CES 2013: NVIDIA unveils Project SHIELD Android gaming platform

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Jan 072013

Nvidia Project SHIELDAlong with its new Tegra 4 SoC, NVIDIA has unveiled the first device to use it. In a surprise move, it turns out to be one that has designed. Project SHIELD is a portable gaming platform that will play not only Android games but also PC titles by streaming them over a LAN from a PC equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 GPU or higher.

“Project SHIELD was created by NVIDIA engineers who love to game and imagined a new way to play,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder and chief executive officer at NVIDIA. “We were inspired by a vision that the rise of mobile and cloud technologies will free us from our boxes, letting us game anywhere, on any screen. We imagined a device that would do for games what the iPod and Kindle have done for music and books, letting us play in a cool new way. We hope other gamers love SHIELD as much as we do.”

Project SHIELD is a clamshell device powered by the new Tegra 4 SoC. It comes with a built-in controller, a 5-inch HD (1280×720) touchscreen display, Wi-Fi, and built-in speakers. The 33Wh battery promises between five and ten hours of play time or 24 hours of HD video playback.

A future software update will also allow Project SHIELD to stream content from the device to televisions wirelessly so that you can use a larger display when one is available.

NVIDIA will launch Project SHIELD in both Canada and the U.S. in Q2. It did not reveal pricing.

Read more: NVIDIA

Microsoft working on an Xbox Surface tablet?

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Nov 062012

Microsoft’s plans to build more hardware products appear to extend beyond its rumoured Surface smartphone. The Verge has learned that the company is also working on a 7-inch gaming tablet. Rumours of such an Xbox Surface tablet first surfaced back in June and appear to be accurate according to the report.

Rather than a smaller version of the Surface tablet, it will sport a custom Windows kernel. It will support traditional tablet functions like messaging but will be focused on gaming. While the final hardware architecture has not been finalized, the selection of components such as a custom ARM processor and high-bandwidth RAM will emphasize this focus. It’s not clear why Microsoft would opt for a customized gaming tablet rather than a Windows one with additional gaming capabilities. The report suggests that it could still be axed in favour of a full Windows version, suggesting that Microsoft may be looking at both options.

The report indicates that the Xbox Surface tablet is in the final stages of implementation. It could be announced as a companion device to the next-generation Xbox gaming console sometime in 2013.

Read more: The Verge

Summary of Apple iPhone 5 September 2012 press event

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Sep 122012

With the usual stratospherically high expectations, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook once again took to the stage today to kick things off. Here is a summary of the event, including the announcement of the Apple iPhone 5:

  • Update on Apple’s retail stores and sales:
    • Apple now has 380 stores in 12 countries, promising “best buying experience and the best customer service on the planet.”
    • 83 million visitors to its stores last year alone
    • 7 million Mountain Lion upgrades downloaded since launch this summer
    • Apple notebooks have held #1 position in US for the past three months
    • 17 million iPads sold last quarter bringing total since lauch of first iPad to 84 million
    • 400 million iOS devices sold across the world up to June 2012
    • 700,000 apps now in Apple App Store
  • Apple iPhone 5 announced:
    • Made entirely of aluminium and glass
    • 18% thinner than the iPhone 4 and billed as the thinnest smartphone at 7.6 millimeters
    • 112 grams (or 20% lighter than iPhone 4)
    • 4-inch 16:9 1136 x 640 pixel Retina Display (326ppi)
    • Display sports integrated touch sensors, effectively eliminating a layer and making it thinner and sharper
    • Apps such iWork updated for iPhone 5 and the new display. Apps that are not updated will be centered on the display with black borders on sides.
    • LTE connectivity as well as HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA
    • In Canada, iPhone 5 will run on Bell, Fido, Koodo, Rogers, TELUS, Virgin Mobile
    • Wi-Fi upgraded to support dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz on 802.11n
    • New Apple A6 offering twice the processor and GPU performance compared to A5. Also 22% smaller
    • Improved battery – Promised to last longer than that of iPhone 4S: 8 hours for LTE, 8 hours for 3G talk time, or 10 hours for Wi-Fi or video
    • Improved camera with 8MP sensor, f/2.4 aperture, and 25% smaller than that of iPhone 4S
    • New camera promises faster image capture, improved low-light performance, new Panormama mode
    • HD FaceTime camera
    • Facetime over cellular networks now possible (as long as carriers support it)
    • Improved speakers are 20% smaller
    • New connector called Lightning. 80% smaller, all-digital, and reversible
    • Adapter for 30-pin accessories will be available to enable to work with the iPhone 5
    • Available in 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB variants
    • Available in black or white
    • New version of iOS
  • iOS 6:
    • Updated version of Maps now include search engine for points of interest, turn-by-turn directions, and 3D mode
    • Updated Notification Center
    • Improved Safari includes fullscreen mode and tab syncing with other devices (such as your desktop)
    • New PassBook to manage items like tickets, boarding passes, cards, etc
    • Upgrade for qualifying devices will start September 19th
  • iTunes
    • Revamped iOS design as 66% of downloads now come from iOS
    • Facebook integration
    • New version of PC version includes revamped navigation and new mini player
    • New feature: “Up Next” lets you queue up songs
    • New version to be available in late October
  • iPods
    • 350 million iPods sold to date
    • New iPod nano with larger 2.5-inch display (supporting multitouch), new Home button, FM tuner, video support and Lightning connector. Available in 7 colours
    • iPod nano includes Bluetooth for the first time
    • Revamped iPod touch: anodized aluminium, 4-inch display like on iPhone 5, 5MP camera with 1080p video capture. Powered by Apple’s A5 chip. 6.1 millimeters thick and 88 grams. 5 colours.
    • iPod touch also comes with “the loop,” essentially a strap
    • Improved wireless capabilities: 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
    • iPod touch now comes with Siri and AirPlay mirroring
  • New EarPod headphones
    • Three years in the making
    • Designed to fit everyone’s ears
    • Promise to direct sound right into the ear.
    • Standalone accessory available as of today. Will also be included with iPhone 5, new iPod touch, and new iPod nano

The iPhone 5 will sell for the same price as the iPhone 4S did before today. The 16GB model will sell for US$199, the 32GB for US$299, and 64GB model for US$399 (with contract of course). The 16GB iPhone 4S will drop to US$99 and iPhone 4 to US$0 again with contract.

Pre-orders will begin on September 14th with shipments to Canada and the U.S. (and a few other countries) to start on September 21st. By December, the Apple iPhone 5 will be available in 100 countries through 240 carriers.

The iPod shuffle will sell for US$49 and the new 16GB iPod nano for US$149. The 4th generation iPod touch will continue to be offered for US$199 for the 16GB model and US$249 for the 32GB model. The new iPod touch will come with 32GB or 64GB and sell for US$299 and US$399 respectively. They will be available in October.

And that’s a wrap… I guess we now wait for a second Apple event in October for the iPod mini…

3G-enabled PlayStation Vita coming to Canada with Rogers as exclusive carrier

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Sep 112012

Sony PlayStation VitaSony Computer Entertainment Canada today announced that it will launch the 3G-enabled PlayStation Vita in Canada this fall. Rogers will be the exclusive carrier for the necessary wireless connectivity.

“PlayStation Vita with a 3G connection will completely transform the way Canadian gamers play on the go, offering new ways to play games and interact with entertainment,” said Stephen Turvey, Vice President and General Manager, SCEC. “With access to the Rogers 3G wireless network, PlayStation Vita owners will be able to stay connected with their friends and experience PS Vita’s rich social gaming features virtually wherever they are.”

Two contract-free month-to-month data packages (activated directly on the Vita) will be offered:

  • 250MB for CA$15.00 per month
  • 5GB for CA$35 per month

The PlayStation Vita 3G/Wi-Fi will launch on October 2nd for CA$299.99 with a download voucher for Gravity Rush and Unit 13.

The Wi-Fi-only version of the PS Vita launched in Canada earlier this year.

Read more: Sony Computer Entertainment Canada

Rumour: Microsoft to unveil Xbox Surface tablet rather than Nook tablet

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Jun 182012

With Barnes & Noble today having denyied that it is involved in the Microsoft event planned for later today, rumours now suggest that Microsoft could instead be unveiling a gaming tablet called the Xbox Surface. A leaked document obtained by Liveside has revealed a few technical specifications for a 7-inch tablet accompanied by a “stationary computing device.”

The tablet will sport a 7-inch HD (1280×720) display, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, an SD card slot, and 288MB of RAM.

The stationary device would be powered by two 3.1GHz six-core IBM Power7 chipsets. It would come with 5GB RAM, a 250GB hard drive, four USB 3.0 ports, support for 4 wireless controllers, and HDMI.

Rumoured Microsoft Xbox Surface specifications

Could Microsoft be about to unveil a gaming platform similar to Nintendo’s upcoming Wii U? If so, rather than a full-blown tablet announcement, the announcement will focus on the new platform and a tablet-like controller.

Read more: Liveside (Source: WPCentral) and Business Insider

E3: Microsoft announces Xbox SmartGlass

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Jun 042012

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 platform got a whole more integrated with other household devices today as Microsoft today announced Xbox SmartGlass at E3. The application will allow users to connect phones, PCs and tablets to their Xbox 360. With it, devices become remote controls and controllers as well as additional displays. Content can also be pushed two ways to and from the Xbox.

“Xbox is on a mission to make the entertainment that you love even more amazing,” said Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “With Xbox SmartGlass, we are lighting up entertainment across your phone, tablet, PC and TV in a completely new way. If you love to play games, watch TV and movies, surf the Web, or listen to music, there has never been a better time to be on Xbox.”

A demonstration during the E3 event had Game of Thrones being played on a TV via Xbox 360. A SmartGlass-enabled tablet showed a map of Westeros at the same time. The map zoomed in on the relevant part of the map during the episode. Other demos showed how connected devices could be used in games. For example, players will be able to create plays on their tablet and watch them get executed on their TV in Madden NFL.

Microsoft Xbox SmartGlass demonstration

SmartGlass will be available for Windows, Android, and iOS devices. It will launch later this year.

Microsoft will also launch Internet Explorer for Xbox this fall in countries where Xbox and Xbox LIVE are available.

Read more: Microsoft

At the Sony Entertainment Network services media event

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Apr 292012

Sony Canada this week held a media event in Toronto to launch its Sony Entertainment Network which now spans music, movies, games and user created media. Essentially it is a “portal for all of your digital entertainment needs. Movies, music and games across multiple devices (Sony and non-Sony) from one convenient account.” It consists of four key services: Video Unlimited, Music Unlimited, PlayStation Network, and the just launched PlayMemories storage service. It comes at a time when consumers increasingly look for streaming content on a variety of devices from televisions to tablets and smartphones, said Dan Phillips, Director of Television Marketing, Sony of Canada.

Tasty treats
Tasty treats

Services overview

PlayStation Network is the venerable gaming platform-focused portion of the service. It is accessible via the PlayStation 3 as well as PlayStation portable devices such as the recently launched PS Vita. It offers multiplayer gaming, downloadable content, as well the PlayStation Plus subscription which offers more. There is also the PlayStation Home virtual world where you can interact with other PlayStation players.

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Sony Entertainment’s Music Unlimited service now available in Canada

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Mar 172012

Sony Entertainment NetworkSony Entertainment Network this week announced that its Music Unlimited cloud-based digital music subscription service is now available in Canada and supports a variety of Sony devices. A single user account will provide access to devices such as PCs, Android smartphones (including the Sony Xperia handsets), Sony Bravia televisions (2010 models and up), the PlayStation 3 and even the just launched PlayStation Vita. It is also coming soon to Sony’s tablets and the PSP. Some 15 million songs from major labels, leading independent labels and major publishers are available.

Two monthly subscription plans are offered. A Basic plan for CA$3.99 per month offers both ad-free radio channels and Music Sync which allows users to add owned music to the cloud and allows access to them via any supported device. A Premium plan (CA$9.99 per month) adds features such as Premium Channels (specially created editorial channels and top songs), playlists that support offline playback on selected mobile devices and the ability to create a personal library of songs.

Sony is offering users the ability to try out the Premium plan for 30 days for free.

Sony originally launched Music Unlimited in December 2010 in the U.S.It is now offered in 14 countries.

Read more: Sony Entertainment Network

Sony reveals PlayStation Vita Canada and U.S. launch game lineup

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Dec 262011

PlayStation VitaSony last week announced what titles will be released when the PlayStation Vita launches in Canada and the U.S. on February 22nd. It promised it to be “the biggest and best lineup we’ve ever launched across the history of PlayStation platforms.” 25 games will be available on launch day with more than 100 to follow later.

The following will be available from SCE Worldwide Studios:

  • Escape Plan (PSN Only)
  • Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational
  • Hustle Kings (PSN Only)
  • Little Deviants
  • ModNation Racers: Road Trip
  • Super StarDust Delta (PSN only)
  • UNCHARTED: Golden Abyss
  • wipEout 2048

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Sony Canada announces PlayStation Vita First Edition Bundle

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Oct 312011

Sony Canada today announced the PlayStation Vita First Edition Bundle. It will consists of the PS Vita (Wi-Fi) System as well as a 4GB memory card, a limited edition case, and the Little Deviants game. It will sell for CA$299.99 and will be available a week before its official launch (which will miss the 2011 holiday season).

Sony PlayStation Vita First Edition Bundle

The PlayStation Vita First Edition Bundle will sell for CA$299.99. Retailers where it will be available include Amazon.ca, Best Buy, Future Shop, Toys’R’Us, and others.

The Sony PlayStation Vita will be released in Canada and the US on February 22nd. The Wi-Fi only model will sell for CA/US$249 and a 3G/Wi-Fi model (availability in Canada still undetermined) for US$299.

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Sony PlayStation Vita to miss 2011 US holiday season

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Aug 042011

Sony PlayStation VitaMany gamers in Europe and the US (and presumably Canada) will be disappointed with the news that the Sony PlayStation Vita will not be available in the US or Europe in time for Christmas. It will go on sale in Japan before the end of the year with the US and Europe to follow “early next year.”

Sony Corp. Executive Deputy President Kazuo Hirai, who made the announcement earlier today, refused to call the news a delay, explaining that Sony wanted to ensure that a number of quality games were available at launch time.

Hirai also denied that there would be a price cut (leaving the price at US$249 for the Wi-Fi-only model and US$299 for the 3G/Wi-Fi model) in response to a recent cut made by Nintendo on the price of the Nintendo 3DS (from US$249.99 to US$169.99). “There is no need to lower the price just because somebody else that happens to be in the video game business decided that they were going to lower their price,” said Hirai.

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E3 2011: Sony renames upcoming NGP as PlayStation Vita

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Jun 072011

Sony vita

Sony last night announced that its upcoming Next Generation Portable entertainment system (codename NGP) will be known as the PlayStation Vita PCH-1000 series) when it is released later this year.

“Vita,” which means “Life” in Latin, was chosen as the most appropriate name for the next generation portable entertainment system as it enables a revolutionary combination of rich gaming and social connectivity within a real world context. SCE is aiming to transform every aspect of user’s daily life into an entertainment experience.

As announced in January, the PS Vita will come with a 5-inch OLED touchscreen display (960 by 544-pixel), an ARM Cortex A9 processor with a SGX543MP4+ GPU, two analog controllers, a multi-touch pad on the rear,GPS, and front- and rear-facing cameras.

Among the games that should be released with the PS Vita will be “Uncharted Golden Abyss,” “Little Deviants,” “Hot Shots Golf,” “ModNation Racers,” “Wipeout 2048″ and “Super Stardust Delta” (all from SCE Worldwide Studios). Additional games will be available from third party developers and publishers.

There will be two PlayStation Vita models: A Wi-Fi-only model selling for US$249 and a 3G/Wi-Fi one selling for US$299 with AT&T onboard in the US (data plan pricing not revealed).

XBox 360 price announced

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Aug 172005

Microsoft Xbox 360

Microsoft revealed pricing for the upcoming Xbox 360 at the German Games Convention. Due out in time for Christmas, there will be 2 editions of the console. The Xbox 360 Core System will be a barebones configuration that will start at $299.99 USD (€299.99 or £209.99); the second, simply called the Xbox 360, will come with additional accessories and signature metallic detailing and will sell for $399.99 USD (€399.99 or £279.99).

So what do you get for that extra $100 USD? The package will include the Xbox 360 console, a 20GB hard drive, a wireless controller, a removable faceplate for the console (others will let you customize your console), a headset, a component HD-AV cable, a Xbox Live Silver membership and, for a limited time, a bonus integrated control center for the entire digital experience lets consumers play DVDs, movies and music, as well as access their Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005-based PC’s controls with a single remote.

Additional accessories such as storage cards, other faceplates, wireless networking adapters and more will all be sold separately.

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