CBCnews

January 2008 Archives

Dial P for porn

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

The internet is finally poised to take off on cellphones in North America (thank you very much, iPhone), which now begs the question: Will porn on mobile devices follow suit? It sure has in Europe - the industry there raked in $775 million U.S. in 2007, compared to a paltry $26 million U.S. in North America, according to this Reuters story. That's a huge discrepancy, so what exactly has held back mobile porn on this side of the Atlantic?

Continue reading this post » (6 Archived Comments)

Obama named tech-friendly candidate

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

The folks over at TechCrunch have chimed in on the U.S. presidential elections with their official endorsements of the most tech-friendly candidates. On the Democrat side Senator Barack Obama got the nod, while Senator John McCain got the thumbs up for the Republicans. They were picked after the website conducted interviews with nine candidates, who were asked to state their positions on 10 key technology issues, including net neutrality, mobile spectrum auctions, immigration visas, internet taxes and identity theft. Readers then voted on their picks while TechCrunch editors added in their own analysis.

Continue reading this post » (4 Archived Comments)

Google owes much to Lego

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

Today's Google home page has the company's logo spelled out in Lego blocks, to celebrate the Danish toy maker's 50th anniversary. Is this just another case of Google changing its logo to mark a special occasion, as the search engine does with holidays? Nope – not only are many Googlers big Lego fanatics, but the building block toy is actually an important part of Google's history.

Continue reading this post » (5 Archived Comments)

Fox ignites Mass Effect "SexBox" fiasco

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

There's a very interesting brouhaha developing around Edmonton-based BioWare's recently released Xbox 360 game, Mass Effect. Even before its launch, the sci-fi role-playing game created a minor stir when word leaked out that a sex scene between two characters was included in its storyline. What made it even more sensationalistic was that if the player chose to go through the game as a female character, the sex scene would end up involving two women. This was too much for the moralists at Fox News, who went to town on the game in a segment dubbed "SexBox" that aired on Monday. The best quote had to come from a guest panelist who referred to the game as "Luke Skywalker meets Debbie Does Dallas."

Continue reading this post » (16 Archived Comments)

Wherefore art thou, lower phone rates?

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

When the government deregulated the local phone market last spring it did so on the premise that consumers would benefit. With Rogers raising phone rates in the country's largest market - Toronto - as of March 1, for example, there doesn't seem to be much evidence that then Minister of Industry Maxime Bernier's promise is having a positive effect on consumers. Moreover, there are a number of things about the price increases by Rogers -- which is powering ahead in every financial measure -- that are sure to rankle customers.

Continue reading this post » (10 Archived Comments)

Boomerang in space idea: Return to sender

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca

Astronauts will be carrying important equipment to the International Space Station aboard the space shuttle Endeavour when it launches some time in March, including the first component of the $3-billion Kibo science module and the Canadian-built Dextre remote manipulator, the last piece of the Canadarm 2 and likely Canada's last major contribution to the space station.

And oh yes, they'll be bringing a boomerang.

Japanese officials said astronaut Takao Doi will be travelling aboard the shuttle with a boomerang to see if a paper version of the traditionally wooden instrument will return to its sender in zero gravity conditions, according to AFP.

Continue reading this post » (4 Archived Comments)

EA to launch free, downloadable Battlefield game

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca

Video game giant Electronic Arts is taking a step way from the retail sales model for PC games and moving into ad-supported online gaming, with plans to introduce a free downloadable version of its Battlefield series.

Continue reading this post » (11 Archived Comments)

Handy remote helps Play top gaming sales

by Paul Jay, CBC News.ca

NPD Canada released its top 20 selling video games in Canada for both December and all of 2007, and once again Nintendo's Wii and DS drove sales.

Super Mario Galaxy was the top selling game in December, which isn't a surprise since the game wasn't released until November, making it a hot item for Christmas shopping. What was surprising is that the game was a hot enough seller to rank as the third-biggest seller all year, behind the Wii's Play w/ remote and the XBox 360's Halo 3.

Continue reading this post » (15 Archived Comments)

Google's ad contest has a touch of evil

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

We all know Google's motto is "don't be evil." We, the technology media, have been watching the company since it adopted that particular maxim in 2001 for signs that it was, well, being evil. Many believe it's only a matter of time before the company goes bad, since that's seemingly what all big corporations eventually do (or so Michael Moore tells us). Others would say Google has already dabbled in the black arts, what with its self-censorship in China in 2006, which the company explained as a little bit of evil to achieve a greater good. But the question remains: Will Google ever fully turn to the dark side and, together with Darth Microsoft, rule the galaxy? It may have officially done so, if a press release issued Wednesday is anything to go by.

Continue reading this post » (2 Archived Comments)

What awaits at Macworld?

by Paul Jay, CBCNews.ca

Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs stole last year's Consumer Electronics Show's thunder when he showed off the iPhone to the crowd at the Macworld Expo. Short of turning water to wine, it's unlikely Jobs will be able to pull off a similar stunner when he takes the podium Tuesday at the annual San-Francisco-based annual trade show.

But he has to announce something, and the rumour mill has no shortage of potential products. The two likeliest candidates are a slimmer, smaller notebook using a solid-state drive and a movie renting service through iTunes's music store. The movie rental service could provide a kick-start to Apple TV, the set-top box Jobs unveiled last year.

Another rumour centres on an iPhone capable of running on a 3G network, although if announced it wouldn't be available until late spring.

Macworld's own speculation say it is more likely any iPhone announcement would be an update, possibly adding Google's My Location feature and/or the ability to control the position of icons on the home screen.

As for Canadian iPhone announcements? RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky told clients and Bloomberg that Apple might announce more carriers this week in places like Canada.

"There's a very good chance that Apple will announce or discuss some kind of other carrier roll-outs, beyond the ones it has done in Europe and the U.S.,'' Abramsky told Bloomberg. "There is definitely very strong demand and interest here.''

That speculative note is the only thing we've seen on that front so far, and last time we checked, Apple still hadn't straightened out that pesky trademark dispute, so we're not holding our breath. But we'll see what Mr. Jobs has to say. He could surprise us.

Continue reading this post »  

CES: Uncompressed HD via satellite coming to Canada

By Ted Kritsonis, Special to CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - The Sands Expo is usually a breeding ground of innovative ideas from little-known and startup companies. XStreamHD is one of those, with a product and service that aims to shake up the satellite and cable industry.

Continue reading this post » (2 Archived Comments)

CES: Military-grade Bluetooth headsets now available to consumers

By Ted Kritsonis, Special to CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - Danish company Invisio isn't really well-known beyond military circles, but its patented Bluetooth technology will likely hit Canadian soil later this year.

Continue reading this post »  

CES: Canadian company shows off HDTVs, portable PC

By Ted Kritsonis, Special to CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - Celebrating one year in business, Mississauga, Ont.-based VisionQuest made its debut at the Computer Electronics Show by showcasing its newest flat-panel HDTVs and a small portable notebook PC.

Continue reading this post »  

Answering your CES questions: Wireless buzz at the show

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

CBCnews.ca's reporters covering the Consumer Electronics show (CES) in Las Vegas are letting you be the interviewer - ask us what you'd like to know about announcements or the buzz on the show floor, and our reporters will do their best to find out.

Continue reading this post »  

CES: Logitech's Harmony One headed to Canada

By Ted Kritsonis, Special to CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - Logitech introduced its latest Harmony universal remote control at the Consumer Electronics Show and confirmed that it's coming to Canada.

Continue reading this post » (2 Archived Comments)

CES: Robots cleaning out the gutters

By Ted Kritsonis, Special to CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - Cleaning leaves out of roof gutters is never a fun job. It can also be dangerous. Enter the Looj, iRobot¹s latest mechanical helper for chores around the house.

Continue reading this post »  

CES: This year's dumbest (but also strangely desirable) gizmo

By Chad Sapieha, Special to CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - And the prize for this year's dumbest (but also strangely desirable) gizmo goes to…

Continue reading this post » (4 Archived Comments)

CES: Creative pushes HD video add-on for rival iPod

By Ted Kritsonis, Special to CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - Creative may be trying to challenge the iPod¹s supremacy in the portable media player realm, but the company also has no problem offering some accessories for it. The latest is the Xdock HD, where you mount your iPod (any model that plays video) to send the video to your HDTV screen.

Continue reading this post »  

CES: SanDisk unveils online, automatic flash drive back-up and recovery

By Chad Sapieha, Special to CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - One of the more interesting items I found during my visit to the SanDisk exhibit was the Titanium Plus, a 4 gigabyte USB flash drive that can automatically upload a mirror image of the key's contents to a remote server every time it's popped into a web-connected PC.

Continue reading this post » (1 Archived Comment)

Answering your CES questions: Solid state drives

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

CBCnews.ca's reporters covering the Consumer Electronics show (CES) in Las Vegas are letting you be the interviewer - ask us what you'd like to know about announcements or the buzz on the show floor, and our reporters will do their best to find out.

Ken Axtmann wrote: What solid state hard drives are available? Anything new in this technology area? Size, price or performance?

Continue reading this post »  

CES: Taking a ride in a robot car

by Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

There's a lot about CES to dislike – the crushing crowds, the waves upon waves of hype, the unabashed consumerism. But there are the sublime moments that almost – almost – make it all worthwhile.

I was lucky enough to experience one of those moments yesterday when I rode in the Carnegie Mellon/GM robot car. I rode in the passenger seat and was rendered thoroughly breathless as the steering wheel turned by itself while the car wheeled around its test track.

It's the sort of thing I had imagined since I was a kid, and there I was, being chauffeured around by a machine. I've often looked at technologies – Google Earth and the iPhone are recent examples – and thought "wow that's cool," but riding in a robot car... this was something truly special.

Continue reading this post » (3 Archived Comments)

CES: Netgear unveils wireless internet system for gaming, HD

By Chad Sapieha, Special to CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - The name's a mouthful, but Netgear's new HD/Gaming 5 GHz Wireless-N Networking Kit, recently unveiled at the company's CES booth, looks set to deliver an innovative high speed networking solution for homes in which routers are located far away from internet-connected devices.

Continue reading this post »  

CES: Vonage reaches out with new V-Portal, Contact Book

By Ted Kritsonis, Special to CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - As part of its "MyVonage" strategy, Vonage launched the V-Portal at the Consumer Electronics Show. It's essentially a voice-over-IP (VoIP) gateway for a home or office with a single-port router built in, and it comes with a slew of new features to try and lure customers away from traditional phone services.

Continue reading this post »  

CES: Creative Labs woos small businesses with inPerson video conferencing

By Ted Kritsonis, Special to CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - In a surprising shift for a very consumer-focused company, Creative Labs is hoping to garner attention from small business and SOHO customers seeking a video conferencing option. The inPerson system looks a little like an opened mini-notebook computer, but is actually a portable video conferencing tool that can accommodate multiple participants.

Continue reading this post »  

CES: Samsung's Q1 Ultra gets an upgrade -and maybe a solid state drive?

By Chad Sapieha, Special to CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - Among the requisite televisions, camcorders, and mobile handsets on display at Samsung's pavilion this year sat the Q1 Ultra, which won a Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Innovations Award.

Continue reading this post »  

Answering your CES questions: Next-generation LCD screens and OLED

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

CBCnews.ca's reporters covering the Consumer Electronics show (CES) in Las Vegas are letting you be the interviewer - ask us what you'd like to know about announcements or the buzz on the show floor, and our reporters will do their best to find out.

Alan L. from Toronto asked: Is there any talk about the next generation of LCD screens? I believe they're called OLEDs. They're supposed to be brighter, with virtually no burn in issues, use less power and last 10 times longer.

Continue reading this post »  

Answering your CES questions: The vibe around Blu-ray

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

CBCnews.ca's reporters covering the Consumer Electronics show (CES) in Las Vegas are letting you be the interviewer - ask us what you'd like to know about announcements or the buzz on the show floor, and our reporters will do their best to find out.

Erik asked: With the announcement that Warner Bros. is dropping HD DVD and going Blu-ray exclusive, what is the general vibe at CES in Vegas regarding the ongoing battle between the two hi-def competitors? After speaking with exhibitors at the show, can you provide insight regarding one side emerging as the winner? Or currently in the lead.... What do companies seem to be more supportive of?

Continue reading this post » (2 Archived Comments)

MS at CES: Laptops that look like purses, tabletop computing, Zune media players

By Chad Sapieha, Special to CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - Strolling into Microsoft's enormous exhibit at the Consumer Electronics Show is always a little disconcerting, mostly because much of what's on display isn't Microsoft's stuff, but rather that of its partners.

Continue reading this post »  

CES: HDTVs ditch wires, get slimmer and shinier

By Ted Kritsonis, Special to CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - Last year's Consumer Electronics Show had plenty of news about the advent of big, high-definition 1080p screens, but this year it's all about the look of the latest HDTV flat-panels.

Continue reading this post »  

CES: Less sexy, less sexist

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - This year's Consumer Electronics Show is considerably less sexy - or sexist, depending on your perspective. The mainsteam manufacturers, including the Sonys, Panasonics and Toshibas, have really toned down their use of "booth babes" this year, probably because they're realizing women actually buy a ton of electronics and that maybe it's not the best way to sell to them.

Continue reading this post »  

CES: Sony gives glimpse into future of wireless HD

By Ted Kritsonis, Special to CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - It was on display at the Consumer Electronics Show as a "working concept," but a new system from Sony indicates the company is serious about giving the Average Joe the ability to stream HD content throughout a home.

Continue reading this post »  

CES: Motorola eyes 'infotainment' on TVs, cellphones

By Ted Kritsonis, Special to CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - At an exclusive roundtable discussion at the Consumer Electronics Show, Motorola executives sat alongside an executive with Home Box Office (HBO) and a British television service provider about the future of video and TV convergence.

Continue reading this post »  

CES: Dell powers up gaming, multimedia line

By Chad Sapieha, Special to CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - Dell has been putting a lot more emphasis on design lately, and its pride and joy at this year's Consumer Electronics Show is undoubtedly its new 22-inch Crystal LCD monitor.

Continue reading this post »  

Belkin: CES sovereign of gadget diversity

By Chad Sapieha, Special to CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - My whirlwind tour of Belkin's booth at the Consumer Electronics Show forced my already gadget-addled noodle to switch gears more times than I could count.

Continue reading this post » (1 Archived Comment)

CES: All quiet on the HP front

By Chad Sapieha, Special to CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - Thanks to several exciting HP product launches last fall — including the monster HP Blackbird 002 gaming desktop and HP Home Media Server — there doesn't appear to be much in the way of heretofore unseen technologies on display at their 2008 CES booth. But during a pre-show booth tour this morning the most interesting thing that caught my eye was the MediaSmart Receiver, a box that that can be connected to any television in the home to transform it into a connected multimedia machine. It lets you draw music, photos, and video stored from PCs around the home.

Continue reading this post »  

CES: Yoohoo Yahoo, you're missing the point with cellphones

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - Jerry Yang has only been back at the helm of Yahoo for a short time, so the company's founder can't really be blamed for falling behind Google in search, advertising and mobile. But if Yang's presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show was any indication, Yahoo isn't doing much to catch up.

Continue reading this post » (1 Archived Comment)

CES: Digital Experience doesn't disappoint

By Ted Kritsonis, Special to CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - The Consumer Electronics Show's Digital Experience event at Caesar's Palace was bustling Sunday night with new and up-and-coming companies eager to show off cutting-edge products.

Continue reading this post »  

Answering your CES questions: Making big TVs greener

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

CBCnews.ca's reporters covering the Consumer Electronics show (CES) in Las Vegas are letting you be the interviewer - ask us what you'd like to know about announcements or the buzz on the show floor, and our reporters will do their best to find out.

Trevor S. asked: With TVs becoming larger and with more households purchasing these large sets, the total amount of power they are using is becoming an issue in an era of increased environmental awareness. Are TV manufacturers finding ways to significantly reduce the amount of energy their products require? When will we start to see products that use less than 50 per cent of the energy that current models require?

Continue reading this post »  

CES: Philips spotlights fashion, design

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - The slickest press conference award at the Consumer Electronics Show so far this year goes to Philips, which set the tone for its presentation nicely by bathing the auditorium soft blue light. The atmosphere was appropriate, since Andrea Ragnetti, CEO of the company's newly formed consumer lifestyle division, used almost the entire 45-minute session on Sunday to talk about style and design rather than new technology.

Continue reading this post »  

CES: The year vapourware gets some substance?

By Chad Sapieha, Special to CBCNews.ca

Last night's keynote by Bill Gates may have been underwhelming, but that doesn't mean there's a lack of interesting services and gear grabbing attention at the Consumer Electronics Show this year.

Continue reading this post »  

Bill Gates says an uninspiring farewell to CES

By Chad Sapieha, Special to CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - The almost impossibly long line for Bill Gates’ 11th and final Consumer Electronics Show keynote speech snaked around several lobbies, hallways, escalators, and floors in the Venetian Hotel and Casino in downtown Las Vegas before feeding into a massive room that contained several thousand analysts, industry keeners, and members of the press. It was a queue worthy of a Radiohead concert, taking a good half-hour of shuffling to negotiate.

Was it worth the bother?

Continue reading this post »  

Answering your CES questions: Apple news

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

CBCnews.ca's reporters covering the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas are letting you be the interviewer - ask us what you'd like to know about announcements or the buzz on the show floor, and our reporters will do their best to find out.

Andrew H. asked: After one of the biggest years for Apple, What is next for the iPod this year? Any brand new models, upgrades for the next-gen models, etc.?

Well Andrew, strangely enough, Apple is virtually the only major electronics maker with no presence at CES.

Continue reading this post » (1 Archived Comment)

Answering your CES questions: HD DVD vs. Blu-ray

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

CBCnews.ca's reporters covering the Consumer Electronics show (CES) in Las Vegas are letting you be the interviewer - ask us what you'd like to know about announcements or the buzz on the show floor, and our reporters will do their best to find out.

Claudio from Ontario asked: Will there be a definitive winner between HDDVD and Blu-ray any time soon? With certain movie studios only releasing films on one format, it's making the choice a difficult one. I haven't purchased a hi-def player as of yet because of that (... that and the thought of having to slowly start replacing my 100+ DVDs ...) I'd rather not purchase a dual format player, but I may have to consider it if this is going to be a long, drawn out affair.

Well Claudio, at this point, it certainly looks like Blu-ray has won. With the announcement by Warner Bros. on Friday that it will release movies only on Blu-ray, the supporters for HD DVD are few and far between.

Continue reading this post » (2 Archived Comments)

CES: Panasonic gets cheesy, again

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

Worst Consumer Electronics Show (CES) press conference of the day, for the second year in a row, goes to Panasonic. Despite having the largest room of the dozen or so press conferences, the company managed to announce ... well... nothing. The company's big news this year was that it will now brand all of its TVs, not just its plasmas, as "Viera."

We'll let other pundits wonder what that means - it looks like it's related to plasma sales losing ground to LCD - but in the news department, it hardly registers.

Continue reading this post »  

CES: Thin is the new big for TVs

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

LAS VEGAS - Previous Consumer Electronics Show (CES) expos have been marked by a television arms race of sorts - a competition to see who could make the biggest LCD or plasma display. That race seemed to culminate last year with several makers producing screens above 100 inches.

But this year, nobody is really talking about size. At least not that way.

Continue reading this post »  

Celebrities line up for CES cash

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

Whenever there's a large amount of money being spent, as there will be at this year's annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, you can count on one thing: There will be a large number of celebrities there with their hands out, looking to get some of that loot. This year's show, which kicks off unofficially on Saturday and officially on Monday, will be no different.

Continue reading this post »  

Your questions on CES

By Peter Nowak, CBCNews.ca

Ah January... a time to relax after the craziness of the holidays. Not so for the technology world - things start to heat up at this time of year as the annual techno-circus known as the Consumer Electronics Show kicks off in Las Vegas this weekend.

Continue reading this post » (1 Archived Comment)