Get a Solo FX iPhone Case Cheap!

Well, not really a Solo FX case, but an amazing look a like. The second you hear it’s made in China, you’ll probably leave. Oh, still here? Great, no you’ll here about this awesome case!

This iPhone case I got from eBay member dcmugen88. Just view his items for sale and search for iPhone cases. The cases are like a mixture of rubberized cases and hard-cover cases, somewhere in between. The reason they’re great is because unlike complete rubber cases, they don’t stretch or bend out of shape, and they’re better than hard cases as they have that gel-like protection, and won’t scratch your beloved iPhone 3G.

High recommended! Check out the eBay user’s page here. Around $5.

Chinatown Wars and GTA IV trouble

Well, first of all. WHO DIDN’T SEE THIS COMING??? Both the console version of Grand Theft Auto IV and the PC version have been delayed, and Rockstar has been delaying other games. And now, look at this! Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars for the DS looks to have trouble, as it seems the release date has been pushed backed to their second fiscal quarter, running from February through April, instead of the previously thought ‘Winter’ release. No reason was given (as usual), and no further updates for that.

And it also looks like we have another delay! For those of you waiting for the Xbox 360’s Downloadable Content for Grand Theft Auto IV, you may have to wait a little longer… again… Publishers are now pushing towards the end of the first fiscal quarter (November through January), although it “it might move into the second quarter alongside Chinatown Wars”. Notice the key word, might.

It looks like Rockstar Games and Take-Two isn’t keeping it’s release dates steady lately.

Via GameSpot

GTA IV for PC – Confirmed Delay

The announced date for the November 18th release of Grand Theft Auto IV may have been changed. Online retailers like Amazon and GameStop have pushed back the release date of the game to December 2, 2008. There is not yet any official word, pre-release dates are known to change, like the original GTA IV release date. Interesting, commericals for the game have already aired on some TV channels announcing the original release date. The official Games for Windows page for the game lists the original date.

Via JoyStiq

UPDATE!!!

It has been confirmed by IGN (and reconfirmed on the Games for Windows site) that the PC version is officially being delayed until December 2, 2008. However, the Games for Windows page states it will be the 4th of December. The official GTA IV site is still not updated, however it is obvious that there’s at least a 2-week delay. No reason was given.

Via IGN

Apple iPhone (2G) Review

The (original) iPhone is one of the first (if not the first) cell phone to fully incorporate most of its functions using a multi-touch screen. It only carries one main external button, and advanced motion features, including an 3-axis accelerometer, and changes according to its position. Having a very slim figure, it has the access to install games and other apps through iTunes, and incorporates an iPod.

Background Info / Highlights

  • Release Date: June 29, 2007
  • Features many advanced features, such as a touchscreen, iPod, web browser, and apps.
  • Can be synced through iTunes, which gives very easy access to constant updates and bug fixes, as well as the convience to sync music, podcasts, movies, and apps.
  • It was ranked a revolutionary phone
  • It is only offered by AT&T (in the US, though this doesn’t stop a lot of people from alternative ways)

Purchase / Activation

Officially, the only way to purchase the original iPhone was through AT&T with a new service plan, however because of the iPhone 3G, you’re only likely to get it from alternate sources, such as from a friend, eBay, etc. Activation for the original iPhone is done through iTunes. I must note that you are required to have a brand new SIM card, even if you are a current AT&T customer, which they may or may not charge for. The reason is the iPhone has to recode the SIM for things specifically for the phone. Don’t worry though, you can do everything though iTunes.

No matter if you are a current AT&T customer ready to upgrade to an original iPhone, or a new one, everything is done though iTunes, and you don’t even have to step into an AT&T store. I found this highly convenient, as I didn’t have to mess with any sales associates. Because I’m a current AT&T user, I just plugged in my iPhone that I got from a friend, with the new SIM in it, followed the easy instructions, and had my phone setup in minutes.

However, it should be noted that with the original iPhone: if you are a current AT&T customer, you can keep your current plan, however you are required to upgrade your data plan to a $20 one (you will see why later). Also, you phone must be activated to access all of its functions, including the iPod.

Games / Apps

With the latest iPhone and iTunes update, you now have access to the iTunes app store. Apps can be any type of applications for your iPhone, including games.

Though a lot of the apps on iTunes are free, the rest cost money. There isn’t much to review in the category, as each app has its own reviews on iTunes, however I must say that I think the iPhone runs games and apps very well, and they load up almost instantly. A lot of people are claiming that the iPhone is as good as a Nintendo DS or PSP, if not better, which I agree on. You can also download them directly from your iPhone.

Other than that, there is not another official way to download apps on to your iPhone, however you can ‘Jailbreak’ it. Jailbreaking an iPhone basically allows it to be exploited for unoffiical third-party games, or other motifications. Although it may sound tempting, as it can even unlock your iPhone for another wireless service, I don’t see any reason to use it other than that.

YouTube, which is already included in newer updates, is very useful. All of the videos we searched from the main site appeared on the mobile version, and using Wi-Fi, videos were crystal clear, however this isn’t the case with EDGE. Despite this, YouTube videos started surprising quickly on EDGE.

The calendar can is basically just a calendar, although really helpful. It can be viewed in either Month, Day, or Year format, and it has a very clean interface. My only con is not with the app itself, but with the options on how to sync events. You can currently officially only sync events through iTunes, using programs like Microsoft Outlook. However, if you are using Google Calendar, and want to sync your events with that, and are using Microsoft Windows, check out my earlier post on how to do that without hacking (search ‘google calendar’).

Maps can be very useful, especially since they seemed to load up very fast, even on EDGE. Location services can be used to help determine your approximate location, although it may take a couple of tries until it gets your general area. Other than that, it worked great, and could quickly get you to your destination.

The iPod is basically like any other iPod, except it has the advantage of using a touchscreen and the accelerometer. Sound quality on the speaker was OK, however I suggest you use headphones, as the speaker can cause the sound to occasionally get muffuled.

Design / Functions

Personally, I feel that the iPhone is a very appealing device. It is more slim than I originally imagined, and once I got my hands on it, I didn’t want to let it go. Basically what you see is what you get: a very slim phone, and one main button.

Starting with the exterior design, the back of the iPhone 2G is metal, and it makes it very sturdy. The camera in the upper left corner has nothing around it to reflect on, so it can be hard to take pictures of yourself. On the left side, there is a small switch to change between normal and vibrate profiles, and the volume controls, all in the perfect spot.

At the top, the center is the SIM tray, which requires you to have a paperclip or other small object to get it out with, although I don’t see why you would need constant access to this. Next to that is the sleep/wake button, which as it says, wakes up the device from ‘sleep’ mode, or puts it in standby, or shuts it down. The other side carries the plug for the headphones. Unfortunately, although it snugly fits iPod headphones, most others require an adaptor. The button on the front basically only returns you to the home screen.

Unfortunately, the iPhone’s battery is internal, and once it goes dead for good, you’ll have to shovel out about $85 to get it replaced. There are some cheap battery replacement kits for it, however these are not official, and can void your warrenty. Luckily, Apple claims you can get around 300-600 full charges, from 0% to 100%.

The camera, a 2.0 megapixel, was very good. With most phones without a flash, you see the picture quality to deteriorate quickly. Although this is mostly the same case, it did hold up for a while. One of the cons on this is that there is little to none options for picture options. You are literally only given the option to take the picture. Although this is able to be changed though third party apps, it would have been nice to just have options on there to begin with.

The Wi-Fi signal quality was above average, and it connected quickly to nearby networks. Although it could take a bit to search for those further away, once it got a signal, it usually stuck with it the whole time. The Wi-Fi automatically replaces EDGE when in use, and greatly increases the speed to all applications requiring data. EDGE, however, is a different story. Unfortuanatly, some apps require that Wi-Fi must be used, and on YouTube, although you can used EDGE, video quality greatly decreases. There are a few postives; EDGE speeds seem to have increase, although nothing compared to 3G, and most applications work quickly with it.

Bluetooth was pretty good, however at the time of this review, all you can really do is connect a wireless headset just for calls.

The Safari web browser rendered pages very well, even complex ones that might confuse those on computers. Loading full-paged on EDGE was a little below average speeds, like dial up, however pages specially for the iPhone (like Walmart’s iPhone site) loaded pretty quick, and used simple flash. However, you can not view things like java in the browser.

Messaging and Email was very cool on the iPhone, and text messages displayed as a nice clean interface like an IM display in bubbles. You can now message to multiple people at once, however a big let down is that so far, you can’t send MMS messages, only email to use pictures or other media. Email can be checked at certain invervals, and can be displayed in it’s original format. One thing I didn’t like was that email services such as Gmail, where you are likely to have a lot of emails due to it’s ability to archive, when added, attempts to add every message. This means, though you can limit the amount of emails displayed, at the bottom you see something like “Load More Messages… 5830 messages total”.

The touch screen was very responsive, and it was very easy to scroll though menus and type on the virtual keyboard, though it can be awkward when you just start using it. One con I have is the fact that the keyboard, when in portrait mode, makes the keys very cramped can hard to type compared to landscape, and this can only be changed under some conditions.

Battery life was around average, depending on what you’re doing. Playing games or running intensive apps can drain the battery to dead in less than 4 or 5 hours, however this depends on what types of apps running. In general, the battery life was excellent when using the iPod or phone, and standby mode helps conserve it.

Conclusion

The iPhone, though having minor limitations, deserves it’s rank of phone of the year, and brings interactive cell phones with touchscreen technology to a new level. It’s an excellent phone to have, and can keep you entertained due to it’s continuous releases of apps and games, which can be reached directly from it.

  • PhoneArena.com Rating: 8.8 / 10; Excellent
  • CNET editors’ rating: 8.0 / 10; Excellent
  • My Rating: 8.9 / 10

Links to remember

http://www.phonearena.com/htmls/Apple-iPhone-phone-pa_1886.html – Full specifications for the iPhone. More to come.

Grand Theft Auto on the iPhone?

Due to the touch screen capabilities and other factors, it is predicted that the next target for Grand Theft Auto will be the iPhone. As stated in a recent report with Mike Hickeyhe, Janco Partners analyst:

“We expect GTA will likely be ported to Apple’s iPhone platform, leveraging the device’s touch screen technology and accelerometer. Apple’s determination to layer gaming applications into the device’s consumer value proposition and growing installed base is likely sufficient motivation for a deal,” as stated in a recent report with Mike Hickeyhe, Janco Partners analyst.

Thinking that it wouldn’t be too difficult to port Chinatown Wars to the iPhone due to the relation in touch screen, the game could use features supported only by the iPhone and iPod Touch, such as the accelerometer. Also supporting the idea is the fact that the iPhone has been tagged as a ‘DS/PSP Killer’, as developers are already gaining interest in the hardware that is outstanding, compared to the DS and PSP.

San Andreas now on Xbox Live

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is now available on Xbox Live for download as an Xbox Original. Being released Monday, October 20, is costs $15, or 1200 points. Xbox 360 users can now go to the Xbox Live Marketplace to download the original game onto their console’s hard drive.

San Andreas was originally released on the Xbox in June, 2005.

GTA IV Trophies, Rockstar Social Club Update

Although recent rumors have been going around, it was officially announced by Rockstar Games that PlayStation 3 Trophies are being released for Grand Theft Auto IV. The patch for the game will be released this Monday, October 27th. Available on PlayStation Network, look for the 51 trophies being released! There are many sites listing the expected trophies.

In addition, many questions have come along questioning ‘zombies’ in GTA IV online multiplayer. Now being tagged a ‘Viral Infection’ feature, Rockstar Games confirmed that killing someone with the ‘infection’, no matter if they’re wearing the zombie skin or not, will get you it, also allowing you to obtain the “Let Sleeping Rockstars Lie” achievement. You can check out statistics on this at the Rockstar Games Social Club.

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