Tag Archives: Google


Google gets into gaming – With a little help from their friends.



So not sure if you missed it but at the Google I/O event we were shown just what to expect from gaming in the near future.  Using a demo of “Rivalry”, which utilized Epic’s Unreal Engine 4 and an NVIDIA K1 Terga processor, the evidence was there for all to see.



“Through our close collaboration with NVIDIA, Epic’s Unreal Engine 4 ‘Rivalry’ project demonstrated at Google I/O shows what’s possible when PC-class gaming technologies and performance are brought to mobile devices” said Tim Sweeney, founder of Epic.

Speaking at the I/O event David Burke, director of engineering for Android advised “Quite literally this is PC gaming graphics in your pocket,” There is no doubt in the near future that PC gaming will be realised on a mobile device. It  actually may be very close indeed as Tim Sweeney , went on to add that ” In less than three weeks we were able to port content built for high-end PC and the DirectX 11 graphics API to Android and Google’s AEP (Android Expansion Pack) extensions for ES 3.1. Developers can deliver incredible graphical complexity on a mobile chipset thanks to Tegra K1 and AEP”

The question remains when will we see an NVIDIA K1 processor in a mobile device?



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Google Home

Google home entertainment: What can we expect?

It’s been a long time coming, in hindsight.  For years Google have said that the next big thing for Google would be, whatever the next big thing in search is, because that what Google do and that is by and large, their main source of revenue.

All the while, Apple steadily became the most valuable company in the world, with more cash than the US Government.  Don’t get me wrong, Google do well, but it must sting a little when one of your main rivals’ profits is bigger than your revenue.

Google had already soured the relationship with Apple by turning Android into the iOS competitor that it is now. What sticks in the throat of the Cupertino crew the most is the feeling that one of their own, Andy Rubin, defected to Google and took with him ideas that became the blueprint to what Android is now.

Now, again with more than an admiring glance at what Apple have, Google intend to get knee deep in hardware and home entertainment.  The Motorola deal has pretty much been given the go ahead, and so now they have a whole bunch of patents along with a team of hardware specialists.

Many in the techsphere have already doomed Google to failure in this venture but I’m not so sure this will be consigned to the scrap heap along with Google Wave and Google Buzz.  I say, let’s take a closer look at what Google have going for them.


Google have made large strides to improve YouTube, recently giving it a complete redesign to help promote the various types of video categories as well as highlight that YouTube is now a destination for Film, Shows, Live videos, Education and News.  With all that covered, you may wonder why you need a TV licence at all.  Indeed, Google will be hoping that’s exactly what you are thinking, as they have already stated that they want to increase the time spent on YouTube and have made the number one online video service more visible through Google+ and more accessible through the updated Google TV app and mobile app.  With 4 billion video views per day already in the bag, how long before you’re sat round the big screen with your family, flicking through YouTube channels?

Google Music

Google Music has got off to a bit of a stuttering start, this is very keenly felt over here in the UK as we have yet to receive it.  Nonetheless, in the US where it is up and running, it’s a formidable service, were it not for its late start it may have proven to be a rival for iTunes. Having the ability to hold and stream 20,000 tracks in your library or download tracks directly to your phone is a great feature.  There’s little needed to add this to a feature of a home stereo or some sort of music hub.  We’ve seen Apple do something similar and the Sonos system works very well.  This is a competitive space and will like become an even more fierce battle ground, but no doubt Google have planned this for a long time and recent revelations show that their employees are testing equipment in their own homes, dog-fooding as it is called. I’m optimistic, competition in this industry is great for the consumer, guys like you and me. And Google are pretty good and making their wares compatible most everything else, so if everything runs smoothly, you won’t have to throw out your existing goods, unless you really want to.


The biggest thing Google have going for them is, who they already are, by that I mean that they are one of few brands that have become a verb. When you search online, you Google, that means you’re always going to come into contact with Google, which gives them an opportunity to sell their services to you. And Google have shown that they have no hesitancy leveraging their existing properties to promote their new products.  And while Google+ has yet to take off in a massive way, there is deep integration into everything that Google produces at the moment, with more tie-ins growing the partners may soon be on par with what Facebook have in their own network. Google already have a huge portfolio of non Home Entertainment products, but that won’t stop them from making sure that their products work together, making them distinct for a lot of what’s already out there in terms of audio and visual.  We seen the iOS update to the Google+ app mean that you have instant uploads to an online album, why wouldn’t you be able to view those photos through your Google TV? Or what about when you have a video of your child’s performance in a school play and you want to be able to watch it with the sound playing through your home set-up, I mean, my nephew was awesome in the school performance of West Side story.  How about all the high res images in your picasa album, wouldn’t that be nice to scroll through on a 30” screen at the end of the year?

Admittedly I’m not the most creative guy, I’m just squashing together stuff that I’m aware already exists but there’s a lot of potential.   The Android@home music system will no doubt be the first of many Android@home products, after all with a name like ‘Project Tungsten’ it’ll be underwhelming if it produced any less than a myriad of products.  Google isn’t particularly good at hardware but it is good at a lot of other things, and the Motorola acquisition will go some way to address those weaknesses.  This should make for interesting times for all us technophiles, if your appetite isn’t whetted by this, then what on Earth will?

Asus Transformer Prime fi

The Asus Transformer Prime: Raw Tegra 3 quad-core processing power

For the sake of absolute transparency, I’ll openly admit that I want this tablet, so yes my opinion is biased.  Nonetheless, I will try my hardest to present everything that follows as objectively as I can, to ensure you are fairly informed.

By all accounts, the Asus Transformer Prime will be the all conquering champion that Android has been waiting for in it’s battle against the iPad.  Well, that at least is the account you’ll get when you read articles of those from the Google Android camp, of course, Apple advocates will more than likely tell you a different story.  I think it’s fair to say, that those who have an interest in the tablet format but are neutral  towards a manufacturer or operating system, are a little bit excited by the prospect of what the Asus Transformer Prime has to offer.  So let’s get straight into the good stuff.

Design - Sleek elegance

The basic tablet format, for the most part, is fixed.  The main variations are in the dimensions, casing and docking/port options.  The Asus Prime will have a 10.1″ Super IPS+ display with the tech screen of choice, the Corning Gorilla Glass.  You’ll see mention of the Super IPS+ display, which is an acronym for In-Plane Switching, a technique developed to improve viewing angles by allowing the crystal of a display to move parallel to the panel plane instead of perpendicular to it.  This difference allows a reduced amount of light scattering and in turn gives wide viewing angles and good colour reproduction.  The ‘+’ is Asus’s indication that there has been improvements over the previous variant that was present in the predecessor.  The back casing would appear to be a lightweight, brushed metal alloy.  All this is a strong statement of intent and encouragement that the user experience will be of a high quality.

Hardware - Power and grunt

Perhaps the standout feature of the hardware of the Transformer Prime, is the Tegra 3 quad core processor.  Upon release, it will be the first tablet to sport this new configuration which also has a dedicated ultra low voltage fifth-core for handling non-CPU intensive tasks.  The biggest benefit of this is the improvement in battery life which is an approximate total of 12-hours, which is boosted to 18 hours when docked.  Other features include what Asus are calling SonicMaster Technology, which in everyday terms translates as great speaker.  Sound quality is perhaps not the biggest consideration for most guys purchasing a new tablet, but if you’re at home or in a public place and want to watch a video clip, you’ll really appreciate the different in audio quality.  The final hardware point I’ll highlight, is the improvements made to the touch responsiveness, with Asus claim to have halved the normal response time form when the device detects your finger movement and follows along.  It’s an issue that most would generally consider to be a matter of software but this attention to detail, will ensure that Asus as a manufacturer will be held in high regard and compete closely with the likes of Samsung and Motorola.

Software - Android Ice Cream dessert

Currently, what the guys over at Asus have running on the Prime is Android’s Honeycomb OS, not a bad OS but not the latest.  What has already been stated, is that it won’t be long before the Prime will be running Ice Cream Sandwich, the unification OS that will be on both Android tablets and mobile phones.  Clearly, much like the approach taken by Apple with their iOS operating system, having one OS that runs one both mobile phone and tablet is great for app developers and should further help the proliferation of app production and the overall standard of apps available to your Android device.  There has been a lot already said about Ice Cream Sandwich, and perhaps it isn’t the huge leap that everyone wanted to see from Android but even this reiteration of the Android system comes with much welcomed improvements and is the most polished version of Android yet.

So there a brief run through of some of the highlights of the Asus Transformer Prime, there is in fact a bunch of stuff that I haven’t mentioned, such as the hydro-oleophobic coating on the screen or the 8MP camera with an auto-focusing f/2.4 lens and a back-illuminated CMOS sensor capturing 1080p video.  But, I think I covered enough to intrigue you enough to do a bit more digging of your own, and really, that’s where you’re really going to find out what’s interesting to you.  When you find that interesting point, whether it be positive or negative, please share in the comments below.

Below is an early video of the Asus Transformer Prime running the hardware intensive game, Glowball, to demonstrate its capabilities.

Not sure I was entirely objective in this post. :-P

Google Chromebook

Thoughts on the Google Chromebook

If you follow the Dabs Twitter account you’ll probably be aware and may even have taken part in a conversation we had on the new Google Chromebook.  I’ll go ahead and lay my cards on the table by saying that this is something I’m quite receptive towards.  I’ve yet to get my hands on it but the vast majority of reviews I’ve read on the Chromebook have been very positive.  Of course, you can only put a certain amount of stock in reviews, but they provide a good reference point in the absence of a thorough hands-on.

By all accounts, the build quality of the Samsung Series 5 is very good and the performance equally impressive.  But, will that be enough to disguise the elephant in the room, that of data security.

By and large, I’m an advocate of cloud storage, but we’ve seen recently how this system can be compromised.  Let’s not get too sensationalist over this problem, as we all know security is an issue regardless of where your data and personal files are stored.  Even if your photos and pin number (heaven forbid) are stored locally, you’ll need to have adequate security to ensure it’s safe from viruses, phishing scams and even hackers.

The thing about it is that almost all of us are making use of cloud services already, during the conversation on Twitter there was mention of Dropbox, LiveMesh, TrueCrpyt, SkyDrive, among others. Clearly these are all cloud based services for those that want to store their personal and business documents in the cloud. Not to mention more household names such as Facebook, Flickr, Spotify and YouTube which also offer multimedia storage to the cloud.

What the Chromebook is, is a Netbook design to cater for modern day requirements. How many of us would even turn on our laptop if we didn’t have an internet connection?


Forums and Football, Deals and Dopiaza

“McDunc – I’m Not Lovin’ It”

Just when you thought this week couldn’t get any betterafter the jubilant return of the Chilean miners… it’s the return of Dunc! Happy Friday everyone!

In the same week as 33 Chilean miners returned from two months underground, dabs.com FC recorded their second win on the bounce – two amazing feats of endurance and teamwork! I am still at a loss to as how it happened – not the Chilean miners, they got out thanks to planning and precision – I’m talking about our back to back victories! The mind boggles!

For next week only, you can call me McDunc – no thanks to you lot. I’m going back to my semi-Scottish roots! In the seven days since the last update, the majority of you have managed to ensure that the “Should Dunc wear a Kilt to the Dabs Diamond Awards later this month” poll is leaning heavily in favour of me donning the tartan and showing my pins – thanks for that! While I may be less than grateful for your votes in the poll, we are grateful for all your votes for the actual awards – the response has been overwhelming! The votes are now closed and are being counted and verified by our very own Dermot O’Leary – Michelle. The winners will be announced online after the awards ceremony next week, as will the winner of the prize for voting – stay tuned!

Today marks the day that the long awaited new game Medal of Honor is released in the UK, and as those eagle eyed regulars to the blog will have seen, we have secured an exclusive offer in conjunction with the guys at EA Store. For today only you can get 20% off with a voucher code, to get the code and the full details check out the blog post.

This week we have launched two new aspects on dabs.com – a new section of the Blog called “Ponderings” and our long awaited forum! The new blog section opened with our very own Matt giving his thoughts on memories and the need, or rather not, to retain them.

The forum, which went live yesterday, has been in the idea stages for some time and we know many of you have been waiting for us to get one online for even longer! Well the wait is over – and we have to thank all the IT guys (Alex, Ste, Mark), the marketing team (Mike, Matt and Sam) and everyone who helped bring the forum online over recent weeks. Sign up today and get posting, as there is a special prize that will be announced later today on the forum!


In The News

Quiet week in all honesty, lots going on but very little of it has caught my eye – don’t forget you guys can always submit stories you find interesting via comments or Speak to Dunc and ill ensure if I use them you get credited! One thing that did catch the eye was the ever-busy Google. Whilst finding time to squeeze in  a 32% jump in profits, they also have announced that they have been testing automated cars that have clocked up over 100,000 miles without human interaction – crazy!


Product News!

Last week you guys took to the news of the Synology USB Station 2 pre-order by placing your pre-orders in droves! Today stock has landed and you can now secure the product for under £80!

This week we have a host of new offers ready for you to take advantage of, the first is a new Self-Build bundle! Those of you who are familiar with our Asus Intel and AMD bundles will know what to expect, but this time we have partnered with Gigabyte to offer a one off Ultimate Bundle! The bundle sees the GA-890FXA-UD5 Motherboard, AMD Phenom II X6 1055T, Corsair 4GB DDR3 [2x2GB] Memory and  Windows 7 Home Premium brought together for under £450! Not only that, but we are throwing in 2 Game Downloads: Storm Rise + Lost Planet! Stock due next week!

This week saw the launch of the new NVIDIA GTS 430 range of Graphics cards that are aimed at the casual gamer market and those looking for performance from their PC. From editing photos to HD video, watching blu-ray movies and playing DX11 titles like Civilization V – the new cards pack a punch at a great price point. Check out the range we have starting at under £60.

Finally, just today we have launched two new promotions on dabs.com. First up is the Netgear ReadyNAS duo, where you can claim a 1TB or 2TB hard drive for free on selected models and the second is on Western Digital VelociRaptor Hard Drives where you can get yourself a FREE copy of the just released Medal of Honor game for PC! Check out the full details and see the included drives here.



Product Deals & Challenge Dunc Continues!

After a great response to last week’s “Challenge Dunc” I’m looking forward to seeing what next this brings – suggest deals you want to see and drop me a note via ‘Speak to Dunc’ with your ‘Price Match Challenges’ this week, and I’ll do all I can to get the deal you need!

First up on the exclusive front, I want to ensure you get the BEST price in the market right now for the Samsung 1TB S2 Portable hard drive. Currently on dabs you can get at an already amazing price of £89.99, and last week I offered it to you guys for £79.99. But for one week only, with this link, you can get it for even less – £76.98!

Moving on to some Solid State Drive deals, we’ve just taken stock of some fantastically price OCZ Onyx Series products. The 64GB is now down to £79.99 and the 128GB has hit a great price of £159.98. I can’t knock anything else off, but I am going to say that if you buy one you can have a £40 game voucher for EA Store – just email me with your Sales Order Number!

Some of you have already spotted it, but to those that haven’t, you should take advantage of the special bundle that is on the Intel Ultimate Self-Build Bundle. Right now you can save over £20 on Kingston HyperX 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 1600MHz Memory when bought with the bundle – check it out today and take advantage!

Remember, keep spreading word about the blog offers and let me know about when you mention the blog online as you WILL bag yourself a freebie!

Anyone For Curry?

OK that’s it for another week – I’m off out tonight with some of the boys from work for a few beverages of the alcoholic variety and a curry at Akbars in Manchester! It is with a heavy heart (but a belly full of curry) that we will be celebrating the departure of Mike in our IT Development team, who is off to pastures new – yes celebrating, we didn’t like him much anyway! Only joking Mike, you know you’ll be missed!!

Have a good weekend and don’t forget to enter our “Win a buyagift.com experience worth £150”. In the words of our proposal Romeo, Mike, as mentioned last week – “I only have one question…”


Memories, Like the corners of my mind……Who are you again?

My long term memory is awful, and I mean really, really bad. I struggle to remember any of my childhood clearly. I don’t remember the names of the people who were my friends for years at school, mates I went on holiday with. The lads that picked on me and the teachers who put up with me are completely wiped from my head (although I do remember the first girl I ever had a crush on – afternoon Julia!).

What I do remember from school is the run up to our GCSEs, and particularly the uproar that surrounded us being able to use calculators in the Mathematics exam. My Mum thought it was an outrage; partly because she was jealous that she’d had to learn her timetables at school and partly because it meant she had to fork out for a Casio!

Looking back now it’s ridiculous, barring having to check I’ve got enough change  in my pocket when it gets to my round, I never need to do anything more than the simplest mental arithmetic.

And that pretty much expands to everything these days; you’re never more than a Google search away from finding out pretty much anything you need to know.

Q. How many islands make up the cooks archipelago?
A. 15

Q. How old is Stephen Hawking?
A. 68

Q. When was the first World Cup?
A. 1930

Most of it pointless, but it’s all there at your finger tips.

What I’m getting at is, if all this information is readily available to us, no matter where we are, do we really need to retain knowledge anymore? Do we need to memorise the events of human history? Do we need to be able to reel off the Capital City of every country? Or is it perfectly ok just to have all this information floating around in a mass bank of information that we call the internet?

Now let’s imagine, for a second, we can instantly access all this information and conveniently sidestep the issue it could be changed and twisted for evil.

What’s the point of clogging up all your grey matter with facts and figures if they can just easily be retrieved from the ‘net as and when you need them? Einstein’s Theory of Relativity wasn’t just down to a clever bloke with a brain full of facts, it was down to Albert taking what he’d read and researched and then spinning that information in to an explanation of how the Universe works. Imagine if he’d never had to remember anything he’d learnt? That he was hard wired into all the information that’s ever been documented and he could concentrate on using his massive intellect to come up with new theories and ideas. We’d be living on Mars by now!

Here’s another bonus, no one could ever ruin my evening in the pub by announcing its quiz night! There’s nothing worse than sitting down for a chat with your mates in the local, only to find a piece of paper and a chewed biro thrust in front of you. Followed by questions like ‘Where in the body can you find the patella?’ or ‘How many calories are there in a banana?’ But it’d be pointless if we could all tap into this endless fountain of knowledge.

So if you know me, don’t expect me to know your name the next time I see you, as I’m off to go unremember everything I’ve ever learnt. Especially if I owe you money!