Most people would argue that the e-book market has nowhere to go but up, however analysts continue to be surprised by just how fast people are ditching ink for pixels. According to the Association of American Publishers e-book sales from January to August were a staggering $263 million, this compared to just $89.8 million during the same period last year. This threefold increase in sales certainly helps to validate the market, and it looks like the impact of having so many affordable e-book devices on the market is finally starting to kick in.
In January 2009 anyone wanting to read an e-book needed a device worth several hundred dollars, and had to worry about DRM protected content with no guarantee over future compatibility. Today just about anyone with a smartphone can tap into several different e-book stores, Kindles and Nooks have never been cheaper, and some little known company by the name of Apple launched the iPad.
E-book sales still only account for about 10 percent of books sold, but it still paints a clear picture for brick and mortar retailers. The trend is not your friend.
Microsoft tied up the exclusive rights to disk free Netflix console streaming, but all things must come to an end, and I’m sure most PS3 owners are more than happy to count this odd business deal among them. Starting today US viewers can download the new disk-free Netflix application from the Sony Store, even though the actual service behind it won’t go live until tomorrow.
Early impressions of the new Netflix PS3 interface is overwhelmingly positive with support for 1080p, 5.1 surround sound, and even closed captioning if the title supports it. With the Wii capped at 480p, the Xbox 360 capped at 720p, the PS3 which will support resolutions up to 1080p is starting to look like the superior solution. Very few titles will support the higher resolutions at launch, but this will no doubt chance fairly quickly.
Do you intend to start using your PS3 for Netflix over your previous solution?
Owners of the PS3 have been able to watch Netflix streaming content on their consoles for some time now. The only problem is that it required a special streaming disc to be in the machine. But according to Sony, a new disc-free Netflix streaming solution is coming to the PS3 on October 18. The application will be free and it will be installed to the console like other apps.
The interface is completely redesigned, and includes search capability. Users will finally be able to add items to the queue right from the PS3. Netflix on the PS3 will also be serving up 1080p HD video and 5.1 surround sound, when the content supports it. Other Netflix solutions are stuck at 720p for the time being. If that's not enough, the PS3 will also support subtitles.
The UI looks slick in the video, but that might be trickery. We'll reserve judgment until the app rolls out, but it will be nice to get rid of that disc once and for all. Any Netflix subscribers taking another look at the PS3 as a streaming device?
The Medal of Honor series has finally made the leap to modernity, but the latest installment of the game has done exactly the opposite for PS3 pirates, consigning them to their frustrating past, when the console simply rejected backups. It is the first PS3 game that requires the 3.42 firmware to run.
The firmware, which nips hacks like PSJailbreak in the bud, is also included on the game disc, making Medal of Honor immune to all such hacks. However, the PS3 hacking community isn’t expected to remain quiet. As they always do with the PSP, they could come up with a workaround and include it in future hacks or even a custom firmware.
Netflix is in the process of transitioning from a disc-based business, to streaming-based one. That much is clear from their recent content deals with the likes of Time Warner and Fox that get the service more content for online streaming. In exchange, Netflix abides by a 28 day window before they can have access to physical discs. Now it looks like another studio is taking Netflix up on that offer. Sources indicate that Sony has agreed to a similar deal.
Neither side is talking, but the details seem solid enough. Both sides in the deal are getting what they want. Studios get longer to push physical disc sales, and Netflix moves ahead with the streaming business that will carry them into the future. In addition to the 28 day waiting period, Netflix also pays less for the right to rent. Considering most consumers don't track release dates for discs, we think this is a pretty good deal. Would this change your rental habits?
The Best Buy Geek squad is no doubt made up of many talented and well intentioned souls, but the marketing department has fallen off the deep end. Based on this picture taken by the folks over at dualshockers.com the Geek Squad is now planning to offer customers the option to receive Sony’s free firmware update in-store before taking the console home. That sounds reasonable enough, until you do the math and discover that they are charging a whopping $30 for the service.
Just in case you have never used a PS3 I’ll detail the procedure below.
1.)Connect Ethernet Wire or Configure Wi-Fi
2.)Press X on “Check for Firmware Update”
3.)Return in 5 minutes time.
It sounds to us like Best Buy is trying to turn the Geek Squad into a gang of certified wallet inspectors, but I guess everyone has to make money somehow.
If you're a family man, live with a roommate, or have neighbors hanging out on the other side of thin walls, then a good headset isn't just a luxury, it's a necessity. And if you're console gamer, Logitech is looking at you.
The company just released its new Wireless Headset F540. The F540 lets you connect up to three audio devices, including both your PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles, and comes with voice chat to boot.
"We set out to build a great wireless headset for people who like to play at night, but need to keep it quiet so they don’t disturb anyone trying to sleep," said Elliott Chin, Logitech’s senior manager of product marketing for gaming. "The result is an amazing audio experience for console gamers, no matter when they like to play. The Logitech Wireless Headset F540 delivers superior sound coupled with voice chat and does it all without a single cable running between you and your console."
One cool feature on the F540 is that you can recharge the headset while you're still playing -- just attach the micro USB cable and you're good to go. Otherwise, Logitech says you can expect up to 10 hours of use in between charges.
The F540 will ship stateside in November for $150.
If your gaming outlet of choice is the PC, then you should take this next story as just one more example of why you should be thankful you choose to kill your spare time on an open platform. According to user reports Sony’s new 3.50 mandatory PS3 firmware update is killing off support for third party USB devices, a move that will no doubt simply convince more users to jailbreak their consoles. The update adds support for 3D Blu-Ray, a report abuse option for PSN, along with the ability to link certain game features to Facebook.
The disabling of USB devices wasn’t mentioned specifically in the patch notes, but Sony did warn users on their website "SCEA does not support continued functionality of counterfeit or unlicensed controllers in system software updates and these devices may cease to function in the future because of system software updates." The PS3 was always the geek’s choice for console gaming since it allowed users to upgrade their own hard drives, and even install Linux. Sony however has slowly been taking back control as the platform matures, and seems to be doing so unapologetically.
So if you download the official Sony update you can watch 3D Blu-Rays, and spam your friends on Facebook. On the other hand if you jailbreak your console you gain access to SNES and Dreamcast emulators. What would you choose? I think I’ll need to find a TI-84 to help me tally up the votes.
Taking shots at Nokia’s ailing smartphone platform Symbian is almost too easy these days, and it would seem another hardware manufacturer is announcing that it wants off the bandwagon in favor of Android. Sony Ericsson has been developing Android based phones for quite some time now, but many were wondering just how much longer they would continue to support more than one mobile OS, and now we know. “We have no plans for the time being to develop any new products to the Symbian Foundation standard or operating system,” Aldo Liguori, a spokesman for the London-based company, said by telephone today. Liguori confirmed remarks made by Chief Technology Officer Jan Uddenfeldt to Swedish technology newspaper Ny Teknik.
Symbian continues to hold onto a tenuous lead in the smartphone market, but its share has declined from 51 percent to just over 41 percent over a one year period. With the loss of Sony and Samsung the Symbian Foundation’s only high profile partner is Nokia who for one reason or another continues to use the OS to power its high end smartphones. To be fair Sony hasn’t formally withdrawn from the Symbian Foundation, but with no new products being planned it sounds more likely this will evolve into a common law divorce, a separation without all the messy paperwork.
Symbian keeps falling into the same category as RIM, powerful but faltering. What would it take for these guys to get back in the game? Let us know what you think after the jump.
We're okay with a little rumble in our hand, and hey, maybe someday controllers will send out a light shock. But when things start exploding, that's when we have a problem.
This is the first we've heard of a controller actually exploding, but according to Sony, there's a rash of counterfeit PlayStation 3 controllers making the rounds that are at risk of doing just that.
"SCEA (Sony Computer Entertainment America) advises consumers to be cautious when buying PlayStation 3 Wireless controllers from uncertain sources as the quality, reliability, and safety of counterfeit products is uncertain, and in some cases, may be dangerous," Sony warned in a blog post. "It is possible that some counterfeit product may ignite or explode, resulting in injury or damage to the user, your PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system, or other property."
What's worse, these bogus controllers are "practically identical in appearance to genuine" controllers, Sony said.