Two big announcements from Sony in just as many days, cool! Sony’s much-anticipated new handheld, the PSP, is coming to the US on March 24th. It’s coming in Value Pack form only, which includes a 32 MB Memory Stick Duo, headphones with remote control, battery pack, AC adaptor, soft case and cleaning cloth, movie/music/game video sampler UMD disc. Those who have already pre-ordered are getting an extra treat: The first one million PSP Value Packs will include a special UMD video release of the feature film Spider-Man 2 from Sony Pictures Entertainment. Now, ready for the bummer? The price of the Value Pack is going to be $249.99, almost $50-100 more than many expected it to retail for.
Read More | Yahoo Finance
It took them long enough, but TiVo has finally released an SDK which will allow developers to program web services and other applications for TiVo DVR’s over a network. The basic JavaHMO is an example of a program that is written to give the TiVo more functionality, but was a labor intensive project since there was no SDK at the time of its development. The first kit available to developers includes three applications - a weather module, an RSS reader, and some sort of game. Time will tell if this will be another one of those “too little, too late” deals, as Microsoft’s Windows Media Center 2005, Comcast, and others have been gaining on TiVo with much success.
Read More | The Motley Fool
It was only a matter of time before one of the nation’s largest internet service providers began to offer Mozilla Firefox as an alternative to Internet Explorer. Speakeasy, which offers DSL and VOIP service, announced today that they will begin to recommend its users install Mozilla Firefox 1.0, the latest browser from Mozilla, and customize it with plugins and helpful bookmarks for their customers. While they won’t be installing the software for their customers, they do offer the links to download Firefox and the plugin from an easy location on their homepage. The last time an ISP offered an alternative browser with installation was back in the days of dial-up, when many companies offered Netscape Communicator, also a Mozilla browser. If this business practice continues, Firefox will continue to gain market share against IE, and hopefully help many users with virus and spyware problems, as well.
Read More | Speakeasy
Back atcha, EA! In light of recent developments in the game industry, many thought that Electronic Arts was going to have the whole world of sports gaming locked down. Take Two decided not to let that happen, as they just signed a deal with Major League Baseball granting them exclusive third party rights to make games based on the franchise. What this means is that first parties (Microsoft, Sony’s 989 Sports, and Nintendo) may still makes games based on MLB, but no other third parties - including Electronic Arts - may do so. The deal begins in 2006, and lasts for seven years. Just hours after the news was announced, Take Two announced the purchase of Visual Concepts, Sega’s sports dev house. This is just getting nasty.
Read More | IGN
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell has turned in his resignation after a four year stint in the position. What I liked about Powell was that he wasn’t all for strict telecommunications regulation. However, it was a pain in the past year seeing products like TiVo, the Sony Clie, and a myriad of cell phones have to go through hell to get things approved for use in the United States. Maybe the next person to take the seat will be a bit more lenient. Powell, who is a huge advocate of Broadband over Power Lines (BPL), will work his final day as FCC Chairman on March 10, 2005.
Read More | Forbes
While many thought last years promo was a flop, apparently Pepsi and Apple did not. They are joining up for another “Drink. Win. Play.” promo, where 1 in 3 Pepsi branded soda caps will have a code which you can redeem on iTunes for a free download. Check stores if you are into this kind of thing, as bottles have reportedly already started showing up.
Apple has done it again. Once again they have suceeded in producing a product so hot that it is now backordered after just one week of it being announced. The iPod shuffle has gotten so popular that now there is a 2-3 week waiting period for its $99 512 MB model and a 3-4 week waiting period for its $149 1 GB model according to the company’s website. Could it be that Apple just knows how to come up with products the public is eager to buy as soon as they can? Or does Apple not know how to judge how many of these “hot” products they will sell? One has to wonder, does Apple just under-deliver their new products to spark consumer frenzy?
Read More | Reuters
EA has been on a rampage as of late. First, they sign an exclusive deal with the NFL giving them sole rights to make games based on the NFL for the next five years. Then they do the same with the AFL for four years. Now, it seems they pulled off the coupe de grace - EA has signed an exclusive deal with ESPN which makes Electronic Arts the only publisher with the ability to make sports games under the ESPN brand. This means that the days of Madden vs ESPN NFL are over. While the deal is signed for 15 years, there is a clause that says that the option of ending it after 10 years is a possibility. Sucks to be Sega right about now.
Read More | Gamespot
Comcast Cable follows Time Warner and Cox Cable in a move to increase bandwidth to users from speeds of 3000/256 to 4000/384 - all at no additional charge to their customers (for now). These cable companies not only hope to further distance themselves from the telphone companies with DSL, but also because many users have found needs for the higher bandwidth abilities, such as video e-mail, video chat, and the transfer of HD content. Some Comcast users have already received the speed upgrade.
Comcast is also scheduled to roll out their VOIP service later on this year. The advantage of using Comcast’s VOIP service over one like Vonage is that Comcast will have a separate infrastructure that the service will run on, thereby not affecting your internet service speed at all.
Read More | CNet News
HP has stopped placing orders with Apple’s manufacturer for iPods. This is because HP wants a price protection policy from Apple. Since they have no price protection policy, HP is vulnerable to financial loss if Apple suddenly cuts the price of the Apple iPod. HP has refused to place any further orders for Apple’s iPod until Apple is willing to discuss the issue and agree on a solution. Could this be the end of iPod + HP?
Read More | Apple Insider
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