Arxan Technologies, Corsair, and Logitech have all joined on as new members with the PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA), the non-profit consortium whose goal is to promote PC gaming and to give the industry a public voice.
"These members bring a wealth of experience and a rich diversity of products and services to the PCGA that will significantly enhance our existing membership base", said Randy Stude, PCGA president. "By joining our rapidly growing organization, they are demonstrating their support for expanding the PC Gaming industry and their commitment to improving the PC gaming experience."
It was a busy day all around for the PCGA, which also named Min-Liang Tan, the CEO of Razer, as the organization's Board director.
"We’re honored to be elected to the PC Gaming Alliance Board of Directors," said Min-Liang Tan, CEO, Razer. "There is so much synergy between Razer’s core DNA - an essence of pure commitment to improving the PC gaming experience with state-of-the-art peripherals - and this organization’s drive to establish high standards and quality guidelines for the evolving industry at large. Both Razer and the PC Gaming Alliance are dedicated to addressing the needs of a maturing category and its largely sophisticated audience."
Perhaps the most interesting addition out of the above companies is Arxan, which is in the business of DRM. That might seem like an odd coupling, but according to company CTO Kevin Morgan, as part of the PCGA, Arxan looks to "ensure that due consideration is given to the protection of intellectual property, preservation of game integrity, and unobtrusive DRM models." Here's hoping they make good on the "unobtrusive" part.
There are plenty of Logitech fans who swear by their Harmony remotes, but if you're not rocking a complex home theater setup, then what's the point of investing in a decked out remote? Good question, and one Logitech will try to answer with its just-announced Harmony 300 designed for simpler home entertainment systems.
"Most universal remotes have a bad reputation for being hard to program and, as a result, you still use more than one remote to control the devices you own," said Ashish Arora, vice president and general manager of Logitech's digital home group. "With the Harmony 300, we wanted to deliver the Harmony remote promise of one remote to control your entertainment system to everyone. No more excuses -- it's time to get rid of the stack of remotes on your coffee table and simplify your home entertainment experience."
Logitech said it designed a refreshed Web-based setup exclusively for the Harmony 300, in which you'll connect the remote to your PC, go to www.myharmony.com, input your devices, and let Logitech do the rest. The peripheral maker also promises your Harmony 300 will never be out of date, boasting a growing online library that already supports more than 225,000 devices from over 5,000 brands.
The Harmony 300 will be available in early April for $50.
Things aren't looking very good for Logitech's SqueezeBox Touch, a slick looking media streaming device which continues to have its release date pushed back time and again. The last delay had the SqueezeBox slated to ship out this month, but according to a post by a Slim Devices developer on the official Logitech message board, it probably won't arrive until April at the earliest.
"We're looking at a couple of months until release," reads the post.
News of yet another delay can't come as good news to those who pre-ordered the media streamer as far back as October 2009. At the time, Logitech was promising a December release.
But what's even worse is no know one outside of Logitech knows why the SqueezeBox hasn't yet been released. The company hasn't told its customers anything, although a senior member on the forum says Logitech has been having issues integrating their latest streaming software into the SqueezeBox's low-power hardware.
Attitudes about the iPod Touch and the iPhone can be distilled into two groups: (1) It’s a grossly overpriced unitasker; or (2) it’s a brilliant multitasker that’s well worth the price. And reactions to Logitech’s newly introduced Touch Mouse will perfectly illustrate this dichotomy.
Logitech’s free application for the iPhone and Touch allows users of PCs and Macs to control their computer from their device. It mimics a laptop touchpad, complete with mouse button input. Plus, its got a keyboard option. It’s a small keyboard, to be sure, but it does display the text you type on the iPhone or Touch. Logitech’s offering is a natural fit for those connecting their computer to their TV. You can sit back and relax, without having to drag along a keyboard and mouse, or buy an expensive, sole-purpose peripheral.
Logitech’s Touch Mouse joins other touchpad/mouse apps for the iPhone and Touch, such as Gabriel Höhener’s WeBe Bluetooth Mouse, R.P.A. Tech’s Air Mouse Pro, and JumiTech’s JumiMouse. One advantage for Logitech’s app is the price--it's free.
But, depending on where you stand, this app makes the iPhone/Touch an outrageously expensive wireless keyboard and mouse, or it makes the iPhone/Touch an infinitely adaptable device that is worth every penny you paid for it.
Recent maneuvers by networking bigwigs Cisco and Logitech seem to indicate that videoconferencing technology may be headed towards the mainstream market. That hasn't been the case up to this point, as high prices and somewhat complicated equipment have relegated virtual face-to-face meetings to enterprise applications.
But that's rapidly changing. Cisco, Logitech, and a handful of smaller companies have been wheeling and dealing with a focus towards morphing the market into a mainstream gold rush. Cisco, for example, increased its $3 billion bid for Tandberg to roughly $3.4 billion in an attempt to entice investors who felt that the original bid wasn't enough. In addition, Cisco is expected to introduce a consumer-level videoconferencing product at CES this January, Businessweek reports.
Logitech meanwhile has opend up its purse and will pay $405 million for LifeSize Communications, a company which makes high-end HD videoconferencing equipment.
By themselves, each deal isn't particularly telling, but when looking at the overall picture, it appears imminent that videoconferencing is headed towards becoming a natural part of business, both big and small, with the cost of entry on its way to being removed as a barrier.
Logitech announced it has agreed to acquire LifeSize Communications, a privately held company specializing in high-definition video conferencing equipment, for $405 million in cash. The deal gives Logitech instant access to some 9,000 video conferencing customers across 80 countries in businesses both big and small.
"We expect this acquisition to enable Logitech to extend our leadership in video communication beyond the desktop," said Gerald P. Quindlen, Logitech president and chief executive office. "Together we can make life-like, HD-quality video communication as mainstream and seamless as a telephone, for meeting participants in the boardroom, at their office desk, in a remote-location meeting room, telecommuting from, or on the go with a laptop."
Logitech said it plans for LifeSize to continue to operate as a separate division under the direction of Craig Malloy, the start-up's co-founder and CEO.
The deal also thrusts Logitech into direct competition with market heavyweights such as Cisco, Microsoft, HP, IBM, and others. Cisco especially will be one to look out for, as the company just recently announced it would spend $3 billion acquiring Tandberg, a Norwegian video communications company, following share holder approval.
At first glance, Logitech’s new G500 mouse looks like yesterday’s model. Its chassis is almost identical to the classic G5, which was in turn a slight redesign of the MX510/518 series. The G500 takes the classic hump design of the MX510/518 and updates the sensor with one similar to the sensor used in the newer G9x line of mice. That’s very nice.
When we say the same laser sensor as the G9x, we really mean that Logitech included an ever-so-slightly upgraded version of the G9x’s sensor. The G500’s adjustable sensor lets you select a setting from 200–5,700dpi, while the G9x limits you to 200–5,000dpi. This isn’t really a significant upgrade, as even the 5,000dpi setting is unplayable outside the small subset of games that let you set an incredibly low sensitivity. Still, we love the silky-smooth action of this mouse.
We haven’t auditioned many cheap speaker systems lately. Why? Well, let’s just say we don’t enjoy subjecting our ears to the sonic equivalent of waterboarding. But Logitech has a knack for packing big sound into inexpensive boxes, so we agreed to review its new two-channel Z520 system.
You’ll have to decide for yourself if the Z520 system’s $130 price tag really puts it in the “cheap” category, and we imagine the folks at Logitech will cringe to hear us describe them as such; but you can cut only so many corners before we begin to ask, “Why bother?” Judging by these speakers’ performance, Logitech’s engineers know just how low they can go.
When we see small speakers, we usually pigeon-hole them as near-field monitors: short-throw speakers that produce a small stereo soundstage that collapses as soon as you move more than three feet away from the cabinets. There’s nothing inherently wrong with near-fields, especially in a PC environment, but they have their limitations. So we were surprised to hear Logitech boast that the Z520 could provide a “great listening experience throughout the room.” We decided to put that claim to the test as soon as we took the speakers out of the box.
The G110 personalization starts with backlit keys, in your choice of red, blue, or any combination of red and blue (which makes purple!). There are 12 programmable “G-keys” and three “M-keys” which allow you to assign up to 26 single keystrokes, multi-key macros, or complex LUA scripts for each game you play. Logitech’s contribution to the keyboard arms race is the inclusion of integrated USB audio, simplifying the hook-ups for in-game chatter.
Logitech expects to have the G110 in the stores in November for a suggested retail price of $79.99.
If you ask a gun enthusiast why he needs that M4 SOPMOD to hunt squirrel, you’re asking the wrong question. It’s not that the average squirrel in the Adirondacks is on PCP and likely to require two magazines to put down; it’s that the M4 SOPMOD is a fine and uniquely crafted weapon regardless of whether it ever sees action worthy of its true potential. So, please, don’t ask us why you’d want to spend $200 on a keyboard with up to 36 macros available across 12 programmable macro keys (recordable on the fly from the keyboard itself), customizable keyboard backlighting, and even a 320x240 color display. If you’re a gamer, understand that you’re buying more power than you may ever need, but absolutely should have.
The key action is cush and quiet (preferred by most gamers and characteristic of Logitech’s boards), and the plastic is smooth yet never slippery beneath sweaty digits. The keyboard itself includes a hardware switch to disable the Windows key, and both macro and function keys are slightly elevated for easier nailing. We appreciate the slightly larger than usual Mute button below the media control keys to the upper right, and love the barrel-style volume control (if only it were reprogrammable for use as a scrubber or dial).