Minecraft Goes Mobile with New Pocket Editon

Minecraft Pocket Editon logo

Mojang’s Minecraft, a popular indie sandbox game, has been released as an exclusive to Sony Xperia Play before making it onto other Android devices. The Minecraft Pocket Edition is in the alpha stage of development which has a “focus on the creative aspects of Minecraft.”

The game is based on “building anything you want” using blocks which represent different elements such as water and dirt in computer-randomized worlds. Currently the mobile game lacks the “survival mode” where gamers fight off mobs to survive, though the game does have a wireless mode to play with friends.

Mojang said that they were “we’re planning to continue developing the Pocket Edition for a long time with frequent updates” and that they were looking forward to getting feedback on the game.

Minecraft Pocket edition is available as a full version (around $7) or demo (free) at the Android market. Mojang are also selling a custom Sony Xperia with a Minecraft theme on eBay with proceeds going to charity. Mojang explaining “we’ve given away some fantastic Minecraft goodies in the past, only to see it cheekily pop up on eBay auctions.This time, we thought we’d beat you guys to it”.


Google Buys Motorola Mobility for $12.5bn to Bolster Mobile Business

Motorola Defy+
New Motorola Defy+ running Andriod

Google has announced that it would buy Motorola Mobility, formerly the mobile division of Motorola, for $40.00 per share amounting to a total of $12.5 billion with a large 63% premium from August 12 shares. Google say that the acquisition would to bolster its patent profile to prevent patent litigation and would help expand Google’s mobile business into new areas.

Larry Page, CEO at Google, said in a blog post that the purchase would “not only supercharge Android, but will also enhance competition and offer consumers accelerating innovation, greater choice, and wonderful user experiences.”

Larry Page mentioned that Microsoft and Apple were working together to purchase patents, he hopes that Android would be better protected from the “anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.” Google previously criticized Microsoft of imposing a “tax” for Android buyers by making companies pay licensing fees for each device sold.

The acquisition would not effect the open-source Android operating system which would remain open. The two sections of Google’s mobile business would be run separately, Google said “many hardware partners have contributed to Android’s success and we look forward to continuing to work with all of them to deliver outstanding user experiences.”

Both companies iterated the benefits for shareholders with Sanjay Jha, CEO of Motorola Mobility, saying “this transaction offers significant value for Motorola Mobility’s stockholders”.

Motorola Mobility also yesterday announced a new edition of their “water resistant, scratch resistant and dust proof” Defy+ phone featuring Android.

Mozilla Building Mobile OS Codenamed “Boot to Gecko”

An early Mozilla mascot
Image via Wikipedia

Mozilla has started planning for a new mobile operating system codenamed Boot to Gecko (b2G) in an attempt to remove proprietary systems used for application development. The open-source project is open for contribution though infrastructure required for the project is being set-up. The OS is expected to work on Android-compatible devices.

Mozilla wants to help bridge the gaps that web developers face and eventually wants them to be able to “equals of native apps built for the iPhone, Android, and WP7.” The project will develop new web APIs that are able to connect “OS capabilities to content” such as the camera and telephony. The new system will not support Android apps, though these may be used in the short-term if required if web APIs are not developed in time. Andreas Gal said that support for Android apps using a API “would be the same kind of temporary wart that plugins like Flash and Silverlight are for the desktop web platform.”

The plan has already drawn criticism over possible patent issues with ComputerWorld reporting concerns, though development has not started yet.

Free Public Wi-Fi Internet Coming to Seoul

View from Namsan, Seoul, South Korea by Yeowatzup (Flickr)
Photographed by Yeowatzup (Flickr)

From 2015 Seoul, South Korea’s capital city, will have free Wi-Fi in over 10,000 public spaces including shopping centers, parks and surrounding streets. 13.5 percent of the total area in Seoul will have the coverage. The project is estimated to be worth $US44 million or  47.7 billion won.

The announcement comes from a 2015 Blueprint of Seoul titled ‘State-of-the-art Smart City.’ The Seoul government says that they have ‘been preparing in order to incorporate IT services into every field, including administration, welfare, industry and living,’ adding that around 80% of citizens would be using smart devices. Korean readers can read the full presentation online.

Korea has the world’s fastest broadband according to Akamai’s State of the Internet report. Also by the end of 2011 buses, subway trains and taxis will be offering broadband services.

Sony Joins Tablet Wars with Android

Sony has announced plans to create two new tablets running the latest Android operating system. The tablets are designed to be entertainment devices using ‘premium network services’ from Sony.

The two tablets codenamed S1 will have a single 9.4-inch display while the S2 will have two 5.5-inch displays which can be used for different functions, eg. email in the top screen and a soft keyboard on the bottom. The tablets are expected to hit shelves during Fall 2011.

It is likely the new tablets will integrate with other Sony network services such as “Qriocity” a network platform, PlayStation Network (PSN) and controlling BRAVIA televisions using the tablet.

Tablet Wars Gets Competive

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

April has been the month of many tablet announcements and lawsuits. Kogan, an Australian discount television manufacturer, released their first tablet running Android.The regular price of this 7 inch tablet is $189 (around $203 US) but is on discount under a program that allows purchases during manufacturing at the low $139 ($149 US).  Of course, it is not as sleek as the larger iPad but it is a proficient budget tablet, at a relatively cheap price.

Meanwhile, Acer with a $450 Iconia tablet slightly undercutting the minimum $500 for an iPad. It has front and back cameras, has a large 10.1″ display and has a 16GB storage capacity. Rumors are surfacing that Amazon will be developing a tablet. Some spectators calling it a ‘open secret.’

Also on the horizon of the tablet wars, is the Samsung and Apple lawsuit. Apple claims that Samsung has copied the design of certain user interface components and the general design of the table and smart phone devices. Samsung has also filed lawsuits for the infringements of power consumption and Wi-Fi data transmission patents. The suits have been filed in South Korea, Japan and Germany.

Cisco Shuts Down Flip Video Camera Division

Image via Wikipedia

Just two years and one month ago during March 2009 computer networking giant, Cisco, purchased the Pure Digital Technologies, the Flip Video makers, for $590 million (USD) in stock. The Flip Video camera had made prominent entry into consumer electronics, it is the best-selling camcorder on Amazon and is used by many ‘celebrity’ YouTube video creators even today.

“As part of the company’s comprehensive plan to align its operations,” Cisco will close all elements of its consumer business section. It plans on creating a transition plan to current FlipShare customers, who used the FlipShare software to upload directly to video sharing websites and to edit video.

Many analysts are blaming the rise of the smart phone for the death of the Flip Video camera. More devices are including HD video cameras such as, the iPod touch, the iPhone and many Android phones.

In a 2009 press release, Cisco believed the camera had ‘mass-market appeal,’ however Cisco had little experience in consumer electronics even stating it was part of their ‘build, buy, and partner’ strategy.  The strategy aimed to ‘expand existing product categories and enter new markets.’

London’s Browsing: WiFi Hotspots ‘Everywhere’ including Underground by 2012

London WiFi

London Underground is preparing wireless internet access in more than 100 underground stations by 2012. The plan has been given the green lights after a successful trial at Charing Cross Tube station with BT Openzone. The wi-fi internet access will allow commuters and visitors during the 2012 London Olympics to browse the internet while in an underground train station.

Transport for London is currently pooling telecom companies for the contract. “Wi-fi services are a potential future revenue source for LU [London Underground].” according to Transport for London. The first phase will be opening the wi-fi networks reserved for staff use open to the public in 16 stations.

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said that every lamp-post, every bus stop would offer wireless internet access by 2012. The plan will integrate with the electrical wiring to provide electronics for the wi-fi hotspot system. and will cover a small distance according to a London Evening Standard report.