Saturday, November 24, 2007

Microsoft UK Offers Ten Free XBLA Games

If you live in the UK, here’s another reason to buy yourself an Xbox 360 – if you purchase one on a friend’s recommendation, both of you will get ten XBLA games absolutely free! All you have to do is fill in a form jointly with that friend of yours, and you’ll have these titles available for free:

Every Extend Extra Extreme, Sonic The Hedgehog, Street Fighter II Hyper Fighting, Bomberman Live, Marble Blast Ultra, Spyglass Boardgames, 3D Mini Golf Adventures, Small Arms, Assault Heroes and Zuma Deluxe.
Here's what Stephen McGill, head of gaming and entertainment, devices division, Microsoft UK had to say -

"Going into this holiday period with one of the greatest line ups in video game history is certainly a compelling reason for a friend to jump into the world of Xbox 360. However, this incredible offer also enforces the fact we’ve got an exceptional online service in Xbox Live, which truly does bring everyone together."

I’m not sure if this offer will ever make it to the Indian market, but my best guess is that it’ll be a while before we see something if this sort around here. After all, XBL has just launched in India and Microsoft wouldn't want to give us free goodies just yet.


Samung Reveals the Blackjack II

Samsung’s latest iteration of its popular Blackjack Windows Mobile phone is getting ready to hit the spotlight. The Samsung SGH-i617 BlackJack 2 (II) is said to have an integrated GPS module – the SiRF III GPS receiver that's apparently hardware-based.

No word yet on what software will be used though. We do know that the phone will run on Windows Mobile 6.0 OS and is a Quadband, GSM, HSDPA-enabled phone. Price and release date haven't been announced, nor have any detailed specs come to light.

Samsung SGH-i617 BlackJack 2 (II)Considering the fact that it is an upgrade, the SGH-i617 BlackJack 2 will presumably retain a familiar design, with QWERTY keypad and Wi-Fi connectivity. Hopefully it should also have Bluetooth with A2DP, and microSD support for external memory.

No word yet on what camera it'll sport, though being an upgrade it should have at least a 2 megapixel camera. But then again, this is only speculation... as soon as we know you’ll know, so stay tuned.


Friday, November 23, 2007

Nokia N-Series N82 - The Smartphone

N82- Multimedia Mobile with 5 MP CameraThis new Nokia has great 5 megapixel camera with optics from Carl Zeiss and a xenon flash (no optical zoom yet though), GPS and Wi-Fi.

Press release below-
It’s what cameras have become - the new Nokia N82

Nokia introduces a leading edge connected camera, navigation device and multimedia computer in one

Espoo, Finland, November 14, 2007 - Nokia unveils the Nokia N82, the latest multimedia computer optimized for photography, navigation and internet connectivity. With the tools to discover the places and moments worth capturing, and the capabilities to capture and share them instantaneously, the Nokia N82 offers photography enthusiasts an enhanced camera experience.

Discover, capture and share-
The Nokia N82 enables you to explore your surroundings and find your way with navigation and routing; document your adventures with the high quality imaging capabilities; and instantly share your experiences with one click upload to the web.

Featuring A-GPS, 5 megapixel camera, Xenon flash, Carl Zeiss optics and internet connectivity, the Nokia N82 also incorporates all the multimedia computer features common to Nokia Nseries. Like its predecessor the Nokia N95, the Nokia N82 is the latest epitome of a truly converged device that is not one thing but is many.

“The evolution of camera capabilities in mobile devices has been extremely fast over the past years. With the Nokia N82 we have reached such a superior level in image quality, speed and ease of use that not only does it outperform any other cameraphone on the market, but it’s also a very credible alternative for single purpose digital still cameras,” says Satu Ehrnrooth, head of Nokia Nseries Cameras Category, Multimedia, Nokia. “In addition to the high-end camera, the Nokia N82 also enables you to navigate and discover new places, enjoy your music, browse the web, play games, chat online and be part of the global web 2.0 community wherever you go. Thanks to the wireless broadband connectivity, convergence and yet again increased performance, the Nokia N82 is all you need in your pocket!”

Discover the world-
The powerful A-GPS and preinstalled* Nokia Maps help you explore and locate new places, whether in another country or just around the corner. All Nokia N82 standard sales packages come with a free voice guided navigation trial*, and you can purchase additional features, such as city guides and longer subscription to the navigation.

With access to more than 15 million points of interest, you can locate and navigate to the most interesting sights, bars or restaurants wherever you are. You can also send map excerpts and routes to friends by MMS or save map screen shots to the gallery.

Capture your experiences-
With a 5 megapixel camera, powerful Xenon flash and Carl Zeiss optics, the Nokia N82 delivers remarkably vivid photographs, even in low-light conditions. Fast camera activation, autofocus with a dedicated autofocus assist lamp, fast reloading between shots and DVD-like quality video capture make it a truly convenient and credible tool for capturing and telling your life stories.

Thanks to the 2GB microSD card in the standard Nokia N82 sales package*, you can store up to 900 high-resolution photos or up to 84 minutes of high quality video on the device.

“The Nokia N82 gives the best ever camera and navigation experience in one stylish premium device. Just imagine what kind of possibilities this will open up and how much richer your every day life experiences can be! The sophisticated design and glossy looks appeal to men and women who are conscious of their style and want to impress with the latest in technology,” Satu Ehrnrooth continues.

Nokia N-series N82Share your stories-
With high speed Wi-Fi connectivity and one-click upload to online communities, the Nokia N82 makes sharing your experiences and discoveries easy. When viewing a picture or video, simply one press of a button starts uploading it while you carry on using the device for other purposes.

Or you can impress your friends with multimedia slideshows - complete with music and effects - on the high resolution display or on a compatible TV.

The Nokia N82 comes with the new content driven 3D multimedia menu and includes a convenient orientation sensor that rotates the user interface automatically between horizontal and portrait mode. For quick and easy access to entertainment content, the Nokia N82 also supports the Ovi family of Nokia internet services, including Nokia Music Store, N-Gage games** and Nokia Maps.

The Nokia N82 is available now in key markets with an estimated, pre-tax, unsubsidized sales price of approximately 450 euros.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

T-Mobile offers iPhone without contract

BERLIN - Deutsche Telekom AG's mobile unit said Wednesday it would offer Apple's iPhone without a contract to comply with a court injunction, but consumers that opt out of a two-year contract will pay more than twice as much for it.

T-Mobile will start selling the combination smart phone-iPod media player for 999 euros ($1,477) immediately as well as continuing to offer it for the discounted 399 euros ($590) in combination with a two-year contract, the company said in a news release.

The iPhone made its German debut on Nov. 9 — available only with the two-year contract from T-Mobile. The German unit of rival Vodafone protested that practice at a state court in Hamburg.

The court issued an injunction, dated Nov. 12, barring T-Mobile from offering Apple Inc.'s iPhone exclusively with the minimum 24-month contract, and also from selling it only with a so-called SIM lock that prevents users from switching the device to any other operator's network.

T-Mobile said any customer can now also have the SIM lock on their phone removed — including those who have already purchased the iPhone.

The company released statement saying it would abide by the conditions "until the legal situation is resolved." The company could not immediately be reached for comment.

Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris declined to comment.

Companies routinely offer phone discounts to customers who sign up for lengthy contracts.

T-Mobile's popular Nokia N95 sells for as little as 199.95 euros ($295.63) with a two-year contract, or 619.95 euros ($916.60) without one.

On Tuesday, T-Mobile said it would appeal the injunction and it also said it reserves the right to consider seeking damages.

Vodafone said it wanted the issue settled.

"What matters is for all these questions to be resolved soon by the state court in Hamburg," Vodafone spokeswoman Marion Stolzenwald said.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple's strategy thus far had been to offer its iPhone through an exclusive mobile operator for each region: AT&T Inc. in the United States, O2 in Britain, T-Mobile in Germany, and soon France Telecom's Orange wireless arm in France.

It also has issued software updates that have disabled the workarounds hackers developed to get the iPhone to work on other carrier networks. Apple faces two consumer lawsuits in the United States that accuse the company of unlawfully restricting consumer choice by preventing users from unlocking their iPhones.

The new phone, which also can be used to surf the Web, does not operate on the fastest, so-called 3G networks, but is relying on a different technology called EDGE. T-Mobile argued that it is the only carrier to offer EDGE across Germany.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

HD DVD vs Blu-ray discs – Spaced out

The 21st century is the age of innovation and some revolutionary developments, which have rocked the world in such a way as to elevate human lives to an entirely new level. The Industrial Revolution invoked a whole new era of multi-faceted progress that went ahead to benefit humanity through two centuries of periodic research and development.

From the initial days of the birth of electronic devices like television, radio, music system, telephone and cameras, we have travelled eventfully towards a new world infested with mind boggling gadgets like High-Definition TVs, LCD monitors, digital cameras, mobile phones, DVD players and motion-sensor based video games. I personally had my share of fun with these devices, especially with my DVD player, what with my fascination as an avid film buff.

Naturally, keeping myself abreast about the latest developments in that area was part of my homage, which amused me quite well until the arrival of HD DVDs and blu-ray discs impressed me out of my boots totally. I mean, who could have ever thought that just a simple looking disc could accommodate about 50GB of pure fun. But if you ask me what would be a formidable choice between the two, a detailed study would land me up in mixed feelings.

HD DVD or High Definition DVD is a large capacity enabled optical disc that works on a blue-violet laser, which reads pits half the size of a DVD on compressed tracks. Supporting the latest formats like H264 and VC-1 video encoding algorithms or codecs, as well as MPEG 2, HD DVDs contain up to four hours or 15GB of rich quality video on a single layer, with the dual layer running up to 30GB.

Similarly, the blu-ray disc provides high-definition video with storage space extended up to 50GB for a dual layered disc. What's more the blue-violet laser works on a shorter wavelength than a red laser used on normal CDs/DVDs making it possible to focus the laser spot with greater precision. However, HD DVDs have one advantage over blu-ray discs. HD DVDs are an upgradation of the standard DVD created through traditional DVD stamping machines with minor modification unlike blu-ray discs, which require new equipments to make them.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Acer launches state-of-the-Art gaming laptop

Acer, the third largest vendor in the global PC market today launched the Aspire 7720G, a new gamers notebook series.

The Aspire 7720G comes with a new and powerful set of features designed to take overall system performance to unprecedented levels, and let you experience endless hours of games.

'Today's gamers demand the best, and the Aspire 7720G meets that demand,' said Mark Prosser, Product Marketing Manager, Mobility Products, Acer Computer (M.E) Ltd. 'Designed specifically to enhance the gaming experience of not just average users, but also of gaming enthusiasts who have come to expect only the best from Acer,' added Prosser.

'The Aspire 7720G will surprise gamers, we wanted to offer something extraordinary, incorporate many state-of-the-art technologies, the 7720G is a value-added product that will excite users,' added Prosser

To start with, the Aspire 7720G is equipped with Centrino 2 Duo processors and with the latest graphics engine: NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT with 512 VRAM. This powerful graphics card, compatible with Microsoft Direct X10, manages a 17-inch screen with CrystalBrite technology. In addition, the Aspire 7720G can be specified with up to 4GB of dual-channel memory for non-stop multimedia power.

For a truly immersive gaming experience, Acer has equipped the Aspire 7720G with Dolby-certified Home Theater Virtual Surround Sound speakers and a subwoofer, to deliver an extraordinary audio-visual experience.
Aspire 7720G - Acer New NotebookMultimedia-
Acer knows that gamers are also intensive multimedia users who build huge digital archives: for this reason the Aspire 7720 can be equipped with up to 500GB of hard disk space (2 hard disk drives of up to 2 x 250GB ). For the optical drive, users can choose between the excellent DVD-Super Multi double-layer drive and an HD-DVD drive . In addition, for easy and speedy data transfer, the Aspire 7720G sports a comfortable 5-in-1 card reader that supports the most common memory card formats.

The Aspire 7720G comes with integrated Acer Arcade, a DLNA compliant intuitive multimedia suite that greatly improves usability for enhanced TV and entertainment.

All multimedia functions can be controlled via the six touch-sensitive Media keys positioned to the right of the keyboard that offer convenient, one-button control over all your multimedia entertainment and instant access to the Aspire Arcade multimedia suite.

If you need to add voice and video to your communication, Acer has equipped the Aspire 7720G series with Acer Videoconference, a solution that supports VVoIP (Voice and Video over IP) and includes Acer CrystalEye, a webcam integrated into the top of the LCD display frame, Acer VisageON face-tracking technology and Acer PrimaLite technology - in addition to the optional Acer Bluetooth VoIP phone that automatically recharges itself directly from the ExpressCard slot. This handy device can also be used as a normal phone connected to the Notebook through optional Bluetooth connections. Used in combination with the integrated camera, the VoIP phone guarantees real-time videoconferencing and effortless broadcasting.

To stay connected everywhere, the Aspire 7720G comes complete with full wired and wireless connectivity options: WLAN with Intel PRO/Wireless 4965AGN IEEE 802.11 a/g/n that delivers wireless speeds of up to 5 times faster than the current ABG standard and LAN connection with Gigabit Ethernet cards. Highest antenna performance is guaranteed by Acer SignalUp Technology that ensures the very best signal quality.

All notebook functions can be efficiently managed with Acer's Empowering technology, an intuitive interface that gives users easy control over their notebook's security, performance, settings and communication with a single touch of the Empowering Key.

The Aspire 7720G series comes with Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium or Home Basic preinstalled. Additional installed software includes Microsoft Works 8.5 w/Office Home and Student 2007 Trial, Acer Empowering Technology, Acer GridVista, Acer Arcade and Arcade Deluxe, Adobe Reader, Norton Internet Security and CyberLink Power DVD and Power Producer, and a lot more.

All Acer notebooks come with a standard 1-year Carry In warranty, which can be extended to 3 years' cover with the Acer Advantage service that also covers accidental damage to the notebook, plus (ITW) International traveller's warranty.


Monday, November 19, 2007

T-Mobile Sidekick Slide is faulty

Following news of the recall of the Sony Ericsson Walkman W910i here in the UK, the T-Mobile Sidekick Slide is suffering a similar fate in the US.

Reports state the Slide, listed as "temporarily unavailable" on T-Mobile's official site has been "inadvertently" powering off for no reason.

T-Mobile has made a press statement "T-Mobile USA suspended sales of the T-Mobile Sidekick Slide on Friday evening, Nov. 16, after Motorola – the manufacturer of the device – confirmed that some devices may inadvertently power off when the slide door on the front side of the phone is opened or closed".

"T-Mobile has taken this action to help ensure our customers only receive devices we’re confident will perform at their peak, so they can stay effortlessly connected to those who matter most".

"Motorola is currently working to identify the root cause of the power cycle issue in affected Sidekick Slide devices. The T-Mobile Sidekick and Sidekick are not affected by this issue".

Customers affected are urged to return their handsets to stores where they will receive an upgrade to the LX model, We are waiting confirmation that this recall is for British handsets too and will update the story.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

UK Mobile Phone Retailer Goes Bust

The UK based online mobile phone retailer, Phonebox Direct has filed for bankruptcy with reported debts of between £4-10 million. Phone Box had been actively marketing via the internet mobile telephones which offered cash-back inc­entives to customers, providing certain conditions were met by those customers. In a statement on the company's website, it says that the number of customers that were able to comply with the terms and conditions and hence became eligible for the cash-back payments exceeded the company's expectations. The company is therefore no longer in a position to meet its ongoing liabilities to those customers.

This is not the first time a mobile phone retailer has offered cash-back incentives to customers, then filed for bankruptcy before it was obliged to make payments to its customers. Dialamobile, another retailer following the same business model went bust a few months ago. The company was investigated by Trading Standards offices after the collapse.

Lancashire County Councillor Jean Battle, Cabinet member for Community Planning and Partnerships, said at the time "Our Trading Standards Service has previously warned consumers of the potential problems with 'cash back' offers, particularly those which are over 12 months in duration as businesses providing longer term cash back offers often cease trading before the 'cash back' contracts are completed leaving consumers stranded."

Phonebox Direct says that has insufficient money available to enable payments to be made to employees and therefore it will no longer be able to answer any individual telephone enquiries. In addition, it follows of course, that email communications will remain unanswered. It is thought that around 45 staff have been made redundant.

The closure seems to have been very sudden - as at the time of writing - the company was still placing adverts on the Google search engine promoting its services. Evidently, the staff were not given time to shut down their existing advertising campaigns before being asked to leave the building.