Handheld gaming is no longer a fiefdom of just one or two dedicated gaming devices, with games now appearing on mobile devices you'd never fancied as competent gaming platforms. The largest handheld maker, Nintendo, has hitherto preserved the simplicity associated with its devices despite competing devices becoming increasingly multifaceted.
We've been having flashbacks of when netbooks first became a hot ticket item and every day brought forth a new product release. Now it's time for tablet PCs to sit in the limelight, and the latest to join the crowd is Handheld's 7-inch Algiz.
Unlike other tablets of late, the smaller sized Algiz sports a comparatively rugged design. Perhaps because of this, the Handheld eschewed touch support and instead opted for physical buttons shoved over to the side of the screen.
On the hardware side, the Algiz packs an Intel Atom processor clocked at 1.6GHz, 2GB of RAM, an onboard 64GB SSD, 2MP camera, a 3G module, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS sensor, and is Gobi 2000-ready so users can connect to GSM and CDMA wireless networks wherever there's a cellphone signal.
Getting back to the tablet's ruggedness, Handheld says the Algiz has been IP65 and MIL-STD-810G certified.
Look for the Algiz to start shipping in March for an as-yet undetermined price.
Pandora's upcoming handheld gaming console is just about ready for retail, but should you be excited? At least one fan forum member is, who was invited by the company to test out a pre-production model and was so impressed that he "considered stealing it."
In a video demo posted to YouTube, one of the developers shows off the handheld's nub controls, which he uses manipulate Mario in Mario 64 through emulation software. The nubs are essentially a pair of low profile thumbsticks, and will probably be a welcome addition to handheld gaming.
Some of the other features a keyboard, touchscreen, a TV-Out port, and plenty more. In short, it's real, it looks pretty awesome, and it's coming soon.
Nvidia's Tegra platform continues to woo big-name customers, most recently attracting Nintendo, who reportedly is in talks with Nvidia to provide some extra oomph for its next-gen DS handheld console.
The deal marks a win-win situation for both involved. For Nvidia's part, no other handheld console would put Tegra in more hands, courtesy of the DS's 68.3 percent worldwide market share. And for Nintendo, tapping into Tegra gives the company's console a power boost sure to be well received by consumers and developers alike.
Until more details are released, we can only speculate on what the next DS might be like, but it's at least feasible that on top of the added muscle, it will also sport backwards compatibility with the existing DS library, assuming Theo Valich's sources prove reliable.
What will also be interesting to watch is how this relationship between Nintendo and Nvidia plays out in the home console market. Might Nvidia replace ATI as the graphics vendor of choice in whatever supersedes the Wii? We'll have to wait to find out.
Reports have claimed that Microsoft is currently in the developmental process of creating a mobile platform that mixes many elements of the Xbox and Zune – earning it the nickname “xYz.”
The rumored handheld is reported to be “unlike anything on the market today … think of a mashup of the Sony Mylo, the PSP, and the iPhone… errr, the iPod touch; [the MS handheld] doesn’t need access to a phone network. Although the Microsoft handheld is definitely a converged device, this is not a Zune Phone. Microsoft won’t compete with its Windows Mobile customers.”
The device will supposedly be based off of Live Anywhere, for the most part. “There will be a single online marketplace; the lines between the Zune, Xbox Live and Sky marketplaces will blur when the handheld launches.”
Given that both Nintendo and Sony have strong footholds in the handheld gaming sector, it seems like a natural progression for Microsoft to move here as well. Let’s just hope that this rumored handheld takes less pages from the book of Zune and more pages from the book of Xbox.
If you just unloaded your original DS on Ebay and replaced it with a DS Lite, you'll soon be outdated again. During their Fall Press Conference in Japan, Nintendo announced its new DSi, the "third platform" in the DS handheld gaming hardware series.
The new version comes a little thinner than the model it's replacing while offering 17 percent larger screens at 3.25 inches each. Certain "audio enhancements" have been made, but arguably the biggest addition is the inclusion of a .3 megapixel camera capable of 640x480 resolution.
Old school gamers won't have any place to put their Gameboy Advance cartridges, as the GBA slot has been removed. Instead the DSi comes with an SD memory card slot. The DSi also features a built-in browser, and gamers will be able to download games and other DSiWare from Nintendo's DSi Shop. As is sadly the trend, pricing is based on a points scale, and customers will start off with 1,000 free points that must be used by March 2010.
Japan will get first crack at the DSi this November for roughly $180 USD, with other markets to follow sometime next year.
By all accounts Amazon's Kindle eBook reader appears to be a resounding success. Despite the gadget's shortcomings -- no PDF support, closed eBook format, poor batter life when using the wireless service, limited magazine selection -- the $359 device sold out almost immediately after going on sale, fetching as much as $1,500 in Ebay auctions. Fast forward to today and the Kindle pushes over 12 percent of Amazon's book sales. And rumor has it that Amazon will soon release a new model, Kindle 2.0, a bigger version of the original in a multitude of colors.
Book sales aside, just how successful has the Kindle been? Because Amazon won't disclose how many of its eBook readers it has sold, nobody knows for sure, but TechCrunch claims to have the inside scoop. "240,000 Kindles have been shipped since November, according to a source close to Amazon with direct knowledge of the numbers," TC reports.
If true, that puts Kindle sales close to the $100 million mark and well over that amount after factoring in book sales, subscriptions, and so on. But that's only the tip of the iceberg. TC notes that Scott Devitt, an analyst at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., has Amazon on track to sell 500,000 to 750,000 more Kindles within the next four quarters, with a total revenue of up to $355 million after tallying up additional book sales. This, he says, values the Kindle as a $1 billion business for Amazon.
Capturing high definition video in the palm of your hand is about to get easier if Sanyo's DMX-HD800 can live up to its billing. The 8MP compact camera will come in gold, pink, and black and be capable of recording video in 720p (1280x720) using the AVC/H.264 video codec. Features include:
Drag and drop capable
HD videos and still pictures
Snap photos while filming without pausing the video
Face recognition (up to 12 faces)
Digital image stabilizer
In-camera video editing
Capturing quality videos from a handheld gadget always elicits skepticism, but Sanyo promises its three-dimensional digital noise reduction (3DDNR) filter will offer both clear videos and crisp photos. It was enough to impress AkihabaraNews, who claims the camera represents a "HUGE step forward in video quality" and described the change as "AMAZING" compared to Sanyo's previous model, the HD700.