I personally haven't gotten into Minecraft myself, but I know of it and know of how insanely popular the game is. Notch, head of Mojang Specifications studio that developed Minecraft, have announced via Twitter that Minecraft has gone gold.
Public betas have been around for over twelve months now, with four million copies of the game sold already. The final version of Minecraft won't be officially released until the Minecon conference on Friday, but the current version is reportedly pretty close. Mojang have a variety of clients available, Windows, OS X and Linus. An iOS version is said to be in the works, but not ready yet. Where Android-based users can download Minecraft from the Android Market.
In The Matrix, Neo said "Whoa", and the whole world listened. Today, I'm saying "whoa" at the rumor of HTC's Zeta smartphone. It's rumored to be a quad-core smartphone but sports a 2.5GHz APQ8064 CPU along with 1GB of RAM, all looking purdy on a 4.5-inch 720p HD display.
The phone is also very unique in its shape, which I kinda dig. Zeta is said to have Ice Cream Sandwich pre-installed, with Sense UI running the show, too. 32GB of internal storage should keep most people happy, an 1,830mAh battery, Beats Audio, Bluetooth 4.0, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with dual LED flash, 1080p video capture and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera.
Dimension-wise, we have 109.8 x 60.9 x 9.8mm (4.32 x 2.4 x 0.39 inches) and weigh 5.15 ounces (146g). Right now this is just sitting on RumorTT, but it is something that could definitely materialise. Now, I've been talking about this for a while, especially with the release of the Galaxy S II, Galaxy Nexus, Transformer Prime, and various other handsets like this new HTC Zeta, but I'm going to come out and say it in a single sentence below, and I'd like some thoughts on it:
Another console game, port, rape of series has happened in front of our eyes. From Electronic Arts' and Black Box, we have Need for Speed: The Run. NFS: The Run is powered by Battlefield 3's gorgeous, pant-swellingly beautiful, make-you-call-out-mom-in-your-dreams amazing graphics engine, Frostbite 2.0.
Even though the game is powered by that amazing engine, the game is locked to 30fps. What? Am I joking? No. The Run is locked to just 30fps. Now, this may work for other titles, but for a game capable of oh-so-much more on the PC, it's still locked. Locked frame rates on consoles can work, but what if you've just dumped your hard earned cash on a new X79-based system with Quad SLI GeForce GTX 580's?
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was misquoted during Microsoft's annual shareholders meeting, where he answered a bunch of questions regarding Microsoft's future. Ballmer was asked whether we're in a post-PC era world and what his expectations are of the PC market going forward, he said:
Well one thing I know is, we're certainly not, we are in the Windows era. We were, we are and we always will be. That's kinda what we get paid to do. We've got broad Windows initiatives driving Windows down to the phone. With Windows 8, you'll see incredible new form factors powered by Windows from tablets, small, large, pens, smaller, bigger, room-sized displays. We are in an era in which the range of smart devices is continuing to expand. That's a fantastic thing for Microsoft. That is a real opportunity.
But, press outlets and bloggers ran with it and thought Ballmer had all but confirmed Windows 8 for phones, but this is not the case. Microsoft have been clear that Windows 8 will be made for 7-inch devices and up. They have no plays to make Windows 8 available for phones and Microsoft are reportedly putting their focus on pushing the two ecosystems together with Windows 8, which is set to include the mix of the next-generation Xbox.
Intel have cracked out the bubbly (and surely, some expensive scotch) to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Intel 4004, the world's first commercially available microprocessor. The release of the 4004 triggered the start of the digital revolution. Most people have never even see a processor, but devices that contain them have been integrated so deeply into our everyday lives, they have become pretty much indispensable.
Intel have thrown some numbers around that are very impressive, comparing the Intel 4004 to the second-generation Intel Core processors. Compared to the Intel 4004, today's second-generation Intel Core processors are more than 350,000 times the performance and each transistor uses 5,000 times less energy. Impressive? Just a little.
Next year sees Intel CPUs being developed on Intel's next-generation 22nm manufacturing process and are set to deliver even more energy-efficient performance as a result of Intel's breakthrough 3-D Tri-Gate transistors that make use of a new transistor structure.
AMD have released their Catalyst 11.11 driver today, with it bringing Adobe Flash Player 11 support which enables the full support of the GPU accelerated Stage 3D API and Stage 3D applications. It is supported on the AMD Radeon HD Series of GPUs, A-Series and E-Series APUs.
Highlights of the Linux-based 11.11 driver are, support for OpenSUSE 12.1 early look support and seamless GPU compute support. The AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing (APP) OpenCL runtime is now enabled by default within the AMD Catalyst driver for Linux. Applications that leverage OpenCL for GPU-based compute tasks will now automatically benefit from the significant performance boost that this provides.
The driver also includes support for the latest CrossfireX profiles, which include Battlefield 3, Global Ops - Commando Libya and Driver: San Fransisco.
Wow. It was 10 years ago today that Microsoft unleashed the Xbox onto the gaming world. 100,000 units were shipped to retailers in the first week after its launch, and 1.5 million were sold before the end of 2001. This made the Xbox the best-selling video game console launch on record, and quite the achievement [unlocked?] for Microsoft. The picture below shows Edward Glucksman, where Bill Gates hands over the very first Xbox video game system to him.
10 years later, Microsoft have quite the collection of additions to the Xbox brand such as the current Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE and Kinect for 360. Xbox LIVE boasts 35 million members worldwide who spend 2.1 billion hours per month on the service. Kinect for 360 set a Guinness World Record for the fastest-selling consumer electronic device, selling 8 million in just 60 days.
I still personally remember the original Xbox, Halo looked stunning. Absolutely stunning. Project Gotham Racing saw me pouring unlimited amounts of hours into it. Since then, Microsoft seem to have concentrated more on their Xbox products than PC, which is disappointing for PC owners, but great for console gamers. Let's hope we don't have to wait 3 - 4 more years for another Xbox, launch one next year, Microsoft. We all need the push for games.
We've had some truly amazing games over the last few months, and Skyrim is definitely one of the creme of the crop. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has sold over 3.4 million copies at retail in its first 2 days on sale. Keep in mind that this is without the inclusion of digital sales (Steam, etc).
This is an increase of over 600-percent on top of what Oblivion sold, with an opening of just 490,000 copies. Skyrim is set to outsell Oblivion in mere weeks. 59-percent of units sold were on the Xbox 360 (over 2 million copies) and 27-percent were on the PS3. The PC? Just 14-percent, again, without digital sales included.
NVIDIA have just announced that the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) is developing a new hybrid supercomputer that, for the first time, uses energy-efficient, low-power NVIDIA Tegra ARM VCPUs, together with high-performance NVIDIA CUDA GPUs. BSC is in the planning stages and hopes to roll out the new ARM-based supercomputer, with a near-term goal of demonstrating two to five times improvement in energy efficiency compared with today's most efficient systems.
BSC's ultimate research goal is to establish exascale-level performance while using 15 to 30 times less power than current supercomputer architectures. This so-called EU Mont-Blanc Project will explore next-generation HPC architectures and develop a portfolio of exascale applications that run efficiently on these kinds of energy-efficient, embedded mobile technologies.
As ARM gains more support around the world with ARM-based initiatives, NVIDIA have also announced plans to develop a new hardware and software development kit. NVIDIA's new kit, with hardware developed by SECO, will sport a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 ARM CPU accelerated by a discrete NVIDIA GPU.
It seems every few months there's some news about RIM, BlackBerry are dying, BlackBerry are returning... well, now we have the first-ever photo of the next set of BlackBerry devices, which will sport RIM's new BBX operating system.
The phone in the above picture is the BlackBerry "London", and should have a June 2012 release. The phone sports a TI OMAP dual-core 1.5GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of on-board storage, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, 2-megapixel front-facing camera and is reportedly "thinner than the iPhone 4" and roughly the same size as Samsung's Galaxy S II.