All Technologizer posts by Matt Peckham

Matt Peckham writes about games and general technology for TIME. His work has appeared in Variety, The Washington Post, The New York Times, ABC News, MSNBC, The Sci-Fi Channel and others. He has an M.A. in English from Creighton University and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Drop him a line here.

Everything You Need to Know About Sony’s PlayStation Vita Launch

By Matt Peckham  |  Posted at 8:09 am on Wednesday, February 8, 2012

4 Comments

PS Vita

We’re just a few weeks out from Sony’s U.S. PlayStation Vita launch, so now’s a great time to review what it is, how it works, what it’ll cost, what’s under the hood and what you’ll probably need to buy a la carte. Ready, set…

Continue reading this story…



Read more: , ,

Apple Posits Fuel-Cell Powered Laptops

By Matt Peckham  |  Posted at 7:00 am on Friday, December 23, 2011

5 Comments

Imagine futuristic laptops even thinner and lighter than the MacBook Air, capable of running for several days or even weeks without recharging–Apple certainly is, as a couple U.S. patents published yesterday reveal.

Continue reading this story…



Read more: , ,

Verizon FiOS Xbox Live TV Deal Is Another Disappointing Half-Measure

By Matt Peckham  |  Posted at 3:55 am on Thursday, December 1, 2011

11 Comments

Giving people more options is generally a good thing, and the announcement on Tuesday that Verizon would offer a couple dozen FiOS cable TV channels through a new Xbox Live app certainly isn’t a bad thing. But it’s also a reminder of all that we still lack when it comes to consuming what we want to consume, and not subsidizing piles of stuff we don’t.

The FiOS deal sounds sweet enough—watch live TV through your Xbox 360!—until you realize it’ll require you already have a Verizon FiOS subscription. In that sense, Verizon’s deal is like all the others from cable providers who offer their services through devices likes computers or laptops. What sounds wonderful in theory—the ability to watch live TV without a cable box—turns out to require the cable box after all, and a regular subscription to boot. Instead of supplanting cable boxes, your computing devices become adjuncts to an aging, increasingly old-school method for consuming digital content, not the independent pipelines for discrete digital content they’re capable of being…and that so many consumers seem to be looking for.

Continue reading this story…



Read more: , ,

Here Comes Google Music: Leaked Screens Show Android Interface

By Matt Peckham  |  Posted at 7:03 am on Monday, November 14, 2011

1 Comment

Google Music screen shot as shown on TecnoDroidVE.

Android, meet your not-so-shockingly exposed dance partner, Google Music, and Google, meet another Google Music store rumor roundup, this one bolstered by screens that may indeed depict the upcoming Google-powered online music boutique.

We’ve heard rumblings about a Google Music store all year, since before Google launched its Google Music cloud service last May. But Google Music arrived, ironically, music-free—a blank online storage locker into which Google hoped users would pour unlocked tunes ripped direct from personal media or rival services. The theoretical reason: Google hasn’t been able to shore up relations with labels, prompting it to forestall Google Music’s “store” component. Until now, the service has looked the online equivalent of a Self Storage acreage.

That may all change this week. The Wall Street Journal said as much weeks ago, citing music executives in the biz, who claimed Google would launch a music store at some point between late October and early November. What’s more, the service is said to include Google+ integration, giving it a social networking one-up. For instance, users of the service would have the option to recommend songs in their online library to Google+ contacts, giving those contacts the option to listen to the songs once for free. After that, the MP3-format songs would cost in the vicinity of 99 cents each.

Continue reading this story…



Read more: , , , ,

BlackBerry PlayBook Sees Kindle Fire, Drops in Price $200

By Matt Peckham  |  Posted at 8:36 am on Friday, September 30, 2011

2 Comments

BlackBerry PlayBook price, come on down, you’re the next—or actually, first—contestant on The Price Wasn’t Right, But We’ll Fix That, in view of the Android-based Kindle Fire, which Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled Wednesday for just $199.

RIM’s PlayBook had been going for between $299 and $499, depending on model, but retailer Best Buy just slashed the price on all three models (16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB) by $200 each. If that sounds like a desperate, reactionary move to you, you wouldn’t be alone: Analysts are saying as much in the Kindle Fire’s wake left and right.

Continue reading this story…



Read more: , ,

Wait, Now Amazon is Launching Three Kindle Tablets on Wednesday?

By Matt Peckham  |  Posted at 6:29 pm on Tuesday, September 27, 2011

2 Comments

Everyone’s talking Amazon’s nifty new watch-out-Apple tablet, supposedly an Android derivative dubbed the “Kindle Fire,” but have you heard about the other two?

Yes, the other two. As we head into the eleventh hour, we’re hearing Amazon’s planning not one, not two, but three Kindle tablets for its Wednesday (tomorrow) dog and pony show. The so-called Kindle Fire is rumored to be an aggressively priced 7-inch color LCD Android slate, and may (or may not, depending who you read) be designed to go toe-to-toe with Apple’s iPad. That said, it sounds like Amazon wants to support its “but we just want a decent e-reader!” audience as well, and will announce two black and white Kindles at tomorrow’s event, too.

The source: Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who says Amazon’s planning two 6-inch grayscale e-ink Kindles, dubbed “Tequila” (low-end) and “Whitney,” (high-end) to complement the color Kindle Fire (dubbed “Hollywood”).

Continue reading this story…



Read more: , ,

Apple “iPad 3″ Prototype May Be Circulating, But Don’t Look For It This Year

By Matt Peckham  |  Posted at 11:01 am on Friday, September 16, 2011

5 Comments

It sounds like prototypes (yes, plural) of Apple’s iPad 3 may be floating around the “supply chain” already, but don’t look for the next-gen tablet this year, because…why, right? If you were sitting on 68.3% of the tablet market (according to the latest 2Q 2011 IDC report) and your nearest competitor (that would be Google’s Android) fell from 34% to 26.8% market share during the same period, where’s the fire?

That’s J.P. morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz’s reasoning, anyway. He’s just told Apple Insider that—not really a surprise here—his “conversations with industry insiders” indicate Apple’s third-generation iPad won’t arrive until sometime, 2012.

Continue reading this story…



Read more: , ,

GameStop to Buy and Sell iOS Devices, Finally Validate iOS Gaming?

By Matt Peckham  |  Posted at 8:41 am on Tuesday, September 6, 2011

9 Comments

Games retail giant GameStop’s days are either numbered or nascent, depending on whether you see brick and mortar retail as a digital-proof future presence. Well GameStop’s not waiting around to find out. They’re the largest dedicated video games retailer in the country, they’ve cornered the used games market, plus they’ve presciently grabbed arguably the best and brightest digital storefront technology, Stardock’s Impulse, to compete with Valve’s Steam.

And now, 9to5Mac reports, they’re plotting to add iPads, iPhones and iPods to their thousands of storefronts.

What’s more, they’re planning to let you trade in used iOS devices for store credit. That’s right. The screen grab 9to5Mac‘s touting reads: “We Buy your old iPod, iPhone or iPad.”

Continue reading this story…



Read more: 

Developer Offers “Proof” Apple’s iPhone 5 is Dual Mode

By Matt Peckham  |  Posted at 1:42 am on Wednesday, August 24, 2011

3 Comments

I bought an iPhone 4 in February, but my wife, who wants one badly, decided to wait. She travels to Europe and the Middle East frequently through the year for her job, and while AT&T would cover her in all the places she currently visits, their coverage at her parents’ house in the U.S. is a voice and data black hole. Considering we sometimes spend weeks there during the summer and around holidays, she wants a dual mode phone, one she can set up with a CDMA carrier stateside, or pop a GSM card in while traveling internationally. She’s been reading about an upcoming Apple phone that’ll do just that (and so, probably, have you).

The next-iPhone-as-world-phone rumor’s hardly new. Back in February, iFixit pulled Verizon’s CDMA iPhone 4 apart and—lo and behold—discovered a dual-mode GSM/CDMA chip. And in May, someone told FBR Capital Markets that a dual-mode iPhone 5 was coming in September. Even Verizon’s been loose-lipped about dual-mode functionality, claiming on a conference call in April that whenever Apple’s next device launches, Verizon would be “on equal footing with [its] competitors” and that the new phone would definitely “be a global device.”

Now we’re hearing a few new notes from the same song courtesy an anonymous developer, who’s not-so-discreetly passed some device application logs along to a TechCrunch blogger. According to said blogger: “The logs show that the app has been briefly tested by a handful of people using what is almost certainly an iPhone 5, evidently running iOS 5, sporting two distinct sets of mobile network codes (MNC) / mobile country codes (MCC). Those codes can be used to uniquely identify mobile carriers.”

Continue reading this story…



Read more: 

Nintendo Outs Flame-Red 3ds, Walmart Drops Price Early

By Matt Peckham  |  Posted at 12:55 pm on Wednesday, August 10, 2011

2 Comments

If you haven’t snatched up a 3DS yet (if not, we wouldn’t blame you, given the dearth of interesting games) Nintendo’s sweetening its upcoming price drop with a ‘Flame Red’ version. If red’s your thing—as opposed to “Aqua Blue” and “Cosmo Black”—Nintendo says it plans to offer the alternative color from September 9th, shortly after the handheld’s price plummets from $250 to $170 this month.

Except wait a second, isn’t that supposed to happen this Friday, August 12th? That’s what Nintendo’s said, you know, all official-like.

But according to reports (and pictures of actual sales receipts), it seems some stores are selling the system at the new price already. Like Walmart, where you can reportedly get it for $169.96. (I know, does anyone seriously choose to buy, or not to buy, based on the cheap pennies discount gimmick?)

Continue reading this story…



Read more: , , ,

Dragon Go! Voice Search for iPhone is Surprisingly Intelligent

By Matt Peckham  |  Posted at 9:23 am on Thursday, July 14, 2011

4 Comments

The other day I received a package, or I should say what in hindsight seems a waste of one: a large box, inside which lay a jumbo-sized cardboard egg, from within which I plucked a tiny rectangular piece of colored paper slightly larger than a business card. On the card, a picture of an iPhone, a greenish tongue of flame, and the words “Introducing…. Dragon Go!”

This is apparently someone’s savvy marketing idea to get my attention (or squander cardboard), perhaps hoping to conjure some latent connection to the dragon eggs featured in HBO’s recently completed (and as of today, multi-Emmy-nominated) first season of Game of Thrones. Intentional or no, I’m making my way through the HBO series now, and here I am, writing about Dragon Go!. Mission accomplished, outsourced PR person!

Dragon, as many of you may know, is the call sign for a suite of speech-recognition tools, the forerunner of which, DragonDictate, was released in the early 1980s for DOS. It’s since been recognized as perhaps the most accurate of the consumer-grade speech recognition utilities (at one point, employed as a computer systems engineer, I provided tech support to a quadriplegic who used Dragon Naturally Speaking—as it was called by 1997—to run his entire home office).

Continue reading this story…



Read more: , , , ,

Now Nintendo Admits It Was Hacked, Says No Customer Data Stolen

By Matt Peckham  |  Posted at 7:25 am on Monday, June 6, 2011

2 Comments

As this week’s E3 games conference and debut of Nintendo’s Wii successor looms, Nintendo’s admitting that Sony’s not the only victim of hacktivist ne’er-do-wells—yep, Nintendo was hacked, too.

Nintendo acknowledged a security breach in a statement yesterday, explaining that its U.S. servers came under cyber-fire a few weeks ago, but stressed that no personal user data was in breach. By comparison, Sony’s seen troves of sensitive personal data repeatedly stolen (and reportedly distributed) as hackers took turns assaulting the electronics conglomerate’s many corporate facets.

Continue reading this story…



Read more: , , ,

If Cell Phones Cause Cancer, What About Laptops?

By Matt Peckham  |  Posted at 11:35 am on Thursday, June 2, 2011

4 Comments

Cell phones are “possibly carcinogenic”? Potentially brain-cancer-causing? Comparable to pesticides and the stuff your car spits out? So sayeth the World Health Organization? The reputable science-minded subsidiary of the United Nations?

Bummer. Thank goodness I use ear buds, and don’t talk on the phone much—though when on the go, I do tote my iPhone in my pants pocket, where it’s usually pressed flush against my leg. So much for keeping the phone “as far as possible” from my body. Again, thank goodness I’m not “on the go” much.

My laptop’s a different story. Since I started writing full-time in late 2005, I’ve held laptops on my lap daily. And for the past eight months, I’ve been trying to have a kid. No luck so far, but then—all other things being equal—they say the odds of conception are still just one in four each month. I don’t blame my laptop, but I’m done taking chances. I recently opted for one of those “chill pad” coolers, to hold the machine an inch or so off my legs, and cool the all-aluminum frame—one guess what kind of laptop I own—with a fan.

Continue reading this story…



Read more: ,

Verizon: “iPhone 5″ Will Compete with AT&T for Global Coverage

By Matt Peckham  |  Posted at 3:07 pm on Friday, May 20, 2011

4 Comments

noticed this story late last night, basically another ‘iPhone 5′ tease that’s even bigger news from where I sit than whatever newfangled whatsits Apple’s tucked under the hood: global Verizon iPhone support.

The tipster: my wife. She wants a phone she can take on business trips abroad (like the U.K., or more recently, the Middle East). But the phone has to be all things. It has to work across the pond, but also in her tiny northwest Iowa hometown. Actually out of town a couple miles to where her parents’ farmhouse sits, nestled behind a tower-blocking hill, flush with trees, cows, and a compost pit. Lest you think we’re asking the moon for cheese, Verizon’s had bumper voice and data coverage across the area for years, while—nothing against them otherwise—AT&T offers neither.

Continue reading this story…



Read more: , , ,

The Internet Costs More Today, Thanks to AT&T

By Matt Peckham  |  Posted at 2:54 pm on Monday, May 2, 2011

7 Comments

So long cheap Internet, we hardly knew ya: AT&T’s broadband data caps go into effect today, reigning in data gobblers and dashing the dreams of high volume file-sharing freebooters. Ahoy, thar be usage checks ahead.

Actually “data caps” isn’t accurate. They’re not caps at all. They don’t cork up your DSL or fiber line when you hit your plan’s magic number. Say you do–AT&T just dings you with an extra service fee. AT&T U-Verse customers ride free until they hit 250GB a month, while AT&T DSL customers top out at 150GB. Go over those marks, and you’ll now pay $10 a month more, plus $10 again every 50GB thereafter.

Continue reading this story…



Read more: ,

So Long First-Gen iPad, We Hardly Knew You

By Matt Peckham  |  Posted at 6:16 am on Thursday, March 24, 2011

Comments Off

Here comes the iPad 2 again, like the world’s smallest, sleekest freight train, and in its wake, a trail of “while supplies last!” ads and deals and ballyhoo touting Apple’s original slate. Get it while it’s not-hot.

Apple’s iPad 2 (see our review, “It’s Still the One”) already debuted in the U.S. on March 11, but it’s still looming in the UK, Canada, and over 25 other countries. In goes global at last this Friday.

That’s not stopping customers from snapping up the original iPad in droves, if tales of sold out stores and online listings are true. They may well be. Apple’s knocked the price down $100 on original iPads, and it seems buyers are making a run on remaining stock. The 16GB model with Wi-Fi’s apparently already MIA.

Continue reading this story…



Read more: , ,