Monthly Archives: November 2010

The Teen Review: Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360

Kinect msft open house

It’s been two weeks since Microsoft made their biggest video game move since the launch of the Xbox 360 5 years ago, launching the truly revolutionary Kinect add-on for the Xbox 360. For those who don’t remember, Kinect is Microsoft’s first attempt at motion gaming, using a bar with three cameras/sensors to track your movements with no need to hold anything in your hands (unlike the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation Move).

So, does Kinect live up to the hype? And more importantly, is this good enough to add to your holiday wish list? We’ve got all those answers and more in our teen review after the break.

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Facebook’s New Messages- What It Means to Teens

facebook messages 2010 update

You may have heard some news of Facebook introducing an update to their Messages system, taking it well beyond just a private version of Chat. Seeing as most of us spend most of our time on Facebook, this new update is pretty newsworthy particularly for us teens. So what exactly is it, and more importantly– what exactly does it mean to you? We’ve got the full breakdown after the jump, so read on.

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Sprint and ZTE Announce New Peel iPod Touch Case to Turn Your iTouch Into a Sprint “iPhone” (UPDATED)

sprint zte peel ipod touch case

The new ZTE Peel case for the iPod Touch

Have Sprint as your cell phone carrier and also have an iPod Touch? Always wanted to have a Sprint “iPhone?” Well, then you’re in luck, as Sprint and a company called ZTE have announced that starting November 14th (this coming Sunday) you’ll be able to pick up a $79 iPod Touch case that has a built-in Sprint 3G mobile WiFi hotspot. In other words, it will allow you to have access to Sprint 3G wherever you are as if you had a Sprint iPhone!

And the data pricing for the hotspot is also not great but not so unsurprising, coming in at $29.99 a month for 1 GB of internet with no need to sign a contract (also awesome is that you don’t have to be locked in for 2 years and can cancel and restart whenever you want, something you can’t do if you had a traditional smartphone plan. This also makes it easier for someone who doesn’t have Sprint to pick one of these up, as they don’t need to cancel their current cell phone carrier or have two different cell phone contracts to get a 3G-enabled iTouch).

While this is definitely very cool, not everything is perfect here if you figured this would transform your iTouch into a real, full-fledged iPhone. For example, there is no calling or texting app built-in to the iPod Touch, so there is no simple, “out-of-the-box” way to text or call (and as we said above, there is no voice plan so you don’t even get a Sprint number. You could however, use something like Skype or Google Voice to supplement for the lack of said texting and calling apps, as both would allow you to text and call over the internet and both also are available as iOS apps). But even with that type of solution you would still need to either carry headphones with a mic everywhere you go or answer calls on the iTouch’s speaker (as you know, the iTouch lacks the front earpiece found on the iPhone for calls). Another downer to all this is that the case, which has a battery life of about 3 hours, is designed for the 2nd and 3rd gen iTouches with no back camera opening to allow for the new 4th gen, FaceTime packing iTouch (update: Sprint has let us know that the ZTE Peel does support the 4th Gen iTouch, just it won’t fit as well as it does the 2nd and 3rd gen iTouches. And of course you can only then FaceTime using the front camera).

Oh, and this mobile hotspot, unlike Sprint’s other hotspots like the Overdrive and MiFi, only allows for 2 connections– and with your iTouch taking up one already, this means you’ve only got one extra to play with (which I guess isn’t the worst considering that to tether an iPhone on AT&T runs an extra $20 a month on top of the similar $25 2 GB data plan, where while you gain a GB, you have to physically connect your iPhone to your computer to share said internet). Unlike the Overdrive, this little guy doesn’t pack 4G support (and you can of course use either of those mobile hotspots with any iTouch, but they don’t offer the added convenience of having it always on your iPod as a case).

Even with some of these drawbacks you gotta admit that it’s still pretty cool to be able to so easily make your iTouch more iPhone-like, particularly without having to go over to AT&T to do it. So, Sprint users– any takers?

Ask TeensTalkTech: What Do I Do If My iPod Fell in Water?

Ask TeensTalkTech is where we try to answer your questions on technology– from computer problems to cell phone questions and everything in between. Have any questions of your own? Either comment below, email us at ask@teenstalktech.com or tweet us (@teenstalktech) and we’ll try to answer them in a future post!

ipod in water

TeensTalkTech, my iPod Touch fell in water and now isn’t working. Will my warranty cover this? If not, is there a way I can fix it or is it broken forever? Thanks!

-Hudie B.

Good question Hudie. This actually happens to a lot of people all the time with their iPods and cell phones.

When it comes to water damage (or getting your device wet like accidentally dropping your phone/iPod in water) your standard one year warranty rarely covers it. In your case, the standard one year Apple warranty on an iPod wouldn’t cover you as water damage is something these limited warranties don’t cover (the standard one year warranty usually deals with manufacturing defects like dead pixels or dust under the screen). Even if you got AppleCare (Apple’s extended warranty which pushes the length of the standard warranty from 1 year to 2 and offers additional support options like telephone support past the standard 90 days after purchase, replacing your iPod if the battery dies too quickly, earphones if they break etc.), you would still be out of luck as they too don’t cover water damage. Now if you bought your iPod from a place like Best Buy and got their warranty you may have better luck as theirs does cover accidental water damage, but again, that still depends on when you got your iPod and if that warranty is still in effect.

Don’t get too upset though, we’ve got a few interesting tips on how you might be able to bring this iPod back to life.

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T-Mobile myTouch 4G Launches Tommorrow, T-Mobile Begins Going After AT&T and iPhone 4 Today

Remember that new myTouch 4G T-Mobile announced a couple of weeks ago? You know, that awesome looking phone with access to T-Mobile’s new high-speed HSPA+ 3G (or as T-Mobile calls it, 4G) network and packs a speedy 1 GHZ Snapdragon processor, Android 2.2 and a 5 megapixel back camera as well as a second front one for video chat? Well, it’s coming out tomorrow, November 3rd, and can be yours for $199 with a new 2 year contract and data plan (which now starts at a solid $10 a month for T-Mobile’s new 200 MB plan– $5 cheaper than AT&T’s comparable data plan and is very good if you plan on just browsing the web, updating your Facebook, or checking your email and don’t plan on watching a lot of YouTube over 3G– or $30 a month for the traditional unlimited data plan). This is great news in it of itself for all you T-Mobile users looking for an awesome new phone, but that’s not all T-Mobile’s got planned with the launch of this hot new phone. Yeah, like Verizon and the first Motorola Droid last year, T-Mobile is pulling out all the stops  and going all in to go after AT&T, Apple and the iPhone 4.

Remember when the first Motorola Droid was announced for Verizon last year, when during the ALCS playoffs Verizon and Motorola launched their “Droid Does” iPhone-dissing ad campaign? Well, tonight looks to be the start of T-Mobile’s version of said ads (albeit, parodying the famous Apple “I’m a Mac” ads), starting with their new “Piggyback” ad (which you can see in the YouTube video we’ve embedded above) that makes fun of the AT&T network and the iPhone 4’s lack of ability to FaceTime over 3G all the while touting the myTouch 4G and it’s ability to video chat on T-Mobile’s new, super-fast 3G (its 4G like in terms of speeds, which is why T-Mobile calls it 4G even though it’s technically not “4G” like Sprint’s current WiMAX and Verizon and AT&T’s upcoming LTE networks. It also covers most of the country– about 200 million Americans by the end of year– which is why T-Mobile says it’s also the largest 4G network) network as well as WiFi.

This type of anti-iPhone campaign worked extremely well for Verizon (and Motorola and Google for that matter, as now everyone knows what the Droid and Android are), but we wanna know your thoughts on it– do you think this type of ad will make you want to go to T-Mobile and get this new myTouch 4G, or were the initial Droid ads a “different story” because it was for a larger carrier like Verizon? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Xbox 360 Fall 2010 Dashboard Update Out Now

xbox live 2010 dashboard update

The new Xbox 360 Dashboard

Around this time 2 years ago, Microsoft released a major update to the Xbox 360 Dashboard with not just a nicer, sleeker look, but also some new features. Today, Microsoft has done it again. As we mentioned back in our First Look at the upcoming Kinect (which comes out in 3 days!), this new Dashboard features a whole bunch of cool new things  beyond being “Kinect ready” (which of course, it is). We’re talking about ESPN (with the ability to watch the latest highlights and even live games on ESPN3), Netflix search (meaning you can now search for movies right on your Xbox), Zune Music and Video Marketplaces (for buying movies/TV shows and streaming music), as well as a tweaked design and everything else we’ve come to know and love from the Xbox 360 Dashboard such as Facebook and Twitter.

We’ve loaded it up on our 360 here (though not without a little bit of trouble before hand. We don’t know why, but if it doesn’t work for you on the first couple of tries be patient), and while I’ve only spent a little bit of time with it, this new update looks pretty solid. As a big sports fan, I really love the excellent quality ESPN video streams in, making catching up on the latest SportsCenter “Right Now” much clearer and easier than on my PC (I mean, it’s full HD and on a TV, like having ESPN on demand!).

The update is out now and is mandatory for all Xbox users (meaning you can’t play any games on Xbox Live without it), so go download it now and let us know what you think. (And if you don’t have Live or have trouble downloading straight to your 360, see Microsoft’s guide here for other ways to install it onto your 360)