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Xbox scooped up 40% of all videogame sales during 2011

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jan 13, 2012 7:18 am

Microsoft has shown its strength just now, with the Xbox taking in nearly half of all consumer spending from physical sales in 2011. Roughly $6.7 billion, or 40-percent of consumer retail spending, was spent on the Xbox, breaking into two separate categories. $2.1 billion on consoles, and $4.6 billion on games, according to NPD data released today.

 

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These figures take into account U.S. retail sales of new physical videogame content, inclusive of portable and console hardware, games and accessories. In the collective sectors, they generated revenues of $17.02 billion last year, an 8-percent decline from 2010's $18.6 billion in generated revenues. Out of that $17.02 billion, Microsoft took a very respectable 40-percent of those sales.

 

The report doesn't include sales from digital formats, with things like downloadable content, social and mobile games, used and rental sales. Those so-called "newer" categories generated $7.24 billion in revenues last year, an increase of 7-percent over 2010. Whilst the increase in spending on alternative formats was there, it wasn't enough to offset the declines in physical retail. Consumer spending across both categories was between $16.3 and $16.6 billion, falling 2-percent from last year.

Continue reading 'Xbox scooped up 40% of all videogame sales during 2011' (full post)

Facebook had its first live theater performance on Monday, Effi Briest takes the social networking 'stage'

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Social Networking | Posted: Jan 13, 2012 6:25 am

Facebook has previously held presidential debates, Twitter has had live concerts, but now theater has taken the social networking stage. Berlin's Maxim Gorki Theater used Facebook to host a live theater experience on Monday, which is what they have called, Facebook's first performance.

 

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Maxim Gorki Theater used Theodor Fontane's Effi Briest, and performance a special adaption for the "online Facebook stage", reported Reuters. A spokesperson for the theater told Reuters:

 

We were really pleased to try something new and innovative, and have learned a lot about how we can use the internet for our productions. Facebook can't replace the stage, but it offers some really interesting opportunities to perform theatre online.

 

They really broke through with something new, by offering status updates, shared photos and wall posts between characters, all part of the interactive experience. During the show, audience members voted for their favorite wedding dress option and contributed to a love letter exchanged between characters. But, the audience were warned that Facebook chatter during the show was 'discouraged'. The performance narrator sent "silence in the theater, please," messages, kind of like a virtual dimming of the lights.

Continue reading 'Facebook had its first live theater performance on Monday, Effi Briest takes the social networking 'stage'' (full post)

iPhone 4S launch in China, massive queues, worries about scalpers

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jan 13, 2012 4:53 am

For the five official Apple stores in China, there are currently big queues in anticipation for tomorrow's launch of the iPhone 4S. The two stores in Beijing, and three in Shanghai, are already experiencing line-ups of over several hundred meters, with reports of hundreds of queuers at each store.

 

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Most stores have a ticketing system which stops queue-jumpers, but it won't stop people from purchasing an iPhone 4S handset and scalping it for profit. Steven Millward received an SMS this morning from China Unicom, who is Apple's official partner for the iPhone in China, which reminded him that the iPhone 4S goes on sale online on Unicom's own site at 12:01am on Friday morning.

 

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Outside queueing will be quite harsh, 3-degrees celcius outside tonight in Shanghai, and most likely less in Beijing. Those who are lining up most likely want Apple's unlocked device (16GB model for 4988 RMB; 32GB for 5888; and 64GB is 6788) and might not want to be weighed down with one-, two-, or three-year contracts with Unicom. Last week, China Unicom offered the iPhone 4S for free on two-, and three-year contracts.

RIM's PlayBook OS 2.0 arrives next month

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Software | Posted: Jan 13, 2012 4:24 am

CES 2012: Research in Motion (RIM) unveiled at CES a software update for its slate, BlackBerry PlayBook, PlayBook OS 2.0. PlayBook OS 2.0 includes native e-mail, contacts and calendar applications. The former two serve as hubs for not just PlayBook messages and contacts, but those in your social networking accounts like Twitter, LinkedIn and more.

 

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The e-mail app offers a bunch of text formatting options to do, well, normal things like bold, italicize, create bullet points, change font type, color or size. The calendar app is reportedly standard, but has been said to include good things with the cross-app integration. BGR reports that the contacts are tied to meeting entries in the calendar for quick and easy access. The calendar also syncs with popular services from Google, AOL, Yahoo, Hotmail and Microsoft Exchange.

 

PlayBook OS 2.0 also revamps the homescreen, now allowing users to group applications into folders and place your most used applications on a dock. A "reading view" mode is included in the browser, which is similar to Apple's desktop and mobile Safari browsers, as well as an improved version of BlackBerry Bridge, which sports a remote control function that allows you to type, navigate and perform gestures on a PlayBook using a BlackBerry smartphone.

Continue reading 'RIM's PlayBook OS 2.0 arrives next month' (full post)

Google preparing next version of Google TV for release later this year

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Software | Posted: Jan 13, 2012 4:15 am

CES 2012: Google have plans to update their television service software by year-end, where they'll also be adding content and making it easier than ever for users to find shows. According to director of product management, Rishi Chandra, Google TV will undergo annual software updates.

 

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Chandra went onto say:

 

We don't intend to stop iterating. You'll see cool interaction stuff, you'll see a lot of cool things happening on the recommendation engine and on the discovery experience.

 

Google have just recently gained the support of hardware manufacturing with LG Electronics Inc. and OnLive Inc. both coming on board, both companies unveiling products around the service at CES this week. The third version of Google TV will be available in the second half of this year, according to Google spokesman Chris Dale, which he announced in an interview.

Continue reading 'Google preparing next version of Google TV for release later this year' (full post)

ASRock announces the 2012 Global OC Competition with Futuremark

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Contests & Giveaways | Posted: Jan 13, 2012 4:08 am

ASRock have just announced today the 2012 Global OC Competition with Furturemark. This new worldwide competition requires those who wish to participate to submit their highest 3DMark 11 Physics Test score by overclocking their CPU.

 

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Of course, there are restrictions. All entries require the use of an ASRock Sandy Bridge, or Sandy Bridge-E motherboard and Intel 2nd Generation Core processors, or Intel Core i7 Extreme processors. Participates also need to upload their 3DMark 11 Physics Test score to 3DMark.com and then get the chance to win the top prize which is a very cool $3,000. Total prize pool is $13,0000, which makes it one of the largest OC tournaments in recently years.

 

There are two separate events: Sandy Bridge and Sandy Bridge-E platforms. The scores will be reviewed on a weekly basis, and will be awarded with the prize of US$650 and US$1,000, respectively. There will be four weeks to submit the results, with the participant who submits the highest score in those four weeks deemed the final champion for each group respectively. The final champion in the Sandy Bridge-E platform will be awarded with the prize worth US$3,000, whilst the Sandy Bridge platform contest will win a final prize worth US$2,000.

Continue reading 'ASRock announces the 2012 Global OC Competition with Futuremark' (full post)

eBay and Amazon forecasts for mobile commerce volume in 2012, $8 billion and $7 billion, respectively

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jan 13, 2012 3:18 am

CES 2012: eBay CEO (and new interim PayPal CEO) John Donahoe, revealed at his CES keynote yesterday a number of new mobile payments forecasts for not only eBay, but PayPal, too. PayPal VP David Marcus said a few days ago that PayPal had surpassed its expectation of $3.5 billion in mobile payments in 2011, reaching $4 billion for 2011.

 

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Donahoe said in his CEO keynote that eBay reached $5 billion in mobile GMV (gross merchandise volume), this is a 100-percent jump on 2010's GMV. Donahoe also projected yesterday that eBay would reach $8 billion in mobile GMV in 2012, with PayPal reaching $7 billion in transactions in 2012.

 

Mobile has more than 65 million downloads of eBay's mobile applications across all platforms. More than 890,000 new eBay shoppers completed their very first eBay purchase via the mobile apps in 2011, an 113-percent increase year-over-year. Donahoe also announced a new strategic partner in eBay's RedLaser barcode scanning app, who is it? Well, it's Best Buy. The app was updated last fall to include integration from PayPal and Milo to give users the ability to buy now for either in-store pick-up, or home delivery later.

 

Best Buy joins Toys R Us as RedLaser's latest partner.

Microsoft amplifying presence for CeBit

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Trade Shows | Posted: Jan 13, 2012 2:17 am

This was the last year for a Microsoft keynote and booth at CES, but while they're winding down CES operations, they're building up its investment in the biggest European technology show: CeBit. Microsoft is reportedly planning an even bigger presence than last year at CeBit, which is held in Hannover, Germany.

 

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Microsoft VP, Achim Berg, spoke at a CeBit even in Las Vegas, where he said that the event provides a good place to reach key customers. At CeBit, Berg said that Microsoft is able to meet with 10,000 chief information officer-types in just a few days, where they can get quite a lot of business done.

 

On top of this, they don't waste valuable time in cabs like they do in Vegas. Berg said at the event "There is no need to wait for taxis, this is a well-organised German fair."

 

CeBit has had its downfalls though, a few years ago they lost some big boys like Nokia and HP, but with a continued Microsoft push, this may change the look of CeBit.

Google intro improvements to the Gmail offline Chrome app

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Jan 13, 2012 1:17 am

Google first announced Gmail offline in August of last year, and when they said it was "only the beginning of our HTML5-powered offline journey", well, they were right. Google have said they've been listening to everybody's feedback and have now pushed some updates to the Chrome Web Store app.

 

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The first update is the addition of a 'settings' page. From here, you can choose how many days of mail you'd like to synchronize, 7, 14 or 31 days. This means you can sync a bunch of e-mail before you get on the plane, or a bus/train and sort through 31 days of e-mail, all while you're offline.

 

Google also baked in a few more updates to Gmail offline:

 

Improved attachments: All attachments are now downloaded and available for offline use

Keyboard shortcuts support: If you have keyboard shortcuts enabled in Gmail, your setting will transfer over to the Gmail offline app. If you're not sure what you can do with keyboard shortcuts, try pressing '?' next time you're using Gmail or Gmail offline.

Numerous performance enhancements: Messages and attachments now download at a faster rate and some bugs have been fixed.

Continue reading 'Google intro improvements to the Gmail offline Chrome app' (full post)

Telstra have begun offering wholesale 3G

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Connectivity & Communications | Posted: Jan 13, 2012 1:04 am

Telstra have just unveiled the details of a new "white label" 3G mobile service that they plan to sell to telco customers in a bid to boost its dropping wholesale revenues. While they'll offer access to their 3G network, Telstra keep the keys to their full Next G package, where it won't let rivals access it.

 

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Telstra's 3G wholesale product will cover 97-perent of the population and sport typical download speeds of between 550Kbps to 3Mbps. The new wholesale plan will rollout in two phases, the first will roll out to offer post-paid-only services, while the second one which is planned for late-2012 will provide resellers with a fully fledged white label mobile service. This will le them offer pre-paid, post-paid, and wireless broadband services.

 

By not offering full speeds on the white label service, they stop cannibalisation of their superior Next G products, this protects their premium product lineup. Telstra have said:

 

This is a competitive and high quality product which delivers great coverage and speed to our wholesale customers. We believe it is a competitive 3G offering in the wholesale market.

Continue reading 'Telstra have begun offering wholesale 3G' (full post)

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