Archive for June, 2011
Following the World Health Organization’s revelation last week that cell phones are “possibly carcinogenic to humans based on an increased risk for , a malignant type of brain cancer associated with wireless phone use,” Jabra has issued an easy fix: instead of putting a cell phone to your ear and possibly getting a brain tumor, use one of its Bluetooth headsets. Jabra says its headsets emit 800 times less radiation than cell phones — just 0.0025 watts max output compared to 2 watts max from cell phones. In a Jabra-sponsored survey, 61% said cell phone radiation only concerned them “a little bit” or “to some extent” and 25% said they were not at all concerned. But when informed that using a Bluetooth headset has been scientifically proven to drastically reduce exposure to radiation, more than half of the respondents said they would use a hands-free device. Hit the break for Jabra’s press release.
Jabra Responds to Study Revealing Cell Phones as Possible Carcinogenics
Jabra Hands-Free Devices Permit 800 Times Less Radiation than Cell Phones; Survey Results Show Lack of Awareness Among Consumers
NASHUA, N.H., June 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — A new report from the World Health Organization (WHO)/Interactional Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released last week has revealed another potential health risk for consumers. The report details that radiation transmitted by cell phones is potentially carcinogenic, based on an increased risk for a malignant type of brain cancer associated with wireless phone use. What most people don’t realize is that there is solution to dramatically lower the exposure – using hands-free devices!
Just as people aren’t going to stay indoors because they are afraid of sun damage, they won’t stop using cell phones due to fear of radiation. With over 5 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide, cell phones have become a part of our daily routine for communicating with others and are here to stay. Using a hands-free device can reduce the exposure to radiation by a factor of eight hundred, drastically lowering the exposure from max 2 watts from cell phones to 0.0025 watts max output for Bluetooth™ hands-free devices and zero watts for corded devices.
New survey results, sponsored by Jabra, a world leader in innovative hands-free solutions, show that despite the potential risk, people are not concerned with radiation in their daily lives. Twenty five percent of survey respondents said that radiation doesn’t concern them at all and sixty one percent said that it concerns them a little bit or to some extent. However, when informed that it is a scientific fact that using a Bluetooth (wireless) headset actually reduces exposure to phone radiation, 53% said they would use a hands-free device.
“People are concerned about radiation from their cell phones but they don’t care enough to stop using them and aren’t aware that being hands-free lowers the exposure,” said Anne Raaen Rasmussen, Senior Vice President of the Mobile division at Jabra. “We are here to inform them that Jabra offers many hands-free devices that provide a solution for concerned consumers who want to lower their own or their children’s exposure to cell phone radiation.”
The Motorola Photon 4G was rumored to be the first flagship Motorola handset to join Sprint in quite some time, and just moments ago at Sprint and Motorola’s press event in New York City, the Android handset got official. The Motorola Photon 4G features a 4.3-inch qHD display, 1GHz dual-core Tegra 2 processor, 16GB of storage, front-facing VGA camera, rear-facing 8-megapixel camera with full 1080p HD video capture support, 4G WiMAX, and more. It definitely looks like the Photon 4G and the EVO 3D will be the Android handsets to beat this summer. The full press release is after the break!
Sprint and Motorola Forge Renewed Business Relationship That Extends Device Innovation
New Portfolio of Android-Based Devices Empower Both Businesses and Consumers with World-Class Versatility, Productivity and Entertainment Features
Sprint to launch more than 10 new Motorola devices in 2011, including
Motorola PHOTON 4G, boasting Sprint 4G, Android 2.3, Sprint ID and worldphone capabilities,
Motorola XPRT, a business-class Android smartphone, and
Motorola TRIUMPH, the first Motorola Android smartphone for Virgin Mobile USA
New York City – June 9, 2011 – Sprint (NYSE: S) and Motorola Mobility, Inc. (NYSE: MMI) today announced a reinvigorated alliance that strengthens and extends the two companies’ device innovation leadership. Sprint and its prepaid brands of Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA will launch more than 10 new Motorola wireless devices in 2011, bringing revolutionary performance, speed and design to Sprint customers. This new portfolio demonstrates a commitment to bring customers advanced devices with industry-leading features, including smartphones, tablets and best-in-class Push-to-Talk devices.
Two new devices were communicated today as part of this relationship, including the iconic Motorola PHOTON™ 4G, Motorola’s first Sprint 4G device with a dual-core 1GHz processor, Android™ 2.3, Sprint ID and worldphone capabilities, and Motorola TRIUMPH™, the first Virgin Mobile USA device from Motorola. These two devices, along with the additional products in the new portfolio, build upon Sprint and Motorola’s long history of innovation across Sprint 3G and 4G networks and Nextel National Network.
“Over the years, we have teamed with Motorola to bring top of the line devices to our customers across both prepaid and postpaid brands,” said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse. “I am pleased to see our collaboration grow. Together we will enhance the customer experience by bringing innovative devices to market, such as the Motorola PHOTON 4G and Motorola TRIUMPH.”
Sprint was unbeaten among major wireless carriers for customer satisfaction according to results from the 2011 American Customer Satisfaction Index. In addition to tying for first place among wireless carriers, Sprint was also the number one most improved company in customer satisfaction, across all industries, over the last three years, according to the survey.
“We are excited to be partnering with Sprint to announce a new portfolio of innovative, differentiated Android-based products that make the mobile experience better for people – whether at home or at work,” said Sanjay Jha, chairman and chief executive officer, Motorola Mobility. “These devices showcase our deep insight into consumer needs and harness the power of Sprint’s networks.”
Motorola’s First Sprint 4G Phone
Sprint and Motorola are taking wireless innovation to a new level with Sprint’s first 1GHz dual-core NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2 processor smartphone on the Sprint 4G Network, Motorola PHOTON 4G. Motorola PHOTON 4G provides on-the-go users with an edge in managing their lives, around the world. Motorola PHOTON 4G offers the perfect blend between personal and business needs and boasts enterprise-quality security for Android, international GSM capabilities, a 4.3-inch qHD display, dual cameras and a kickstand for hands-free viewing.
Built with Android 2.3, Gingerbread, Motorola PHOTON 4G, combined with the Sprint 4G Network, lets users browse, download and multitask at blazing-fast speeds to support their busy lifestyles. Motorola PHOTON 4G does it all, providing users with an array of versatile tools, like the Motorola webtop application, allowing users to access and create content from a larger screen while connected to a Motorola accessory dock (available for purchase following device availability).
Additional features include:
- Dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor and 1GB of RAM
- Large 4.3-inch touchscreen with qHD (Quarter High Definition) display
- 16GB of onboard memory, support for up to 32GB SD Card, for a total of up to 48GB
- Worldphone capabilities to access emails, calendars and news from locations around the globe
- Ability to utilize the webtop application while connected to a Motorola accessory dock (sold separately) to open, view, edit and send Microsoft Office documents using cloud-based web apps through the full Mozilla Firefox browser
- Supports critical IT device policies commonly requested by enterprises and government entities, including integration ease, cost-of-management and data security concerns
- Dual cameras – 8 megapixel, dual-LED flash camera with front-facing webcam to store photos and videos directly on the device and VGA front-facing camera for video chat
- Android Market™ for access to more than 200,000 useful applications, widgets and games available for download to customize the experience
- Sprint ID for an easy way to personalize the user experience with apps, widgets, ringtones and more, all in a single download
- 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot capability, supporting up to eight devices on the Sprint 3G or 4G networks and one while roaming internationally on GSM (Mobile Hotspot capability while roaming internationally on GSM will be delivered through an upcoming software update)
Motorola PHOTON 4G will be available this summer. Pricing, final specifications and a full list of accessories will be provided closer to launch.
Motorola’s Debut on Virgin Mobile USA
Available this summer, Motorola TRIUMPH is the first Motorola device available exclusively to Virgin Mobile USA customers. Tech savvy customers will appreciate the feature-rich Motorola TRIUMPH as one of the hottest phones with the added flexibility of a no contract plan.
Motorola TRIUMPH boasts a vibrant 4.1-inch WVGA touchscreen, two cameras, a super slim design at less than 0.4 inches thick, HD-Video (720p) capture and HDMI output to allow for image sharing on your HDTV (requires HDMI cable sold separately).
Additional features include:
- 1GHz processor and up to 32GB of expandable memory to power and store multimedia libraries
- HDMI out hook-up for flat screen multimedia viewing
- Access to corporate email, social media sites, like Facebook® and Twitter™ and a full suite of Google™ services, like Google Search™, Gmail™, Google Maps™, Google Talk™ and more
- 5 megapixel rear-facing camera and front-facing VGA camera for video chat
- Android Market for access to more than 200,000 useful applications, widgets and games available for download to customize the experience
Motorola TRIUMPH will also be the first handset to come preloaded with the Virgin Mobile Live 2.0 app used to access the Virgin Mobile branded music stream.
Virgin Mobile Live 2.0 is a social networking music application, which will provide Android users free access to the company’s critically acclaimed music stream hosted by DJ Abbey Braden, as well as live music performance videos, and “check in” features at special events. All status updates made using the app will also sync with Facebook and Twitter. It will be available in late July at www.virginmobileusa.com and in major retail outlets nationwide.
Business-Class Android OS Smartphone
On June 5, Sprint and Motorola debuted Motorola XPRT™, the first Motorola smartphone powered by Android from Sprint to deliver enterprise-class security, personal productivity enhancements and international roaming. Designed for business users, Motorola XPRT offers a sleek, compact design built on Android 2.2, Froyo.
- High-resolution 3.1-inch HVGA display with physical QWERTY keyboard
- 5 megapixel camera with camcorder and dual LED flash for low-light performance
- 2GB memory card included, supporting up to 32GB
- Corporate email (Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync®), personal (POP & IMAP) email and Quickoffice for opening Microsoft Office™ documents
- Worldmode – CDMA (EVDO Rev. A), GSM/UMTS (HSPA) – international roaming service available in more than 200 countries
- Google mobile services such as Google Search, Gmail, Google Maps with Navigation, syncing with Google Calendar™, Voice Actions and YouTube™
It is available now in Sprint Stores, Business Sales, Web Sales (www.sprint.com) and Telesales (1-800-SPRINT1) for $129.99 (excluding taxes) with a new line or eligible upgrade and two-year service agreement.
More than 10 Devices Together by Year End
Additional devices available in 2011 from Sprint and Motorola will include:
- Motorola Titanium™: Available late summer, Motorola Titanium leverages Sprint’s industry-leading Push-to-Talk capabilities as the first Nextel Direct Connect® smartphone built on Android 2.1.
- Motorola XOOM™ with Wi-Fi: In May, Sprint made available Motorola XOOM Wi-Fi through Direct Ship sales channels for $599.99 (excluding taxes). It is the first device to feature Android 3.0 (Honeycomb), the version of Android designed specifically for tablets and features innovations in widgets, multitasking, web browsing, notifications and customization. It also offers a 10.1-inch widescreen HD display, 1GHz dual-core processor and two cameras, a rear-facing 5 megapixel camera with flash that can capture HD video and a front-facing 2 megapixel camera for Google Talk with video chat.
Boost Mobile recently announced availability for three new Motorola devices:
- Motorola Clutch™ + i475, successor to the highly popular Motorola Clutch, is a candy-bar QWERTY device with a larger display screen, improved keyboard for text messaging and walkie-talkie functionality. It is available now for $99.99 (excluding taxes) at Boost Mobile’s exclusive retail stores, select independent wireless dealer, major retail outlets nationwide and at www.boostmobile.com with free shipping.
- Available later this month and priced at $79.99 (excluding taxes), Motorola Theory™ is a sleek, candy-bar QWERTY at an affordable price. Key features include a high-finish premium design, threaded messaging, web and email access, Bluetooth® technology, 1.3MP camera and 2.4-inch QVGA display.
- Coming late June, Motorola i412 is ideal for wireless users craving an uncomplicated phone for talking, texting and walkie-talkie functionality. It will be available for $69.99 (excluding taxes) at Boost Mobile’s exclusive retails stores, select independent wireless dealer locations across the country, www.boostmobile.com with free shipping and major retail outlets nationwide.
Motorola Clutch + i475 and i412 are the latest walkie-talkie phones to offer Push-to-Talk service operating on the Nextel National Network, the fastest national Push-to-Talk network1.
All three devices will be available with Boost Mobile’s $50 Monthly Unlimited with Shrinkage plan where the longer you stay, the less you pay simply by making on-time payments. For every six on-time payments, a Boost Mobile customer’s monthly cost will shrink by $5, eventually getting down to as low as $35 a month for unlimited nationwide talk, text, web, email, IM and calls to 411. Payments do not need to be consecutive to qualify for the next savings milestone.
Boost Mobile was recently recognized by J.D. Power and Associates as Highest-Ranked Non-Contract Company in Overall Customer Satisfaction Performance2. It offers wireless phones and services with no long-term contracts.
When Apple finally added cut, copy and paste support to iOS, it made the long and painful wait its customers endured completely worthwhile. Apple’s implementation was so much better than competing platforms, it really wasn’t even in the same league. The UI was fantastic and the operation was both intuitive and precise. This is what we have come to expect from Apple when it corrects its past mistakes and omissions. And yet with the introduction of a completely revamped notification system in iOS 5, the Cupertino-based technology giant took a different approach: it did not lead, it followed. I’ll elaborate…
Apple’s new notification system works thusly: when a new event triggers a notification, one of three things happens. On the lock screen, a notification will appear with an icon representing the associated application positioned to the far left of the notification. The user can either ignore the notification, or slide the icon all the way to the right side of the screen to open the appropriate app. Or, if the device is in use, a banner will display across the top of the display containing the notification. The user can either ignore it or tap it to open the appropriate app. Finally, the old notification UI may be used, causing a pop-up to display at the center of the screen until it is dismissed.
Apple also introduced the iOS Notification Center, a pull-down aggregate of all notifications that is clearly “inspired” by Android. It is an obvious refinement of Google’s notification pane though, and it also allows users to customize the number of notifications each app will display in the Notification Center. It even supports widgets and third-party developers can build their own.
The iOS 5 notification system is, without question, leaps and bounds better than the old iOS notification system. Let’s face it, though — as horrible as iOS notifications have been until now, anything would be better. The system still has plenty of room for improvement however, and unlike Apple’s cut, copy and paste implementation, iOS 5 notifications are not class-leading. Instead, the two-year-old notification UI found in webOS is still iOS’ superior.
WebOS removes the additional layer of complication introduced by the Notification Center, and Android’s notification pane before it. Notifications are represented by a single row of small icons at the bottom of the display. To view a notification after it has been displayed and minimized, the user simply taps the icon. The message then reappears and the user can either open the relevant app by tapping the notification, or dismiss it by swiping the message off the screen to the left or right. The system is incredibly simple, extremely logical and, to quote one Steven P. Jobs, “it just works.”
Another uncharacteristic oversight is Apple’s placement of the notification banner at the top of the display. While the mechanism is infinitely better than then old disruptive notifications, it’s nowhere near as smart as webOS. When a notification pops up at the bottom of a webOS phone, it acts just like an iOS 5 notification and covers part of the UI. Then, however, it is reduced to an icon that pushes the entire UI up and out of the way. This means even though the notification is occupying screen real estate, the user can continue to perform each and every function he or she could if the notification was not on the screen. It also means the notification is still easily accessible from any screen, whenever the user chooses to interact with it; there is no need for a separate drop-down pane to collect notifications.
In iOS 5, the notification banner hangs over the top of the display, obscuring the status bar and the area beneath it. Unfortunately, the area beneath the status bar is where the iOS UI places buttons that control key functions. So, for example, notifications cover most of the send button in the email app or most of the back button in messaging apps or Twitter apps. If a user tries to sneak a tap on those buttons, it is highly likely he or she will instead tap the notification by accident and leave the current app. This, some might argue, is even worse and more disruptive than a pop-up that needs to be dismissed, as seen with the old iOS notifications.
If the user does not immediately interact with the notification, it disappears into the Notification Center. For active smartphone users, this seemingly great notification hub can often become a cluttered mess until various notifications are acted on or dismissed. Apple does give users the ability to customize the number of notifications each app can display in the Notification Center, which is much appreciated, but it is still nowhere near as elegant as a single row of icons that is always visible and easy to interact with. This is what webOS affords.
There are certain areas where Apple’s system does make advancements in the space, such as the ability to customize notification behavior for individual applications. I also very much like that I can open a new message or relevant app without unlocking the device by interacting with a notification on the lock screen. Uncharacteristically, however, the behavior Apple chose for this interaction is contradictory. Elsewhere in the UI, swiping from side to side on a message gives the user the option to delete that message. On the lock screen, that same swipe gesture opens the relevant app, where logic might dictate that a swipe should dismiss notifications that are not of interest.
I really expected more from Apple. And so much more is possible.
Why can’t I dismiss a notification that appears at the top of the screen? Why can’t I dismiss individual notifications on the lock screen? Why can’t multiple notifications appear at once at the top of the screen with a better UI? Why can’t I mark a new email as read simply by interacting with a notification? Why can’t developers have access to APIs that give their users the capability to perform unique interactions with notifications that perform custom functions? All this and more might be coming down the road, but Apple has had far too long and has innovated in far too many other areas for the company to simply catch up in this crucial area of the UX.
While Nintendo has been quiet when it comes to the specs of its newly announced Wii U gaming console, preliminary details are beginning to emerge from the E3 2011 show. We obviously already know plenty about the Wii U touchscreen controller, which we went hands-on with yesterday, but the console itself is a bit of a mystery. A few of Nintendo’s hardware partners got a little excited, however, and we now have a few pieces of the puzzle. We know the Wii U will support full HD 1080p gaming, and now we also know it will be facilitated by a custom Radeon HD graphics processor from AMD. In addition, IBM will be supplying Nintendo with a 45nm multi-core processor with embedded DRAM for the console.There are also four USB ports on hand, an HDMI port, an S-video port and component jacks, and the console with obviously feature 802.11n Wi-Fi. The rest, for the time being, is still a mystery. In case you missed it, we’ve also included Nintendo’s full press release below.
NINTENDO’S UPCOMING Wii U CONSOLE FEATURES CONTROLLER WITH 6.2-INCH SCREEN
LOS ANGELES, June 7, 2011–At the E3 Expo, Nintendo introduced a new paradigm for video games and home entertainment: Wii U™, a new console that includes a controller with a 6.2-inch screen. Adding a second screen to the living room creates a multitude of new video game experiences while offering families a variety of options to customize their entertainment.
Previously, video games played on a home console have been confined to the TV and offered identical viewpoints to each player in a multiplayer environment. Furthermore, watching TV and playing console games have been completely separate experiences. The new controller removes these boundaries, creating a more dynamic and fluid gaming and entertainment experience. Visitors to the E3 Expo will see firsthand the type of gaming experiences made possible by Wii U and the new controller such as:
- In single-player games:
- The new controller can display information on its screen that does not appear on the TV.
- The information and viewpoint can also change in the new controller based on the orientation of its gyroscope.
- In multiplayer games:
- The player using the new controller can have a different experience than those looking at the TV. This will offer a wide variety of competitive and cooperative opportunities.
In addition to the 6.2-inch screen, the new controller also features an accelerometer and a gyroscope, a rumble feature, an inward-facing camera, a microphone and speakers. Adding these features to the Classic Controller™button scheme – two analog Circle Pads, +Control Pad, A/B/X/Y buttons, L/R buttons and ZL/ZR buttons – will enable a breadth of game-play experiences while appealing to both casual and dedicated video game players.
Wii U combines motion-sensing game play with the ability to support full HD graphics. Each Wii U console will be partnered with a new controller and can also use up to four additional Wii Remote™ or Wii Remote Plus controllers. The system is also backward compatible and can play all Wii games and use all Wii accessories. The Wii console has sold more than 86 million units globally and greatly expanded the overall audience for video games. Wii U aims to expand that audience even further. Developers worldwide are already working on new games and experiences for the console.
“Wii U redefines the structure of home entertainment by fundamentally changing how the TV, the game console and the Internet function and interact together,” said Nintendo President Satoru Iwata. “The experience enabled by Wii U and the new controller takes players deeper into their games, while reaching out wider than ever before to be inviting to all kinds of gamers.”
Nintendo 3DS™, which lets users see 3D images without the need for special glasses, launched in the United States on March 27 and continues to evolve. Owners will find that their Nintendo 3DS experience is different every time they pick up the system, thanks to new content and updates delivered by Nintendo, by third parties and exchanged between users.
A new system update is now available for the Nintendo 3DS system. Users who connect to a wireless broadband Internet connection and install the system update will instantly gain access to the Nintendo eShop, which contains a variety of games and applications for download using a cash-based system.
Users can browse original 3D software, 3D Classics (select classic video games re-mastered in 3D), classic Game Boy™ and Game Boy Color games, and more than 350 games and applications currently offered for the Nintendo DSiWare™ service. Visitors can also see videos and screen shots for games, plus see how other players rank games.
The system update also provides Nintendo 3DS owners access to free items, including an Internet browser that can show 3D images on sites specifically designed to show 3D images, a download of a re-mastered 3D version of the NES™ classic Excitebike™ game (free until July 7) and Pokédex™ 3D, which lets users discover and view more than 150 Pokémon™ from the Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version games in visually engaging 3D.
Nintendo also announced a huge lineup of upcoming new and fan-favorite franchise games, many of which are playable on the E3 Expo show floor in booth 4922.
- Nintendo 3DS: Super Mario™, Luigi’s Mansion™ 2, Mario Kart™, Kid Icarus™: Uprising, The Legend of Zelda™: Ocarina of Time™ 3D, Star Fox 64™ 3D, Animal Crossing™, Paper Mario™, Picture Lives!, The Rolling Western™.
- Wii: The Legend of Zelda™: Skyward Sword, Kirby™ Wii, Wii Play™: Motion, Mystery Case Files™: The Malgrave Incident™, Mario Party™ 9, Rhythm Heaven™ and Fortune Street™.
- Nintendo DS™: Kirby™ Mass Attack, Professor Layton and the Last Specter™, Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker™2 and Super Fossil Fighters™.
Nintendo kicked off its E3 Expo Presentation by announcing a number of initiatives to celebrate the 25thanniversary of The Legend of Zelda. A re-mastered 3D version of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time launches for Nintendo 3DS on June 19, while Wii owners will see the arrival of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword in the 2011 holiday season. Additionally, Nintendo announced a tour of orchestral concerts featuring music from the beloved franchise. Additional commemorative activities will be announced at a later date.
For the duration of the E3 Expo, Nintendo will provide fans with exclusive videos and Nintendo content on the Nintendo Network. People can visit http://e3.nintendo.com to watch developer interviews, get all the information about new games and see coverage coming directly from the show floor. The same exclusive content also will be streamed through the Nintendo® Channel to Wii owners who have a broadband Internet connection.
News Phones Carriers Apps Games Calendar Podcast Video: Which tablet breaks easier – Galaxy Tab, Motorola Xoom, or iPad 2?
Those device-breaking videos show up online from time to time, bringing a hefty amount of gut-wrenching entertainment to all of us who choose to watch them. Well, today we have a rugged competition between the 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab, the Motorola Xoom, and the iPad 2. Though as a gadget lover it still hurts to watch the video, today’s video is a bit more beneficial to the consumer since it promotes the purchase of warranties/insurance (SquareTrade Warranties).
How many times have we thought that purchasing device insurance isn’t necessary? The factory warranty is there after all, right? Well, I can tell you that I have regretted this decision, sometimes less than a month after the purchase. These little guys are not like our old Nokias which seemed like they were built for Superman (I remember one lasted me like 3 years and more than 100 drops).
Well, for those that want to see just how delicate our Android devices can be, the guys at ElectronicsBreak have put these 3 tablets to the test. The video consists of dropping these from waist level, to what seems to be marble or concrete (whatever it is, it is definitely very hard!). We can clearly see that the Galaxy Tab suffered the least battle wounds, and the iPad 2 seems to be the most damaged (I can see your smiles!).
After seeing this video, how do you guys feel? Are you never opting out on that insurance again? Who else has had a bad experience with breaking a device shortly after purchasing it? Share your opinions with us and check out the video after the break.
That’s right folks, it’s finally time to sit back and watch as Nintendo unveils the console we’ve all been waiting to see: the next-generation Wii. Nintendo’s Wii has been an absolute blockbuster for the storied Japanese gaming giant. The company has sold nearly 90 million Wii consoles to date, but sales have slowed significantly over the past few years as the Wii began to show its age. With features like full HD gaming and controllers with built-in touchscreen displays, Nintendo’s next-gen Wii 2 will be an effort to recapture the early success of the Wii… but can Nintendo manage to appeal to casual gamers and hardcore gamers with a single console? Hit the break for our live coverage of Nintendo’s E3 keynote to find out!
11:43AM:Ok guys, we’re making our way through the line to get into the keynote now… just passed through security.
11:47AM:Ok we’re all seated here in the Nokia theater. Tons of folks in the house.
11:58AM:Music still playing, we’re just hanging out here waiting for the show to get on the road. Nintendo’s posting some trivia up on the display.
12:04PM:Thought the music died down a bit there but it was a false alarm. Hoping we get started in just a few minutes.
12:05PM:Lights are dimming down and lots of cheering!
12:12PM:We’re watching a long video clip of Zelda 25th anniversary edition. Looked awesome!
12:12PM:Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of the Legend of Zelda is on stage.
12:13PM:Sorry guys, a little technical difficulties — they have an orchestra playing various jingles from the new Legend of Zelda game right now. It’s pretty hilarious.
12:14PM:For Zelda’s 25th anniversary, there will be a new game for each of Nintendo’s consoles.
12:15PM:The legend of zelda links awakening is the first title in the gameboy color console lineup – can download it today around the world by the day’s end
12:15PM:Starting next weekend the Legend of Zelda 3D for the Nintendo 3DS will launch around the world. The graphics have been revamped.
12:16PM:On DSi in September, Legend of Zelda Four Swords will become available as a free download.
12:17PM:In September, on Nintendo DSi, the four-player co-op Four Swords will be available as a free download.
12:18PM:Legend of Zelda Skyward sword will be available this holiday season. There will be Legend of Zelda Symphony concerts around the world.
12:19PM:There will be a legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time CD as well as a Legend of Zelda 25th anniversary concerts. That will be released along with Skyward Sword.
12:21PM:The Zelda team thanks all of its fans around the world and the symphony is playing.
12:21PM:Nintendo’s global president Sotoru Iwata is on stage now.
12:23PM:We’re about to hear about Nintendo’s new home platform. "Deeper and wider." The new platform will provide deeper game experience in even what the most passionate gamer has realized before. They will also be wider, appealing to the complete range of gamers.
12:24PM:The full details will be coming later this morning (lots of laughter).
12:25PM:This year there are bold new experiences coming to Nintendo 3DS and other franchises. Other areas are moving into 3D as well.
12:26PM:We just saw a quick Starfox demo – what we’re seeing looks awesome although it doesn’t appear to be real gameplay. Instead, just renders.
12:27PM:lots of applause. Now Reggie Fils-Aime, the president of Nintendo America is on stage.
12:28PM:"You want comfortable, and you want surprise." "Is it fair to ask, is it even possible to deliver, something for everyone?" This is what we are aiming for with Nintendo 3DS. That’s coming in several ways.
12:28PM:We’ve got 5 key ones to show you this week. On the show floor you’ll see these games in full 3D. On stage, we can only offer you 2D versions. First is Mario Kart – but now it’s a tricked out version!
12:32PM:We just watched a great demo of the new Mario Kart 3D game (out before the holidays), and now he’s introducing the new Star Fox game, which will launch this September.
12:32PM:Mario Kart for #DS looks awesome — there was driving under water, crazy effects, big wheels, even a hanggliver attached to the kart. This is definitely a title I’m picking up ASAP. It will be available this Holiday season.
12:34PM:Nintendo is building Mario ground-up for the 3DS. It looks stellar and we’ll be able to play it by the end of the year.
12:35PM:Kid Icarus: Uprising will also be landing on the system. I’m actually blown away by the quality of some of these renders. Nintendo 3DS launched with a so-so game offering and these titles should definitely bring gamers back for more.
12:37PM:Kid Icarus will use the augmented reality cards for conducting battles. It will be in retail later this year, and will also allow 3 v 3 multiplayer battles. Now w’e’re seeing Louigi’s Mansion 2.
12:38PM:Lots of applause after the Louigi Mansion 2 demo. "It’s not a simple revision. It’s an entirely new game making extraordinary use of 3D and features not just 1 but several new mansions."
12:40PM:"It’s time to show you more of third party developer work." We’re seeing Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Ace COmbat 3D, Tetris, Cave Story 3D (lots of cheers), Resident Evil: Revelations (more cheers), Driver Renegade, Pac-Mac and Galaga Dimensions, Tekken 3D, Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D (cheering). Wow. We’re impressed.
12:40PM:"The library of games coming to 3DS is unprecedented. Downloading the new eShop and browser will move you beyond anything Nintendo has offered digitally before."
12:41PM:This week’s update will unlock 10 different 3D trailers and game demos will be available later this year.
12:41PM:We’ll get classic titles from Gameboy, Gameboy Color, and older consoles throughe VIrutal Console. For a limited time we’ll get 3D Excitebike. That game is 27 years old!
12:43PM:The biggest download news for 3DS concerns one of the biggest franchises in history: Pokemon. For the first time it will spring to life in 3D. Owners of Pokemon Black and White. When you start Pokedex on the 3DS you’ll need to collect data via Spotpass, receiving from friends, or by scanning AR markers. Basically, your 3DS will become a Pokedex. Fans will love this.
12:44PM:You can assembles scenes of Pokemon together, save them on an SD card, and load them onto a PC to share with friends. It will be available exclusively through the eShop from Nintendo.
12:45PM:Perform the simple system update and you’ll only need a couple of clicks to find the Pokedex. "It’s our gift to you." "Nintendo 3DS means social, connection, it redefines interaction, and it delivers it all with a full 3D display."
12:45PM:"You might remember how the Wii name began to make perfect sense when you heard it as "We." It was clear how much fun "we" all had playing together. But in thinking about a new Nintendo system, we knew the prevailing thought would be this: yes the game will be right for all of us, but will it be a perfect fit for you? The answer is absolutely. We’re so convinced of it, we put the pronoun in the name. SO today, welcome to the world, Wii U.
12:45PM:It’s a system we will all enjoy together. It’s tailor made for you.There’s a brand new controller! Touchscreen. Looks like a tablet.
12:48PM:You can use the new controller for a ton of stuff — working with Wii Fit in your hands, or even putting it on the ground and using it as a golf tee. It’s amazing! Unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Wow.
12:50PM:You can browse with it, share content to your television, draw on it. Control parts of games with it even (like attributes for a character in Zelda). Video chat. Wow.
12:50PM:The controller has a 6.2-inch touchscreen built-in.
12:52PM:All Wii games, controllers, and accessories can be used with it. With Wii Fit, it can display your weight. In gaming, you can access more controls. It will land in 2012. It has ZR, ZL, L, and R, buttons for standard gaming, but also a circle pad, and two control pads. It also has a gyroscope, an outward facing camera, and an accelerometer. "We created it so that the widest variety of games can be supported.
12:54PM:"It was not designed to be a portable gaming system" even though it shares some of the same characteristics. Data is wireless transmitted without latency issues. You can play with your HDTV in the traditional way, or you can place the controller by itself on a table and play smaller games without the need for a TV at all. Games can be structured to use two screens at the same time. We saw an example where people played baseball, golf, and others.
12:55PM:This can include web browsing using hte big screen to share photos and videos found online, or enjoying video chat while watching a TV program. "It’s a new structure for home entertainment" The most important factor for gamers is how this structure can be implemented into gameplay.
12:56PM:It’s up to developers to decide how they want to use the controller. Nintendo thinks there won’t be a shortage of ideas. Our vision will include numerous ways to play.
12:58PM:Nintendo will be making Smash Brothers for Nintendo 3DS and WiiU to work together on both platforms. Wow that’s amazing – lots of applause. Smash Brothers will be developed for both and will work together in some fashion. "This is a product for the future, but here in LA there’s WiiU software to play this week."
12:58PM:This week we’re providing tangible proof [this works]. In the convention center we’ll find 8 different experiences. They aren’t prototypes, just interactive demonstrations.
1:00PM:We’re supposed to be seeing a demo of what it can do but it’s basically just a video of a bird flying. Are we missing something here?
1:02PM:"Something that looks like Super Mario Brothers Wii is being called New Super Mario Brothers Mii. Your Mii plays right alongside Mario and you can watch the action on either screen." "There’s a new "Chase Me" form of multiplayer. That world looks different if you have a Wii remote or another controller. If you have the new controller you have a birds-eye view of those chasing you." This seems odd to us, we’ll have to see it live to see what Nintendo means here.
1:03PM:"These are prototypes not just actual games." "Nintendo will publish Lego City Stories" for the WiiU. Lego City Stories, a new open-world game packed with action, humor, and a whole city of Lego vehicles, is coming exclusively to WiiU and Nintendo 3DS. "Developers all over the world see a vast promise in WiiU."
1:05PM:Developers see it as a way to make games they were never really able to make before. Darksiders II will be on the console at launch, as will a version of Tekken. Batman Arham City will launch. Assassin’s Creed is coming, too. Ghost Recon Online ( Tom Clancy’s), too.
1:05PM:EA sports also coming to the new console.
1:06PM:Now we’re seeing some demos of those games. The graphics look great, particularly in Ghost Recon Online.
1:08PM:Ninja Gaiden will also be making an appearance. Seriously we’re blown away here, this looks like a totally new way to game.
1:09PM:"This is just the first pass. We’ve got a lot to look forward to when they arrive in final form." "It can satisfy all tastes." "We have invited Electronic Arts to join us on stage."
1:09PM:CEO of EA John Riccitiello is now on stage.
1:11PM:"We look forward to seeing great new EA content" on the new controller. "Imagine a shooter like Battlefield with Jaw-dropping graphics brought to you on a Nintendo system – that breakthrough controller." Imagine those games with an open online functionality" for downloading additional content.
1:11PM:"We’re changing games from the thing that you buy to a place that you go. It’s a better platform than we’ve ever been offered by Nintendo."
1:12PM:"We can’t wait to see EA games on this new system."
1:14PM:There will be hands-on with 8 WiiU experiences at the convention center, which we’ll definitely be checking out!
1:14PM:"I want to conclude this morning by asking you to consider four platforms. Nintendo DS, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, and Wii U. Each is unique, but they share a common pedigree: it’s called, innovation. The two screens and touchscreen of Nintendo 3DS changed gaming. The motion controller of Wii changed gaming. Last year in this theater you found out that glasses-free 3D could change gaming. And now, there’s WiiU. This week you’ll have a chance to hold WiiU’s new controller in your hands and find out what happens when a second window opens to your world. Our presentation this morning is just the beginning. The experience begins right now, whether you’re hear in the theater or at home."
1:15PM:"In short, at home, or onsite here in LA, you’ve got incredible new game worlds to explore this week. ON behalf of all of us, thanks for your attention today, and let the exploration begin. Enjoy the show."
1:18PM:That’s it for us folks! Mad house rushing out of here to check out the new gear. Thanks for joining!
Apple SVP of iOS Scott Forstall just made Apple’s iOS 5 official, and it’s a serious update. Over 200 new features and 1,500 new APIs, but that’s not the most exciting part. We’re talking about redone notifications with Notification Center, a place to combine all notifications; Newsstand, which will automatically download the latest issues of your favorite subscription newspaper and magazines; deep Twitter integration including a system-level sign-on, Tweeting from Photos app and Safari, Twitter contact syncing; and even tabbed-browsing in Safari (finally!). Hit the break for more.
Just demoed was a new app called Reminders which, from what it sounds like, will issue reminders based on time and date. You can also set up a geo-fence to have the app remind you when you get back to a certain location, like walking the dog when you get home. We need that. There’s also a lock screen camera shortcut added — boom! Also, thankfully, you can finally use the volume up button as the shutter button, and Apple added an auto-focus and exposure lock, grid lines in the camera app, and editing features like crop and rotate, red eye reduction, etc.
Oh wow… there is now flagging support in email (hyperventilating), rich text support, and even S/MIME support for enterprise customers. There’s a split iPad keyboard for people who like to thumb-type… it lets you place half the keyboard on the left side of the screen and the other half on the right, with an open space in the middle to see the app you’re in.
There is no longer a requirement for a PC to use an iOS device — iCloud, it is. Software updates are over the air, and even the initial device setup is done without the need for a PC. And uh oh, it’s a pretty miserable day in Waterloo. We’ve been told one of RIM’s biggest fears is Apple launching a BlackBerry Messanger competitor, and the company are doing just that with iMessage. The service includes messages, photos, group chat, 3G and Wi-Fi support — and even compatibility with all iOS 5 devices — you can even pick up your conversation where you left off when moving from one device to another.
Seriously, we couldn’t make this up… almost every gripe with iOS is being addressed in a major way. Developers get iOS 5 today, customers in the Fall (obviously to time up with a new iPhone). Here’s Apple’s press release:
New Version of iOS Includes Notification Center, iMessage, Newsstand, Twitter Integration Among 200 New Features
Available to iPhone, iPad & iPod touch Users This Fall
SAN FRANCISCO―June 6, 2011―Apple® today previewed iOS 5, the latest version of the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, and released a beta version to iOS Developer Program members. The iOS 5 beta release includes over 200 new features that will be available to iPhone®, iPad® and iPod touch® users this fall. New iOS 5 features include: Notification Center, an innovative way to easily view and manage notifications in one place without interruption; iMessage, a new messaging service that lets you easily send text messages, photos and videos between all iOS devices; and Newsstand, a new way to purchase and organize your newspaper and magazine subscriptions. With the new PC Free feature, iOS 5 users can activate and set up their iOS device right out of the box and get software updates over the air with no computer required.
“iOS 5 has some great new features, such as Notification Center, iMessage and Newsstand and we can’t wait to see what our developers do with its 1,500 new APIs,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Perhaps iOS 5’s paramount feature is that it’s built to seamlessly work with iCloud in the Post PC revolution that Apple is leading.”
With iOS 5 and iCloud®, you just enter your Apple ID and password and iCloud will seamlessly integrate with your apps to automatically and wirelessly keep all of your mail, contacts, calendars, photos, apps, books, music and more, up-to-date across all your devices without ever having to connect to a computer.
Notification Center provides iOS 5 users with an innovative way to easily access all notifications―text messages, missed calls, calendar alerts, app alerts and more, all in one place, from anywhere in iOS 5. When they arrive, notifications appear briefly at the top of the screen without interrupting what you’re doing. With one swipe you can see all your notifications, and a simple tap will take you right to its app for more detail. Notifications also appear on the lock screen, with the ability to be taken to the notifying app with just one swipe.
Newsstand is a beautiful, easy-to-organize bookshelf displaying the covers of all your newspaper and magazine subscriptions in one place. A new section of the App Store™ features just subscription titles, and allows users to quickly find the most popular newspapers and magazines in the world. If subscribed to, new issues appear in the Newsstand and are updated automatically in the background so you always have the latest issue and the most recent cover art.
Safari is the world’s most popular mobile browser, and with iOS 5 it’s now even better. New features include Safari® Reader, which gets all the clutter out of the way and sets the right font size on a web page, so you can easily scroll and read through a story; Reading List, so you can save articles to read later and they automatically show up on all your iOS devices; and Tabbed Browsing, which makes it easy to flip between multiple web pages on iPad.
iOS 5 includes built-in Twitter integration, so you can sign in once and then tweet directly from all your Twitter-enabled apps, including Photos, Camera, Safari, YouTube and Maps with a single tap. New APIs give third party developers the ability to take advantage of the single sign-on capability for their own iOS 5 apps.
iMessage in iOS 5 brings the functionality of iPhone messaging to all of your iOS devices―iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Built right into the Messages app, iMessage allows you to easily send text messages, photos, videos or contact information to a person or a group on other iOS 5 devices over Wi-Fi or 3G. iMessages are automatically pushed to all your iOS 5 devices, making it easy to maintain one conversation across your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. iMessage also features delivery and read receipts, typing indication and secure end-to-end encryption.
The new Reminders app helps you manage your tasks; create and group related tasks together; and set time or location-based reminder alerts, priorities and due dates, so you can be reminded of a task as its deadline approaches, or when you arrive or depart a given location. Reminders can also be viewed in iCal® and Outlook and are updated automatically.
New features in the Camera and Photos apps give you instant access to the camera right from the lock screen, and you can use the volume-up button to quickly snap a photo. Optional grid lines help line up your shot and a simple tap locks focus and exposure on one subject. The new Photos app lets you crop, rotate, enhance and remove red-eye, and organize your photos into albums right on your device to share them on the go.
With the new PC Free feature, iOS 5 users can activate and set up their iOS device right out of the box with no computer required, and iOS software updates are delivered over the air and installed with just a tap. Wi-Fi Sync in iOS 5 transfers and backs up your content securely over SSL and wirelessly syncs purchased content from your device to your iTunes® library.
Additional new features in iOS 5 include:
- Game Center, now with the ability to add photos to your profile, purchase new games from within the Game Center app and easier ways to find friends and new games;
- Mail enhancements which include the ability to compose messages using draggable addresses, and a new formatting bar with bold, italics, underline and indention controls;
- AirPlay® Mirroring to wirelessly display everything you do on your iPad 2 right on your HDTV through Apple TV®; and
- a system-wide split keyboard to make it even easier to type on your iPad.
Steve Jobs took the stage at WWDC 2011 to talk about Apple’s iCloud service: “Keeping these devices in sync is driving us crazy,” Jobs said as he prepared to introduce the major new service. “We’ve got a great solution to this problem. We’re going to demote the PC and the Mac to just be a device. We’re going to move the digital hub, the center of your digital life, into the cloud.” iCloud will store all of your content and automatically push it to all of your devices. It’s integrated with all of your apps, and everything is seamless. MobileMe is out, and iCloud is going to be free — amazing! Hit the jump for more.
Steve Jobs is now demoing the next three apps in iCloud besides Mail, Contacts, and Calendar, and the first one is the App Store, which will re-download all purchases and keep them in sync across all devices. Backup is next, and once daily, your devices will backup important information to the cloud. When you get a new Apple device, just sign in and all of your information will be there, like photos, settings, and so on. Documents in the cloud is next up, and Jobs talked about editing a Pages document and how it will automatically be uploaded to the cloud and available from any of your devices. All iWork apps have this feature, including the new ones Apple released last week for iOS.
Photo stream is Steve’s favorite, he says. “How many times have we taken photos on our iPhone, maybe of our kids, and when we got home to share them on an iPad, we had to go through the process of moving them over.” All photos are uploaded to the cloud automatically, and then synced with all devices including your computer.
The last piece of the iCloud puzzle? You guessed it… music! “It’s the same old story,” Jobs explained. “I buy something on my iPhone and it’s not on my other devices. I grab my iPod and I go to listen to that song and it ain’t there!” You can now download any purchased song to any of your devices for free, just like you can with apps, and you can flip a switch to allow all your devices to automatically download newly purchased music.
Apple is giving all users 5GB of free storage, for documents, back ups, mail, etc — and support for up to 20,000 songs! There’s a developer beta available today and iTunes in the cloud will run on iOS 4.3. Here’s Apple’s full release:
Apple Introduces iCloud
Free Cloud Services Beyond Anything Offered to Date
SAN FRANCISCO—June 6, 2011—Apple® today introduced iCloud®, a breakthrough set of free new cloud services that work seamlessly with applications on your iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch®, Mac® or PC to automatically and wirelessly store your content in iCloud and automatically and wirelessly push it to all your devices. When anything changes on one of your devices, all of your devices are wirelessly updated almost instantly.
“Today it is a real hassle and very frustrating to keep all your information and content up-to-date across all your devices,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “iCloud keeps your important information and content up to date across all your devices. All of this happens automatically and wirelessly, and because it’s integrated into our apps you don’t even need to think about it—it all just works.”
The free iCloud services include:
- The former MobileMe® services—Contacts, Calendar and Mail—all completely re-architected and rewritten to work seamlessly with iCloud. Users can share calendars with friends and family, and the ad-free push Mail account is hosted at me.com. Your inbox and mailboxes are kept up-to-date across all your iOS devices and computers.
- The App Store™ and iBookstore℠ now download purchased iOS apps and books to all your devices, not just the device they were purchased on. In addition, the App Store and iBookstore now let you see your purchase history, and simply tapping the iCloud icon will download any apps and books to any iOS device (up to 10 devices) at no additional cost.
- iCloud Backup automatically and securely backs up your iOS devices to iCloud daily over Wi-Fi when you charge your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Backed up content includes purchased music, apps and books, Camera Roll (photos and videos), device settings and app data. If you replace your iOS device, just enter your Apple ID and password during setup and iCloud restores your new device.
- iCloud Storage seamlessly stores all documents created using iCloud Storage APIs, and automatically pushes them to all your devices. When you change a document on any device, iCloud automatically pushes the changes to all your devices. Apple’s Pages®, Numbers® and Keynote® apps already take advantage of iCloud Storage. Users get up to 5GB of free storage for their mail, documents and backup—which is more amazing since the storage for music, apps and books purchased from Apple, and the storage required by Photo Stream doesn’t count towards this 5GB total. Users will be able to buy even more storage, with details announced when iCloud ships this fall.
- iCloud’s innovative Photo Stream service automatically uploads the photos you take or import on any of your devices and wirelessly pushes them to all your devices and computers. So you can use your iPhone to take a dozen photos of your friends during the afternoon baseball game, and they will be ready to share with the entire group on your iPad (or even Apple TV®) when you return home. Photo Stream is built into the photo apps on all iOS devices, iPhoto® on Macs, and saved to the Pictures folder on a PC. To save space, the last 1,000 photos are stored on each device so they can be viewed or moved to an album to save forever. Macs and PCs will store all photos from the Photo Stream, since they have more storage. iCloud will store each photo in the cloud for 30 days, which is plenty of time to connect your devices to iCloud and automatically download the latest photos from Photo Stream via Wi-Fi.
- iTunes® in the Cloud lets you download your previously purchased iTunes music to all your iOS devices at no additional cost, and new music purchases can be downloaded automatically to all your devices. In addition, music not purchased from iTunes can gain the same benefits by using iTunes Match, a service that replaces your music with a 256 kbps AAC DRM-free version if we can match it to the over 18 million songs in the iTunes Store®, it makes the matched music available in minutes (instead of weeks to upload your entire music library), and uploads only the small percentage of unmatched music. iTunes Match will be available this fall for a $24.99 annual fee. Apple today is releasing a free beta version of iTunes in the Cloud, without iTunes Match, for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users running iOS 4.3. iTunes in the Cloud will support all iPhones that iOS 5 supports this fall.
Apple is ready to ramp iCloud in its three data centers, including the third recently completed in Maiden, NC. Apple has invested over $500 million in its Maiden data center to support the expected customer demand for the free iCloud services.
Pricing & Availability
The iCloud beta and Cloud Storage APIs are available immediately to iOS and Mac Developer Program members atdeveloper.apple.com. iCloud will be available this fall concurrent with iOS 5. Users can sign up for iCloud for free on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running iOS 5 or a Mac running Mac OS® X Lion with a valid Apple ID. iCloud includes 5GB of free cloud storage for Mail, Document Storage and Backup. Purchased music, apps, books and Photo Stream do not count against the storage limit. iTunes Match will be available for $24.99 per year (US only).
iTunes in the Cloud is available today in the US and requires iTunes 10.3 and iOS 4.3.3. Automatic download of apps and books is available today. Using iCloud with a PC requires Windows Vista or Windows 7; Outlook 2010 or 2007 is recommended for accessing contacts and calendars.
The PlayStation Store is back online and thank you everyone for your patience. You will notice a huge lineup of new downloadable games, demos, add-on content, themes, avatars and videos. Also, PlayStation Plus has been updated with new full game trials, free games and DLC, free avatars and even more discounts.
You may have noticed that the content promised as part of the Welcome Back offer is not yet live. It is currently in the final stages of testing and will be available to download soon; we’ll be sure to let you know when.
The next PlayStation Store and PlayStation Plus update will be this Friday, June 3, and then we will roll right into some special publishes starting next week for E3 (so be sure to check back daily!).
In the meantime, check out all the new downloadable content on PlayStation Store.
Full Game Trial
- Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2
- Dante’s Inferno
Featured Games & DLC
- SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs SU90-S Shotgun (Free to PlayStation Plus subscribers)
- SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs: Abandoned Map (Free to PlayStation Plus subscribers)
- MAG Interdiction DLC (Free to PlayStation Plus subscribers, regular price $4.99)
- Comet Crash (Free to PlayStation Plus subscribers, regular price $9.99) (Prior offer, still live)
- Vector TD minis (Free to PlayStation Plus subscribers, regular price $3.99) (Prior offer, still live)
- Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus (PS one) (Free to PlayStation Plus subscribers, regular price $9.99) (Prior offer, still live)
- Babel the King of Blocks (Free to PlayStation Plus subscribers, regular price $2.99)
- The 2D Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character (Free to PlayStation Plus subscribers, regular price $3.99)
- Duael Invaders (Free to PlayStation Plus subscribers, regular price $3.99) (Prior offer, still live)
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Free to PlayStation Plus subscribers, regular price $4.99) (Prior offer, still live)
- Killzone 3 Steel Rain Map Pack (Free to PlayStation Plus subscribers, regular price $4.99) (Prior offer, still live)
Discounted Games & DLC
- Red Johnson’s Chronicles Episode 1 (PlayStation Plus price $9.74, regular price $12.99) (Prior offer, still live)
- Dungeon Hunter (PlayStation Plus price $10.39, regular price $12.99) (Prior offer, still live)
- Ricochet HD (PlayStation Plus price $2.50, regular price $10.00)
- Cool Boarder 2 (PlayStation Plus price $3.00, regular price $5.99) (Prior offer, still live)
- Under Siege (PlayStation Plus price $10.00, regular price $19.99)
- Interpol (PlayStation Plus price $3.99, sale price $4.99, regular price $9.99)
- Motor Storm Apocalypse Rare Elite Supercar (PlayStation Plus price $2.24, regular price $2.99)
- Motor Storm Apocalypse Revelation Vehicle Pack Bundle (PlayStation Plus price $2.39, regular price $2.99)
Featured Themes & Avatars
- Resident Evil 5 – 10 Avatar Bundle ($0.99 and exclusive to PlayStation Plus subscribers)
- Resident Evil 5 – Tricell Logo Avatar (Free to PlayStation Plus subscribers)
- MotorStorm Apocalypse: Burning Avatar (Free to PlayStation Plus subscribers, regular price $0.49)
- MotorStorm Apocalypse: Urban Avatar (Free to PlayStation Plus subscribers, regular price $0.49)
- Anomalies Static Theme (Free and exclusive to PlayStation Plus subscribers)
- SEGA Genesis Dynamic Theme (Free and exclusive to PlayStation Plus subscribers)
- Junebug Bench Static Theme (Free and exclusive to PlayStation Plus subscribers) (prior offer, still live)
- Street Fighter 2 – 8 Avatar Bundle ($0.99 PlayStation Plus Price, PlayStation Plus Exclusive)
- Street Fighter 2 – Ken Avatar (Free to PlayStation Plus subscribers, regular price $0.49)
On a slushy morning in early March, Stephen Elop, a Canadian executive who built his résumé at U.S. technology companies, found himself in front of 2,000 Finns delivering a speech about failure. Six months earlier, Elop had been hired away from Microsoft (MSFT), where he oversaw the company’s Office products, to lead Nokia (NOK), the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile phones. At its peak, in 2002, it contributed 21 percent of all of Finland’s corporate tax revenue, and its success over the past dozen years has fueled the nation’s sense of possibility in the same way that General Motors (GM) once propelled the aspirations of the U.S. Elop’s message to his employees in the factory town of Salo was that, despite the 450 million phones the company sold in 2010—402 million more than Apple (AAPL)—almost everything Nokia had done since 2007 was wrong.
Without slides or props, Elop stood in the town’s gymnasium and explained his signature decision as chief executive officer: to dump Nokia’s homemade Symbian software, which has shipped on some 400 million phones, in favor of Microsoft’s nine-month-old Windows Phone 7 software that runs on a mere 4 million. Elop spoke in his usual manner, an engineer’s earnest, you-know-as-well-as-I-do appeal to reason. As he marched through his logic, the Nokia employees, aware that their new boss had only recently arrived from the very company whose software they would now be humiliatingly forced to use, betrayed no signs of emotion. Rather, a heavy silence filled the room, as if Elop were a defense attorney being watched for signs of inconsistency.
Much of what Elop had to say wasn’t news to his audience, but it was still distressing. In his measured telling, Apple and Google (GOOG) had changed the industry from handset-focused to software-focused. Symbian had fallen too far behind to have any hope of catching up. Worse, the company’s great hope for the future—a software platform created with chipmaker Intel (INTC), called MeeGo—wasn’t ready to pick up the slack. He tried to negotiate a deal with Google to run Android, but Google refused to give the world’s biggest phonemaker any advantages over its smaller partners, meaning Nokia’s corps of 11,600 engineers would have next to no ability to add their own innovations to Google’s software. "It just didn’t feel right," Elop says to the crowd. "We’d be just another company distributing Android. That’s not Nokia! We need to fight!"
For a moment, Elop, 47, lays into the complacency he sees settling over the company. When he asks how many people in the crowd use an iPhone or Android device, few hands go up. "That upsets me—not because some of you are using iPhones, but because only a small number of people are using iPhones. I’d rather people have the intellectual curiosity to understand what we’re up against."
Finally, after emphasizing that he believes mismanagement—not a lack of innovation—is what ails the company, Elop gets personal. "I’m deeply apologetic that I can’t give you every bit of information about how this will impact each of you. That really sucks," he says of the layoffs destined to hit Salo’s employees as a result of abandoning Symbian and MeeGo. "But my commitment to you is that we will get through this as quickly and transparently as we can. And I think we’re going to make the best choices for the future." Within minutes the crowd has dispersed and headed back down the snowy road to the Nokia factory that since 1928 has been cranking out radios, TVs, and, more recently, cell phones. By Finnish standards, it could have gone worse. "It wasn’t exactly a standing ovation, but people didn’t walk out feeling resentful," says Ram Kuppuswamy, the plant’s manager. "The disappointment doesn’t go away. But this helped.