After over a year of investigating, members of the FTC are starting to believe that Google has illegally used it’s power as the most dominant search engine. This means that Google is looking at a rather serious anti-trust case. Numerous internet companies have been asking the FTC to repremand Google including Yelp and Nextag. Google has the ability to give other websites low quality rating scores pushing them down the results list and putting their own products at the top. The only way around that would be for companies to buy ads so they will be at the top which of course gets Google more money.
Along with their strength as a search engine, FTC is also taking a look at how Google is handling patents “which are determined to be essential to smartphones”. They are even suspicious that Google may be using patent infringement lawsuits as a way to hamper innovation and strengthen their own product, Android. Many companies that use Android have found them selves in court which has had Google thinking about how they handle patents.
It is suspected that the FTC will decided by the end of the year if Google has broken the law or not. If they do think Google broke the law then the most likely outcome will be a settlement between the search giant and the FTC, if that falls through another long court case is in Google’s future.
YourCity 3D, from inHause Games, just hit the Google Play Store, and if you’re a fan of live wallpapers you’re going to want to check it out. YourCity 3D gives you an aerial tour of a beautiful computer generated city at night that includes bright lights and moving traffic. The cool thing about it, is that no two cities are the same since it will reset automatically every day. It contains no textures or geometry data as they are procedurally generated and completely random.
You can also add a little customization of your own like building names, scrolling displays, and billboard signs. The building names are LED style and reside at the top of the buildings and scrollable displays are shown across buildings. You can choose as many of these names as you want. As to billboards, you can point the app to whatever folder has the pictures you want included. These settings are available just before setting YourCity 3D as your wallpaper, and they are saved in case you want to change to another wallpaper and revert back to it.
Video game producer Gameloft released a new video today for their forthcoming Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour game coming this fall. Gameloft is creating a series of “Developer Diary” videos as part of their promotion efforts. If the first one is any indication, the videos will be a combination of samples of game play and commentary from the developers explaining what changes and improvements are being made since the last title.
For Modern Combat 4, the developers note one major change will be the ability to play as either hero or villain. Gameloft also indicates they have completely redone the animations for the game, both for players and vehicles, through the use of some new technology. This includes the use of ragdoll models for people in the game. The video shows some of the updated motion capture that was completed as part of development. The game will also include a new “tactical system” which is supposed to make moving around easier for players.
The second video in the series will cover multiplayer features of the new game. You can check out the first Developer Diary below.
The Archos GamePad was announced in August and is still an extremely intriguing device. This tablet is clearly made for the gamer in us all. It has buttons on the side so the entire 7 inch 1024 x 600 screen is available for looking at what you’re doing. The dual-core processor and quad-core GPU partnered with the gaming buttons off the touchscreen will make advanced gaming better than ever on Android. Oh did I mention that it could be priced somewhere south of $150? Instead of listening to me ramble about the GamePad, hit the break and check out the video by Charbax who demos the device and explains how the buttons integrate into the Android platform.
LG’s Korean site released information today regarding their plans to roll out Jelly Bean updates to some of their devices. It appears the first device to get the official update will be the LG Optimus LTE II starting some time in November. Translating the Korean page is a bit of challenge, but it appears a Jelly Bean update for the LG Optimus G will be pushed out in December. As 2013 opens, LG indicates both the LG Optimus Vu and LG Optimus Vu II will get Jelly Bean updates during the first quarter.
According to Jong-Seok Park, LG’s Vice President of the Electronics Mobile Communications division, the updates will include both Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and some of LG’s own apps and UI modifications. Among the changes that are touted are increased touch screen response speed and enhanced “Q” apps. The changes are expected to create a user experience that is similar to what users get with a Jelly Bean device out of the box.
LG does not indicate whether the time frames and devices listed apply to markets outside Korea.
source: LG Newsroom Korea
Sweet Garden, from Toast, just hit the Google Play Store and it’s a “pet raising” type of game, that’s pretty innovative. With Sweet Garden you will be raising a Ppu, which is a pet-like plant. What’s innovative about Sweet Garden is it’s completely widget based. You will see how your Ppu is progressing from the widget as well as see all animations. If you need to attend to it, you will do it from the widget only. The only time you will open the app (from the icon) is when you first set it up by connecting to the server. This is so innovative that Toast applied for two patents related to widget-operated games. As a bonus, you can also set the widget to display the remaining life of your battery. You can plant multiple Ppu’s, but you can only display one of them in the widget. Hit the break to learn more about the gameplay.
As the Xbox grows beyond a gaming system and more of an entertainment system, owners of the system like yours truly are itching to utilize our Xbox experience to a new level. Microsoft has announced its new Xbox Music service, which allows users to stream internet music, subscribe to music services and upload music from their own personal collection into the cloud— all in one effective package. The new service modeled as a one-stop-shop, Xbox Music will allow folks to not just enjoy music from their favorite artists, but it will also give music lovers a new means of discovering new and cutting-edge artists and music as well— all for a $10 monthly fee.
Microsoft doesn’t want to stop there either. Not only does it plan on unveiling the service on its new Windows 8 and Xbox platforms, it plans on launching on other mobile platforms as well. As such, Microsoft has heard our cries and it has confirmed it will launch for iOS and Android devices… “eventually”. When eventually is exactly is anyone’s guess, but hey— the more music options for Android fans, the better, right?
Here’s something interesting for your Monday morning. Images of a Nexus X showed up on Picasa. No other information was specified, but in looking at the EXIF data, the pics were taken with a Galaxy Nexus. That in itself tells us nothing and there is no reason to know if these are fake or not. We did hear rumblings about a possible Xperia Nexus in August, but nothing else since. I think Xperia Nexus sounds more likely than Nexus X, but I’m not in charge. I guess time will tell, but I’m not making any bets on this one until I see further confirmation. One more pic after the break.
The game that encourages gamers to fight Apple thieves has recently been updated to be bigger and better. In the latest update, Granny Smith will not only chase those darn apple thieves through terrestrial surroundings, but she will be taking off to space to try to save the day and save her apples. Game developer Mediocre has found a way to incorporate 12 new levels, which gives the game even more longevity than it already had before.
Granny Smith version 1.1.0 is now available for Android 2.3+ devices now in the Play Store. So if you’re interested in a unique gaming experience, hit the Play Store link below or scan the QR code to get in on the action.
As Softbank’s deep pockets have suddenly opened up a new challenger to Verizon & AT&T, it’s only natural for Sprint & Softbank to make an official statement confirming the major news. In a press release unveiled this morning, Softbank announced it will acquire Sprint Nextel for a whopping $20.1 billion ($12.1 billion in cash consideration & $8 billion in capital). The major highlight of this is the deal is the fact this will give Softbank a 70% stake of Sprint and 30% ownership, effectively giving it full control over the Now Network. The hope of this deal is Softbank will effectively give Sprint a better platform to use in rolling out not just its LTE network, but an LTE network with a significantly better structure than its competitors. Here’s Sprint CEO Dan Heese:
“This is a transformative transaction for Sprint that creates immediate value for our stockholders, while providing an opportunity to participate in the future growth of a stronger, better capitalized Sprint going forward. Our management team is excited to work with SoftBank to learn from their successful deployment of LTE in Japan as we build out our advanced LTE network, improve the customer experience and continue the turnaround of our operations.”
Of course all of this will be pending regulatory approval– so hopefully we won’t see some sort of mishap like we’d seen before. Hit the break for the full presser.