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EA: New Online Gaming Content Codes Could Expire Before Even Being Used

If you're buying an Electronic Arts game, be prepared for the Online Pass that came with it to have already expired. This was the recent experience of a NeoGAF member who bought a brand new copy of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit from Amazon, only to find that he got an error message saying that the code was either incorrect or no longer valid. Gaming website Joystick picked up on this and asked an EA advisor about this situation. It turns out that it's EA's corporate policy to have some of these codes expire, but that no one should be faced with this, as a rule. However, if they are, then they can get a new one for free, by either downloading it or getting it from EA directly. Checking the EULA shows that at the moment, there is only one game with this restriction. It's only Dragon Age 2 (packaged) which has a time-limited an Online Pass code and that it expires on March 31, 2012:

Customer Agony over Netflix's Price Rises & New Split Personality

Netflix's CEO, Reed Hastings, has apologized for mishandling a recent price increase that caused customers to fly away in droves. However, that was immediately drowned out by the decision to split the Netflix service into two, one with the odd name of Qwikster. The new streaming service will still be called Netflix and continue to have the same dedicated website as the old physical media one, netflix.com. However, the DVD rental service is now branded Qwikster, which will also have it's own site. Crucially, both sites will operate completely independently, which means separate logins and user profiles for each one, causing significant inconvenience to customers.

Sharkoon Announces Lightweight high-end, 3D Sound Headset for PS3, Xbox 360 & PC

CompuExpert, a division of Digital Interactive Systems Corp., today announced the Sharkoon X-Tactic SR will begin shipping August 16 in North America, and will be available exclusively from Amazon.com. The latest in the award-winning line of specially designed gaming headsets delivers the ultimate in multi-directional audio performance for maximum immersion and combat advantage, yet is incredibly lightweight for continued comfort over long hours of gameplay. Experience a whole new world of crushing explosions, screaming commands and powerful game sound output through the Sound Control Unit (SCU) with the new 3D Sound Expander.

The X-Tatic SR features Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Pro Logic II and Dolby Headphone, creating completely new sound dimensions that allow players to hear enemies approach from any direction. In addition, the SCU offers one additional connection for a second headset with 3.5mm jack, so two can enjoy excellent surround sound.

XFX Eyefinity-ready Monitor Stand Hits Retail

AMD Radeon board partner XFX designed its triple-head monitor stand to make life easy for AMD Eyefinity and NVIDIA 3DVision Surround users. The stand holds up to three flat-panel displays in perfect alignment, and gives you control over the viewing angle, tilt, and panning of each display. This is handled by three VESA mount standard-compliant joints along the two arms and a central beam. The arms and trunk of the stand are made of durable steel, and a space-age base holds it all, to sustain balance. The base, along with the hollow trunk and arms facilitate better cable management, the base even acts as a USB 2.0 and audio hub. The XFX Triple Display stand is listed on Amazon for US $367.06.

Seagate Debuts First Mobile Wireless Storage For iOS And Other Mobile Devices

Seagate, today announced GoFlex Satellite mobile wireless storage, the first battery-powered external hard drive to wirelessly extend the storage capacity of any Wi-Fi enabled mobile device. With 500GB and Wi-Fi access over 802.11 b/g/n and a rechargeable battery, this latest member of the GoFlex family provides the ability to carry an entire library of video, music, pictures and documents with you. Devices are wirelessly connected directly to the GoFlex Satellite drive by use of the free GoFlex Media app–available now on iTunes and the Apple App Store–or a web browser. GoFlex Satellite is available immediately for preorder from Seagate.com, Amazon and BestBuy.com for a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $199.99, and is scheduled to arrive in Best Buy stores in July 2011. Global availability is planned for later this summer.

"With the growth of the tablet and iPad markets and the larger volumes of high-quality media now being consumed, there is a clear need for access to content that is not plagued with the challenges of streamed video over the Internet," said Patrick Connolly, vice president and general manager of Seagate's retail group. "The unfortunate fact is that these popular new mobile devices are hampered by their limited storage capacity while one of their primary functions is that of media consumption.

Turtle Beach Announces DX11 7.1 Channel Gaming Headset

Turtle Beach, a leader in premium gaming headsets and audio entertainment accessories, today announced its new Ear Force DX11 7.1 Surround Sound System Bundle, available exclusively at Best Buy stores nationwide. The Ear Force DX11 combines the exceptional audio quality and comfort of Turtle Beach’s battle-tested Ear Force X11 gaming headset with the Ear Force DSS Dolby 7.1 surround sound processor. This dynamic duo delivers a rich and immersive surround sound experience with full chat support during Xbox 360 or PC gaming and while enjoying movies, TV and music.

"The DX11 headset bundle represents the ultimate in value and performance for discriminating gamers seeking a Dolby surround sound experience." Explains Michael Arzt, vice president, marketing and business development at Turtle Beach. "Players will gain a competitive edge and greater enjoyment of all their games (and movies) thanks to the well-defined directional cues and immersive power of the DX11."

Lenovo Skylight Lights Up The Web with Industry's First ARM-Based, Qualcomm Smartbook

Lenovo today announced the Lenovo Skylight, the first ARM-based smartbook based on Qualcomm's Snapdragon chipset platform. Skylight harnesses the best of smartphones and netbooks to create a new mobile consumer device. With a stunningly sleek and slim design, all day battery life, robust wireless connectivity and custom interface with live web gadgets, Skylight is designed to transform the mobile Internet experience. The Skylight smartbook connects with AT&T 3G mobile broadband service in the U.S.

"The web has become the window to the world for more and more people, helping them connect with friends and family across town or thousands of miles away," said Peter Gaucher, executive director, Mobile Internet Product Management, Lenovo. "Skylight combines the long battery life and connectivity of a smartphone with the full web browsing and multimedia experience of a netbook to create one of the first devices in this developing smartbook category. Consumers want choices. They can now choose from a full portfolio of Lenovo mobile consumer devices including netbooks, smartbooks and laptops."

Run on Windows 7 Upgrade Deal in Europe

Today marked the first day of the Windows 7 upgrade deal for most european countries. Much like the US variant, customers in the EU were able to preorder Windows 7 Home Premium for 50 € or UK Pounds. According to the Hannoversche Allgemeine Newspaper the entire stock of the new operating system has been sold out within hours in the german speaking region. Large etailers like Amazon.de only had 1500 from the 10000 pieces of the german version - which sold out 7 minutes after the start at 9:00 AM - while others only managed to get 500 or less. Other german etailers like Alternate, OTTO, Neckermann managed to hold out a tad bit longer, but all of their servers - including the ones from Amazon Germany where brought to their knees so that many potential buyers missed out on the deal. Amazon UK on the other hand allowed pre-orders for about 6 hours until listing the item out of stock. Overall, most etailers all over Europe are sold out, while some traditional stores may have some left. It should be noted, that Microsoft actually planned to offer this deal from July 15th until August 9th.Source: HAZ - Hannoversche Allgemeine (German)

PowerColor HD 4770 AGP Gets Listed, Fastest AGP Card in the Making?

ATI looks to be still in the mood to cater to the dying breed of AGP motherboard users. A Radeon HD 4770 graphics card made by PowerColor surfaced on Amazon.com (model: 1A1-G000004992), that boasts of support for the AGP interface, although a picture of the PCI-E variant accompanies it. The store claims it to be in stock, and priced at US $99, although PowerColor's website has no trace of it. We are in the process of finding out more about this card.

If indeed PowerColor made such a card, AGP users have something to rejoice: the fastest AGP accelerator, one that puts them into the current-generation of GPUs. The card features 640 stream processors, is DirectX 10.1 compliant, and features 512 MB of GDDR5 memory across a 128-bit memory interface. Until now, the fastest AGP card from ATI is the Radeon HD 3850 AGP.

Update (05/13): PowerColor responded to this article saying that the product is falsely advertised, and that the company neither has an HD 4770 AGP accelerator, nor is it currently in the works. In the course of the conversation however, the company disclosed that it is working on products based on the Radeon HD 4600 series (HD 4650, HD 4670) that are AGP-compatible.

Amazon to Begin International Rollout of Amazon MP3 in 2008

Amazon.com today announced that in 2008 the company will begin an international rollout of Amazon MP3, Amazon's DRM-free MP3 digital music store where every song is playable on virtually any digital music-capable device, including the PC, Mac, iPod, Zune, Zen, iPhone, RAZR, and BlackBerry. Amazon MP3 is the only retailer to offer customers DRM-free MP3s from all four major music labels as well as over 33,000 independent labels.

Amazon Sells 17 Wiis Per Second

Online retailer Amazon.com has revealed that it managed to sell an average of 17 Wii consoles per second whilst they were in stock during the build up to the holiday season, with Super Mario Galaxy and Call of Duty 4 being the top selling video games. The company is claiming that the Christmas period this year was its most successful to date, with Monday 10th December being the busiest day when it received orders for 5.4 million items.Source: Next Generation

Kindle: Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device

Amazon Kindle is an entirely new class of device — a convenient, portable reading device with the ability to wirelessly download books, blogs, magazines, and newspapers. Kindle is designed to provide an exceptional reading experience. Thanks to electronic paper, a revolutionary new display technology, reading Kindle’s screen is as sharp and natural as reading ink on paper. The device will be in stock on November 29, 2007, but you can pre-order one now.

Amazon Launches DRM-Free iTunes Rival

Amazon.com is setting its sites on iTunes with the release of its new Amazon MP3 DRM-free music download service. The new service kicks off with more than two million 256kbps MP3 files from more than 180,000 artists from more than 20,000 labels. Amazon claims that many of the songs are cheaper than iTunes, with more than a million tracks cost from 89 cents to 99 cents. You can now download tracks directly from Amazon's site, but if you wish to purchase an entire album, you'll be required to use the Amazon MP3 Downloader available for Windows XP/Vista or Mac OS.

Amazon MP3 DownloadsSource: DailyTech

Amazon Teams Up With TiVo To Sell Movies Straight To TV Sets

This Tuesday TiVo ( Creator of the TiVo® box ) stated that many of its customers can now order movies and television shows from Amazon.com's download service directly from their TV, without having to own a personal computer.
TiVo upgraded the "Amazon Unbox on TiVo" service to allow customers with high-speed Internet connections to select and buy one of about 10,000 movies and shows using nothing more than just their TiVo remote control.

Amazon.com and Microsoft Team Up to Help HD DVD Format

Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. today announced the 1,000 HD DVD Indies Project, designed to lower the barriers to entry for filmmakers to produce and distribute movies in the HD DVD format through the innovative manufacturing-on-demand technology of CustomFlix, a part of an Amazon group of companies. Jointly sponsored by Amazon and Microsoft, the project will provide free authoring and setup services for up to 1,000 selected indie titles.

Amazon going DRM-free

Popular online retailer Amazon has confirmed that it plans to launch a DRM-free music store, which should allow customers to chose from a wide variety of songs from numerous artists. Apple recently took a step forwards after a deal with EMI allowed it to sell unprotected music via its iTunes store, and Amazon today announced that it plans to offer “millions of soungs” from over 12,000 record labels, all DRM-free. Amazon will be the first major distributor to offer all downloads without any digital rights management, which should allow customers to transfer music between different devices much easier compared to downloads from competing firms – something which has often been criticised by music fans. Amazon has not revealed when this service will go live, nor is there any indication of which regions it will be available in and what prices will be like, but this should be a good move from the consumer’s view provided songs aren't too expensive.Source: TG Daily

Amazon.com acquires dpreview.com

(BUSINESS WIRE) SEATTLE, WA—May 14, 2007—Leading online retailer Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced it has acquired www.dpreview.com, the web’s most comprehensive site for digital camera information and reviews. Founded in 1998 by Phil Askey, dpreview.com provides unbiased reviews and original content regarding the latest in digital cameras, and offers a host of features and forums designed to make it easy for consumers to find the camera that’s right for them. With its unique voice and in-depth technical reviews, dpreview.com draws millions of unique visitors each month.

Amazon Planning DRM-free music store

Online retailer Amazon.com could be about to launch a DRM free music store next month providing that it can reach an agreement with the music industry. According to The Times, Amazon has been approaching major music companies in the last fortnight with ambitions to provide unprotected music downloads in order to compete with Apple’s iTunes store. Although Amazon has previously been unsuccessful in such requests for the last 18 months, Apple’s recent deal with EMI to provide music without any digital rights management protection has reignited Amazon’s hopes. EMI and the smaller independent labels are expected to be the first to allow Amazon to sell their music (if they are successful), whilst record labels such as Sony BMG, Universal and Warner generally seem reluctant to allow their music to be distributed online without DRM.Source: TimesOnline
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