Thursday, December 30, 2010

iPhone to Verizon by Valentine's, or earlier?

A Business Week report has the iPhone landing at Verizon by Valentine's Day or earlier.

Business Week quotes an unnamed source saying Apple will introduce a Verizon version of its popular handset sometime after the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in early January.

Verizon has scheduled a special media call on the afternoon of Jan. 6 to discuss its plans for its new LTE 4G network. Could the iPhone run on that?

This is where it gets interesting. Apple has long touted iPhone's ability to run data and voice calls at the same time. Currently, you can't do that on Verizon's 3G network. But you could on the new LTE network.

Whatever happens, industry analysts think a Verizon iPhone could cost AT&T anywhere from one million to six million customers. Business Week quotes, for example, that John Hodulik, a UBS Securities analyst has dropped his estimation of AT&T iPhone sales in 2011 to 8.8 million from 15.6 million in 2010.

Hodulik predicts Verizon sells more than 13 million iPhones next year, including more than two million to AT&T customers who switch.

Ultimately, AT&T could have an answer for Verizon. It recently bought tons of 4G wireless spectrum and has been upgrading its current 3G wireless network to a faster standard that can deliver near 4G-speed. So when customers start using those 4G phones across all networks next year, AT&T can promise faster speeds than Verizon, in theory, when customers have to fall back from 4G.

Also, if both big carriers get the Apple device, they may be forced to compete on price, which could serve customers well.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A white golf driver? TaylorMade has one and it's coming soon

Golf drivers have always been black, or at least dark or silver, right?

Well, the golf company that does innovations -- or chances -- like few others is trying to turn that thought on its head.

Following the introduction of white putters, TaylorMade plans to unleash its new white R11 driver next month. Look for ads tapping a familiar Sesame Street song "One of These Things Is Not Like The Other" to start on the Golf Channel Jan. 3.

The ad will have children singing the song as some familiar dark drivers flash across the screen. Finally, the white R11 will pop up.

Is America ready for a white driver? Wonder how it look framed against the white ball.

Of course, TaylorMade is convinced it'll work. And the white putters are pretty cool.

“The R11 is the best driver we’ve ever made and it deserves something different,” said Bob Maggiore, vice president, brand and product marketing. “Golf marketing has become so cookie-cutter, and we felt it was time to move away from the pack. By creating a spot like this, we’ve shown how this driver’s stunning design, technology and performance clearly set it apart from the competition.”

Can't wait to see it.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

CNN's Wolf Blitzer learns to do "The Dougie"

Have to share this video of CNN's Wolf Blitzer on the "Soul Train Music Awards" learning how to do the latest dance craze sweeping the nation: The Dougie.

The dance is named after rapper Doug E Fresh who made this his signature move, much like Michael Jackson's moon walking and leg kicking.


Saturday, December 04, 2010

iPhone 4 for $25? Yes, it's true

If you meet a few criteria, you can get an iPhone 4 from Radio Shack for as little as $25.

RadioShack is running a little special from Dec. 4-11 that offers a $50 discount on iPhone 4 or iPhone 3GS. You must buy new devices and not refurbs. You just have to be eligible for upgrade. This means you must be ready for a new two-year agreement.

So the pricing would be: $49.99 for 3GS, $149.99 for 16 gig iPhone 4 and $249.99 for a 32-gig iPhone 4.

The Shack also offers a trade-in program. iPhone 3G owners get $75 and 3GS get $125. So you can get a new iPhone 4 for as little as $24.99 if you want to sign up with AT&T for two years.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Verizon will launch high speed wireless LTE network Dec. 5

Get ready Charlotte-area Verizon wireless customers: more speed is coming.

Verizon Wireless announced today it is lighting up its 4G LTE network Sunday and Charlotte is one of the initial 38 markets. The network, the company says, will be up to 10 times faster than the current 3G network and will be available to business users first.

Along with the launch, the company will introduce new 4G LTE mobile broadband data plans. They will start at $50 monthly for 5 GB, and there will be one USB modem available at launch.

To get 10 GB data, it will cost $80. Both plans have a $10/GB overage charge. The modem will be $99.99 after a $50 rebate for a two-year agreement.

Verizon officials said, at launch, the 4G LTE network will touch 1/3 of all Americans and will cover its existing 3G network in its entirety in about two years.

So how fast is this? Verizon said customers should expect download speeds of 5 to 12 megabits per second, as fast or faster as many high-speed cable or DSL modem speeds

Of course, you'll want to know about using cell phones on this new network. Looks like you'll have to wait until the middle of next year, so if your contract is up soon, best choose to wait. And this also makes me wonder if all the iPhone to Verizon in January talk will cool now.

Looks like a safe bet that iPhone 5 will take advantage of this network, which will also allow talking and surfing at the same time (something you can't do on Verizon's current 3G network). That makes me think the regular June iPhone launch date might be safe.

Last point on Verizon 4G. It's also launching in 38 metro areas and 60 airports. Click here to see if you're covered.

Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Initial Major Metropolitan Area Deployment (Dec. 5, 2010)

Akron, Ohio

Athens, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia

Baltimore, Maryland

Boston, Massachusetts

Charlotte, North Carolina

Chicago, Illinois

Cincinnati, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio

Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, Dallas, Texas

Denver, Colorado

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Houston, Texas

Jacksonville, Florida

Las Vegas, Nevada

Los Angeles, California

Miami, Florida

Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Minnesota

Nashville, Tennessee

New Orleans, Louisiana

New York, New York

Oakland, California

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Orlando, Florida

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Phoenix, Arizona

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Rochester, New York

San Antonio, Texas

San Diego, California

San Francisco, California

San Jose, California

Seattle/Tacoma, Washington

St. Louis, Missouri

Tampa, Florida

Washington, D.C.

West Lafayette, Indiana

West Palm Beach, Florida

Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Initial Commercial Airport Deployment (Airport Name, City, State) Dec. 5, 2010

Austin-Bergstrom International, Austin, Texas

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshal, Glen Burnie, Maryland

Bob Hope, Burbank, California

Boeing Field/King County International, Seattle, Washington

Charlotte/Douglas International, Charlotte, North Carolina

Chicago Midway International, Chicago, Illinois

Chicago O’Hare International, Chicago, Illinois

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International, Covington, Kentucky

Cleveland-Hopkins International, Cleveland, Ohio

Dallas Love Field, Dallas, Texas

Dallas/Fort Worth International, Fort Worth, Texas

DenverInternational, Denver, Colorado

Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

George Bush Intercontinental/Houston, Houston, Texas

Greater Rochester International, Rochester, New York

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Atlanta, Georgia

Honolulu International, Honolulu, Hawaii

Jacksonville International, Jacksonville, Florida

John F. Kennedy International, New York, New York

John Wayne Airport-Orange County, Santa Ana, California

Kansas City International, Kansas City, Missouri

La Guardia, New York, New York

Lambert-St. Louis International, St. Louis, Missouri

Laurence G. Hanscom Field, Bedford, Massachusetts

LongBeach/Daugherty Field, Long Beach, California

Los Angeles International, Los Angeles, California

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International, Metairie, Louisiana

McCarran International, Las Vegas, Nevada

Memphis International, Memphis, Tennessee

Metropolitan Oakland International, Oakland, California

Miami International, Miami, Florida

Minneapolis-St.Paul International/Wold-Chamberlain, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Nashville International, Nashville, Tennessee

New Castle, Wilmington, Delaware

Newark Liberty International, Newark, New Jersey

Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International, San Jose, California

North Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada

Orlando International, Orlando, Florida

Orlando Sanford International, Sanford, Florida

Palm Beach International, West Palm Beach, Florida

Philadelphia International, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Phoenix Sky Harbor International, Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway, Mesa, Arizona

Pittsburgh International, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Port Columbus International, Columbus, Ohio

Portland International, Portland, Oregon

Rickenbacker International, Columbus, Ohio

Ronald Reagan Washington National, Arlington, Virginia

Sacramento International, Sacramento, California

Salt Lake City International, Salt Lake City, Utah

San Antonio International, San Antonio, Texas

SanDiego International, San Diego, California

SanFrancisco International, San Francisco, California

Seattle-Tacoma International, Seattle, Washington

St. Augustine, Saint Augustine, Florida

St. Petersburg-Clearwater International, Clearwater, Florida

Tampa International, Tampa, Florida

Teterboro, Teterboro, New Jersey

Trenton Mercer, Trenton, New Jersey

Washington Dulles International, Dulles International Airport, Washington, D.C.

Will Rogers World, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

WilliamP. Hobby, Houston, Texas

Sunday, November 28, 2010

New irons from TaylorMade, driver from Nike to stuff your golf fans stocking with

The gentleman’s game is one of the most popular recreational activities in the Carolinas and also one of the most frustrating. TaylorMade and Nike are making it a little easier to help those high handicappers on your list this season.

TaylorMade’s new Burner 2.0 irons can be used by good players and not-so good players (many clubs are for one group or the other). They’re lighter than standard clubs, so they are easier to swing. Because they’re lighter, you can swing faster without trying, making your ball go father and hopefully stay on the course.

They’re also designed to fly high, and land soft. This lets even the weekend hacker hit the occasional “oh my goodness” shot. Bonus, the sticks are so good, your golfing friend won’t need to buy those new-fangled clubs called hybrids, which kind of look like fairway woods, to replace his or her long irons.

Nike’s new SQ Machspeed Driver is pretty to look at and seems to correct many of your bad swings. It’s hard to really hit this one terribly. Bad swings produce good distance and aren’t as crooked as you might expect. Good swings produce better distance than with the driver you have (at least if you are like us), and you can adjust the head to help you if you hit the ball to the left or right too often. You can even adjust it to hit the ball a touch higher or lower. Who needs lessons anymore?

Monday, November 22, 2010

ESPN 3D lands on Time Warner Cable

DirecTV customers in Charlotte, you've got some company when it comes to accessing ESPN 3D.

Time Warner Cable, which impressively is adding to its lineup of services by the week, has launched the 3D channel in Charlotte. Of course, to see it you need the proper set-top box, plus a 3D enabled TV and those darn classes.

The channel is located on channel 1505. The channel airs live sporting events in 3D and is part of a 3D pass that costs $10 per month. I'm not big on the add-on charge. I think it should come as part of the HD package, especially when the 3D content is not as varied as what most customers will be used to.

Some of the programming highlights on ESPN 3D include X Games, select NCAA football games, the BCS championship game, and select NBA and NCAA basketball games.

Here's the schedule for the next two months:

Thursday, Nov. 25 12 Noon; 2:30 p.m.; 7:00 p.m.; and 9:30 p.m. Old Spice Classic

Friday, Nov. 26 12 Noon; 2:30 p.m.; 5:00 p.m.; and 7:30 p.m. Old Spice Classic

Sunday, Nov. 28 11:00 a.m.; 1:30 p.m.; 4:30 p.m.; and 7:00 p.m. Old Spice Classic

Sunday, Dec.5 7:30 p.m. Harlem Globetrotters

Tuesday, Dec. 7 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Jimmy V Classic

Saturday, Dec. 11 12:30 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. SEC/Big East Challenge

Friday, Dec. 17 7:00 p.m. Miami Heat at New York Knicks

Saturday, Jan. 1 8:30 p.m. Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

Monday, Jan. 10 8:30 p.m. BCS National Championship Game

Friday, Jan. 14 10:30 p.m. Portland Trail Blazers at Phoenix Suns

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Beatles coming to iTunes and Oprah too

By now, you may have heard that the Beatles catalog is coming to the iTunes store. After yesterday's teaser that quoted Beatles' lyrics on the webpage, Apple pretty much gave the surprise away.

Another big iDevice news item today is that Oprah's "O" Magazine is coming to the iPad. The App is now in the App Store.

Interactive editions will appear monthly and feature content from the print product. The App will allow users to enter Oprah's "12-Day Holiday Give-O-Way" sweepstakes, which starts Nov. 29.

The talk show queen is famous for her love of the iPad and the magazine app looks pretty solid. It has video and animation, an interview with "For Colored Girls" director Tyler Perry with a behind the scenes video. There's a gift guide, recipes, slide shows, a book room with excepts from Oprah's favorite books of the moment and it's easy to get around in.

Like the magazine and her TV show, Oprah The App is going to hit a big audience.

The best protection money can buy....for your handheld device

Some of you will be buying those cute little handheld electronics games and cellphones for your loved ones this holiday season. I must pass along a story I got from a reader in Kings Mountain.

She bought a new Sprint HTC EVO phone for her son and was going to surprise him with it on Christmas Eve. She got it last week. Curious to see what all the fuss was about, she cracked open the case, and started fiddling around with it. She was cooking while she was talking on it, turned too quickly, and the EVO slipped from her hand and fell to her hardwood floor.

The EVO, which costs about $200 with a phone service contract, was ruined. It was cracked and bent and wasn't anything she could give to her 16-year-old anymore.

So she e-mailed me Sunday night and asked what could she get to protect her (second) investment in Sprint cellphone technology.

I've seen lots of protective covers and cases, but I think the King of Protection has to be the OtterBox series ( You can go with the Defender Series ($25-$50), which is like putting your device in a heavy, near-impenetrable shell, or the Commuter Series ($18-35), which is lighter and less protective but still able to survive the odd drop. Or two.

The Defender series is rugged and comes in different colors to fit BlackBerrys, iDevices and other handheld goodies. It's actually two cases in one. The first is a hard plastic shell that includes a clear screen protector. It's built into the case and sits well on your device. Once you slide your phone into the plastic shell, you put a silicone wrap around it.

Even though it adds heft, the Defender feels comfortable in your hand and allows access to all buttons and ports, which have covered access. Slight drawback: It can feel like a brick in your pocket at first.

I felt the only thing that could really, well, brick my phone with this case on it was dropping it in water. I wrapped one around one of my personal devices and climbed on a ladder and dropped it on my driveway. I said a quiet prayer as it fell. Nothing happened.

The alternative is the Commuter Series, which uses the same plastic-shell-wrapped -by-silicone-case tech, but everything is lighter and thinner, and you have the alternative peel-off screen protector. And where the Defender covers a portion of the front of the device at top and bottom, creating a bumper effect for drops, Commuter leaves the front more exposed. A face-front landing with Commuter might not be a good thing, but for everyday protection, it's a lighter alternative.

So the moral to my story is this: If you're buying handheld gadgets for the holidays, think about a good case to go with it.

Friday, November 12, 2010

TW Cable lets you "look back" to find shows you missed

Time Warner Cable has been pouring on the features lately, from adding 3D content to increasing its home broadband internet speeds.

This week's update gives customers the ability to scroll back on their guide for three days to watch shows they've missed on certain channels -- without setting the DVR.

So, in theory, if you wanted to see that Oprah episode you missed on Thursday that your DVR, for whatever reason, failed to record, Time Warner's got you covered.

Just pick up the remote and scroll backwards, find that Oprah slot and watch away.

"Look Back" will launch with up to 48 channels on Time Warner systems, and they should be consistent market-to-market. You'll be able to access Look Back programming immediately after it airs on the network channel.

I typed in the Observer's zip code at Time Warner's website and found these channels available for "Look Back" locally:

ABC Family
Animal Planet
Discovery Channel
Discovery Science
Disney Channel
Disney XD
Food Network
History Channel
History International
Investigation Discovery
Planet Green

This service just finished marketing trials in several cities and was previously available to local customers who signed up for TWC's new gold Signature Home package

Now TWC is rolling it out in multiple areas, including New York, New England, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin and parts of Texas.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Microsoft's "Kinect" system is a game changer

I think Microsoft has a major, long-term, hit on its hands with the Kinect sensor, which was released Thursday.

Kinect retails for $149.99 and is essentially a camera that detects players’ movements and some voice commands.

Sony’s new PlayStation Move controller and the popular Nintendo Wii-Mote both allow users to hold wand-like devices in their hands to play games. This allows for a unique playing experience, involving the player in more true-to-life movements. If you want to swing a golf club or a light sabre, you wave your Move or Wii-Mote controller like a golf or Star Wars weapon in real time.

Kinect allows you to do this without holding anything.

I think, potentially, Kinect will be as big a game changer as the Nintendo Wii became.

It’s easy to set up. If you have a newer “slim” Xbox, you plug in one cable in the rear of the machine. If you have the older version, you plug in the Kinect to a USB port and to a power source. The Kinect detects body movements in a virtual “field,” so you will need a little space. I had to move a table and a chair, and you need to be standing six to eight feet away from the sensor.

Using Kinect in the Menu screens reminded me a lot of watching Tom Cruise in “Minority Report.” You are swiping things left and right with your hands in the air while watching the TV screen respond to your movements. The revamped Xbox Live experience is stellar, too.

With Netflix, ESPN and the upcoming Hulu Plus, Xbox is a solid alternative to Google TV or Apple TV and is something many people already have in their living rooms. The ESPN intergration is especially cool, allowing you to see “SportsCenter” on demand and view live and saved sporting events, including some out of market.

Moving around the menus is seamless -- and sometimes hands free -- and you can even tell Kinect to do things with your voice, such as turn on, play a disc, go up a screen or back one. But it’s not perfect.

Kinect had issues detecting me while I was seated, and playing “Kinect Joy Ride,” a simple driving game, required you to stand up and hold your hands in front of you like you’re gripping an imaginary steering wheel. The driving game, though, is quite fun, and Nintendo simple, except its got HD graphics. I just would expect to sit down while I played a driving game.

In some sports games, Kinect can’t detect how hard you throw a ball or necessarily which direction. It just knows you made a throwing motion. Still, “Kinect Sports” should be every bit the hit here that “Wii Sports” was before it. Bowling while making real bowling motions -- with arms and legs -- is incredibly realistic. Track and Field got me sweaty and I just flat enjoyed kicking the balls around in soccer.

“Kinect Adventures” was another standout among the games I tried. You played in space, in water and on mountains. The graphics were amazing and truly using your whole body to play, while not perfectly implemented, is a new thing in videogames. There’s a “Space Invaders” like segment on Adventures where you are smashing balls with hands and feet that is just amazing.

“Dance Central” featured music from Salt N Pepa (“Push It”) and Craig Mack (“Flava In Your Ear”) and asks you to repeat the dance moves you see. Simple. Fast. Fun. But my favorite was “Your Shape Fitness Evolved.”

It features workouts created by the guys at Men’s Health and Women’s Health and you basically create a character that looks a lot like you (with a digital picture of you) and follow the on-screen assistant in a variety of workouts from step aerobics to boxing. The game gives you feedback as you go to make sure you’re doing moves correctly and I think you could really get in shape using this.

I think this is something families will really enjoy. You can video-conference from your living room, connecting your family all at once to loved ones who have a Kinect or a Windows Live Messenger account on their PC. And as Microsoft works out the kinks via firmware upgrades, I think Kinect could end up as the best of all the new controller gizmos.

It’s definitely on my Christmas list.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Time Warner boosts internet speeds locally, debuts "Extreme" speed service

Did you notice your Time Warner internet was running a little faster today?

The company said it boosted its internet speeds with an overnight update.

“We substantially increased our download speeds and essentially doubled upload speeds for all of our Turbo and Standard Internet service customers,” said Mike Smith, area vice president for Time Warner Cable’s Charlotte operation.

Standard internet customers went from 7 megabits per second to 10. Turbo customers went from 10 to 15.

More speed is always good. I get 12.5 megabits per second download on my Windstream DSL connection at home. The website says I can download a pretty sizable movie file in nine minutes or an iTunes song in five seconds.

Time Warner is also introducing a service for those who want more speed. It's "Wideband Internet" service offers up to 50 Mbps speeds -- with a severely fast 5 Mbps upload speeds -- for, ahem, $99.95 per month.

This speed was previously offered only in Time Warner's bundled Signature Home service (click here for more on that).

Another new plan, Road Runner Extreme, delivers speeds up to 30 Mbps downstream and 5 Mbps upstream for as low as $64.95 per month when bundled with any other Time Warner Cable Service. Time Warner says Road Runner Extreme is a great alternative for families on a budget who desire extra speed.

Well sort of.

This could be a popular package and price point, at $65, if it were offered as a stand-alone. I would hope Time Warner would do this moving forward.

Anyone using these services? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, October 25, 2010

ESPN3 now on Time Warner Cable

Time Warner Cable has added ESPN3. Time Warners customers who receive ESPN as part of their video subscription will have access to a live simulcast of ESPN on their computers as well as access to features more than 3,500 live sporting events annually. Fans can toggle between up to 20 events in a main viewing window, and with a single click, jump to another event. Video can be viewed in widescreen (16:9) and normal (4:3) views and can be expanded to full screen or reduced to a compact size. Recently completed events are archived and available for on-demand replay.

Customers can also go directly to or to register or sign in and view the programming.

At launch, the new authenticated service will give Time Warner Cable subscribers the opportunity to watch ESPN’s linear network online. In the near future, access to ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Goal Line and ESPN Buzzer Beater will also be offered through this same process, as well as on other Internet enabled devices such as mobile phones and tablets. Consumers can access the channels through a centralized web site,

Friday, October 22, 2010

Obama signs autograph on iPad

On Thursday, at a rally in Seattle, Sylvester Cann IV had a novel idea. Instead of asking President Obama to sign a piece of paper, why not ask him to sign an iPad instead?

Using the Adobe Ideas app, Cann created a big place for Obama to write in his John Hancock. Cann created a website to showcase the moment.

Obama, looking amused, used his finger to write his name.

See video below.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Apple introduces iLife 11, new Macbook Air, adds FaceTime to Mac

Apple introduced its new iLife 11 software suite Wednesday. It also added FaceBook to Mac Computers and introduced a new superlight line of laptop computers that launch today.

The new iLife 11 is available immediately for $49 for existing customers and will come free for new users.

It updates GarageBand and iPhoto and iMovie with a suite of new features including the ability to create movie-quality trailers with a full orchestra sound.

FaceTime for Mac is also available for download today at and will allow customers to have video conferencing between Macs or with iPhone 4s and the new iPod touches.

CEO Steve Jobs also gave a preview of the new upcoming operating system, to be called Lion. Lion will use some of the innovations from the OS in iPad and iPhone.

Lion will use Multi-Touch gestures using touch gestures on the mouse or trackpad. Jobs said 7 billion apps have been downloaded from the App Store and Lion will include a new Mac App Store.

It will have one-click download with free and paid apps, with 70 percent of revenues going to developers. The apps will auto install and auto update. These apps will be licensed for use on all your personal Mac computers.

The Apps will go into something called "the launchpad" on your doc.

Lion will also have "Misson Control" that will allow users to view everything running on the computer and interact with them instantly.

Jobs said Lion will release in summer 2011. The Mac App Store will launch for Snow Leopard users in 90 days.

-- Jobs also introduced the new Macbook Air, which he said he believes is the future of notebooks. At its thickest point, it's 0.68 inches and is 0.11 inches at its thinnest point. It weighs 2.9 pounds and has complete aluminum unibody construction with a full keyboard and track pad.

It's got a 13.3 inch LED backlit display (1440 x 900 pixels, more than on 15-inch MacBook pro). It's got a Core 2 Duo Processor. It has no optical drive and no hard drive.

Apple has gone to flash storage, similar to what is used in iPad. It allows for instant-on, starting two times faster than hard drives. It's 90 percent smaller and lighter than standard hard drives.

Battery life is 30 days on MacBook Air and 7 hours of real world wireless web use. Jobs thinks this is twice the life of the MacBook Pro.

A 11.6 display version is also available and will weigh just over two pounds. It gives five hours of heavy wireless web use.

Pricing is $999 for the 11.6 model with 64 GB of flash memory. To move to 128 GB it's $1,199.

The 13-inch model starts at $1,299 for 128 GB storage. To go to 256 GB, it's $1,599.

All models include 2 GB of memory.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Microsoft to "Kinect" us with 17 games Nov. 4

We have seen the Sony PlayStation 3 "Move" controllers, and they're quite cool. On Nov. 4, Microsoft will deliver their much-hyped "Kinect" system, which is totally hands free.

Kinect was featured on "Oprah" Tuesday. It'll be feature on "Ellen" later this month. Next month, customers can purchase a new Xbox 360 4 GB console with Kinect and the game "Kinect Adventures" for $299.99. If you already have the Xbox, you can buy the Kinect unit for $149.99, which includes the Kinect sensor and the "Kinect Adventures" game.

Microsoft will debut 17 Kinect-ready games during the first four weeks after launch. They include "Family Game Night," "Game Party: In Motion," "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," and several fitness and dance games that I think will best take advantage of the system.

I can't wait to try this one.

Time Warner Cable goes 3D (and some for free)

Time Warner Cable is adding some free 3D movies for its digital subscribers.

The movies are on HD On Demand (Channel 1001) and HD Showcase on Demand (channel 1339).

Here free 3D movies being offered:

SOS Planet
Haunted Castle
Siegfried and Roy
African Adventure
3D Sun
Wild Safari
Misadventures in 3D
Alien Adventure
Dinosaurs Alive
Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs
Wild Ocean

Customers can also purchase on demand 3D movies for $4.99. The selection includes:

Under the Sea
Nascar 3D
Journey to the Center of the Earth
Deep Sea

To see the 3D movies, customers need a 3D capable TV with 3D glasses and a compatible Time Warner Cable HD or HD-DVR box connected to their television with an HDMI cable.

Monday, October 18, 2010

7-inch iPad from Apple? Not likely

Apple CEO Steve Jobs made a surprise appearance at an earnings conference call today, and perhaps all CEOs would be giddy to talk about Apple's money take.

The Cupertino, CA, company did incredible business for the third quarter. It posted revenue of $20.34 billion and a net profit of $4 billion.

Apple shipped almost 4 million Mac computers, up 27 percent from a year ago.

Quarterly iPhone sales were up 91 percent from the same quarter a year ago (thanks iPhone 4). Apple sold 14.1 million iPhones, and sold 9.05 million iPods. That was an 11 percent decline for iPod.

Now, the iPad. Apple sold 4.19 million of those during the recent quarter and Jobs was asked if the company was readying a heavily rumored 7-inch version. Competitors, including Samsung, are about to release 7-inch tablets. Samsung's, which is due in a few weeks, will run the Android operating system.

Jobs said you can hold an iPad in portrait view and draw a horizontal line halfdown down.

"What's left," he said, "is a seven inch screen. That's too small. There are clear limits to how close elements can be on the screen before users can't touch accurately. We believe 10-inch screen is (the) minimum necessary."

And so, the 7-inch iPad thing should now go away.

RedBox to offer videogame rentals in Charlotte

Redbox announced today it will now feature video games in addition to new release DVDs and Blu-ray Discs at select redbox locations throughout the city starting today.

The video game rentals here is a test to gauge customer interest in videogame rentals. Games available here will include titles for Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Videogame rentals will be $2 per night plus tax.

Redbox says the videogames will be available at 245 Charlotte locations.

Charlotte, N.C., beginning October 18, 2010. The addition of video games to the popular redbox kiosks in the Charlotte area is a test designed to gauge consumer interest in video game rentals. Charlotte-area redbox consumers now can rent a variety of video games from the top platforms, including: Wii, PLAYSTATION 3, and Xbox 360, for $2 a night plus tax.

The number of video game titles and copies will vary by kiosk and location with new games being added each week. Local residents can visit to see a current list of games offered. Then, once at the kiosk, users access the touch screen display to determine which titles and platforms are available at that particular location.

Time Warner cable launches Remote DVR Manager

Time Warner Cable has launched a new feature that will allow customers to set their DVRs remotely.

With the new feature, customers throughout the Carolinas can access their home DVR and set it to record shows and series. You can search for progamming and make necessary changes through any web-enabled computer or browser-enabled mobile device, like Android and iPhone.

Time Warner Cable recently launched My Services, a new online service that gives customers the ability to access their account information, as well as new features and tools. By going to, customers have the ability to manage their DVR in real time as if they were sitting in front of their television.

Satellite providers, like DirecTV, also offer a similar feature.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

iPad to hit AT&T stores as well as Verizon

After this morning's announcement that iPad was coming to Verizon on Oct. 28, AT&T has also announced it will begin carrying the device on the same date.

It won't be hard to find iPad as Best Buy plans to expand available and Target, Amazon, Wal-Mart and Sam's Club will all be carrying the tablet computer soon.

AT&T will offer all three iPad Wi-Fi + 3G models at its 2,200 stores nationwide. The company will offer pre-paid 3G data plans that can be turned on or off on the machine itself. The plans are available without contract and come with access to the company's 23,000 domestic Wi-Fi hotspots.

Pricing you ask?

It's $629 for 16GB, $729 for 32GB, and $829 for 64GB. Domestic data plans for iPad are priced at $14.99 per month for 250MB and $25 per month for 2GB with no term contract.

Verizon Wireless will offer three bundles, all featuring an iPad Wi-Fi model and a Verizon MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot, for a suggested retail price of $629.99 for iPad Wi-Fi 16GB + MiFi, $729.99 for iPad Wi-Fi 32GB + MiFi and $829.99 for iPad Wi-Fi 64GB + MiFi. Verizon Wireless is offering a monthly access plan to iPad customers of up to 1GB of data for just $20 a month. In addition, Verizon Wireless will also offer all three iPad Wi-Fi models on a stand-alone basis.

iPad is coming to Verizon

Get your iPhone rumors ready.

Verizon Wireless will carry Apple's WiFi iPad beginning Oct. 28.

Verizon Wireless will offer three bundles, all featuring an iPad Wi-Fi model and a Verizon MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot, for a suggested retail price of $629.99 for iPad Wi-Fi 16GB + MiFi, $729.99 for iPad Wi-Fi 32GB + MiFi and $829.99 for iPad Wi-Fi 64GB + MiFi. Verizon Wireless is offering a monthly access plan to iPad customers of up to 1GB of data for just $20 a month. In addition, Verizon Wireless will also offer all three iPad Wi-Fi models on a stand-alone basis.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Panther Devin Thomas in Fantasia's new video

New Carolina Panther wide reciever Devin Thomas has a strong cameo in Fantasia's steamy new video for her hit song "Bittersweet."

Where does Michael rank Kobe? Top 10?

Speaking to USA Today about the new NBA2K11 videogame that features his likeness, Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan was asked where he would rank Laker Kobe Bryant among the all-time greats.

Jordan said Bryant, one of the two best players on the planet right now along with the Miami Heat's LeBron James, belongs among the top 10, among a certain position.

"I think he is always going to be within the conversations of some of the greatest players who've played by the time he is finished," Jordan told USA Today. "Where does he rank among those, if you are talking about positions? If you are talking about guards, I would say he has got to be in the Top 10."

Jordan also talked about how today's NBA differs from when he played.

"It's less physical and the rules have changed, obviously," he said. "Based on these rules, if I had to play with my style of play, I'm pretty sure I would have fouled out or I would have been at the free throw line pretty often and I could have scored 100 points."

Jordan said he's played the new NBA 2K11 videogame, which I think is one of the best ever (click here for review)

He said his kids are better than him at it.

Me, too, Michael.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sony unveils Google TV

Google TV is here.

At a big news conference in New York late Tuesday afternoon, Sony unveiled a line of TV sets featuring integrated Google TV, which will allow users to surf the internet on their TV as well as watch traditional TV programming.

Sets go on sale Oct. 16, with prices running from $600 to $1,400. Set sizes, for now, range from 24 to 46 inches. If you already have an HDTV, you can buy a Blu-Ray DVD enabled set top box for $399.

Sony is aiming this at people who are already watching TV programming on their computers, such as early broadcasts of sporting events and YouTube videos.

Google TV uses the same Android operating system that has become uber-popular among cell phone users. Google TV comes with a Chrome Web browser. Several partners are already on line to provide content including Amazon, Netflix, NBC Universal, the NBA, Time Warner and USA Today.

The Google TV comes with a remote that has a full QWERTY keyboard.

VIDEO: Microsoft Windows 7 phone keynote and demo

If you want to see what Steve Ballmer and Company have cooked up with the new phone, see the video below.

Click here

Whoa, Happy Meal doesn't decompose....after 171 days

Think about this the next time you want to give the kids a little Ronald McDonald love:

A British newspaper reports
that a New York photographer named Sally Davies conducted a little experiment in the post "Supersize Me" world.

Unlike Morgan Spurlock, who ate McDonald's for days on end -- and risked his health -- in a popular feature film, Davies decided to take a picture of a McDonald's Happy Meal every day for months to see what would happen.

And not much happened.

Davies' "The Happy Meal Project" has gone viral.

"I bought the meal on April 10 of this year and brought it home with the express intention of leaving it out to see how it fared," she said. "I chose McDonald's because it was nearest to my house, but the project could have been about any other of the myriad of fast food joints in New York."

On day two, Davies said, the food lost its familiar smell of McDonald's goodness. Her dogs stopped circling near the shelf where she kept it.

Davies thought the food would mold. After two weeks, it still looked just as fresh as when the workers dropped it in that little white bag.

"It was then that I realised that something strange might be going on with this food that I had bought," she told the newspaper. "The fries shrivelled slightly as did the burger patty, but the overall appearance of the food did not change as the weeks turned to months."

After six months, she said the food is hard like plastic with an "acrylic sheen to it."

Anyone else ready for a Big Mac and fries?

Frustrated Panther fan makes song "Teach Me How To QB"

Tip of the hat to reader Carmen F., who sent me the link to "Teach Me How To QB," a song aimed at original Carolina Panthers star Matt Moore.

I won't make any commentary about being patient with a young team with young QBs. Enjoy

Monday, October 11, 2010

Nike's new Machspeed driver to hit stores next month

If you're a golfer who loves gadgets, you've got to love fall. That's when all the golf companies show off what their R&D departments have been cooking up all summer.

Nike today announced its new SQ MACHSPEED black driver, due Nov. 26. It is available with a round or square 460 cc head. It's designed to reduce air drag and has a deep face to still give golfers good distance on off center hits. It also has a lightweight shaft to increase swing speed.

Nike said it designed the head with a tall club face that tapers quickly, to increase forgiveness. All this results in a club with a slightly lower ballflight than last year's MACHSPEED model and one that spins less. That means your ball won't curve as much.

Men's lofts are available in 8.5 to 11.5. Women get an 11.5 and a high launch. MSRP is $359.99

Report: Apple won't support 4G with iPhone 5

Now things are getting interesting.

With Verizon's announcement last week that it's new 4G network would be deployed by year's end in nearly 40 markets, including Charlotte -- and media reports that the company would be getting an iPhone in January -- many assumed the iPhone would be Verizon's first 4G device.

To quote ESPN's Lee Courso, "Not so fast my friend."

Techcrunch, a popular and reputable blog, is reporting that Apple will not support 4G in 2011, much like it didn't initially support 3G when the original iPhone debuted on AT&T's Edge Network.

Techcrunch says the Verizon iPhone (or Veriphone as folks have begun to call it) will not support the 4G standard, and when a mid-2011 refresh is out, the iPhone 5, that the new model won't support it, either.

According to the blog, Apple will make a dual-mode phone that supports GSM (AT&T) and CDMA (Verizon) standards, but only on 3G. Apple won't support the 4G network until sometime in 2012.

Consider this Steve Jobs saying he doesn't want to have his users testing out a brand new service that may have some bugs. This, of course, will give Android momentum, even as Veriphone finally arrives, by saying it Droid Does 4G and iPhone won't.

Android actually supports 4G on Sprint's WiMAX networks right now and I've been able to use it around Charlotte with pretty good results. But 4G is spotty and I'd imagine that AT&T and Verizon will suffer some 4G growing pains next year, not to mention that the chips needed to power the 4G devices are a little power hungry. Anyone who has tried Sprint's otherwise cool 4G phone, the HTC Evo, knows you have to basically keep a charge cable in your pocket.

So it seems that you'll be able to get iPhone 5 for AT&T or Verizon (and I'm assuming Sprint and T-Mobile, too, if the multi-standard thing is true). AT&T is lighting up its new 3G mode, called HSPA+, which some feel can deliver speeds close to what we're seeing in early 4G devices.

Be interesting to see what happens moving forward when we get some official announcements, but considering there will likely be a premium charge for 4G, something like Sprint's $10 per month, I'm not sure how many folks will sign up for it anyway. At least initially.

Wilson to give away 11 free set of irons next month

Attention golfers, Wilson plans to give away 11 sets of its new Di11 irons on Nov. 11. The irons are made for distance and accuracy.

To enter, visit Wilson's web site Submissions will be accepted until Nov. 8. Winners will be announced Nov. 11

Wilson Staff Di irons have pushed the distance and accuracy envelope since the original first launched in 2005. Now, 11 is the magic number as Wilson has created a promotion that awards 11 lucky golfers a free set of Di11 irons on 11/11 (Nov. 11, 2010).

The new irons are the fifth generation of the Di in the super game improvement category. Wilson says they feature "modifications and updates in virtually every performance area, all designed to deliver added power and greater accuracy for players of all skill levels."

The changes include a wider sole and bigger sweet spot, meaning these will be easier for the average 100-shooter to hit, and hit far.

Microsoft launches Windows Phone 7, hopes to boost sales

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer introduced his company's latest offering into the smartphone industry, Windows Phone 7, Monday morning in New York.

Microsoft is going the Google/Android route by developing software and allowing hardware manufacturers to create the handsets. Customers will get touchscreen thin handsets as well as QWERTY keyboard devices.

Ballmer describes the new phones, which will be GSM only for now (read: no Verizon) as "different" and "more modern" in design and usage.

He said the new phone focuses on how real people want to use their handsets.

The device will use something called Windows Phone Hubs, which appear as large box-shaped tile displays on the phone. They react in real time. Get a new email or a voicemail or even Twitter or Facebook updates, and the "hub" changes on your home screen.

The phone ships with six hubs: People, Pictures, Music/Video, Games Hub, Office and the Market (for apps).

The phone also can connect to Xbox Live. And the hubs are totally customizable.

There's a hard button to snap a photo with the camera which also helps access on board photos. Microsoft said uploading photos to the cloud is a snap.

Microsoft Office is also included here with a mobile version of Outlook and office document support. Users can also edit Office files from the phone, but until early next year the phone cannot copy and paste (ugh).

This could be huge for business users.

Is this going to be the device to get Microsoft on the field with Apple and Google and RIM? The devices out so far look slick and more and more customers are trying smartphones. The market is expected to grow to nearly 300 million sold devices next year from about 190 million expected this year.

The phone will be available in several versions from AT&T and T-Mobile for $199 with a two-year contract.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

"Halo Reach" a masterpiece, (possibly) a fitting goodbye

There have been few videogame series as good as Halo, and this is a fitting finale (at least for Bungie, the game's developers). It's a masterpiece, one of the best games of 2010, along with NBA2K11.

The game is set a few weeks before the start of the original Halo, when we were introduced to one of the most iconic heroes in videogame history, Master Chief. Only now, dialing back in time, we meet the Noble Team, a group of super soilders, taking control of one of them known as "Noble 6." You never get to see his face. This is Noble 6's story. Master Chief is not here.

The best thing here is you don't know the Halo mythology, you're OK. Everything is explained and makes sense, at least as much as videogame stories can.

The game is set on the lovingly drawn Planet Reach, which is where one of the biggest battles between humanity and an alien species known as the Covenant took place. The Covenant has long sought to eradicate the human race.

We are introduced to Planet Reach to start the game and find Noble 6's team stationed at the center of humanity's military operation. You'll work with other members of the team as you complete missions, getting to know -- and care -- about them. The other members show their faces under the helmets, and you quickly understand that this is a war the humans are not winning.

At times, the costs of war can get depressing.

Like the previous titles, this is a first person shooter and action comes fast. Something new is the ability to use powers you pick up permanently. You can use jetpacks when you want and even give yourself a brief amount of invincibility. I did find that it was hard to use some abilities concurrently.

I couldn't find much to quibble with this game. It will take large chunks of your life to play. It's immersive. It's hard. It's engaging.

It's fun.

I only wonder where Halo goes from here. The guys at Bungie, who have made all the Halo games, are pulling off to concentrate on a new game. Microsoft will handle the franchise's future, if there's to be one.

If we never see another Halo title, though, this is a great way to go out.

"Spider Man Shattered Dimensions" worth a try

This is like four mini-adventures in one, plus more Peter Parker one-line cracks than many fans will be able to take.

Really, it does kind of get old.

"I break pots," Peter says at one point. "It's what I do."


Luckily, the game just rocks.

The game begins with Spider Man battling with Mysterio when they break something called the Tablet of Order and Chaos.

This causes reality to split. To restore order, a clairvoyant named Madame Web reaches out to the Spider Man of each reality to help restore order. Along the way, you'll face off with famous Spidey villains like Green Goblin and Sandman. And you get to play as a future Spider in 2099, today's guy and two others.

Basically in each world, you have to work your way through a series of battles, while saving civilians along the way. It's kind of easy at first. Walk into a room and stop the enemy threat there, but when you get to the big enemies, the bosses, things get tougher.

Of course, how well you do is really about how well you learn the button-mashing combos that allow you to unleash your powers.

I enjoyed playing with Spider Man of today and tomorrow (with the flying cars and neon colors). But I enjoyed the "Noir" version

In the 1930s Depression era, Peter Parker kind of handles business like Batman, doing his work behind the scenes with a much higher degree of stealth than we're used to seeing from Your Friendly Neighborhood Web Slinger.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

UVerse customers to use Xbox 360 as a set-top DVR?

According to Engadget, AT&T UVerse customers will be able to use their Xbox 360 as a set-top box in November.

A wired software update will come out next week bringing a Dashboard app to the Xbox. To use Xbox with UVerse, however, customers will still need at least one other standard DVR to enjoy the four streams of HD programming available.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

WSJ: Apple to produce Verizon iPhone by year's end

With news today that Verizon will deploy its 4G network to 38 cities, including Charlotte, by year's end, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple will begin to mass produce a Verizon iPhone by the end of the year.

The Journal writes that Verizon could sell the smartphone in early 2011, quoting sources who had been briefed by Apple.

Apple has long touted the iPhones ability to do voice and data at the same time, something that users of Verizon's current 3G network are unable to do. With 4G arriving soon, that would no longer be an issue. The initial Verizon iPhone apparently would be based on the company's current 3G network, however.

This news, if true, could be big for Apple and hurt AT&T, Apple's current provider which allowed current customers to get the new iPhone 4 in mid-contract without penalty this year.

Many speculated that was done to lock up those users in new two-year agreements with an increased termination fee.

AT&T chairman Randall Stephenson said last month that he felt that because so many iPhone customers were in family plans, he didn't think the company would be too hurt by a new carrier for the Apple phone. The thinking there is, say, if a family has three iPhones on AT&T, it would have to pay three termination fees and buy three new iPhones somewhere else. That would cost well over $1,000.

But what if Verizon is able to offer the buy-one-get-one-free specials it's been running with Android phones, or even offers to buy out the contract for AT&T customers switching over?

This is an important time in the cell phone wars for sure.

Also, a Morpace Omibus poll of 1,000 Americans showed that more than half of current Verizon customers intend to get an iPhone with Verizon.

A Deloitte study
found that close to half of all U.S. iPhone customers on AT&T would be 'interested' in a Verizon iPhone.

The Wall Street Journal said the upcoming Verizon iPhone would be similar in design to the current iPhone 4 and is expected in the first quarter of 2011. The WSJ also said Apple is working on iPhone 5 and it will have a "different form factor" than those currently available (larger screen iPhone XL perhaps?).

I would expect that if iPhone is not compatible with Verizon's 4G network, iPhone 5 would be. But would you want to get a 3G iPhone on Verizon in February, knowing the faster version was coming in June?

Interesting days ahead. The next time Steve Jobs puts on the black turtleneck and hits the stage might be the biggest "And One More Thing" news conference that company has seen yet.

Charlotte one of 38 cities to get Verizon 4G coverage by December

Verizon plans to have its next-generation "4G" cellular network launched by the end of the year. At a news conference in San Francisco Wednesday, the company said that its 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) network would launch in 38 major metros, including Charlotte, and touch more than 110 million Americans by December.

Verizon is also putting its 4G network into 60 commercial airports in the U.S. -- in launch cities and other key areas.

The new network will allow much faster speed than the current 3G network provides, much closer to type speed customers see on at-home DSL or cable modem networks.

The launch areas include Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. as well as Rochester, New York in the Northeast.

The launch will also touch customers throughout Miami and south Florida, Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and New Orleans as well as Charlotte and Nashville, Tennessee.

Others are Chicagoland, St. Louis, the Twin Cities, Pittsburgh and major cities in Ohio, plus major population centers in California as well as Seattle, Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas and West Lafayette, Ind., home of Purdue University.

The company said Purdue is using several software applications on its 3G network that improve student engagement and success, and Verizon Wireless is working with Purdue to explore the next phase of how 4G LTE technology can improve e-learning across the nation.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Apple makes Maiden couple nearly $2M richer

Bloomberg reports that Apple recently made millionaires out of Maiden's Donnie and Kathy Fulbright.

Turns out the Cupertino, California company needed some land that Fulbrights lived on to complete its new billion dollar data center there. The Fulbrights brought the land for about $6,000 and built a modest single-story home there.

After turning down an initial offer, the Fulbrights sold for $1.7 million.

With their winnings, the Fulbrights bought a new 4,200 square foot home with a jacuzzi in the master bedroom. It sits on a 49-acre lot.

Thanks a lot Steve Jobs.

The data center is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. Analysts believe it will herald the arrival of Apple's cloud-based computing, allowing users to stream and store videos and music on its servers instead of on user's computers. It could also be used to stream video content to Apple's just announced and recently released Apple TV set-top box.

2KSports in talks for NFL2K13, competiton for Madden

According to a published report from GoFanBoy, 2KSports has approached the NFL about a licensing deal to create a football simulation in 2013.

EA Sports' exclusive agreement with the league for its Madden franchise is set to expire, reportedly, in 2012.

2K hasn't made a football game since the critically acclaimed NFL2K5 five years ago and recently released its new NBA simulation, NBA2K11, which I think is one of the best videogames of its generation.

If nothing else, it would be interesting to see what type of football game 2KSports could produce and it would also push EA Sports to work harder on the Madden series, which I think has been consistently good.

Stay tuned.

The Age of Android: Android dominating smart phone sales

Two new press releases out today illustrate how hot the new Android smartphone service is.

According to a Nielsen study, Android was the most popular smartphone operating system purchased in America over the past six months.

The Google system accounted for 32 percent of new smartphone purchases. RIM, the BlackBerry folks, were second at 26 percent and Apple was third at 25 percent.

In overall market share, RIM still leads at 31 percent, Apple is second at 28 percent and Android is third at 19 percent.

Also today, Samsung announced that its Android-based Galaxy S series of phones have sold more than 5 million since launching in June. That figure includes more than 2 million U.S sales.

What to make of the numbers?

Android has gotten popular very fast. The operating system is available from a number of handset makers and on virtually every network. So, some of the growth is not surprising, and with a slew of new Android tablets due, including a promising one from Samsung, the format should only continue to expand, especially when many carriers are offering buy one get one free specials.

The Google plan seems to be to get its system into everyone's hands. It may prove to be a smart choice.

Apple, unlike Android and RIM, are only selling the iPhone on one carrier, AT&T. It speaks to how popular the device is that it still accounts for 25 percent of the market for most of this year when you can only get it from a provider that many feel is inferior.

Apple badly needs to get onto multiple U.S. providers, if it cares about these kinds of penetration numbers. Many potential Apple customers say they'll still buy iPhone if and when it comes to Verizon or Sprint or T-Mobile. But with the new Androids, they may get tired of waiting -- and that appears to be happening now.

RIM has just released a new BlackBerry model so it'll be interesting to see the numbers six months from now.

From a consumer standpoint, there have never been this many good smartphone choices on the market at the same time. No matter which carrier you use, chances are you can get a killer smartphone for it right now.

Monday, October 04, 2010

NBA 2K11 with Michael Jordan, "a love letter to basketball"

There’s been a lot of anticipation surrounding the new 2K Sports “NBA 2K11” videogame, which hits stores Tuesday (10/5).

That anticipation is more than warranted. This NBA basketball simulation looks more like the real thing than any other sports game ever created. There’s never been a Madden this good. In fact, there’s never been too many games better. Put this one up there with Halo and Mario and Guitar Hero.

This is one of the best video games in a generation.

It features Bobcats owner Michael Jordan on the cover and in the game. You can try to recreate 10 of Jordan’s greatest games. These are quite challenging. Those Lakers and Trail Blazer teams were pretty good, and it was neat to see some of the legends like Magic Johnson and Scottie Pippen recreated so vividly. Scottie even had his flat top.

And if you can get Michael and the Bulls over the top, you unlock a special mode where you can draft Jordan as a rookie and play out his career.

You can also pick many of Jordan's best Chicago Bulls teams and play against some of today’s best. If you choose one from early in his career, you get a thinner Jordan who wanted to drive and dunk. Choose one of his final three championship teams and you get the more crafty guy who liked to head-fake, spin, and fadeway.

The ShotStick control system is easy to learn and basically asks you to use two buttons to call plays or make sudden moves. It also allows for precise movements, allowing you to pull off the “oh-my-goodness” moves you see on TV. There are not very many animations that are predetermined like we’ve seen in many a sports game.

But the thing that stands out here is the presentation. Sure, there’s all the important modes: career mode, create-a-player, draft-your-creation-and-earn-enough-skills-to-get-drafted. You can update your season in real-time with the real season, so if your star gets hurt in real life, he gets hurt in your game.

While always welcome, most titles have these type of features nowadays. They don’t have this attention to detail.

Other than Kobe Bryant, these guys look a lot like their real life counterpart. They also play like them. You won’t see Raymond Felton driving and dunking over a 7-footer. You’ll see the defensive help.

No longer can you just come down the floor, mash a few buttons and easily beat your defender for a dunk.

The game really looks and feels like a real TNT broadcast, down to the soundtrack and sound effects. The crowd sometimes will arrive late, and leave early if you’re at home and getting blown out. I noticed all kinds of fan animations, celebrating big baskets -- or berating you for giving up some. I even lost my place in the game a few times because I caught myself looking at all the “little things” going on around me.

The PlayStation 3 version is compatible with the new PS3 move controller. Using the wand controller, you can easily shoot, pass and block shots. It took awhile to get used to playing with the wand, but I enjoyed it.

And I enjoyed playing this game. There’s little to quibble with. It plays fast enough. It looks good enough. This is a love letter to basketball. It’s definitely worth a try.

Hilarious: Wayne Brady, Mike Tyson remake Bobby Brown hit

Tip of the cap to reader Dee F. who forwarded me the link to Wayne Brady and Mike Tyson remaking (uproariously) Bobby Brown's old hit "Every Little Step I Take."

Brown makes a cameo to do the rap from the song.

This is fun.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

WSJ reports Verizon to offer tiered data soon; Verizon CEO talks Apple

A new Wall Street Journal article says Verizon plans to offer tiered data plans soon, much like rival AT&T.

AT&T sells 200 megabytes of data per month for $15. It sells 2 gigs of data for $25. Prior to the change this year, AT&T offered unlimited data for $29.99, a requirement for its most popular cellphone, Apple's iPhone.

At an investor conference Thursday, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg said Verizon's plan might be different than AT&Ts.

I think AT&T's cheap plan doesn't offer enough. The $15 should be for at least 500 MB or even 1 gig, especially with more data hungry apps coming on board, like video conferencing and Netflix streaming. Customers who cross their thresholds will get hit with penalty bills.

We'll see what Verizon does, as I figure this will be tied to its next generation network, called LTE, that it plans to deploy later this year. The "Long Term Evolution" network should deliver faster speeds, better connectivity and a smoother experience, but require new hardware.

Also in the new WSJ article, it says Verizon hopes the new network spurs suppliers, including Apple, to build product for Verizon.

"At some point, Apple will get with the program," the WSJ quotes Seidenberg as saying at the conference, but when it pressed him to comment on whether Apple would come in 2011, Seidenberg said, "I can't speak for Apple."

Interestingly, Seidenberg seemed to back his company's strong selection of Android phones, but still expressed desire in iPhone, when he again talked about how the new LTE network would attract suppliers.

"We don't feel like we have an iPhone deficit," Seidenberg said in the WSJ artcile. "We would love to carry it, but we have to earn it."

QUEASY VIDEO ALERT: God bless the TV tower worker who climbs 1700 feet

This is a job I don't want.

When something goes wrong in a TV tower, someone has to climb way way up -- higher than the Empire State Building up -- to fix the darned thing.

If you can get through this video without making faces and turning away, well, you're better than me.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

DirecTV offers free preview of NFL Sunday Ticket

DirecTV subscribers can get a free preview of the satellite provider's popular NFL Sunday Ticket package. The package, which costs $300 (payable in five $60 installments) delivers out-of-market NFL games each week throughout the season.

The free preview begins at 1 p.m. today on Channels 701-717 and includes the Red Zone Channel, which shows you when teams are about to score, plus the Mix Channel which shows eight games on one screen.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Best cell phone quality in the area? Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, survey says

The latest JD Power Survey on Wireless Call Quality was released today and in our Southeast region, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint tied for the top spot.

The study measures wireless call quality, based on seven problem areas that impact overall carrier performance: dropped calls; static/interference; failed call connection on the first try; voice distortion; echoes; no immediate voicemail notification; and no immediate text message notification.

Verizon Wireless also won for the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and West regions. U.S. Cellular Corp. was No. 1 the North Central region. T-Mobile was no. 1 in the Southwest.

AT&T was the only carrier to not garner a top placing in any of the six regions.

AT&T released a letter to consumers earlier this week assuring them of quality upgrades in this region (click here to see it).

TaylorMade introduces new golf irons on live webcast

TaylorMade golf used a live webcast to introduce its new brand of golf irons Thursday.

Nice innovation from a company known for its innovation.

The new Burner 2.0 irons come about 18 months after the original model. The new ones are designed to help golfers hit the ball further, a problem for most of us, as well as making the golf clubs feel better when striking the ball, a problem with clubs that are designed for distance.

"We've succeeded at creating a better-performing iron with the Burner 2.0, which is just as long, easier to play and more refined in its feel and sound," said Bret Wahl, senior director of research and development for irons, wedges and putters. "Every Burner 2.0 iron is better than its predecessor and, when compared against the longest, best-selling iron we've ever made, that says something truly significant."

The Burner 2.0's two-toned "Burner Black" PVD finish is more durable and resists glare. TaylorMade claims its used improved weight distribution to help golfers launch the club higher easier, while still allowing golfers to be able to "work" the ball. That's golf speak for making it curve one direction or the other.

Each iron has a different face thickness, which allows for more control in shorter irons and ease with hitting longer irons. The top of the clubs are also of varying thickness. Shorter clubs will look thinner and longer clubs will be larger, making them easier to hit, and inspiring more confidence when looking down.

The new irons come with lightweight shafts to help increase swing speed. There's an 85-gram steel or 65-gram graphite shaft. A women's version is also available with a 55-gram shaft.

Multiple flexes are offered. Steel sets are $699, graphite $899. These go on sale Oct. 8.

We hope to test these and report back on what we find, but from the literature, they sound like a winner.

Click here for a demo video

TaylorMade golf to launch new product on the web at 3 p.m.

A few hours from when I write this, TaylorMade Golf Company, one of the industry tech leaders in product innovation, will introduce a new product via worldwide webcast. It will go live at 3 p.m. today

To see the new product, go to taylormadegolf and load the video presentation which should last 10 minutes. Be interesting if more companies did this.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

ATT Wireless open letter of assurance to area customers

AT&T Wireless sent out a letter to Carolinas-area customers Wednesday night assuring them of coverage upgrades. The letter talks about AT&T's continuing plan to improve service.

If that sounds like a move to make sure you stick around once the iPhone gets gone, well, you thought what I thought.

Popular rumors, from credible news sources, have the iPhone going to Verizon in January. While that will surely hurt Android sales -- and I do believe many Verizon customers got tired of waiting for iPhone and found a decent alternative -- it could also hurt AT&T, which has experienced exponential growth thanks to the little handset from the guys in Cupertino, California.

Here's the text of the letter.

"I am writing to thank you for choosing AT&T for your wireless service, and to update you on exciting plans we have to make your wireless experience even better.

You already know that AT&T covers 97% of all Americans. And as an AT&T customer, you have access to the nation's fastest mobile broadband network; a mobile broadband network that allows you to talk and browse the web at the same time; and seamless access to over 20,000 AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots - more than any other U.S. wireless provider.

But you may not know the extent of our plans to improve your experience. In 2010 alone, we plan to invest between $18 and $19 billion in our wireless and wireline networks across the country. In fact, we've invested more in our networks over the last three years than any of our U.S. competitors. We've already upgraded our cell sites to enable faster mobile broadband speeds when paired with expanded backhaul, and we plan a similar upgrade at the end of the year that will enable even faster speeds.

We're not stopping there. We are also adding thousands of new cell sites, expanding mobile broadband coverage to millions of customers, installing enhanced fiber backhaul, and increasing the capacity of our data network. Not only do these enhancements provide a better experience today, but they also enable a seamless migration to our next generation of mobile broadband - LTE.

What this means to you is simple: better coverage where it matters most, and fast access to information on the go.

Your satisfaction is always our number one goal. If you have any needs or questions about what AT&T can do for you, I invite you to stop by your local AT&T store, visit, or come tell us what you think at

Again, thank you for being our customer.


Alison Hall
Vice President and General Manager
AT&T - Carolinas Region"

Apple releases new iPhone software with features, bug fixes

Apple today has released its iOS 4.1 software for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Users can download the release by connecting their iPhone to their computer and visiting iTunes.

The new iPod Touch units, recently redesigned, are shipping with the new hardware.

iOS 4.1 fixes promixity sensor bugs, bluetooth issues and a problem where the old 3G iPhone slowed down with the new operating system. Users will be able to upload HD video over WiFI, rent TV shows and Apple's Game Center debuts for supported devices (no iPhone 3G here guys).

A new feature is High Dynamic Range Photos. Users tap a button and the camera takes three photos in rapid succession. One will be shot in normal exposure plus one that is underdeveloped and one over exposed. It then combines the three to produce an "HDR" photo. The normal and HDR photos are both kept in the camera roll.

GameCenter is used for multi-player games and allows you to challenge friends or auto-match you with players. Gamers can compare scores and see popular games.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Get ready for Google TV this fall

Speaking at a tech conference in Berlin today, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said consumers can expect Google TV this fall. This announcement comes less than a week after Apple introduced its new Apple TV, a $99 set-top box that will play rental movies and TV shows from the internet (as well as allow purchases through a computer).

Schmidt, who formerly sat on Apple's board of directors, said Google TV service will be free. He added the company was working with content providers as well as electronics manufacturers to put Google software into new TV products.

Sony already has announced it would work with Google, delivering a line of TVs with the software pre-installed, and Samsung is also studying the possibility.

So what is Google TV?

It is software, based on the popular technology in the Android phones, that integrates with your current TV offerings, from satellite or cable, and allows you, in theory, to search for channels, shows and actors. It also includes a web browser to allow you to check emails or surf the web on your 50-inch flat screen (which some PlayStation 3 owners with a keyboard know is kind of a cool thing).

You'll also be able to watch YouTube or watch programming from sites like Hulu, which delivers a lot of broadcast content on demand via the internet.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Samsung drops Galaxy tablet. Is it an iPad killer?

Samsung's new Galaxy Tablet was introduced at a news conference in Berlin Thursday. It's a 7-inch tablet running the latest Android OS, Froyo 2.2.

The machine has 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth and does Flash, unlike the Apple iPad. The Galaxy Tab also, unlike iPad, comes with a 3-megapixel rear camera with autofocus and an LED flash. Up front there's a 1.3-megapixel camera to allow videochatting.

“Samsung recognizes the tremendou sgrowth potential in this newly created market and we believe that the Samsung Galaxy Tab brings a unique and open proposition to market," said JK Shin, President and Head of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics. “The Tab has been designed to enable consumers to maximize their online experience wherever that may be.”

Samsung has its own books, movies and music apps, the Readers' Hub and the Media Hub and the Music Hub.

The tablet is expected in the U.S. "in the coming months," Samsung said. It will launch in Europe in a few weeks.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

NBA2K11 footage with Michael Jordan in the game

If this 10 minute peek is any indication, 2KSports is putting together one of the best sports games, well, ever with its NBA 2K11 with Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan on the cover and in the game.

This clip is a recreation of the 92 NBA Finals between Jordan's Chicago Bulls and the Portland Trail Blazers. It's accurate even down to the shooting motions and Jordan's one-handed leg kicking slam.

Apple introduces Apple TV, new iPods, fixes iPhone issues

Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled a new line of iPods Wednesday and a new $99 Apple TV. He also introduced a new operating system for Apple's mobile devices that will correct issues with iPhone 4 and with older iPhones running slowly when using the new operating system.

The new iPod Touch will add all the popular features on iPhone 4, including the "Retina" display and FaceTime video conferencing. Apple TV will let users rent movies and TV shows and stream content from Netflix and YouTube.

Also a new version of iTunes will be launched with a Facebook-like social intergration app.

A quick rundown of the day.

New iPods Launched

Jobs said the company has sold 275 million iPods in its history.

Every iPod is being redesigned and will be available next week. Pre-orders will be taken today.

The new iPod Touch is now the most popular iPod.

"A lot of people call it an iPhone without the phone," Jobs said.

The new iPod Touch is even thinner than the old version, has the Retina Display and runs the Apple A4 chip, just like the iPhone 4. It has 3-axis Gyro plus a front facing camera with FaceTime over WiFi. A rear camera has also been added with HD video recording.

The new touch will have 40 hours of music playback. It's $229 for 8 gigs, $299 for 32 gigs and $399 for the 64 gig version.

More than 1.5 billion games and entertainment titles have been downloaded to the Touch.

-- The new iPod Shuffle is smaller than last year and has buttons, voiceover and playlists. It's about the size of the palm of your hand. It'll speak through your playlists, Genius mixes and the Voice over will tell you song and artist and even let you know when the battery needs charging. The shuffle is good for 15 hours per charge, Jobs said, and comes in five colors. Price is $49.

The new iPod Nano is 46 percent smaller and 42 percent lighter and loses its click wheel. It's square shaped instead of rectangular. It uses the same multi-touch as iPhone. It has a clip on it to attach to your clothes. It's got FM radio, the Nike pedometer and 24 hour audio battery life. This comes in six colors. Price is $149 for 8 gigs; $179 for gigs.


Jobs said 11.7 billion songs have been downloaded from iTunes, more than 100 million movies, 450 million TV episodes and 35 million books.

Jobs announced iTunes 10, the latest version, Wednesday with a new logo. It launches today.

What's new?

The interface has changed and Apple has added "Ping" to iTunes, a social network for music. Ping is available on computer, iPhone and iPod Touch.

"It's sort of like Facebook and Twitter meet iTunes," Jobs said. "It's a social network all about music and its' built right into iTunes."

Users can follow favorite artists and friends and find out what's popular. Simply click the Ping link in iTunes. A top 10 chart of songs and albums is customized for each user based on what their friends and favorites are downloading.


The old Apple TV was $229. The new one is $99. It'll launch in four weeks with pre-ordering starting today.

Introduced in September 2006, Jobs said Apple has not sold a lot of its Apple TV hardware, but the users who use them tell Apple they love them. Jobs said users said they wanted Hollywood movies and TV shows.

"They don't want amateur hour," Jobs said. "And they want everything in HD."

Jobs said consumers don't want a computer attached to the TV or to have to manage storage. "Your hard disc starts to fill up, what are you gonna do?" Jobs said.

The new Apple TV is about 1/4th the size of the current Apple TV. You can hold it in your hand. It's a small black box. It has a power cord, HDMI, and an ethernet cable. WiFi is built-in. It comes with a remote.

Users will rent all their content and not purchase anything. The device will stream content from your computer with no synching required.

First run movies will cost $4.99, on the day and date they are released on DVD. Renting HD TV shows will be 99 cents. These shows will be commercial free. Only ABC and Fox are on board first. Jobs said he expected the other major studios to come on board soon.

Netflix subscribers can stream content on Apple TV, Flickr, mobileme or YouTube.


-- Apple released its new operating system, iOS 4.1 that fixes promixity sensor bugs, bluetooth issues and a problem where the old 3G iPhone slowed down with the new operating system. Users will be able to upload HD video over WiFI, rent TV shows and Apple's Game Center will debut. The new system debuts next week and is a free download via iTunes for iPod Touch and iPhone.

A new feature is High Dynamic Range Photos. Users tap a button and the camera takes three photos in rapid succession. One will be shot in normal exposure plus one that is underdeveloped and one over exposed. It then combines the three to produce an "HDR" photo. The normal and HDR photos are both kept in the camera roll.

GameCenter is used for multi-player games and allows you to challenge friends or auto-match you with players. Gamers can compare scores and see popular games.

-- Jobs offered a sneak peek at iOS 4.2 for iPad that will come out November, as a free update for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. "It's bringing everything to iPad," Jobs said including folders, GameCenter, HDR photos and wireless printing, a much requested app.

A new feature, AirPlay, will also debut. It'll allow users to stream audio, video and photo to other devices. Users with an iPad or iPhone can stream content to Apple TV.

You can watch a movie or look at photos on iPhone or iPad and watch the rest on your flatscreen via Apple TV.

-- Apple has shipped 120 million iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch products in four years, Jobs said. He said Apple is activating about 230,000 new iOS devices every day. That figure doesn't include upgrades.

-- There are 200 apps per second are being downloaded from Apple's App Store, and more than six billion total in its history. There are more than 250,000 apps currently in the store, 25,000 are iPad exclusive.

-- Jobs said Apple Stores draw more than one million visitors several days per month. He said more than half the people buying Mac computers are new users.

Link: Apple set to introduce new hardware Wednesday

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Apple expected to introduce new iPod touch, iTV today

Apple, Inc, will hold its annual fall media conference Wednesday at 10 a.m. PST, and Steve Jobs is expected to announce a revamped Apple TV set-top box as well as introduce a new iPod Touch that will rival iPhone in screen resolution and other features.

The event will be streamed at and requires a Mac computer running the OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard operating system and the Safari web browser, an iPod Touch or iPhone running the iOS 3.0 operating system or higher or an iPad.

Businessweek has reported that Jobs will introduce a new $99 Apple TV product that will stream movies and other content from Netflix. The current Apple TV costs more than twice that and is basically a movie and TV rental service that allows users to get content from iTunes and watch on their TV.

Other published reports have speculated that the new Apple TV will also allow users to download TV series for 99 cents per episode shortly after they air.

I think we can expect to see a new iPod Touch that will look a lot like the squarish iPhone 4. I think the new Touch will feature Apple's "Retina" display, front and back cameras and include FaceTime video chat. It will be interesting to see if Apple allows 3G over the device, which may include a microphone and would then allow users to make calls via services like Skype.

A new smaller iPod nano with a touch screen is also expected to debut.

Speculation is running wild about Apple TV and a new iPad 4.0 operating system that will bring features like folders to iPad. Apple may also debut a new iLife suite, which includes Apple's photo software (iPhoto), website creation tool (iWeb) and DVD creator (iDVD).

The wildest rumors claim we'll hear about the white iPhone 4 and the Verizon iPhone at the conference. Meanwhile, a Mexican carrier is claiming that we'll see a new iPhone 4 released at the end of September that has been redesigned to thwart the antenna issue that has caused some users to lose signal.

We'll have a full report tomorrow on what Apple does -- and does not -- do. As usual, the guys in Cupertino sure do know how to get the tech masses into a lather.

TW Cable promises new cheap, fast plans

Time Warner Cable, trying to answer improvements from competing services, has launched "SignatureHome," a new bundle that delivers some pretty powerful features.

For $179.99 per month (plus tax) for the first 12 months, customers will get unlimited nationwide calling and voice mail, cable TV services plus a whole house DVR. The DVR will allow customers to record or watch a show in one room and finish in another. The base plan includes two HD DVRs, each one allowing you to store a massive 150 hours of HD content. You can record four HD shows at once using the two supplied HD DVRs. Add more and your recording options -- and storage capacity -- grow.

Of course, if you have more than two TVs, those extra boxes are $7.34 per box. More good news? The boxes appear to be higher quality than the standard issue TWC DVRs that have caused customers fits.

There's even a feature that allows customers to go backwards on the guide for up to three days to see shows you missed. I had to read that one twice, and then I had to call.

But it's true.

If it's Thursday and you missed American Idol on Tuesday and forgot to tape it, well, just click back a few days on the guide, and boom, you've got Ryan Seacrest.

But the best feature here is TWC's new "Wideband" internet that provides download speeds up to 50 megabits per second and upload speeds of up to 5 megabits per second. That's more than five times as fast as TWC's current speed king, Road Runner With Turbo Boost. A quick check of the local website shows 10 megabits download and 5 kbps up for that.

With so many new products and services being introduced that will use the internet, this kind of speed would be amazing.

Of course, the entry price goes up to $266 per month after 12 months, but the nice salesperson I talked to said you could sign up for another 12 months and get the original price.

Of course, real world pricing, by the time you added some extra boxes and movie services would probably top $200, but how many of you are paying that now for cable, phone and internet and not getting this much? Time Warner also promises priority customer services for Signature Home customers, including a two-hour technician window and 24/7 phone service.

TWC may have a winner here.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Verizon plans to allow live TV streaming to iPad

NewTeeVee has an interesting report today about Verizon allow its FiOS subscribers to watch live TV on their iPad.

Customers can expect the new App early next year, though subscribers with iPad will only be able to watch linear programming in their own home.

For you and me, this means you can have a mobile TV. If you need a TV in the bonus room, just take your iPad. Want one one on the front porch? Just take your iPad.

So let us pray that all cable and satellite companies come on board with something similar.

Other companies like Time Warner Cable and Comcast have demoed some iPad apps but they were more about using the tablet as a remote, not as a screen.

Google to give iPad some competition, launch tablet

According to the Download Squad, Google is planning to launch a tablet computer Nov. 26, just in time for prime Christmas shopping season.

The source claims the Chrome OS tablet will be built by HTC, the same folks who make those cool Android phones, like the EVO for Sprint.

It looks like the tablet will have 3G through Verizon. The Download Squad offers thoughts that the unit will be heavily subsidized (agreed) with a contract, and it might even be free with a data contract.

Think that might get Apple's attention?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Smaller, 7-inch iPads on the way by Christmas?

A Taiwanese newspaper is reporting that Apple is readying a smaller iPad with a 7-inch screen by Christmas.

The current model, featuring a 9.7-inch screen, has sold more than three million units since debuting in April.

A smaller iPad might sell for $100 cheaper than the current model, which begins at $499.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Subway and PlayStation team up to offer free gear with sandwiches

Next time you go to get your $5 dollar (five-dolla, five-dolla) footlong, you may be able to quench your gaming jones, too.

Turns out that Sony and Subway have announced a "marketing alliance" that will allow you to win PlayStation prizes, including some products before you can buy them in stores. Sony says the prizes will be worth more than $1 million in retail value and that it expects to award them at a rate of a prize per minute during the promotion period. Those prizes include a shot at the new PlayStation Move controller before they hit stores next month.

How to get some of that PS3 goodness you ask?

Buy specially marked items at Subway like chips, sandwiches and drinks and enter redeeming codes attached at or via mobile devices at subwayfreshbuzz.modi or via text to 87963. You'll learn instantly if you've won and how to redeem your prize.

And besides the anticipated Move controller, Sony plans to give away collector's edition boxes of Gran Turismo 5, LIttle Big Planet 2 and UNCHARTERED 2: Among Thieves Fortune Hunter Edition. It will give away 3D and HDTV entertainment packs and PSP entertainment packs that include a movie and game.

The promotion starts today.