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Apple And Verizon Talking

According to BusinessWeek, Apple and Verizon are talking about more than just an LTE iPhone for 2010. The companies are discussing launching two devices, including one that might hit as early as this summer.

"One device is a smaller, less expensive calling device described by a person who has seen it as an 'iPhone lite.' The other is a media pad that would let users listen to music, view photos, and watch high-definition videos, the person says. It would place calls over aWi-Fi connection. One of these devices may be introduced as early as this summer, one person says." 

I'm not sure how the "iPhone Lite" product fits in with AT&T's exclusivity deal, but the "media pad" sounds a lot like the Apple tablet that has been rumored since last year. If anything, it makes more sense for the tablet to launch this year, just so that it doesn't infringe on AT&T's rights.

Furthermore, it looks like the companies are having substantive talks and this isn't just Apple posturing to get a better deal from AT&T, as some people have suggested. If Apple is at the point where it's prototyping devices for Verizon then you can safely bet that the talks will result in product(s) for the latter, unless everything goes woefully wrong at the last minute.

A lot of you were excited about the potential of an LTE iPhone on Verizon. How about an iPhone Lite or an Apple tablet on the network? Do either or both of those devices have you salivating?

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Tags: Apple, iPhone, Tech

Can You Hear Me Now? Apple And Verizon In

USA Today has reported that Apple and Verizon are in "high level" discussions regarding the Apple iPhone. AT&T currently has an exclusive deal with Apple to be the sole iPhone provider in America. The deal expires in 2010. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been involved with the negotiations, so you know this is a pretty big deal. Does Verizon really have a shot at getting the iPhone? Or is it another one of Jobs' Machiavellian moves designed to make AT&T sweat and cough up more money? I'm betting that it's the real deal.

You see, Verizon chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg has already dismissed the notion of an iPhone using CDMA (Verizon's current wireless technology). However, the company is being extremely aggressive with the deployment of its 4G network, which uses LTE technology. Verizon plans to have its LTE network up and running in select cities by the end of 2009, with a more robust deployment in 2010. An LTE iPhone would be a huge boon for both Verizon and Apple. For the former, it would be the single biggest way it can get customers onLTE. For the latter, it can push the boundaries of current hardware and exploit the speeds of a 4G network.

I'm a bit torn about the news since I'm not a fan of either carrier. Although its national coverage is excellent, Verizon has a (deserved) reputation for crippling features and ruining the user interfaces of perfectly fine phones. While AT&T has the iPhone and is also huge, its network (particularly 3G) is shoddy in numerous major cities. I also find it hilarious that the network craps itself when too many iPhone nerds are in one town (see SXSW and GDC 2009). That said, it would be fantastic if consumers had multiple iPhone carriers to choose from. I also like that Verizon is being the most aggressive of the four major American carriers with its 4G plans; if the iPhone is going to anywhere (else) then it might as well be with the carrier using the newest tech.

How do you guys feel about the news? Would you jump to Verizon for an LTE iPhone? Are you cool with sticking with AT&T? Or will you stick it out with Sprint or T-Mobile until the very end.

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Tags: Apple, iPhone, Tech

Grab another incredibly extended look at uber-skilled gameplay in Blizzard's RTS StarCraft II with this latest Battle Report video. Still no word on any release dates but back in February the game was said to be "in the final stretch".

StarCraft II Battle Report #2

StarCraft II Battle Report #2 »


Some of you might be unwary of the oncoming swarms of people that will become slaved to their PCs and Macs. You might be one of them. No, not another World of Warcraft full expansion... no, not CounterStrike Ultra but the next massive installment of everyone's favorite gibberish-spouting life simulation, The Sims 3.

To add some more addicitive flavoring to the digital equivalent of crack, The Sims 3 will have a robust movie tool to edit all those amazing/quirky/unexpected/etc. moments you'll encounter on your PC or Mac. Say goodbye to your loved ones for a while (especially your wife, girlfriend, nana, etc... you know I speak the truth!) The Sims 3 takeover hits June 2.

The Sims 3 Movie Tool Video Walkthrough

The Sims 3 Movie Tool Developer Video »


Yesterday's "Secrets of Ulduar" patch for Blizzard's eternally popular MMORPG World of Warcraft brought with it plenty of exciting updates. Here now, is the story trailer to bring neophytes up to speed on the story arch developments of the latest dungeon expansion.

I've personally retired many moons ago from the Goon Squad-infested Mal'Ganis realm (epic fun), however I can't ever miss a chance to bear witness to Blizzard's brilliant storytelling.

World of Warcraft: Secrets of Ulduar Patch 3.1 Story Trailer

World of Warcraft Ulduar Story Trailer »


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'World of WarCraft' Adds New Dungeon, Dual Talent Specialization

Blizzard has dropped a massive patch on the millions that play World of WarCraft, now at version 3.1.0. In addition to the usual laundry list of class changes and balance tweaks, 3.1.0 brings a new dungeon, Ulduar, and the ability to specialize two sets of talents and freely switch between them.

Ulduar is the third Titan dungeon and is a 10 or 25-man raid for players level 80 players with tons of new loot and achievements to be earned. Eleven of the fourteen bosses can be attempted on "hard mode", which is will reward players with improved loot and special achievements.

The biggest change, however, is the ability to specialize two sets of talents and freely switch between them. Well, after you hit level 40 and drop 1000 gold to a vendor. The benefits to this system versus respeccing from a vendor are thus:

  • Freely swap between talent sets while out of combat. This drains all of a player's mana, rage, runic power, or energy.
  • Save a hotbar configuration for each spec.
  • Glyphs are saved for each spec and do not have to be re-obtained.

Hopefully, this will allow players to easily switch between tanking, healing, or DPS during dungeons depending on the party or raid's current need.

Casual players will also be able to check out the Argent Tournament, which is a new quest hub full of vehicle-based daily quests (jousting!). There are purple items to be had here.

Do you play WoW? Are you excited about this patch?

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For the first time ever in MMORPG history, players have the power to craft their own missions courtesy of NCsoft's City of Heroes. Avaialable now as the "Issue 14: Architect":

"We are very excited for City of Heroes to be the first-ever MMO to offer this revolutionary new system to our players," said Brian Clayton, general manager and executive producer of the franchise. "Within two weeks of opening the beta version of Mission Architect to our community, players published an astounding 5,000 custom stories, representing up to 25,000 user-created missions. Such a steady in-flux of fresh content offers the capacity for endless adventures to City of Heroes subscribers."

Available of course to both Mac and PC players, login if you haven't already to begin hopefully what's to become a trend in the MMO world. Full features listed after the cut.

City of Heroes Mission Architect Issue 14 Trailer

City of Heroes Issue 14: Mission Architect Trailer »


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'Spore: Galactic Adventures' Impressions

 

Spore: Galactic Adventures is set to add on to the endgame experience of Spore. If you were disappointed that the endgame amounted to little more than flying around the galaxy and visiting planets to see other player creations, this is what you were missing.

 

In Galactic Adventures, when you visit a planet it will be populated with a mission created by another player. In fact, the entire planet can be customized by the player. You will then beam down your commander and play out the scenario like the "Creature Phase" of the original game. Only this time, you can use lasers! The objectives of each planetary mission is only limited by the imagination of the creator and the powerful editor. This expansion will attempt to give meaning to the 93 million player creations by putting them into situations that add context.

 

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Google has just released a new version of Mobile GMail for the iPhone and Android. You can check it out by pointing your iPhone or Android device to GMail. That's easy, right?

Here's a quick video that shows off the new features:

Thankfully, this new version also has a few new features to improve performance and speed, especially on slower data connections. The web app will cache data and reduces the amount of time a user will spend waiting for a server response. For example, when archiving a message it will merely disappear on the device and the command to archive will enter a queue. It will then be archived in the background whenever a data connection is open. Kudos, Google.

Anyone else find it funny that Google is demoing this on an iPhone and not a T-Mobile G1?

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Chris Taylor is truly a gaming heavyweight. We caught up with him at GDC for a brief interview on Demigod and the show, but we also talked to him about his upcoming projects, the video game industry, and even iPhone development.

You can watch the video interview, but be sure to click through to read the rest of the extended interview. It's very extended.

GDC 09: Gas Powered Games' Chris Taylor Interview »


G4: On Supreme Commander 2 with Square Enix, are there differences with working with a Japanese publisher compared to an American one? What are they bringing to the table for the project?

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Apple iPhone OS 3.0

We're rolling right along to the two year anniversary of the iPhone and the one year anniversary of the iPhone 3G... is it time for another iPhone to be announced? It would certainly fit into Apple's strategy for refreshing products. The Internet rumor mill is churning away about a June 8th announcement from Apple.

In addition to the rumored date, some outlets are reporting that the new device could ship with a built-in FM transmitter. In the iPhone 3.1 software (which hasn't been released to developers yet) there are references to the Broadcom BCM4329 wireless chip, which is an upgrade over the iPhone's current Broadcom BCM4325. The new features? Better battery life, Wireless-N support, and the ability to send and receive FM signal.

I'm highly skeptical of this, however, as Apple has never included or enabled an FM transmitter in any device, instead leaving the functionality to third-party accessories. The current iPhone can receive FM signals, but it isn't active. This could just be part of Broadcom's chip and not something Apple intends to use.

What about a new camera?

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Tags: Apple, iPhone, Tech
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In the latest screens coupled with the most recent Blizzcast, Diablo III gives a close-up of the WoW-inspired user interface you'll be infused with during your dungeon crawling.

Having had a decent taste of D3 at last year's BlizzCon, I can't wait to dive head-in to the Diablo world with my taskbar and talent tree knowledge from WoW. I'm thinking its a great infusion, what say you?

'Diablo III' Screens: U.I. For You

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GDC 2009: Hideo Kojima Talks 'Metal Gear Solid Touch' and E3 at Apple Store

Closing out his first appearance at the 2009 Game Developers Conference, legendary game designer Hideo Kojima gave a near-secret talk to a limited number of fans and press at the flagship Apple Store in San Francisco. The topic? Metal Gear Solid Touch and his plans for the future.

Billy and I were on hand to listen to Mr. Kojima and snag some limited edition iPod Touch and iPhone cases with MGS4 artwork. When asked about the cryptic Raiden image from his keynote address, Kojima reiterated that he will be announcing his next project at this year's E3.

Raiden is next Metal Gear?!

As for Metal Gear Solid Touch, he revealed that the game was originally put together by an external team with Kojima Productions acting as an overseer. The game was much different and included both stealth and shooting gallery gameplay as well as an original "story." This story was based around the infiltration of an unnamed military installation in an unnamed country. Kojima and his studio felt that the project was "crappy" and scrapped the build. They internalized the project and developed what would eventually be released as MGSTouch.

Keep reading for more on Metal Gear Solid Touch and more pictures!

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You've heard about OnLive, the ambitious, new game-streaming service in Billy's overview from this morning.  For a glimpse of the service in action check out this brief flythrough video. Kinda spacey, kinda epic... looks indeed rather functional.

For more in-depth analysis, check out Mr. Berghammer's OnLive report.

OnLive Gaming Service Fly Through

OnLive Gaming Service Fly Through »


GDC 09: OnLive Video Game Service »


Remember Infinium Labs' Phantom? The promise of downloading and playing PC titles on your television with an ultra-slick lapboard was the Phantom’s main concept. The company handed out t-shirts during E3 that said “Believe” on them. Yes, and we know how well the Phantom turned out. The Phantom was a gigantic turd that never saw the light of day. That was exactly what I thought OnLive would be when I first heard rumblings about it. However, after getting an early presentation of the new OnLive micro-console and service, I believe that there are a number of things that could really make it a viable platform.

Our demo was driven by OnLive’s Steve Perlman (he worked on the team that invented Quicktime, as well as with the X-band service and WebTV) and Mike McGarvey (former CEO of Eidos). In its simplest form, OnLive is a new games on-demand platform that’s been in uber-secret development for over seven years. This service will allow users to stream the latest high-end titles over a high-speed Internet connection to either play OnLive’s new micro console, or any PC or Mac that's online.

By using OnLive’s proprietary compression technology, gameplay is streamed directly from the server, with very little latency issues. All of the processing of gameplay is done server side, and has little to do with the actual platform that users play the games on. While the beta version we played took some time to stream actually play a game, Perlman promises that when the games are properly adapted for the OnLive service, choosing and launching a game will be almost instantaneous.  Server hosting will be launched on both the east and west coast to provide optimal streaming nationwide.

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