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  • Microsoft’s Kinect points the way to intuitive interfaces

    Microsoft's Steve Ballmer announced a few weeks ago the Xbox 360 Kinect has sold over 8 million units in its first 60 days. Microsoft has a hit with Kinect, and the product deserves the kudos that it has generated. In case you have missed it, Kinect is a controller-free gaming sensor for the Xbox 360 that lets players control the game they are playing via movement. And this technological marvel is just the beginning of more natural ways for people to interact with computing. The Kinect interface for the Xbox 360 is brilliant. Microsoft describes it as a “controller...

  • Top 10 most-downloaded free iPhone apps of all time

    Just two and half years since its launch, the Apple App Store is about to clock in its 10 billionth download. This same feat took iTunes eight years to achieve. To celebrate, Apple is giving away a US$10 000 iTunes Gift Card to the person who downloads the 10-billionth app. To commemorate the occasion Apple has also created an iTunes page featuring lists of the top paid and free apps available for iPhone and iPad devices. Four of the top free apps appear both on the iPad and iPhone lists, namely Pandora, Movies by Flixster, Google Earth and Google Mobile...

  • Jobs gone, ‘uncensored’ Playboy to hit the iPad

    Steve Jobs is known as a big prude, banning applications and other iPad content that feature nude or sexual content on the iPad. No sooner that he announces a leave of absence on medical grounds, Hugh Hefner, announces that Playboy, both old and new, will be available on the iPad in March. The octogenarian publisher, in a message via his Twitter account, @hughhefner, said current and back issues of Playboy would be available on the Apple device in March. "Big news! Playboy -- both old & new -- will be available on iPad beginning in March," Hefner tweeted. He did not provide...

  • 6 ways gaming could change forever in 2011

    While it's fun to comment on which new shooter will capture the imagination of hardcore gamers this year, there are wider trends and factors which are impacting the gaming environement in 2011, making it one of the most innovative and exciting arenas of the digital landscape. Here are six areas where gaming is undertaking a quantum leap. Smartphone gaming This goes for all app developers out there, not just in the gaming industry: Wake up and smell the Android! Smaller gaming franchises are welcome to pick one category of smartphone and play to its particular strengths (and consumer spending patterns), but...

  • 14-year old boy creates top free iPhone app, surpassing ‘Angry Birds’

    Some people study and work for years trying to build, test and develop successful games for the internet age. Others seem to create smash hits without even breaking a sweat. Bubble Ball, a new game for Apple and Android, falls squarely into the latter category. The physics puzzle game that is taking the world by storm was developed by Robert Nay, a 14-year old schoolboy from Utah over 'a couple of months'. Bubble Ball challenges players to use objects and gravity to guide a ball to its destination, and has been downloaded over 2 million times in the last...

  • Sony’s PS3 has finally been hacked, but will it lead to innovation?

    Everyone hopes that their New Year will bring a renewal of good fortune. And in my experience, the feeling of optimism that comes with the 1st of January tends to last a few weeks before reality sets in and you realise that your life hasn’t really improved that much -- and is unlikely to improve much -- since last year. There are the exceptions of course. Some people really do get lucky and end up with a much better year than the last. And then there are the others, who see their fortunes going from bad to worse. Japanese tech...

  • Android apps: ‘Manna from heaven’ for writers on the road

    Not too long ago, journalists rushed off to a story armed only with pen and paper. They gathered information and scribbled down notes before rushing back to the office to write it up and submit the story. The advent of the internet changed everything about how the news industry operated. That transformation has been well-documented. In 2011 the development of mobile apps is heralding a second revolution as the web goes mobile, and smartphones make the life of a journalist simpler, while greatly increasing the number of responsibilities that journalists have. The role of a journalist has changed. Now...

  • In-car infotainment: Will Android dominate the new tech battleground?

    Microsoft Windows Embedded Automotive is the infotainment OS of choice for today's powerhouse car manufacturers such as Ford, Kia, Fiat and Nissan. If you’ve never heard of Microsoft WEA before, it’s probably because each manufacturer brands the system under a different name. Ford calls it MyFord, Nissan has Connect , and Kia has UVO. You can think of WEA as the Android of the car world, with each manufacturer "skinning" the user interface using Silverlight, but essentially offering all the same core technologies such as Tellme, which allows real-time text-to-speech and voice input technology. Car manufacturers haven't exactly been spoilt...

  • ‘Fifth screen’ emerges for cars, but not yet ready for prime time

    By now, the illustrious “fourth screen” is a common term--that of the mobile device, still the holy grail for media companies and advertisers. At the North American International Auto show(NAIAS) in Detroit, it became clear that the era of the “fifth screen” is upon us: The one inside people’s vehicles.  Unfortunately for consumers, these "mobile" systems tend to have substantial usability problems. Ford, once known for classics like the Mustang, Cobra and GT then emerging with the family-friendly (and dull) Taurus in the 1980s and the Explorer in the 1990s, is helping to lead the charge. It plans to make its MyFord...

  • Apple accessories a hit at CES despite official snub

    While Apple may have snubbed the massive Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, vendors of accessories for its hot devices turned out in force. Dozens of manufacturers of covers, stands, headsets, speakers and other items for the iPad, iPod and iPhone crammed an "iLounge" on the Las Vegas Convention Centre floor dedicated solely to Apple accessories. Scott Sternick, owner of a sports bars in New York's Hell's Kitchen, was selling perhaps the simplest product in the entire show -- a strap with a suction cup on the end for carrying an iPhone or iPad around your neck. "It's old school for...