Tech Informer

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Popular Emulators yanked from Android Market

Retro gamers who use Android devices to play classics from old-school systems like Atari, Nintendo 64, and Sega took a hit this week when emulator apps for those consoles and a handful of others were removed from the Android Market.
Yongzh's (also known as Yong Zhang) emulators have been among some of the most popular and highest rated in the market, but the emulator creator reports that his developer account has been terminated without warning.

The removal of yongzh's account comes just weeks after PlayStation emulator PSX4droid--the work of another developer--was also deleted from the market in the lead-up to the release of Sony's Xperia Play. Yongzh, who lives in China, took down his Genesis emulator last month after receiving a complaint from Sega, but apparently it wasn't enough to placate Google and/or those console makers who may have lodged complaints with Mountain View.

While emulators on their own are not necessarily illegal, using the game ROMs that give them actual value apparently is, at least that's what Nintendo's lawyers claim in a company FAQ.

Yongzh says he's now out one of his main sources of income; he's posted the emulators on alternate app market SlideMe, where he's made them available for free so existing customers don't have to re-pay for the apps. N64oid alone has already registered more than 23,000 downloads from the site since Sunday.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Android App Market shows lower turn over rates than Apple

A new study of various mobile application stores during the month of April conducted by research company Distimo found that the top apps chart on Google's Android Market had considerably less turnover than the one on Apple's App Store for the iPhone, which leads to less downloads overall.

In terms of numbers, that works out to 94 unique applications in the App Store for the iPhone's top 10 free and paid categories during the month of April, with just 26 in the Android Market during the same time period. For the top 300 apps in the iPhone's App Store, the company found there were 843 unique free applications and 584 unique paid applications. That's compared to Android Market's 388 free apps, and 363 top paid apps that made up the top 300 paid and free lists for that platform.

"The fact that many applications have been downloaded relatively few times may be at least partially due to the fact that the top charts in the Google Android Market change very little over time," the report said. "This is caused by the fact that Google also takes long-term performance of applications into account in order to rank applications."

However, that difference could be short-lived, based on changes made to the way both Apple and Google have begun ranking applications as part of these top charts.
"Google recently made major changes to the Web storefront of the Google Android Market," the report said. "It now displays more local content and top new and trending charts. Perhaps these, and future changes, will provide a higher probability for success for a larger proportion of the applications in the Google Android Market."

Evidence from early April, which Distimo's report covers, points to Apple rolling out its own changes to App Store rankings based on app chart movements across the board. Those changes were said to add weight to rankings within individual categories to affect an app's overall ranking.

Some other interesting findings from Distimo's report include Google Maps being the most-downloaded app on the Android Market, at more than 50 million downloads. To put that in perspective, just 96 applications on the Android Market have hit download numbers higher than 5 million. Distimo also found that 20 percent of free applications, and 80 percent of all paid applications on the Android Market have been downloaded less than 100 times since the store opened.

Google's Android Market inventory is now up to 200,000 free and paid applications, according to Google's latest numbers. Apple's most recently announced numbers put it north of 350,000 apps. An estimate posted earlier his week pegged Apple's App Store at reaching 500,000 apps.


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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Droid 3 details and image LEAKED

Additional details for the Motorola Droid 3 are circulating ahead of the handset's expected June launch. The Droid and Droid 2 successor will feature a slightly larger 4.0-inch qHD display, likely running a 960x540 pixel resolution, according to a TechnoBuffalo source. If true, the screen is larger than its predecessors, with a higher resolution as well. Further, the source adds that the back of the Droid 3 bears an 8.0-megapixel rear-facing camera and has a secondary front-facing camera of indeterminate resolution.

Rumors have run rampant that Motorola will double up the Droid 3's processor, possibly in the form of a TI OMAP or NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core chipset. While TechnoBuffalo's tipster was unable to provide any more clarity, either choice would be a significant step up from the Droid 2's single core 1GHz processor.

This time around, Motorola seems to have slid in a dedicated row for numbers, making for a 5-row QWERTY keyboard. Also new in this potential Droid is HDMI-out, a feature we had hoped to see in last summer's Droid 2.

Despite the "new and improved" hardware allegedly coming to the Droid 3, one feature is still missing. According to multiple reports, the Droid 3 won't offer support for Verizon's 4G LTE network. Perhaps this will be among the first options added to the Droid 4.
Word on the street is that the Droid 3 will be arriving in June, just a few short weeks from now.


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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Free Amazon Gift Cards

Amazon is my favorite place to find deals. Between the free super saver shipping and their sales, you are almost guaranteed to find something you need at a low price. Combine that with the fact that you can find free Amazon gift cards at quite a few places and you have a way to score lots of free stuff.

When you get a code you can add it to your Amazon account and keep a running total of your Amazon cash. You can then use it whenever you want. You will never have to remember the gift card codes; just put them in your account and the Amazon cash will be saved until you need it. When you make a purchase from Amazon it will take from your gift card money first.

So what are you waiting for, head on over to Rewards today and sign up for free and start getting free Amazon gift cards today!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Google Launches New Music Service

The new Google Music service allows people to store up to 20,000 songs in the Internet "cloud." The benefit of doing this is that they will then be able to access the music from any Web browser that supports Flash or Android devices. The service is still being beta-tested and will only be offered to a select group of invitation-only users in the U.S. Initially, the service will be free to users, but Paul Joyce, a Google project manager demonstrating the service during the keynote this morning at Google I/O, hinted that Google may charge for the service in the future. He also hinted at capabilities being added to the service in the future. But for now Google only will allow music to be stored remotely. It won't allow users to purchase new music via the cloud.

Jamie Rosenberg , direct of digital content for Android, answered a question from a reporter about whether Google was afraid that music studios would take issue with Google allowing its users to move music digitally across the Internet. He responded by saying that the service is "completely legal," because it allows people to store only music that they own legally. Rosenberg admitted that Google had wanted to offer music labels an opportunity to sell music to Google users through the cloud service, but that the labels had asked for certain conditions that Google couldn't accept.
He wouldn't discuss details of the negotiations, but he emphasized Google's commitment to protecting the rights of music producers.

"We very much respect copyright," he said. "And we designed this service so that you can use your own personal music collection out of respect for those who create the music."

When asked how Google would police content stored on the music service to make sure it's legal, Google's Andy Rubin stepped in to answer the question. He said that Google will respond to rights holders who believe that unauthorized music is being stored on Google's service.

During the morning's keynote address, Google also demonstrated how some of its other technology initiatives will fit with the Google cloud-based music service. The Android @Home initiative will let Android-based devices control appliances and other devices in the home. Part of this initiative demonstrated during the keynote was "Project Tungsten," which offered a mechanism for streaming music to speakers and stereos throughout the home wireless. Using an Android tablet a user could access music in the Google Music cloud and play the songs throughout the home on any set of speakers or devices via the Android @Home technology and Project Tungsten capability. In essence the service replaces other wirelessly networked music playing services, such as Sonos wireless music system.

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Monday, May 9, 2011

More Testing Needed For Playstation Network Relaunch

Sony's breached PlayStation Network may well be offline longer than the company had expected, according to a Sony executive.

In a post on Sony's PlayStation.Blog late yesterday, Patrick Seybold, senior director of corporate communications and social media for the company, said Sony was still performing security checks on the system and that it might not be back up and running in the originally announced timeframe. Part of the problem, Seybold said, has been the hitherto unknown size of a breach of the Sony Online Entertainment gaming network, discovered during Sony's investigation into the PlayStation intrusion.

"When we held the press conference in Japan last week, based on what we knew, we expected to have the services online within a week," Seybold wrote. "We were unaware of the extent of the attack on Sony Online Entertainment servers, and we are taking this opportunity to conduct further testing of the incredibly complex system."

Meanwhile, the company said today that on Thursday it removed 2,500 customer names and partial addresses that had been stolen by hackers and posted on a Sony Web site. The names belonged to mostly U.S. customers who had entered a contest in 2001.

Sony said the Web site was "out of date and inactive" when discovered and that the company took the page down. PlayStation chief Kaz Hirai said last Saturday that most services on the PlayStation Network would be restored "within the week," including online game play for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable; chat functionalities; and the ability to play downloaded movies from PSN and to play unexpired movie rentals through PSN and Qriocity. Hirai said the company hoped to restore the entire network, including the PlayStation Store and purchasing features, "within the month."

The network went down in late April and it took Sony about a week to notify customers that the system had been breached by an unknown entity, who gained access to millions of customers' personal data--including, perhaps, credit card information. The company has since been criticized--by members of Congress, among others--for keeping customers in the dark and for what some see as lax security measures.


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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Call of Duty Black Ops Escalation Map Pack

This Escalation pack brings maps that include an abandoned Russian Zoo, a Cuban luxury hotel and casino, a stockpile area holding secret weapons of mass destruction, and a close-quarters convoy. But perhaps most interesting is the additional star-studded zombie level where you can play as a dream team of zombie-killers featuring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Robert Englund, Michael Rooker, and Danny Trejo.

Escalation can be downloaded for 1,200 Microsoft Points or $15. Or you can check out this site and get it free for completing a few free surveys! The PC and PlayStation 3 release has yet to be announced by the publisher, Activision. But seeing how things are with the PSN, perhaps the PS3 version is in no hurry.

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