One of the main reasons we switch from Blockbuster Online to Netflix here at our home is the Netflix Watch Instantly functionality that is set to come to the Xbox 360 with the New Xbox Experience Fall dashboard update. However, if you don’t have a 360, or you just want more variety in your Watch Instantly lifestyle, you’ll be pleased to know that the functionality is finally gonna hit OS X by the end of this year, after being available only on Windows for almost two years. By our estimation, that means sometime in the next three months, and that excites us. Apparently, the holdup was based the fact that the DRM used on Windows boxes wasn’t compatible with OS X, and since Apple doesn’t license out their FairPlay DRM to third-parties, Netflix had to roll their own. From Netflix:
And, for all of you Mac users (of which I am one) we’ve been busy working getting a solution that will allow you to watch instantly on your Mac. So hang in there - we’ll have something for you by the end of the year.
Good news all around.
Read More | Netflix Blog
Last week we talked about rumors of a new Nintendo DS, and this morning, those rumors proved to be true. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata announced the Nintendo DSi at the company’s Fall presentation over in Japan, calling it a “third platform” for the company (where have we heard that before?). It looks fairly similar the the current DS Lite that we all know and love, but there are a few changes that make this one a worthy upgrade. First, it’s about 12% thinner, as it has given up its GBA slot. The screens are a bit larger, each being 3.25-inches in size. One of the bigger changes, though, is that the DSi features two cameras. You have one 3 megapixel camera on the outside of the unit, as well a front-facing camera on the inside so that you can take images of yourself.
The Nintendo DSi also has an SD card slot along with internal storage. You can save your photos right to the card, then put that card in your Wii to pull it up in the Photo Channel. Nintendo is even launching the DSi Shop, an online destination for purchasing DSi software, similar to the Wii Shop. You use Nintendo Points, and content will be priced at 200, 500, or 800 points. 1000 points will be included with the purchase of the DSi. The unit will come in either white or black for the time being, and goes on sale in Japan on November 1 at ¥18,900 ($178).
Read More | Nintendo DSi product page
Wii Sports is one of the most popular and accessible console pack-in games of all time, so it’s only natural that Nintendo would want to follow up with a paid offering. That’s where Wii Sports Resort comes in. The sequel to Wii Sports will be the first game to be compatible with the Wii MotionPlus add-on, which feature 1:1 mapping of your Wiimote. The game will come bundled with the MotionPlus device and an extended Wii Remote Jacket, both of which will also be sold separately. Games announced to be included (so far) are: Frisbee (Disc Dog), Jet Skiing, and Kendo, with more to come. Wii Sports Resort will launch in Spring 2009.
Right on the heels of the iPhone 2.1 release that seems to cure just about all our iPhone-related woes (although, honestly, some are still there,) Apple has just released iPhone 2.2 into beta, and seeded it to their iPhone devs. Officially, we are talking about iPhone OS 2.2 beta 1, and as such, we have no timetable or anything as to when this will actually hit the masses. But still, it’s nice to know that it’s coming, right? What would you like to see addressed in iPhone 2.2?
If you are curious about how Google services will work on the Android platform, Eric from Google is here to give us a look. Google products like search, maps, YouTube, Gmail, contacts, calendar, and Google Talk are all included in the Android operating system used by the T-Mobile G1. Basically, you sign in to your Google account once, and all your information syncs to the web. Any changes made on the web sync back to your phone. It’s like a free version of MobileMe - yeah, I said it. Check out the video above for a walkthrough of Google features on the G1.
Earlier today, I received word that a second iPhone App had been denied access into the App Store, with Apple citing that the application duplicates existing functionality already found in the Apple ecosystem. This is beginning to become a problem, and if you aren’t seeing why, allow me to explain why this is so alarming to me. In case you hadn’t heard, a couple of weeks ago, an app called Podcaster was rejected by Apple for similar reason. The line of thinking there was that Podcaster, an app that would allow you to subscribe to and download podcasts while on the go, duplicated functionality already found in iTunes.
Now, if you’ve never used an iPhone, allow me to point out the absurdity. There is nothing on the iPhone or iPod touch that allows you to subscribe to, or even download, a podcast to your device. Sure, you can open the file in Safari, but that is not what we are talking about. That’s right, even if you enter the iTunes app, you will find right away that podcasts just aren’t there. So we have to then assume that Apple was referring to the iTunes desktop software when they said that Podcaster duplicated functionality. Really? Is that a major issue that a company decided to fix a gaping hole on the iPhone, even if that hole doesn’t exist on the desktop? Why, then, are there so many calculators in the App Store? After all, not only do we have a calculator as part of OS X, but there is a calculator that ships installed by default on the iPhone as well. It seems we have a double-standard here.
Animal Crossing is on of the main Nintendo franchises that many a gamer has been waiting to see hit Wii since the console launched. We were able to catch up with Janet Braulio of Nintendo to get a look at some of the gameplay features, WiiSpeak integration, as well as what we can expect with the game drops this November. This is definitely one we are looking forward to getting our hands on.
Asfar as what sets this apart from other Animal Crossing experences you may have had in the past, Katsuya Eguchi, leader of Animal Crossing’s production development, stated, “someone could send a letter from their cellphone or from an email address on a PC to the Wii, and then the player living in the town in Animal Crossing could receive that letter.” In another interview with IGN, Katsuya Eguchi also discussed how his team continues exploring potential ways to take advantage of the WiiConnect24 feature such as allowing friends to visit other towns or leave messages while the machine is in standby mode.
You can pick up Animal Crossing: City Folk in the US on November 16.
Ten days ago, Verizon FiOS TV officially launched here in Washington state. I was actually invited to speak at the launch event that took place that day, alongside Verizon representatives, and local government officials. I was specifically chosen as a case study of just how good FiOS is, since I literally moved specifically because Comcast was way too slow for the things we expected out of our Internet connection here at Gear Live HQ. It was an event meant to talk up the advantages of FiOS over cable (specifically, Comcast, in this area). Obviously, with FiOS looming over their territory, Comcast went into damage control mode to combat Verizon’s claims that they were the best option for Internet and television services. We were sent both the FiOS press release and the Comcast press release, and we figured we would respond to the claims of each, point-by-point.
For some background, we’ve been Comcast customers for over six years, for both Internet and television services. When we moved for FiOS 15 months ago, Comcast was still our cable television provider. As of today, I am a FiOS customer for both Internet and television, and as of 10 days ago, am no longer a Comcast customer. Now, on with the comparisons.
You that 2G iPod touch that Apple was all excited about, being that it’s the thinnest iPod touch ever (despite being only the second one ever made)? We figured you guys might be interested in having us take a bunch of unboxing images of the one that just got delivered here to Gear Live HQ. Yeah, this thing is thin, and if you don’t already have a first-gen iPod touch, you should seriously look into this model if you’ve been waiting one. It’s a nice improvement over the original. Check out the rest of the images over at our iPod touch 2G unboxing gallery.
Read More | iPod touch 2G unboxing
Gallery: iPod touch 2G unboxing gallery
Okay, we’ve been hitting you with snippets of Zune news all day, especially as it pertains to the hardware. Now it’s time to break down all the changes that the Zune 3.0 software is bringing, both from the hardware side of things, as well as the software client side of things. On the hardware side of things, we are seeing new features like support for games, the ability to buy songs tagged while using the FM radio, and the ability to browse and download from the Zune Marketplace directly from the device itself. Over on software, we see a bunch of improvements to the client that are all focused on music discovery and helping you experience your music library in a whole new way. A lot of the changes seem geared towards Zune Pass subscribers (which, by the way, we think is the best deal in music). Click on through for an in-depth look at all the important changes that Zune 3.0 brings.
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