Friday, July 31, 2009

Nintendo Release Dates For Europe (And Thereby Indirectly New Zealand)

By Benedict Wee

Wanna know what to ask the family for this Christmas if you're a Wii/DS/DSi gamer? Well Nintendo has released a list of 1st and 3rd party games that will launch on their consoles for the next couple of months. Only 1st party games get (approximated) dates however as they're 3rd party developers have not committed to any schedule. Highlighted titles are the ones I'm excited about.

Nintendo DS/DSi titles:
  • Professor Layton and Pandora's Box (25th September 2009)
  • Kirby Super Star Ultra (September 2009)
  • Girl's Mode (October 2009)
  • The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (2nd half 2009)
  • Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky (4th quarter 2009)
  • Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story (2009)
  • WarioWare D.I.Y. (To be announced)
Nintendo Wii titles:
  • Metroid Prime Trilogy (4th September 2009)
  • Wii Fit Plus (4th quarter 2009)
  • New Super Mario Bros. Wii (4th quarter 2009)
  • Endless Ocean 2 (2009)
  • Sin and Punishment 2 (2010)
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2 (2010)
  • Metroid: Other M (2010)
The US gets slightly more games compared to us, they've got big titles like Golden Sun DS and Glory of Heracles for the DS/DSi. Thankfully DS games aren't region locked so import away. The Wii is however.

3rd Party DS/DSi titles:
  • Bakugan Battle Brawlers (Activision)
  • Band Hero (Activision)
  • Wizards of Waverly Place (Disney Interactive Studios)
  • MySims Agents (Electronic Arts)
  • Spore Hero Arena (Electronic Arts)
  • LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues (LucasArts)
  • Star Wars The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes (LucasArts)
  • Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games (SEGA)
  • Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (SQUARE ENIX)
  • James Patterson Women's Murder Club: Games of Passion (THQ)
  • The BIGS 2 (2K Sports)
  • Might & Magic Clash of Heros (Ubisoft)
  • Imagine Teacher: Class Trip (Ubisoft)
  • Scribblenauts (Warner Bros)
3rd Party Wii titles:
  • Guitar Hero 5 (Activision)
  • Bakugan Battle Brawlers (Activision)
  • Spyborgs (CAPCOM)
  • Sprectrobes: Origins (Disney Interactive Studios)
  • Madden NFL 10 (Electronic Arts)
  • Dead Space Extraction (Electronic Arts)
  • Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (Konami Digital Entertainment)
  • Star Wars The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes (LucasArts)
  • LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues (LucasArts)
  • The Beatles: Rock Band (MTV Games/Electronic Arts)
  • Active Life: Extreme Challenge (NAMCO BANDAI)
  • Daisy Fuentes Pilates (SEGA)
  • Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games (SEGA)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: smash-Up (Ubisoft)
As mentioned before, 3rd party titles do not have a release date so the games listed are for the both US/EU and might be flexible for us PAL region gamers (meaning we might not see some of these titles). Not to worry though, it'll get updated as clearer dates are announced.


Samsung Chip Would Give New iPhones That Extra "S"

By Benedict Wee

Samsung and Intrinsity have developed a new chip similar to the one the iPhone 3GS currently runs with an improved speed of 1GHz. Code-named "Hummingbird", the chip could power Apple's next iPhone which currently runs on a 600MHz Samsung processor.

They aren't the first 1GHz chip makers however, Qualcomm announced their processor earlier this year and it powers Toshiba's TG01 smartphone which runs Windows Mobile 6.1, recently released in the UK and Japan markets.

In addition to the new iPhone, expect such fast speeds to be commonplace in Android, Palm and WinMo 6.5 running mobiles as early as next year.

I've suddenly lost the urge to purchase any smartphones, best wait for these fast ones to be announced.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hijack All The iPhones In The World By Texting

By Benedict Wee

Cybersecurity researchers Charlie Miller and Collin Mulliner have found a dangerous flaw in the way the iPhone handles text messages that could potentially be used by malicious hackers to take control of Apple's smartphone just by sending it a text containing a single square character.

This cipher will allow whoever sends it the ability to call people, surf websites and turn on the microphone and cameras remotely, basically taking over the iPhone's every function. This also means that hackers will be able to send the square character through a controlled iPhone to other iPhones, spreading the bug.

Miller recommends that you turn off your iPhone immediately should you receive a text such as this to prevent your mobile from being infected.

The researches have also found a bug that could disconnect you from your telco's wireless network on both the iPhone and Android-running mobile phones for 10 seconds. This process can be done repeatedly to keep the mobile off the network.

While they've reported the two vulnerabilities to Apple over a month ago, the iPhone maker has yet to release a patch to fix this potentially disastrous problem. Google however, have. Apparently the iPhone is not just bad for business people, it's bad for everyone! I'm wondering why Apple is being so complacent about their easy-to-hack smartphone, used by millions of people round the world.

Miller and Mulliner have also found a similar text bug that can remote control Windows Mobile phones, though they've yet to inform Microsoft of the vulnerability.


Creative's New Personal Media Player Is An Explosion Of Copycat Ideas

By Benedict Wee

Creative is known for their great line of media players, running up second only to Apple and although they do not have the massive following the iPod maker does, they do have a decent fan base out there which allows them to survive.

Unfortunately they do not posses the style and branding their competitor has, relying more on being able to squeeze tones of functionality into the tiniest piece of equipment. Their marketing and design of the product is usually a cut and paste affair of different popular gadgets out there.

Case in point, their newest player: The Zii Egg. If the iPod Touch is an iPhone without the "phone" bit, then the Zii Egg is more of an Android phone without the "phone". Let me explain.

The Zii Egg runs Google's Android but it is a media player like the iPod Touch. Unlike Apple's portable player however, the Zii Egg has extra features like GPS, Dual cameras (VGA in front and HD behind), a microphone with text to speech functions, 1080p HD output and a SD(HC) card slot which supports up to 32GB worth of storage space.

It's pretty amazing the way Creative has practically created a PDA, though they prefer to call it a handheld computer. But who uses a PDA these days?

Besides copying most of the functionality of the iPod Touch, the Zii name is an obvious "inspiration" of Nintendo's widely popular Wii console and like the other mobile developers out there, runs an OS developed by Creative: Plaszma which has its own application store. Plaszma will be an alternate and optional OS to Android but we all know which one we'll prefer to use should we purchase the player (Hint: Android).

I like the idea of the Zii Egg. Its extra functions provide a cheaper alternative to getting an Android phone (the base set without storage capacity is said to retail at US$199/NZ$303) and it's better than the HTC Magic in many aspects but what concerns me most about the gadget is the timing.

Good luck trying to incorporate the plaszma logo into your Personal Media Players

Currently the Zii Egg (with an inbuilt storage space of 32GB) is available to developers along with the Plaszma SDK developing kit for US$399/NZ$607 which means that it will be awhile before we see it on store shelves. By then the new camera iPod Touches will have been released and they would have to face tough competition with Apple. If I were Creative I'd just scrap the silly Plaszma OS and release the players with Android now.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Xbox News Roundup: Update Preview Available, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Microsoft has gone ban-crazy.

By Benedict Wee

Those of you who've signed up for the Xbox LIVE Update Preview can download the beta update by turing your 360 on and connecting it to the internet.

The update brings the following changes and new features :

Honoring those who have subscribed to the Xbox Live Gold memberships by inserting the number of years (on the top right corner of their gamertag) they have been paying for the privilege to play with other people online.

Tallying up the total amount of achievements and gamer points you gotten across the games you've played (possibly in attempts to shame you for not being hardcore enough).

There will be a 5-star rating system for game content in the Marketplace so you can judge if the money you spent was worth it.

There will be no new additions of titles from the previous generation's Xbox games. The current ones available will be grouped under the Games on Demand tab which will include the option of downloading full Xbox 360 games when the update is officially launched on the 11th of August.

More MS Points (read: money) for you to spend on dressing up your Avatar in clothes and ridiculous props in the brand new Avatar Marketplace.

Xbox Live Community Games -a platform for small/amateur game developers to showcase and sell their games- will now be known as Indie Games with prices as low as 80 MS Points.

Be warned though, this update is in its beta stage so there are a lot of bugs that might irritate you. I've gotten trapped in some tabs as they've refused to move despite the screen acknowledging that I've press the buttons on the controller. Also, I can't get into some parts of the dashboard like downloadable content for music games.

Also released today for the 360 is arcade favorite: Marvel vs. Capcom 2 which goes for 1200 MS Points. This marks the last game of the Marvel vs. series and the developers made sure it went out with a bang. If you're a big fan of 2D fighting games then this is one I highly recommend.

That is if you're over 18. If not then sorry kid, them the brakes. As we've seen on Fair Go today, Microsoft has decided to bar downloading of any kind on the Xbox 360 in New Zealand to those 18 and under. Yet it still allows them to purchase MS Points which makes no sense. has also reported on this matter and they've been trying to pursue it but all they've gotten is scant information.

It's not only mature content by the way, it's everything on Xbox Live. We are the ONLY people in the world that has gotten this strange and highly ageist lock-out. Microsoft won't even say if this a government initiative or if this is temporary. It's really sad that they won't come clean with a proper explanation on why a 17 year old can't download an Ice Age 3 game demo. Do they want to encourage teens to create fake accounts and lie about their age?

I smell 'Nanny State' politics in the air. There is no excuse to why Microsoft should carry out this ban. The Xbox 360 already comes with parental controls which are more than enough to prevent undesirable content reaching children.

P.S. I don't recommend you take Fair Go's advice and purchase a Playstation (3 was what they meant I think), it's more expensive and they play similar games.


Walt Mossberg: The Only Technology Journalist In The World Talks About Windows 7

By Benedict Wee

If you haven't gotten the subtle hints from the video...

he's an Apple fanboy

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fake Gadget Tuesdays: The HTC Magic runs Windows Mobile?

By Benedict Wee

Gadget: HTC G2 Running Windows Mobile
Place of Origin: China
"Inspired" by: The HTC Magic

Like the iPhone, when HTC announced their successor to the G1 and released pictures of the mobile, the copy masters over at China began their process of making a mold to make a fake version of the phone.

The phone was not named specifically in the beginning (it was first called Ion then it took them awhile to come up with Magic, then the US called it myTouch 3G), so everyone just called it the G2 to identify it as HTC's next Android running smartphone. The name stuck with the fake-phone makers and thus we get the HTC G2.

The G2 runs on a Huawei K3 460MHz processor with a Windows Mobile 6.1 OS, has EDGE (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) and that's all I know about this phone. Oh, it comes with a stylus.

You can tell the differences between this phone and the real thing. The most obvious ones being the lack of the Android-required buttons: Home, Menu, Back and Search and the missing trackball (it's replaced with a D-pad which looks like the rumored HTC Click's with a smaller middle). Subtle alterations are a smaller touchscreen with the 'htc' logo (which kinda looks like 'ntc') making up for the loss of screen space and the top speaker is only half complete. What? Did they poke holes and then gave up halfway?

What's pretty interesting about the mobile is the back carries a very familiar logo:

Yes, Vodafone. I guess the makers decided to put the telco's name since the HTC Magic was announced to be a Vodafone exclusive in the EU. Don't know what's up with the logo though, it's not a flame is it?

This phone has not been released yet so we've got no price tag but expect it to come in at around NZ$400 plus shipping. I will update this post as more information is released.

My arbitrary score for almost-the-real-thing-ness : 5/10
Gotta stand about 3 meters away for it to look real. Even then you shouldn't be waving it around.

Vodafone announces cheapest mobile plan ever!.. in New Zealand

By Benedict Wee

Hot on the heels of the 2degrees launch details, Vodafone (in an obvious attempt to steal some thunder) has announced their cheapest mobile on-account plan for Kiwis. The plan will cost $18.95 and comes with the following:
  • 20 minutes of anytime talk time
  • 60 minutes of calls between 'Friday 7pm - Monday 7am' or '7pm -7am'
  • 40 Texts
  • 10 Pxts
You also get 100MB of data for the first three months if you sign up before the 12th of October.

Confusing? Yes I know. Who on earth is going to make a point to note down how many minutes they use anyway? Here's a approximate rundown of what you could get in a 30 day month for around $20:
  • 60 minutes to be spent only in the 18 days of weekends and evenings in the month
  • That's 3.3 minutes a day
  • 20 minutes to be spent in the 12 left or 1.6 minutes a day
  • 1.3 Texts a day
  • 0.33 Pxts a day
Yeah thanks Vodafone, I'll wait to see what 2degrees has to offer first.

Full press release here.

2degrees launches August 5th. Everything else announced the day before.

By Benedict Wee

Highly anticipated telco -2degrees- has just announced on twitter that they will be launching their network on the 5th of August. However, information on the price plans, mobile handsets and their subsidies will only be available the day before to the press at a preview in Auckland.

Since we're heading towards the end of the month we should receive the free SIM cards with $5 prepaid credit soon for those who signed-up for their promotional Chinwag event.

2degrees have been keeping their cards close to their chest so we have no indication what mobiles they will be carrying so we can't do much but speculate. Personally, I'm hoping for a nice surprise with a great line of smartphones (Palm Pre or HTC Hero?) when they launch.

Microsoft Accepting Windows Mobile Applications Submissions Now. Contest Details.. Detailed

By Benedict Wee

Microsoft is now accepting submission ideas for their Windows Mobile Marketplace due to hit smartphones (along with Windows Mobile 6.5) in the Spring (NZ).

To mark this occasion they've set up a Race To The Market Challenge competition where you can win fame and fortune (and more importantly a Microsoft Surface!). All you need to do is register as a developer and upload your app, game or widget and if it becomes popular based on their criteria, you'll win. Applications will be judged on the:
  • Most downloads of a free app
  • Most valuable app (downloads x price)
  • Most useful (judged by Microsoft)
  • and Most playful (judged by Microsoft)
The contest runs from now till New Year's Eve.

Microsoft seems to have a very fair policy in place when it comes to their new Marketplace. Submissions are done in a First In, First Out fashion so no one gets priority and they have an expected 10 business days waiting period for certification with the option of being able to check on your application throughout the process though their Developer Dashboard.

If the application does not get approved Microsoft promises to give a fully detailed report explaining the situation based on the tests and and checks given to the developer beforehand. This will provide a more approachable and open exchange compared to a certain rival company's draconian screening process *choughapplechough*.

Let's hope that our creative Kiwis can contribute something to the contest and do our country proud.

Windows Mobile Blog - The Race To The Market

Apple Tablet News/Rumor Roundup: New Release Date Is September, New iTunes Markets, Toshiba Makes A Comment

By Benedict Wee

Let's add to the list of tablet rumors shall we? Gizmodo reports that the Financial Times has information that Apple is trying to launch the their tablets the same time as the new iPod Touches in September. It makes sense as the OCD-ness of Apple would want only two scheduled launch dates in the year (one in middle and one during the holidays).

To further back up this new rumor, CrunchGear reports that Toshiba will ramp up their production of flash memory chips during the month of August to 90%. Apple buys their memory from Toshiba so it makes sense that the increase in orders point in the direction to Apple's portables. But we don't know how many exactly they are ordering so it could just be memory for the new iPod Touches only.

The Financial Times also reports that Apple is in talks with record labels regarding a secret project code-named: "Cocktail" which will provide a full CD's worth of music instead of the current pick-a-track model on iTunes. The companies named in the project thus far are EMI, Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music Group.

This report follows the other rumor that the Apple Tablet will come with a Book Marketplace that will allow you to download books (what else?) at a cheaper price (since it doesn't use paper) to your tablet. E-book readers like the Amazon Kindle are hot gadgets in the US now so it makes sense that Apple would want a piece of that pie.


Is This Philip's Android Phone? (Update)

By Benedict Wee

Probably. According to a China tech website PConline, Philip's first Android phone -the V808- will come with your standard mobile features like a 3.2 MP camera with video recording and a 3.2 inch screen. There is some emphasis on its GPS features but nothing else was elaborated on.

Besides the "could-be-any-mobile" details we don't know anything else, including if the phone really runs Android as pictures of the mobile were with it turned off. The button place however looks Android-friendly.

The Philips V808 looks pretty nice in front with its LG Chocolate-like design but I don't know about that air vent/speaker thing on the back.

It's been awhile since we've heard of a Philips mobile (this would be their first entry into smartphone arena) so it'll be best if we just wait for an official announcement before speculating any further.

Update: Turns out this phone is a China exclusive and won't be distributed to the rest of the world. Good thing though as it does not have 3G, WiFi and multi-touch capabilities. It also runs a sad custom-made Android interface made especially for the Chinese market which is apparently not even popular in its native country.

Let's just file this away into the 'Weird-China-Gadgets' drawer and forget about it.

(P.S. The page is in chinese so you'll want to Google translate it)

Monday, July 27, 2009

iPhone 3GS Is Bad For Business People

By Benedict Wee

A recent article in Wired has talked about how the encryption of Apple's new iPhone can easily be broken into within two minutes with readily available software found on the internet.

Jonathan Zdziarski -an iPhone developer and hacker- compared the weak security measures of the iPhone to that of putting an answer code next to an encrypted message:
"It is kind of like storing all your secret messages right next to the secret decoder ring. I don't think any of us (developers) have ever seen encryption implemented so poorly before, which is hard to describe why it's such a big threat to security."
The iPhone 3GS has been touted by Apple to be enterprise-friendly compared to its pervious iterations the iPhone and iPhone 3G. Add this to the mobile's easy to use interface and it would compel businesses to purchase the mobile for their employees but Zdziarski says that it is as easy to access sensitive information (such as credit card numbers) from the 3GS as it was the previous models as the mobile automatically decrypts its own data when it is extracted. No effort is done on the part of the hacker at all to decode the information.

All it takes to retrieve the information is to steal the iPhone and use free jailbreaking software (these are used by many to install an unofficial application store in order to download apps which Apple might not approve of due to trademark issues or violations of Apple policy) readily available on the internet to extract the data. This takes as little as 2 minutes with retrieving the entire contents of the phone in about 45.

In addition to the weak encrypting feature, the article talks about how easy it would be for developers of legitimate applications to sneak in malicious code for their programs despite Apples tough screening process. A good example is the Lyrics application which allows you to read lyrics -including swear words- found in certain songs. This was originally rejected by Apple but the developer found a way to hide the option of making the profanity available.

Apple big-boss Steve Jobs is not worried however as he admitted that there is a remote kill switch for the iPhone which is able to delete an application remotely by triggering a command. There is a similar option for iPhone users who subscribe to Apple's MobileMe service which allows them to remotely delete their information on their iPhone via PC but Zdziarski says that circumventing that measure is as easy as removing the SIM card.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sony Notebooks To Have Touchscreen Windows 7, Playstation Network, Perhaps Be Cheaper?

By Benedict Wee

In an interview with the vice president of the Sony Information Technology Products Division -Mike Abary- tech blog Laptopmag was given details on the new features and marketing plans for their future notebooks.

When asked about their new netbook -the VAIO W- and its higher price point compared to other netbooks in the market right now Mike admitted that all Sony products would have to be reviewed price-wise in order to remain competitive. This is in light of a report in May made by Sony predicting their 110 billion yen loss for the financial year ending March 2010.
"I’ll acknowledge we have had those issues across the board on all of our products and there has been a paradigm shift in the marketplace that has rendered Sony products to be seconded guessed in terms of its competitiveness by consumers. It means we have to do a better job of being relevantly competitive in terms of price points, but it doesn’t mean we are going to abandon our position in the marketplace."
Does this mean we'll get to see cheaper consoles and notebooks soon? The Playstation 3 costs around NZ$729 and plays most games the Xbox 360 does but the latters' low price tag has attracted more consumers into buying their console instead. The price for the new PSP Go has also been criticized by many game journalists and gamers to be too expensive and Sony computers are known for having Apple-like prices.

When asked about having the Playstation Network (an online service for the Playstation 3 and PSP which allows users to download games, movies, television shows and music) integrate with Sony computers Mike said that the VAIO team are working on bringing it to not just Sony PCs, but all of them.
"We are absolutely talking about that internally. The PlayStation network is growing. We believe that network will have an option with VAIO PCs or any PCs for that matter. What we are trying to do is collaborate with our peers at PlayStation in that regard."
He also highlights the point that though they are currently focusing on just providing movies and television shows via the PSN, video games are a possibility in the future
"That is a possibility but we are concentrated more on movies and TV content. We find casual gaming to be interesting for PCs and we are driving right now to establish our role in that area. We believe this segment of end user of causal gaming is growing we can address that marketplace in a way that is unique on VAIOs."
Lastly, when queried on touchscreen notebooks running Windows 7, Mike hints we could expect them between when Microsoft launches their new OS and the holiday season.
"There are certain things that will be native on Windows 7 that we are certainly going to take advantage of. Without giving too much away, we think touch on Windows 7 is something we find compelling and we will certainly introduce touch into some of our products at the launch of Win 7. You will see touch capabilities introduced on VAIO products that take advantage of Windows 7."

Looks like Sony has some interesting stuff in the works. Me? Am just waiting for the PSP2 to be announced later this year *fingers crossed*


Apple Tablet Due Next Year

By Benedict Wee

Credible sources from the Apple camp have commented that the long rumored Apple Tablet will be hitting the market in the 1st quarter of next year. The tablet is said to be 10 inches and shaped like a jumbo iPod Touch and more interestingly, support a 3G connection. This would mean that that telcos could also be selling the tablet with a subsidy when singing up for a mobile broadband plan.

The Apple Tablet rumor has been wafting around the internet for as long as 2 years. The reason it took so long for the device to actually reach its final form might be due to big-boss Steve Jobs' perfectionism towards Apple products, causing the project to be restarted over and over when it did not meet his expectations. This is reflected in their current line of devices which have been mostly met with positive reviews.

The price of the tablet is said to be somewhere in between that of a high-end iPhone (US$599/NZ$913.18), and their most affordable MacBook Pro (US$999/NZ$1522.98). There is speculation that the tablet might also be named "MacBook" as all current Apple notebooks are now named under the "MacBook Pro" line.

The launch of the Apple Tablet might provide an alternative (and perhaps better valued) choice to its line of portable gadgets available to Kiwis as the current high-end iPhone sold by Vodafone - the 32GB iPhone 3GS- currently retails for NZ$1379.

Forex: US$1 = NZ$1.52


Friday, July 24, 2009

Google Latitude On The iPhone Is A Web App Because "Users Get Confused Easily"

By Benedict Wee

Google has released Latitude -their location-based network- for the iPhone and iPod Touches. Unfortunately it's not a downloadable application you can get from the iTunes store but a web application which you will have to launch via the Safari web browser.

It doesn't really matter though, since you can't run applications in the background of your iPhone anyway (Apple doesn't allow it). That means you'll have to fire up the application every time you want to use it which in turn, makes it impossible to provide continuous background updates unlike BlackBerry, Android, Symbian and Windows Mobile enabled phones which can.

Installing the web app is easy. Just go to using Safari and create an icon by pressing the bookmarks button (the "+" sign).

If you're wondering why the application isn't native (downloadable from the iTunes store) or integrated to the maps application of your iPhone/iPod Touch, it is because Apple thought it might confuse users says a Google representative:
"We worked closely with Apple to bring Latitude to the iPhone in a way Apple thought would be best for iPhone users. After we developed a Latitude application for the iPhone, Apple requested we release Latitude as a web application in order to avoid confusion with Maps on the iPhone, which uses Google to serve maps titles."
I'm going to go out on a limb and say iPhone users are smarter than that and Apple is being kinda patronizing.


The Duros 8404 Rugged Tablet: A Computer For Us Outdoor Kiwis

By Benedict Wee

Ever went to the slopes for a bit of skiing and while admiring the beauty of nature that our country has to offer stopped and thought to yourself: "Wish I could read my email or look at that chart I made." ? Well Duros has the answer for you.

They've introduced the Duros 8404 Rugged Tablet PC which is sealed to IP-65 levels, making it water/dust proof, shock resistant and able to withstand extreme temperatures.

The 8404 runs on an Intel Atom Processor with memory options of up to 1GB of RAM and uses the Windows XP OS (Vista and Linux versions are also available). It also has a hot-swappable battery, allowing you to work longer outdoors and an 8.4 inch touchscreen which can be viewed under sunlight.

There is no price attached to this rugged tablet PC yet but going by their specifications, it's not going to be cheap.

Their website can be found here.


iPod Cases Are Legion, For They Are Many

By Benedict Wee

How do you confirm a rumor about a yet-to-be announced gadget?

Look to China for cases of said gadget. The more similar the cases, the more the rumors are true.

Cult of Mac, the tech website for all things Apple has photos of bazillions (not really, but it is a lot) of ipod cases for the new Touch and Nano due to be announced in September with camera holes in them.

As previously speculated, the Touch's camera will be situated in the top-middle of the player which will differentiate it from the iPhone 3GS which has theirs on the top-corner.

The camera on the Nano is put in a slightly different place however. Located on the bottom left, the iPod will need to be rotated horizontally so it'll resemble a digital camera. Makes sense as the Nano's display would turn into a widescreen when turned on its side.

The case industry is a thriving one in China and it's not only for media players. Handhelds like the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP, all manner of mobile phones, digital cameras and even notebooks have their own cases. They range from cheap silicone and acrylic ones to the more up-market brands like Griffin and Case-mate.

The badly-kept secret of the iPod cameras is due primarily to the China case manufactures getting the specs of the new media players early. This is because consumers are more likely to buy the cases along with the iPods rather than a couple of months later which is what would happen if the case manufacturers got the details as the announcements were made.

In keeping with the Apple pricing structure, expect the cost of the iPod Touch/Nano to remain the same (NZ$249-NZ$659) while the storage space doubles and the new features are added.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

HTC To Make Half Of Its Phones Run Android Next Year (Update)

By Benedict Wee

The manufacturers of the HTC Dream, Magic and Hero has announced that 50% of its phones that they will release next year will run Goggle's Android, compared to this years 30%. This report follows the rumors and pictures of their supposed next Android phone -the HTC Click- as reported by french website; PointGPhone.

Not much is known about the mobile except it resembles his older siblings in button placement but the characteristic chin is absent.

What's more interesting is HTCs announcement means that they're not very confident of Windows Mobile 6.5, due to launch in a couple of months. Seeing as they only produce smartphones, it'll mean the other half of their 2010 line will run Microsofts new mobile operating system. It would be wise for Microsoft to pick up the pace and release the OS soon before everyone forgets about them.

Update: Here's another (clearer) photo of the HTC Click found on Engadget. This phone is also rumored to be at the lower-end of the HTC lineup with a cheaper price tag.