Oculus Rift Not Needed for EVE Valkyrie


Hilmar Petersson, CEO of CCP announced that people were playing without Oculus Rift since there was a limited number going around at the development studio. When asked if the game could launch with both VR and non-VR versions he replied: “It could be a game like that, absolutely.”

Being a stand-alone version and only a multiplayer, not interacting with the EVE universe as much as Dust 514 does, the game may see versions on quite a few platforms, including current and next gen consoles.

However it’s to early to be saying anything definitively one way or another. The game isn’t due out until sometime next year, possibly around the time the consumer version of Oculus Rift gets released. What there is to point out is that the VR experience is “the core” of what Valkyrie is trying to achieve.

The Valkyrie idea grew out of a tech demo that turned heads internally and then turned heads externally when it was shared at the Eve FanFest. Now the game is currently being shaped by a team of 20 CCP members from Newcastle, led by former senior producer of Mirror’s Edge, a “somewhat of an expert in tight, motion sickness-inducing gameplay” as Petersson stated.

The game is announced to be released in 2014 and could be a major turnaround to how MMO and gaming alike is experienced.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmNQEiJUthc[/youtube]

Thank you NextPowerUp and Eurogamer for providing us with this information.

Image and video courtesy of NextPowerUp.

Watch Dogs to Run at 30 FPS on Next Gen Consoles

Ubisoft Montreal’s Creative Director Jonathon Morin revealed that Watch Dogs would not run at 60 frames per second on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 next-generation consoles, but instead will only be running at 30 frames per second.

“Right now the frame-rate we’re focusing on [is] a steady 30[fps],” Morin said. “There’s always a balance, especially for open-world, between the simulation and the rest.”

“I think for where we are, the most important thing is the steadiness and [ensuring] that it’s always capped the same so when you play it, it feels right,” he added.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HbBxtmCCaI[/youtube]

Although the  frame-rate has been confirmed, there is still speculations on whether the native resolution would be 720p or full HD 1080p. Compared to the Wii U, the scaling is not that different, having games for Wii U play at 720p @ 30 FPS. At least the Wii U has its fair share of 1080p @ 60 FPS games on the market or soon to arrive, while everything announced to be released for the Xbox One and PS4, which is not from an indie company is stuck at 720p with 30 FPS.

We hope that the performance cap is due to the developers exercising cautions when dealing with this type of new hardware for the next gen consoles, otherwise the Xbox One and PS4 will be a disappointment to most gamers when having to play their  favorite AAA titles on a 720p @ 30 FPS resolution giving the fact that 4K gaming is on the horizon.

Watch Dogs launches for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, and PC on November 19th. The Xbox One and PS4 versions will be released as launch titles for those platforms and Ubisoft is expected to sell 6.2 million units.

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Images and video courtesy of NextPowerUp.

Android 4.3 Jelly Bean Available for HTC One Handsets

Great news for HTC One users as the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean updated has started to be available for OTA download. It is reported also that the HTC One will run smoother and faster with the new 4.3 OS than the Samsung competitor, the Galaxy S4.

The update started to become available to unlocked HTC One devices on the 28th of September and carrier locked phones will soon be given the update later on (if not already received). It is worth noting that Android 4.4 KitKat will soon be available in October, so updates are on the roll for android users.

The main improvements that users will see in the new Android 4.3 update for HTC One are:

  • Improved colour contrast in low-light environments using the camera
  • New battery charging animation in power-off state
  • Video highlights can now feature soundtracks
  • New radios
  • Several bug fixes
  • Improved overall system performance

Aside from the modifications and improvements provided by HTC to the One smartphone, the new firmware features several Jelly Bean goodies from the Android 4.3 version.

Some features owners should expect from the new software update are as follows:

  • OpenGL ES 3.0 version for realistic and high performance 3D graphics rendering
  • Virtual surround sound powered by Fraunhofer Cingo – Beats Audio technology may have overridden this
  • Bluetooth Low Energy and compatibility with Bluetooth Smart accessories
  • Improved dial pad functionality with Autocomplete
  • Better keyboard and text input
  • Wi-Fi only location scanning
  • Disabled apps tab found in the “Settings > Applications”
  • Additional language support
  • Enhanced photo daydream
  • Faster switching from the lock screen

Thank you Gadget.ro and IBTimes for providing us with this information.

 

Overclock Your Brain With the Foc.us Gaming Headset

 

Feeling tired and a bit sluggish? Or simply looking to boost your productivity? Well the future has a lot to offer. tDCS has been about for over 100 years but recently started floating around on the radar after Sally Adee wrote an article on tDCS for New Scientist, Apparently DARPA have been using the technology to reduce the training time of snipers by targeting the area of the brain associated with object recognition.

tDCS stands for transcranial direct current stimulation and is the process of delivering a constant low level current to a specific area of the brain via small electrodes this increases the plasticity of the brain and in turn makes your synapses fire faster giving you reported “incredible focus and mental clarity”.

Wearing the Foc.us headset

Sounds like science fiction huh? Well this year sees a massive leap forward in the technology with Foc.us Labs releasing a commercialy available product in the Foc.us headset allowing anyone with around £150 the ability to have a go.

Marketed as a gaming headset with the tagline “Faster Processor, Faster Graphics, Faster Brain! the Foc.us unit aims to cross boundries between the world of science fiction and reality. It comes complete with the headset, case, sponges (for contact points) and a micro USB cable, it even has a snazzy app available for iOS devices to control the current and duration of each session.

While this technology becoming accessible may pave the way for a brighter future it also raises a whole host of ethical queries. Will it be classed as cheating to use tDCS in exams for instance or on the pro gaming circuit? More importantly is it ethically correct to enhance our minds to what can only be described as superhuman?

Have your say below.

3D Printers Heading To The International Space Station In 2014

3D printing as we have seen by now is quickly becoming the next best thing since the dot-matrix printer and over the last year or so things have been going from strength to strength for the technology as its gone from concept to a high street reality. Not surprisingly, it was only a matter of time before NASA got their hands on the concept and tweaked and tuned it for use in their space stations.

The specially made printer has had to go through far more than a couple of test prints in order to get the thumbs up from the engineers. As well as being able to print intricate spare parts or tools for use in space, the printer will also need to withstand the force and vibrations of lift-off from earth and then have to be able to operate safely within a space station environment. On top of all this, some of the specially designed printers will also be able to product components from titanium and nickel-chromium powers which are laser melted together as they are produced.

When launched in 2014, the printers will be installed in to the ISS (International Space Station) and the final goal is for an astronaut to be able to produce a spare tool or component in an emergency without the need to fashion something together as was famously seen during the Apollo 13 mission in 1970 where a carbon dioxide filter had to be made from items including a manual cover, hose and gaffer tape.

Not only does this mean that less spare parts will need to be taken up to the station during take off – saving space, but also the mission costs could be lowered in the long run as well.

Image courtesy of Space.com

 

In Win GT1 Mid Tower Chassis Review

Introduction


In Win are setting an incredible pace for unique chassis designs recently, but while last week saw us taking a look at the glass and aluminium wonder that is the Tou, this week sees us looking at something a lot more practical and consumer friendly. I am of course talking about the In Win GT1, a budget friendly mid-tower that can be picked up for as little as £55 here in the UK. So it looks like we have a mid tower on a mid budget price range, so this should be something that caters towards quite a broad range of system builders in terms of features and performance, as we often find the best value for money comes from mid-market products.

In Win are known to draw heavy inspiration from non-pc products, much like with their awesome D-Frame chassis which was based around the chassis of a motorbike. In the same spirit, the GT1 mid-tower draws much of its design inspiration from a sports car and it will be interesting to see if its performance is as energetic as its design inspiration.

As you can see from the specifications below, the GT1 is pretty well equipped with 2 x 5.25″ drive bays, room for plenty of extra 3.5″ and 2.5″ drives, support for ATX/mATX motherboards, USB 3.0, 7 expansion slots and even a built-in fan controller.

The box features a nice image on the front as well as a bunch of tiles that detail the main features of the chassis. The box also kicks off the race car inspiration by adding a nice racing stripe across the top.

Around the back we see a lot more of the race car ideas with a funky image of a car similar to something like a Mustang.

Finally, inside the box I found a great bundle of extras, this included a handy user guide, all the screws and bolts needed to install our components and some red clip-in fixtures that can be added to the air vents. These clips are something you’ll see later in our build section of the review.

Google Looking To Take On ex-Blackberry Engineers

Blackberry as we have recently seen are not in the strongest of financial positions at the moment and with news that they have made a loss of nearly $1B from unsold Z10 handsets, the future is not looking to great for their engineers. Not all hope is lost for these high class professionals however and its about time they started looking at the latest revision of their CV’s. The Mobility division of Motorola who are under ownership of Google, is soon to be moving in to the home town of Blackberry in Waterloo, Ontario.

Waterloo is by no-means short of computer engineers, partly due to the massive computer science program at the University of Waterloo, but there is also a large number of engineers in many other company’s that Google are reaching out to as they advertise for new positions for those with backgrounds in computer science and engineering.

Motorola Canada’s engineering director, Derek Phillips spoke to Reuters and said that they are looking to “get just as many people who are interested to come out and hire as many people as we can.”

With this it therefore looks like not all hope is lost for those engineers who are still clinging on to their positions at Blackberry as more and more alternative positions appear through rival offices. Is this another step closer to the end for Blackberry?

Source: Tweaktown.com

 

Sharp’s First Windows 8 Tablet Has 10.1 Inch 2560 x 1600 Display

Engadget reports of Sharp unveiling its newest Windows 8 tablet at the CEATEC show in Japan. This new tablet from Sharp plays to their unique skills in developing high resolution panels and the “Mebius Pad”, as it is named, features an impressive 2560 x 1600 display. The Mebius Pad is essentially the Nexus 10 of the Windows tablet market. At 2560 x 1600 the Mebius Pad from Sharp is well ahead of most other Windows 8 tablets currently on offer – the majority of other tablets are stuck at 1080p. The Mebius Pad uses a 10.1 inch IGZO panel made by Sharp themselves and it is known for its impressive low power credentials.

The rest of the Mebius Pad is based around the latest Intel Atom Processor – the Z3370 to be precise – which is based on the Bay Trail-T family. The tablet has LTE, 3G and WiFi connectivity. The tablet will ship with Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 operating system – that’s the fully fledged version not the Windows RT version. Sharp have also made sure this device is both dust and water proof as it has passed IPX5, IPX7 and IP5X certifications. Sharp’s Mebius pad is expected to be heading towards the business market, hence the optional stylus, and the extra resolution essentially means more space for your documents and spreadsheets in Windows.

Image courtesy of Engadget

Nokia Tablet “RX-114” Approved by the FCC and Heading for AT&T and Verizon

Until now there were rumors circulating about a new Nokia tablet said to be running Windows 8.1 RT in the works. This rumor became official when the device was approved by the FCC and will become available, according to Nokia’s tweets, on the 22nd of October. The Nokia team did a good job at covering it up with a 167 page document full of measurements and technical graphs. Below are some leaked diagrams of the device along with specific references to its slate-like state.

Nokia RX-114 packs support for LTE bands 2,4,5,13 and 17 in addition to full 2G and 3G connectivity, which means both variants of the tablet will support 4G LTE.

At Nokia World, scheduled to take place in Abu Dhabi on October 22nd, gets closer and while four of the six devices that were to be announced on that day day have already been revealed, details about the two other “mystery” devices are still unknown.

Thank you NextPowerUp and Engadget for providing us with this information. 

Images courtesy of NextPowerUp.

BlackBerry Lose Nearly $1 Billion From Unsold Z10 Inventory Write-Down

When BlackBerry released the Z10 handset back at the end of January this year they hoped the smartphone would sell really well and turn the company’s fortunes around somewhat. However, in a rather unfortunate turn of events the BlackBerry Z10 has actually made things worse, rather than making things better. According to BlackBerry’s latest second quarter fiscal 2014 results the company had to pay a $934 million, just shy of $1 billion, inventory charge for the write-down of Z10 inventory. What this means is that BlackBerry scheduled the production with its suppliers of more handsets than were demanded by consumers. The end result is a tonne of unsold inventory that someone has to pay for and in this case it’s BlackBerry that are paying for it.

For those who remember Microsoft had a similar inventory charge for writing down stock of Surface tablets but that was around $900 million and Microsoft are a much larger company. BlackBerry’s Q2 revenue of $1.6 billion was more or less totally obliterated by the Z10 inventory write-down and BlackBerry ended up with a final GAAP loss of $965 million. The additional losses incurred were due to corporate restructuring according to BlackBerry. BlackBerry also stated the majority of the 3.7 million handsets sold in Q2 were older BlackBerry 7 devices meaning sales figures for the newer Z10 and Q10 handsets were probably quite grim. BlackBerry claims despite all the disappointment it saw strong growth among its enterprise BES 10 customers.

Image courtesy of BlackBerry

Pricing and Launch Date Revealed For the Gionee Elife E6

The monolithic 5-inch handset is expected to launch on the 3rd of October, at a launch event held in New Delhi, India. Any pre-orders for the device will begin at that date and the shipping is expected to start on October 11.

Gionee has a monolithic design focus on the Elfie E6 which gives it a solid cuboid with less rounded edge look. It will be available in glossy black and white colour trims, having a 5-inch IPS LCD screen with full HD resolution ( 1920 x 1080 pixels ), a 13-megapixel BSI CMOS camera with 5 piece lens systems optimized for low-light photography and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera capable of 1080p video calls.

In terms of specs, the Elife E6 features an unknown SoC that is comprised of a quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU @ 1.5 GHz, 2GB of RAM, 32 GB of Flash Memory (non-expandable sadly) and a 2000mAh battery.

The handset is said to be running the Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean operating system and is priced at roughly $350 ( £217 ).

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of NextPowerUp.

Leaks Reveal Radeon R9 290X Potential Launch Date

DonanimHaber, a Turkish technology publication, has always been pretty accurate in the past with the leaks it reveals about unreleased products. Recently they’ve revealed details about the potential launch date of the AMD Radeon R9 290X graphics cards. According to them the Press NDA date (Non-Disclosure Agreement) for the Radeon R9 290X from AMD ends on October 15th at 12:01am EST.

Apparently the NDA date was also disclosed in slides shown to the press at the GPU 14 conference. Of course there have been occasions in the past where NDA dates do not correspond with launch dates for certain products. The AMD Radeon R9 290X carries those same “risks” so anyone expecting the cards to arrive with the speculated NDA expiry on October 15th might be disappointed.

We encourage all readers to take the information with all the relevant precautions (read: not all leaks end up being accurate).

Image courtesy of AMD

NASA Reveal Images Of A New Island That Emerged After Pakistan Earthquake

NASA have released a few images showing an Island that newly formed off the coast of Pakistan on September 24th. The island formed after a devastating earthquake struck mainland Pakistan causing over 500 fatalities, RT reports. However, one of the consequences of that quake was this new island which formed 380 kilometres from its epicentre in Paddi Zirr Bay near Gwadar, Pakistan, in the Arabian Sea.

Two comparative shots of the same area just a few months between, April 17th above and September 26th below, show the newly formed island popping up offshore. The new island is called “Zalzala Jazeera” literally meaning earthquake island. Scientists say the formation of the new island in the area is due to the relatively low water level of 15 to 20 metres.

The Zalzala Jazeera island is described by scientists as “just a big pile of mud from the seafloor that got pushed up”. The island will not last very long and scientists claim the island will remain above sea level for about a year before sinking back to the bottom again.

Local people have visited the new island with boats in abundance.

Images #1,#2 and #3 courtesy of NASA, Image #4 courtesy of Reuters / Stringer

AOL News Reading app Hits the Google Play Store

AOL just released a news reading app on the Google Play store which is available for both smartphones and tablets.

Unlike other news apps, the new AOL app uses the Flipboard interface, giving you the ability to scroll through top news broken down by category. Sections like Entertainment, Food, Health, Money, Sports, and others are available in the “Main Menu” and AOL says that if you are signed in with your account, the news will trim to your preference as you use it.

Aside from news, the new AOL app gives you access to a full AOL email experience, which is odd given the fact that it could have easily be broken up into two separate apps.

Summing it up, the app still looks like a basic news reader and most users won’t give up on their news apps pretty soon, but it is promising given the fact that it is only the first release.

Thank you Android Central for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Android Central.

SSD Power: 5 Benefits of Converting to a Solid State Drive

Since the personal computer was invented, it’s been more-or-less relying on the hard disk drive (HDD) to operate. Your hard drive is what lets your system start up, store information and open applications. In recent years, the HDD has seen some competition from the solid state drive (SSD). There are many advantages to SSD computing, and as other technology around it advances, SSD is poised to become the clear preference in how computers are built. Here’s why.

1. Speed

In every conceivable way, SSD is faster than HDD. A computer with an SSD boots in mere seconds and continues to operate with incredible speed and smoothness throughout use. In a world dominated by high-speed Internet and instant communication, slow computer processing stands out more and more. Plain and simple, HDD computing takes time that modern businesses, students and at-home users are willing or able to spend waiting.

2. Lifespan

The biggest overall problem with HDD units is that they have a lot of moving parts. It’s a standard rule of engineering that the more moving parts an object has, the more potential points of failure it has. By contrast, SSD units have no moving parts. This means there’s inherently very little to wear down over time — whether it is due to manufacturing errors or parts knocking loose in accidents. This all amounts to SSDs lasting a lot longer than HDDs.

3. Ongoing Performance

Because of the way HDDs store and process information, they often run out of physical space on the disk to store large programs in a contiguous block. This forces the HDD to store that data in separate places, which leads to pieces getting stuck, also known as “fragmentation.” To keep an HDD in peak performance, users have to go through regular defragmentation processes. SSDs aren’t limited to this physical writing format, so they never have a problem with fragments and their inherent performance issues.

4. Cloud-Friendly

Today’s SSDs tend to have less on-board memory than their far more common HDD counterparts, but in the age of cloud computing there’s not as much value in on-board memory. For users to store and access information through cloud systems, the speed and flexibility of the SSD is preferable to the robust but chunky nature of the HDD.
Note that this does require users to be a bit more vigilant with their data security. But by implementing a proper antivirus, encrypting all Wi-Fi connection and securing USB disks, cloud computing with a SSD beats out the backup-dependent situation of HDD computing.

5. Size

Because of the way they operate, HDDs can only be so small. SSDs are not limited to physical disk space so they can get very light and small. This is especially useful for laptops and other portable devices so users can get the most out of a tiny package.

Despite currently being more expensive (if only because they’re more rare), solid state drives are clearly superior to hard disk drives in every element of function. They’re faster, smaller and more reliable, especially for users who prefer the cloud to on-board storage.

Puppeteer PlayStation 3 Review

This week I’ve been getting lost in the world of Puppeteer, the latest game from Sony Japan and what a magical week it has been! When the game first arrived in the office, I though nothing of it, a simple children’s game with cute graphics I thought… but I was wrong and I quickly regretted not picking it up and playing it sooner.

The development team at SCE Japan Studio have made some truly incredible games that span the entire PlayStation history, scaling right back to their debut title Ape Escape, one of the most innovative games of the PlayStation 1 generation. This was followed by their collaboration with Team Ico on the legendary titles that are Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, both regarded as some of the greatest games ever made, as well as their next title The Last Guardian. This follows onto the madness of LocoRoco, the mind bending Echochrome and the PlayStation 4 launch title Knack which is being directed by Sony’s own Mr Popular, Mark Cerny. Lets just say they have a pretty epic reputation and that gave me strong hope that Puppeteer would be something special.

The game takes place in a theatre, or should that be the story is played out on a theatres stage and you’re the main star! The stage doesn’t move, but the set is ever-changing, rather than your typical side scrolling adventure the game acts like a real life play (if a little more over the top), so things are on strings, set pieces roll in and roll away as you move around. Between acts the whole scene can flip and turn around to reveal a new setup, or of course we can drop the curtains and do a full change over. The effect is absolutely flawless and it gives a real and somewhat magic feel to the presentation with graphics that puts a smile on your face.

The theatre settings demands a good sound track and it certainly gets one thanks to the talented Patrick Doyle, a famous composer who has worked on everything from Harry Potter, to Carlitos Way in his time. The music flows dynamically and really sets the tone for the game, it’s the next best thing to having an orchestra pit in front of your TV and if your fortunate enough to have a high-definition audio compatible surround sound system then you’ll be blown away by the depth and quality of the musical score as it provides all the sounds for the game world around you. The game is also backed up by a reacting audience, who gasp and cheer along with on screen events, adding an even more dynamic feel to the game.

While the musical score and audience makes the experience more entertaining, the best part has to be the superb voice acting. The whole game is narrated and it really helps keep the story moving along, but also makes you feel as much a part of the audience as it does the star of the show. Voice acting is full of larger than life characters and the slick animation and lively set pieces are enough to keep you playing through to the end.

The story focuses around a boy named Kutaro (that’s you), who through a course of events was turned into a puppet then had his head torn off! As you adventure throughout the game you have to find new heads, these can be anything from an up turned pot, to a banana, and each of them will give you new abilities to perform along the way that can unlock secret areas of the game, or solve puzzles that you stumble across. Kutaro must also use a magical pair of scissors and his new-found allies to fight against the evil Mood Bear King, recover his original head and return to his own home. It’s the usual unlikely hero, big old bad guy and a magical weapon formula.

Gameplay is that of a classic 2D platformer and it mostly boils down to using simple jump mechanics to dodge obstacles, some simple puzzle solving, item collection and exploration, which all sounds a little humdrum, but that couldn’t be any further from the truth. The gameplay may be simple, but it’s not without its excitement and a good level of interaction with the crazy set pieces and plenty of weird and wonderful characters along the way to keep you entertained.

The gameplay is simple and fun, but when combined with the fantasy story, the dark and often black humour of the characters and set pieces, the gorgeous graphics and animation, it all adds up to a wonderful gaming experience. This gets even better if you’re able to play the game on a 3DTV. Since the main camera doesn’t actually move, the developers have been able to create some incredible depth and detail that you just can’t attain with movies since the camera needs to move and the focal point shifts with it. I don’t often play games in 3D, but Puppeteer is easily the best 3D gaming experience I’ve had to date.

Pros

  • Impressive and original looking graphics and animation.
  • A fantastic musical score.
  • Faultless voice acting.
  • Great story and gameplay.

Cons

  • It looks a little obscure and that may put many off from trying it.

“I first looked at this game and thought it was for children, but there is a lot more depth to its world and humour that will entertain all ages, not only that but you can bring a friend into the mix for some local co-op too. I must still be a big kid at 29 years old, because I’m going to start all over again and play this game at least one more time.”

Puppeteer PlayStation 3 Review

Thank you Sony for providing us with this sample.

The Best Selling Windows Product Is….The Lumia 520!

Microsoft’s recent internal meeting revealed a whole host of interesting information. According to the details of that internal meeting the best selling Windows product is actually a phone. In fact it is the Nokia Lumia 520, so it is hardly surprising that Microsoft decided they wanted to buy Nokia’s handset division. Recent figures suggested that the Lumia 520 accounted for about 32% of all Windows Phone 8 devices. If you consider that Nokia’s other Windows Phones also account for another 56% then it is easy to see why Microsoft is pinning its hopes on Nokia to help get more Windows products out there.

For Nokia this is a great success but for Microsoft it isn’t so impressive. It means that the Surface tablets and Windows 8 push have all been relatively mediocre. Microsoft made huge investments into Windows 8 and Surface and spent nearly $1.5 billion combined advertising those two products. Yet the humble Nokia Lumia 520 has managed to trump that just by being a solid value for money handset. Indeed Microsoft should have taken note of the Lumia 520 design philosophy when developing their latest generation of Surface tablets. Those new Surface tablets start at a hefty £359/$449 for the Surface 2 Windows 8.1 RT tablet and £719/$899 for the Surface Pro 2 full Windows 8.1 tablet. Microsoft will probably sit back in another 6 months time and wonder why the new Surface generation has failed to inspire the market yet again. Nexus 7 tablets starting from £199/$229 anyone?

Image courtesy of Nokia

Microsoft Will Focus On Entry-Level Smartphones Over Next 12 Months

Networkworld.com reports that Microsoft’s intention for the next year is to expand aggressively in the entry-level smartphone market. Microsoft’s Vice President for advertising and online marketing apparently stated that:

“We are going to spend a lot of time in the next 12 months building a real presence on the low-end smartphone market with developing countries.”

Indeed Microsoft’s strategy seems sensible as the Nokia Lumia 520 is currently the best selling Windows Phone 8 device according to recent statistics. With Microsoft in total control of Nokia’s handset division, and Nokia currently excelling at the entry level part of the market, it seems logical for Microsoft to push the entry level Lumias.

While Western smartphone markets at the mid to high-end have been crowded out by fierce competition from the likes of Samsung, LG, Apple and HTC it seems sensible for Microsoft to not only pursue the entry level part of the market (where most of the money is) but also emerging markets in developing countries (where most of the money will be in the future).

As a result of this new strategy from Microsoft we can probably expect to see a range of handsets from Nokia that are more entry level than the Lumia 520, aka below it, to assist with expanding into the developing markets.

Image courtesy of Nokia

TSMC Stepping Up To 20nm Manufacturing Process

Digitimes reports thats TSMC is stepping up its purchases of equipment that is needed for the transition to the 20nm process. TSMC expects to enter volume production of 20nm based silicon from the first quarter of 2014 according to Digitimes’ sources.

“TSMC’s investment in 20nm manufacturing equipment for the fourth quarter of 2013 is expected to outpace that allocated for the third quarter, said the sources. In addition, shipments of equipment for TSMC’s 16nm HKMG process have kicked off, the sources noted.”

TSMC recently announced that it had tripled production and revenues of 28nm wafers in 2013 compared to 2012. TSMC also revealed its capital expenditure target had been raised to a record $9.5 to 10 billion USD as a result. According to Digitimes “TSMC expects to initiate volume production of 20nm chips in early 2014 followed by volume production of 16nm FinFETs in about one year.”

What this means for us graphics cards enthusiasts out there is that Nvidia and AMD will both soon have to make the shift from 28nm to 20nm process manufacturing. This means that the next generation of graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia has to be 20nm based because 28nm production will be put on the back-burner by TSMC.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Android 4.4 KitKat Running On Nexus 5 Spotted

Screenshots of an Android device taken by Myce have revealed what they claim is proof of the Nexus 5 running Android 4.4 KitKat.  In a log file “Android Key Lime Pie” is revealed with corresponding references to the Nexus 5 as the product name. Android Key Lime Piece is another way of referring to Android 4.4 KitKat.

The extensive range of screenshots, of which some of the “more interesting” ones can be seen in this article, show that the next generation Nexus device will  run Google Babel (Hangouts) and Google Authenticator. Additionally other stuff has been revealed like a complete list of Nexus 5 sensors. The Nexus 5 has a Magnetometer, Gyroscope, Barometer, Game Rotation Vector, Motion detector and Step detector.

The screenshots also reveal evidence for wireless charging and camera sensor settings. If you want to check out a more detailed analysis of the log files and what they could potentially mean then you can find that here.

Images courtesy of Myce

Grand Theft Auto Online Delay Is Explained

Rockstar Games’ decision to delay the release of Grand Theft Auto V’s multiplayer mode, Grand Theft Auto Online, has been known for a while. From previous information we saw that GTA V would be released on September 17th, which it was, and that Grand Theft Auto Online would be scheduled for October 1st, which it still is. Though a lot of people were asking why is Grand Theft Auto Online delayed by 2 weeks, up until now Rockstar Games has remained relatively quiet on that. Speaking with Polygon Rockstar Games’ co-founder Dan Houser spoke about the reasoning behind that 2 week delay.

The first main reason is that Rockstar Games’ believes the single player component is more important and it wants to get people playing that single player before they jump into the multi player.

“I think the well executed multiplayer game clearly attracts a big audience, but it doesn’t attract as big an audience as in a single player game, It just doesn’t do that yet….Not everybody, not even with Call of Duty, not everyone is playing the multiplayer, there’s a huge audience for people who love single-player adventures.”

The second reason behind the delay was that Rockstar Games simply didn’t feel they could complete both the single and multi player components in time for the same release date. Hence they decided to release the more important single player first and have the multi player come after.

“On the practical reasons it was simply on the scale of: ‘Why not simply get these two enormous things done completely at the same time, finished completely seamlessly and in a box? Well, because its nearly impossible. To make games on this scale is very, very hard and anyone you speak to who works on those big games will, if they’re honest, admit that there are a lot of moving parts. So, we were concerned that trying to finish them both for the same day would lead to a compromise in quality. On a practical level, it was very important that they each get a period when they can be really focused on by large numbers of the team to iron out as many problems as possible.”

Image courtesy of Rockstar Games

Winner Of The Be Quiet Shadow Rock 2 CPU Cooler Is Announced

Today we are announcing the winner of the Be Quiet Shadow Rock 2 CPU Cooler that ended on Monday. We had one Shadow Rock 2 CPU Cooler to give to one lucky winner. By random selection, the winner has been chosen as:

Jenny Mason

If you are interested in seeing any past competition winners then be sure to check out our competition winners page.

If you would like to participate in one of our many competitions then be sure to check out our competitions section. We currently have a lot more competitions running which you can still enter.

Winners will be contacted shortly to request shipping details so please keep an eye out on your Forum Inbox and associated Forum email account if you have private message notifications activated.

Congratulations to all the winners!

9yr Old Boy Taken To Court For Taking Gun To School, Minecraft To Blame… Wait, What!?

We’ve all heard the stories of video games causing violence, no doubt you’re sick of them as much as I am too! Yet one stood out this morning that just didn’t add up to my mind, one child has been taken to court over a video game that you wouldn’t normally associate with “violent video games”, I am of course talking about Minecraft.

Minecraft is a global phenomenon, a huge wave of gaming craziness that has become the play thing of millions of gamers of all different ages, but this is easily the first time I’ve heard of someone partaking in anything even remotely violent because of it. OK I admit there may have been one or two drunken arguments about it at the occasional LAN gaming event, but even then it is highly unlikely.

The nine year old boy in question hails from Orlando, Florida. He was taken to court and sentenced to home confinement by a judge, even though it is said that the boy could barely see the judge over the podium! The charges brought against the boy were unfortunately pretty serious, especially given that he was only 9. He was found carrying “an unloaded handgun, a magazine with six bullets inside, a steak knife and a small-handled sledge hammer” according to reports from WFTV-TV of Orlando.

“They use hammers to dig and knives and guns to protect themselves from zombies,” said the boys father.

I’ve only played about 5 minutes of Minecraft in my life, personally I’m pretty sure there are no guns in there? Correct me if I am wrong. I also doubt that Minecraft was the only game this kid played, he’s nine and has access to a computer and from the sounds of it, his gaming habits are not that closely monitored either.

The boys father said the guns firing pin had been removed, so there was no chance of it being fired. However, he still found it, as well as live ammo, not to mention the knife and hammer that he took with him!

We’re all used to the video games cause violence scapegoat, but Minecraft hardly fits the bill does it. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this, sound off in the comments section below.

Thank you WFTV for providing us with this information.

Crucial Ballistix Sport XT DDR3 1866MHz 16GB Memory Kit Review

Introduction


Micron are on of the biggest DRAM vendors in the industry and Crucial is one of their main brands through which they channel their DRAM products. Today we are looking at Crucial’s revamped Ballistix Sport line which now comes with the XT moniker. These Crucial Ballistix Sport XT DDR3 modules we have come in a variety of capacities and speeds which you can see here. The key things to note are that they are available in either 4GB or 8GB modules and can have either 1600MHz or 1866MHz clock speeds. We have with us today the best dual channel kit of the Ballistix Sport XT series, more specifically we have the BLS2K8G3D18ADS3 kit which uses two 8GB DIMMs running at 1866MHz, CL10 latencies and 1.5 volts.

The packaging is pretty plain and simple and indicates all the key details about the kit on the sticker. The packaging is clear so you can get a clear glimpse at the memory kit.

The back is quite plain and tells you that this series is aimed at mainstream users and gamers. There is nothing included with this product other than the memory kit itself.

Google Implements New “Hummingbird” Search Algorithm

On Google’s 15th anniversary, they introduced a new search algorithm to its giant search engine. According to Google, this change to the core algorithm is its biggest since the launch of Caffeine in 2010. Google senior vice president, Amit Singhal, stated that while page ranking and indexing must work together in a search engine, Caffeine was focused more on the ranking side. Hummingbird is more about indexing. “Hummingbird gave us an opportunity after years of building to rethink how we use the power of these things,” Singhal stated.

Any changes to Google’s search rankings can have big ramifications due to their steer of a lot of the Internet’s traffic. Google hosts 2 out of 3 search requests in the U.S. and handles even more volume in parts of Europe. The change would also impact the price of Google ads, driving the prices up to demoted websites looking for marketing messages which can boost their ratings.

Google revealed the new search algorithm on Thursday at an event held in Menlo Park, California, where CEO Larry Page and co-founder Sergey Brin started the company 15 years ago.

Thank you Huffingtonpost for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Google.

China Lifts a 13 Years Old Interdiction

China have approved a plan to lift selling restrictions for consoles. The decision to restrict consoles in their country was made 13 years ago, the Chinese being afraid that western games could have a negative impact on their teenagers. All in all, times change and the rise of mobile devices makes the 13 years decision obsolete.

The decision comes from the State Council to make a free exchange zone in Shanghai. The interdiction, which dates back to year 2000, was established due to the fact that officials considered international games dangerous.

As a result of lifting this interdiction, game developers will be able to open up offices in the Shanghai area, and with the Chinese market being big and attractive, it will not be hard to find interested people.

The Shanghai free zone will open up on the 29th of September and will be similar to Hong Kong. Microsoft has already announced a joint venture with Bes TV for developing games around the Shanghai area. Besides this interdiction, the Chinese have also talked about eliminating the Facebook/Twitter blockade.

Even with all these restriction,s the Chinese gaming industry has $9.7 billion and could rise to $21.7 billion by 2017.

Thank you Adevarul.ro for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Adevarul.ro