Google Nexus 7 and Nexus Q leak before I/O keynote

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Just minutes ahead of Google’s I/O keynote, images and videos of two oft-rumoured products have surfaced, leading to virtual confirmation that they will be announced later today at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

As previously reported on, the Nexus 7 tablet is a 7″ Asus-built slate sporting a Tegra 3 chip from Nvidia, a 1280 x 800 IPS display with Gorilla Glass, 1GB of RAM and an attractively low price tag of just $199 for a 8GB model, while the internal storage can be doubled for another $50. Android Police dug this image up directly from the Google Play servers, so this is our first real look at the bezel tablet and Android 4.1 aka Jelly Bean. We will bring you more information when we get it tonight from Google’s keynote.

Additionally, Droid Life has some info about the Nexus Q, which seems to be a social streaming media player that various devices can connect to as long as they run Android 2.3 or later. It is set to cost $299 and, along with the Nexus 7, it is set to ship in 2 to 3 weeks in the US only.

Nexus 7 Addendum

The following paragraphs only apply if you purchase a Nexus 7.

The Nexus 7 has built-in Wi-Fi. You are solely responsible for obtaining internet connectivity through an internet service provider as the Nexus 7 does not support mobile connectivity.

In order to use the Nexus 7, you understand that you will need your own 802.11a/b/g/n access point Wi-Fi router.

The Nexus 7 is manufactured by ASUSTeK Computer Inc., whose principal place of business is at ASUSTeK Computer Inc., Nr. 15 Li-Te Road, Peitou, Taipei 112, Taiwan (“ASUS”).

ASUS provides a limited warranty for the Nexus 7. Please refer to the warranty card in the Nexus 7 package or ASUS for details on the ASUS limited warranty.

Nexus Q Addendum

The following paragraphs only apply if you purchase a Nexus Q.

You understand that the Nexus Q currently supports only Google Play Music; Google Play Movies and TV; and YouTube, and that your use of those services is subject to the Google Play Terms of Service.

The Nexus Q has built-in Wi-Fi and a built-in ethernet controller. You are solely responsible for obtaining internet connectivity through an internet service provider as the Nexus Q does not support mobile connectivity.

In order to use the Nexus Q, you understand that you will need your own: (i) phone or tablet running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) or higher with access to Google Play; (ii) compatible speakers, AV system or HD TV; and (iii) 802.11a/b/g/n access point Wi-Fi router.

Google provides a limited warranty for the Nexus Q. Please visit this link for more information.

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Microsoft to buy enterprise social network Yammer for $1.2 billion

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Seemingly unwilling to let anyone else have any limelight, Microsoft today confirmed their oft-rumoured acquisition of self-proclaimed enterprise social network Yammer. Having announced a deal for $1.2 billion in cash for the company, Microsoft plans to combine the network, which launched in 2008 and has been presented with various collaboration awards, with its SharePoint collaboration tool to provide a market-leading enterprise experience, proving that it’s not all about the consumer to Ballmer and the folks in Redmond. To help illustrate their point, the company made up a handy infographic explaining why Yammer and Microsoft are a perfect fit for each other, along with the obligatory press release that can be found below.

REDMOND, Wash., and SAN FRANCISCO — June 25, 2012 — Microsoft Corp. and Yammer Inc. today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Microsoft will acquire Yammer, a leading provider of enterprise social networks, for $1.2 billion in cash. Yammer will join the Microsoft Office Division, led by division President Kurt DelBene, and the team will continue to report to current CEO David Sacks.

“The acquisition of Yammer underscores our commitment to deliver technology that businesses need and people love,” said Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft. “Yammer adds a best-in-class enterprise social networking service to Microsoft’s growing portfolio of complementary cloud services.”

Launched in 2008, Yammer now has more than 5 million corporate users, including employees at 85 percent of the Fortune 500. The service allows employees to join a secure, private social network for free and then makes it easy for companies to convert a grassroots movement into companywide strategic initiative.

Yammer will continue to develop its standalone service and maintain its commitment to simplicity, innovation and cross-platform experiences. Moving forward, Microsoft plans to accelerate Yammer’s adoption alongside complementary offerings from Microsoft SharePoint, Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics and Skype.

“When we started Yammer four years ago, we set out to do something big,” Sacks said. “We had a vision for how social networking could change the way we work. Joining Microsoft will accelerate that vision and give us access to the technologies, expertise and resources we’ll need to scale and innovate.”

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval.

About Yammer

Yammer (www.yammer.com) is a leading provider of enterprise social networks with over 5 million verified corporate users including employees of more than 85 percent of the Fortune 500. The basic version of Yammer is free, and customers can pay to upgrade their network to receive advanced administrative and security controls, integrations with enterprise applications, priority customer service and a designated customer success manager.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/news/contactpr.mspx.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements, which are any predictions, projections or other statements about future events. Actual results may differ materially from these forward-looking statements because of a variety of risks and uncertainties about our business, which we describe in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our Forms 10-K and 10-Q. We do not undertake any duty to update any forward-looking statement.

Windows Phone App of the Week: Ilomilo

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This week’s Windows Phone app of the week is Ilomilo by SouthEnd Interactive and Microsoft Game Studios.

In this game you play as two cute little creatures called Ilo and Milo. The story says that these two are best friends and as such they love to spend time together in the park, however they are always getting lost and as such they are constantly separated. It is your job to help them find their way back to each other. As you probably guessed, this is a puzzle game but, trying not to sound too clichéd, it is the most original puzzle game I have ever played. To get the two back together you have to use a combination of skill, teamwork and the help of very noisy box creatures to brave your way through the park and reunite probably the two cutest game characters I have ever had the pleasure to control. The game looks great, with simple yet good-looking graphics, that do nothing but add to the cuteness of Ilo and Milo. The gameplay itself is great, detailed, well thought out and incredibly simple to get the hang of, even if the controls can be a bit fiddly at times. Ilomilo is now my favourite game, not just on Windows Phone but across all mobile platforms, and although it is a pricey Xbox Live title, I thoroughly recommend it to all Windows Phone owners as it is £4 well spent.

Ilomilo, Windows Phone, £3.99
Download from the Marketplace or visit the website

Vizio’s first computers go on sale in the US starting at $898

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Since they were announced back at CES in January, people have been heavily anticipating the launch of Vizio’s first range of Windows PCs. Famed in the States for low priced TVs with unbeatable value, the company unveiled an all-in-one, a notebook and a pair of Ultrabooks thin-and-lights at the trade show, but remained coy on release dates, pricing or exact specifications until today. In a press release that can be found below, the company revealed a few more details, including that pricing for all 3 ranges would begin at just $898 (£578), and that all of their computers would run on Intel’s latest Ivy Bridge chips with a clean installation (i.e. zero bloatware) of Windows 7. The AIO will come in both the $898 24″ model and an $1100 27″ model, and both come with USB 3.0, Nvidia’s latest Kepler graphics architecture, up to a 1TB HDD paired with a 32GB SSD for boot and 1920 x 1080 displays. The thin-and-lights both come with integrated Intel graphics and a 7 hour battery life, with the $898 14″ model coming equipped with a 1600 x 900 panel, while an extra hundred dollars will get you a 15.6″ model with a 1080p display. The $898 notebook is internally identical to the larger thin-and-light, but in exchange for the added girth you get an as yet unspecified Nvidia Kepler GPU. Pre-orders for all models are live at a number of American retailers right now, but don’t get your hopes up for a UK release, as Vizio has yet to release any of their bargain bin products outside the US of A.

Design, Power and Entertainment Reign Supreme in VIZIO’s Incredibly Sleek and Sophisticated, Premium PC Line Unveiled Today

Irvine, CA – June 15, 2012 – VIZIO, America’s #1 LCD HDTV Company*, announced today the availability of its highly anticipated line of innovative personal computers designed to work hard and play hard. By combining its entertainment know-how with the unmatched power of the latest Intel® Core™ processors, VIZIO intends to set a new standard for the Windows® experience. The premium line, which consists of the VIZIO Thin + Light, Notebook and All-in-One PC, was created to break through the clutter present in the mainstream market and prove that power, design and entertainment can flawlessly co-exist in a PC.

Similar to its entrance into the HDTV category nearly a decade ago, VIZIO took careful inventory of the needs and wants evident in the PC space. The result is a sophisticatedly handsome PC line that meets the productivity and power standards consumers expect, while delivering the entertainment and design differentiators they desire. Calling on its HDTV background, VIZIO developed the PCs with contrast, image quality and viewing angles top of mind, giving PC users an experience only HDTVs could previously deliver. Combined with an NVIDIA® Kepler™-Class GeForce GPU, the brilliant HD display of the VIZIO PCs makes watching movies, gaming and streaming TV shows more enjoyable than ever. Deep and resonate SRS Premium Sound HD™ serves as an ideal complement to stunning image quality but can also stand alone, allowing music junkies to immerse themselves in rich, custom-tuned audio.

Understanding the impact aesthetics have on experience, VIZIO also focused heavily on design. Manifested beyond a few sleek bevels, VIZIO’s purposeful design decisions and premium materials culminate in a line of PCs that rival the status-quo. From the die-cast aluminum neck with its hidden hinge, premium wireless keyboard and wireless touchpad of the All-in-One, to the anodized aluminum unibody construction with precision CNC detailing of the Thin + Light and Notebook, VIZIO took every detail into account, creating top-quality work and entertainment fixtures like no other.

“PCs haven’t always been made with design at the forefront. While customers want an elegant, multi-purpose device capable of executing tasks and flawlessly delivering entertainment, some PCs still look like mundane work machines,” said Matt McRae, Chief Technology Officer, VIZIO. “VIZIO is passionate about innovation, design and the user experience. We listened to consumers and created a line of PCs that deliver on productivity but are also uncompromisingly clean, stylish and sophisticated.”

Optimized to deliver power, mobility and familiar ease of use, VIZIO PCs ensure a fast and immersive best-in-class consumer experience. To that end, VIZIO and Microsoft® worked together to build an optimized system image that includes the Microsoft Signature experience for Windows 7 PCs to deliver a great experience for customers, from out of box to support. Every VIZIO PC also includes Microsoft Security Essentials to help guard against viruses and spyware with no renewal fees and 90 days of Microsoft technical support.

“We’re pleased to be working closely with VIZIO as it debuts in the PC category,” said Steven Guggenheimer, CVP OEM Division, Microsoft. “VIZIO has a strong reputation of providing consumer innovation and entertainment experiences, and it’s great to see the company using Windows to help deliver premium experiences on PCs.”

Designed to tackle any task a user needs to accomplish, VIZIO PCs are powered by 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processors. Providing an extra performance boost, the efficient Intel® Core™ processors are capable of handling a multitude of jobs, allowing users to multi-task with ease.

“We know how important it is for VIZIO to have its PCs deliver best in class performance,” said CJ Bruno, Intel VP, GM Americas. “VIZIO has repeatedly shown its ability to deliver leading technology to its customers and we are thrilled that 3rd generation Intel core processors will power VIZIO’s latest computing innovations. We think people will be amazed by the stunning visual experiences in these new systems, from the beautiful all-in-one to the slim, stylish and responsive Ultrabook™ device.”

VIZIO All-in-One: Starting at $898
Elegantly combining a powerful PC with features similar to a television, the VIZIO All-in-One PC offers an unparalleled entertainment experience**. With a stunning 24″ or 27″ Full HD 1080p display, included subwoofer for 2.1 surround sound audio with SRS Premium Sound HD™ and dual HDMI® inputs for connecting cable boxes and game consoles, the VIZIO All-in-One PC delivers serious entertainment.

The premium wireless keyboard, wireless touchpad with multi-touch gesture support, remote control and subwoofer with integrated power supply makes the VIZIO All-in-One PC easy on the eyes. Crafted from genuine, top-quality materials with design advancements, these machines challenge the very notion of what a PC can be, making it the ideal fixture in a bedroom, design studio, kitchen, dorm or swanky boutique.

For the ultimate in entertainment, consumers can use the display of their VIZIO All-in-One PC even when the computer is off, plugging in up to two HDMI® sources to enjoy cable or satellite programming, gaming and other HD offerings.

VIZIO Notebook: Starting at $898
The VIZIO Notebook delivers remarkable power in a beautifully portable profile. Stylish and light, the aluminum construction provides solid durability not possible when using cheaper plastics. With an impressive 15.6″ Full HD 1080p display, performance-tuned audio with SRS Premium Sound HD™ and a long-lasting battery, the VIZIO Notebook is an all-day, on-the-go, multimedia powerhouse.

The sleek, seamless surface of the VIZIO Notebook boasts beveled edges and a slip-free, soft-touch underside. The machine’s slim profile is made possible by an anodized aluminum unibody construction that lends itself to strength and durability. Smart innovations include a concealed passive heat venting that pulls in cool air to reduce the need for bulky, noisy and unnecessary grills and fans.

VIZIO Thin + Light: Starting at $898
Part of a new class of Ultrabook™ devices inspired by Intel, the VIZIO Thin + Light is an ultra-responsive, ultra-sleek and long-lasting portable PC. This powerful machine boots up in seconds and packs enough battery to stay up and running all day.

With a 14″ HD+ or 15.6″ Full HD display and a razor-thin design made possible by a durable, anodized aluminum unibody construction, the VIZIO Thin + Light is sleek enough to take anywhere and easily outperforms notebooks twice its size.

Entertainment enthusiasts will appreciate the HD resolution, stellar picture quality with wider viewing angles and SRS Premium Sound HD™ of the Thin + Light, allowing users to enjoy their content on-the-go or tap into the full-size HDMI® outputs to put entertainment on the big screen.

For more information on VIZIO PCs visit VIZIO.com. Consumers can also find the new PC line at key retailers such as Walmart, Amazon.com, Sam’s Club, Costco, Target and Microsoft Store.

Apple ousts Google Maps with a home-grown system for iOS 6

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Apple has announced that it will be removing Google Maps from its native application in iOS and will be replacing it with its own mapping system with the upcoming launch of iOS 6 this autumn for iPhone 3GS onwards, iPad 2, iPad (3rd generation) and iPod Touch (4th generation). It will include its own high quality 3D mode, and by all accounts it does pretty much exactly what Google Maps did, only in an interface that Apple think is far superior.

In the mean time, Google has been developing their own software on Android and both companies have been reported to have used fleets of planes that have ruffled the feathers of some privacy campaigners who complained having noticed an increase in airspace activity while tracking the movements of several large companies. Apple are set to create yet anouther easy to use and beautful app that will undoubtedly do its job very well. It is another example of Apple showing that making their products integratable with existing platforms is not the only field they are improving, but also the Apple universe that will one day probably be able to exist independently to every other system of computing there is. My concern is that Google has such a solid base, and with a single account you can connect all of Google’s existing services such as Gmail, Drive, YouTube and +, making them easier to use and more efficient for the user. That said Apple have added mapping support to Siri, the “eyes free” system which Apple is rumoured to have been working on with car manufacturers to develop add buttons for in new cars, allowing for a hands free, voice activated GPS and phone.

I think that Apple’s new mapping system will be good because things that come out of Apple are generally well received and the response by Google will probably improve on what they have now, which can only be a good thing for map users. If users wish to return to using Google Maps or use a different platform entirely, they should have the option to do it through the App Store, as there are a number of map apps available for the platform. Apple’s eyes free integration, however, is very promising, and it is very probable that it means Google Maps is on its way out for many Apple users. Apple’s initiative has yet again shown the company’s ability to remake everything in the image of their own minds.

App of the Week: Monsters Ate My Condo

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This week’s app of the week is Monsters Ate My Condo, a game from Adult Swim for iOS and Android. The game is simple – various monsters want feeding, and you do that by feeding them apartments. If you make a chain of 3 or more condos of the same colour, you get a shiny bronze combo condo, and then you gradually get all the way up to diamonds. Feeding shiny condos to the monsters activates special powers, and the game ends when a monster is neglected and goes on a rampage or your tower block falls over. Add in some seizure-inducing colours, wacky animation, a blue unicorn that vomits rainbows and a fat lady that sings when the game is over, and you have yourself a ridiculously addictive game.

Monsters Ate My Condo, iOS and Android, 69p
Download from the App Store or Google Play

WWDC in 5 word sentences

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That screen sounds absolutely incredible.
You can talk to iPads.
USB 3.0 is now infiltrating.
Nobody likes massively oversized laptops.
Siri likes fridges, mocks Samsung.
Open Monsters Ate My Condo.
The Mac Pro isn’t dead!
Why did you expect iPhones?
Maps are the way forward.
Apple will survive without Steve.
FaceTime over cellular is pointless.
Want Ivy Bridge with that?
Sharing from notifications is egotistical.
Facebook is still a thing.
At least Ping is dead.

E3 2012: The Review

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It is that time of the year again. E3 has come and gone, and all those melodramatic gamers are at this very moment in time still in a state of shock and awe (and mild dampness in their trousers) having been given a preview of how they will be spending most of their waking hours over the coming years. As the resident bird in anger, I must endeavour not to be stunned into silence at the epicosity of this year’s conference, but report up on what went down and why. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to a poor man’s attempt to condense the infinite awesomeness of the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo into a single blog post.

E3 2012 kicked off with green smoke and the new trailer for Halo 4. The 7 minute trailer, mixing live-action with gameplay footage, certainly followed the trend of seriously epic that has made the Halo series one of the most successful for Microsoft’s Xbox platform. That said, it looks like the game is turning a bit darker and scarier with glimpses of forerunner technology and new enemies. The gameplay seemed familiar and both Halo fanatics and newcomers alike will have no trouble getting used to the controls. The interface was nice and the graphics were certainly on par with the latest flagships, so no surprises there. The video gave just enough perspective to get us interested in the game, revealing that it is set four years after the end of the war on a distant planet that Master Chief landed on after the end of the Halo 3. The trailer and gameplay also told us that the ancient forerunners will be playing a big part in the game, and if the weapons that Master Chief is using are anything to go by, this is definitely a good thing, as well as tying up a story that has spanned the best part of eleven years. Halo games have always been a staple of sci-fi shooters, and this next installment certainly doesn’t look like it’s going to disappoint.


Following shortly after came the announcement of another cross-platform sequel from Ubisoft in the shape of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist. This trailer genuinely made me want to get this game and start increasing the atmosphere’s lead content. I am a fan of tactical cover shooter games where a little bit of planning is required before all hell breaks loose, and the latest Splinter Cell seems to offer this. The gameplay footage showed a fluid and deadly combat system that no gamer will have trouble causing havoc with, as well as a plethora of stealth options and target marking which allows you to take out large numbers of hostiles quickly, quietly and above all awesomely. This being a cover shooter, the movement mechanics looked seamlessly fluid allowing you to be very efficient. As expected from a Ubisoft title, I even noticed a hint of Assassin’s Creed in the climbing mechanics, but either way it looks to be brilliant. Furthermore, Sam Fisher has been promoted to the head of the newly formed Fourth Echelon, meaning you now have many more support systems at your disposal as well as highly advanced intelligence which can be easily accessed through the Kinect integration on Xbox 360 meaning you don’t even have to look up from combat. This is definitely one of my top 3 games of the expo, and I am looking forward to its launch across PS3, Xbox 360 and PC in spring 2013.

Another big title to be announced by Microsoft was a fourth installment for the Gears of War series, entitled Judgment. Despite its original name, the trailer certainly had me curious as to what was going to happen in the game. I am not a big Gears man myself, so the fact that it even got into this post is a credit to Epic Games. The trailer showed only snapshots of action and was set to the daunting soundtrack of an American military reading a list of charges against the main protagonists, showing dark corners of a ruined courtroom, a rocket and many artistic angles of the lieutenant’s backside. What we can expect is lots of impossible missions, plenty of action and miles of locusts. This may not be quite my kind of game, but certainly one that fans will spend many hours enjoying.

The game I have really been waiting for is next on my list, and easily makes it into my top three games of E3 2012. It is of course Forza Horizon, the latest edition to Microsoft’s answer to Sony’s phenomenal Gran Turismo series and pretty much every racing game aside. Up until now, Forza has been a dedicated racing simulator similar to GT and arguably the best of them al. The immense driving mechanics and physics involved were always brilliant, and, as gaming progressed, so did the graphics until it looked faultless in last October’s Forza Motorsport 4. Up until now, the Need For Speed crew held pole position for street racing and more arcade style racers that I enjoyed as much as the serious Forza titles of the day. Now, developers like Playground Games have decided that as EA crossed the border and released more sim-heavy games such as NFS: Shift, they should return the favour and bring some of the Forza magic to the streets. Forza Horizon is based around a massive music festival in Colorado, and you as the driver are racing to get there in time for the start. As with any game, things are not as simple as they may seem, as along the way you shall encounter some interesting problems. This is starting to sound a little familiar, but my worries have been set aside by the trailer unveiled at E3. It doesn’t quite have the same challenge aspect as NFS: The Run, and nor does it come close to the sprawling islands of Test Drive Unlimited, but is showing undertones of Burnout, a series that has been largely untouched since the TDU­-esque Paradise met critical acclaim in 2008. The amalgamation of all these genres added to the precision and reputation of Forza in an open world setting means that although this is far from what I was expecting, I am still very excited to see what the end result will be. I have high hopes that maybe, just maybe, this will be the be all and end all of street racers.

The final game to go on my top three games of E3 this year is of course Assassin’s Creed 3, another title from the guys at Ubisoft Montreal. I wrote an article a couple of weeks back expressing my hope that the Assassin’s Creed series hadn’t peaked too early and that AC3 would live up to expectations and more, and what we saw at E3 means that it most certainly will. The game takes place during the American civil war, and gamers take control of a new assassin who goes by the name of Connor Kenway. Connor is half Mohawk, half English and half angel, and somehow that makes perfect sense. The story takes place across thirty years across New York, Philadelphia and Boston, as well as the high seas and the vast frontier. From the various videos I have seen, Ubisoft has continued to innovate to make the original AC formula seem fresh and exciting. Little details such as horse drawn hay bales that you can jump into as well as the static ones are the kind of thing I was hoping for, and the little things like that will continue to make this game just as good as we are hoping. New combat mechanics such as hiding round corners and the Mohawk axe replacing the sword combined with refined assassination techniques exclusive to this new assassin were shown in the gameplay footage, as well as continually stunning graphics which have been upgraded to include weather changes and seasons. Assassin’s Creed has provided the combination of mind games with sheer awesome combat that was serious and yet bags of fun for many years now, as well as a story that has always had me craving more. From what I can see, this latest installation shall continue this trend and will probably become the best AC yet, and for that I’m thankful.

I have been saving the best pair of games for last, and despite the fact neither made it onto my top three, they are probably the most significant and impressive from this year’s E3. I refer of course to Watch Dogs and The Last of Us.

Watch Dogs had me intrigued from the moment I first saw the trailer. I was genuinely perplexed at what this game was about. To me it looked like a campaign against internet information and only at the end did I realize it must have something to do with the ability to control the ctOS system. The gameplay footage shown at E3 confirmed this, as it showed a guy in an oversized coat controlling various electronic elements of his environment to achieve his goal, which turned out to be killing someone named Joseph DeMarco, a guilty man who was nevertheless acquitted for soliciting murder. I am very curious to see what Ubisoft has come up with here. It may well be the next big hit and is certainly unique in its own right which is why it is so important could this become the next Assassin’s Creed as the final installment is set for later this year. The gameplay also gave us a bit more to try and piece some logical plot together. The main protagonist Aiden Pearce seems to be well acquainted with killing, but his interaction with civilians during the firefight suggests some kind of anti-hero. Either way it seems to be open world, set in a city modelled closely on Chicago, the graphics look so phenomenal that everyone thought they were from the next-generation of console gaming until Ubisoft confirmed to Joystiq that the game would make an appearance on at least the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC, and it is very new, with a launch expected next year, so I will be following intently developments in this new title. It is exactly what makes E3 so good – we talk in depth about the games that we are looking forward to hearing about, and then someone like Ubisoft comes out and stuns everyone with a brand-new IP.

While gamers continued to swoon over the announcement of Watch Dogs, Sony’s conference began, but they stole the show at the end of theirs with the unveiling of the first gameplay video of the other of the important games, Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us. From what we know so far, it seems to follow an I Am Legend-esque theme with an over run city and few surviving humans each willing to kill the other at the drop of a hat. The infected that stalk the land run fast and are agile but can’t speak. They certainly aren’t your conventional zombies, but they will do the job and they are a nice change from the stereotype, perpetuated by Ubisoft in the trailer for ZombiU. The initial idea came from the cordyceps fungus which attacks only one type of ant, driving it insane before killing it by growing out of the ant’s brain. The idea for these infected is similar, only applied to humans. Check it out on the BBC’s Planet Earth if you want more info, but despite the sci-fi nature of the infection, it is real, and kudos should go to Naughty Dog for staying true to science. The character you play is an aging man with a beard accompanied by a teenage girl who never experienced what the world was like before the epidemic. The game is certainly as juicy as Watch Dogs and the short gameplay footage available shows a cover system, intense and brutal combat and limited supplies. This looks to be a heart-pumping game that might follow a familiar formula, but will be delivered in a way never seen before that will make one hell of a game. Naughty Dog, despite their pedigree of success with the Uncharted series, has shocked the gaming community with the quality of this release, so I have no idea what will happen when we actually get round to playing this. The graphics look very pretty, and although I can’t quite work out if it is open world yet, the ways in which you could tackle any one building look numerous. The developers say that they want this to be about the emotional experience between humans in this terrible post-apocalyptic city of Pittsburgh and beyond in the journey across America, and I am sure that we will be treated to a cinematic experience that will leave us empty at some points as we connect with the characters and what they must do. Either way, it looks awesome and will definitely become the next Alan Wake, if not more.



At this point in time, the letters on the keys of my keyboard have been rubbed away by the repetitive keystrokes required for this article, but little else can be expected when one is asked to sum up E3. For those few who have not died or fallen asleep, I commend you and I shall continue to fly straight on with the last two major events of this year’s E3.

Another awesomely humbling game is the long-awaited reboot of Tomb Raider. From what I saw of the new Crossroads trailer, it looks to contain a Far Cry-esque island with a very sinister side. In contrast with the previous games’ emphasis on open world decision, the new game is about as linear as you can get without it being Mario. As you would expect from such a major title, the graphics are magnificent and an action packed fighting mechanic with plenty of weapons and a seemingly half-decent plot line added into the mix should make a fun third-person shooter. It might not be ground breaking, but it is nice to see the old game revived in such a nice way, and it will certainly be a title to play and have fun with after I have finished everything else at least twice.

Another very important game is the latest installment in the Call of Duty series. Black Ops 2 is taking a very different tone from its predecessor, as it is controversially taking place in the future. The opening caption of the trailer asks what happens to one’s highly sophisticated and deadly army of unnamed drones when the enemy can control them. I have a sneaking suspicion we might just find out, as the gameplay footage shows a grizzled soldier accompanying the president through a war torn city with drones flying overhead blowing everything up. After the comparative disappointment of Modern Warfare 3 compared to Battlefield 3, does this latest title deserve a chance? The gameplay looks very identical to all previous CoD games, but the new weapons and potentially interesting plot produces a compelling argument. The graphics were on par, and at the end of the day we all know it will sell better than probably any other game at E3 so why not. CoD games will always be good even if they’re not always great. The new technology will be fun to explore, and using unmanned drones to reduce obstacles to dust and smart jets as well as new age combat arms mean that I will definitely give it a chance and hope that CoD will get back to being good. I for one don’t want to put money on another wet fish.

Last and most definitely least for me was the announcement of Xbox SmartGlass. This allows you to connect to your Xbox through your Windows, Android or iOS device allowing you to play music, surf the web and get interactive with movies and games through more than one channel. SmartGlass will certainly add to existing games and activities and is certainly a good idea, but by no means groundbreaking. It is simply an improvement to a system which is expected as technology becomes more and more accessible. The system will help games like the upcoming Madden and FIFA games, where voice and motion integration are the next improvements, as well as giving you another stat channel to immerse you fully in the gameplay. Before long it will be like playing real sport. It is good to see that Microsoft is still innovating because the Xbox has been serving gamers true for a very long time now and improvements like this could help shape the future of gaming consoles which, once the mould is broken, could provide gaming at a depth never before imagined.

Finally I have come to an end of a battle that has raged for an entire day of my life. The Electronic Entertainment Expo this year was as massive as ever, and I have only managed to scratch the surface of what the industry brought to the table at the Los Angeles Convention Centre this week. Other notable mentions should go to Microsoft’s implementation of a strange singing being called ‘Usherto launch Dance Central 3, LocoCycle, Resident Evil 6, Matter for Kinect, South Park: The Stick of Truth and a game for Kinect called Wreckateer that looks to be some kind of voice and motion controlled Angry Birds rip-off which I can actually imagine having loads of fun with, especially if with friends. This looks to be a great year for gaming, and if this year’s E3 was anything to go by, video gaming will continue to blow our minds away. If anybody is bored this summer, it is because they are truly insane, and I am already looking forward to next year because to be honest I can’t even begin to comprehend anything more spectacular than this. After a good six hours writing this, I am the Angry Bird signing off until next year.

Mitt Romney goes to Scamworld: Prosper, Inc. and its powerful friends

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Xavier Voigt-Hill:

Last month, Joseph L. Flatley wrote a phenomenal article on The Verge entitled ‘Scamworld: ‘Get rich quick’ schemes mutate into an online monster‘ and it is one of the finest pieces of investigative journalism that I have ever read. If you haven’t already, I highly encourage you to read all 11,000+ words of it, either on the site or in the £0.77 Kindle edition. Fast forward to June, and Flatley has published a kind of follow-up post entitled ‘Mitt Romney goes to Scamworld: Prosper, Inc. and its powerful friends‘ which exposes the links between some of the scamming organisations and senior figures in American politics, including Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate for President of Amercia. I thought the post was outstanding, but some people didn’t agree. By didn’t agree, they labelled it a disingenuous piece of journalism with a strong leftist bias that was intended to generate nothing but page views and was as thinly veiled an attack on the GOP as would be found on MSNBC. People complained that The Verge was a tech site and it should stay away from politics at all costs, but what is wrong with a website trying to break the mould?

Originally posted on Joseph L. Flatley:

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One of the biggest boiler rooms in America has ties that could lead all the way to the White House

Commenters on The Verge agree!

Congratulations, Joseph L. Flatley. Your poor attempt at a political hit piece, complete with sensationalized headline just cost The Verge a regular reader. Sad to see what is otherwise an excellent tech site stoop to this kind of “journalism.”
— ljc1423

This was disingenuous and in poor taste.
— Modred189

Add me as another name on the pile who thinks that this, while mostly an interesting follow-up to Scamworld, ends up feeling like a lefty hit piece with an atrociously irresponsible headline.
— RainingGlitteryMind

This “Romney to Scamworld” is nothing more than a lame, deceptively titled hit piece. I am extremely disappointed, as I have quickly come to expect much better than this here at the Verge.

This Joseph Flatley character, if that is his real…

View original 73 more words

Things That Should Exist: The Wrist Phone

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Things That Should Exist is a column by James Trickey. Things suggested are not always good ideas.

I’m back after a while without doing anything and for that I am sorry. I just have been really struggling with ideas because some people already had to go and invent everything useful or cool because they had the idea first. But I am finally back with an idea that probably already exists thank to some annoying company, or it might not in which case this will be an amazing idea.

Now, as you can probably guess this invention right here is a phone, just like any smartphone or tablet that can be found in any phone shop in the country at the moment. But, as the title suggests, this is a phone that sits on your wrist the whole time. So I’m imagining a phone with straps just like a watch that allow the phone to sit comfortably on your wrist. With the help of Paint I will try and get my ideas across.

So as you can see there with the help of the OG iPhone as a tester it’s basically just a phone that you can wear like a watch and as I said already it might exist somewhere but to be honest it should still exist which is what this column is about.

But if not, then think of the advantages to this.

Firstly it will never fall out of your pocket because it’s on your wrist. I mean when was the last time your watch fell off without you noticing? Plus, this phone is going to be a lot more noticeable if it comes off your wrist due to the weight difference and the noise it will make when it hits the floor and dies.

Secondly it would also just be incredibly fun to play games on something that is attached to your wrist. It would be like you were a half-robot person with a screen in your wrist! and no the Fallout games stole this idea from me. But it’s still awesome.

So that’s about it for this week. I hope that you all try and actually invent one of these things and if they already do then make them better. I’ll see you next week with a brand new idea.

Hopefully.

KABLAM!!