Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Verizon to allow Skype usage over wireless network

Wireless carrier Verizon plans to allow customers to use Skype over its wireless network. In late March, Verizon subs who have data and voice service plans will be able to download a Skype application.

Verizon will make the Skype application available on nine phones initially. Those phones include the new Droid and several types of Blackberrys.

That will allow users to make free calls to other Skype users, make international calls at Skype's low rates. Verizon said the Skype "app" will be always on, so users can see if a friend is signed on even when a phone is in standby.

Users might also take advantage of Skype's calling plans, which allow users to call any type phone. Skype has a $2.95 plan for unlimited calls to U.S. and Canada land lines and cell phones. It has a $12.95 plan that provides unlimited calls to landlines in more than 40 countries worldwide. You can also buy minutes as you need them.

What does that mean?

Consider a Verizon unlimited smart phone customer is currently paying $119 per month. He could go to a reduced minutes package and drop his Verizon bill to $89, planning to subscribe to Skype and making most of his calls that way.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

AT&T U-Verse Adds Caller ID locally

Charlotte AT&T U-verse customers can now get caller ID on their TVs.

The new Caller ID on TV app lets customers view Caller ID and voicemail notifications on their TV. A small message appears on screen for about six seconds when you get a new call or voicemail.

Here's a demo video:

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Game developers choosing iPod Touch over PSP, DS?

Interesting article on developers starting to prefer iPhone and iPod Touch over Nintendo DS and Sony PSP.

Game Developer Research says 19 percent of handheld game developers are now busy building games for the Apple products, which is more than double the amount for Nintendo DS and PSP developers.

Also the company says handheld games are 25 percent of the gaming market, up 12 percent since the iPhone and iPod touch became serious players.

I think the Apple model works. Customers can download games immediately for their systems. The games are much cheaper than games for the other systems, partly because you don't need packaging or shipping.

Sony has answered with its own downloadable game playing PSP version. I think handheld gaming will continue to head that direction, and sooner than you think, most of the games in GameStop or stores like that will be for home consoles.

And I wonder who'll be first to really push downloadable games at home. It's totally possible now, but of course, it would dry up a huge revenue stream for game companies. It would be nice to just download the Madden 11 update for, say, $9.99 instead of having to spring for a new game at $50 a pop.

Wouldn't it?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Madden sim says New Orleans wins Super Bowl 35-31

In its annual Super Bowl simulation using the Madden videogame, Electronic Arts finds that the New Orleans Saints will win Sunday's big game 35-31.

The simulation was run on Xbox 360 using the Madden videogame.

In the sim, the Colts lead 24-21 after three quarters, but Reggie Bush gets the Saints going with a 42-yard punt return for a score. Then the Colts come back and score behind QB Peyton Manning and RB Joseph Addai for a 31-28 lead.

But late in the game, Saints QB Drew Brees, who wins MVP honors, throws a championship-winning 11-yard pass to David Thomas for the game winner.

The simulation used each team’s current roster and the latest player statistics. EA says Madden NFL 10 was able to accurately predict the outcome of both the NFC and AFC Championship games within a margin of three points for each game.

EA SPORTS utilized this same simulation formula to correctly predict the outcome of Super Bowl XLIII (Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Arizona Cardinals) and has correctly predicted the Super Bowl winner for five out of the last six years, since the official Madden NFL Super Bowl simulation began in 2004.

Me? I still think the Colts win 38-20.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Dell debuts new mini-gaming super netbook

Today, Dell has introduced the Alienware M11x, which the company is calling the "most powerful 11-inch laptop in the universe."

It's said to be as powerful as a standard 15-inch laptop but in smaller design. The new unit weighs less than five pounds and starts at $799.

Alienware M11x Key Specs:

· Processor: Up to Intel® Core™2 Duo SU7300 (1.3GHz, 800 MHz, 3 MB)

· Graphics: 1GB GDDR3 NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 335M

· Memory: Up to 8GB DDR33 1066MHz

· Hard Drive: Up to 500GB4 7200RPM or 256GB4 Solid State Drive

· Operating System: Genuine Windows® 7 Ultimate (64-bit)

· Connection: 802.11 b/g/n & Optional Internal WWAN

· Ports: HDMI / VGA / 3 USB / Media Card Reader / FireWire

· Battery Life: Up to 8.5 Hours of Battery Life1

· Performance: Over 6,100 3DMark 06 Score! 2