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.
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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.
We are right around the corner from the release of Rock Band 2, so we figured we would bring you this extensive preview of the game, starring the makers of the game themselves, Harmonix. We bring you a 15-minute primer, focusing on all the new hotness in the next iteration of Rock Band, including the tracks, features, and instruments. We also go in to a little of the history behind the Rock band franchise and the reason it came about (other than seeing that Guitar Hero was a raging success, we mean.) We end it with a demo of the game, with a couple of people teaming up to form bands on the fly. If you are into Rock band, this is definitely one to watch.
Apple has finally unleashed the iPhone 2.1 firmware to the masses as of an hour or so ago. If you’ve been running iPhone 2.0 since July, then you’ve probably been waiting desperately for this firmware release, which is supposed to clear up a ton of bugs and other annoyances about the app-centric iPhone OS. Here’s a list of the changes and improvements:
- Decrease in call set-up failures and dropped calls
- Significantly better battery life for most users
- Dramatically reduced time to backup to iTunes
- Improved email reliability, notably fetching email from POP and Exchange accounts
- Faster installation of 3rd party applications
- Fixed bugs causing hangs and crashes for users with lots of third party applications
- Improved performance in text messaging
- Faster loading and searching of contacts
- Improved accuracy of the 3G signal strength display
- Repeat alert up to two additional times for incoming text messages
- Option to wipe data after ten failed passcode attempts
- Genius playlist creation
So, there’s a lot of stuff there. Of course, most are concerned primarily with the big fixes. Here’s hoping that iPhone 2.1 is the solid OS that the 2.0 release should have been. You can get the update by connecting your iPhone to your computer, firing up iTunes 8 (it’s required), and hitting “Check for Update.” Good luck!
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If you are tired of hearing us talk about all the Apple news of the day, maybe you’d prefer listening to Steve Jobs himself deliver the news. If that is the case, you’ll be happy to know that the Let’s Rock keynote is now available online for your viewing pleasure. You can stream is now from the Apple Special Event page. If downloading is more your thing, we are sure it will be hitting iTunes 8 shortly.
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The worst-kept secret of today’s Apple Let’s Rock iPod event was the newly updated iPod nano. Apple officially let the cat out of the bag today, sharing all the details. The new iPod nano is taller, and also turns out to be the thinnest iPod ever made. It’s available in a record nine colors, and you get two models to choose from - an 8GB version for $149, and a 16GB version for $199. The battery will hook you up with 24 hours of music or 4 hours of video. The nano now has an included accelerometer, which allows it to sense if you are holding it in portrait or landscape mode, so it can then change the screen orientation accordingly. That same accelerometer also gives rise to a new “Shake to Shuffle” feature. It’s exactly what it sounds like. If you don’t like what you are listening to, shake the nano, and you get a new random track. You can order the new iPod nano now at the online Apple Store, or pick one up at a physical location as they arrive over the next few days.
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During this morning’s Apple event, Steve Jobs let us in on a few of the details of the upcoming iPhone 2.1 software update. In giving the details, Steve also admitted to the faults that have been pointed out consistently since the iPhone 2.0 software launched. What can we look forward to when 2.1 is released this Friday for the iPhone? How does fewer dropped calls, major improvements in battery life, faster backups, and no crashing apps sound? Yeah, we thought so. Now to wait for Friday to see if the promises prove to be true. Fingers crossed!
EDIT: iPhone 2.1 has been released!
Apple is improving the iPod touch with a thinner stainless steel case, hardware volume controls, a built-in speaker, and a Nike+ receiver (you’ll need to puchase a Nike+ kit to take advantage of that one.) Battery life is now at 36 hours for music, which translates to around six hours for video. The new Genius feature will be included, alongside the App Store. They’ve also redone the casing, which is now a thinner stainless steel, and we’ve even got actual hardware volume control buttons. The new iPod touch is available now - 8GB for $229, 16GB for $299, and 32GB for $399. You can pick on up from the Apple Store Online now.
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