect to see the Surface on WinRT when Windows 8 debuts, with the Windows 8 Pro version coming in the following few months.
Like it or not, cloud gaming is here, and here to stay. OnLive and Gaikai have both made the pipe dream a reality, and are currently in a head-to-head battle for the title of best cloud gaming service. While it’s debatable which of the two is better, seeing either one make steps to further the platform is exciting and quite possibly the unfolding of the future of the gaming industry.
At E3 2012, both announced partnerships that would implement their technology into the latest generation of smart televisions.
We are previewing the OnLive® Game Service on LG’s Smart TV with Google TV at E3, ringing in a new era when OnLive on-demand gaming is simply part of what you expect from your (incredibly cool) LG TV. Even better, these are 3D TVs, so once we get a few 3D games and enough TVs in the field, we’ll enable the 3D capability.
Samsung Cloud Gaming will open millions of consumers to an exciting new service that makes video games playable through Samsung Smart TVs. Connected via the Internet, Samsung Cloud Gaming utilizes Gaikai’s cloud-based streaming technology to deliver video games instantaneously to game players without the hassle of long download times, unsightly hardware or untidy wiring.
Who know’s which service will ultimately win the hearts and minds of gamer’s. And with the smell of the next generation of consoles just ahead of us, it wouldn’t be a stretch at all to say that OnLive or Gaikai may be bought by, or partner with, Sony, Nintendo, or Microsoft. Stay tuned.
As a kid, you are often subject to a lot of things you would rather not be doing. Things like, going to make groceries, riding along as your parent go pay bills, or even having to visit some cousins you don’t particularly like. But none is greater than having to do the all-day garage sale thing. Most family’s are looking to find a deal, and mine was no exception.
Now, don’t me wrong, there are plenty of good things to be had on the cheap from others whom have lost usefulness for them, but the proverbial grind of some Saturday mornings would leave even the most hopeful child tired and ready to go home.
But then again, there is that one glimmer of light to be had on the off chance that you will find a diamond among the ruff. That one item that you can’t believe that someone was trying to get rid of. Well, one day I found such in the form of a vinyl record of all things, a Spider-Man record.
Of course like any male child between the ages of six to ten, I loved Spider-Man. And I was gleaming from ear to ear to have found my gem in a haystack. Yes, this truly made all the agonizing hours of waiting and going from sale to sale that morning truly worth it.
To be more specific, the record I found was Power Records: The Amazing Spider-Man Vol II, a dramatization of about five Spider-Man stories. Unbeknownst to me, the record actually was release in 1974, much earlier then when I found it in the late-80′s. The front cover featured some artwork of the featured story, Invasion of the Dragon Men, while the back included very short panels of each of the stories.
To say this is the only record I’ve ever owned feels kind of weird though. When I was getting to the age that I’d actually want to own music, records were fading out of popularity, cassette tapes where just easier and everywhere, and compact discs where just becoming popular. Even so, I played the crap out of this record, even eventually getting it put on a tape somehow.
In hindsight, the story dramatizations are not great at all, but for an aspiring superhero, that was pretty much all I needed.
As the years has passed, I no longer have that record. Hopefully I passed it on to someone else to spark their imagination. Fast-forward to today, my three year old son is a huge fan of Spider-Man. I’ve been able to track down mp3 recordings of this record online and think I’ll surprise him the next time we take a ride in my truck. I’m sure he will enjoy them as much as I did twenty something years ago.
It’s the 25th Anniversary of the beloved Star Trek: The Next Generation series, and what better way to celebrate than a specially remastered version of the complete first season of said series. Not only that, but a lucky few of us –if you are in the right location– will get to see two episodes of the remastered series on the big screen.
For one day only, on July the 23rd, select cities will get a look at fan favorite episodes “Where No One Has Gone Before” and “Datalore” in its fully restored version. Attendees of the event will also get a look at the restoration process, as well as never-before-seen interviews with the original cast.
With a pretty big list of cities, chances are you won’t have to drive far if its not already in your city.
Also, the Star Trek: The Next Generation Season One Blu-Ray will be available the following day, July 24th. Pre-orders available now.
Nyko’s E3 lineup included an array of original controllers as well as some well needed peripherals for the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita. See the press release and screenshots below for all the details.
The PlayPad Pro is Nyko’s full-sized wireless Bluetooth® gaming controller for Android tablet devices. The controller features dual analog sticks, a d-pad, face buttons and shoulder bumpers for a console-style control experience on Android devices. The PlayPad’s utilizes a new standard HID protocol supported by today’s leading Android developers and hardware manufacturers. Nyko’s complementary Playground app will offer backwards compatibility for other Android games and a variety of button-mapping features, including customized controller layout. The PlayPad Pro will be available at select retail stores nationwide Holiday 2012.
The PlayPad is a travel-sized tablet controller with dual analog sliders, and includes a collapsible tablet stand and carrying case for console-like precision gaming on the go. Like the PlayPad Pro, the PlayPad controller utilizes the new HID protocol, Nyko’s Playground app and works with any Bluetooth-enabled device running Android 3.0 or higher. The PlayPad will be available at select retail stores nationwide Holiday 2012.
The Free Fighter for PlayStation®3 is an arcade-quality fight stick with eight face buttons, and a unique ambidextrous design for right or left-handed use. Compatible with all standard fighting games, the Free Fighter is made with authentic Japanese Sanwa® Denshi arcade-quality parts and includes an expandable base for comfort and security during lap-top use. The Free Fighter includes four fully customizable macro buttons for quick access to combos, as well as two variable speed turbo buttons for fast, slow or user-created tap speed. The Free Fighter will be available at select retail stores nationwide in September 2012 and will retail for an MSRP of $179.99.
The Power Grip Pro for the Nintendo 3DS is an analog slider controller case with extended battery. The hard protective case helps to prevent scratches and dings, and the ergonomic design provides optimal comfort and control. Gamers will enjoy the added control and functionality of the analog slider as well as triple the playtime. The Power Grip Pro for Nintendo 3DS will be available at select retail stores nationwide in October 2012.
The Power Grip for the PlayStation® Vita is an ergonomic grip with built-in rechargeable battery that enables a better hold on the Vita with controller-like grips and up to three times the battery life. The device snaps over the back of the Vita while allowing access to all buttons and the rear touch panel. The Power Grip for the Vita will be available at select retail stores nationwide in August 2012 and will retail for an MSRP of $29.99.
The argument about which paid service is the best, PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold, is an ongoing debate. Until now, the differences have been tit-for-tat, with both services sharing most of the same features, with the added caveat that some of the services that come with an Xbox Live Gold subscription are free on PlayStation Network, even without PlayStation Plus. Xbox Live Gold subscribers may tell you the quality of the service is well worth the price, and while the Xbox branded network may have been better in the times past, both networks have quickly reached parity.
With the E3 2012 announcement that PlayStation Plus has added an instant games collection, PlayStation’s paid network may finally have a leg-up on its Xbox counterpart. With this announcement, Sony has created a console subscription-based games model that probably should be adopted by both Nintendo and Microsoft. In other words, as long as you pay, you play. Each month PlayStation plans to release more titles to the ‘online games collection’, becoming what many of us have wanted for a long time, a Netflix instant-like service for games.
Of course you still have to download and install the games on your console, but the fact that this is on demand via a subscription plan if pretty exciting. The first volley of games for the month of June from Sony include: Virtua Fighter 5, inFAMOUS 2, Little Big Planet 2, Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, Just Cause 2, Saints Row 2, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, Hard Corp: Uprising, Choplifter HD, Zombie Apocalypse Never Die Alone, and Sideway NY –not too shabby at all.
Now the real question is, how long will it take Microsoft to follow suite? With subscription based games as an added bonus, Xbox Live Gold could bolster its ongoing sales by offering free downloads for games that are either classics or greatly waning in sales. I wouldn’t expect to get top tier games out a service like this, or even anything from the last year or so, but by releasing good but forgotten games, it would bring added value to the service, which could also include offering the same games for purchase to non-Gold members, or even allow a user to add the game to their permanent collection for a discounted price.
There a many possibilities for a gaming service like this. It will be very interesting to see how PlayStation does with this offering on their Plus service going forward. It will also be interesting to see if the other two big boy consoles will follow suite.
Windows 8 and its Metro UI has been the topic of mass discussion every since Microsoft announced their vast departure from what Windows has been for as long as most of us can remember. This doesn’t necessarily spell disaster for said operating system and its users, but definitely raises concern. Concern that what many of us love may turn into something we can neither confidently use or recommend. That being said, it would be a disaster if people simply choose not to adopt the new operating system, but then again, Microsoft hasn’t really given us any other options. That is part of the beauty, and could also be the failing, of shoving the Metro UI into Windows 8.
Yes I say, shoved into Windows 8. Let me explain. I was an early adopter of Windows Phone. I love it. Heck, I’ve even developed on the platform –insert plug here. The platform is a fresh breath of air. Like other Windows Phone lovers, I wanted to see an enhanced version of the operating system on a tablet device, but Microsoft had other plans. Plans not only to create a fully re-engineered version of a Windows Phone-like operating system for tablets, but also building the next proper version of Windows completely around this reworked code and design scheme.
What really drove Microsoft to incorporate a Metro UI into Windows 8 can more easily be understood from a business perspective. If Microsoft would have released a stand alone tablet device, they would have had to face the same overwhelming task they faced in the smartphone market, trying to overcome the saturation of iOS and Android devices. While Android may have the leg up on smartphone penetration –not perception–, you could easily say that iPad is the tablet market. Simply put, no matter how good Windows Phone is, it is almost impossible to overcome the market share the other platforms have. So, the only real, reasonable course of action for Microsoft was to force mass-penetration of their new user interface by using the leverage of their tried and true flagship software, Windows.
The slogans for Windows 8 include “No Compromises” and “Fast and fluid”. While it is yet to be seen if the aforementioned slogans will pan out for the average consumer, the pursuit of these goals from the Windows 8 development team is paramount.
No compromises implies just that. No matter how you have used Windows in the past, Windows 8 will work much the same way you have known and loved. Well, while we instantly know that’s not a hundred percent true, it is mostly true. I’ve used both the Consumer Preview and the Release Preview as my full-time operating system and I must say, it can definitely be used like its predecessors, with the caveat of a Metro UI replacing the old start menu.
I’ve said this many times, and this article won’t be an exception. Just think of the Metro UI as an over-glorified start menu. Case closed. Metro is just a new way to launch the old applications we know and love, as well as a way to launch all the new tablet-centric applications, presented in a nice touch-friendly environment. That’s all you really have to think about. Customize it to your heart’s content. Remove most of the Metro apps if you’d like. You have choice.
The fast and fluid slogan attached to the new operating system is just as important. If you plan to use the system like the Windows of old, this really won’t concern you. Applications will launch and operate just as they have in the past. But for people with touch-centric convertible laptops, or full-on slate devices, this becomes pivotable to the success of the platform.
How so? Look at Apple iOS. What makes that operating system so great? It’s not necessarily the look and design. Sure it looks okay, but even the utmost Apple purist are starting to complain that the whole operating system is starting to look dated. What makes iOS so great is its speed and the seamlessness at which tasks can be accomplished. You tap on an app, you expect it to launch pretty quickly. And this holds true for most of the functions of iOS, it’s fast and simply just works.
On any system that meets the recommended requirements for Windows 8, and especially so on Windows 8 certified devices, one should expect –demand– a certain amount of performance with launching, switching, and navigating apps. There can be no exceptions. Things simply must work and work well, no matter if I’m using a keyboard and mouse, or simply using a touch interface.
Regardless of the slogans associated with the product, one thing stands true, incorporating the Metro UI into Windows 8 was an unreasonably reasonable move. By leveraging their new user interface on the a product with mass penetration, Microsoft has in fact shoved Metro upon us, forcing us to become familiar with it.
The brilliance of this move is that the same user interface will be deployed in some form on all their products, creating a familiar ecosystem for their customers across the PC, tablets, smartphones, and the Xbox.
While the whole Metro-lution will be a bit of a growing pain for Microsoft, developers, and well as consumers, this will undoubtedly be a new and exciting experience that should reinvigorate the Windows universe by providing a new generation of applications and interfaces for a fast changing industry.
This fall will be interesting.
Where would the world be without Mad Catz accessories? No seriously, where would we be. As much as people like to rag on Mad Catz, these guys have made a name for themselves –grabs XBOX 360 Street Fighter controller– by providing affordable third-party accessories to our beloved consoles. And why would the Wii U be any different. So, if your planning to make the purchase of the Wii’s big brother (U –uncle?), check out the screenshots of first run of Wii U accessories below.
San Diego – June 5, 2012 – Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. (“Mad Catz”) (NYSE MKT: MCZ) announced today a full range of products compatible with the forthcoming Wii U console from Nintendo. The full line-up of Wii U compatible products is expected to ship in time for the launch of the console and includes the TRITTON Kunai™ Stereo Gaming Headset, PowerUp™ ChargeDock and the FlipStand™ Protective Cover. “We’re excited to supporting Wii U with a full range of accessories including our new headset,” said Darren Richardson, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. “The new range is part of our strategy to bring innovative products to passionate consumers.”
Additional information available at: www.madcatz.com/wiiu
Smallville’s long gone and the guys over at CW are desperately looking to fill the void. Maybe Smallville didn’t turn out the way we wanted, but it definitely was interesting. That being said, a Green Arrow show? Not sure if it will even get the rating Smallville did, but an interesting project none-the-less. Check out the full synopsis below.
After a violent shipwreck, billionaire playboy Oliver Queen was missing and presumed dead for five years before being discovered alive on a remote island in the Pacific. When he returns home to Starling City, his devoted mother Moira, much-beloved sister Thea, and best friend Tommy welcome him home, but they sense Oliver has been changed by his ordeal on the island. While Oliver hides the truth about the man he’s become, he desperately wants to make amends for the actions he took as the boy he was. Most particularly, he seeks reconciliation with his former girlfriend, Laurel Lance. As Oliver reconnects with those closest to him, he secretly creates the persona of Arrow — a vigilante — to right the wrongs of his family, fight the ills of society, and restore Starling City to its former glory. By day, Oliver plays the role of a wealthy, carefree and careless philanderer he used to be — flanked by his devoted chauffeur/bodyguard, John Diggle — while carefully concealing the secret identity he turns to under cover of darkness. However, Laurel’s father, Detective Quentin Lance, is determined to arrest the vigilante operating in his city. Meanwhile, Oliver’s own mother, Moira, knows much more about the deadly shipwreck than she has let on — and is more ruthless than he could ever imagine.