Google wins $35 million US government contract, beats out Microsoft

Trace Hagan | Business, Financial & Legal | May 2, 2012 11:28 AM CDT

Google and its partner Onix Networking have just won a $35 million contract to run a new cloud-based e-mail and collaboration system for the US Department of the Interior. Incredibly, this wasn't always a definite thing for Google and its partner. Previously in 2010, a contract for the same thing had been awarded to Microsoft for $59.3 million.

Of course, because of the litigious society that we live in, Google and its partner quickly filed suit to block the contract. Google claimed that the selection process for the contract unfairly favored Microsoft and didn't give Google a chance. The lawsuit was withdrawn last September after the Department canceled its plans to use Microsoft due to the fact its original decision was "now stale in light of new developments in technology and entrants into the market."

Microsoft is obviously not the happiest with this decision. As such they have issued a statement:

Continue reading: Google wins $35 million US government contract, beats out Microsoft (full post)

Another Samsung Galaxy S3 leak, disguised in a case

Trace Hagan | Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | May 2, 2012 10:27 AM CDT

In what can only be described as a bid for leakiest company, Samsung has apparently managed to allow more photos of the yet unannounced device. Rumors say that Samsung is at least disguising it inside a case. The photo below looks strikingly similar to the older Galaxy S2, however if you look closer, you can see that a more curvy device appears to be nestled in some sort of case.

An anonymous tipster provided this picture to Sam Mobile. Sam Mobile contends that the Galaxy S3 will come with the model name of the GT-i9300 - however the more likely number of GT-i9800 was also thrown out. The tipster also provided that the new Galaxy S3 will come with a 12MP camera, which, in reality, could be a bit excessive.

The launch of this upcoming phone should occur May 3 at a press event in London. Many people are waiting with baited breathe to see just how amazing Samsung has made this phone. If they don't release it at the May 3 press event, they will have a lot of unhappy customers who may decide to buy a different phone, so it would appear to be vital to release it on May 3.

Continue reading: Another Samsung Galaxy S3 leak, disguised in a case (full post)

Dell's XPS 13 Ultrabook sales are doing Ultra-well

Anthony Garreffa | Laptops | May 2, 2012 5:23 AM CDT

Ultrabooks are here, but they haven't really been huge sellers yet. No sales records are being set, there aren't any 8-hour lineups outside of retailers, but Dell are actually doing surprisingly well with their XPS 13 Ultrabook. Sales have been higher than the company's initial projections, with Dell saying that demand has been around three times what they expected for the Ultrabook. Vice president of Dell's Consumer and SMB product group, Sam Burd, says:

We can't build enough of them at the moment. A little bit less than 3X the expected demand.

Dell haven't provided specific numbers, but this is great news for Ultrabook makers as a whole. Price was meant to be the main selling point of Ultrabooks, where they were meant to be priced at around $600 but the original units that arrived on the market were much more than this.

Continue reading: Dell's XPS 13 Ultrabook sales are doing Ultra-well (full post)

Japan's GREE acquires game developer Funzio for $210 million

Anthony Garreffa | Business, Financial & Legal | May 2, 2012 4:27 AM CDT

Mobile gaming outfit GREE has acquired US-based social game developer Funzio for a cool $210 million in a bid to increase their appeal in Western countries, and to produce more of their own titles. The Japanese firm who provides both a mobile social gaming platform and developers titles itself, is looking at the North American market and other new growth opportunities as they've already established themselves quite well in their homeland.

The deal is expected to be done by the end of May, with founder Yoshikazu Tanaka saying that it "means a lot to enhancing our global expansion". The mobile gaming scene is heating up, with just weeks ago Zynga purchasing OMGPOP, the guys and gals behind Draw Something. GREE may be a smaller player, but competition is always a good thing.

GREE isn't new to big acquisitions, where back in 2010 they acquired Openfeint for $109 million. That deal boosted their platform, and the new Funzio deal with strengthen its capability to produce titles, and, appeal more to Western gamers. This isn't the end of the good news for FREE, where they're set to unveil their new global gaming platform, which will integrate Openfeint, all within the next few months.

Continue reading: Japan's GREE acquires game developer Funzio for $210 million (full post)

RIM are the ones behind the anti-Apple 'Wake Up' campaign in Australia

Anthony Garreffa | Business, Financial & Legal | May 2, 2012 3:24 AM CDT

It's been everywhere, and I was even sitting down this morning playing with my gorgeous 13-month-old daughter this morning when I saw people standing behind the Sunrise crew on Channel 7 here in Australia, with black cardboard signs in their hand stating "WAKE UP".

We've heard it was Samsung behind this, as a campaign for their GALAXY S III possibly... but it's not. Research in Motion (RIM) have admitted that they're the company behind the controversial anti-Apple 'Wake Up' campaign. RIM issued a statement this morning through its PR firm, where they've said:

We can confirm that the Australian 'Wake Up' campaign, which involves a series of experimental activities taking place across Sydney and Melbourne, was created by RIM Australia. A reveal will take place on May 7th that will aim to provoke conversation on what 'being in business' means to Australians.

Continue reading: RIM are the ones behind the anti-Apple 'Wake Up' campaign in Australia (full post)

Moore's Law will collapse, in about 10 years

Anthony Garreffa | Current Affairs | May 2, 2012 2:25 AM CDT

Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist has posted a video discussing the collapse of Moore's Law in around 10 or so years. It has been predicted before, with physicists predicting the end of Moore's Law for quite a while now, but Kaku's reasoning and the slowing down of processing power that we are seeing today definitely lends credibility to his claims.

If you're unaware of Moore's Law, it pertains to computer hardware, stating that the number of transistors that can be placed onto a integrated circuit board can be doubled roughly every two years. There's always been an 18-month time frame for this, where we see a leap of the previous-generation of technology. This modified cycle can be credited to Intel executive, David House, not Moore.

Kaku has predicted that in around 10 years, silicon power will be exhausted. Intel has already admitted Moore's Law is slowing down using silicon, one of the reasons behind us seeing Tri-Gate transistors used in Ivy Bridge CPUs, an effort to try and extend the effective life of silicon. Kaku attributes the problem as two-fold: heat and leakage. Intel processors of today have a layer that is almost down to 20 atoms across. Quite small.

Continue reading: Moore's Law will collapse, in about 10 years (full post)

91% of mobile game revenue is sourced from microtransactions

Anthony Garreffa | Business, Financial & Legal | May 2, 2012 1:29 AM CDT

Researcher Newzoo has gathered some very specific figures in a new study that included the top 200 grossing mobile games and survey results from 17,000 respondents. The study found that the US mobile gaming market has grown considerably, from 75 million to 101 million mobile gamers. Of these 101 million, 69-percent of them play games on smartphones, with 21-percent gaming on a tablet.

While there are many more players, and increasing amount of them are willing to pay for in-game content. The number of paying players has grown 35-percent to 37 million Americans, or 36-percent of all mobile gamers. Splitting these numbers up, we have 19 million American gamers on an iPhone, 18 million on an iPod touch, and 12.7 million on an iPad, keeping in mind that many people use multiple iOS-based devices.

As of last month, Apple's mobile devices combined were generating 84-percent of the revenue by the top 200 grossing games, which left Android with 16-percent of the US pie. The best bit of this, is that a majority of this money is generated from in-game microtransactions, and not titles bought outright. Newzoo CEO Peter Warman does have something to say about this, as there is one big difference between iOS and Android, that could explain the revenue discrepancy: Apple requires users to link credit card information to their accounts, with Warman adding:

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Blizzard has announced you can play Diablo III on any region's server

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | May 2, 2012 12:58 AM CDT

Diablo III is nearly here, we've already hit May 1 which means there's only two weeks left to go until we can raid dungeons, and start using the new Auction House to sell our loot. Today, Blizzard released a full list of the region servers that will be available for Diablo III.

What this has also unleashed, is that we can play on any region's server in Diablo III, which is great. Game servers will come in three regions: The Americas, Europe, and Asia. Players can choose any server they want, but with caution: you won't be able to transfer characters, or items from server to server. But you can switch between servers as many times as you want. The list of servers is:

Another note is that Auction houses, stashes, and friends lists, as well as most other individual information is region-specific, and won't transfer when you switch regions. StarCraft II was worse, where it had quite a strict region-lock on most servers. If you wanted to play on multiple region's, you needed to have multiple copies of the game itself.

Continue reading: Blizzard has announced you can play Diablo III on any region's server (full post)

Microsoft releases the DirectX 11.1 specification

Anthony Garreffa | Software & Apps | May 2, 2012 12:15 AM CDT

Microsoft have unleashed upon the world, the DirectX 11.1 specifications. There's a massive list of things that are being included, so don your thinking cap and get directly into it! We shouldn't expect too much to change until consoles are updated with next-gen GPUs, which should hopefully happen next year.

Until then, it's a nice list and we should expect some small changes to the way games are made, look and react. Nonetheless, the specifications are neat, and as a tech junkie, this is just another fix for me, and hopefully you. Check out the latest DirectX 11.1 specifications below:

Shader Tracing and Compiler Enhancements

Continue reading: Microsoft releases the DirectX 11.1 specification (full post)