Game consoles are not just for gaming anymore. If we look at devices
such as the iPhone, which also wants a share of the gigantic mobile
gaming market, it is clear that mobile devices will have to become
universal entertainment devices with much more functionality of current
devices: Nintendo made a huge step into that direction with the
unveiling of the new DSi today. The new console merges gaming with some
practical applications (web browsing, shopping) and entertainment
(camera and image editing). Extra: SLIDESHOW
Japanese website PC Watch has published a (very) speculative outlook on
the possible inner workings of the next Playstation, which may arrive
sooner than expected, given the high cost and limited success of the
current Playstation 3. The key message: Sony will cut down the
production cost of the device and will compete much more in the market
that Nintendo opened with the Wii.
Following on the heels of Sony’s recently announced update for the
Playstation Portable, Nintendo said it will be refreshing its DS mobile
gaming console. The pimped DS is scheduled to be introduced this
Thursday in Japan and wills port a camera, a music player capabilities
and enhanced wireless connectivity.
Wal-Mart informed its customers that it will be shutting down its DRM
servers on October, which should be perceived as good news by
customers. But some users may be left with somewhat useless music files
that were purchased before February of this year: DRM-packed songs that
will not be backed up until October 9 cannot be transferred to another
PC thereafter and cannot be recovered in the case of a system crash of
a new installation of the PC.
Sling Media at long last is now making available for purchase the HD
version of its popular Slingbox media streaming box. It is called the Slingbox PRO-HD and you'll find it on sale for around $300.
SonyEricsson is getting into the unlimited music downloads arena with
the pending launch of its new PlayNow plus service. You'll have to wait
for it though in most markets, as it will initially be kicking off only
in Sweden with mobile operator Telenor by the end of the year.
GPS manufacturer Garmin is adding a new twist to its line of Edge cycling computers today by unveiling a Team Garmin model.
Pentax has announced a new DSLR system, which reportedly will fit the
needs of consumers who want to "transition from a point-and-shoot
digital camera to digital SLR photography." The price for this
transition, if you follow the Pentax path, will run you around $700
There is little doubt that music downloads will take over most of the
audio CD sales volume sooner or later. The music industry seems to have
accepted that trend and while it may give up on the audio CD, it isn’t
ready to give up on physical media sales yet. Four major publishers
announced a new media format that will be compatible with PCs,
cellphones and other portable devices: Flash memory cards will soon be
sold with preloaded, DRM free music.
Sony went Apple-crazy today with three new products with iPod/iPhone
docks. And remember that we complained just last week that Microsoft’s
Zune has an edge over Apple’s iPod with a tagging feature for songs
played over the FM radio receiver? That is still the case, but Sony has
come up with a fancy new HD radio that allows iPod/iPhone users to tag
songs for to download them from iTunes later.
Ok, let’s not go overboard here: $269 for a family room movie player
isn’t exactly cheap. But the new Memorex MVBD-2510 follows the trend of
decreasing Blu-ray player prices, despite recent remarks of the Blu-ray
Disc Association that Blu-ray isn’t going to be cheap anytime soon. In
fact, there are at least five different Blu-ray player models in the
U.S. market sell for less than $300.
Blu-ray is strangling itself with high prices and
an old fashioned distribution system. That’s the conclusion we came up
with while listening to industry analysts and executives at the
DisplaySearch/NPD HDTV conference in Los Angeles. Sure, Blu-ray
effectively vanquished HD-DVD back in January, but people just aren’t
switching to the format quickly enough. The format faces stiff
competition from DVDs, DVRs and digital copy and this has forced
Blu-ray player. This has slowed Blu-ray adoption and has forced
Blu-ray disc and player prices to remain high, according to Andy Parsons, chairman of the Blu-ray Disc Association.
With the likes of Sony
continuing to push the production of Organic Light Emitting Diode
(OLED), it is no wonder we are seeing this display technology push into
related consumer electronics categories. Kodak is laying claim to a
first in this regard, unveiling what it says is "the world’s first
consumer-available wireless picture frame" featuring OLED technology.
United States television broadcasts will become all
digital early next year, but most consumers aren’t taking advantage of
free government money to upgrade their old analog television sets.
According to a study released by DisplaySearch/NPD, only 6% of
consumers have redeemed their DTV coupons from the federal government.
That means there will be an estimated 25 million television sets that
will essentially be left in the dark after the digital switchover on
February 17, 2009.
Think the Canon EOS 50D DSLR announced a few weeks ago was a big deal? Canon pulled out a even bigger rabbit today with the announcement of the EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR camera.
This 21.1-megapixel monster, out by the end of November, will set you
back around $2700 for body only or around $3500 with an accompanying EF
24-105mm f/4L IS USM zoom lens.
That huge plasma screen in your living room
probably isn’t an energy sucking beast – at least that’s what the
Plasma Display Coalition wants you to believe. The coalition says
large plasma screens measuring 42 inches and larger are surprisingly
energy efficient and upcoming models could cost just $4 a month to
operate. Over one year, that’s less than it costs to fill up a Honda
gas tank, according to Jim Palumbo, president of the PDC.
So the Blu-ray disc is the only physical
high-definition format left in the market, but that isn’t going to
translate into lower prices any time soon, according to Andy Parsons,
the Chairman of the Blu-ray Disc Association. Parsons, who is also the
senior VP of Advanced Product Development at Pioneer Electronics, told
attendees at the DisplaySearch/NPD HDTV conference in Los Angeles that
Blu-ray volume needs to increase before content makers and set-top
makers can cut prices.
Microsoft today posted the new Zune 3.0 software, providing new
features for all Zune models, including the original first-generation
Zune. The software wireless music downloads and purchases from the Zune
Marketplace, the ability to tag and purchase songs played on the
built-in FM radio, the new Zune Channels, etc. Microsoft also revealed
new Zune colors and announced that Zune owners will have free wireless
access in 9800 McDonalds restaurants across the country.
Electronic Arts and Crytek are set to deliver the next Crysis game to PC owners September 18. The new title is Crysis Warhead and will be available for around $30 in North America and Europe.
Crysis Warhead, according to EA, occurs alongside the events of last year's franchise title.
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
is a highly anticipated expansion pack for the most popular MMORPG of
all time. The big question on gamers' minds has been: when will it come
out? Blizzard Entertainment finally answered that question, saying
today the pack will be available November 13 in North America and other
global markets, followed by more world releases in the days immediately