The track list for The Beatles Rock Band game is out. It's a little heavy on the Ringo songs. There's two. But I don't suppose you can complain when one of them's Yellow Submarine.
There's supposed to be 42 in total but our list seems only to have 25, so Harmonix, EA and MTV are probably holding a few speical ones back to make another splash before the big release on 09/09/09. See what they did there?
The game will be out on all the usual boxes with any instruments compaitble that you happen to have for Guitar Hero or previous Rock Band titles. So far, we have US pricing only, with the standalone software at $59.99, the full bundle at $249.99, the Rickenbacker 325 Guitar at $99.99 and the Gretsch Duo Jet at the same price.
All the instruments look pretty speical, apart from the drum kit that comes across slightly wack, and although the songs might lack the kind of bite you'd normally expect from these games, the addition of the rock hard, three-part harmonys do add a certain edge.
There'll also be plenty of downloadable content, including the full Abbey Road album, and you can pick up All You Need Is Love as an Xbox 360 exclusive. All download proceeds will go to charity. How nice is that?
I Saw Her Standing There
I Want To Hold Your Hand
I Feel Fine
Back in the USSR
I am the Walrus
Here Comes The Sun
Twist And Shout
Do You Want To Know A Secret
Can't Buy Me Love
I Wanna Be Your Man
Eight Days A Week
And Your Bird Can Sing
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
With A Little Help From My Friends
Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows
Dig A Pony
I've Got A Feeling
More info on the game as we get it but what I've seen so far will not disappoint both fans of theses titles and fans of the Fab Four too.
The Beatles Rock Band
I'm going to break this to you straight away. The Sony Handycam CX520 starts at around £1000. That's for the 32GB SSD model. If you want the 64GB version, you'd better be prepared to part with another £200 or so.
When I saw this thing on paper, I couldn't quite see what all the fuss was about but as soon as I got the thing in my hand it was obvious I was playing with a top quality HD camcorder.
What impressed me most about this machine is that the 3-way image stabilisation actually works staggeringly well. You can shake the thing pretty vigorously and the picture barely wobbles. The quality of the optics also sound pretty spectacular and it's got all the touches you'd want like GPS and touchscreen too. A little surprised that it only records interlaced images before upgrading them though.
One wonders how much more you'd have to pay for professional video cameras, if any at all, but ignore that thought and you'll be really pleased with this one. Looking forward to a full review.
I can normally see where the extra money goes when paying through the eyeballs for a Sony Vaio but I can't say it was all too obvious when I got my hands on the Sony Vaio Mini W. It looks and feels just like pretty much any netbook out there and, in fact, there are much slinkier ones in the shape of the Acer Aspire One for example. Take a look and see what I mean.
At approcimately £400 that's quite a lot more than any other netbook and the only thing it really has going for it, on first inspection, is the keyboard. It's still pretty small but Sony has somehow managed to keep their isolated keys design while making it easy enough to type on. I'm not saying I'd want to write a book on the thing but it'll drive you a lot less crazy than a lot of the others out there.
I'd need some up close and personal time with the thing to really see how much I'd pay for it but, until then, I'm not going to be losing any sleep. Oh, and brown was the other colour I was after.
Photos of the under wraps mobile of the moment, the LG BL40, have appeared on a German forum confirming some things we knew and some we didn't.
You can see from the shots that we have confirmation that this next Black Label phone is indeed sexy. The 21:9, 800 x 345 res screen is there for all to see. What we now know is that it's got a 5-megapixel Schneider-Kruznach lens camera, 355MB of onboard storage (expandable by microSD), Wi-Fi and an FM transmitter.
It's of little surprise that it also runs on the S-Class operating system given what we've already witnessed in the promo video and LG's push of the jury's out software. Perhaps the most interesting news of all, though, is the image over the jump...
...a sibling! What is this? Another Black Label Chocolate handset? A feature phone? One for the style conscious and function frightened? That's my guess. Looks rather like a MP3 player too. With the BL40 set to launch next month, expect to be hearing more developments on a bi-weekly basis. Only a matter of time before a German website spills the beans.
The Amazon Kindle is finally set to land in the UK. Word is out that the online book giant is in advanced negotiations with a mobile operator and is working at full speed to ensure its eBook reader can hit our shores in time for Christmas.
Qualcomm will take care of the manufacture of the Kindle in the UK as well as secure the deal with an unspecified operator (please not O2) which should mean 3G connectivity as well as Wi-Fi and PC side-loading for access to a wealth of books, newspapers and magazines.
Amazon is said to have held talks with Orange, Vodafone and 3 in the past but all broke down. There also seems to be a belief among some of the operators that they can produce a reader of their own in light of their control of connectivity, relationship with hardware manufacturers and customer base but Amazon argues that it's their access to the publishers will be key.
The trouble is that theses are just the kinds of problems that will cause talks to break down again and, ultimately, it could be the consumer that ends up with the raw deal. There's no doubt that there's plenty of good things about the Kindle and lots of other eBook readers but will it really be worth paying the subscription price as set by an exclusive operator just for the access e-ink newspapers and magazines?
(via Mobile Today)
A Facebook engineer has been spotted tweeting from an application called Penguin FB, as you can see in the picture, and it doesn't take a genius to work out that the FB probably is probably short for Facebook.
So, putting two and two together combined with denials from Facebook and the removal of the tweet by engineer Ross Blake, there's a very good chance that this was a test of a Twitter application on Facebook which allows users to tweet directly from the world's biggest social network.
The move would be in line with Facebook's drive to get in on the act in some way, whether that be by aping Twitter or, in this case, by trying to hold on to a lot of the traffic through the API. Doubtless, we'll hear more about it soon.
(via Facebook Insider)
What T-Mobile dismissed yesterday as "merely speculation" looks set to come true from September with both them and Orange to start selling the iPhone 3G on their networks.
O2 is said to be fuming at the loss of their exclusivity, on even the older Apple handset, and is concerned that their prices will be undercut. What a terrible shame.
Apple has been able to secure cheaper component parts for the phones, cutting the cost of manufacture, and there seems little reason to believe that this won't be passed on to Orange and T-Mobile customers looking to get in on the touchscreen action.
Of course, you can already unlock an iPhone and put it on any network you like but the move will doubtless see floods of customers take up the deal at a more affordable price.
We've seen picture evidence and heard word of Dells plans to move into smartphones before but, today, at an analyst conference, the president of the company's consumer division confirmed their interest.
Ronald Garriques talked of opportunities to develop a range of 3G-based handsets with screen sizes between 4-12". So, that's from very big, to laptop. Already thought they did the top end of that?
Dell was widely thought to have developed a smartphone in the past that was rejected by operators in Europe and the US but now Mr Garriques has said that they're happy to work with the top three of four in the world to come up with something that meets their needs. Doubtless more dribs and drabs on this one until the photos of phones next to stationary begin.
(via Cellualr News)
Rubiks puzzles. I hate them. Never could solve one. Never had the patience to. However, I do appreciate the genius of their design, well, I did. Until I met the Rubik's Touch Cube.
The trouble is that it's exactly the same mental proposition as the original Rubik's Cube only with a completely rubbish interface in the way. From my, admittedly limited, time with the one in the vid, I found the touch effect pretty terrible and, given that they're charging £139.99 for each one when they're launched, I'd chalk it up as "one for the enthusiast".
When word came out on Monday that Microsoft will launch a music streaming service by the end of the month, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek must have slumped in his chair with his head in his hands. Spotify was never going to be the only kid on the block - Ek would've known that - but for their first direct competitor to be the 'Soft is pretty bad luck. There's a lot that Spotify has done right but these are five good reasons why the global immovable object will be too much for music's current irresistible force:
1) Microsoft will have better content
We've all had quite a while to play with Spotify now and I'll challenge anyone not to have had several disapointments at the depth of their music catalogue. They've done a decent job but it just doesn't compare to any other good music service. Have a quick browse around on iTunes, Last.fm and even Nokia Comes With Music and you'll realise what a real music library is all about.
It's all about deals with the record labels and the fact is that Microsoft has a hell of a lot more clout than a Johnny-come-lately start up from Sweden. No offence Mr Ek. You have a fan in me but there's just no comparison.
Gates, Ballmer & Sons will bowl into all the offices of all the music people and walk out with as many tracks as they like and, at the end of the day, why would you bother with both music services as a consumer when one of them has all the tracks you want and the other doesn't?
What's more, there's a very good chance that they'll add video too. Now, that might be a paid for service, much in the same way that you can rent TV and films through BT Vision or the Apple Store, but it might also be free, provided the rest of the model proves financially successful.
2) Microsoft will make the model work
There's quite a few murmurings that Spotify isn't getting all that many people to sign up to the premium paid for service and I'm not hearing and seeing many different adverts on the player an in the music stream either. It all rather points towards the fact that the business model has yet to become fully viable. Now, I'm sure there's a long term plan that we're only seeing the tip of at the moment but those ad spaces now filled with voicemail messages from users aren't wildly encouraging.
The trouble is that Spotify may never get to the point where there business model starts to reap the dividends with Microsoft wading in as soon as they have. If you're an advertiser, where are you going to spend your money? Their profile is just too big and Spotify's only hope here is that Microsoft will be too greedy with their ad price. Still, I can see agencies stumping up the extra cash just to make sure they're getting the right exposure.
3) Microsoft is already in everyone's home...
...and Spotify isn't. This isn't so much a size issue as one of distribution and exposure. Hang on, that's basically the definition of size.
Any road, the point is that 90% of the world's computers are still Windows machines. You and I may have heard of Spotify but you can bet we're in some tiny percentage that has. Most people are going to hear about Microsoft's music service first through a million different channels and that's the one they'll use because they trust it and it's like it's already there. It's the AOL effect.
Not a lot Spotify can do about that one.
4) Microsoft has Xbox and Zune
Supporting hardware is going to be a big factor here. Spotify has launched an API - limited though it might be - but Microsoft don't have to wait for people to come and develop apps for them. They've already got their own mobile OS. They can slap it straight on the front page of each phone that carries it. They can do the same to every desktop copy of Windows too.
Better still, they've got a home music player and mobile one of their very own. They've already said that they're going to get the Xbox involved and they'd be crazy not to get the Zune in on the action too. Not only would it make their music service an obvious universal solution choice ahead of Spotify but it would also start to turn the Xbox into not just a games player but a proper home media centre. £100 says the next iteration is all about integration and HD video streaming.
5) Microsoft will have fewer teething problems
There's still issues with using Spotify as Duncan pointed out a while back and they're not the kinds of things that Microsoft is going to get wrong. They won't have difficulty taking payments, they're bound to have the kind of code in place to allow the integration of your own music library and anything else that they've got a problem with they'll get sorted quickly. They'll just throw a team of developers at it. Their platform will be a well oiled machine long before Spotify's is and that could cost Sweden's second favourite export.
The flip side to all this is that where Microsoft might be quick to develop they're going to be slower to implement. When you're going for total music domination, you've all those different platforms and devices to consider. Spotify does't have that problem. It's smaller and more agile. It's not a lot to work with but I know enough about guerilla warfare to know that you've got to fight with your strengths and attack your enemy's weaknesses. For example, if Spotify is thinking of getting into video, it might be a good idea to do it now, quickly. Moving into mobile phones yesterday would also be a big help. It's time to get prolific.
I'm not a fan of any big corporation, so I'd be sorry to see Microsoft squash the competition, particularly when it's one we've come to know and love. It's the reach of the multi-national leviathan that'll do for little old Spotify but there is a hope, and quite a good one, that Microsoft will cock it up. They've made plenty of mistakes in the past.
Make users pay for the service, add in too many limiting stipulations, throttle the idea in any way and no one's going to want to bother with what they've got, no matter how big their library.
I'm looking forward to seeing which way they take it come the end of the month. If they're sensible, this could be the change Microsoft has been looking for - a move away from piratable software and into money making services. If it works well enough, maybe even Windows will be free in the future? Nah.