At CES 2010 we were able to get a look at the very awesome Boxee Box, a set top box that runs the Boxee software, allowing you to pull in audio, video, and photo content from your home network, attached USB drives, as well as from the Internet, from hundreds of different locations. It even has a built-in Mozilla web browser, so you can pull up content like Hulu as well. We also got the news that the Boxee Box remote is two-sided, featuring a full QWERTY keyboard on the back, which eliminates the frustrating on-screen keyboard experience. For a better look at the Boxee Box, check out this episode!
A big thank you to Bing for sponsoring Gear Live’s CES 2010 coverage.
Following up on the promise of more free games for the Zune HD, Microsoft has released six new titles that are now available for your downloading pleasure. We’ve got a blurb on each game here, but we’ve gotta just say, after playing with PGR Ferrari Edition, we are thankful for that Tegra processor that the Zune HD is packing. Sure, it’s no App Store equivalent, but hey, it’s free content that is actually more fun than a flashlight or tip calculator:
- Audiosurf Tilt: Audiosurf creates a rollercoaster ride from any song. Choose any song from your music collection and watch Audiosurf turn it into a unique roller coaster track for you to ride. The song you choose determines the shape, the speed, and the mood of each track. Tilt your Zune like a steering wheel to collect colored blocks and avoid speedbumps. Unlock more than 30 designs, each with its own special theme and color palette.
- Checkers: Enjoy the classic game of Checkers in a beautiful outdoor park setting. Play against the computer or against a friend.
- Lucky Lanes Bowling: Bowl in different game modes: exhibition, blackjack, golf. Play in five different bowling alleys with unique themes, all with the swipe of a finger. Choose from twenty different bowlers and twenty two different ball styles. You can play against the computer or play with up to four friends.
- Piano: Play your own tune, or play along with your favorite music on this electronic piano.
- Project Gotham Racing: Ferrari Edition: Tear through the streets of London, Tokyo, and New York in the Ferrari of your choice using multi touch controls and the built in accelerometer.
- Vans Sk8: Pool Service: From the Admiral to the old abandoned rec center pool, Bucky Lasek and Omar Hassan know a good bowl to skate. Hit the pools and put these Vans skaters to the test with all the tricks in their bag and achieve hero status once you unlock their pro model skateboards.
One of the nicest features in Android 2.0 is Google Maps Navigation. In a nutshell, it’s Google Maps with turn-by-turn GPS navigation, and voice guidance. Google has put together a video that introduces Google Maps Navigation, which we’ve embedded above, but there are some of the features that stand out to us:
- Live traffic: Since Google Maps can show you traffic info, it’s obviously built-in to Google Maps Navigation, at no extra cost.
- Routes always current: When you search for directions, Google Maps Navigation searches the cloud, and gives you the best current route based on the most recent data
- Layers: You can overlay different types on data over your maps, like restaurants, gas stations, and more.
- Live street view: This is just awesome. You can use the Google Street View feature to get a fantastic visual of your surroundings while driving
- FREE!: Google Maps Navigation is free. That includes the GPS, the live traffic data, and the always updated maps. That is a big deal.
The Secret of Monkey Island is now on the App Store! The classic point-and-click adventure game was originally released in 1990 on the Atari ST, Macintosh and PC systems. The Special Edition version released on the iPhone/iPod touch is also available on PC and Xbox 360.
The Special Edition features updated graphics, music, and voice recordings. You can switch between the new and old versions simply by swiping your fingers across the screen.
The game seems to be an excellent update although there have been mixed reactions to the controls. You move the cursor around by sliding your finger on the screen and using it like a track-pad. The game does not allow you to simply tap on a part of the screen to interact with it but hopefully LucasArts will adjust that in a future update.
All in all, Monkey Island coming to the iPhone is only a sign of more good things to come. From LucasArts, hopefully other classics will be revitalized soon - like Sam and Max and Day of the Tentacle.
This big App Store release clearly shows how much of a player the iPhone is becoming in the gaming world - even if not all hardcore gamers want to admit it.
Read More | Monkey Island: Special Edition
Talk about big iPhone releases! Resident Evil 4 has hit the iPhone. It’s going for $7.99.
No word on how the game is. On the one hand, it is Resident Evil and the graphics don’t look bad. On the other hand, it is a port.
Read More | Resident Evil 4
So, if you are wondering just how fast that iPhone 3GS really is, we’ve got something you may want to take a look at. In this video, we compare the speed of the iPhone 3GS at pulling up Gear Live in Mobile Safari, to that of an iMac doing the same in the latest version of Firefox. Forget about comparing iPhone 3GS browser speeds to the older iPhone 3G, this really shows off the power inside of the latest Apple smartphone.
The Mentalists, a girl group from the UK, created this video “Kids” by MGMT using only their iPhones and instrument simulation apps. The band’s singer, Kim-Leigh Pontin, plays an ocarina by Smule, Alice Offley plays a miniSynth from Yonac, Kelly Appleton uses Iconic Apps’ Retro Synth and Lyndsay Evans played the DigiDrummer Lite application from Magnus Larsson and Nick Rudolfsky. Kim-Leigh mentions that they weren’t paid by anyone to do this, but thought of it herself and calls herself a wannabe geek.
Read More | cnet
Microsoft has released more details for developers that want to build and sell applications through their Windows Marketplace for Mobile. Those who want to design something for the 6.5 operating system will receive 70% of the revenue from sales and can set their own price or offer it at no cost. Up to 5 apps can be submitted with a registration fee of $99.00, which will be waived for students enrolled in the Microsoft DreamSpark program. More details will become available this spring and if you would like to give it a go, applications will be out this summer.
Read More | Microsoft
ABI Research surveyed 235 smartphone users in the U.S. who installed applications in 2008. Their result was that 16.5% spent between $100.00 and $499.00. That’s a lot of apps considering that many of them are free or less than $25.00. Analyst Jeff Orr sees this as the reason, “Apple is seen by some as hurting the market with its iPhone App Store. It drives the price of content down to $1-2, using a model similar to its successful iTunes music store. If you exclude Apple from the mix, applications for other platforms cost about $7-25 each.”
He went on to say that Apple’s marketing did a lot to get others to work on their own. Look for application storefronts from Nokia, Palm, RIM and Samsung to come this year.
Read More | Smart Brief
While perusing del.icio.us bookmarks over the holiday, I came across technology and productivity blog Codswallop’s fantastic Freelancer’s Toolset. Yoav Ezer posted this list of 100 tools for freelancers back in May, and barring a few recent developments in the web app universe, it’s exhaustive and incredibly helpful. With apps covering organization, calendaring and to-do’s, money, storage, project management and productivity, writing and design, security and privacy, mobility and contact, marketing and networking, business and legal, contact and feedback, website tools, printing and packaging, revenue building and giving, and more - just about anything that a freelancer can use on the web to further their business can be found on this list.
Read More | Codswallop