Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Gadgets Watch Blog. Hope you enjoy the gadgets posts and the holidays....:)

Just wanna repeat "Adele Comandini and Edward Sutherland" words:
There are no strangers on Christmas Eve.
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Ericsson- Telecom equipment maker
Telecom equipment maker Ericsson announced on Thursday that it had signed a deal to provide a network for 21st Century Technologies in Nigeria.

Ericsson, the world's biggest mobile network maker, said in a statement the order was for a nationwide residential fiber-optic broadband network.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Will update you....
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Sony set to release next year on the PlayStation 3, God of War III continues where previous installment left off, with plenty of new enemies and refreshed graphics to top things off. I'm waiting for this, are you, tell us....
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Sony PS Home Hacked SnapshotA poster by the name of StreetskaterFU has outlined what he claims a method of hacking into PlayStation Home's servers for download, uploading and deleting files.

We're not able to verify his directions, but if true it would be a potentially calamitous oversight on Sony's part. Additionally, a PS3hax forum poster claims to have used StreeskaterFU's method and changed the movie posters and trailers.

We haven't seen any signs of hacker malfeasance during our time with Home, but let us know if your virtual moviegoing experience has been drastically altered.
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Apple iPhone Apps BusinessIt's no secret that being an iPhone app developer is at times rough business, mostly due to Apple's goofy authoritarianism. But judging by some recent soul-spilling by a few leading devs, things are getting rougher.

Craig Hockenberry of Iconfactory, developers of Frenzic and Twitterific, started things off with a post lamenting the difficulties of rising above the iPhone app's endless sea of 99-cent mediocrity (a sea I’ve spent plenty of often painful time wading through for our Week in iPhone Apps column). In his post, he worries about being damned to endlessly constructing 99-cent so-called "ringtone" apps rather than well-designed and innovative apps that take more resources to develop.

Hockenberry's "Dear Steve" states that an iPhone dev's life would be a lot easier if they could accurately track who exactly is downloading their apps (and which ads/links they clicked on to get to the store), and the ability to offer free demo version of apps that expire after a given time, prompting people to purchase the full app.

After setting off quite a ruckus of folks accusing Hockenberry of groundless complaining, the folks at Appcubby came to the rescue with a full monty on their financial records, showing, down to the dollar, what goes into keeping food on the table for an iPhone app developer (wherein we learned just how much Jason's post on Gas Cubby spurred sales). The Cubby folks backed up the call for free demos and more ad-tracking capabilities as two things that would greatly help the situation.
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LEGO Brick iPod Speaker snapshotThis nifty LEGO brick iPod speaker from ThinkGeek plugs right into the base and "actually sounds great - thanks in part to its 'Active Bass System.'" Available now at priced at $19.99.

Looking just like a blue building brick, this sucker just plugs into your iPod (supported models listed below) and that's that. The center bottom pegs are really volume up and down buttons.
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Sony said that it would launch its online 3-D social networking service (Home) for users of the company's PlayStation 3 video-game console. Home is similar to Linden Lab's Second Life in that it lets people create virtual characters, or avatars, to interact in cyberspace. PlayStation 3 users will be able to join the virtual world through a free software download.

Home is the latest online service for the PS3. Sony recently added video downloads to the PlayStation Network, which, according to the company, has 15 million subscribers worldwide. Nevertheless, Sony is seen as behind rival Microsoft, which makes the Xbox 360, in launching online gaming and video-download services.

In addition, Nintendo, which launched its Wii video-game console the same month as Sony launched PS 3, November 2006, has outsold Sony more than 2-to-1. Nintendo has sold 34.5 million units worldwide, compared with Sony's 16.8 million units.
Sony is hoping Home will help take its struggling video games unit to profitability. The unit has lost about $3.8 billion over the last two years, according to BusinessWeek magazine.

While PS3 users will enter Home for free, Sony hopes to make money by charging companies to interact with participants. The first companies to join Home include clothing designer Diesel, furniture designer Ligne Roset, energy drink maker Red Bull, film studio Paramount Pictures, and video content providers Hexus TV and Eurogamer.

Besides offering mini-games, videos, and special events, Home will craft it possible for users to create their own social networks and set up meetings in their own virtual apartments or in public gatherings. Home will offer instant messaging, voice, and video communications.

Sony first announced Home in March 2007, saying it would launch the service later that year. The company announced the first delay in October 2007, and again in April 2008. Sony launched a trial of the service to a limited number of PS3 users in August.
Read more on "Sony Home- Online Virtual World Launch Very Soon"!
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Unlike its game console predecessors, the PC version of Mirror's Edge is able to make full use of NVIDIA's PhysX engine for some stunning gameplay effects.

Check out the cool video here:
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Sony Computer Entertainment America confirmed the rumors that Playstation Home will be launching later this month.

Playstation Home Launch in DecemberPlaystation Home, Sony’s answer to Xbox Live, features a graphical virtual world where users can own a customizable apartment, play casual games with others, shop for products, and eventually access online media content.

BTW, It’s a free service. Will Sony have enough resources to maintain the quality and consistency necessary for a thriving online community? This is the one gamer that certainly hopes so.
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Desktop vs gaming console snapshotIf you’ve cash this Christmas—having saved up for gift to yourself or someone else then chances that you’re interested in upgrading video game experience this holiday season. But the question is: desktop or console gaming?

I’ve always preferred playing games on the desktop, with good reason. Though I’m thankful for not missing out on Metal Gear Solid, a classic that was only available on the PlayStation, I’ve more or less stuck to gaming PC style (Mac gaming, while vastly improved compared to a couple of years ago, is still way behind).

In a word, desktop gaming is versatile. There are a lots of things you can do with the mouse-keyboard combo. Have you tried playing a shooter on a console? It’s definitely a less responsive experience. And there are USB controllers. A gaming rig can easily surpass even the most advanced gaming console out there; it’s just a matter of the right specs. On top of that, a powerful gaming rig will most likely handle the most demanding apps out there.

On the other hand, the dedicated nature of gaming consoles is their strong point. The XBox 360 and PlayStation 3 are much cheaper than an equivalent PC capable of providing the same experience for instance. Which PC retailer offers full frame-rates for less than $200?

And let’s not forget the constant upgrade neurosis PC owners face. A new game with high required specs? Time to shell out for a new system! This may change soon, but with consoles you can at least count at least two upgrade-free years.

In short, it’s a matter of versatility and affordability. But I leave the question to you, dear readers. A PC or console for gaming?

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Nokia N97 SnapshotNokia has a new flagship phone. The N97 packs a 3.5-inch, 640 x 360 pixel (that's a 16:9 aspect ratio) resistive touchscreen display with tactile feedback and QWERTY keyboard into this sliding communicator with an "always open" window to favorite internet or social networking sites.

Nokia calls it the "world's most advanced mobile computer." To back up the claim they've dropped in HSDPA, WiFi, and Bluetooth radios, A-GPS, a 3.5-mm headjack, 32GB of onboard memory with microSD expansion (for up to 48GB total capacity), and a battery capable of up to 1.5 days of continuous audio playback or 4.5-hours video. 5 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss glass and "DVD quality" video capture at 30fps, too.

The specs are certainly impressive, let's see if the S60 5th Edition OS can support it. The N97 will launch with a retail price set at around €550 ($693) excluding subsidies and taxes, phone to ship in H1 2009.
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Video Problems in New MacBooks Apple has acknowledged two video problems in both the new MacBook and MacBook Pros, following past video problems with other MacBook lines. One of them seems pretty obvious. Called "the black screen of death", it happens when the graphic card goes into overload playing games, turning off video and locking up the system while the audio enters into a loop. Apparently it's a thermal issue, but Apple doesn't know if this is a hardware or software problem yet, according to an Apple Support forums member:
Just spoke to AppleCare UK and they also confirm "Apple are aware of the issue and are investigating. At present we do not know if this is a hardware or software issue and have been advised not to offer customers exchanges until the issue is better understood."

I've also read the posts suggesting this is a thermal issue but I got screen noise/distortion when just waking the machine from sleep and also monitored the fans while playing WoW and they were running at 6000+ rpm consistently.

Ultimately Apple have access to more testing resources and should come up with a fix fairly soon but if my replacement exhibits the same issues when it arrives in two weeks time, I doubt I'll keep waiting: I'll have it shipped back and ask for a re-fund until Apple sort this out and I can purchase a working computer.

The catch here is that it may be hardware-based and not software, because the problem happens under both Windows and Mac OS X.

Another problem seems less important, but users claim that it can be even seen in most systems at display in Apple retail stores: If you scroll a web page with HD video on it, there's a wave-like distortion affecting it. Apple says they are aware of the problem and they are working in a software patch that will solve the issue.
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Lift car snapshotUnlike other vehicles, the "LIFT car concept can adjust itself in the aerial parking without demanding any extra space." Prices are still not mentioned.

The main benefit is: Once you are done with your work, you can just drop it down and simply drive home. There is only one street smart solution to the soaring traffic problems and that is LIFT car concept.
Lift car aother snapshot
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iRiver Cellphone SnapshotWhile everyone is trying to emulate the iPhone's look, iRiver keeps playing their own metallic tune: Following the design of the beautiful Spinn—although more conservative than their experimental products—the new iRiver cellphone also has a brushed metal look, featuring both a pad as a controlling device and a large touchscreen, which supports handwriting recognition and multiple dictionaries.
iRiver Cellphone picsWhile it's not multitouch and its operating system may not be as advanced and powerful as the iPhone or Android OS, it looks like one to keep an eye on in the case it arrives to the US from Korea, where it will appear on March 9, next year.
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Electronic machine voting systemWell, it's election day here in the US, thought it'd be fitting to show what happens when electronic voting machines go The Simpsons.

Poor Homer Simpson. He's having a bit of trouble with a voting machine. We knew there was a good reason to vote absentee.

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Flying Ferrari picsMoller International has announced that it will be producing a flying Ferrari of sorts, based on the Ferrari 599 GTB. The vehicle "will use eight thrusters to take off vertically, hover, and fly forward at 150mph." Expecting to shell out around $787,000 on it's first released.

This car features a specially designed hybrid fuel & electric power system for the thrusters, and will be able to fly up to altitudes of 5,000 feet and go about 75 miles in the air before running empty.
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It hasn't been too awfully long since Windows Vista SP1 hit the intertubes for real, but the Vista team is already talking up SP2. We all know Redmond is focused on moving beyond all of this Vista hoopla and forging ahead with Windows 7, but there's apparently still some work to do on the outfit's current OS.

Windows vista SP2 snapshotUnfortunately, the latest update isn't exactly enthralling, as we're given no set time frame for launch and we're not shown any forthcoming changes that really get our juices flowing. For instance, Vista SP2 will add Windows Search 4.0 for faster and improved relevancy in searches, the Bluetooth 2.1 Feature Pack, ability to natively record data on Blu-ray media and Windows Connect Now (WCN) to simplify WiFi configuration. Waiting for your comments please........
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Sony Bravia LED Plasma vs LCDCnet has reviewed the 55-inch, plasma-killin' tri-color LED-backlit Bravia XBR8 we saw a couple months ago. Spoiler: Sony's setup didn't lie—it's the best LCD TV ever, falling just short of the best HDTV ever, nearly matching Pioneer's PDP-111FD (Cnet's best flat-panel period) in blacks, color accuracy and bright-room picture quality.

Here's what great: The black levels are near-Kuro deep. In dimly-lit scenes, blacks had "an inky depth in dark areas that lent superb punch and realism to the image, and easily outclassed the rest of the non-Pioneer sets." The only taint is that when bright areas are next to dark ones, it lightens up the bars a bit, so Pioneer wins here. The color accuracy "is nothing short of superb" and after calibration they're as "excellently balanced and still as saturated as on the Pioneer." Its de-juddering mode is also the best they've ever seen."

It's few weak points: Image quality fades when you look at it from an off angle, the previously mentioned blooming with high contrast images, and the dejuddering can produce some artifacts, especially with a standard-def picture. Oh, and it's $7000, the most expensive TV they've ever tested.
Read more on "Best LCD TV- Sony LED Bravia KDL-55XBR8 Reviews- Plasma vs. LCD"!
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Blizzard has announced that StarCraft 2 "is probably going to get delayed again and split into three parts. Part 1, which features a Terran single player campaign, is still targeted to be out sometime in 2009."

StarCraft 2 snapshotYou won't get to play Zerg or Protoss, though, since their single player campaigns have been plucked out and turned into expansion packs, which will be released one and two years respectively after part 1.
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Game Trailers count down the top ten most anticipated games of the Tokyo Game Show 2008, which includes White Knight Chronicles, Resistance 2, and Resident Evil 5.

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According to a Capcom representative, RE5's "online play is really just the game's story mode played either by one or two players."

Resident Evil 5's Xbox 360 snapshotTGS, Capcom will have a total of 50 playable kiosks split 25 to 25 between the Xbox 360 and PS3. This could rise as high as 70 when including demo units in the Sony and Microsoft booths.
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An Israeli researcher Aviv Raff has gone public with security flaws in iPhone after what he terms two-and-a-half months of inaction from Apple.

Writes Raff on his blog:
I have disclosed the technical details to Apple few weeks before that post, in a hope to get those security issues fixed as soon as possible. Unfortunately, two and a half months later, and still there is no patch for those vulnerabilities. I've asked Apple several times for a schedule, but they have refused to provide the fix date.
Apple iPhone design errorsThe first is the URL display flaw in the iPhone's Mail that could allow an attacker to send a message containing a malicious URL that looks legitimate. "In most mail clients (example on your PC/Mac), you can just hover the link and get a tooltip which will tells you the actual URL that you are about to click," explains Raff in a blog post. "In iPhone it's a bit different. You need to click the link for a few seconds in order to get the tooltip. Now, because the iPhone screen is small, long URLs are automatically cut off in the middle."

This makes it possible for an attacker to create a long URL that displays a trusted domain while taking the user to another domain entirely, he explains. The user would only see the portion of the domain designed to look familiar and is more likely to click on the malicious link.

Opening the URL in the iPhone's Safari browser would not help as it too displays only a portion of the long URL.

The second bug according to Raff is in the iPhone's Mail application, which makes it easier for spammers to identify valid email accounts, and thus mark them for more spam.

Since iPhone automatically downloads all image attachments, and there is no way to disable this feature, it is easy for spammers to identify a working email account. "The spammer who controls the remote server will know that you have read the message and will mark your mail account as active in order to send you more spam," said Raff.

Raff recommends that since there is no way to disable auto-image download on the iPhone, users should refrain from using Mail until Apple patches the problem.

Raff calls this "a pretty dumb design flaw" which has already been fixed by most other mail clients ages ago.
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After months and months of speculation and rumor from all corners of the internet and beyond, downloadable content for the Wii version of Rock Band 2 has been confirmed. USA Today reports that the functionality has indeed been confirmed, and with the release of Rock Band 2, Wii owners will finally be able to spend the massive amounts of cash Xbox 360 and PS3 owners have been spending for the past year.

Rock band 2 singing snapshotWhile unannounced, MTV Games has confirmed that the upcoming Nintendo Wii version of ``Rock Band 2'' will offer the same online functionality — i.e. song downloads and Internet multiplayer modes — as the Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PS3 versions. The PS2 version, however, will not include online connectivity.

Source- Kotaku
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Like Yahoo and MSN before them, Walmart is turning off its DRM servers on Oct. 9, effectively putting any DRM'd songs you bought from them into a cold stasis they'll never wake up from, since they'll become totally unmovable unless you circumvent the DRM.

Walmart shop snapshotWalmart went through this earlier with their video store, though it didn't matter since no one bought anything from it.

Here are the information post by someone got mail from Walmart Music Team-
Important Information About Your Digital Music Purchases

We hope you are enjoying the increased music quality/bitrate and the improved usability of Walmart's MP3 music downloads. We began offering MP3s in August 2007 and have offered only DRM (digital rights management) -free MP3s since February 2008. As the final stage of our transition to a full DRM-free MP3 download store, Walmart will be shutting down our digital rights management system that supports protected songs and albums purchased from our site.

If you have purchased protected WMA music files from our site prior to Feb 2008, we strongly recommend that you back up your songs by burning them to a recordable audio CD. By backing up your songs, you will be able to access them from any personal computer. This change does not impact songs or albums purchased after Feb 2008, as those are DRM-free.

Beginning October 9, we will no longer be able to assist with digital rights management issues for protected WMA files purchased from If you do not back up your files before this date, you will no longer be able to transfer your songs to other computers or access your songs after changing or reinstalling your operating system or in the event of a system crash. Your music and video collections will still play on the originally authorized computer.

Thank you for using for music downloads. We are working hard to make our store better than ever and easier to use.

Walmart Music Team
Source- Walmart
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Spellborn snapshotThe decidedly different MMO Chronicles of Spellborn, finally has a release Germany and the rest of Europe at least. Delivered with this preliminary packshot was news that November 27th would be the fateful date when the game finally sees the light of fluorescent retail store bulbs.

They'll be ramping up things on the beta front over the coming weeks, so now would be a pretty good time to hit up the web page and register, just in case you care to get a taste. For more info, have a look-

Source- kotaku
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It is now backtracking from its initial prediction that iTunes 8 won't be a hit in Apple's Let's Rock September 9 event. Not only iTunes 8 will be available then, but they say Apple will also release the iPhone 2.1 update that in theory will fix its huge password security flaw.

Jacqui hints that the 2.1 update will have new secret features that are absent from the beta.

Source- Gizmodo
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Mercenaries 2 world in flames cover artMercenaries 2 World in Flames is an upcoming video game developed by Pandemic Studios and published by Electronic Arts. It is the sequel to 2005's Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction and is due for release in the United States on August 31, 2008 and in Europe on September 5, 2008. The game is set in Venezuela.

Mercenaries 2world in flames snapshotIn this Mercenaries 2 World in Flames featurette, "director Cameron Brown talks about destruction, and why it is such an important part of the game's concept."

Source- Techeblog and Wiki
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Wired news from that Vodafone iPhone 3G will come for no less than Rs. 31,000 and Rs. 36,100 for th 8GB and 16GB versions i.e. approximately $700 and $825, which probably will be the most expensive iPhone 3Gs on any carrier in the world.

Apple iPhone in India
In all probability, the iPhone 3G will be priced the same on Airtel as well. Subscribers who had pre-booked the iPhone 3G on Vodafone can pay an advance of Rs 10,000 either today or tomorrow to break the queues. Let's see how many of Indian people book in advance....

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Microsoft's Zune is looking to Hollywood to gain an edge on Apple's iPod.

Microsoft Zune player seeking Hollywood stardomMicrosoft executives have been making the rounds at talent agencies and production companies in recent months in hopes of licensing exclusive original video programming for the portable media player, which has struggled to gain traction in the marketplace.

While Microsoft has denied persistent rumors that Zune would expand into communications a la Apple's iPhone, the company confirmed being in an "exploratory phase" regarding supplementing the TV content it already licenses from studios with Zune-only fare.

But rather than just stock up on traditional formats like sitcoms, Zune is looking for nonconventional programming that can capitalize on the device's social networking platform, according to Richard Winn, director of entertainment development at Zune.

"What we would be looking to do with any form of original content is the added component that Zune could provide that iTunes or any competing service couldn't," Winn said.

Exclusivity could mean either locking up content that only appears on the Zune platform or syndicating content that appears first on Zune before moving elsewhere with Zune branding.

Finding some point of distinction is becoming paramount for Zune as it strives to come anywhere close to the market share that iPod has amassed among portable media players. In May, Microsoft said that just 2 million Zunes had been sold since the product's launch in November 2006, whereas Apple reportedly averages 3.5 million iPod sales per month.

But the iPod has no exclusive content. Becoming the only hand-held device to boast exclusive programming could represent either a bold reinvention of Zune or a last-ditch effort to stave off extinction.

Microsoft has been dogged by rumors that Zune will be scrapped. Robbie Bach, president of entertainment and devices division at Microsoft, raised eyebrows last month among Microsoft watchers by barely mentioning Zune in a session with analysts.

But Winn said Zune is in no such danger. Rather, the product plays a key role in Microsoft's buildout of an interconnected ecosystem where content seamlessly flows among all company-owned platforms like Xbox.

It's that gaming console that inspired Microsoft to think differently about Zune, Winn said. He cites "Halo," the popular video game franchise that helped establish Xbox as a tool for remote multiplayer action as opposed to single-player mode. Similarly, Winn sees Zune as poised to redefine video consumption -- from the traditional solitary pursuit to the backbone for a more communal experience.

Key to that strategy is Zune Social, which connects Zune users through social networking software that, among other capabilities, lets fellow subscribers know the last song consumed. By Winn's thinking, the characters in an original program conceivably could have playlists of their own that could automatically load into users' devices -- deepening connections between users and content.

"The thing we've all been looking for is, 'What can we do that is a little more interesting than just looking at a piece of video?' " Winn said.

It's a far cry from when Zune launched nearly two years ago as a music player. But Microsoft has broadened its utility just as iPod has, introducing a video marketplace in May with a few select content partners including NBC Universal and MTV Networks. Gaming also is slowly being added.

Now Zune is looking to not only add programming that iTunes doesn't deliver but also take the same programming it does and supplement it with Zune Social. Microsoft already has begun experimenting with adding extra features to video game "Ninja Gaiden II" and NBC series "Heroes."

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Rumours are that an Xbox 360 price cut is in the works, and now we're starting to see some evidence -- VGChartz scored this image of an unknown retailer's inventory system showing the 360 Arcade dropping to $199 on September 7th.

Xbox 360 Arcade- $199 on Sep7There's no word on whether the rumored 60GB and Elite price cuts are coming as well, but they'd certainly be welcome -- and with Rock Band 2 scheduled to hit just a week later, we'd say next month is looking like a good one for Xbox fans.

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iPhone2.1 beta, nano & shuffleWho knows how much this is worth, but there's a lot of chatter flying around today about some text strings in the beta release of iPhone OS 2.1 that make reference to an "iPod2,1." Seeing as the current iPod touch is designated "iPod1,1," that's a pretty strong hint that a new model is coming.

What's more, it's going to be almost exactly the same as the current iPod touch, with maybe the addition of GPS -- it's not like Apple is going to position this thing above the iPhone.

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Sony's senior marketing manager for PSP, was when mentioning that GPS-enabled games could eventually hit the PSP, but he definitely threw it out there. Speaking about the forthcoming GPS add-on for the PlayStation Portable, Koller stated that said module "changes the dynamics of GPS but also changes the way developers think about games on PSP, because you can start integrating GPS into it."

Sony bigwig GPS enabled PSP game snapshot
He continued on by mentioning that Sony's own first-party studios were "already looking at a number of things [involving GPS in games]," and concluded by asserting that a GPS game could land on the system as early as next year.

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Castlevania judgement wii gameplay snapshotStraight from the E3 2008 vaults is brand new Castlevania Judgement gameplay. This Wii game "promises to take the long running vampire hunt in a decidedly punchy direction."

As great as it is to see the Belmont clan stretch their arms, with previous 3D Castlevania's driving a stake deep into the heart of "meh," it's impossible to feel anything beyond cautious optimism for Konami's latest experiment.

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8th July'2008, Google launched its own world -- a virtual world, to be exact. Lively, which Google likes to call a "virtual experience," allows you to create an avatar, decorate your own virtual room, invite friends to your room and do things you've always dreamed of, like blow up oil barrels on a deserted island.

Unlike popular virtual worlds such as Second Life, Lively doesn't require you to download new software. All you need is a browser plug-in. The service is also more distributed than Second Life: Its rooms will live on Web pages on Facebook and other sites, so you might stumble across them when browsing the Internet. Rooms can be private spaces, with entry by invitation only, or open-topic rooms, where you can meet people interested in discussing topics you love, like Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Aniston or Google. It also ties into other Google services. You can stream YouTube videos into your virtual living room or post your Picasa pictures on your walls.

It's easy to choose avatars from a number of different options, including a turban-wearing bear. It's easy to change their clothes, hair color and skin color. It's easy to drag and drop furniture and lava lamps to position them around your room. Want your turban-wearing bear to wave to the hot mama across the room? Just type \wave. Want him to giggle? Just type \laugh.

Lively looks hip, too. It's kind of a combination between anime and a Disney movie, with wide-eyed avatars and colorful, angular scenery. Chat bubbles are brightly colored and attached to avatars with long stems.

All of which leads to the big question: Is Lively going to be the site that finally brings virtual worlds into the mainstream? Probably, said Chris Sherman, executive director of Virtual Worlds Management, an industry trade group. "With a player like Google jumping into this, you're going to see a lot more people understand this space and pay attention to it," he said.

Read more on "Google Lively - A Social 3-D virtual world unveils with video"!
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Sony PS3 2.40 chat 2- PS3 2.41 is out nowSony's 2.41 firmware update for the PS3 is apparently out and riding the network updates. This according to readers and those of the official PlayStation Blog.

Now take deep breath, install, and hope your system doesn't hang like it did for the few 2.40 unfortunates.

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New chracters in tatsunoko vs capcomMore characters join the Tatsunoko vs. Capcom fray! Previously, it was announced that the Capcom side was getting Street Fighter III's Alex and the Tatsunoko side was getting Gan-chan from anime Yatterman. The latest brawlers in this gaming characters versus anime character fight: Darkstalkers' Morrigan Aensland, Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams' Soki, Hurricane Polymar and Golden Warrior Gold Lightan.

Itsatrap in tatsunoko vs capcom gameAs game site Arcade Renaissance points out, the game's button layout seems similar to the Sengoku Basara X one. Something to keep in mind as Japanese arcade location tests kick off this weekend! That, and the possibility of even more new characters.

Read more on "New chracters- Morrigan, Onimusha's Soki Joining New Capcom Brawler"!
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Hands on with SEGA-sonic-unleashed-gameplayThat's right, no more teasers, SEGA has just released official Sonic Unleashed gameplay footage. This game looks very promising.

Sure, Sonic Unleashed looks good - better than any Sonic the Hedgehog effort we've seen in a long time - but when Sega's mascot gets all real world on us, we have to question this stuff. Let's see, what will be the future???

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AT&T Pogo 3D Web BrowserAT&T's doing a desktop browser called Pogo—it's a "3D visual web browser" built on Firefox 2. (They're moving it to Firefox 3 currently.) It has some graphically interesting ways of doing bookmarks, history and tabs, and a dock along the bottom. I'm kind of mixed on it so far—the eye candy doesn't always translate into more productive browsing—but they're looking to spread out the beta pool and have given us a code that's good for 500 downloads.
  • Intel / AMD processor @ 1.0 Ghz or higher
  • 1.0 Gb Ram (as low as 512Mb minimum for systems with a dedicated video card)
  • Discrete or Integrated video card with 128 Mb Video RAM, DirectX 9.0c hardware compatible
  • Desktop set to 32-bit color
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Digital pen reviews with snapshotThe pen, once mightier than the sword, has been getting trounced by the keyboard in the computer era. Now and then there's a push toward "pen-based computing" that doesn't get very far.

But in a test of the latest crop of pens that combine ink with digital technology, at least one stands out as a useful tool and a complement to the keyboard.

All three pens I tested record what the user writes, and can transfer an image of those notes to a PC. The standout of the group is the LiveScribe Pulse, which also records audio as you're writing. Later, you can tap a place in your notes, and the pen will play back what it was hearing when that was written.

As you can imagine, this is something of a Holy Grail for journalists, who run around with notepads and voice recorders. A classic problem for us is finding the right place in an audio recording without listening through the whole thing. The Pulse solves this problem.

Students also should pay attention to this pen. There is probably no better gadget for taking notes in class, except perhaps a Tablet PC, which allows you to write on the screen. But Tablet PCs are expensive and more difficult to use than the Pulse, which works with standard Windows PCs. You can also use it in a more limited fashion without a PC.

A Pulse with 1 gigabyte of memory costs $149 from LiveScribe's Web site. A model with twice as much memory costs $199, but the cheaper model has room for 35 hours of audio at the highest quality setting, or more than 100 hours at a lower setting, so it's a good value.

The greatest limitation of the Pulse is that it only works with special paper, preprinted with a pattern of dots. These are picked up by a small camera in the pen (this is the reason the pen is about as thick as a cigar), which lets it figure out where it is on a page. The pen comes with a 100-sheet college-ruled notebook. You can buy a four-pack of additional notebooks from the site for $19.95. Later this summer, LiveScribe hopes to make it possible for users to print their own paper.

The dot-sensing technology in the pen comes from a Swedish company, Anoto, and has been incorporated in a number of pens from other companies.

Another example is the Nokia Digital Pen SU-27W, which uses Bluetooth technology to transfer notes to a cell phone. Dash off a message on one of the small notepads that come with the $299.95 pen, and you can send it as a text message or as picture message through the phone.

The utility of this is hard to grasp. For your note to be converted to a text message, the phone needs to guess at what your handwriting means. If you use block letters, it does a decent job, but any sort of cursive will confuse it, and no wonder — even powerful computers can have a hard time interpreting handwriting.

You can bypass the text conversion by sending the note as a picture, but you really don't need a $299.95 pen and a special notepad to do that, just a cell-phone with autofocus camera. Write your note on any kind of paper, photograph it and send it off. Not as legible as text message, but more personal, for sure.

The Nokia pen can also transfer the notes to a PC, and does a decent job of this, but I really missed the audio-recording feature of the Pulse.

The third pen, the Iogear Mobile Digital Scribe, uses a completely different technology. It doesn't need preprinted paper. Instead, you attach a small "clip" with an LCD screen to the notepad you're using. The pen, which is the size of a regular ballpoint, signals its position to the clip using ultrasonic pulses and invisible infrared light. Connect the clip to your computer to transfer the notes.

The major virtue of this is that it can be used with any notepad. But as with the Nokia pen, the utility is questionable. If you need to save your notes on the PC, you can photograph them or scan them without using a digital pen. The pen does make the process easier, and the notes are clearer, but here and there I found that the clip missed part of a letter.

By tethering the clip to the computer, you can use the pen to control your mouse cursor, much like the dedicated pen tablets graphics artists use. This looks fun, but again, it's not very useful, and dedicated tablets do a better job.

The software that comes with the $129.95 Digital Scribe had the supremely annoying habit of launching when the computer started, and sending up an alert bubble every time, saying that the clip was not connected. This feature could not be turned off.

The LiveScribe Pulse software also had some odd limitations. I was unable to install it on my work computer because the "My Documents" folder was on another computer in the network. There's no way to convert the notes into a text file, or turn notes into e-mail, but you can upload your notes to LiveScribe's Web site to share them, with audio included. The LiveScribe, like the other pens, comes with Windows software only.

But at least the Pulse demonstrated that pens can still be relevant. Sure, you can bring a laptop to a lecture to take notes, but that means you need one eye on the screen. When writing by hand, it's much easier to pay attention to the speaker (and you can draw diagrams too). This is even more important in interviews, where taking notes by hand allows you to maintain more eye contact. Even in a digital world, that's important.

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Resident Evil 5 Game interviewIn this Resident Evil 5 producer interview, we "get inside info on the game that will be the pinnacle of the survival horror drama."

Powerful lighting effects overwhelm the player with mirage movement and blinding brilliance, and even in the light of day, there is no safe haven in this Resident Evil.

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Fracture trailer snapshotIn Fracture, "players are equipped with an arsenal of futuristic weaponry to strategically reshape their surroundings on the fly."

Every action they perform dynamically reshapes the earth in ways no videogame has ever seen. When Briggs throws a tectonic grenade on a level battlefield, the ground blasts upward to provide access to an otherwise unreachable area.

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MSI Wind pre release reviewIt's pretty tough to wrap your melon around, but MSI's Wind has not yet officially launched per se. That being said, it has still managed to end up in the hands of quite a few eager subnote lovers, and Laptop Mag is no exception.

Shortly after the UK branch of CNET posted up their initial impressions, along comes yet another mini-review to get you even more worked up about June 3rd. Here's the skinny so far:
the screen is amazing, keyboard is as well, the trackpad is simply too cramped and the port assortment is very respectable. All in all, critics were left "seriously impressed,"
and they even threw together a video and image gallery for checking out afterwards.

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HTC touch dual- Launching in the USAt first, we were all stoked at the realization that it took HTC shy of two months to go from announcement to availability of its US-flavored Touch Dual, but then we had this wet blanket thrown on us when we reflected on the fact that it's been like six months since the European model was first shown. No bother -- at least the US model will be among the very first devices anywhere to ship with Windows Mobile 6.1 out of the box, which is kinda cool.

Best Buy will be offering the phone starting this weekend for $549.99 unlocked, available on its website or directly from "select" Best Buy Mobile locations around the country, so try not to let those visions of Diamonds distract you too much while you're whipping out the credit card.

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Age of conan trailer demoIn the Xbox 360 version of Age of Cona, "Funcom has implemented even more brutal fatalities into the game, including a melee slash."

Though it wasn't on display, Funcom informed us that an updated graphics tech has been implemented into Age of Conan, called Cheetah 2, which they claim drastically improves framerates.

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Panasonic vieracast- Internet enabled plasmaAfter slipping past their original spring release date, Panasonic's PZ850 series of plasmas are no longer the only ones with YouTube support, but those desiring internet features, high contrast ratios and easy-access calibration settings can expect them on shelves this summer.

The 46-, 50- and 58-inch versions should all be available in mid-June, with the 65-incher rolling out in August. Other than the IP features (Picasa access is also part of the package) the THX-certified PZ850s support h.264 playback from the SD card slot, RS-232C, 24p native playback, and a variety of display modes and settings to get the picture just the way the director intended, the way you like it, or anywhere in between.

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