Saturday, 12 June 2010 - tech news fast! - tech news fast!

iPhone 4 network poll results: O2 wins, Three surprise second

Posted: 11 Jun 2010 09:02 AM PDT

With the iPhone 4 now set to go on sale with all five major networks later this month, we thought we’d ask you who you’re most likely to plump for – especially since prices could be very similar across the board, if the roll out of the iPhone 3GS on Orange and Vodafone is anything to go by. Original iPhone exclusive network O2 came in first in yesterday’s poll, but perhaps more surprising was the runner up, Three.

Despite O2 essentially ditching unlimited data tariffs yesterday in time for the launch of the iPhone 4, the network still holds the most allegiance from readers, with 36.85 percent of the vote. This perhaps shouldn’t come as much of a surprise: O2 sold the iPhone exclusively in the UK until late last year, so it’s already built up legions of iPhone fans over the years.

Perhaps more of a surprise is Three, which came in second with nearly a quarter of the vote at 23.03 percent. Three has never sold the iPhone before, so it’ll be interesting to see how it handles the potentially exponential surge of data use it could see on its network as Apple fans climb aboard with their swanky new iPhone 4s. Given Three’s latest, huge marketing campaign proclaiming the strength of its network, it clearly thinks it can.

iPhone 4 UK price: How much are you willing to pay?

Finally, the other larger networks came in behind Three. Orange and Vodafone were almost neck and neck with 14.97 and 14.50 percent respectively, and T-Mobile, another new Apple parter for the iPhone 4, closed in last with just 10.56 percent of the vote.

So there you have it: O2 looks set to stay the Apple stalwart with the iPhone 4, but if you’re a floating customer simply looking to nab an iPhone 4 on the day of the release, you might be better off hitting up a T-Mobile store than a Three one.

What do you think of the results? Are people mad to stay on O2? Wrong to ignore Orange? Voice up with your opinions below in the comments!

Out 24 June | £TBC | Apple

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E3 games showdown: the 5 biggest battles

Posted: 11 Jun 2010 07:35 AM PDT

E3 kicks off next week and we'll have scads of E3 live coverage for you to feast on when it does. But while there'll be an avalanche of new games to wade through, we've picked out next week's five big gaming battles. Stick a coin in the machine and read on for our rundown of the competing announcements that will be after your attention and, more importantly, angling for your cash…

Natal vs Playstation Move
The phoney war between the motion-sensing foes has been fizzing away for months. Playstation Move is much easier to understand with physical controllers to get your hands on but with Natal, Microsoft is making big promises (remember that "future of fun" slogan?). The success of both systems depends on two things: how reliable the motion-sensing smarts actually are and what games we get to use with them. As Sam said in his Natal opinion piece, the big problem with the Wii has always been a paucity of really compelling titles.

Medal of Honor vs Call of Duty: Black Ops
Set in modern day Afghanistan, Medal of Honor clearly took notes from Modern Warfare 2 while Call of Duty: Black Ops promises cold war skirmishes and plenty of Vietnam War action. We're also in for online action from both with the Medal of Honor multiplayer beta on the horizon and Call of Duty Black Ops online multiplayer being talked up with the promise of those ultra-popular Call of Duty: World at War zombies being dangled as bait. Our Medal of Honor preview was impressed with the reboot but the Call of Duty: Black Ops secrets we've heard about so far sound equally intriguing. We need to know more about the weapons in each game's arsenal before we can really predict which will win the war.

Rock Band 3 vs Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock
With so many plastic instruments piled up on the living room floor, there's a sense of fatigue around the big music game franchises. Rock Band 3 and its rival Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock really need to wow the fleet-fingered faux-musicians that snapped up earlier instalments when they get their first public outings at E3. While Guitar Hero seems to be going for a more traditional approach with a 90 song set list and a quest mode presented by irksome Kiss bassist (and reality TV mainstay) Gene Simmons, we're intrigued by Rock Band 3's new pro mode and the addition of a keyboard. Will you want to stick to the button-bashing, hard-rock-heavy fun of Guitar Hero or step it up a gear with Rock Band 3 promising you'll learn how to play for real?

FIFA 11 vs Pro Evolution Soccer 11
This match will be as ferociously fought as any World Cup clash with both football franchises getting their latest run out during E3. FIFA 11 comes packing a new Personality+ feature that uses a vast pack of stats and observations to make players perform as they do in real life. We're slightly concerned that means Wayne Rooney will spend half the game mouthing off at the ref. Meanwhile Pro Evolution Soccer 11's big new feature is the ability to control the power of every shot and pass. FIFA 10 arguably outclassed Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 last year but a few improved features and it could be all to play for. We'll be pulling on our '70s-style football manager's sheepskin jacket and putting them both through their paces as soon as we can.

Grand Turismo 5 vs The World
Gran Turismo 5 isn't in a tussle with another title – Forza Motorsport 3 already sped onto the shelves – but with the weight of irritation and expectation that now rests on it after so many delays. It was first shown at E3 in 2006 and has now reportedly cost more than 50 times the amount of cash splashed out on the original Gran Turismo. Sure we saw a new Gran Turismo 5 trailer in March but we're still feeling sceptical that we'll actually see the finished article at E3 next week. Sony says we will but it also promised a December 2009 release!

What games are you most excited to see at E3? Hit us up with your predictions and let us know which titles you're rooting for in the big gaming showdowns in the comments.

Due Monday | £free | E3

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Natal: why it will never replace a proper controller

Posted: 11 Jun 2010 06:59 AM PDT

So, Microsoft is giving Natal, its motion sensing controller for the Xbox 360, its proper debut on Sunday, ahead of a launch later this year. And the gaming world seems to have gone nuts over it – but personally I've got my doubts about how much of an impact this (undoubtedly clever) gizmo will have on the world of gaming.

For me, one of the benefits of console gaming are its physical controllers. Back in the 8-bit and 16-bit days, controllers were uncomfortable to hold and unresponsive, but since then controllers have developed to the point where you can play games in comfort and input potentially hundreds of different actions with a high degree of accuracy. Can Natal really match that?

Natal can apparently track up to 48 skeletal points at once, on up to four different people, but in order to match what the standard Xbox 360 controller can produce it needs to do that with an almost incredible level of precision – either that or Natal-compatible Xbox 360 games will have to be essentially dumbed down for the motion controller.

Can you imagine a four player game of FIFA 10 using Natal? With four players, the sensor can only track 12 skeletal points per person. How are you going to exert the level of control over your virtual Peter Crouch available to you from a controller with two analogue sticks and a heap of buttons, all of which can be combined in a huge variety of different ways.

Get rid of the traditional controller and I can't see Natal actually improving gaming for anybody. Despite its sale success, I've found the Wii to be a huge disappointment on the games front – aside from a handful of A list titles, most Wii games are dull, simplistic affairs in thrall to the console's motion sensing controller. I'd hate for the Xbox 360 and its followups to go down a similar route.

And well, my lounge is tiny. How the hell am I going to play a four player beat 'em up without trashing the bookshelves and sending my foot through the glass coffee table?

Of course, we haven't really seen Natal properly yet. That's all happening on Sunday and in the following days at E3. Maybe I'm wrong – but I think Microsoft is going to have to pull something totally amazing out of the bag to convince me that the traditional joypad is kaput.

Out late 2010 | £TBC | Natal

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Medal of Honor multiplayer beta due July

Posted: 11 Jun 2010 06:02 AM PDT

When the Medal of Honor multiplayer beta was confirmed by EA last month, the secretive so-and-sos didn't give any clues about when it might be deployed. But it seems didn't know it needed to be so secretive. It's leaked details of the Medal of Honor multiplayer beta in the game listing and while the full game isn't out until October, it seems we'll be able to strap on our virtual boots a lot sooner…

Though has now updated its Medal of Honor listing, some sneaky web reconnaissance grabbed the Medal of Honor multiplayer beta details first. The site said: "Pre-ordering Medal of Honor from Play,com will give fans the opportunity to join the Medal of Honor multiplayer beta when it goes live on July 5 2010."

It's reported that the Medal of Honor multiplayer beta will run from July 5 until July 17. While Play was boasting that Medal of Honor preorders placed with it will gain you access to the beta, other retailers will probably fall in for the mission too.

Medal of Honor is due to hit the UK on October 15. If you're wondering whether you should put in a preorder, take a look at our Medal of Honor preview and the Medal of Honor launch video trailer.

Due October 15 | From £39.99 | Medal of Honor

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iPhone 4: which colour will you choose?

Posted: 11 Jun 2010 05:28 AM PDT

Launch day for the iPhone 4 is just a few days away, we're already trying to decide whether we're going to grab Apple's wonder-phone on PAYG or contract, which network to choose and how much storage space we need. All very important. But how about a simpler – but equally VITAL – question altogether: which colour will you pick?

As with the iPhone 3G and 3GS, the iPhone 4 will be available in a black or a white finish, although the colours are arguably far more prominent on the new model. Whereas previous iPhones were white or black only on the back and sides, the iPhone 4's colour finish shows right through the glass panels on both the front and back of the handset.

The white iPhone 4 is a pretty striking looker, reminiscent of Apple's computer gear from a few years back. But does it shout a bit too loudly for you? Is the dark, brooding black iPhone 4 more suited to your character? Or will you be one of those individualists who'd be willing to let ColorWare get busy on your new mobile with its paintbrushes? Let us know your iPhone 4 colour preference – and why you've chosen it – in the comments box below.

Out 24 June | £TBC | Apple

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Panasonic Blu-ray home cinema systems unveiled

Posted: 11 Jun 2010 05:04 AM PDT

Panasonic has launched a brace of shiny new Blu-ray home cinema systems, each designed to complement the look of a flat screen HDTV. Both the Panasonic SC-BTX77 and SC-BTX75 feature a slim, upright main unit, two tall front speakers and a compact subwoofer.

Both Blu-ray home cinema systems are 2.1 channel setups, but according to Panasonic they pump out "close to" 7.1 surround sound thanks to the built in technology and speaker construction. And the subwoofer, despite its compact dimensions, supposedly delivers "powerful, reverberating bass".

The chief difference between the two systems seems to be that the Panasonic SC-BTX77 has superior sound quality, as a result of its Pure Direct Sound speakers.

Read our Panasonic DMR-BW880 review

The main unit has a sliding door which draws back, allowing you to insert a Blu-ray movie or dock your iPod (from which you can play videos and photos as well as music). Both the Panasonic SC-BTX77 and SC-BTX75 feature High Precision 4:4:4 and PHL Chroma Processor Plus technology to boost picture quality, whether you're watching a Blu-ray film or content from your iPod.

There's also Viera Cast for accessing YouTube and Picasa and USB and SD card ports for photo and video playback.

Out now | From £450 | Panasonic

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E3 live coverage starts Monday!

Posted: 11 Jun 2010 04:49 AM PDT

E3, the world’s biggest games expo, kicks off next week, and we’re expecting huge things from the big three console peddlers, Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony, as well as oodles of new games from all your favourite developers. We’ll be covering all the keynotes live, so if you want to know when to tune in, grab your diary and read on for all the gossip.

Microsoft’s Natal premiere goes down in a hushed up location during Sunday night UK time, but it’s holding over plenty for the next day, when you can expect to see sneak peeks of loads of new Xbox 360 games. Expect looks at Halo Reach, Gears Of War 3, and perhaps the new Metal Gear Solid outing for Microsoft’s console.

Microsoft’s E3 keynote kicks off at 6.30pm UK time on Monday 14 June. Tune into then for all the breaking news.

Microsoft’s Natal premiere will have the gadget crowd whipped up into a frenzy for motion controls, but the company who started the trend years ago is already moving on to the next thing: 3D. The Nintendo 3DS will appear in the flesh for the first time, and we’ll get all the details on it, along with expected looks at Metroid Other M and the new Zelda game for Wii. And who knows, we might even find out just what on earth the Wii Vitality Sensor is actually for.

Nintendo’s E3 keynote kicks off at 5pm UK time on Tuesday 15 June. Tune into then for all the breaking news.

Sony’s already played its hand with a PlayStation Move debut earlier this year, but you can expect plenty more on the games we’ll be buying up to Christmas and beyond, with Killzone 3 at the top of the list. We’re also hoping for more of a glimpse of Final Fantasy 14 on the PS3, the second MMO of the series.

Sony’s E3 keynote kicks off at 8pm UK time on Tuesday 15 June. Tune into then for all the breaking news.

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Lunchtime Lowdown: New PS3 models, Samsung Galaxy S hits pre-order and Sony NEX-5 reviewed

Posted: 11 Jun 2010 04:33 AM PDT

We’re almost at the weekend, but before you knock off, be sure to catch up on all the latest gadget news, still flooding on in. It’s all right here waiting for you in the lunchtime lowdown!

First up, in mobile, we took a look at what you all said about the iPhone 4 UK price, and whether you’d be paying for it on contract or pay as you go, so be sure to join the debate.

Elsewhere in smartphones, the Android powered Samsung Galaxy S hit pre-order status, and we took a look at how to type at speed on its touchscreen in our Swype guide.

In gaming meanwhile, Final Fantasy II turned up on the Wii’s Virtual Console, while new PS3 models have been given the thumbs up by the American regulatory FCC body. But what’s changed inside?

Finally, we tested out the Sony NEX-5 camera, so see if it’s a true Micro Four Thirds rival in our full review.

Still want more news? Head on over to the homepage and help yourself to it all as it breaks!

Watch us take Ovi Maps free satnav for a spin…

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Samsung Galaxy S: Everything you need to know!

Posted: 11 Jun 2010 04:15 AM PDT

The Samsung Galaxy S Android phone is just days away from touching down in the UK, so we thought we’d help prepare for the invasion with a full guide to the ultimate multimedia Android phone. Find out what the Samsung Galaxy S and its awe inspiring Super AMOLED screen are capable of right here!

You might have seen phones running Google’s Android software before, but not one like the Samsung Galaxy S. Samsung’s tweaked it to make it even more powerful, letting you mop up at boardroom meetings or fire off messages on the double with integrated Swype typing, and play high def videos other Android phones simply can’t handle.

And at four inches, the Super AMOLED display on the Samsung Galaxy S is the world’s biggest, popping up rich colours just like its Bada brother, the Samsung Wave. Combined with a stonking 1GHz processor, it flies through apps on the double.

The Samsung Galaxy S is out in a few short weeks, but in the meantime, start revising on the revolutionary smartphone right here with our trusty guides, then scroll down for some hands on video!

Read more about the Samsung Galaxy S and Samsung Wave
Samsung Galaxy S: Tech specs to floor the competition
Samsung Galaxy S: How to type at speed with Swype
Speedy shortcuts: Ways Galaxy S accelerates your mobile life
Samsung Galaxy S: Android Enhancements to out-smart rivals
Samsung Galaxy S multitouch gestures: How to out-perform rivals with a flourish
Samsung Galaxy S: Storage smarts to hold all your media
Samsung Galaxy S: Augmented Reality Superpowers
Samsung Galaxy S: HD superpowers to impress an audience
Smart sharing: How to free your media with the Galaxy S
Unique apps and widgets to give you the edge in the boardroom

Check out the Samsung Galaxy S in action…

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World Cup online: how will you watch it?

Posted: 11 Jun 2010 04:06 AM PDT

The World Cup kicks off today with Mexico taking on the host South Africa from 3pm. If you're stuck in work, how are you planning to watch the action? A new set of World Cup stats suggest British football fans have been buying up tonnes of new tech to ensure they don't miss a match. Read on for the most popular World Cup gadgets and ways to watch it online…

After interrogating 3,000 Brits about their World Cup watching plans, PC World found that 30% expect to watch the World Cup online. We're actually surprised the percentage is so low with the vast popularity of BBC iPlayer and ITV Player.

Similarly, just 10% of those questioned said they'd be watching World Cup matches on their mobile. Are you planning to watch the BBC iPlayer or ITV Player live streaming direct from your phone? There's also the new ITV1 World Cup app to snap up which will bring video clips and live streaming for your iPhone.

The World Cup survey reports a 30% surge in Slingbox sales over the last 2 weeks which suggests plenty of people are hoping to stream World Cup games from home to their mobile or work computer. Sales of NetGear Powerline adaptors which create a wireless network though your house's electrical system have jumped 20%.

As well as investing in new tech to make sure they can see all the World Cup clashes, British football fans plan to hit Twitter and Facebook to cheer on their team and taunt their rivals. 24% of those surveyed are set to hit social networks during games.

How are you planning on watching the World Cup? Are you going to be locked down in your living room or will you be live streaming at work and catching matches on your mobile? Is your iPad part of your World Cup gadget arsenal? Let us know in the comments.

Not worked out your World Cup set up yet? Try our World Cup guide to watching matches wherever you are.

Our now | £free | FIFA

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