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Archive | May 10, 2011

PSN Outage update – there is no spoon…oops, update

You gotta love how well Sony keeps in touch with its fans: Just minutes ago, Patrick Seybold, Sr. Director, Corporate Communications & Social Media posted “an update” to their blog. The post literally says again that there is no update and asks for more patience.

I know you all want to know exactly when the services will be restored. At this time, I can’t give you an exact date, as it will likely be at least a few more days. We’re terribly sorry for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience as we work through this process.

The PSN service was turned off  on April 20th following  massive breach in which over 75 million user accounts were compromised. The full functionality is not scheduled to be reinstated until at least May 31st. Sony does have some plans to compensate its PSN users, including free PSN access for a month and credit monitoring services, but various gaming companies like CAPCOM are starting to complain that the damage suffered during PSN outage is costing them millions. It is unclear if Sony will do anything about that.

via Sony PlayStation Blog

Microsoft bought Skype for $8.5 billion – expect WP7 and XBOX 360 Kinect clients soon

So the rumors were true after all and today the deal is official. Microsoft owns Skype by paying a rather hefty $8.5 billion dollars, around three times the latest Skype market evaluation. The purchase is extremely significant and might reshape the telecommunication market as we know it. With over 170 million active customers each averaging 100 minute usage , Skype is by far the largest internet communication company in the world and, while not yet profitable, it will offer Microsoft an important advantage over the competition in a global market and the needed technology to compete in the communication business.

What’s in it for you? To begin with, expect Skype clients for both Windows Phone 7 and XBOX 360, the latter making video-conferences possible through its new Kinect sensor. Skype technology will also be probably implemented in the upcoming Windows 8 (ARM compatible and available on Microsoft tablets starting next year). Microsoft reiterated its commitment to keep supporting other platforms which is a good news. Linux and MAC clients are in dire need of new versions and iPad still doesn’t have a Skype client optimized for tis larger screen. Let’s hope Microsoft will understand the advantages inherent to a multi-platform service.

Google TV take 2 will get Android 3.1 and Market

This is the moment everybody was waiting for (or at least the media center aficionados). After a less than perfect start for their media streamer box, Google went back to the design board and made some improvements. Among them, the boxes will receive the latest and greatest Android OS version 3.1, some newer hardware, apparently cheaper and faster and, best of all, a market. Expect the applications to pop-up like crazy finally transforming your stupid old TV set into a web portal with games, apps, news and of course, music, photos and movies. Take that Apple TV 2.

Criticized by the lack of content, Google also announced today a service for storing / streaming music from the cloud and the availability of rental shows via YouTube and Android Market so when the Google TV 2 arrives, at least will have more content than the initial release.

The new features will also be available on the existing hardware, so if you bought a Sony Google TV (check our Sony Google TV Review here) or a Logitech Revue, you’ll get the update as well. Honeycomb SDK will be available for free if you feel like developing stuff for the box and there is also a small crowd of hardware manufacturers ready to sneak a box in your living room, including Samsung, Vizio and the previous culprits, Logitech and Sony. We don’t know how the boxes will look like but expect some detailed hands on reviews as soon as we’ll have one in our hands. More details to come tomorrow!

Music Beta by Google stores 20,000 of your (i)legal mp3s for free

Google just pours the announcements today – Beside the news about YouTube and Android market video rental services, the Internet giant is getting its grubby hands in the music streaming business as well, in direct competition with Apple’s iTunes and Amazon cloud service. While the service is still officially in beta (it is also officially called Music Beta) it will offer similar functionality with Amazon’s music cloud but with a twist: You’ll get to store 20,000 of your songs for free. Since Google will have no way to check whether you actually purchased this music, which might also be the reason why the Google negotiations with the music industry completely failed. (And also that’s why you won’t be able to actually buy music from Google’s service, at least for now). The big music labels just don’t get it and when Read More…

Android Market now rents movies

Following their announcement about YouTube getting thousands of new movies to rent due to their recent agreements with important content providers, Google expands the streaming availability to their Android Market creating their own version of iTunes and putting them in direct competition with Apple’s ecosystem. The rental system also mimics Amazon’s 1-click checkout and works on smartphones, tablets and of course PCs.

In terms of compatibility, the requirement is Android 2.2 and higher and the Android client is still several weeks away, but that also mean my good old CyanogenMod 7.0 capable Nook Color will get the love as well, which is really cool, I missed a streaming service on it, especially with Netflix taking their sweet time developing an Android client. The prices seem to be the standard $3.99 as expected with some shows / movies as low as $1.99.