The UpStream

Nintendo to Make New Games Available via Download

posted Saturday Apr 28, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Nintendo to Make New Games Available via Download

Nintendo has long made it clear that it believed that downloadable games were something they did not think played into their strengths. In fact, they have continued to prove this belief by focusing on cartridges for the DS and discs for the Wii. They have certainly been left behind by the other two companies, with Microsoft offering many of its titles via download shortly after release, plus their download-only games available in the Xbox Live Marketplace, and Sony offering the PS Vita, the first platform to offer day one digital downloads.

Nintendo has made the decision to change their policy, as described during their financial results briefing. Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo, announced that, starting with New Super Mario Bros. 2 on the 3DS and later with titles on the WiiU, new titles will be available via both physical and digital distribution. There are positives and negatives to both options for everyone involved, of course. Developers, publishers and console manufacturers certainly like the idea of digital distribution. No packaging and no resale value means lower costs and higher sales, except for GameStop. Some gamers, however, prefer the physical media so they can share the game with their friends, or resell it to GameStop, Amazon, RadioShack and the like.

Will this help get Nintendo back to profitability or is this too little too late? Hit the break for our take.

The Wonderful Windows of Woz'

posted Saturday Apr 28, 2012 by Scott Ertz

The Wonderful Windows of Woz'

Everyone loves Steve Wozniak, one of three co-founders of Apple Inc. Even if you hate Apple and their products, you can't hate this man. Every time he speaks, the technology world listens, because he is not afraid to say exactly what is on his mind, even when it goes against his former company, which it often does. Recently, in an interview with his autobiography's co-author Gina Smith, and Dan Patterson, Woz talked about his experiences with his newly acquired Nokia Lumia handset running Windows Phone.

He described the experience as being more like working "with a friend not a tool." Considering Apple's marketing is about the ease of use of their handset, this is a pretty big comment about the phone his former company is eating lunch off of. In fact, he said that it was "no contest" between Windows Phone and iOS. He added that iOS is "more awkward" that Windows Phone and that even Android beats it out in usability. He believes that the element that is holding back the platform is a smaller App Catalog. My favorite quote from him is,

I'm kind of shocked. Every screen is much more beautiful than the same apps on Android or iPhone.

Woz never mentioned the version of Lumia he is using, but he is not the type of man to have a lesser handset, so we can make the assumption it is the flagship Lumia 900. He also made a comment on Twitter about wanting to get his hands on one. So, what does this mean for Windows Phone? I think the support of Woz will help the Lumia and ultimately the platform pick up steam for sure. Hopefully it will also help get some of the app developers to fill in the only hole he sees.

So, with Woz's endorsement, are you more inclined to pick up a Lumia yourself? Let us know in the comments.

Facebook Bill Headed to Congress After All

posted Saturday Apr 28, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Facebook Bill Headed to Congress After All

We recently spoke with Avram Piltch, Online Editorial Director for LAPTOP Magazine and host of The Piltch Point, about a rising trend in employment. It turns out, more and more businesses and government agencies are asking for Facebook passwords before hiring new employees. Currently, employment law prevents employers from asking certain questions of their prospects, such as military service history, past employment history, medical background, etc. Their solution is to, instead of asking the questions, get the prospect's Facebook password so they can get the answers without the question.

Obviously, prospects are not happy about this trend. It is tantamount to a home invasion. Employers can find even more information about you, like music choice, sexual orientation, etc, all of which can be used to make decisions based on information they are not allowed to ask about. The US House heard tell of this invasion of privacy and decided to try and pass a law adding social networking passwords to the questions employers cannot ask. Unfortunately, at the beginning of the month, it appeared the law would be defeated.

This week, the law managed to make its way closer to the floor. Hit the break to find out what the sponsors have to say about the bill and what they think it accomplishes.

AT&T, T-Mobile Spectrum Transfer Approved

posted Saturday Apr 28, 2012 by Scott Ertz

AT&T, T-Mobile Spectrum Transfer Approved

Over the past year, the FCC has made a lot of questionable decisions. Whether it be denying the merger between AT&T and T-Mobile, blocking LightSquared's LTE network, which they had previously approved, or their decision to only fine Google $25,000 for the Street View disaster, they have been ruffling a lot of feathers, including Congress.

This week, they gained a little bit of favor back, at least with the German company Deutsche Telekom, parent of T-Mobile USA. Part of the original exit strategy for the merger between AT&T and T-Mobile was a transfer of a lot of money and a lot of spectrum. While there is no requirement that the FCC approve cash transfer, there is for spectrum transfer.

In an uncharacteristic move, the FCC made their decision quickly. What was the decision and how did T-Mobile respond? Hit the break.

Facebook Buys Microsoft's Acquired Patents from AOL

posted Saturday Apr 28, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Facebook Buys Microsoft's Acquired Patents from AOL

Last month, we talked about AOL wanting to sell off their patent portfolio for a serious cash injection into the business and just two weeks ago, Microsoft scooped up the patents for over $1 billion. It seems that Facebook wanted a piece of the pie.

In an effort to take down the evasive Google, the social networking company struck a deal with Microsoft this week to gain access to their newly-acquired patents. Analysts agree that this is a move to shift the power Google has over the Internet and try to balance the playing field. What better way than for two of the biggest forces on the web to join together?

Spotify and Coca-Cola Working Together in Music-Streaming Harmony

posted Thursday Apr 26, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

Spotify and Coca-Cola Working Together in Music-Streaming Harmony

It's been a while since we've talked about Spotify. Since the arrival onshore in July, there's been a lot of activity for the company, both good and bad. For the good, we've seen them work with numerous companies like Ford and their SYNC capabilities, their move to the Windows Phone platform and the company has even welcomed developers to make the successful apps we have on Spotify today. For the bad, a lack of subscription traction, outages that can last up to five hours and artists pulling out over royalty disputes has the company reeling a bit.

This week, Spotify has some news that is going to bring them back into the positive light. The music streaming service will be teaming up with Coca-Cola and its Internet marketing team to bring more users and awareness to the platform.

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