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Google sets sights on US airwaves

347w ago - Google has announced it is in the running for a slice of the US airwaves that would allow it to launch a nationwide wireless internet network.

Part of the spectrum, called the C Block, is being sold by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in an auction starting at $4.6bn (£2.2bn).

The planned transition to digital TV services in the US has freed up the wireless capacity.

The C Block radio waves will be free from early 2009.

Google hopes that the new network capacity will allow it to compete directly with existing mobile communications companies.

At the moment, most mobile phone companies force users to use particular software to operate their handsets.

The FCC has specified that whoever wins the auction must use it to allow users to operate whatever software they want.

Google recently announced plans to develop software for mobile phones.

Eric Schmidt, Google chief executive, promised that whoever wins the auction US consumers would "see more choices than ever before in how they access the Internet".

The C Block is in the 700 megahertz band of the wireless spectrum.

The End of Blu-ray Vs. HD DVD War Cometh January 15, 2008?

347w ago - We've talked time and time again about the ongoing war between the two next-generation DVD formats, HD DVD and Blu-ray, and about what each of the two sides is doing in order to achieve victory in this conflict.

However, there are some pretty strong chances that both Sony's and Toshiba's (the two developers and main backers of said formats) plans might be hindered by none other than the Korean company Samsung and its dual-format player, the BD-UP5000.

From some points of view, the BD-UP5000 is some sort of urban legend, since its development was solely a rumor for an extended period of time, although the official announcement regarding its release came in July 2007. And it seems that now HD-hungry users will finally be able to get their hands on this player as the online retailer Amazon has just opened the pre-order season for this thing. The BD-UP5000 will sell for around 800 US dollars, starting with January 15'th.

The device supports both Blu-ray and HD-DVD formats as well as their interactive technologies, HDi and BD-Java. Furthermore, it can achieve 1080p resolutions, not to mention the full compatibility with 24 movie frames per second playback.

As in the case of any high-end player, the connectivity options represent quite an important issue, and the Samsung's hybrid delivers...

Source: Hudson Lays Off Half of US Staff

347w ago - Next-Gen has learned that Redwood Shores-based Hudson Entertainment has laid off approximately half of its workforce.

All of the layoffs occurred within the company's mobile division this morning, according to a source who wished to remain anonymous.

"Their mobile division has not been profitable for about the last year-and-a-half or so," the source said. "They've just been having a lot of trouble getting their games onto big carriers like Verizon and Cingular. It's a very competitive market place."

He pegged Hudson Entertainment's workforce at around 50-70 people total, meaning layoffs ranged somewhere between 25 and 35.

The source said that Hudson Entertainment intended to bring original ideas to US carriers as well as port over mobile games from Japan, but those ideas were "shot down."

He said that missteps in marketing and management were also contributing factors that led to poor performance of the mobile division.

Workers laid off will receive two weeks of severance pay. Our source said that there are "lots of unhappy people" at Hudson Entertainment today.

"It seemed like it caught everyone off guard. They didn't see it coming," he said.

A call to Hudson Entertainment marketing director John Lee was unreturned as of press...

PS3 is Linked to Quality Home Entertainment

348w ago - In a recent interview with Brent Butterworth, editor-in-chief of luxury publication Robb Report Home Entertainment, he indicated that video game systems are rapidly becoming the center of home theater setups due to their ability to play CDs, DVDs, and in the case of PS3, Blu-ray discs. He commented, "Even the most extravagant custom home theater systems now often, if not usually, feature video games."

Once considered just for kids, video games are now a celebrated part of even the highest end home theater setups. The PS3, with its ability to play a multitude of media formats, including Blu-ray, makes it one of the hottest trends for this 2007 holiday season.

Sony: PS3 Sales Up Nearly 300 Percent

348w ago - The PlayStation 3 saw a nearly 300 percent increase in sales since the 40GB and 80GB models hit on Nov. 3, Sony Computer Entertainment of America let us know today in a press release.

The short release goes on to say that PS3 sales were up 245 percent this Black Friday compared to last year's Black Friday. Of course last year Sony was still having stock issues with their shaky launch of the console.

Here's the full press release:

Today, Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) announced that overall PlayStation brand unit sales during the week including Black Friday increased by 178%, sales dollars increased by 154%. Below are the sales figures for each PlayStation platform for the week including Black Friday for the top 10 retailers in North America:

PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3â„¢) hardware sales increased by 245% when compared to Black Friday sales last year.

Since November 2nd, and the availability of both the 40GB and 80GB PS3 models, PS3 hardware sales have increased by 298%.

PSP® (PlayStation® Portable) hardware sales increased by 136% when compared to previous week sales.

PlayStation®2 (PS2) hardware sales increased by 287% when compared to previous week sales.

It probably doesn't hurt that the Playstation 3 has two rock-solid...
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