Update 6:59PM: As several readers have noticed, the Windows 7 beta has been delayed  due to heavy demand. Microsoft has not announced a new date for the beta. And also, Steve Ballmer's pants are now on fire.

Microsoft is making the beta version of Windows 7 available today to 2.5-million users. There are several things to keep in mind if you want to download and use the beta version of this upcoming operating system. Wired has put together some notes and reminders for potential users.

I know a few of you are already using the Windows 7 beta. If you're already a user or if you've installed the program today, I'd love to hear your impressions. TheFeed's excellent Brian Leahy has already posted his first impressions (which, despite what some ill-informed people think, is not the same as a review). Now let's get to those notes, courtesy of Wired!

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Tags: CES, Tech

If you thought CES was all about TV's and phones think again you Western World junkie!

Not to be neglected, Alison is out on the floor detailing the strangest possible tech coming out of Asia. Detailing: Gundam robot slippers, a Bandai Poking Box game (stick your finger in the hole!), and a highly programmable custom keyboard Alison better have her giddyap going on in her step to see all the unique sights.

CES '09: It Came From Asia

CES '09: It Came From Asia »

There's plenty more where that came from over at the CES '09 Video gallery.

Tags: CES, Products, Tech

Tell me you haven't neglected our still-swelling CES '09 video section? Stop missing out an get yer tuckus over there. You'll be greeted with ever-piling-up goodies like our PlayStation 3 Press Conference video featuring footage of:

  • Killzone 2
  • infamous
  • Resistance: Retribution

CES '09: PlayStation 3 Press Conference


CES '09: Sony Playstation 3 Press Conference »


Spoiler: The intro for Killzone 2 is on display...

This and more in our bulging CES '09 video section including:

...and for the love of shiny new tech devices... so... much... more. Do the right thing, please give our videos a home.

SanDisk and Sony have teamed up to create a couple of expanded formats that they say will shape the flash memory landscape for years to come.

The snappily named “Memory Stick format for Extended High Capacity" (tentative name) is designed to expand the Memory Stick PRO format series to achieve a storage capacity of 2 terabytes. Damn, man, that's huge!

The second innovation that the team of SanDisk and Sony announced is “Memory Stick HG Micro” format. It enables a maximum data-transfer speed of 60 megabytes per second (MB/s)2, making it one of the fastest-smallest memory card formats to date.

Why should you care? Because, before long, every digital photograph you shoot and every home video you produce will be in HD, and that stuff takes up a lot of memory, so your high-definition digital still cameras, DSLR cameras, and camcorder will need a grip of flash memory to hold your important memories.

Licensing corresponding to the “Memory Stick format for Extended High Capacity” and the “Memory Stick HG Micro” is scheduled to start in 2009.

Tags: CES, Tech

Our own Chris Hardwick has many side gigs, one of which is playing in the alt-nerd, altcountry rock duo, Hard 'N Phirm with his buddy Mike Phirman. This year the dynamic duo decided to treat us to a little diddy about the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show. They even made a classy, high-budget music video to go with it! Enjoy!

CES '09: 'Hard n' Phirm' CES Music Video

CES '09: Hard 'N Phirm CES Music Video »

See footage of the nerdfest these gentlemen are singing about at our CES video page.

Tags: CES, G4, Music, Tech

Yeah yeah, everyone you know has an iPhone but with a new year brings a new wave of eager challengers to take the on throne of the GOD PHONE. Kevin Pereira and The Loop's guests of Peter Ha (crunchgear.com) and Sarah Austin (pop17.com) go through the numbers and break down the competition Apple will be facing this year and what features that will attempt to lure you away.

CES '09: iPhone Challengers

CES '09: iPhone Challengers »

Spoiler: Both guest panelist want to get rid of their iPhones! Find out why in the video and catch more in our MASSIVE CES'09 video section.  With the latest and greatest in all things CES '09 including:

Tags: Apple, CES, iPhone, Tech, Videos

The flexible, wrist-ready display you see above (picture swiped from Engadget) is being shown off at CES by the Universal Display Corporation. It's designed for military use, but I want one so that I can pretend I'm either Master Chief, the protagonist from Fallout 3 with a brand new PIPBoy 3000, Dick Tracy, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, Bob from Reboot, Electra Woman and/or Dyna Girl (pictured below), Leela, Wonder Woman (in 70s Justice League), or Space Ghost. If you can think of any other characters with wrist-worn computers, please let me know in our comment section.

There's a video at the link. It's pretty impressive.


Tags: CES, Tech, Videogames

Palm's Pre mobile phone has been getting a ton of buzz, despite its stupid name. Its sleek looks and novel OS have made it one of the biggest hits of 2009's Consumer Electronics Show. It's been a day since Palm's big announcement and the initial euphoria is wearing off, which has people thinking in more practical terms. How much is the Pre going to cost? Well, according to All Things Digital, it'll be more than $199. The site's Peter Kafka wrote:

"The biggest unknown is price, which went unmentioned during the demo. My assumption is that Palm (PALM) would try to take market share by coming in significantly lower than the $200 or so Apple wants for its iPhone. But when I ran that theory by Palm CEO Ed Colligan , he looked at me liked I’d peed on his rug. 'Why would we do that when we have a significantly better product,' he asked, then walked away."

There's even a rumor floating around that the phone will go for $399 -- subsidized!

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Tags: CES, iPhone, Tech

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata feels that the wildly popular Nintendo DS still has room to grow, despite closing in on a global installed base of nearly 100-million users. In a recent interview with the Daily Yomiuri, Iwata said:

"Some say the market for the DS is saturated, but I disagree. In Japan, a country with a population of 127 million, we've sold 23 million DS units. The United States is inhabited by over 300 million people, and there are more than 490 million people in the European Union. Sales of the product could grow further in foreign countries considering their populations. The number of people playing games is rapidly increasing in Europe, where the penetration of games had been slow. In Germany, bookstores have opened Nintendo sections and Wii software has sold well. I'd also like to focus on emerging markets such as Russia and India."

The success of the DS has been pretty ridiculous and it doesn't appear to be slowing down. In Japan, the Nintendo DSi has been the recent hotness, but the regular DS continues to enjoy brisk sales in the rest of the world. It will be interesting to see how Nintendo does in Russia and India, considering the rampant piracy that occurs in those countries.

Despite the dour economic conditions, Iwata remains upbeat -- though cautious -- about Nintendo's immediate future, as well as the future of the gaming business in general. He said:

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Still dreaming about upgrading your Xbox 360 with a Blu-ray drive? Well, don't get your hopes up. Microsoft's president of entertainment and devices, Robbie Bach, recently listed three reasons it won't happen during an interview at the Consumer Electronics Show 2009. Bach told TechFlash:

"It’s not a feature we get a ton of requests for. We really don’t. When you ask people the list of things they want to see us spending time creating in Xbox, Blu-ray is way, way down on the list.

The second thing is, from a technical perspective, it doesn’t help us in the core of what Xbox does, which is in gaming. We can’t have publishers produce games on Blu-ray disc. Because then they won’t play on the 28 million Xboxes we’ve already shipped. So it doesn’t help us in the core gaming space.

The third thing, and this maps to all three of those, is that it costs a lot of money. And so the scenario is, OK, let me get this straight: I’m going to add something to the product that’s going to raise the cost, which means the price goes up, consumers aren’t asking for it, and by the way, my game developers can’t use it."

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Best Of The Best of CES 2009 »

G4's crack team of tech experts have scoured the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) floor, and have chosen the Best of the Best products of CES 2009!

We've listed the selections in our three categories below...but you owe it to yourself to watch our special ceremony, embedded above.

“Best of the Best” Mainstream Tech – These include gadgets everybody wants, which are the backbone of tech culture that reverberates across the world, and across the web.


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Because we've grown bored with the overused dimensions of Length and Width, NVIDIA is bringing gamers a third, exciting dimension to enjoy: Depth!  NVIDIA's just revealed 3D Vision for GeForce is a combination of high-tech wireless glasses, a high-power IR emitter and software that automatically transforms hundreds of PC games into full stereoscopic 3D experiences. Drooling yet?

3D Vision is designed to work with pure Samsung and ViewSonic 120 Hz LCD monitors, Mitsubishi DLP HDTVs, and the DepthQ HD 3D Projector by Lightspeed Design, Inc. Using either magic or advanced computer programming skillz, NVIDIA's system will work with over 300 currently available PC games, and should be compatible with many, many upcoming PC titles through NVIDIA's “The Way It’s Meant to Be Played” program.

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Microsoft's biggest push here at CES 2009 is Windows 7 and I got to spend some time with the most recent beta version of the OS. Is it better than Vista? Yes. Is it better than OS X? No.

Don't get me wrong. Windows 7 is looking to be a great release for Microsoft with many improvements to the user-interface as well as the way files are organized. Microsoft is also thinking to the future and including full touch support for hardware manufacturers to take advantage of. The HP demo unit they had running touch used IR to track touch and wasn't anywhere near as accurate as a capacitor-based touchscreen, but it did support multi-touch.

As for your documents, Microsoft is actually going to one-up Apple in the way they are organizing things like pictures, music, and movies. Windows 7 will create virtual folders for different document types that don't require files to be moved to show up. Instead, you point the virtual folder to several different locations to check for documents. It takes the concept of music libraries and expands it to all files. Very smart.

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Some things go together perfectly -- Tango and Cash, peanut butter and jellyfish -- but what about a digital camera and a web browser? Sony's newest Cybershot DSC-G3 camera instantly uploads photos and videos to web sites through any public Wi-Fi hotspot with an onboard browser. That's what I call "hot."

The 10-megapixel camera is about three-fourths of an inch thick and includes a 4X optical zoom Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens. But, most excitingly, if you make your way to a Wi-Fi spot, the camera can navigate to Sony's upload page, which includes direct links to photo sharing and editing sites like Shutterfly, Picasa Web Albums and Photobucket as well as video sharing sites like YouTube and Dailymotion. So share that amazing photo right after you take it! Oh, it'll run you about $500.

What do you think? Slick or what?


Tags: CES, Tech

At the Microsoft booth here at CES 2009 I was lucky enough to get some hands-on time with Relic Entertainment's Dawn of War II, which will hit beta later this month on Valve's Steam service. As a big fan of Relic's games, I was really excited to play this game. I was not disappointed.

At the top level, the game is much closer to Company of Heroes than Relic's earlier Dawn of War titles, but this is a good thing. A very, very good thing. Secondly, the game focuses entirely on territory control and almost entirely removes base management.

You'll get a headquarters building, which you'll use to create your squads of units, but additional structures are created around power nodes or by units themselves. Power nodes will be captured to create power and can be upgraded with three additional power generators. It's an investment in that territory and is vulnerable, but can help turn the economic tide in a battle.

Dawn of War II Multiplayer Footage


Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II Multiplayer Footage »


There are also points that give you "Requisition" and "Victory Points" and you'll have to put up a brutal fight to keep them. Thankfully, the Company of Heroes cover system is in and works seamlessly. Heavy gunner units also come over to Dawn II and you'll be able to set up suppression lines to keep your points protected.

Keep reading for more hands-on impressions.

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