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  • Google takes on Facebook head-to-head

    Internet search giant Google has launched its rival to Facebook, a new social networking service called Google+. "Online sharing is awkward. Even broken. And we aim to fix it," Google's senior vice president for engineering Vic Gundotra said in a blog post. "We'd like to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software," Gundotra said. "We want to make Google better by including you, your relationships, and your interests." Google+, located at plus.google.com, is currently being tested by a small number of people, but Google said in a message on the site that it "won't be long before the Google+...

  • The Ninth Life of Mortal Kombat

    Review: Mortal Kombat 9 - It’s hard to imagine a world without Mortal Kombat, the nasty little fighter which attempted to steal the thunder from Street Fighter's legion of followers. Many of us have grown up with Mortal Kombat, peering over the shoulders of the older boys in the arcades as they fought for their lives with a cigarette hanging off their lower lip. We’ve all grown up now, the arcades are dead, smoking will kill you, and Mortal Kombat (the ninth in the series) for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 is back, baby. This is not a lazy...

  • Harry Potter’s world comes to e-books

    Harry Potter creator JK Rowling has taken her lucrative boy wizard into the digital age, revealing that his adventures will now be sold as e-books for the first time through a website that contains new material and assorted Pottery merchandise. True fans can get into it from July 31, the rest of us must wait until October. After years of restricting the phenomenally successful series to print form, Rowling said that from October she would sell them direct to consumers, bypassing not only bookstores but also online retailers like Amazon and Apple. The free-to-access website, www.pottermore.com, will also feature an "online...

  • Jabra’s extreme hyperbole

    Review: Jabra Extreme bluetooth headset - Mystifying. To go to so much effort to engineer such a device, make it look nice and put it in a smart box. A pair of $5 'buds with one side chopped off will do much the same job. So much technology, so little point. It sure looks the part. All black Cylon hi-tech styling with a range of differnt clips to suit every cranny of every ear. But then you use it, and deep existential questions rear their uncomfortable heads. Why so much, to do so little? You have to use the supplied Bluetooth...

  • What will be in iPhone 5: Gearburn predicts

    We’re starting to get some whiffs of the iPhone 5, some real, some imagined. It is supposed to release in September, and bets are that Apple will once more comprehensively conquer the cool end of the smartphone market. Gearburn has sniffed around, and come up with our predictions of what will be in and out in the fifth generation of the phone that made Apple’s fortunes. We are so delighted with our top-of-the-line gadgets, content even. But the instant an upgrade appears it becomes about as appealing as a pork sandwich in a kosher deli. For close to a decade...

  • Meego’s last gasp with Nokia as N9 unveiled

    Nokia's latest attempt to win back market share with its N9 phone received mixed reviews this week as it was shown to analysts and media at ComminAsia in Singapore. It is likely the last major phone Nokia will show running the promising Linux-based mobile operating system before it throws its lot in with Microsoft and Windows Phone 7. Fans lauded the N9's ease of use without any "home" button -- a feature of the iPhone and other rivals -- while detractors mocked what they saw as its outdated Meego operating system. Unveiled by Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop at the CommunicAsia...

  • Kinect gives Xbox 360 “irresistibly interactive’ ads

    Microsoft announced it will bring interactive ads to Xbox360 consoles using the voice- and gesture-recognizing capabilities of Kinect controllers. The US technology titan unveiled "NUads" technology that it heralded as the future of television advertising. "I believe that the Kinect platform, and NUads, will unlock the incredible potential of interactive TV, and interactive TV advertising," Microsoft advertising business group general manager Mark Kroese said in a blog post. Microsoft has been beefing up film and television show content at its Xbox Live service that consoles connect with using the Internet. Kinect controllers allow people to tell a console to post a video ad...

  • Asia takes on iPad with low cost launches

    A tablet war is heating up in Asia as companies from China, South Korea and Taiwan challenge the dominance of Apple's iPad on features and price. Huawei is the latest Asian manufacturer to throw its hat in the tablet ring with the launch of it's 7" MediaPad running Android Honeycomb. Asia is a major battleground because of the presence of alternatives offered by top global brands like South Korea's Samsung as well as cheaper choices from dozens of smaller firms, many of them from China. By one estimate, Asia will account for about a third of tablet sales by 2015, triggering...

  • App of the week: Taptu

    Sticking with my news reader obsession, this week I take a look at Taptu, a free news, Google Reader and social media aggregation app that has caught my attention over the past few days. As I mentioned last week when reviewing the Reeder app, I am a news junkie and actually have to stop myself from refreshing my Google Reader tab every five minutes. I have my favourite sites that I read every day, which I think add value to my life. Be it humour, tech news, sport updates, music blogs or movie reviews, it is content that I enjoy...

  • Campfire pot for USB charging

    A Japanese company has come up with a new way to charge your mobile phone after a natural disaster or in the great outdoors -- by heating a pot of water over a campfire. The Hatsuden-Nabe thermo-electric cookpot turns heat from boiling water into electricity that feeds via a USB port into digital devices such as smartphones, music players and global positioning systems. TES NewEnergy, based in the western city of Osaka, started selling the gadget in Japan this month for 24,150 yen (US$299), and plans to market it later in developing countries with patchy power grids. Chief executive Kazuhiro Fujita said...