Author Archive | Matt Peckham

Verizon FiOS Xbox Live TV Deal Is Another Disappointing Half-Measure

Giving people more options is generally a good thing, and the announcement on Tuesday that Verizon would offer a couple dozen FiOS cable TV channels through a new Xbox Live app certainly isn’t a bad thing. But it’s also a reminder of all that we still lack when it comes to consuming what we want to consume, and not subsidizing piles of stuff we don’t.

The FiOS deal sounds sweet enough—watch live TV through your Xbox 360!—until you realize it’ll require you already have a Verizon FiOS subscription. In that sense, Verizon’s deal is like all the others from cable providers who offer their services through devices likes computers or laptops. What sounds wonderful in theory—the ability to watch live TV without a cable box—turns out to require the cable box after all, and a regular subscription to boot. Instead of supplanting cable boxes, your computing devices become adjuncts to an aging, increasingly old-school method for consuming digital content, not the independent pipelines for discrete digital content they’re capable of being…and that so many consumers seem to be looking for.

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Here Comes Google Music: Leaked Screens Show Android Interface

Google Music screen shot as shown on TecnoDroidVE.

Android, meet your not-so-shockingly exposed dance partner, Google Music, and Google, meet another Google Music store rumor roundup, this one bolstered by screens that may indeed depict the upcoming Google-powered online music boutique.

We’ve heard rumblings about a Google Music store all year, since before Google launched its Google Music cloud service last May. But Google Music arrived, ironically, music-free—a blank online storage locker into which Google hoped users would pour unlocked tunes ripped direct from personal media or rival services. The theoretical reason: Google hasn’t been able to shore up relations with labels, prompting it to forestall Google Music’s “store” component. Until now, the service has looked the online equivalent of a Self Storage acreage.

That may all change this week. The Wall Street Journal said as much weeks ago, citing music executives in the biz, who claimed Google would launch a music store at some point between late October and early November. What’s more, the service is said to include Google+ integration, giving it a social networking one-up. For instance, users of the service would have the option to recommend songs in their online library to Google+ contacts, giving those contacts the option to listen to the songs once for free. After that, the MP3-format songs would cost in the vicinity of 99 cents each.

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BlackBerry PlayBook Sees Kindle Fire, Drops in Price $200

BlackBerry PlayBook price, come on down, you’re the next—or actually, first—contestant on The Price Wasn’t Right, But We’ll Fix That, in view of the Android-based Kindle Fire, which Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled Wednesday for just $199.

RIM’s PlayBook had been going for between $299 and $499, depending on model, but retailer Best Buy just slashed the price on all three models (16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB) by $200 each. If that sounds like a desperate, reactionary move to you, you wouldn’t be alone: Analysts are saying as much in the Kindle Fire’s wake left and right.

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Wait, Now Amazon is Launching Three Kindle Tablets on Wednesday?

Everyone’s talking Amazon’s nifty new watch-out-Apple tablet, supposedly an Android derivative dubbed the “Kindle Fire,” but have you heard about the other two?

Yes, the other two. As we head into the eleventh hour, we’re hearing Amazon’s planning not one, not two, but three Kindle tablets for its Wednesday (tomorrow) dog and pony show. The so-called Kindle Fire is rumored to be an aggressively priced 7-inch color LCD Android slate, and may (or may not, depending who you read) be designed to go toe-to-toe with Apple’s iPad. That said, it sounds like Amazon wants to support its “but we just want a decent e-reader!” audience as well, and will announce two black and white Kindles at tomorrow’s event, too.

The source: Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who says Amazon’s planning two 6-inch grayscale e-ink Kindles, dubbed “Tequila” (low-end) and “Whitney,” (high-end) to complement the color Kindle Fire (dubbed “Hollywood”).

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Apple “iPad 3” Prototype May Be Circulating, But Don’t Look For It This Year

It sounds like prototypes (yes, plural) of Apple’s iPad 3 may be floating around the “supply chain” already, but don’t look for the next-gen tablet this year, because…why, right? If you were sitting on 68.3% of the tablet market (according to the latest 2Q 2011 IDC report) and your nearest competitor (that would be Google’s Android) fell from 34% to 26.8% market share during the same period, where’s the fire?

That’s J.P. morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz’s reasoning, anyway. He’s just told Apple Insider that—not really a surprise here—his “conversations with industry insiders” indicate Apple’s third-generation iPad won’t arrive until sometime, 2012.

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GameStop to Buy and Sell iOS Devices, Finally Validate iOS Gaming?

Games retail giant GameStop’s days are either numbered or nascent, depending on whether you see brick and mortar retail as a digital-proof future presence. Well GameStop’s not waiting around to find out. They’re the largest dedicated video games retailer in the country, they’ve cornered the used games market, plus they’ve presciently grabbed arguably the best and brightest digital storefront technology, Stardock’s Impulse, to compete with Valve’s Steam.

And now, 9to5Mac reports, they’re plotting to add iPads, iPhones and iPods to their thousands of storefronts.

What’s more, they’re planning to let you trade in used iOS devices for store credit. That’s right. The screen grab 9to5Mac‘s touting reads: “We Buy your old iPod, iPhone or iPad.”

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Developer Offers “Proof” Apple’s iPhone 5 is Dual Mode

I bought an iPhone 4 in February, but my wife, who wants one badly, decided to wait. She travels to Europe and the Middle East frequently through the year for her job, and while AT&T would cover her in all the places she currently visits, their coverage at her parents’ house in the U.S. is a voice and data black hole. Considering we sometimes spend weeks there during the summer and around holidays, she wants a dual mode phone, one she can set up with a CDMA carrier stateside, or pop a GSM card in while traveling internationally. She’s been reading about an upcoming Apple phone that’ll do just that (and so, probably, have you).

The next-iPhone-as-world-phone rumor’s hardly new. Back in February, iFixit pulled Verizon’s CDMA iPhone 4 apart and—lo and behold—discovered a dual-mode GSM/CDMA chip. And in May, someone told FBR Capital Markets that a dual-mode iPhone 5 was coming in September. Even Verizon’s been loose-lipped about dual-mode functionality, claiming on a conference call in April that whenever Apple’s next device launches, Verizon would be “on equal footing with [its] competitors” and that the new phone would definitely “be a global device.”

Now we’re hearing a few new notes from the same song courtesy an anonymous developer, who’s not-so-discreetly passed some device application logs along to a TechCrunch blogger. According to said blogger: “The logs show that the app has been briefly tested by a handful of people using what is almost certainly an iPhone 5, evidently running iOS 5, sporting two distinct sets of mobile network codes (MNC) / mobile country codes (MCC). Those codes can be used to uniquely identify mobile carriers.”

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Nintendo Outs Flame-Red 3ds, Walmart Drops Price Early

If you haven’t snatched up a 3DS yet (if not, we wouldn’t blame you, given the dearth of interesting games) Nintendo’s sweetening its upcoming price drop with a ‘Flame Red’ version. If red’s your thing—as opposed to “Aqua Blue” and “Cosmo Black”—Nintendo says it plans to offer the alternative color from September 9th, shortly after the handheld’s price plummets from $250 to $170 this month.

Except wait a second, isn’t that supposed to happen this Friday, August 12th? That’s what Nintendo’s said, you know, all official-like.

But according to reports (and pictures of actual sales receipts), it seems some stores are selling the system at the new price already. Like Walmart, where you can reportedly get it for $169.96. (I know, does anyone seriously choose to buy, or not to buy, based on the cheap pennies discount gimmick?)

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