Wednesday, 25 July 2007

I'm sorry, are you missing a zero?

Medison have just unveiled the Celebrity, as reported by Engadget, this pretty standard laptop (if you ignore the iffy specs and linux pre-install) will apparently be released in 4-6 weeks across the US and Europe for $150...

$150!! Even with the regular exchange rate of $1 = £1, I'd still buy one! Even scarier, if you add one to your 'basket' on the site, the price comes up as £76.80!! Bloody hell, I'll buy three.

It even looks to have a webcam in the picture (though specifications are subject to change, and the specs don't even mention one). If they can pull it off for the £150 price point including VAT and delivery, it will make a mockery of the huge push for the sub $100 OLPC project.

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Friday, 13 July 2007

Sony says we still need the dosh

I'm nearly lost for words, just as it seemed that Sony had seen the light and realised that price point needed to change; Joystiq are reporting that SCEE president David Reeves has stated no more 60GB model for the US. This means that the $100 price cut is only till stock of the 60GB version runs out. This follows word that there will be no price cut heading to the UK, but hey, we will apparently get a DEARER option with games and an extra controller.

You what? The PS3 needs a dearer SKU like I need treplaning (scratch that, after this announcement I just might). I also don't really see much benefit moving up to 80GB storage over 60GB, particularly when the 360 already has a 120GB option and the PS3 is so dman easy to upgrade.

If Microsoft do have a price cut and coincide it with a new quieter HDMI equipped model before Christmas, and with all the big AAA titles due. Sony could find itself loosing the reputation it's garnered over the last two generations as the number one player.

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Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Halo steps up to the plate

Joystiq also has some video up of Halo wars gameplay. Watching Halo wars it's easy to see the pedigree that Bungie brings to it from their earlier Myth games and the fact that Halo was originally to be an RTS. Looking pretty good.

The Halo3 footage is perhaps a slightly more mixed bag; I guess I was hoping for something a little more unusual, maybe to evoke the same tingling sensation as the first teaser trailer. Still, there is some good graphics on display and, more importantly, the single player 'feel' looks to be back in place. You can almost see the co-op to be had with all the new vehicles and locales already.

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All round fun

Well, Microsoft has been getting all excited at their press conference;
Outselling PS3 2:1 (Hardly surprising, likely to change now the price has dropped)
All games in the all formats charts are on Xbox (Again, down to the head start)
And, the best line up of games...

hmmmm, looks like Mr Moore might have a point here. With Halo 3, GTAIV, Mass Effect, BioShock, Assassins Creed, BIA, Army of Two all coming out before Christmas, it looks like the 360 has it all it's own way games wise.

And why the picture of Sensible World of Soccer? It's coming to Xbox live arcade, Xbox domination is surely assured! Joined by Bomber Man, Golden Axe and Sonic; I'm not sure what to look forward to most.

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Friday, 6 July 2007

PS3 going down?

In price?
Early promo materials leaked from a larger US retailer seem to suggest an imminent PS3 price drop. The advert, shows the machine bearing a $499.99 price tag; a drop of $100. With the PS3 lagging behind the Wii in sales six to one, this move would seem very sensible. The possible timing of this drop is apparently the 12th of this month, during E3, lending credence to the rumour. So what about over here in Blighty?
Well I suspect we'll also see a price drop, though usually we have to wait a little longer as the bean counters assess the impact on sales abroad. My best guess... £349.99

Edit: Apparently Sony have now quashed these rumours, stating, that no price cut was planned.

Then again, they would say that, wouldn't they?

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360 get's 36.0 months of warranty

Well, well looks like Microsoft have answered (in part) allegations that the failure rate of the Xbox 360 was over 30%. Microsoft's Peter Moore, whilst refusing to clarify figures, has issued a statement extending the warranty on all 360 consoles to 3 years for those affected by the dreaded 'red ring of death'. This is clearly great news for all concerned, and harks back to Microsoft handing out free games and controllers for the original Xbox, to placate early adopters angered by a sudden price drop.
It would, of course, be nice if our faulty machines came back a tad quieter as well...

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The future is in your palms

I've been using my Q1 ultra UMPC for a while now, and whilst it's far from perfect, it has changed the way I use PC's. I really can't see myself using a Laptop ever again. After using a UMPC for a while, I find myself taking it with me where I wouldn't bother carrying a full sized Laptop.

I feel, that for many people, a UMPC with a dock, screen and keyboard will be all they ever need. We've already seen this effect with Laptops gaining Market share over regualr desktop machines. This trend can only continue, especially once these UMPC's improve their form factor:
Clamshell rugged designs. And also, their specifications: Battery life over four hours as standard, Intel processors over 1.2GHz. For most people doing most task this will be enough; it could however prove very bad for the PC games industry if people become more inclined to 'make do' with integrated chipsets and use consoles for gaming.

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Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Look at all those pretty lights

Daily tech Is currently running a story concerning the failure rates for Microsoft's Xbox 360 console. Apparently around 30% of all the machines have suffered a fault (it is unclear whether this pertains simply to the dreaded red rings of death or includes disc scratching). Now, this has been picked up by lot's of news outlets despite the story being based entirely on anecdotal evidence.

If this is the case, the numbers certainly aren't in line with Microsoft's original assertion of failure rates under 5%. Microsoft needs to act soon to quash these rumours and give some solid figures, that is, if they can. This is particularly important when you consider that the 360 is yet to receive it's hardware 'bump' to the smaller and cooler 65nm process.

From my own experience, from 3 machines, only one has proved in any way faulty; scratching discs pretty badly.
Mind you, the noise, heat and general frequency of system hangs doesn't exactly fill you with confidence.

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Events occur in real time

Conclusive proof that the main character in GTA IV is going to be a better person after all, just look at that bag. Yup, it's the Jack Bauer special. Clearly included as part of a scheme to explain where the GTA protagonist stores his RPG's and Kalashnikov's. Seriously though, looking at the second GTAIV trailer, it does make you wonder; will we see less of the trademark GTA humour and more realism?

OK, there is still the comedy adverts, but now the weapons are clearly identifiable and damage modelling is clearly improved. How long till games like GTA cross the line, will GTAV be the point when the plot and violence start to become uncomfortable in their portrayal of real world events?

Scary stuff, I'm off to watch Jack brutally torture a terrorist to calm down.

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Garbage in = Garbage out

Things may be looking up for dell if they carry on like this.
Dell decided, as part of their attempts to reinvigorate the company (largely due to falling behind HP), that it might be sensible to listen to their customers. Whilst we're not likely to see the end of the dreaded third party customer service (reading from a script is as likely to fix a real problem as reading the bible is to make me religious).

Regardless, though promising, the biggest change thus far was spanglier design laptops and Ubuntu pre-installed; all very nice but hardly likely to re-invigorate the company. The big news though is that moves are under way to remove the 'shovelware' (pre-installed junk no-one wants) from Dell PC's. This is, frankly, amazing news. Dell makes a nice little margin from pilling all this crap onto new PC's, but the damn stuff takes literally hours to remove.

There is also talk that we might see software, people DO want, being supplied in it's stead. I should imagine a simple dialogue box offering installation of Firefox and OpenOffice would scare Microsoft far more than Dell offering Linux. Interesting times.

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