Monthly Archives: August 2010

More Details on T-Mobile’s Upcoming HSPA+ G2 Emerge, and its Looking Really Good

tmobile g2 official pix

Excited about what T-Mobile’s next big phone is, you know, the G2 that is being so heavily teased? If you are then listen up, as a lot on this seemingly awesome upcoming phone has come out today, and as we said in the title, things are looking really good.

First off, design. As you can see in the top pic, this is a very worthy successor to the G1. Not only does it pack a slide out full QWERTY keyboard in a clearly much thinner design, it will also have according to the site Cell Phone Signal (who picked up a whole bunch of specs on the phone)  a 3.7 inch Active Matrix OLED screen— in other words, a really sharp screen. Other specs Cell Phone Signal have gotten their hands on include a 5 megapixel camera with autofocus (which would be similar to the iPhone 4 and Samsung’s Galaxy S phones), a 1 GHZ Snapdragon processor (the same as all the other top smartphones are running, like the HTC EVO 4G, HTC Droid Incredible, and Motorola’s Droid 2 and Droid X– this should keep everything running smoothly), WiFi, GPS and the ability to turn the phone into a mobile hotspot (again, like those other top Android phones. And who wouldn’t want to share these crazy fast 3G speeds with their other WiFi  devices?). All this atop what appears to be latest and great version of Android, Android 2.2 (also known as “Froyo”).

T-Mobile still has yet to confirm any of this, so for now we gotta consider all of this to be just rumors (though the photos have been spied on T-Mobile’s servers, so they seem to be legit), but let’s all hope they make this all official and get it out in the world real soon. We’ll make sure to keep you in the loop as soon as we learn more.

Additional info and pic from Engadget

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Microsoft Updates the Xbox 360 Controller– Now With a Better D-Pad

xbox 360 new wireless controller pic 1

One of the biggest problems any intense Xbox 360 gamer could tell you is that the D-Pad (aka the directional pad, or the pad below the left analog stick and directly to the left of the right analog stick), was pretty bad— as in hard to press and really annoying to use in intense games like Call of Duty or Halo. Don’t worry hard-core gamers– Microsoft has heard your cries and have today announced a revamped controller with a pretty cool new D-Pad just in time for you to pick up Call of Duty: Black Ops.

xbox 360 new dpad

The new D-Pad

What’s so cool you ask? Well, this new D-Pad has a “trick” where you can literally turn the D-Pad from the traditional flat self (pic above on left) to a more tactile, raised, easier to use keypad with just a simple turn of the pad (as seen in the pic above on the right). This new controller will be available November 9th (the same day as Black Ops coincidentally) as part of a revamped $64.99 Play and Charge kit (which comes with the traditional rechargeable battery and USB cable to charge the controller while you play).

It definitely looks cool, but as a heavy 360 gamer myself, I have no plans to spend the $65 and haven’t really found the current controller’s D-Pad to be so bad that I’d need to get this. But that’s just me, anyone out there real excited for this or are you fine with the current controller and gonna put that money on something else like, say, Kinect?

Full intro video by Xbox’s Major Nelson after the break.

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Today in Video Game Pricing: Nintendo DSi and DSi XL Going Down, Xbox Live Prices Going Up

Nintendo DSi XL

Today brought some pretty surprising out of the blue video games news that could be both good or bad depending on what gaming system you’re into. Let’s start with the good news– if you’ve been interested in picking up a Nintendo DSi or DSi XL, well, starting September 12th, you can get one for $20 cheaper. Yup, starting September 12th Nintendo’s hit portable game systems will now be $149.99 (for the DSi) and $169.99 (for the DSi XL). And while this still is no 3DS, if you’ve been wanting something very portable and entertaining to kill time with on the bus to school, this should be really great news.

xbox live price change

The new Xbox Live Gold pricing for the US, UK, Canada and Mexico

Now to the bad. Beginning November 1st, Microsoft will be raising the prices on their Xbox Live Gold subscriptions (the one you need to watch Netflix, check your Facebook, or play games online) from up to $9.99 for a 1 month subscription (previously $7.99), $24.99 for a 3 month subscription (up from $19.99), and $59.99 for a 1 year subscription (up from $49.99). What this means is that if your subscription is running out anytime soon, we’d recommend going to your local Best Buy, Target, Walmart or heading over to Amazon, Buy.com or the Microsoft Store and picking up a new subscription card today (we recommend heading to the Microsoft site here and re-upping your current subscription for one more for only $39.99– $10 off the current price and $20 cheaper than the new price). If you’re unsure when your Xbox Live Gold subscription expires, just head over here to find out.

While we’re talking about video games– what video game system and games are you going to be playing/ looking forward to playing this year, or are you a “good student” and gonna save the gaming for vacations and the weekends? Sound off in the comments.

Don’t Buy that New iPod Yet– Apple Holding a “Special Event” September 1st

apple invite september 1 event

Remember how a couple of weeks ago we wrote about how Apple might be planning to release some new iPods soon? Well, get ready as they may be coming next week. Today Apple sent out invites (see the pic above) for yet another “special event” they’re hosting next week (September 1st), and as we can clearly see from the “Apple Guitar” this event (like all previous September Apple events) looks to be iPod and media related.

So what can we expect? New iPod Touches are pretty much all but confirmed, and there’s a ton of rumors going around about them packing those dual cameras for FaceTime as well as a Retina Display and Apple A4 processor like the iPhone 4. An update to the Apple TV is also gaining strong in the rumors, particularly that it will now be running its own custom version of iOS with no hard drive built-in (the current Apple TV has 160 GB built-in)– instead relying on an all new streaming music and video service for content (this is yet another item gaining a lot of strength on the rumor wire, with the talk being that Apple is releasing their own 99 cent movie and TV show rentals as well as some form of streaming music service from iTunes to your particular iDevice of choice).

What does all this mean to you? If you plan on buying a new MacBook for school and getting the free iPod you should probably hold off on it for just a few more days— as that deal runs until September 7th and this event is on the 1st. And if you’re going for a free iPod Touch you may as well get the latest and greatest right?

Remember to check back next Wednesday for our complete breakdown on whatever it is that Apple reveals.

The Teen Review: BlackBerry Torch

bb torch front

One of the growing must-haves for any teen going back to school is a new cell phone– and for more and more teens that cell phone is a smartphone like an iPhone, Android or BlackBerry.

A couple of weeks ago, AT&T and RIM (the makers of the BlackBerry) released the next generation of the BlackBerry platform, the touchscreen slider BlackBerry Torch with the all new BlackBerry 6 OS. So, if you’re going back to school and on AT&T, is this new BlackBerry better than other phones like the Samsung Captivate and iPhone 4? Does BlackBerry 6 have enough to keep the BlackBerry in the game with iOS, Android, webOS and the upcoming Windows Phone 7? For all those answers and more, read on for our full teen review!

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T-Mobile Drops More Info on Mysterious HSPA+ Phone, Motorola Charm

tmobile g2 teaser page

A few weeks ago T-Mobile launched a new teaser page touting an upcoming launch of their all new HSPA+ phone, or a phone that has access to T-Mobile’s latest and fastest 3G network with 4G-like speeds (up to a whopping 14.4 Mbps, or faster than many of us even get in our homes!). Today, T-Mobile dropped some more clues on what this mysterious but already awesome phone might be– and while we still don’t know what exactly it is, when it’s coming, or how much it will cost– we do now know the name. Everyone, say hello to the T-Mobile G2.

That’s pretty much all T-Mobile wants to share today (though now we do know that it will be an Android running phone with close Google ties— maybe even being the phone to launch the next version of Android, version 3.0 aka Gingerbread? While that is purely my own guess at this point, I could see that happening considering T-Mobile’s mention of the G1 and how it was the first Android phone. To me it’s only fitting that Google’s next big leap be the next generation of the G1, and 3.0—  which is said to be coming before the end of the year– has all the promises of being that next big thing in Android). In meantime, we’re all gonna have to sit tight and wait it out for the next few weeks until T-Mobile decides to share some more. You can also sign-up  today at T-Mobile’s “teaser” page to get emailed once more details become available.

motorola charm front

Moving on in T-Mobile Android news, Motorola and T-Mobile today finally announced pricing and release for the upcoming Motorola Charm (Android with a BlackBerry-like design as you can see in the pic above). This is very good news for anyone looking for a cheap but solid smartphone and doesn’t need/want all the bells and whistles of phones like the myTouch 3G Slide and Vibrant. The Charm will be launching just in time for schoolnext Wednesday August 25th— for a very solid $74.99 with new 2 year contract and data plan. For a full recap of what the Charm is, see our previous post here.

Not a bad day to be a T-Mobile user indeed. So, anyone else wanna throw in their guess what the mysterious G2 is?

The Teen Review: Madden NFL 11 (Xbox 360)

madden 11 xbox 360 cover

Ah good ‘ol Madden. Every year you bring along so many things– the start of football season, a diversion from school, and one of the most exciting video games of the year. As with years past, EA Sports has kept on making improvements to make the game feel more and more like a true NFL game (I mean, they need to have more than just some roster updates to make you want to go out and buy another copy every year right?)– and this year is no exception. With much improved graphics, gameplay and even a better intro, Madden NFL 11 looks to have the makings of yet another winner in this classic franchise. So, how does it do and better yet– for those on the fence about getting it, is this year’s version worth the $60? Read on for our full review!

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Samsung Epic 4G Coming to Sprint August 31st, Just in Time for School

samsung epic 4g

Sprint users we gotta hand it to ya– it must have been tough watching all these new smartphones get announced and released but only for carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon. But don’t worry if you’ve been eying that new Samsung Epic 4G phone for school this year as Sprint and Samsung have just announced that you should be able to get your hands on one just in time for school when it launches August 31st for $249.99 with a new 2 year contract and data plan (in addition to Sprint’s $10 “premium data” 4G charge) and after an $100 mail in rebate (and yes, it is $50 more than Sprint’s other 4G phone the HTC EVO 4G).

Just a brief refresher for those who don’t know, the Epic 4G is Sprint’s second 4G phone (the first being the EVO 4G) and a part of Samsung’s line of high-end Galaxy S smartphones (like the AT&T Captivate, T-Mobile Vibrant and Verizon Fascinate). In terms of design and specs, it perfectly matches up with what you’d expect from Sprint for their second 4G phone, packing a very impressive feature list including:

  • 4 inch Super AMOLED multitouch screen and 1 GHZ Hummingbird processor–Like all the other Galaxy S phones, these should mean that not only does everything look great, but runs great too.
  • Android 2.1 with Samsung’s customized TouchWiz 3.o interface– We’re kind of upset this doesn’t launch with Android 2.2 (I mean, the EVO 4G has already been running it for weeks), and all Sprint so far is saying with regards to an update is that it will happen “in the coming months.”
  • 5 megapixel camera with flash, autofocus, and 720p HD video recording on back AND a VGA front camera for video calls– Similar to the iPhone 4, just here video calls can be made to other users (like Skype, Qik, EVO 4G, or even iPhone 4 users with apps like Fring) over WiFi, 3G, or 4G.
  • WiFi, GPS, 3G, and 4G– Including support for the latest and fastest wireless N WiFi networks.
  • 3.5 mm headphone jack and 16 GB microSD card included in the box– And Sprint and Samsung have also teamed up to introduce the Samsung Media Hub so you can buy or rent movies or TV shows and watch them right on that gorgeous screen over 4G. Basically, your good to go right from the start as far as media is concerned.

And of course, this is the only Galaxy S phone to offer a full slide out QWERTY keyboard (as well as a Swype keyboard for when you wanna type on the screen), which also really helps to differentiate itself from the EVO 4G.

So if you’re choosing between the EVO and Epic is the Epic worth the $50 more? It’s a tough call, as on the one hand you’ve got the EVO available today with Android 2.2 and all the latest features like Flash 10.1 support when browsing the web (as well as an even bigger 4.3 inch screen and a higher-res 8 megapixel camera on the back and 1.3 megapixel camera on the front); but on the other you’ve got that full physical QWERTY keyboard and a smaller design that may not feel so ginormous when you stick it in your pocket. Regardless of which you choose though, both look to be great choices and it doesn’t really look like there is a “wrong” one.

But we wanna know Sprint users– if you’re up for a new phone, are you gonna wait a couple more weeks to go with this keyboard packing beast or instead go for the $50 cheaper and already available EVO 4G? Share your  thoughts, dreams and plans in the comments.

Verizon and Motorola Finally Release the Droid 2– the Next Generation of the Droid

droid 2 logo

droid 2 front

Wow, if your on Verizon and looking for a new phone before school starts this great news for you– today, after countless rumors, leaks and pix over the past few months, Verizon and Motorola have finally come clean to announce and release the Droid 2, the next generation of the insanely popular Droid phone that truly put Android on the map. If you’re replacing such a popular phone like the first Droid was, this new one has to be insane right? Don’t worry dear readers, from what was finally confirmed today, Motorola and Verizon look to have another winner on their hands.

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New iPods on the Way in the Coming Weeks?

ipod touch 3rd gen

iPod Touch 3rd generation– destined for a major update in the near future?

Need a new iPod for the upcoming year? Then unless you’re getting one with Apple’s “buy a MacBook get a free iPod” back-to-school deal you should probably wait a couple more weeks. Why? Well, history of course.

You see, every year since who knows when Apple has been updating their iPod line in early September, right around the time the back-to-school free iPod deal ends (which makes sense for Apple as they not only entice more people to buy a new MacBook, but at the same time also clear out stock for the new iPods). And this year’s annual iPod refresh looks to be no exception.

Last year around this time the rumors were flying about Apple adding cameras to the iPod Nano and iPod Touch– and as we all now know, the Nano got a camera but the Touch sadly did not (supposedly the drop of a camera was a last-minute scratch from the Touch, which would explain all the iPod Touch cases with holes in the back for cameras). So what is the latest talk about the next generation of Apple’s iconic iPod line? Read on!

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