Zeebo, backed by Qualcomm, announced a new device it's calling the "fourth video game console." But don't worry if you're a console collector, the Zeebo console probably won't ever see the light of day in the U.S. and is instead being targeted at middle-class buyers in emerging markets.
Referring to the middle-class consumers of the so-called BRIC nations -- Brazil, Russia, India, and China -- Zeebo Chief Executive John Rizzo said "A console for these markets has got to be affordable."
To keep costs down and cut back on rampant piracy, the Zeebo will not use a disc or other fixed media, and instead employs a Qualcomm chipset to allow gamers to connect wirelessly to purchase and download games. The onboard flash memory can store about 50 games, Rizzo said.
Other specs include an ARM 11 / QDSP-5 running at 528MHz, 128MB of DDR memory, VGA (640 x 480) output, three USB 2.0 ports, and an SD card slot.
The Zeebo console will first be available in Brazil for $199, with pricing expected to drop to $150 within the year.
OCZ has been on a mission to undercut the competition in the peripheral gaming market and has released a pair of gaming mice this week towards that goal. The company says its new Behemoth and Eclipse mice are "built with the hardcore gamer in mind" looking for an inexpensive gaming solution.
"OCZ continues to break barriers in the cost for performance arena by offering high performance gaming products that deliver exceptional features, ergonomics, and performance at an aggressive price," commented Ryan Edwards, Director of Product Management for OCZ. "The new Behemoth and Eclipse gaming mice are no exception, offering world-class performance designed to provide the discerning gamer and enthusiast with a superior hands-on control experience whether playing first person shooters or getting creative with design applications."
Both the Eclipse and Behemoth come with a 2-way scrolling wheel, adjustable weight (up to 18g on the Eclipse and 24g on the Behemoth), 4-way changing LED display, black rubberized coating for a no-slip grip, 60IPS tracking speed, and 50G acceleration. The compact-style Eclipse sports an adjustable DPI up to 2400, whereas the larger Behemoth ramps up to 3200.
Microsoft's recently released Internet Explorer 8 runs faster than previous versions, boasts better standards compliance, and serves up some nifty features like Tab Grouping, Web Accelerators, and Web Slices. And without any major UI changes to pull end-users out of their comfort zone, Microsoft likely expected a mad rush to upgrade. As it turns out, those who are upgrading appear to be running back to IE7, according to data by Net Applications.
After being released on Thursday of last week, IE8's market share ramped up to 2.59 percent on Sunday. By Monday, that number dropped to 1.86 percent and today sits at 1.17 percent. Going by Net Applications' numbers alone, this would seem to indicate early adopters aren't all that impressed with IE8.
Because of the improvements made to web standards compliance, Microsoft had to implement a Compatibility Mode to prevent itself from essentially 'breaking the web.' Major sites known to render improperly in IE8 automatically run in compatibility mode, while others require end-users to manually switch modes. Complaints have surfaced from not being able to print from greeting card sites to missing images on pages built with Microsoft Publisher.
Are you having issues with IE8? Hit the jump and sound off.
By now you've probably had a chance to either play with the Windows 7 beta, or have at least read up on Microsoft's upcoming operating system and have had your share of screenshots. But what you might not know is that the Windows 7 interface was close to being decidedly different than what it is.
Steven Sinofsky, senior VP for the Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group, said that kept a gallery of designs for the Office Assistant on his office wall to help inspire the Windows 7 team. His gallery contained over 400 sketches of the desktop UI, including a taskbar with thumbnails of open windows instead of icons.
Other interface considerations include a Bat Signal, so that when you hovered your mouse over an icon, a window pop-up would appear highlighted by beams of light. This would later evolve into Aero Peek in Windows 7. Aero Shake, on the other hand, came from an experiment called Aladdin. So long as a user kept 'rubbing' a window in the background, it would stay on top.
Check out what other wacky ideas the Windows 7 team considered and view more sketches here.
Bigfoot, the company behind the uber expensive Killer line of network interface cards (NIC), expands its lineup this week with the Killer Xeno Pro and Ultra cards. Both cards run on the PCI-E interface and purportedly offer better throughput than the company's earlier models. But the biggest selling point for the Xeno series is the integrated audio for hardware-accelerated voice-chat.
"Killer Xeno's voice-chat acceleration technology addresses the most requested gamer feature, and will enable the millions of online gamers worldwide who utilize these chat services to enjoy a 'hiccup-free' voice experience while playing the latest generation of online games," Bigfoot wrote in a press release (PDF). "Bigfoot, in providing voice-chat, has partnered with companies supporting leading products such as TeamSpeak and Vivox as well as utilizing the popular open-source application Mumble."
The Xeno Pro comes with 128MB of onboard RAM, while the Xeno Ultra upgrades to 256MB, while also adding a customizable onboard LED status display for caller ID, network statistics, game information, and customized messages. Otherwise, the two cards are share the same spec sheet, including an upgraded NPU, hardware bandwidth control, and a hardware firewall.
The Xeno Pro will be available in April for $130 from both Alienware and EVGA. The Xeno Ultra will be available in May for $180 on retail shelves.
The internet has been rife with rumors of an Apple netbook. Another unconfirmed report has joined this unabated procession of rumors. According to a report on the website of Smarthouse, a prominent technology publication from down under, Apple has a functioning netbook prototype.
The magazine’s source at LG, Korea also claimed that the netbook will be produced in Taiwan and will feature a LG OLED screen. But our abstruse friends at Engadget have pointed out that the author of this particular Smarthouse report, David Richards, has a history of fanning rumors bereft of any logic. So do take this with a pinch of salt.
Remember a few young, naïve years ago (What’s an Obama?) when Crytek first cracked open your PC and drank the syrupy yolks within with the second iteration of its CryEngine technology? Remember the stomach-churning mix of awe and a heart attack you felt upon viewing its viewtiful vistas?
But it is very, very crisp, clean, and lush – just like CryEngine 2, but tweaked to levels of near-perfection. Does it knock reality off its high-horse and keep on riding? No, but if we fired a real rocket at an equally real tree, we imagine that its leaves tenuous grip on their lofty home would look something like that.
And oh, hey – look! A waterfall! Why, is that a heart attack we feel coming on? We’ll never doubt you again, Crytek.
Like a family engaged in an annual game of holiday card one-upmanship, the PC Gaming Alliance’s numbers, figures, and, er, printed-on coffee stains – courtesy of its State of the PC Gaming Industry in 2008 report – are shining with that make-everyone-else-jealous-of-your-obvious-superiority sheen that’s so popular with these sorts of things.
Most notably, the report states that PC gaming still brings home pounds upon pounds of bacon – nearly enough to necessitate tossing away a few slabs before fording the river, in fact – making it the largest single gaming platform in existence. As of now, industry revenues sit at $11 billion, and are expected to continue making our fingers, toes, and abaci feel inadequate in spite of the current Harsh Economic Climate.
In addition, PCGA president Randy Stude emphasized the PC gaming market’s unique advantages, saying:
“The biggest story in PC games is the expansion beyond retail. PC games have successfully pioneered online subscription and distribution models that have resulted in a global boom that shows no signs of slowing. Despite the advances of the likes of Xbox LIVE and the PlayStation Network, the online platform that remains the most accessible and robust worldwide is the PC.”
Buried at the bottom of scenic Oh-God-Don’t-Look, State of the PC Gaming Industry U.S.A. were a few roadblocks the industry’s currently negotiating, mostly stemming from variations in hardware configurations, piracy, and – of course – the economy.
You can check out the full, 33-page PDF file on the PCGA’s website, if you really want. Be warned, though – it’s large enough to become the butt of many a “Yo momma’s so fat” joke. Peruse at your own peril.
Some users of Netflix’s streaming service have groused about dwindling performance in recent times. The dip in performance has not only nettled users but also engendered speculation as to its cause. The most plausible conjecture is that video streams are being deliberately throttled by Netflix.
“Also, routing to different ISPs in the same region may be quite different, thus performance may also be quite different, even for neighbors, if they are connected to different ISPs. Moreover, congesting points can rise and fall with ISP configuration changes and other conditions,” Hunt wrote.
While Intel’s line of Z5xx Atom processors have already impressed the masses with their clock speeds ranging from 1.1GHz to 1.86GHz (all on 2.2 watts of power or less!), Intel feels like they’ve got more to prove.
The newest additions to the Atom family are the Z550 which clocks in at 2GHz while drawing only 2.4 watts and the Z515, with a dynamic clock speed ranging from 800MHz to 1.33GHz (depending on what you’re doing).
It’s expected that these chips will mostly see their way into mobile phones and MIDs, but the Z550 seems well within the realm of netbooks.