Archive for February, 2012


Movie Trailer: Act of Valor

Act of Valor is an upcoming 2012 American war film directed by Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh, and written by Kurt Johnstad. It stars Alex Veadov,Roselyn SánchezNestor SerranoEmilio Rivera and actual active duty U.S. Navy SEALs and U.S. Navy Special Warfare Combatant Crewmen. The film is scheduled to be released on February 24, 2012.

Synopsis: A Navy Seal squad goes on a covert mission to recover a kidnapped CIA agent, and, in the process, takes down a complex web of terrorist cells determined to strike America at all costs.


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Dungeon Hunter:Alliance review

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The popular mobile-turned-PSN series comes to the Vita, and very little has changed—except the price.

This review is going to be short and to the point:Dungeon Hunter: Alliance is an upgraded version of an iOS game. But it costs $40. Wrap your head around that for a moment.

Gameloft’s Dungeon Hunter series is a bright spot in mobile gaming. The hack-n-slash dungeon crawling Diablo-clones push the limits of what a game on a mobile device can be. It is at the tops of the technological pyramid. But only compared to other mobile games. Dungeon Hunter: Alliance isn’t quite the same as the Dungeon Hunter series on iOS devices, but it is hard to tell the difference.

The game offers you the choice of three classes (Mage, Warrior, or Rogue), and as you progress you receive more and more quests, which almost always involve you going somewhere that is enemy infested and killing anyone that looks at you funny. As you murder your way through the fantasy setting, you begin to collect loot from downed enemies and chests as you progress through the 30 or so levels. There are fleeting hints of a story, but it always takes a backseat to you sallying  forth and killing.

The actual gameplay is simple enough, and familiar to anyone that has played any dungeon crawler before. You have a primary attack button, and three special attacks. There is also a potion button (which you will use frequently) that you will need to refill as often as possible to have a chance of staying alive. The touchpad on the back can be used to move your fairy companion, but there isn’t much need for it, and it is a bit awkward to use. You can cycle between a primary and secondary weapon and a first and second set of abilities with the D-pad, then you go forth and smack enemies. Transitioning between the weapon sets can be a pain, but it adds a bit to otherwise slightly generic combat.

To better describe the gameplay, you can use this handy description: stab, stab, stab, stab, stab. Special attack! Special attack! Stab, stab, stab, run for your life while you heal, then repeat the process. And that’s your game.

The combat is painfully unoriginal, and the levels are nothing more than shiny backgrounds. There’s very little strategy involved. The designs do try to look original, and the graphics aren’t terrible, just woefully inadequate compared to the potential of the Vita. The bigger issue on this front is the frame rate. When too many things happen on screen at once—which is often—the display can’t keep up, leading to some frame rate issues.

All of that paints a bleak picture, but the truth is that is can be a fun game in a totally mindless way. It still feels like an iOS game rather than a Vita game, but it can be entertaining to collect a ton of weapons and dropped loot while hacking your way through armies of suckers. No matter what though, it will eventually get tedious.

The multiplayer is a heavy focus, and both online and ad hoc gaming is possible. When you have multiple players, it can actually be fun, but four players can lead to constant frame rate issues, and confusion on where to go. Finding people online can also be a problem—that may change once the game has been out for a bit, assuming people buy it. And that leads to the thing that really kills this game.

The cost of this game is insane. The iOS versions, which are admittedly smaller but don’t look or play all that differently, topped out at $6.99. The most recent version was free. There is even a version of this exact game available for PSN, and it is $12.99. By comparison, this title is $39.99. That is ridiculous.

Even $12.99 feels a bit high for it, but that would still be understandable for as many areas you get, but $39.99 is unbelievable. About $30 too much.

Conclusion

There is a decent game in Dungeon Hunter: Alliance, but it is badly positioned. It should be a downloadable only title that costs around $10–maybe $20, but even that would be pushing it. Instead it prices itself at a cost point where you have to compare it to other Vita games at the same price. And that is a terrible mistake.

HP Z1 crams a Xeon CPU, pro graphics, and a 27-inch display into an all-in-one

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hp z1

Over the years Geek.com has covered HP’s Z series of workstations a number of times. The Z marked a big step forward for HP on the design front, and a step away from one of the companies biggest fears: commoditization. It combined high-end design with HP’s established workstation formula and resulted in both an immediate hit and a much needed differentiation point from the likes of Lenovo and Dell (who were essentially sell the same computers with a lesser set of features). The Z series models, like the Z600, have been quietly doing their job for some time but now HP is back with more big news: the Z1 all-in-one workstation.

You know the deal with workstations: lots of power crammed into a loud, big, dark grey tower. While that’s the essence of what they are, IT buyers are looking for much more, including ISV certification, expandability, reliability, serviceability, and portability (at times). You’d thing a lot of this runs counter to a workstation ever landing in the all-in-one form-factor, but HP seems to have worked out a way to make it possible. Just look at the image above — the Z1 folds down, flattening the 27-inch IPS display, and opens right up. This exposes the innards for maintenance and upgrades.

And what goes inside the Z1? This can scale from a Core i3 system with integrated graphics (basically a consumer system) to a quad-core Xeon-powered workhorse with up to 32GB RAM (or 8GB ECC) and Nvidia Q4000M graphics. Other perks include a 1080p HD webcam, SRS sound, USB 3.0, Blu-ray, tool-less internal parts, and a 90% efficient PSU.

On the expandability front you’d think the Z1 would be at its weakest, but it’s not terrible. There is no dual-CPU option but it does have four memory slots and four internal expansion slots (PCIe x16 full and three miniPCIe). The bigger hurdle will be storage — it can handle either two 2.5-inch drives or a single 3.5-inch one — and displays, where users have just a single Display Port to add on one more monitor.

The Z1 will never be the beast that you can build a Z800 into but buyers will get workstation features in a handsome, quiet system that doesn’t require any more floor or desk space than a 27-inch monitor. For the majority of buyers — especially those handling workstation-lite duties, like photo editing and less intensive 3D work — the Z1 will be a great fit. If you’re doing serious geo-spatial work and crunching terabytes of data, you’ll still need a more conventional solution.

The computer starts at $1899 and will be available in April.

This tank-like iPhone case is perfect for outdoorsy Apple fans

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The iPhone is a slick, attractive device. It’s light, relatively small, and has an appealing combination of glass and steel. Have you ever wanted to take all of that and wrap it in a thick, heavy, camouflaged hunk of polycarbonate? No?? Well, in case you ever change your mind, a new Kickstarter project has you covered.

Meet the new Aqua Tek S from Snow Lizard Products. It will take the smart design of your iPhone and hide it inside of a tank-like case that could be mistaken for an Autobot.

It’s easy to mock the phone’s appearance, but there are plenty of good reasons to give your iPhone the Zack Morris treatment. What the Aqua Tek S lacks in svelte design, it makes up for in practical purpose. Hikers, campers, snowboarders, and extreme sports athletes will love it (Rollerman might be first in line).

This bad boy will keep your iPhone protected from water (waterproof up to 20 feet). It will protect it from drops. The project’s creators even claim that it will shield it from dirt. It has an extended battery hiding inside, with a solar charger on the outside; under the right conditions, this could keep an iPhone charged for days (or longer?) without a power outlet.

Despite its monstrous appearance, the Aqua Tek S could be a crucial accessory for a niche audience. It’s not as if anyone is going to put his iPhone in one of these to go to work or go shopping. It’s simply a way to take the device that you already use, and prepare it for your more extreme outings.

The Aqua Tek S has raised $3,271 of its needed $75,000 with 24 days remaining. You can find out more at the Kickstarter link below.

Kickstarter, via Max Borges Agency

New Swann HD PenCam is Ideal for High-Definition Espionage

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Swann-HD-PenCamSwann-HD-PenCam-Feature

Swann has announced a pair of digital imaging products that could be straight from Q’s gadget inventory. The Swann HD PenCam and regular old PenCam 4GB are stylish pens with built-in cameras that capture video and stills. The HD PenCam is capable of shooting 720p AVI videos and JPEGs while the PenCam 4GB captures standard-definition videos to its 4GB built-in memory. The HD PenCam can hold up to 16GB MicroSD cards and recharges via USB for a 45-minute lithium-ion battery life. The PenCam 4GB screws open to reveal a USB terminal for fast file transfers and easy charging, and offers a battery life of up to 90 minutes.

You can buy James Bond’s favorite new writing utensils for $99.99 (HD PenCam) and $69.99 (PenCam 4GB) from FRY’s, Costco.com, Amazon.com and other major retailers soon.

Tegra 3-powered LG X3 impressive benchmark scores leak

After the Optimus 3D 2 the other day we now got some extra info on the other hot droid, which LG will unveil at the MWC. We stumbled upon the benchmark results of the LG X3 – the quad-core beast with an impressive 4.7″ HD screen we first saw in January.

According to the author of the leak, the specs we heard last time around were spot on. This means the LG X3 will be built around the Tegra 3 chipset, featuring four Cortex-A9 CPU cores, running at 1.4GHz. A 2000 mAh battery will make sure that there’s always enough power to keep the X3 going, while the impressive AH-IPS screen will fill in at the front.

The LG X3 is said to have 16GB of expandable thought the microSD card slot internal memory, an 8 MP main camera and a 1.3 MP front-facing snapper. As it to be expected, the LG X3 will run the latest version of Android, 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich, out of the box.

With specs like that it’s no wonder the LG X3 puts the Samsung Galaxy Nexus to shame in the performance department. The quad-core LG monster achieves more than twice the score of the Android ICS flagship at Quadrant with the results distribution staying consistent over the different categories.

The LG X3 will certainly be a handset worth keeping an eye on and it might be a huge step towards improving the LG position in the smartphone game.

Source

Android 5.0 Jelly Bean to arrive in Q2 with Chrome OS dual-boot

Ice Cream Sandwich only has a single percent of market share, but Google seems to be on the verge of releasing its successor. Latest rumors have it that Android’s next release – 5.0 Jelly Bean – will be unveiled in the second quarter of this year.

According to the often reliable DigiTimes, who quote Taiwan-based supply chain makers, Android 5.0 Jelly Bean will bring further optimizations for larger screen devices – tablets and netbook computers.

One of the key features of the upcoming Android release will be its ability to dual-boot Chrome OS. The cloud-based platform still struggles to make an impact and Google is obviously planning on using the wildly popular Android to change that.

Dual-booting will also make Android 5.0 Jelly Bean much easier to market with computer makers. Given the popularity of the Asus Transformer Prime, we guess there might be a niche for ultra-portable computers with super long battery life and good performance, even if they don’t run a regular desktop OS.

We’ll have to wait and see about that. For now we are circling June 27 on our calendars – it’s the day when the Google I/O developer event begins and if an Android 5.0 Jelly Bean announcement is to happen in Q2 – that will certainly be the place.

Source | Via

Asus: Original Transformer Android 4.0 Update Now Coming in March

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ASUS Transformer

It looks like Asus may have over promised when it said Ice Cream Sandwich would be hitting the original Transformer in early February. In fact, owners may have to wait as long as March, as Asus made a statement on its Singapore Facebook page saying the Android update is being pushed back, although no reasons were given. The Transformer Prime previously received Android 4.0 treatment, although TechnoBuffalo saw mixed results.

Here’s the statement in full from Asus:

Dear fellow Asus members, we would like to say that we appreciate all the support we see in our Asus Facebook page every day. It makes our contributions worthwhile and fulfilling.

We are informed that the ICS upgrade for TF101 will be ready within the Feb/March 2012 period. You will be able to receive the upgrade notification via FOTA once we have a confirmation date.

We thank you for your patience and understanding in this matter

It’s frustrating news for Transformer owners patiently waiting to experience Ice Cream Sandwich, but if a delay is what it takes to get a compatible, bug-free port, then an extra few weeks wait won’t sting too much. Hopefully this time Asus will hit its predicted timeframe, though.

[via Android Police]

Verizon Offering its Employees Limited-Edition Droid RAZRs

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Verizon employees are in for a treat in the form of a limited-edition cell phone. According to Android and Me, Verizon employees are being offered the option to buy limited-edition versions of the Droid RAZR and Droid RAZR MAXX that will only be made available to Verizon employees.

So, what makes the phones limited-edition? The employee-only version of the phones will come with a red and black back, along with the devices number and the production run of the handset. The front of the phone will also have “Limited Edition” engraved on it, just so everyone knows you’re rocking something slightly more awesome than the traditional run-of-the-mill model.

Verizon employees will be able to score the 16GB Droid RAZR for $99, and the Droid RAZR MAXX for $199, with both coming with a free multimedia dock as well.

What do you think? How long do you think it will take for these to start showing up on eBay and Craigslist?

[via Android and Me]

PlayBook OS 2.0 Reportedly Launching February 21

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PlayBook OS 2.0

When Research In Motion’s PlayBook OS 2.0 was revealed early last month, rumblings suggested the update would hit sometime in February, although no specific date was given. According to N4BB, the date in question is next Tuesday, February 21.

We detailed RIM’s new tablet experience when the company unveiled the OS during CES 2012, and it looks like it’s finally ready for public consumption. In short, PlayBook OS 2.0 will offer native email, calendar and contact apps – features that quite frankly should’ve been included from the get-go. Unfortunately, N4BB‘s sources said BBM will be a no-show in the 2.0 update, though it can still be accessed through BlackBerry Bridge.

It’s a much needed step in the right direction for RIM. Let’s hope the company can keep it up and bring BBM to the PlayBook sooner rather than later. Once (if) the update hits, we’ll be sure to bring you an extensive hands-on.

[via N4BB]

Siri Reveals Its Ability to Speak Japanese

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Siri confirms Japanese support

Siri doesn’t currently support the Japanese language, but according to a recent report, it is coming soon. If you needed concrete evidence of this, then you only need to look as far as Siri itself, which has confirmed it has the ability to speak Japanese.

9to5Mac reports that when you ask Siri which languages it speaks, it replies, “I can speak French, English, Japanese, and German… but I’m always learning.”

Of course, officially, Siri only support English — with an American, British, or Australian accent — French, and German. But a recent rumor from Tech In Asia claimed the intelligent assistant would get support for Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, and Russian imminently.

All three languages are believed to be coming next month, though it seems from the images above that Japanese will be the first to arrive — possibly at Apple’s iPad 3 event which is expected to go ahead during the first week of March.

9to5Mac also notes that shortly after Apple first announced Siri at its Let’s talk iPhone event in October 2010, the company released a Siri FAQ that confirmed the feature would support Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Italian, and Spanish in 2012.

Does Siri speak your language yet?

[via 9to5Mac]

Top 10 Pocket Camera Megazooms

These powerful compact cameras offer more optical-zoom range than the average point-and-shoot. It’s a dead heat between the Canon PowerShot SX230 HS, Nikon Coolpix S9100, and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V at the top of our chart. If you crave simplicity, go for the Nikon; if you need manual controls, opt for the Canon. If you want superb video and fun modes, the Sony should be your pick.

10. Canon PowerShot SD4500 IS

Despite some fun and useful features, the high-zoom PowerShot SD4500 IS has disappointing image quality, poor battery life, and a lack of manual controls.

9. Kodak EasyShare M580

The 8X-optical-zoom M580 serves up great exposure quality and easy controls, at the expense of manual settings. It’s a versatile camera for the price, but it falls short on exciting extras.

8. Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS10

The long-zoom, GPS-enabled Lumix ZS10 is a nice compact camera for travelers, but it suffers from indifferent image quality and mediocre battery life.

7. Casio Exilim EX-ZR100

The Exilim ZR100 offers super-high-speed shooting and phenomenal battery life, two factors that set it apart from other pocket megazooms in its class.

6. Fujifilm FinePix F550EXR

The 15X-zoom FinePix F550EXR has GPS features and in-camera extras that go beyond the norm, but in image and video quality it lags a bit behind competitors.

5. Casio Exilim EX-H20G

The vacation-friendly EX-H20G has a 10X-optical-zoom lens, great GPS features, and in-camera mapping. It’s a top performer in daylight, but it lacks manual controls and a few key features.

4. Samsung HZ35W

The GPS-enabled HZ35W produces some of the sharpest, highest-quality stills we’ve seen this side of a DSLR, but its confusing menu system and poor video quality knock it down a peg.

3. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V

The 16X-optical-zoom Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V is loaded with fun extras, including 3D shooting, excellent video quality, in-camera GPS, and groundbreaking scene modes.

2. Nikon Coolpix S9100

The Nikon Coolpix S9100 is the rare beast that will please both novices and experienced shooters, even with its lack of manual controls. Thanks to its great image quality and creative controls, practically anyone will find this camera a pleasure to use.

1. Canon PowerShot SX230 HS

Building on an already-excellent camera, the 14X-optical-zoom PowerShot SX230 HS adds a new sensor, 1080p video capture, high-speed shooting, and in-camera GPS to the mix.

Nokia Lumia 900

GENERAL

2G Network       GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900

3G Network       HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100

4G Network       LTE 700 MHz Class 17 / 1700 / 2100

BODY

Dimensions        127.8 x 68.5 x 11.5 mm, 90 cc

Weight                 160 g

DISPLAY

Type: AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors

Size: 480 x 800 pixels, 4.3 inches (~217 ppi pixel density)

Multitouch: Yes

Protection: Corning Gorilla Glass (Nokia ClearBlack display)

SOUND

Alert types: Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones

Loudspeaker: Yes

3.5mm jack: Yes

MEMORY

Card slot: No

Internal: 16GB storage, 512 MB RAM

DATA

GPRS: Class 33

EDGE: Class 33

Speed: HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps, LTE, Cat3, 50 Mbps DL, 25 Mbps UL

WLAN

Wi-Fi : 802.11 b/g/n

Bluetooth: Yes, v2.1 with A2DP, EDR

NFC: Yes

USB: Yes, microUSB v2.0, HS

CAMERA

Primary: 8 MP, 3264×2448 pixels, Carl Zeiss optics, autofocus, dual-LED flash

Features: Geo-tagging

Video: Yes, 720p@30fps, video stabilization

Secondary: Yes, 1.3 MP, VGA@30fps

FEATURES

OS: Microsoft Windows Phone 7.5 Mango

Chipset: Qualcomm APQ8055 Snapdragon

CPU: 1.4 GHz Scorpion

GPU: Adreno 205

BATTERY

Standard battery: Li-Ion 1830 mAh (BP-6EW)

Stand-by: Up to 300 h

Talk time: Up to 7 h

Music play: Up to 60 h

Gigabyte GSmart G1355 is a dual-SIM droid with a 4.3 screen

Gigabyte has a new affordable droid on the way – the Gigabyte GSmart G1355 – and it has two tricks up its sleeve. The G1355 is a dual-SIM droid with a 4.3″ WVGA screen making it a rare beast – most dual-SIM droids have small screens.

Now, the GSmart G1355 isn’t a high-end device by any means, despite what the large screen might lead you to believe. It runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread on an outdated Qualcomm MSM7227T chipset (800MHz CPU, 512MB RAM, Adreno 200 GPU).

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The rest of the specs include a 5MP auto-focus camera with LED flash, microSD card slot and Wi-Fi b/g/n. The Gigabyte GSmart G1355 measures 11.5mm thick, which is quite decent, but it weighs nearly 170g, which is chunky even for a phone with a 4.3″ screen.

Specs are pretty close to the ZTE Skate (also known as Orange Monte Carlo) with the advantage of the second SIM card slot, of course.

Anyway, the GSmart G1355 will launch at the end of this month, which means it will most likely be present at the MWC. There’s no pricing info yet.

Gresso unveils The Pure Black phone, your wallet whimpers

Looking to spend $2,700 on a featurephone with the functionality of a kid’s toy and the build quality of a Rolex? Well, Gresso just announced just announced the latest addition to its Grand Monaco series and it might be just the right handset for you.

The Pure Black phone is an S40 handset, which will be manufactured in a limited series of only 100 units. The body of the device is hand-made from highly durable titanium alloy, covered with several ceramic layers.

The Pure Black phone numpad is crafted from surgical steel and is set on a plate of black toned glass, while its screen is protected with 42 carat sapphire glass polished by hand with a diamond tool. Despite all the fancy materials, the handset weighs just 120 g, which should make it reasonably comfortable to carry around.

Gress Pure Black phone will be available in two versions – Cayman with crocodile leather and Carbon with Italian carbon leather. Both of them will go on sale this month for an estimated $2,700.