Blogger templates

Samsung launches Galaxy Grand Prime 'selfie' phone at Rs 15499


Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime runs on a 1.2GHz quad-core processor with 1GB RAM and on Android 4.4 KitKat OS.


Samsung has launched its Galaxy Grand Prime in India at a price of Rs. 15,499. The Galaxy Grand Prime features a 5-inch qHD (960×540) PLS TFT display along with a 8 MP rear camera with LED flash and a 5 MP front camera. Samsung is touting this device as a selfie phone and claims to offer 85 degree wide selfie shots.


The Galaxy Grand Prime runs on a 1.2GHz quad-core processor with 1GB RAM, 8 GB internal memory expandable up to 64GB through microSD card and runs on Android 4.4 KitKat OS with Samsung's Touch Wiz user interface. The device is powered by a 2600mAH battery.


Specs:


5-inch qHD (960×540) PLS TFT display


1.2GHz quad-core processor


1 GB RAM


8 GB internal memory expandable up to 64GB


Android 4.4 KitKat OS


8 MP rear camer, 5 MP front camera


2600mAH battery


Apple Patches 'Shellshock' on OS X


Apple overnight released a patch for Mac OS X users susceptible to the Shellshock bug.


'We have patched the Bash vulnerability for OX X Lion, Mountain Lion, and Mavericks,' a company spokesman confirmed to PCMag.


Mac owners can find more details and a link to the download online.


The flaw impacts Bash, a widely used command interpreter also implemented in Apple's Mac OS X. If exploited, hackers can gain complete control over a targeted system.


Discovered last week, the bug has been likened to Heartbleed, which made headlines earlier this year. But unlike Heartbleed, which affected only a specific version of OpenSSL, the Shellshock flaw has been creeping into old devices for more than two decades.


Apple acted quickly, assuring most customers that they could breathe easy.


'The vast majority of OS X users are not at risk,' a spokesman said last week. 'With OS X, systems are safe by default and not exposed to remote exploits of bash unless users configure advanced UNIX services.'


Last night, Cupertino released software updates for all users—from the most novice to those advanced enough to run UNIX.


According to the Akamai administrator who first disclosed the vulnerability, Shellshock is present in most versions of Bash, from 1.13 to 4.3, and is based on how Bash handles environment variables.


But despite the Web-based panic, there is actually no pressing need to fix the flaw, according to security expert Robert Graham, who said primary servers are probably not vulnerable.


Users are encouraged to scan the network for things like Telnet, FTP, and old versions of Apache. 'Anything that responds is probably an old device needing a bash patch,' Graham said last week. 'And, since most of them can't be patched, you are likely screwed.'


NVIDIA Shield Tablet with 4G LTE now available for purchase


Just as promised, the NVIDIA Shield Tablet with built-in 4G LTE connectivity is now available for purchase.


The NVIDIA Shield Tablet is priced at $399 and is available from NVIDIA's online shop as well as Amazon, Best Buy, Fry's Electronics, GameStop, Micro Center, Newegg and Tiger Direct in the US, as well as 'many top e-tailers' in Europe. US-based consumers can also buy the Shield Tablet from AT&T for $299 on-contract.


In exchange for your hard-earned dollar bills, you'll get an Android tablet with the following specs:


8-inch 1920x1200 display 2.2GHz quad-core Tegra K1 processor 5-megapixel front and rear cameras 2GB of RAM 32GB of storage DirectStylus 2 pen Console Mode for hooking the tablet up to a TV Shield wireless controller support Front-facing speakers Android 4.4 KitKat Google Play support

NVIDIA is also selling some accessories for its Shield Tablet. Those include a Shield Wireless Controller for $59.99, a Shield Tablet Cover that can act as a stand for $39.99 and a new DirectStylus 2 pen for $19.99.


Are any of you going to spring for an LTE-enabled NVIDIA Shield Tablet?


'Shadow of Mordor' And The Benefits Of Being Underhyped

Today may mark the official kick-off of 'big fall games that aren't Destiny' season, with the release of Warner Bros.' Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor.


The game has already surprised many critics, and in turn, surprised many fans who found the reviews that went up after a very early pre-launch embargo to be largely full of praise for the Lord of the Rings game. Mordor is currently basking in a very respectable 85 on Metacritic, only a point shy of the 3DS Super Smash Bros. release.


There seems to be an interesting divide forming between games that premiere with little to no fanfare, and those that are heralded as something approaching the Second Coming. I'd now group Mordor in with Wolfenstein: The New Order as a pair of 2014 games that ended up exceeding most people's expectations, as opposed to the year's trio of big-name releases to date, Titanfall, Watch Dogs and Destiny.



Like Wolfenstein before it, I've seen precious little marketing for Mordor, and I remember a time when the game was largely being dismissed as an Assassin's Creed clone simply adopting Lord of the Rings mythology to sell product. Now, it seems it actually does a few innovative things, and is being heralded as feeling very 'next-gen' in concept (if not visuals) because of ideas like its Nemesis system.


But all three of the big new IPs this year suffered largely because of an expectations game.


Titanfall was sold as a title to shake up the competitive multiplayer shooter scene, and its beta promised a much different gameplay experience than other titles in the genre. And while it may have delivered on that promise, players were amazed to find just how sparse the game was in terms of content. Now, Titanfall finds many of its ideas adopted by Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, which makes the original game look even more paltry by comparison. It's lead to a situation where in terms of Twitch viewership (a new era interest metric) there are currently 19 people total watching Titanfall streams, while at least a dozen other shooters (including the ancient Halo 3 and Modern Warfare 3) have dramatically more viewers.


Then there's Watch Dogs, meant to reinvent the sandbox genre, but Ubisoft couldn't make the final game live up to their slickly-edited movie trailer vision of the game, and a lackluster story wasn't any more engaging than anything else in the 'steal cars and shoot things' genre. Despite a few innovative concepts, the game was once again oversold.


Destiny has been all anyone can talk about for the past month, and most of the disconnect between the game and those who bought it stems from the fact that fans just don't feel like they're getting what they were promised. They pictured something larger in scope, a universe richer with lore, combat that was more diverse, characters whose names you can remember, etc.


Perhaps most of all Destiny, demonstrates the expectations problem. The game is absolutely massive when compared to many others, and yet the marketing and pre-hype from the developers seemed to promise something even larger and deeper. It's a strange phenomenon to have a game that players are easily sinking a hundred hours into, and still have them say they're disappointed.


But with Mordor? No one was promising the moon. The bar is set so low for licensed games, that the fact that Mordor was in fact a high quality title was enough of a surprise. And yet, what haven't you heard in the run-up to the game? Months and months of hype about how Shadow of Mordor would 'reinvent' the stealth/assassinating/brawling genre, or be the best next-gen console experience to date. Rather, the subtlety of their marketing can really be summed up by the recent embargo. In the reviews scene, if you know you've made a bad game, you might not send out review copies at all. If you're unsure, you might not let reviews go live until the launch date. But by letting the review floodgates open a full weekend and a half before release, Mordor was simply saying 'our game is good, but don't take our word for it, listen to these critics' (hold your GamerGate jokes).


Perhaps a lot of this is a budget issue. It's clear that Mordor and Wolfenstein don't have the marketing heft of a Destiny or Watch Dogs, but it's also apparent that neither likely cost as much to make either. Sometimes you get a game caught in the middle like the Tomb Raider reboot which was one of those not very hyped surprises, but by spending loads on marketing, even millions in sales still didn't allow it to be considered a success.


I think expectations play into people's appreciation of a game more than most realize. Played in a vacuum, Titanfall, Watch Dogs and Destiny could be considered very good games. But the fact that they were bounced around this echo chamber for years and years ahead of launch meant by the time they were released, they had pre-made fanbases who were destined to be disappointed with some aspect of the final product.


Follow me on Twitter, like my page on Facebook, and pick up a copy of my sci-fi novel, The Last Exodus, and its sequel, The Exiled Earthborn, along with my new Forbes book, Fanboy Wars.How should Destiny spend its $500M budget? I explain below:

Samsung Gear VR demo units appear at some Best Buys

When Samsung introduced the Gear VR earlier in September the company said the virtual reality headset would hit store shelves this fall. Apparently, that meant sooner rather than later, as some eagle-eyed shoppers have already spotted Gear VR demo headsets at Samsung Experience Shops inside Best Buy.


Best Buy and Samsung were unavailable for comment at this writing.


A Redditor going by the name Hackertipz and the Yourift blog each came across demo units of the Gear VR at Best Buy locations in the Los Angeles area. The units were not operational and didn't even have a Galaxy Note 4 attached to them-Samsung's upcoming phablet will supply the processing power and display for the Gear VR.


The story behind the story: Samsung's Gear VR will be the first consumer-grade virtual reality available for purchase. The device is really just a fancy accessory for the Note 4, but it acts as a prelude to the Oculus Rift-a virtual reality headset that connects to your PC. Reception to the Gear VR should give us some sense of whether we're on the verge of the virtual reality revolution that many anticipate the Oculus Rift and the Gear VR will usher in. The two devices are also closely related as OculusVR collaborated with Samsung to create the Gear VR.


Waiting for the phablet Yourift

The Gear VR on display at Best Buy.


It's not clear why Samsung would want to show the Gear VR without slapping in a Note 4 for people to try out prior to the phablet's launch. With more than two weeks before the Note 4's introduction, demoing the Gear VR right now seems like a good way to promote Samsung's new handset.


Plus, even though the Note 4 isn't due to hit store shelves until October 17, the Note 4 was already on display at Best Buy, according to Yourift.


Further reading: Samsung Gear VR headset hands-on: Better than the Oculus Rift (in some ways)

The VR-focused blog also reports that Samsung representatives who work at the company's store within a store at Best Buy have yet to receive training on the headset.


When the demo units are ready for action, anyone wanting to try out the VR tech will have to sign a legal waiver to avoid lawsuits if you get injured, a Best Buy employee told Yourift. That's not as strange as it sounds, since some people complained of nausea when using early beta models of the Oculus Rift. (Later models greatly reduce the effect.)


For now, anyone lucky enough to spot the Gear VR at Best Buy will have to be content with just looking at the device. Whether the Gear VR will launch on October 17 alongside the Note 4 or debut a few weeks later is unknown.


Samsung has yet to announce official pricing for its virtual reality headset, but the latest reports say the Gear VR will set you back $200 on top of your Note 4 purchase.


Honda CR


HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. -- In a class of family vehicles where safety can be a big selling point, Honda is betting on high-tech to avoid wrecks in its 2015 CR-V.


The 2015 CR-V will be the first vehicle in Honda's lineup to get what the automaker has named Honda Sensing, a bundle of six technologies that the brand hopes will put it step ahead of the razor-sharp competition in the compact crossover segment.


Three of them are becoming more common on vehicles. Adaptive cruise control keeps an even distance to the vehicle in front no matter whether it speeds up or slows down. Lane departure warnings sound when a car wanders out of its lane. And forward collision warning rouses an inattentive driver if there is a danger of crashing.


To those, Honda has added three new features that aren't usually found in mainstream car brands:.


* LaneWatch. Found in the Accord sedan and other Honda vehicles, it puts a live video stream of the car's blind spot on the right side on the video screen. Drivers don't need just to depend on the right side mirror and a glance over the shoulder to make a lane change.


*Lane Keeping Assist System. LKAS for short, the system steers the car back into the lane when it starts to wander out. It is aimed at making driving easier on highways. While it's a step on the road to a driverless car, it's a baby step -- it only works for about 15 seconds before a driver needs to turn the wheel a bit just to let the system know the car is still being piloted.


* Collision Mitigation Braking System. If drivers don't perk up and throw on the brakes if a car or person is detected in their path, the car will do it for them.


The Honda Sensing package will only be found on the new, most expensive trim level of the CR-V, called the Touring model. But they are sure to creep into other models and lower trim levels.


That's because Honda says it has set a goal of halving fatalities in its vehicles by 2020, going fatality-free by 2030 and being going without collisions at all by 2030.


While the CR-V will be aimed at women and young families -- groups that traditionally have strongly considered safety to be a top consideration -- Honda officials say safety is not the top reason for buying a CR-V.


'They buy it No. 1 for value,' says Jeff Conrad, senior vice president in charge of the Honda division in the U.S.


Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/YL8L45


HP Unveils New Low


HP adds four new models to its Stream lineup after the first one was presented earlier this month. This is a potential blow to Chromebook, as Stream devices will be cheap Windows cloud-based machines. For those who felt that Chrome OS may not be enough, there will soon be alternative, yet similarly cheap, models.


A couple of weeks ago, HP presented the 14-inches Stream laptop. Its specs are less than exciting. The combination between AMD A4 clocked at 1.6 GHz and 2 GB of RAM will provide just enough power to surf the net.


Now HP expands the Stream lineup by adding 11 and a 13.3-inches laptops, along with a 7 and 8-inches tablets. These models are cheap, run Windows 8 and come in bright colors.


'Today's consumers demand mobile products that fit their personal style and allow them to work and play where ever they are,' said Mike Nash, vice president in the Personal Systems Group at HP, in a statement. 'The HP Stream products announced today hit the mark with sleek design, portability, access to free cloud storage, and the familiarity of Windows and Office 365.'


If you need extra storage, there is 1 terabyte of data available on Microsoft OneDrive for one year. Office 365 Personal edition will be available for the same period. The 13-inches model is 4G capable and comes with 200 MB of data per month.


The 11 and 13 inches models come with regular 1366X768 screens. The larger one can come with a touch screen option. Because they are both powered by an Intel Celeron, they have no fans, but then again, there isn't enough speed to heat anything. However, Windows 8 runs rather smooth, as Microsoft adapted its OS to a wide range of processors. The 32 GB SSD will be enough for Windows 8 and a couple of files, so Stream users will need an internet connection permanently.


You can either have them in Orchid Magenta or Horizon Blue. The smaller model is just $200, while the 13-inches one is $230.


The HP Stream 7 Tablet and its 8-inches sibling run Windows 8 as well and include the same Office 365 and cloud storage offers. Their prices will be $100 and $150.


HP plans to make these models available for holidays. While they do not offer staggering performances, they are dirt-cheap. Would you be interested in buying one?


$199 Basis Peak Gets Heart Rate Monitor, Smart Features

Intel-owned Basis Science today announced a new $199 wristwatch activity tracker and smartwatch with a built-in optical heart rate monitor, touch screen, support for some push notifications from iPhones and Android smartphones, and a swim-safe design.


Dubbed Basis Peak, the new fitness tech gadget is essentially a 2.0 version of the equally priced Basis Carbon Steel Edition (which originally launched as the Basis B1 Band; same device, different strap).


The new Basis Peak answers pretty much all the complaints users had about its predecessor. The optical heart rate monitor now holds up better during high-intensity workouts, whereas the original version was unreliable at higher heart rate zones, with results varying from person to person. The screen is much brighter, now with a high-contract LCD display with some backlighting that results in less glare. The display is wider, but the watch itself is thinner. The strap is still swappable, as it was in the customizable Basis Carbon Steel, but the Basis Peak uses a more conventional method to secure the band to the tracker so that it never pops off. The design also makes it compatible with straps made by other companies.



CEO Jef Holove said the new Basis Peak has more of an emphasis on athletics, but is still first and foremost a fitness and sleep tracker. One of the key improvements, he said, was to put more powerful LEDs in the heart rate monitor, which is what makes it a more stable device now during high-intensity workouts.


Like the previous version, Basis Peak contains several physiological sensors, measuring not only heart rate, but also skin temperature and galvanic skin response, which are additional data points used to estimate calorie burn more accurately and differentiate between your three sleep stages: light sleep, deep sleep, and REM.


Peak will support a few very basic smartwatch features, such as notifications of incoming calls and text messages, and using BLE to connect to iOS and Android phones, but it won't compete with the likes of the Pebble Smartwatch or others that come with their own app store. (Not yet, anyway.)


The watch itself is constructed with forged aluminum, and uses Gorilla Glass on the screen. The strap is silicone, with ridges on the underside that promote airflow, and Peak is available in two colors combinations: brushed silver with a white strap, and matte black with a black strap.


Peak is also fully safe for swimming at depths of up to 50 meters (5ATM water resistant). It's launching in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., with a list price of $199, and will initially be available through Amazon and Futureshop.


For more advice on activity trackers, see how to choose a fitness tracker and PCMag's list of the best activity trackers for fitness.


Toyota recalls 690000 pickups to fix rear springs


Uncredited, AP


Toyota says it is recalling 690,000 Tacoma pickup trucks because the rear leaf springs could break, puncture the gas tank and cause a fire.


To continue reading this story, you will need to be a digital subscriber to HoustonChronicle.com.


Protesters Are Using FireChat's Mesh Networks To Organize in Hong Kong


Protesters in Hong Kong have started communicating via FireChat, an app that lets people send messages without cell reception.


Tens of thousands of protestors are gathering in Hong Kong's financial district to protest changes to election policy that would let a mainland Chinese committee vet the city's political candidates, and many use their phones to organize. There's a live feed of the protest you can watch on YouTube:


College students spearheaded the initial meetup, and this protest is appropriately tech-savvy. In addition to mainstream social networks like Facebook and Twitter, Hong Kong's activists are using iOS and Android app FireChat.


Activist Joshua Wong advised his fellow student protestors to download the app, which helped spread the word.


FireChat's parent company Open Garden reports 100,000 new users from Hong Kong within 22 hours, and 33,000 users on the app at once. While that's nothing for big networks like Twitter, FireChat is still a small, new, underused app. This surge in use highlights its value as a tool for political organizers.


FireChat helps people create what are known as 'mesh networks.' These connections go between devices, using a phone's hardware to link people in a daisy chain. Right now, FireChat can connect devices up to 200 feet apart. The geographic limit means the app is really only useful in crowds... but that's exactly what the Occupy Central protests have drawn. Since the crowd is so dense, many people are able to create a large mesh network to spread updates.


Mesh networks are an especially resilient tool because there's no easy way for a government to shut them down. They can't just block cell reception or a site address. Mesh networks are like Voldemort after he split his soul into horcruxes (only not evil). Destroying one part won't kill it unless you destroy each point of access; someone would have to turn off Bluetooth on every phone using FireChat to completely break the connection. This hard-to-break connection isn't super important for casual chats, but during tense political showdowns, it could be a lifeline.


FireChat is not encrypted, which means anyone with the app can see all the public messages (it also doesn't have a private chat function). So it's a limited political tool. But with Instagram apparently blocked in mainland China as a result of this protest, the value of having an app that can resist government-imposed shutdowns is more obvious than ever. [ TechInAsia]


FireChat, the clever app that lets people talk to each other without using cell reception, just got an update that gives its users fixed handles.... Read more


Protests that began peacefully late Friday night in the semiautonomous city of Hong Kong escalated on Sunday when riot police fired tear gas into the ... Read more


Cisco Adds 30 New Partners, $1 Billion to Intercloud

Cisco is adding some muscle and money to its Intercloud skeleton, signing over 30 new partners to its worldwide network of interconnected clouds. The new alliances add 250 data centers in 50 countries to Intercloud.


Cisco Capital,a wholly owned subsidiary of Cisco, has also earmarked $1 billion in financing to the effort, providing the money so Cisco customers and partners can more quickly adopt the Cisco technologies needed to transition to Cisco-powered clouds.


Deutsche Telekom, BT, NTT DATA, and Equinix are among the heavy hitters joining forces with Cisco to make possible two major industry moves: a new generation of standardized cloud applications and the proliferation of secure hybrid clouds.


By aligning with these companies, Cisco takes a quantum leap toward its plans to address customer demands for a globally distributed, highly secure cloud platform that can meet the needs of the Internet of Everything. Cisco's open approach to the Intercloud is designed for high-value application workloads, with real-time analytics and 'near infinite' scalability and promises local hosting and local provider options that enable data sovereignty.


Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, told us to think about Cisco's Intercloud like a mini-Internet of clouds. As such, he said, its success depends on how many partners it has.


'You can have the best plan but if you don't have many partners it doesn't add much value,' Kerravala said. 'This is a good example of the network effect, where the value of the network is proportional to the square number of nodes on it. With more nodes the value grows exponentially. If you are a multinational looking to do some sort of hybrid cloud service, you are almost certain to find Cisco certified services in the companies you are in.'


Getting Down to Cloud Business


Indeed, Rob Lloyd, Cisco's president of development and sales, said the company has received strong industry-wide support since announcing its OpenStack-based cloud strategy six months ago. In fact, he pointed to clear momentum in the open source community and providing partners with a cloud platform that offers global reach, Internet scale and efficiencies.


'Just as Cisco played a leading role in connecting isolated islands of LANs to architect the modern Internet, Cisco's Intercloud Fabric and Application Centric Infrastructure innovations uniquely position us to connect disparate cloud services to unlock the full potential of cloud, and with it a new era in IT,' Lloyd said. Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) couples innovations in software, hardware, systems and ASICS with an application-aware network policy model built around open APIs that reduce application deployment from months to minutes.


Additional companies joining Cisco's partner ecosystem to deliver Intercloud-enabled cloud services based on Cisco ACI and Intercloud Fabric, include Adapt, ANS Group, CGI Group, Cirrity, CTI, Ethan Group, Infront Systems, LightEdge Solutions, LG CNS, Logicalis, Long View, Netelligent, NWN, OneNeck IT Solutions, OnX Managed Services, Peak 10, Presidio, Proxios, PT Portugal/Oi, Quest Media and Supplies, Steria, Virtustream and Wipro.


Cisco also said it will begin offering a hybrid cloud service and that Cisco Intercloud Fabric, a highly secure, open, and flexible hypervisor-agnostic cloud interconnect technology, is now shipping to customers.


Simple, Cost-Effective Clouds


'As our customers get more sophisticated about using the cloud, they are demanding true hybrid clouds and the ability to easily use clouds in many different countries,' said Reinhard Clemens, a board member of Deutsche Telekom and CEO of T-Systems. 'By offering the Cisco Intercloud platform, we will be able to deliver simple and cost-effective clouds and true hybrid services to our customers throughout Europe -- in compliance with our strict data protection regulations in Germany, which is a critical factor in business today.'


Cisco also started offering hybrid cloud bundles, which are technology and services packages that aim to help customers create hybrid cloud environments. One bundle, for example, will allow customers who are already using private clouds to extend that infrastructure to Cisco's infrastructure-as-a-service offering. Another works to help customers that are not yet using private clouds to pursue that path through a hybrid cloud and multinational IaaS solution.


Finally, Cisco announced its Evolved Services Platform (ESP), a comprehensive virtualization and orchestration software platform that creates, automates and provisions services in real time across compute, storage and network functions. ESP now makes it possible for cloud providers to deliver two new virtualized and automated managed business services: security and cloud VPN.


Feds charge arrested exec with making app for stalkers, domestic abusers

StealthGenie intercepted communications to and from mobile phones and was undetectable by most users. It was targeted at people who suspected their spouses or significant others of cheating on them.


ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images

The Justice Department has indicted a software CEO in what the government says is the first-ever criminal case involving the advertisement and sale of a mobile device spyware app.


In its complaint, the authorities charged Hammad Akbar, chief executive of InvoCode, the company that sells the StealthGenie app, with conspiracy, the sale of a surreptitious interception device, advertisement of a known interception device and advertising a device as a surreptitious interception device.


The business plan for the product focused on 'the spousal cheat' market, which was expected to account for 65 percent of StealthGenie buyers, according to the government. If so, the people who invented StealthGenie offered the perfect app: the software is said to be undetectable and can secretly intercepts all transmissions once installed on a phone.


Akbar was arrested over the weekend in Los Angeles.


The government said that customers could review any intercepted communications on an online portal, located at subdomain cp.stealthgenie.com. A federal judge has since issued a temporary restraining order authorizing the FBI to temporarily disable the website hosting app.


'Selling spyware is not just reprehensible, it's a crime,' Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell of the Justice Department's Criminal Division said in a statement. 'Apps like StealthGenie are expressly designed for use by stalkers and domestic abusers who want to know every detail of a victim's personal life--all without the victim's knowledge.'


Windows Phone may join Android in a race to the bottom for cheap hardware


One reason that Android has spread so quickly is that Google allows anyone to use the bare bones of the platform for free. This has allowed venders in emerging markets such as Xiaomi and Micromax to crank out dirt-cheap Android handsets that have killer specs and that generate razor-thin margins for manufacturers. Of course, many of these cheapie handsets don't have access to Android essentials such as the Google Play Store since Google actually does charge a licensing fee for manufacturers that want to use those features, but that doesn't seem to matter to many buyers who just want an ultra-affordable smartphone.


Microsoft has observed how Android has thrived under these conditions and it's apparently determined to win the race to the hardware bottom with new policies aimed at getting manufacturers to churn out cheap Windows-based smartphones, tablets and PCs. Paul Thurrott writes that 'Microsoft's real strategy to promote Windows going forward starts where it must, with the hardware makers,' a.k.a., 'the companies that abandoned Windows in the smart phone market to focus on the cheaply-licensable (but not really free) Android OS from Google.'


This means that Microsoft has dumped licensing fees for all Windows devices with displays of 9 inches or lower, it's 'removed restrictions and requirements that made it difficult for Android device makers to use their handsets with Windows Phone too' and it's made it possible to run Windows on low-end hardware.


While this has certainly help get more device manufacturers onboard with making Windows Phones, there are some questions whether this strategy will actually be successful. The biggest issue is whether consumers actually want to buy Windows Phones at all -Richard Yu, the head of Huawei's consumer business group, said last month that his company has no choice but to stick with Android simply because it's seen no evidence that there's any demand for Windows Phone yet.


'We have tried using the Windows Phone OS,' Yu explained to The Wall Street Journal. 'But it has been difficult to persuade consumers to buy a Windows phone. It wasn't profitable for us.'


As we've observed in the past, while Windows Phone is a very nice operating system, Microsoft hasn't really given people a reason to use it other than saying it's an alternative to iOS and Android. Microsoft can flood the market with dirt-cheap Windows products all it wants but it might also want to think about giving more people a reason to buy into its ecosystem as well.


Xbox One finally debuts in China

But at the moment only 10 games are available to Chinese consumers -- Master Chief, where are you?


Microsoft


Microsoft's Xbox One has finally landed in China, though at least a few popular games are off-limits due to government restrictions.


The launch kicked off Monday with a special limited edition of the gaming console dubbed 'China Day One,' according to Chinese website WPDang, as reported by WPCentral. Up for grabs across more than 4,000 retail outlets in China, this edition comes with the Kinect sensor and includes several free games, notably Kinect Sports Rivals, Forza Motorsport 5, Powerstar Golf, and Neverwinter Online.


Other titles available to Chinese gamers are Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, Dance Central Spotlight, Rayman Legends, Trials Fusion, Naughty Kitties, and Zoo Tycoon.


Peruse the list of the 10 current titles, however, and you won't see such popular games as Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, and Destiny. And there's a reason for that. Games must be approved by the Chinese government before consumers can get their hands on them. But Chinese regulators are wary of games with violent content, according to Bloomberg. And that may prove problematic.


'I'm not interested in any of the 10 games provided on the Xbox now,' one Chinese developer and Xbox One buyer said of the titles released in China. 'I'm waiting for Halo and Titanfall.'


Microsoft and its partner BesTV New Media do have a lineup of more than 70 games that they are striving to bring to China, including such titles as Halo and Killer Instinct, Microsoft spokeswoman Steffi Cao told Bloomberg. But will the government allow such games? Hideki Yasuda, a Tokyo-based analyst at Ace Research Institute. said that game companies may find it difficult trying to sell violent games with lots of shooting.


Asked about potential obstacles in trying to sell games in the Chinese market, a Microsoft spokesperson sent CNET the following statement:


While Microsoft strives to offer all the best games and entertainment content where Xbox One is sold, there may be certain games that are not available in certain territories from time to time. In China, our vision is to bring as much of the full Xbox One portfolio as possible. We are working hard to bring the content gamers want to see, while taking great care to meet regulatory standards. Critical to this effort is our strong local partnership with BesTV and our local and global relationships with developers.

The Xbox One edition with the Kinect is selling in China for 4,299 yuan ($700). That same edition sells in the US for $500. However, the actual hardware price is 'unique to each market based on market conditions, tax, tariff and exchange rates,' Cao said, adding that the games themselves will be less expensive in China.


China had previously banned sales of foreign-made game consoles, claiming that the devices caused mental harm to children. The country officially lifted the ban this past January. Still, Microsoft may face a rough time carving out enough of a gaming market in China, Nick Ning, an analyst at Shanghai-based 86Research, told Bloomberg.


The rising popularity of smartphone games presents a challenge to console-based games, the analyst said. Gamers will have to contend with the possible censorship of popular games. Chinese gamers are also used to playing games for free. And finally, consumers who wanted their hands on a gaming console and games were often able to snag them via the black market.


As such, consoles may grab only 5 percent of the gaming market, Ning projected.


Update 9:52 a.m. PT: Added comment from Microsoft.


Playdate: We're livestreaming 'Hyrule Warriors' on Wii U!

Welcome, ladygeeks and gentlenerds, to the new era of gaming. The one where you get to watch, and comment, as other people livestream gameplay from next-gen consoles. Because games! They're fun!

Nintendo fans have had it especially rough these past few years. The Wii U is getting better thanks to admissions from the company that there were some serious faults with the system, but, when it comes to software, games take a bit more time in the oven than a firmware update likely does. Today, we're taking a look at one of the scant few exclusive titles coming to Nintendo's latest home console for the holiday season: Hyrule Warriors. It isn't a proper entry in the Legend of Zelda series, though -- that comes next year... maybe -- it's an action game from the teams most famous for the Dynasty / Samurai Warriors franchises -- don't expect to be delving into any elemental-themed temples here. Instead, hone your hacking and slashing skills. How does it fare, though? Well, we're glad you asked! Starting at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific we're going to be streaming the game right on this very page. Tune in then and see what the Hero of Time is up to this fall.


Watch live video from Engadget on www.twitch.tv

Featured Stories Murata's cheerleader robots move around on balls and do it in J-Pop unison BlackBerry's Passport is a square in looks, but not personality Acer Chromebook 13 review: long battery life, but performance falls short BlackBerry put a $2,000 smartphone into our pauper's hands The fun and weird moments of Tokyo Game Show 2014 New Oculus Rift prototype brings out the best in virtual reality Belkin Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker review: Can WiFi make cooking easier?

Lenovo, IBM to Close $2.1 Billion Server Deal Oct. 1

By Jeffrey Burt | Posted 2014-09-29 Email Print



Lenovo will become the world's number-three server maker, with designs to pass HP and Dell.


Lenovo on Oct. 1 will become the world's third-largest server vendor, and will begin efforts to overtake Hewlett-Packard and Dell for the top spot, according to officials. Lenovo and IBM executives on Sept. 29 announced that in two days, they will close the $2.1 billion deal in which Lenovo will buy IBM's x86 server business. The acquisition that was announced in January is part of Lenovo's larger push to become a dominant player in all segments of computing, an effort that includes the vendor's current bid to buy Motorola Mobility from Google for $2.9 billion.


With IBM's server business in the fold, Lenovo executives said the company will look to rapidly grow its Enterprise Business Group over the next year into a profitable unit with more than $5 billion in revenue, Lenovo Chairman and CEO Yang Yuanqing said during a conference call with analysts and journalists Sept. 29.


Yang and other executives also said that with the deal closing, they can aggressively push back at rivals like HP, which used the 10 months it took for the deal to clear regulatory obstacles to ramp up efforts to lure Lenovo and IBM server customers. HP launched a program called Project Smart Choice aimed at IBM customers that may have had reservations about making the move to Lenovo.


Gerry Smith, executive vice president of Lenovo Group and president of Lenovo's Enterprise Business Group and Americas Group, said during the conference call that the company expects to see similar results as those from Lenovo's $1.25 billion acquisition in 2005 of IBM's PC business, which helped propel Lenovo into the world's largest PC vendor. 'This acquisition has many things in common with that groundbreaking deal,' Smith said. 'Back then, our competitors said we could not win together. They said our cultures would clash. They said that our merger would fail. We proved them wrong on every count. Like Yuanqing said, we expect to repeat the same success we had in PCs as we expand into the enterprise.' In the deal, Lenovo is getting blade servers and switches from IBM's System x, BladeCenter and Flex System businesses, x86-based Flex integrated systems, NeXtScale and iDataPlex servers and associated software, blade networking and maintenance operations. IBM will keep its System z mainframes as well as its servers and storage systems based on its Power chips, Power-based Flex servers, PureApplication and PureData appliances. As part of the agreement, Lenovo also will serve as an IBM OEM and resell some IBM products, such as IBM's Storwize storage products, flash storage arrays and parts of the IBM software portfolio. Lenovo is getting an established server business, but also one that has seen its fortunes fall a bit while waiting for the deal to close. According to IDC analysts, HP and Dell both saw revenues in the second quarter grow slightly from the same period a year earlier, while IBM's slipped from more than $3.3 billion during the quarter in 2013 to $2.9 billion during the quarter this year. Its market share fell 10.2 percent, to 23.3 percent, dropping it behind HP's share of 25.1 percent.


Cisco Adds Over 30 Intercloud Partners

Including Deutsche Telekom, BT, NTT DATA & Equinix; Expands Reach with 250 New Data Centers in 50 Countries; (Watch on YouTube) Cisco Introduces Hybrid Cloud Bundles, Ships Cisco Intercloud Fabric, and Commits $1 Billion in Cloud Financing

SAN JOSE, Calif. - September 29, 2014 - Cisco today announced that more than 30 additional companies, including Deutsche Telekom (DT), BT, NTT DATA, and Equinix, have added their support to the Intercloud - the worldwide network of interconnected clouds - that Cisco and its partners are rapidly developing to enable a new generation of standardized cloud applications and the proliferation of highly secure hybrid clouds.


Today's news will expand the reach of the Intercloud by 250 additional data centers in 50 countries, and advances Cisco's plan to address customer requirements for a globally distributed, highly secure cloud platform capable of meeting the robust demands of the Internet of Everything. Designed for high-value application workloads, with real-time analytics and 'near infinite' scalability, Cisco's open approach to the Intercloud allows local hosting and local provider options that enable data sovereignty.


'Since we announced our OpenStack-based cloud strategy six months ago, we've received tremendous industry-wide support. The strategy is gaining momentum in the open source community and providing partners with a powerful cloud platform with global reach, and Internet scale and efficiencies,' said Rob Lloyd, Cisco's president of development and sales. 'Just as Cisco played a leading role in connecting isolated islands of LANs to architect the modern Internet, Cisco's Intercloud Fabric and Application Centric Infrastructure innovations uniquely position us to connect disparate cloud services to unlock the full potential of cloud, and with it a new era in IT.'


Cisco, the leader in private cloud infrastructure technology, also announced that it will begin offering a hybrid cloud service and that Cisco Intercloud Fabric, a highly secure, open, and flexible hypervisor-agnostic cloud interconnect technology, is now shipping to customers.


Editor's Note: Cisco will be joined by DT, BT and Equinix in a web news conference Monday, September 29, at 7:30 a.m. PDT to discuss all of these developments. Click here to register.


Deutsche Telekom and Cisco to Develop German and European Clouds, Address Data Sovereignty


Deutsche Telekom (DT) and Cisco announced that the two companies will expand their partnership by deploying Intercloud nodes within DT's state-of-the-art data centers in Germany, which will be operated by T-Systems, the system solutions unit of DT. T-Systems will deliver sovereign and secure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings that meet Germany's strict data protection standards to business customers throughout the European region.


Deutsche Telekom's new Intercloud infrastructure, based on OpenStack to allow DT to standardize and scale their services globally, will incorporate Cisco's suite of cloud solutions, including Cisco Intercloud Fabric and Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), which includes Cisco Nexus 9000 Series switches and the Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC). Together, these advanced technologies will provide DT with a robust and holistic Intercloud architecture with centralized automation and policy-driven application profiles.


BT to Deploy Cisco Intercloud Fabric to Drive Hybrid Cloud Adoption


BT and Cisco will expand their longstanding cloud partnering in delivering leading cloud solutions to the market. BT will leverage Cisco Intercloud Fabric to develop hybrid cloud services that connect with the Cisco Cloud and with the cloud and managed service offerings of Cisco Powered Intercloud Providers. The BT Cloud Compute infrastructure, with a global data centre footprint spanning 20 countries on five continents, will become fully Intercloud enabled to support highly secure, global hybrid clouds with unparalleled workload portability for BT's customers.


BT Cloud Compute is a pre-provisioned data centre infrastructure that enables customers to create, deploy, monitor and manage their own cloud service. It integrates advanced Cisco technologies and is available in major economies across Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa and Asia Pacific. Cloud Compute uses local infrastructure in key regions, allowing customers to meet national compliance and assurance requirements and to communicate and contract under the jurisdiction of the local law. With its adoption of Cisco Intercloud Fabric, BT is at the forefront of the realities of enabling hybrid cloud today on a global scale.


Equinix to Accelerate Connections between Private and Public Clouds


Equinix and Cisco will partner to provide enterprise customers with more secure, resilient and efficient interconnections to public clouds. The companies plan to develop a hosted private cloud solution that utilizes the Equinix Cloud Exchange to deliver highly secure private access to the rich ecosystem of cloud service providers in Equinix data centers globally. Cisco plans to deploy Intercloud capabilities in 16 Equinix markets across Europe, Asia and the Americas. Equinix also plans to deploy key Cisco technologies and services across its Cloud Exchange, including the Cisco Nexus 9000 Series switch, Cisco APIC, and the Cisco Evolved Services Platform.


Cisco Adds Over 30 New Intercloud Partners


Cisco is recruiting and enabling partners across the Intercloud ecosystem-from cloud providers, cloud builders and cloud aggregators, to technology partners, independent software vendors (ISV) and cloud resellers.


Intercloud Providers: Cisco announced that 26 new cloud providers are joining the Intercloud partner ecosystem. To deliver a next generation of Intercloud-enabled cloud services, these cloud providers will embrace Cisco ACI and Intercloud Fabric. They include Adapt, ANS Group, BT, CGI Group, Cirrity, CTI, Deutsche Telekom, Ethan Group, Infront Systems, LightEdge Solutions, LG CNS, Logicalis, Long View, Netelligent, NWN, NTT DATA, OneNeck IT Solutions, OnX Managed Services, Peak 10, Presidio, Proxios, PT Portugal/Oi, Quest Media and Supplies, Steria, Virtustream and Wipro. Intercloud Builders: Dimension Data, Forsythe Technology, Presidio and World Wide Technology are the first solution providers to commit to a new channel program to build Intercloud-ready private clouds based on Cisco Intercloud Fabric. Intercloud Aggregators: Comstor, Ingram Micro Inc. and Tech Data will become cloud aggregators for Cisco, providing a one-stop shop to enable and accelerate channel partners' ability to resell cloud services.


Building Momentum with Current Intercloud Partners


Cisco continues to build momentum with existing Intercloud partners, including Dimension Data, Johnson Controls, Sungard Availability Services, Telstra, NetApp, Red Hat and VCE. Highlights include:


Telstra, which became Cisco's first Intercloud partner in March 2014, recently announced the expansion of its Cisco Cloud Services capability beyond Australia to Hong Kong and Singapore, leading the way in providing customers with choice across private and public clouds with the flexibility in how to consume them. Dimension Data and Cisco are partnering to deliver a hybrid cloud solution for customers and resellers that will combine IaaS with Cisco technology and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications. Sungard Availability Services is using its cloud infrastructure to deliver new Cisco Powered cloud services to customers and resellers. It recently became the first service provider globally to deploy the Cisco APIC Controller to drive cloud services. Red Hat recently announced it is teaming with Cisco to deliver an OpenStack-based integrated infrastructure solution. The new solution will support Cisco ACI to deliver an on-ramp to the Intercloud for enterprise and mid-market customers.


New Hybrid Cloud Offerings


Cisco today began offering Cisco Hybrid Cloud bundles, packages of technology and services, which will help customers create hybrid cloud environments. One bundle will allow customers already using a private cloud to extend that infrastructure to Cisco's IaaS offering. Another will help customers not yet using a private cloud to gain that capability via a complete hybrid cloud and multinational IaaS solution.


Because the Cisco Hybrid Cloud bundles are based on Cisco Intercloud Fabric and Cisco ACI, they offer workload portability to and from the private cloud, consistent security and policy management when applications and workloads move between data centers, and enterprise-grade reliability and performance.


Cisco Intercloud Fabric Now Available


Cisco Intercloud Fabric, which becomes available to customers today, is a powerful software-based building block for true hybrid cloud infrastructures. True hybrid cloud infrastructures unify the management of public cloud services, including Microsoft Azure, AWS and other offerings. It also enables hybrid cloud workload portability between public cloud providers, private clouds and Cisco Cloud services.


Cisco's Cloud-based Managed Services Solution Opens $62 Billion SMB Market for Service Providers


Cisco also announced that its Evolved Services Platform (ESP) now enables cloud providers to deliver two new virtualized and automated managed business services: Security and Cloud VPN. ESP is a comprehensive virtualization and orchestration software platform that creates, automates and provisions services in real time across compute, storage and network functions. Cisco's ESP solutions are designed to help cloud providers address the fast-growing small- and medium-sized business (SMB) segment, which is expected to grow to $62 billion dollars by 2019 (sources: Frost and Sullivan, U.S. Census, Cisco).


Cisco Capital Commits $1 Billion in Financing for Cloud Technologies and Services


Cisco Capital has earmarked $1 billion to provide financial solutions that help Cisco customers and partners accelerate the adoption of Cisco technologies needed to transition to Cisco Powered clouds. Cisco Capital offers will focus on financing Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure; facilitating technology migrations; and providing flexible payment structures. Cisco Capital is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cisco, specializing in providing financing solutions for Cisco's customers and channel partners worldwide.


Executive and Partner Quotes


Reinhard Clemens, Board Member of Deutsche Telekom and CEO of T-Systems: 'As our customers get more sophisticated about using the cloud, they are demanding true hybrid clouds and the ability to easily use clouds in many different countries. By offering the Cisco Intercloud platform, we will be able to deliver simple and cost-effective clouds and true hybrid services to our customers throughout Europe - in compliance with our strict data protection regulations in Germany, which is a critical factor in business today. If you want a strong foothold in the European market, you need to be strong in Germany. We will help Cisco implement its cloud strategy in Germany and the rest of Europe.'


Ashish Gupta, President, Portfolio, Service Design and BT Advise, BT Global Services: 'To truly realise possibilities in the cloud, our customers need improved performance and availability of mission-critical applications. At the same time, they are governed by local compliance rules and their data needs to remain highly secure. This requires hybrid cloud environments, combining public and private assets, and the ability to accommodate a wide variety of vendors and service providers. Our use of Cisco's Intercloud Fabric, combined with our well-established Cloud Compute infrastructure, enables such environments on a global scale. It allows us to better help CIOs orchestrate their cloud resources with a focus on seamless workload control and portability. BT is clearly at the core of that innovative drive.'


Ihab Tarazi, Chief Technology Officer, Equinix: 'What Cisco and Equinix are doing together is all about visibility and control. By connecting Cisco Intercloud and Cloud Exchange, we are adding policy, performance, security and visibility all the way to the application level, removing performance concerns sometimes associated with hybrid cloud services. Elasticity is essential for enterprises, and by providing a private, high bandwidth, highly secure infrastructure, we're allowing enterprises to achieve their vision of a truly elastic cloud.'


Playdate: We're livestreaming 'Hyrule Warriors' on Wii U!

Welcome, ladygeeks and gentlenerds, to the new era of gaming. The one where you get to watch, and comment, as other people livestream gameplay from next-gen consoles. Because games! They're fun!

Nintendo fans have had it especially rough these past few years. The Wii U is getting better thanks to admissions from the company that there were some serious faults with the system, but, when it comes to software, games take a bit more time in the oven than a firmware update likely does. Today, we're taking a look at one of the scant few exclusive titles coming to Nintendo's latest home console for the holiday season: Hyrule Warriors. It isn't a proper entry in the Legend of Zelda series, though -- that comes next year... maybe -- it's an action game from the teams most famous for the Dynasty / Samurai Warriors franchises -- don't expect to be delving into any elemental-themed temples here. Instead, hone your hacking and slashing skills. How does it fare, though? Well, we're glad you asked! Starting at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific we're going to be streaming the game right on this very page. Tune in then and see what the Hero of Time is up to this fall.


Watch live video from Engadget on www.twitch.tv

Featured Stories Murata's cheerleader robots move around on balls and do it in J-Pop unison BlackBerry's Passport is a square in looks, but not personality Acer Chromebook 13 review: long battery life, but performance falls short BlackBerry put a $2,000 smartphone into our pauper's hands The fun and weird moments of Tokyo Game Show 2014 New Oculus Rift prototype brings out the best in virtual reality Belkin Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker review: Can WiFi make cooking easier?

Still No Call of Duty for China Gamers Getting Xbox One

Bloomberg News



Chinese consumers will get their first shot at legally buying game consoles today after a 14-year ban, as begins offering its Xbox One in 4,000 stores. The trouble is none of its most popular titles are available because of government restrictions.


Microsoft was the industry's first big player to start production in China, beating Nintendo Co. (7974) and Sony Corp. (6758) Yet the Xbox maker will contend with a generation that learned to play games on smartphones and tablets rather than consoles, and the hurdle of having available only 10 titles out of the hundreds released for it. Regulators are wary of violent content, and among the absent games are Destiny and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition.


How the Xbox fares in China, where the exodus of casual players away from pure game machines is more pronounced, may show whether the world's most-populous nation can help reverse the console makers' fortunes. Video-game sales in the country are estimated to hit 111 billion yuan ($18 billion) this year.


'They will have to follow that up with good content,' said Brian Blau, an analyst at researcher Gartner Inc., referring to Microsoft's game library in China. 'Getting out of the gate first will be remembered. That's a feather in their cap.


Naughty Kitties

China prohibited consoles in 2000 -- the year before the first Xbox was sold -- to shelter youth from the violence and perceived corrupting influence of video games. That created a generation of gamers accustomed to playing online that's now increasingly shifting to apps on mobile devices. Many hardcore gamers also play consoles easily available on the black market in China.


China reversed the ban in January while stipulating that the Ministry of Culture and other government bodies would need to be closely involved in regulating content for the devices.


Titles available to Chinese gamers are essentially free of graphic violence and include Forza Motorsport 5, Kinect Sports Rivals and Zoo Tycoon.


Halo: The Master Chief Collection, along with Destiny and the latest Call of Duty installment, are among the console's 10 top-selling titles in the U.S. listed on Amazon.com yet are unavailable in China.


One exclusive to the China market is Naughty Kitties from local developer Coconut Island.


Souvenir Purchase

Wang Song, a 32-year-old game developer, was on hand with about 150 others for the console's release at a Suning department store in Beijing. Wang said he's been playing video games since elementary school and has black-market versions of the Xbox 360 and Sony's PS3 and PS4.


For now, his Xbox One purchase is more of a ''souvenir.'


'I'm not interested in any of the 10 games provided on the Xbox now,' Wang said of the titles released in China. 'I'm waiting for Halo and Titanfall.'


Microsoft and partner BesTV New Media Co. have a pipeline of more than 70 titles they are working to bring into the market, including games like Halo and Killer Instinct, said Microsoft spokeswoman Steffi Cao.


The device will sell in China for 4,299 yuan ($700) with the motion-sensing Kinect controller, compared with the $499.99 price that the same combination sells for in the U.S.


Unique Pricing

Pricing is 'unique to each market based on market conditions, tax, tariff and exchange rates,' Microsoft's Cao said. While the hardware costs more, software will be less expensive in China, Cao said.


'The hardware price will not be the issue,' said Lisa Cosmas Hanson, managing partner at Niko Partners. 'It is the games; the availability of great AAA games.'


It may be difficult to sell violent games with a lot of shooting in China, said Hideki Yasuda, a Tokyo-based analyst at Ace Research Institute.


'In China, the government regulates games,' Yasuda said. 'The game companies are preparing to enter China while watching the government.'


For foreign console makers, the lure is obvious. Video game sales will jump 39 percent to about 111 billion yuan this year, estimates Nick Ning, an analyst at 86Research Ltd. based in Shanghai.


Illegal Market

Still, he forecasts only 5 percent of the market will go to consoles.


'Firstly, smartphone games have developed and now can do a lot,' Ning said. 'Secondly, censorship in China is very strict. Even if people buy the console, the content they want to play needs to also get through censorship.'


Console makers trying to sell their machines in China are up against a generation of gamers used to playing free online (although they pay for virtual items). They will have to persuade players who use smartphones or tablets to pay hundreds of dollars for hardware that needs to be hooked up to a monitor or a television.


And they will have to contend with intellectual piracy.


While consoles were banned in the world's most populous nation, that didn't stop an illegal market from covering the needs of gamers who wanted them, Ning said. The consoles sold on China's black market don't face government content restrictions, and therefore allow more access to what hardcore gamers want, he said.


Oriental Pearl

Beating competitors into China was a needed win for Microsoft, which has trailed Sony's PS4 in U.S. sales for eight straight months. PS4 sales, which Sony last month said exceeded 10 million units, are about double the 5 million Xbox One units sold, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Jitendra Waral wrote on Aug. 13, citing vgchartz.com data.


'Launching first in China speaks volumes about opening up a market that had been closed off for over a decade,' said Yoshio Osaki, senior vice president at International Development Group.


Earlier this year, Sony agreed to form two ventures with Shanghai Oriental Pearl Group Co. (600832) to make and sell consoles.


The company's move into China remains 'well on track,' Andrew House, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., said in an interview at the Tokyo Game Show this month. Sony is working through issues of censorship and how to structure its network services in the country, he said.


Censorship Challenges

Nintendo plans to expand in emerging markets with new devices next year and the company is studying regulations regarding entry into China, President Satoru Iwata said in May.


'We are studying the Chinese market,' Yasuhiro Minagawa, a spokesman for Nintendo said by phone, declining to elaborate.


Having local content will be a challenge for anyone trying to sell a console in China, so Nintendo and Sony will soon be facing the same hurdles as Microsoft to get content into the market.


Censorship provides challenges, even down to the smallest details, as blood must be purple, not red, which can pose problems with content creators, said P.J. McNealy, chief executive officer of Digital World Research.


'The rollout of any console will take a long and concerted effort,' McNealy said. 'Some developers may actually balk about some of the rules imposed on their game development choices. It certainly isn't helpful.'


To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Edmond Lococo in Beijing at elococo@bloomberg.net; Takashi Amano in Tokyo at tamano6@bloomberg.net; Grace Huang in Tokyo at xhuang66@bloomberg.net


To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net Frank Longid


Toyota Recalls 790000 Tacoma Pickups


Toyota is recalling 790,000 Tacoma pickup trucks from the 2005-11 model years worldwide, including about 690,000 in the United States, because a rear suspension part could break and possibly puncture the gas tank or damage a brake line, the automaker said Monday.


On vehicles with the defect, corrosion could weaken a leaf spring, allowing it to break. 'The broken leaf could move out of position and contact surrounding components, including the fuel tank,' the automaker said in a news release.


The action covers 4-wheel drive and Pre-Runner versions of the Tacoma. Amanda Rice, a Toyota spokeswoman, wrote in an email that the company was unaware of any accidents or injuries related to the defect. But some owners told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that they had had close calls.


'A broken leaf spring cut my brake line, and my brakes stopped working with my 8-year-old child in the truck,' one Tacoma owner wrote to the safety agency in June. 'I had already replaced a leaf spring on the other side. This could have caused a very serious accident. Luckily, the brakes still had some fluid in them.'


The agency has received at least two dozen complaints from owners, some going back to 2011.


'This is a common problem that is not being addressed by Toyota,' one owner complained in a May 2013 letter to the safety agency.


Toyota received its first report of a problem in 2009, Ms. Rice said. But, she noted, 'a single initial report cannot identify a trend and rarely prompts a recall. When we see what might be a trend, we monitor and investigate the issue, and when we believe there is a safety-related defect, we begin a recall.'


In the United States, Toyota's action covers vehicles in all 50 states. That is unusual because automakers facing corrosion-related problems often resort to a regional recall, which is usually concentrated in areas where road salt is heavily used in winter. The safety administration typically allows such regional actions, despite criticism from consumer advocates who say the practice saves automakers money while leaving some consumers at risk.


The agency's allowance of regional recalls was one of several issues raised by legislators on Capitol Hill this month as they examined the actions of the safety agency. The inquiry was prompted by the regulator's failure to detect the deadly ignition-switch defect in at least 2.6 million General Motors cars.


Toyota described the Tacoma recall this week as voluntary, but once a manufacturer is aware of a safety problem it must within five business days inform the agency of its plan for a recall or face a civil fine.


These other recall developments have also been reported:


■ In two actions, Harley-Davidson is recalling slightly more than 107,000 motorcycles from the 2014-15 model years because of problems that could either prevent the clutch from disengaging or allow a fuel leak, the company told N.H.T.S.A.


The largest recall covers about 105,700 motorcycles that have the clutch problem, according to a report posted on the safety agency's website. A torn seal on the clutch system could prevent the motorcycle from being taken out of gear and 'could allow the motorcycle to creep forward from a stop which could lead to a loss of control,' the report said.


The report also said Harley-Davidson was aware of 19 crashes related to the problem, three of which resulted in minor injuries. The crashes were classified as 'low-speed tip over.'


The models covered by the recall are the Electra Glide Ultra Classic, the Ultra Limited, the Police Electra Glide, the Street Glide Special, the Street Glide, the Tri Glide Ultra, the CVO Limited, the CVO Road King, the CVO Breakout, the CVO Softail Deluxe, the Electra Glide Ultra Classic Twin, the Ultra Limited Shrine and the Street Glide Shrine.


Another 1,384 Harley-Davidson models are being recalled because the fuel tank may not allow the gas cap to seal properly, according to a second report posted on the N.H.T.S.A. website. The report said the company was not aware of any accidents, injuries or fires related to the defect. The models covered by the recall are the 2015 XG500 and XG750.


■ Yamaha is recalling about 5,300 FZ-09 motorcycles from the 2014-15 model years because a wiring problem could cause the headlight to go out, according to a report the company provided the safety agency.


■ Volkswagen is recalling about 1,800 Audi Q7 crossovers with diesel engines from the 2013 model year, according to a report the automaker filed with N.H.T.S.A. The automaker said oil might leak into the brake booster, resulting in a loss of power assist to the brakes. The automaker said it was not aware of any accidents related to the defect.


Cisco: The Internet Needs More Control


Cisco Systems is making an unusual case for itself: The Internet must be subject to a higher amount of control, and big companies will work with governments to make that possible.


The message came in an announcement on Monday, rich in corporate partners and allies, that was intended to show Cisco's progress in creating its so-called Intercloud, a proposed network of cloud computing systems with high performance, security and control.


In addition to improving security, the Intercloud is meant to help companies comply with the regulations of countries regarding the information that moves within their borders. For example, in Germany, where personal data privacy is a priority, that sort of technology can help personal information stay out of public hands.


Also, important infrastructure like traffic control systems are increasingly run over the Internet. It's important that those systems have better security and control.


'Our critical infrastructure will all be connected,' said Robert Lloyd, Cisco's president of development and sales. 'I don't think we want it to run on a public consumer cloud.'


But there is an obvious downside: This so-called data sovereignty means that digital information stored inside a country is subject to the laws of that country. In nations with less democratic views, that can mean censorship.


'I always thought data sovereignty was important,' Mr. Lloyd said. 'Events of the last six to 12 months have accelerated the requirements for data sovereignty and privacy.'


Among the more than 30 companies that Cisco said had added their support to the Intercloud were Deutsche Telekom, British Telecommunications and Equinix. A number of other companies, Cisco said, are building cloud systems and applications that are compliant with the Intercloud.


Deutsche Telekom is deploying Intercloud nodes into its data centers in Germany to meet that country's strict data protection standards. BT, with data centers in 20 countries on five continents, will deploy Cisco infrastructure that, a release announcing the partnership said, allows its customers 'to meet national compliance and assurance requirements and to communicate and contract under the jurisdiction of the local law.'


Some of those laws may include which parts of the Internet people may or may not see. China already censors the web, and earlier this year Twitter was temporarily banned in Turkey. Mr. Lloyd did not say that Cisco supported such control, but noted that its network allowed better control of 'the ways customers can dial up and down' flows of information. He added, 'I know there is a concern' about how this may be used.


Cisco is not the only big technology company promoting itself as an answer to the need for data protection. On Sunday evening in San Francisco, Oracle's founder and executive chairman, Lawrence J. Ellison, introduced several new cloud computing products that he said would provide greater security.



Mr. Ellison also introduced a new product, called memory protection, which he said was a semiconductor-based monitoring system to prevent a malicious software application from gaining access to the memory of another application, usually an early step in a computer attack.


The innovation, he said, would eliminate many attacks.


Cisco has long counted on government sales, and sales to telecommunications companies often closely tied to governments, and could use the outlet to protect its high-margin equipment sales. Mr. Lloyd also noted that so far 30 cloud providers were on track to use Cisco's top Nexus 9000 switch in their systems.


Cisco also made a nod to open source computing, in particular the OpenStack cloud software that is at the heart of its Intercloud. OpenStack has also been embraced by other big companies, including Hewlett-Packard, IBM and AT&T.


iPhone 6 bending not so easy, Consumer Reports says


In the so-called ' Bend-gate' brouhaha that started last week, some iPhone 6 Plus users discovered that their new phones could bend under pressure. Despite the uproar online, Apple said it received only 9 customer complaints. So Consumer Reports decided to test just how 'bendy' the new iPhones really are, compared with other smartphones.


Their findings? 'Our tests show that both iPhones seem tougher than the Internet fracas implies,' Consumer Reports said on its website.


To test the phones, the investigators supported each device at two points on both ends, applying force from above to the middle part of the phone, as demonstrated in this video. The y tested six smartphones: the two new iPhone 6's, the HTC One (M8), Samsung Galaxy Note 3, LG G3 and the iPhone 5. They started with relatively light pressure, applying 10 pounds of force for 10 seconds and then releasing. They then increased the force by 10-pound increments.


The phones that turned out to be the most 'bendable' were the iPhone 6 and HTC One, but even with each of these two, it took 70 pounds of force to bend permanently and 90 to 100 pounds of force to separate the screen from the case. Samsung Galaxy Note 3 turned out to be the most bend-resistant, reaching its bending limit at 150 pounds. As for the iPhone 6 Plus, it started to deform at the force of 90 pounds and it came apart at 110 pounds.


'It took significant force to do this kind of damage to all these phones,' Consumer Reports concluded. 'While nothing is (evidently) indestructible, we expect that any of these phones should stand up to typical use.'


Here is how all the phones performed in the test:


HTC One (M8)


Deformation: 70 pounds


Case separation: 90 pounds


Apple iPhone 6


Deformation: 70


Case separation: 100


Apple iPhone 6 Plus


Deformation: 90


Case separation: 110


LG G3


Deformation: 130


Case separation: 130


Apple iPhone 5


Deformation: 130


Case separation: 150


Samsung Galaxy Note 3


Deformation: 150


Case separation: 150


Oracle continues to bolster cloud stack, starting at database level

Summary: While its leadership stack recently went through a state of flux, Oracle continues to reinforce its cloud stack as well.



SAN FRANCISCO---Once again taking over downtown San Francisco this week, newly-minted Oracle chief technology officer Larry Ellison opened the annual Oracle OpenWorld expo on Sunday.


As many analysts expected leading up to this weekend, Oracle put its cloud business into the spotlight first.


Ellison commenced by describing 2014 as a turning point for Oracle -- most especially its cloud business. He admitted that it 'dawned on' him and the rest of Oracle a few years back that the hardware giant would need to deliver all three layers of cloud services.


More from Oracle OpenWorld 2014

'We had no choice. We had to deliver SaaS, PaaS, and Infrastructure-as-a-Service together because of a promise we made to our customers 30 years ago,' Ellison insisted.


At the SaaS layer, Ellison asserted Oracle has the largest portfolio in the industry, many of which were either developed in-house this year or brought in through acquisitions.


He further boasted that Oracle is the 'only high-end level competitor to Salesforce.com,' admitting they're 'fighting it out' on various service applications.


'Salesforce.com is very good at helping you keep track of opportunities,' Ellison remarked, touting that the difference with Oracle is that its service and marketing clouds 'help engineer sales campaigns and provide reference databases and all the tools your salespeople need to go out and pursue new opportunties.'


With that in mind, Oracle previously launched Field Services, comprised of 113 SaaS products with 14 new service cloud applications. Another new area for Oracle's cloud touches upon social campaigns and listening through its recently-launched Data-as-a-Service layer, consisting of 49 SaaS and DaaS products for the time being -- 36 of which are new this year.


Ellison preceded to list off dozens upon dozens of new cloud apps that have been trotted out in the last year, adding that the company has added more than 2,000 new SaaS customers in the last year as well.


'We are selling more core HCM than anybody. We are, for the first time, competing successfully with incumbent, Salesforce.com,' Ellison said.


But the big changes unveiled at OpenWorld on Sunday are coming in where Oracle is most well-known: the database level.


In a nutshell, Oracle is promising that with the Oracle Cloud platform upgrade, customers can move databases and cloud apps to Oracle's cloud without a single click of a button and not having to change 'a single line of code.'


'Not only does it move but it gets modernized, and that's a big deal,' Ellison affirmed. 'You can move any database application to our Infrastructure-as-a-Service.'


The upgraded Oracle Database Platform-as-a-Service, grounded in Java and Weblogic, offers identical capabiltieis as the Oracle Database on-premise, meaning customers get their own OS and VM instances with capacity and compute on-demand.


Automation is a big selling point as well. The Database PaaS includes automated backup, recovery, patching, monitoring, and more.


Promising more details at his second keynote on Tuesday, Ellison noted customers also have the ability to move anything back or 'someplace else.'


Answering preemptively as to why Oracle is doing this now and not back in 2012 when it first unveiled its cloud platform, Ellison summed up, 'It's hard.'


That still didn't stop Ellison from taking a few jabs at competitors. Moving on from Salesforce.com (and even its 'first customer', the CIA), Ellison asserted Oracle databases power every cloud on the planet -- except Workday -- particularly skewering SAP's cloud foundations.


Looking forward, Ellison projected that that database will become Oracle's biggest cloud business.


More to come... Infographic via Oracle

Trend Micro detects first Shellshock attacks in Brazil


By Pedro Ozores -


Shellshock, also known as Bash bug, was first spotted last week and is being considered a more dangerous successor of the feared Heartbleed bug.


Award-winning and trusted the world over, Business News Americas is the only English and Spanish business intelligence resource for project , news , analysis and business contacts focused on and produced in Latin America. This company profile is one of thousands of companies included in the BNamericas directory of active and up-and-coming companies, including Trend Micro . Contact us today! Phone:+56 (2) 2941-0300


Apple iPhone rollout in Europe and Asia goes smoothly as Consumers Reports ...


Apple got the latest iPhones' global introduction back on track with a rollout in 22 countries, a glitch-free software update and backing from Consumers Reports tests that show the handsets are hard to bend.


Stress tests on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, along with comparable smartphones from competitors, showed that it took 'significant force' to damage any of the devices, Consumer Reports magazine said in a study published on its website. In a sign that consumers were ready to overlook the smartphone's rocky first week, long lines formed at stores as Apple introduced the latest iPhones to a second wave of markets, including Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.


The new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are Apple's most important products to debut this year, leading a wave of gadgets that will go on sale, including new iPads and the Apple Watch. While Apple touted a record 10 million sales of iPhones during the opening weekend, the celebration was cut short by an iOS mobile-software update that disabled cellular service, causing Apple's engineers to pull it back. The company also had to respond to a social- media firestorm over claims that the large-screen iPhone was susceptible to bending if sat upon.


'Apple customers are probably some of the most demanding customers in the world,' Francis Sideco, an analyst at IHS Inc., said in a telephone interview. He said that no news was good news, because 'if they weren't fixed or if there were new issues that had cropped up, we would've seen it.'


About 600 people lined up late last week outside Amsterdam's Apple Store, with 400 customers at the Barcelona shop, the Cupertino, California-based company said.


Apple released on Sept. 25 its second fix, iOS 8.0.2, for its mobile operating system, which is included in the new iPhones and available as an upgrade for recent models. Apple also said that it had only received nine customer complaints about bent iPhone 6 Plus devices.


Stress tests showed the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are as 'tough' as other comparable phones including HTC Corp.'s HTC One M8 and Samsung Electronics Co.'s Galaxy Note 3, Consumer Reports magazine said on its website Sept. 27. 'Our tests show that both IPhones seem tougher than the Internet fracas implies,' the report said.


Apple's stock rose 2.9 per cent to close at $100.75 in New York on Sept. 25, after declining 3.8 per cent a day earlier.


Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook is counting on the new handsets, which generate more than half of Apple's annual $171 billion in revenue, to fuel sales growth. He's using the iPhone 6, which has a 4.7-inch (11.9-centimeter) display, and iPhone 6 Plus with a 5.5-inch screen to push into the turf of Samsung Electronics Co., HTC Corp. and other manufacturers of smartphones with jumbo-sized screens.


Demand for Apple's new handsets has the company poised to sell more than 61 million iPhones in the last three months of the year, surpassing last year's record 51 million sold, according to Barclays Plc.


'People who want an iPhone are going to buy one, regardless of what the news says,' said Carl Howe, an analyst at 451 Research. 'Given that they are backordered in every country in which they are available, they'll have no problem selling them if they don't want the phone.'


Sales are also set to pick up as the new iPhones become available in more countries. The list expanded to also include Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Qatar, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and Turkey. In total, the iPhones will be in 115 countries by the end of the year, Apple has said.


Apple apologized for the early iOS glitches and said that fewer than 40,000 iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices were affected by the iOS 8.0.1 problem that caused users to lose cellular reception.


Software developers, whose livelihood depends upon creating applications for devices such as the new iPhone, took the glitches in stride, saying it was a normal part of the process.


'Every time Apple does anything, people complain because they're so big,' said Collin Donnell, lead iOS developer at Lovely Inc., an online apartment finder. 'I haven't seen anything out of the ordinary.'


Still others were frustrated by the glitches.


'Most of those 40,000 people were probably developers, these are the guys who are waiting for this because they need to check against public releases,' said Slaven Radic, CEO of Vancouver-based Tapstream Network Inc., which helps developers market their apps. 'I know a number of them who got this bug. Not having your phone have cellular connectivity was a major problem for a lot of them. They didn't know what to do.'


Microsoft pips Sony to launch Xbox One in China

Microsoft has launched the Xbox One in China - becoming the first major console maker to enter what could be a massively lucrative market.


The first consoles were sold in Shanghai, priced at 4,299 yuan ($699, £430). Sony and Nintendo are yet to launch their respective products.


In January, the Chinese government lifted a 14-year ban on consoles, made because of worries over content.


However, many popular titles, such as Call of Duty, will still be banned.


Only 10 games were available to buy on the Xbox One's release - but Microsoft has said 70 titles are in the pipeline.


Beating its rivals to the market may give Microsoft a much-needed sales boost. Its console is currently being outsold by Sony's PlayStation 4 in all major markets.


But Piers Harding-Rolls, a games analyst from IHS, told the BBC: 'There's advantages and disadvantages in being first.



'There's obviously potential. Overcoming the issues of piracy, overcoming the issues of pricing, having the right content to connect with the local audience - those are all big issues.'


Sony has set up business partnerships to launch the PS4 in China, but a date has not yet been set.


Both companies will compete with a thriving black market in illegally imported consoles playing pirated versions of games.


The firms will also come up against mobile games, which are not banned in China and are extremely popular.


Ticking the boxes


The Xbox One launch was originally set to happen last week but was delayed - Microsoft did not give a reason why.


The US firm is currently the focus of an anti-monopoly investigation relating to its Office software.


The company's chief executive Satya Nadella visited the country last week, and pledged to help the government with its investigation.


Getting games to market is likely to require negotiation with regulators, who favour educational games over those with violent themes.


But that could play well for Microsoft thanks to its recent acquisition of Minecraft - a block-building online game that is massively popular in the Western world, particularly with young children.


'I don't think Minecraft has been heavily exposed to the Chinese market,' Mr Harding-Rolls said.


'It ticks all the boxes for regulatory requirements in China. It's educational, it's not heavily violent.


'I would suspect that they're thinking very seriously about bringing it to China. It sits well with the regulatory demands.'


Microsoft bought Minecraft's Swedish developer Mojang earlier this month for $2.5bn (£1.5bn).


Follow Dave Lee on Twitter @DaveLeeBBC

Can GoPro Hero4 Make You a Vacation Hero?


GoPro, the company known for rugged little cameras used by extreme surfers and snowboarders, has new models that might appeal to a more timid demographic.


In stores Oct. 5, the first new cameras since GoPro's blockbuster summer initial public offering aren't big reinventions. They're subtle but important improvements to help the less extreme among us create the whoa-check-that-out perspectives that made GoPro a cultural phenomenon.


One is a $400 version called Hero4 Silver that adds a touch screen, finally making GoPro as easy to use as normal cameras. Another is a new version of its palm-size camera that's cheap enough-$130-to lose or break on vacation. (A third, the $500 Hero4 Black, will appeal to pros, with a faster processor for shooting video at four times the resolution of high definition.)


I've had a chance to dangle two of the new GoPros out of a cable car, clamp them to a go-kart, and strap them to a 'selfie stick'-among other vacationing challenges-and the experience was eye-opening. The cameras suffer from a short 2.5-hour battery life, but GoPro is now worth considering as the go-anywhere camera for the rest of us.


Don't we have smartphones for that? Those cameras have gotten remarkably good at taking photos and video, and are usually close at hand to capture a moment. But GoPros can do two things most smartphones can't: First, you can stick them places a phone might not fit, or you might not like. Second, GoPros have a 170 degree wide-angle lens that makes it easy to capture most situations in focus.


Here's the problem: Nobody really wants to watch our boring vacation videos. Does a GoPro help produce footage of a less thrill-seeking life that is worthy of Facebook and YouTube?


To answer, I spent last Thursday as a tourist in my town of San Francisco, with one GoPro in my hand and another strapped to my head. The day's events were planned by GoPro for training but all the footage you see in this review is my own. Our itinerary included riding a cable car and go-karts, taking a boat ride around San Francisco Bay, and trampolining-yes, trampolining-by the Golden Gate Bridge.


I continued testing the cameras through the weekend, capturing more ordinary moments: a mountain hike, a drive around town and a sunset. Even then, I found myself taking shots with the GoPros I couldn't-or just hadn't-with other cameras.


GoPro isn't the only small camera on the market; Sony and Garmin make models that are only a tad larger, and smartphone maker HTC has hinted at a coming waterproof camera.


What makes GoPros so effective is solid imaging technology in a tiny package that doesn't feel precious. You accessorize them with a collection of straps and clamping doodads that encourage-actually, demand-experimentation, like the 'Chesty' chest mount and 'Fetch' dog-harness mount. There's even a line of mounts for guitars and drums.


The new cameras tout improved sensors and processors that mean better shots and more creative options.


Since the top-model Hero4 Black shoots 4K video at 30 frames a second, I used it to zoom in on the Golden Gate Bridge when I couldn't get close enough to fill the frame. (Warning: the video files it produces at that resolution are gargantuan-five minutes takes up more than two gigabytes on a storage card, sold separately.)


The image quality isn't as professional as a digital SLR camera but it is impressive for such a portable package. In my tests on a swaying boat at night, the Hero4 Silver's wide-angle lens picked up clouds above a cityscape more dramatically than the iPhone 6 but wasn't as good at capturing neon signs. I also made a cool time-lapse video of a sunset by making the GoPro take a 12-megapixel photo twice a minute over a few hours; both Hero4 models can take up to 30 of those a second.


For video, you're able to shoot up to 120 frames a second, which lets you use GoPro's editing software to slow down the action and make anyone look like a character from 'The Matrix.' (It helps if you have a trampoline handy.)


A button lets you tag interesting moments that you want to find quickly when it comes time to edit. I wish GoPros also had GPS technology so I could tag locations, too.


Previous models may have helped extreme athletes capture insane video but they didn't have LCD screens and were cumbersome to use. The addition of a display to the Hero4 Silver makes it much more user friendly. Controlling the camera from the screen on the back means you can preview shots, and get less up-the-nose footage of you fiddling with buttons while the camera is rolling.


Alas, the built-in screen is only on the new Hero4 Silver model. The Hero and Hero4 Black have streamlined their menus but still must be controlled with three buttons and a dim black-and-gray screen on the front. I recommend the Silver model for anyone but the pros.


My biggest reservation is that both Hero4 cameras I tested still have too-short battery lives--about 2.5 hours. (I burned through three or four batteries in a day of heavy usage.) The screen on the Silver model is an even further tax; anyone thinking about taking one on vacation will want to carry a few battery backups.


I wasn't able to evaluate one other important factor: how easy it is to get footage from the new GoPros online. GoPros have wireless connections, and the company is building a new version of its smartphone app that will let you control your camera, view what you've taken, and share photos via Instagram and Facebook. I couldn't test it-the app isn't finished-but it was clear from a brief demo that using the app will be yet another drain the camera's lightweight battery.


To get video and photos online, I used GoPro Studio on my computer. GoPro's editing software is powerful but lacks a simple way to post to the Internet.


My time with the cameras did produce Instagram-worthy footage. But could I have done the same thing without a GoPro if I put my mind to it?


When I was crossing San Francisco's Bay Bridge on Saturday, I attached a GoPro to one of its '3-Way' stick mounts, and poked it out of my passenger window like a periscope. On such a windy bridge, this felt unwise at first, but the driver of a car next to me flashed me a broad smile that read, 'Righteous, dude.'


The camera stayed in its mount and captured the whole span. It's an amazing video, especially when sped up. I've always dreamed of taking that shot but never would have done it with my phone or, God forbid, fancy DSLR.


Having a GoPro gave me the excuse to go out and try more interesting shots, which is ultimately the key to less-boring footage.


-Write to Geoffrey A. Fowler at Geoffrey.Fowler@wsj.com or follow him on Twitter @geoffreyfowler.


Xbox One finally debuts in China

But at the moment only 10 games are available to Chinese consumers -- Master Chief, where are you?


Microsoft

Microsoft's Xbox One has finally landed in China, though at least a few popular games are off-limits due to government restrictions.


The launch kicked off Monday with a special limited edition of the gaming console dubbed 'China Day One,' according to Chinese website WPDang, as reported by WPCentral. Up for grabs across more than 4,000 retail outlets in China, this edition comes with the Kinect sensor and includes several free games, notably Kinect Sports Rivals, Forza Motorsport 5, Powerstar Golf, and Neverwinter Online.


Other titles available to Chinese gamers are Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, Dance Central Spotlight, Rayman Legends, Trials Fusion, Naughty Kitties, and Zoo Tycoon.


Peruse the list of the 10 current titles, however, and you won't see such popular games as Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, and Destiny. And there's a reason for that. Games must be approved by the Chinese government before consumers can get their hands on them. But Chinese regulators are wary of games with violent content, according to Bloomberg. And that may prove problematic.


'I'm not interested in any of the 10 games provided on the Xbox now,' one Chinese developer and Xbox One buyer said of the titles released in China. 'I'm waiting for Halo and Titanfall.'


Microsoft and its partner BesTV New Media do have a lineup of more than 70 games that they are striving to bring to China, including such titles as Halo and Killer Instinct, Microsoft spokeswoman Steffi Cao told Bloomberg. But will the government allow such games? Hideki Yasuda, a Tokyo-based analyst at Ace Research Institute. said that game companies may find it difficult trying to sell violent games with lots of shooting.


The Xbox One edition with the Kinect is selling in China for 4,299 yuan ($700). That same edition sells in the US for $500. However, the actual hardware price is 'unique to each market based on market conditions, tax, tariff and exchange rates,' Cao said, adding that the games themselves will be less expensive in China.


China had previously banned sales of foreign-made game consoles, claiming that the devices caused mental harm to children. The country officially lifted the ban this past January. Still, Microsoft may face a rough time carving out enough of a gaming market in China, Nick Ning, an analyst at Shanghai-based 86Research, told Bloomberg.


The rising popularity of smartphone games presents a challenge to console-based games, the analyst said. Gamers will have to contend with the possible censorship of popular games. Chinese gamers are also used to playing games for free. And finally, consumers who wanted their hands on a gaming console and games were often able to snag them via the black market.


As such, consoles may grab only five percent of the gaming market, Ning projected.


Blogger news