The UpStream

HP Smartphones Down, But Not Out

posted Saturday Sep 15, 2012 by Scott Ertz

HP Smartphones Down, But Not Out

HP's relationship is a long and complicated one, dating back about a decade. Originally HP combined their popular iPaq line of PDAs with GSM and CDMA brought about the first HP Windows Mobile devices. While good devices, they didn't stand a chance against RIM's BlackBerry, Palm's extensive line of handsets and even UTStarcom/HTC's PPC series of Windows Mobile devices. Though they kept it up from 2004 until 2009, there was never any real success to warrant it.

In 2010, HP purchased Palm, starting a second generation of HP-branded smartphones, this time running the ill-fated webOS. The disastrous exploits of the HP Palm merger are well documented in this article, so we won't go into it now. Suffice it to say, it didn't go well, and it looked like HP was done with phones for good.

This week, HP CEO Meg Whitman told Fox Business that they will once again have a smartphone because they "have to." For more on her announcement and some possible details about the phone, hit the break.

Stan Lee Enters Mobile Gaming

posted Saturday Sep 15, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Stan Lee Enters Mobile Gaming

We all know that Zynga isn't in the best shape, with bad games and rip-off lawsuits, plus slumping usage and employees fleeing, the last thing they need is another big-name player in the industry. Well, that is exactly what they got this week with comic book legend Stan Lee announcing that his company, Pow! Entertainment, is joining forces with mobile game studio Moonshark to create a new game.

The game, titled Verticus, is an action-adventure game that will be available later this fall. Stan Lee, founder and CEO, plus all around badass, said,

Working closely with Moonshark to build characters and storylines for a mobile game has been a new, and uniquely satisfying experience for me. Making Verticus is a new way for me to connect with my fans and reach a whole new group of people through their mobile devices.

New and exciting is where Stan Lee lives. This is the man who, according to Kevin Smith (Silent Bob), created our modern mythology through the comic book characters he has created. From Spider-Man to Iron Man, the man has created many characters that will stand thet test of time. This game will simply add to the list of memories for most people.

Want to know what the developer has to say about the game? How about a teaser trailer? Hit the break for both.

Apple's New iPods - They Still Exist?

posted Friday Sep 14, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Apple's New iPods - They Still Exist?

After last year's iPod announcement it seemed clear that they had given up. It was a pretty good decision considering their primary product, the iPhone, was an iPod as well. Microsoft recognized that the portable music player market was over, discontinuing their Zune player. I had suggested that last year would be their last year for the iPod, wanting to see it through its 10th birthday. This week, however, brought a surprising announcement: a new line of iPods.

We'll start with the redesigned iPod Nano. The last generation, which was a design nightmare, looked like a touchscreen version of the Shuffle. This year, the Nano has returned to its former shape, but retained the touchscreen. In fact, at first glance, you might think it was an iPod Touch Nano. Unfortunately, you would be wrong. The biggest difference between an iPod Touch and an iPod Nano is the lack of iOS. Despite owning the operating system, and the device name starting with the letter i, the Nano runs another operating system. This means, even with a nice touchscreen and an interface that mimics iOS, there is no way to install standard iOS apps. Other than that, it is a nice change for the Nano family, especially after the last version.

The iPod Touch 5th Generation has also had a nice upgrade. Similar to the iPhone 5, the new iPod Touch has a 4" Retina display, 5MP iSight camera and Siri. Of course, it will run iOS 6, meaning it gets all the new features, like a series of applications that support a longer screen. Along with the new camera comes the ability to record 1080p video and take lower light photos. Also, for the first time, the iPod Touch will come in a large collection of colors, just like the Nano. All-in-all, it is a nice upgrade to the iPod Touch family.

Speaking of family, the 4th Generation Touch is not going anywhere. It will remain on the line-up as the low-cost alternative, similar to how Apple treats their previous model iPhones. It will, however, get the upgrade to iOS 6 to allow Siri, among other new features. This upgrade will also be available to existing iPod Touch 4th Generation models. The iPod Shuffle and Classic will also remain on the line-up, mostly unchanged. As the odd-balls of the family, however, these models do not need to be reworked often.

While it is a bit of a surprise that they did not retire the iPod line-up, it is nice to see that are at least trying again. If the devices are going to exist, they might as well be something people want, and this time they seem to have nailed it. I know, I said Apple nailed it - it is surprising. While the target market is shrinking fast, they are making the best of what is left.

Apple iPhone 5 - The Lamest Thing to Happen to iPhone Since iPhone

posted Friday Sep 14, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Apple iPhone 5 - The Lamest Thing to Happen to iPhone Since iPhone

Apple's stock price has been dipping, so that means it is mandatory "milk the sheep" time. Since the New iPad, whose name will be a lot more fun in 6 months or so when the next one comes out, is already on store shelves, that must mean it is iPhone time. In proper Apple tradition, the CEO, currently Tim Cook, spent time on a mostly empty stage in a fairly nondescript theatre to show off the next small, shiny box from Cupertino.

The new iPhone lives up to many of the expectations, both good and bad. First, the name is the iPhone 5, not the New iPhone. They do seem to have at least learned something from that very odd decision. The device is, as expected from leaked photos of the chassis, longer than the previous models. Steve Jobs cited the smaller screen size in all previous models as a good thing. The reasoning was always that holding the phone in one hand could give you access to all parts of the screen. He also stated that his company would never consider launching a larger screen because of this reason. Apparently Apple has discovered that people's hands have grown in the year since Jobs' death.

The iPhone 5 has taken a page out of Boost Mobile's phone lineup and added true 4G data to their handset. Of course, this isn't the first time Apple has included a feature from a cheap Boost Mobile phone; in the iPhone 3G they added picture messaging. Apple's implementation is a little better than Boost, though, as it implements 4G LTE, not WiMax. To accomplish this, they touted their dual-antenna technology, which they also talked about last year. My guess is that this is all in reaction to the antenna blocking problem from the iPhone 4. I say that because all modern phones have the ability to switch antennas, and you never hear Samsung talk about it.

Not all of the new features are in direct violation of the founder's wishes or rip-offs of 5-year-old technology, however. Some are downright terrible ideas. Hit the break for the details.

Nintendo's Wii U Event Answers Some Questions, Leaves Us with More

posted Friday Sep 14, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Nintendo's Wii U Event Answers Some Questions, Leaves Us with More

Following up from last week's potential price and availability of the Wii U, Nintendo's Wii U press conference in New York City finally confirmed the details that we've been waiting to hear about since E3 of last year. One of our favorite company heads, Reggie Fils-Aime, took the stage and started off by addressing the three biggest aspects of the Wii U we wanted to know about: pricing, availability and specs. We now know that Nintendo's next flagship console will be available in the US on November 18th and will start at $299.

There will be two versions available for purchase, a Basic Set (in white) will run you $299 and a Deluxe Set (in black) will cost $349. Contrary to our speculation last week, neither will come with two GamePads. Instead, the Basic Set will include the 8GB console, one GamePad, a sensor bar and an HDMI cable, while the Deluxe Set will feature the 32GB console, one GamePad, sensor bar, HDMI cable and the addition of a charging and console stand for the GamePad and console, respectively. It will also include a copy of Nintendo Land so you can start to figure out the confusion that appears to be a kid carnival with your favorite game characters.

What else is there to know about the Wii U? A lot! We go into more specs, along with game announcements and the addition of Nintendo's TVii after the break.

Google Removes The Pirate Bay from Autocomplete and Instant Search

posted Wednesday Sep 12, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Google Removes The Pirate Bay from Autocomplete and Instant Search

About a year and a half ago, Google censored the Internet on their own and removed the word "torrent" (and all related terms) from their Autocomplete and Instant searches. This set off an uproar throughout all different types of online communities, including the beloved pirates, and Google then began to censor other words as well, but backed down on a couple, like MegaUpload, although that site is now shut down. Well, RIAA and MPAA have ramped up the pressure to crack down on piracy and, per the usual spineless actions from Google, the company has responded in fear of RIAA potentially taking away their iTunes library at the Googleplex.

Just days after one of the co-founders of The Pirate Bay has been deported back to Sweden from Cambodia, the search giant has removed "The Pirate Bay" from Autocomplete and Instant searches. Doing some random searches also show that Zippyshare and Mediafire have also been removed, but YouSendIt remains. Again, as we reported 18 months ago, the removals seem arbitrary, with Google removing whatever site or group RIAA and/or the MPAA seem to be mad at that week. There's really no method, rhyme or reason to their removal process. The good news is that The Pirate Bay knows this and doesn't seem to be phased by it. Plus, they even made a small mention of censorship of their search results in a blog post back in June.

Right now about 10 percent of our traffic comes from these competing search engines. With that ban in place that means that our traffic numbers probably will increase. Users will go directly to us instead and use our search instead. We'll grow even more massive.

The Pirate Bay has a very good point. Most people who know of the site will go directly to that site and users will typically refer each other to sites like this and won't end up there via a web search. Will Google fess up to the actual reasons why it has removed TPB? Probably not. Instead, we're left with this on their help page,

While we always strive to algorithmically reflect the diversity of content on the web (some good, some objectionable), we also apply a narrow set of removal policies for pornography, violence, hate speech, and terms that are frequently used to find content that infringes copyrights.

All of this is simply more fuel for several things going against Google right now, including the anti-trust investigations. Perhaps it's time for users to switch search engines on a greater scale? While we're on the topic, maybe our loyal readers should try and Bing It On. See if you end up on the better side of web searching. Post your results in the comments section below.

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