Nintendo Wii: Video Clip Shows Controller In Use

Nintendo Wii: Video Clip Shows ControllerNintendo’s Wii is holding a controllers for video games and the controller is central to the Wii. While the xbox 360 and playstation 3 have gone for sheer processing power, the Wii is definitely going for the fun, sociable gaming side. Differentiating like this could make it a winner.

In the run up to the pre-xmas release of the Wii, there’s a number of promotional video popping up. We saw this one today and it’s a good indication to the type of applications of the controllers and games that will be possible.

Windows Media Player 11 Released

Microsoft Releases Windows Media Player 11Confidently billed as “a milestone for music fans and the digital entertainment experience on Windows XP,” Microsoft’s shiny new Windows Media Player 11 claims support for more than 200 portable and home networking devices and hundreds of online music and video services and radio stations.

The upgrade to their popular media player comes with a sleeker, iTunes-esque user interface, better online store integration, improved navigation and updated search tools for larger music libraries.

“Windows Media Player 11 is the first media player to be truly designed with the digital entertainment lover in mind,” purred Mike Sievert, corporate vice president of Windows at Microsoft.

Microsoft Releases Windows Media Player 11“The fresh, exciting new look, the ability to find songs and videos in an instant, and the enhanced capabilities for syncing with portable devices are not only exactly what customers have asked us for, they’re also a preview of what’s to come in Windows Vista,” he added.

New for Media Player 11 is thumbnail and album art displays; shuffle sync and reverse sync options and a library view backed by simplified navigation capabilities and enhanced shortcut options.

Microsoft Releases Windows Media Player 11Tabs galore
Along the top of the super-slick, Vista-ready interface are six access tabs letting you jump between the currently playing media, the media library, and tools for ripping, burning and syncing up media.

So far so good until you come to the last pointless tab, which offers instant access MTV’s Urge music store. The result of some lucrative MTV marketing tie-in or another, users will have to put up with this unwanted guest forever as there’s no way of getting rid of the thing.

Microsoft Releases Windows Media Player 11WMP11 can rip audio CDs in the default WMA format or the more popular MP3 format and there’s also support for the beardy audiophiles preferred format, lossless WAV, along with the ability to easily burn all supported file formats onto CD.

The new player is available as a free download to users with genuine copies of Windows XP – which means you’re going to have to go through a pesky validation palaver to install the program.

Windows Media Player 11

Mobile Music Phones Outsell MP3 Players

Mobile Music Phones Outsell MP3 PlayersMobile phones with built in MP3 music players are proving a massive hit with consumers, far outstripping sales of dedicated music players, say Nokia.

Speaking to Reuters, Nokia’s multimedia unit director, Tommi Mustonen, said the mobile giant aimed to shift 80 million music devices this year, getting on for double last year’s tally of 46.5 million.

“The technology is completely ready, and the change in consumers’ habits has started. The best evidence is our sales number. We are selling huge amounts,” he added.

Nokia’s sales figures certainly dwarf those of Apple, who sold 8.7 million iPods in the last quarter – a high enough figure to keep them at the top of the dedicated music player charts, but still way behind music phones.

Although two out of three consumers with suitable equipped phones are already using them to play music, Nokia insists that Apple is not a competitor (well, not until their highly anticipated iPhone hits the shops).

Mobile Music Phones Outsell MP3 Players“The comparison with iPod is wrong; it is a single purpose device, and it is not connected,” Mustonen said, adding that he believes that Nokia’s current rivals are, “companies which make multimedia computers.”

One of their rivals is most certainly Sony Ericsson, currently the world’s fourth-largest handset maker and feeling chuffed with itself after flogging 15 million Walkman music-playing handsets in its first year.

The overall European mobile phone music download market is expanding faster than Mr Creosote at a dinner table too, with Forrester Research predicting that the market is to grow to 674 million euros ($857.5 million) in 2011.


Virgin Mobile Lobster 770TV: Review

Virgin Mobile Lobster 770TV: ReviewThe last 18 months have seen a growing crescendo of excitement in the content and mobile phone worlds about the possibilities of delivering TV to mobile phone. The ideas been around a lot longer than that, but it’s the smell of money that has heightened senses.

Virgin Mobile have been keen to show the pace in this area and BT Livetime).

The handsets are now in pre-production and are getting into the hands of a few people.

James Cridland, Head of New Media Strategy at Virgin Radio has had a pre-production Virgin Mobile Lobster 770TV in his hands for a while and has written up a review of it, complete with the four TV services and 49 radio stations.

Built by HTC, its guts are an Orange SPV C600 but the protrusion on its right hand side holds the DAB chippery. James reports that the headphones are better than SPV600, which the 770TV is based on. They also act as the aerial for the DAB receiver.

James goes into a lot more detail about the handset, but let’s get down to how it performs as a TV.

The content
The four TV channels he had were BBC One London, Channel 4 Shortcuts, E4, and ITV-1 (only available in London). It sounds like the programming on the commercial channels hits a few interruptions due to ‘rights.’

BBC One London is in full and free. E4 and ITV-1 generally shows a simulcast of the main channels, but at some times of the day you get a notice that the current programme is unavailable for ‘rights reasons’ – which, at the time of writing, includes all of E4’s daytime music programming, all advertising, all of GMTV, and quite a few other programmes too: it’s unusual to be able to get all four channels in full, in my experience. Channel 4 Shortcuts shows short clips of Channel 4 shows.

Using it
Starting to watch TV couldn’t be easier, just hitting the TV button, which brings up the TV Guide, which he describes as a fairly comprehensive EPG (electronic programme guide), interestingly updated over-the-air on DAB.

The quality of the service doesn’t sound amazing currently.

Clicking on a channel name opens a screen with a larger logo and a Windows Media ‘buffering’ sign, which disappears fairly quickly to be replaced with a passable picture. The framerate appears quite low – probably no more than 10 frames a second – and the picture quality does break up in fast movement; this isn’t picture quality to write home about, but conversely it is pretty good at coping with variable signal quality – on occasion, you can sometimes lose the picture but keep the sound. Watching live television in a moving taxi is an interesting experience, but works very well.

Radio service
James is significantly more impressed with this Lobster as a DAB radio, finding “the reception quality is rather better than I’ve experienced with an FM radio,” indeed, “it’s no exaggeration to say that this is the best hand-held DAB Digital Radio that I’ve ever had.”

Given his role at Virgin Radio, he’s a man who knows a thing or two about radio too.

Despite liking the other functions of the Lobster, it appears James won’t be chucking out his TV anytime soon, finding the current channels available not good enough.

I can’t see too many people sitting down for half an hour of Coronation Street on this thing; and it would seem to me that the television offering needs changing – to offer more grazing-friendly programming. Sky News or BBC News 24 would be a great addition. The absence of GMTV on the phone shows what disarray the commercial broadcasters are in – why cede peak commuting time to the BBC alone?

Clearly early days in this fledgling area.

Full details are over on James’ blog
Photo credit: James Cridland

Full GNER Train Fleet Goes WiFi

Full GNER Train Fleet Goes Wi-FiUK rail operator GNER (Great North Eastern Railways) has now completed the installation of Wi-Fi on all is trains, with the company claiming that they now own the world’s largest Wi-Fi fleet.

Pushed forward from its original completion date of strong demand from passengers, the service uses a roof-mounted satellite connection and a 3G/GPRS uplink, supplied and fitted by Swedish company Icomera.

The Wi-Fi service was first trialled along the 580-mile Inverness to Kings Cross East Coast mainline service in July 2004, and a £3.2 million investment has seen its entire 41-strong fleet become wireless-enabled.

Full GNER Train Fleet Goes Wi-FiGNER reckons it will recoup the cost of installing its Wi-Fi service through increased passenger numbers, with the company confident that they’ll be able to tempt car users onto the trains from major metropolitan areas like Leeds, Newcastle and Darlington.

The service is priced at £2.95 for a 30-minute internet session, £4.95 for an hour or £7.95 for three hours for second class standard class passengers customers, with access free for first class travellers.

Wi-Fi has been proving a hit with passengers, with a host of train operators getting in on the act: passengers travelling from Brighton to London have been able to connect wirelessly for some time, while Virgin Trains is set to add Wi-Fi to their West Coast mainline fleet in 2007.

“Wireless Internet has immense potential for both business and leisure users, and we’re very encouraged by the usage levels and positive feedback from passengers,” said Jonathan Metcalfe, GNER’s chief executive officer.

Full GNER Train Fleet Goes Wi-FiOne thing Metcalfe may not be so encouraged by is the rather parlous state of GNER’s parent company, the Caribbean-based Sea Containers.

The company filed for protection against bankruptcy in the USA a fortnight ago, although this shouldn’t – in theory – affect the UK company.

However, GNER warned the UK government last week that it needs to renegotiate its operating licence or it’ll throw all its toys out of the pram when it gets smacked down with a thumping great penalty clause for not meeting the year’s performance targets.

GNER Mobile Office

NetGames 2006

30-31 October, 2006 The NetGames workshop brings together researchers and developers from academia and industry to share ideas and present new research in understanding networked games and entertainment and in enabling the next generation of online games. This year’s workshop will be hosted by Interaction and Entertainment Center, Singapore. This years joint-conference chair is Dr Adrain David Cheok, who we have huge respect for with his exceptional work at the Mixed Reality Lab, Singapore Interaction and Entertainment Center, Singapore

ippr: Give Music Copying Rights To Consumers

ippr: Give Music Copying Rights To ConsumersThe influential UK thinktank, Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr), announced on Sunday that they thought that UK copyright law should be updated to include a “private right to copy,” clause to legalising the personal copying of CDs to portable music players. They also recommend that there should be no extension to the current 50-years copyright term.

At present, people copying music or films from CDs or DVDs that they have bought, to their computers or portable devices for their own use is against the law. According to research carried out in May this year by the National Consumer Council, the majority of British citizens (59%) had no idea that by copying content they were breaking current copyright laws.

There is a upcoming review in the UK, Gowers Review of Intellectual Property, set up by Chancellor Gordon Brown and chaired by Andrew Gowers, which ippr says is an ideal opportunity to carry out the update to the 300 year old copyright law. The ippr believes the update would legalise the actions of millions of Britons without any significant harm to the copyright holders.

The report, Public Innovation: Intellectual property in a digital age, also recommends that:

The Government should reject calls from the UK music industry to extend copyright term for sound recordings beyond the current 50 years. The report argues that there is no evidence to suggest that current protections provided in law are insufficient.

The Government should act to ensure that Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology does not continue to affect the preservation of electronic content by libraries. The British Library should be given a DRM-free copy of any new digital work and libraries should be able to take more than one copy of digital work. It also recommends that circumvention of DRM technology should stop being illegal once copyright has expired.

ippr news release

LG White Chocolate Phone Launches

LG's Chocolate Phone Goes WhiteAfter the success of LG’s Chocolate slider phone (aka the LG KG800), the company have released a new White Chocolate version.

The super-slick snowy white version offers the same feature set as the original, which means that users get a slidy-out phone with GSM 900/1800/1900 network coverage, backed by Bluetooth (with A2DP), Infrared and Wi-Fi connectivity.

There’s also a 1.3 MP camera with 2X zoom and a sizeable 176×220 262K-colour LCD screen and the same funky heat sensitive touch control keys for controlling the main functions.

These keys glow red in a suitably high tech manner when active, and fade into the background colour when they’re not being used.

The new white look is apparently designed to appeal to the laydees and it looks like LG are trying to sprinkle some of that iPod fairy dust on the thing.

LG's Chocolate Phone Goes WhiteMusic playback support comes in the shape of WMA and MP3 support with micro-SD memory expansion up to 2GB.

Despite the hefty 128MB of memory onboard, function fans may be a little unchuffed to discover there’s no radio and speakerphone included – a curious omission if you ask us.

The phone also comes with a WAP 2.0 compliant browser, measures up at 95x48x15mm and weighs a pocket-untroubling 83 grams.

Battery life is listed as 3.5 hours talk / 8 days standby and is available on Amazon US for $375.

[From New Launches]

Nokia 330 Auto Navigation Announced

Nokia 330 Auto Navigation AnnouncedNokia has announced its first dedicated personal navigation device covering all of Europe-land, the Nokia 330 Auto Navigation.

The Nokia 330 includes full Europe coverage, sports a large 3.5 inch colour touch screen, spoken directions and comes with a raft of multimedia widgets to keep le continental traveller ‘appy.

Featuring an integrated GPS receiver, the Nokia 330 device comes bundled with a 2GB memory card containing the preinstalled Europe-wide map data aling with detailed travel information.

The Nokia 330 uses the ROUTE 66 Navigate 7 application and views can be flipped between 2D/3D and day or night views, with options to change the language or volume of the spoken guide.

To help stave off boredom in Brussels and ennui in Eindhoven, the Auto Navigation also includes a music player, photo viewer and video player (but don’t go watching Rocky V when you’re driving folks! Well, we wouldn’t recommend you watch it any time, but that’s a different story).

Nokia 330 Auto Navigation AnnouncedAnd now some corporate guff

“Consumers are increasingly eager to use personal navigation devices while driving and we are delighted to introduce the Nokia 330 Auto Navigation device to meet this demand,” purred Razvan Olosu, vice president, Multimedia Enhancements at Nokia.

“Nokia 330 Auto Navigation complements the recently announced GPS and navigation solutions from Nokia.”

Nokia 330 Auto Navigation Announced“Finding your way across Europe is simple with this comprehensive navigation package, including an integrated GPS receiver and European maps,” he added.

The Nokia 330 Auto Navigation is expected to turn up in “select channels” in Europe during the fourth quarter 2006 for around EUR 360 – £240 (sans le taxes).


Woz Spills The Beans On Apple

Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder and genius hardware builder, is currently on a book tour around the UK promoting …. not surprisingly, his book, iWoz. As you probably know, he’s commonly referred to as Woz.

The most revealing one-on-one interview was carried out by Digital-Lifestyles pal Bobbie Johnson of the Guardian.

Woz revealed that what got him started creating computers was the desire to build a videogame, then wanting to get on to Arpanet

it got me into wanting to do it so badly that the only way to do it for free was to build my own device. So I built my own device that could now put words on the TV set from a computer and type of a keyboard.

Woz confirmed that Jobs did rip him off in the early days when Jobs got him to redesign the circuit board for the classic arcade game, Breakout. After Wos had spent 72 hours straight getting the system boards chip count down by around half. Jobs told him he’d give Woz half of what he got, $700, but Jobs had actually received $7,000.

On the iPod and its expected longevity, Woz pins it, “Will the iPod always remain that large? Walkmans seemed to come and then go away. I think Apple’s making the most out of the lifespan.”

Other controversial comments that have come out during the book tour include him thinking that Apple wasted their money when they bought NeXT, as it wasn’t needed at that time. There had been a lot of complaints around that time about the stability of Apple’s OS 7. After some investigation Woz discovered that Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has been the cause of the problems.