Friday, 18 June 2010 - tech news fast! - tech news fast!

Microsoft Kinect: 5 games that need a motion sensitive makeover

Posted: 17 Jun 2010 09:40 AM PDT

The Microsoft Kinect games we've seen so far have been pretty and we're stoked about Star Wars, Forza and Fable III making their motion-sensitive debuts. But we're greedy gamers and want more. We've put together a wish list of titles we'd love to see get a Microsoft Kinect remake. Take a gander then let us know what Microsoft Kinect games you'd put into development…

Rock Band: Air Guitar
Rock Band 3 is bringing in real instruments but we've long struggled to master the six string. An air-guitar version for Microsoft Kinect would be much more up our street. Ditching the plastic controllers would also mean you could play any instrument with gestures in Rock Band opening up the opportunity for throwing a bit of harp or a cello in there to make things a little classier. Playing Rock Band without any controller whatsoever would make the Theremin Hero video below a reality for us all.

Jet Set Radio
The roller skating and graffiti game has great Manga-style graphics that would fit perfectly with the cartoony style we've seen in initial Microsoft Kinect games like Joyride and the River Rush mini-game. We'd love to see Jet Set Radio remade so you'd have to fling yourself around to fly through the city and gesture to tag the walls around you. And just think of all the publicity it would get when the Daily Mail discovered there was a game celebrating casual criminal damage.

Like Jet Set Radio, Rez was a bit of a cult classic with electronic music generated by in-game actions replacing all the sound effects and spoken dialogue. The rails shooter would make a seriously trippy Microsoft Kinect game, like a cross between Dance Central and Tron with wild gesturing to target and shoot down foes. The original version of Rez tried to immerse players in the game's strange world, a Microsoft Kinect version would take that a lot further.

Pro Evo
Sam was pretty scathing about the idea of motion-sensitive football sims in his Microsoft Kinect opinion piece but we're still a little taken with the idea. Kinect Sports will include a football mini-game but a Microsoft Kinect version of Pro Evolution Soccer would put you in control of realistic looking footballers. Able to track 24 skeletal points per person during two player games, Microsoft Kinect could really put in your control of your team and even open up the opportunity for some cheeky dives if you've got thick enough carpet.

Tony Hawk
The Tony Hawk: Ride board was a bit of a pain and ended up joining the ever growing pile of plastic peripherals cluttering up our living rooms. Using motion tracking and the Microsoft Kinect could allow for the same jumps, grabs and grinds but let us ditch the board. Tony Hawk: Ride 2 is on the way as Tony Hawk: Shred with surfing and snowboarding on the cards too, could adding Microsoft Kinect support really be so hard?

Let us know: what titles would you like to see reborn with Microsoft Kinect smarts? And do you think your living room will survive all the flailing around?

Due TBC | £TBC | Microsoft Kinect

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HTC Wildfire unboxed: photos!

Posted: 17 Jun 2010 09:29 AM PDT

The HTC Wildfire is in the house. The Taiwanese phone pusher’s replacement for the Tattoo on the bottom end of its Android line up is in our hands at last. We’ll have a full review for you shortly, but in the meantime, come and see the pics of it coming out of its carton!

We’ve gone hands on with the HTC Wildfire before, but we’ve now got one of the little tykes to test out in much more detail. In case you missed it at launch, it’s basically a mini HTC Desire, complete with the same Android 2.1 HTC Sense software and optical trackpad, but on a smaller, low resolution 3.2-inch screen.

HTC Wildfire hands on photos

Said screen on the HTC Wildfire is wildly responsive however, and a massive step up from the HTC Tattoo and its piddly resistive screen. We tapped in all our login details and were up and running in under a minute.

Build wise, the HTC Wildfire is smooth, fingerprint resistant and just the right width for typing. Whether or not its lower spec can handle all those widgets after a few days’ use and app installations is another matter entirely and we’ll bring you the answer on that one in a full review shortly.

In the meantime, check out the HTC Wildfire here in our photo gallery.

Out June | £From free on contract | HTC

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iPhone 4: first iOS 4 multitasking apps launch but what can they do?

Posted: 17 Jun 2010 08:09 AM PDT

iPhone 4 lands in one week and Apple is gearing up for its arrival. We had iTunes 9.2 this morning, now the first iOS 4 multitasking apps are hitting the iTunes App Store. The most obvious of the batch is an updated version of our favourite file sharing and syncing app Dropbox. But multitasking on iPhone 4 isn't a free-for-all, apps will only be able to do certain things. Here's a quick reminder of what iOS 4 multitasking will enable…

Background audio and VoIP
This one's the biggie and should mean we'll get an updated Spotify iPhone app that will be able to pump out tunes in the background just like the Spotify Android app can do right now. American streaming service Pandora confirmed that it had already tweaked its app way back when iOS 4 was still plain old iPhone OS 4. VoIP apps like Skype will also be able to use the feature and while the TomTom iPhone app hasn't been updated yet, it has been submitted with new multitasking skills.

Background location
The TomTom iPhone app will also be able to take advantage of this iOS 4 multitasking feature when it hits iPhone 4. Background location will let apps run in the background and keep offering turn-by-turn directions even if you're listening to music or checking another app. Other location apps like Foursquare will be able to get in on the action too and opt to use cell tower locations instead of the GPS if they need to.

Location notifications
Previously iPhone apps had to send notifications through Apple's servers but they'll now be able to sit quietly in the background and let you know when an event is about to happen or an alarm has just gone off.

Push notifications
The current system of push notifications will still work on iPhone 4 so if an app isn't running, updates will still pop up via the familiar onscreen message boxes.

Task finishing
If you jump out of an app and it's in the middle of completing a task, it'll keep plodding along in the background until it's done. It'll then close itself so you don't end up with a bundle of apps slowing down your iPhone 4.

Fast app switching
Finally, you'll be able to quickly change between apps by double tapping the home button. iOS 4 apps will remember where you were before you left and you won't need to reload them all over again.

Let us know: what apps do you most want to have iOS 4 multitasking enabled by the time you get your iPhone 4?

Out now | £varies | Apple

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iPhone 4 UK price: O2 offers £25 per month deal

Posted: 17 Jun 2010 07:33 AM PDT

O2 is next out of the blocks with its iPhone 4 UK price tariffs, and as we suspected, they’re mightily similar to Orange’s. There is however a new option to get the Apple smartphone for just £25 per month – though as you might have guessed, the network will be having its pound of flesh up front this way instead.

On a pay monthly tariff over 18 months, the iPhone 4 is available on O2 starting at £30 per month with 100 minutes and 500MB of data, for £209/£299 upfront depending on whether you opt for the 16GB or 32GB model. The iPhone 4 UK price on O2 then ramps up in line with those on Orange, with a £65 per month tariff that nets you unlimited calls, 1GB of data and a free 16GB handset, or a £29 32GB.

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

Where O2 branches out from Orange is by offering a £25 per month tariff for the iPhone 4 on a two year deal. The catch is that you get just 100 minutes of calls, and the handset costs £279 or £323 upfront.

Still, if you’re looking to nab the iPhone 4 from a relative as a present, that low monthly O2 iPhone 4 UK price could be tempting.

You can see how all of O2’s iPhone 4 UK price tariffs breakdown right here, and stay tuned, as T-Mobile, Vodafone and Three can’t be far behind now.

Out 24 June | £varies | O2

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Sky Sports News leaving Freeview, going HD

Posted: 17 Jun 2010 07:29 AM PDT

Sky Sports News is set to disappear from Freeview and appear exclusively on pay TV services. If you've been used to getting your fix of Jeff Stelling's perfect punning on Soccer Saturday for free you'll now have to pay for the privilege or catch him on Countdown instead. Sky has also announced that Sky Sports News HD is on the way. For details and to find out what Sky is flinging onto Freeview instead, head on through…

Sky Sports News has been on Freeview since 2002. Sky News and Sky 3 are remaining on the service with a time-shifted Sky 3 + 1 channel taking up the slot previously held by Sky Sports News. That's great if you've just missed an episode of Prison Break or Cold Case but not so much if you wanted to catch up on the day's sporting stories.

Sky hasn't announced when it'll snatch Sky Sports News from Freeview but the move is due to happen later this summer. When it does, Sky Sports News will be restricted to Sky, Virgin Media, Talk Talk TV and Sky Player.

At the same time as it flees Freeview, Sky will launch Sky Sports News HD. Sky News HD kicked off on election night and it seems Sky Sports News HD is set to move into similarly suped-up studios.

Are you a fan of Sky Sports News on Freeview and irritated to see it go? Vent your frustrations in the comments.

Out now | £free | Sky Sports News

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Lenovo IdeaPad Y560d 3D laptop revealed!

Posted: 17 Jun 2010 07:05 AM PDT

The whole gadget world is going 3D crazy, with the Lenovo IdeaPad Y560d the latest piece of tech to take its video output into the third dimension. This 15.6-inch laptop delivers its 3D visuals with a combo of specially coated screen, polarising specs and software.

The Lenovo IdeaPad Y560d uses the TriDef 3D system to serve up 3D content, which unfortunately rules out 3D Blu-ray playback but does support 2D to 3D conversion.

The Lenovo IdeaPad Y560d will be available with Intel Core processors (i3 up to i7), up to 8GB of memory, an ATI Radeon HD5720 graphics card and an option to upgrade to Lenovo's RapidDrive tech, which delivers speedier boot-up times by teaming up a normal hard disk drive with an SSD.

We don't have UK pricing or release confirmation for the Lenovo IdeaPad Y560d just yet, but it will start at $1,200 in the US and will go on sale there at the end of June.

Out TBC | £TBC | Lenovo (via Engadget)

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Kinect UK price to be unveiled in August?

Posted: 17 Jun 2010 06:38 AM PDT

The Kinect UK price may not be announced for another two months, according to a new report. While We’ve known that the Xbox 360 motion sensing add on kit would be out before Christmas for some time, it looks like it’ll be a few lunar cycles still before the last piece of the puzzle falls into place. Read on for the details.

Trade publication reports Microsoft entertainment and devices manager for Germany, Oliver Kaltner, confirmed that the official pricing for the Kinect camera kit, which allows gamers to control in game characters and the Xbox 360 dashboard with no controllers, will be revealed at the Gamescom conference in Cologne, Germany, in August.

We’re hopeful that means the Kinect UK price will be made known at the same time, since Microsoft announced UK pricing for the new Xbox 360 this week on the same day as it did US and European cost. Earlier this week, a US retailer, Gamestop, listed Kinect for pre-order at $149 (£101) but there’s still been no sign of a Kinect UK price.

Kinect UK price: How much will it cost?

Kaltner went on to say that the Kinect price wasn’t an “important” factor right now, and that Microsoft was focusing on showing how the peripheral will let every single person in the family play the Xbox 360 easily.

Of course, it could be that Microsoft has chosen to keep its cards close to its chest since Sony announced its PlayStation Move controller price, which at £49.99 for the controller and camera, is a lot cheaper than previous rumours have pegged Kinect.

Whenever Microsoft choose to dish out the Kinect UK price, we”ll be sure to let you know. In the meantime, have your say over on our Kinect UK price debate.

Out TBC | £TBC | Microsoft (Via

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New PS3 update brings cross game chat – for a price

Posted: 17 Jun 2010 06:32 AM PDT

The new PS3 firmware update will bring in a host of new features – including the PlayStation Plus subscription service – and we've just got word of one that, until now, hasn't been revealed: cross game voice chat.

Xbox Live has always been able to use its cross game voice chat feature, which allows you to natter online to a group of friends while you're all playing different games, as a distinct advantage over the PlayStation Network. It seems that this won't be the case for much longer: the new PS3 update is coming next Tuesday, 22 June.

Of course, to get cross game chat you'll have to shell out for the PlayStation Plus service. UK pricing hasn't been revealed yet, but we know that the service will set US gamers back between $49.99 and $79.99. One interesting aspect, however, is that you'll apparently be able to invite PlayStation Plus non-subscribers into cross game chat. Pretty handy.

Out 22 June | £TBC | PlayStation (via Product Reviews)

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iPhone 4: what’s missing?

Posted: 17 Jun 2010 06:20 AM PDT

The iPhone 4 is seriously desirable – the Apple Store meltdown during iPhone 4 UK preorders illustrates that – but despite its seriously sharp new screen and eye-catching design it's still not the perfect smartphone. We've been pondering a few of the iPhone 4 missing features and want to know what you wish Apple had added this time around. Read on for a rundown of five frustrating iPhone 4 omissions and hit the comments to let us know where it left you wanting…

microSD support
While almost every other modern smartphone lets you get a welcome storage boost from a microSD card, iPhone 4 keeps you locked in to the onboard storage Apple gives you. We know 32GB seems like a lot to start with but if you've got a massive multimedia stash, all your videos, music and apps can soon gobble it up.

Replaceable battery
Once you've stuffed your iPhone 4 full of apps and music, it'll end up welded to your hand just like the iPhone 3GS before it. And while we're promised seriously improved battery life from the new iPhone, Apple's insistence on non-user replaceable batteries means there's always the risk that your phone might need to go back to the store for some TLC and leave you bereft. It’s a shame as we’re sure Apple would have done a roaring trade selling batteries to all those business travellers and festival fans who'll be touting iPhone 4 this summer.

Wireless music syncing
With all the excited talk of an iTunes Cloud service, we'd been hoping that iPhone 4 might add wireless music syncing as one of its new tricks. Sadly neither it nor the much-whispered about iTunes Replay service were revealed at WWDC which means the forthcoming Android music syncing plans could get the jump on iPhone 4 in the meantime.

HDMI out
Though iPhone 4 will grab videos in 720p HD, it doesn't make it easy to show them directly on your TV. We'd have loved to have seen HDMI out slipped into iPhone 4. Currently you can only opt for a Dock Connector to VGA adaptor or an Apple Component or Composite AV cable. Still, at least the new Mac Mini has shown HDMI some love.

A serious snapper
We're glad iPhone 4 has jumped from the iPhone 3GS's fairly pitiful 3MP to a more respectable 5MP camera. However, with the Nokia N8 set to deliver a 12MP camera and 8MP sensors being slapped into scads of new smart phones, it's a shame that Apple's imaging tech remains behind the curve.

Now it’s your turn: what features do you wish Apple had added to iPhone 4? Are there any missing elements stopping you from picking up the new iPhone?

Out June 23 | From £499 | Apple

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SingStar Guitar and SingStar Dance coming to PS3

Posted: 17 Jun 2010 05:32 AM PDT

SingStar is to get a pair of add-ons, bringing dancing and guitar strumming to the PS3's karaoke favourite. Although details are a bit sparse at present, SingStar Dance and SingStar Guitar look likely to bring SingStar more into line with the likes of Rock Band and Guitar Hero.

SingStar Guitar will work with any existing PS3 guitar peripheral (Rock Band and Guitar Hero controllers, in other words), suggesting that its gameplay will be broadly similar to existing beat-matching music games. Sony hasn't confirmed this, though, and there's no word on a release date or price.

SingStar Dance will make use of PlayStation Move and PlayStation Eye to track your sweet feet, and rumour has it it'll be on sale in November.

Read our SingStar Take That review

Both spin-offs have apparently been designed so that people can get involved with SingStar sessions, even when other people are wailing into the mic. Basically, you'll be able to strut around or strum a plastic guitar in the background while your mate sings.

Songs offering SingStar Dance and SingStar Guitar gameplay will be sold through the online SingStore.

Out TBC | £TBC | SingStar (via Eurogamer)

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