The Weekly Record: JCB phone launched, Blackberry beats iOS, and Gamestop announce early opening

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

World of Warcraft fans are used to queuing at night to get their fix.World of Warcraft fans will be out in force at Gamestop stores on Tuesday night, the Playstation Move has sold 4.1 million units, but first we deal with a new rugged phone available in Ireland.

We always try to start your morning with something light-hearted but today we’re employing a heavy duty approach to achieving that goal. JUST Mobile has announced the launch of a floating phone called the JCB Tradesman. The Tradesman is available in Spar, Spar Express, Eurospar, Mace and XL outlets nationwide from Monday 6 December. This handset is available for €99.99 with a JUST Mobile SIM pre-loaded with €9.00 free call credit and is also dustproof, bluetooth enabled, has a built-in torch, and FM radio. Designed to a military specification, JUST Mobile claim the phone is capable of operating in temperatures of -20C to +60C, can be submerged in water, left out in the rain, or even dropped into a pint or down the toilet and still ring. It also has a hardened outer plastic casing and the mobile operator claims it can survive drops of up to three metres. Suffice to say we’ve asked for one and plan on putting it to the test.

Sony has announced that sales of the Playstation Move motion controller for Playstation 3 (PS3) have reached over 4.1 million units worldwide. The announcement comes just over 2 months since its Irish release in September Sony has decided to fly additional stock of Playstation Move controllers into Europe to ensure Irish retailers can meet the Christmas demand. A PlaystationMove Starter Pack is available for €59.99 (RRP), comprising a Playstation Move motion controller, Playstation Eye camera and Playstation Move starter disc. The Playstation Eye camera is available separately for €29.99.

Samsung Print Ireland and its reseller partner, Office Business Equipment (OBE), have installed a network of 133 Samsung 4 in 1 printers in Xtra-vision stores across the island of Ireland in a deal valued at over €45,000. Xtra-vision’s head office will now be able to monitor the functionality of its entire printer network remotely due to the machine’s Specific Network administration software, increasing the efficiency and cost effectiveness of Xtra-vision’s IT system. The 4 in 1 machines will be used as printers, scanners, copiers and faxes to support all the administration duties in the Xtra-vision stores.

Industry analyst firm Quocirca, has classified HP as a market leader in the provision and delivery of managed print services (MPS) for enterprises in Europe. The awkwardly named Quocirca Enterprise Managed Print Services European Vendor Landscape 2010 report provides an overview of the competitive situation and growth in the MPS market.

A new study by Citrix Systems has found that 73 percent of Irish company director and IT managers plan to deploy Windows 7 as soon as possible with 42 percent intending to do so within a year. The survey also revealed that many organisations see desktop virtualisation as a key consideration when rolling out Windows 7 while 60 percent of those who have invested in Windows 7 or are planning to do so are considering desktop virtualisation infrastructure to aid the migration.

Irish owned mobile technology solutions provider Heavey RF has announced a new voice middleware application called VocalPoint VP2.0, for the logistics and retail supply chain. VocalPoint VP2.0 will allow companies to upgrade their warehouse management systems to incorporate voice directions.

BlackBerry OS overtook Apple’s iOS for the first time in the US in November in terms of mobile internet usage according to web analytics firm StatCounter. The company’s research arm, StatCounter Global Stats, found that for the first time in the US BlackBerry OS at 34.3 percent overtook Apple’s iOS, which recorded 33 percent in November. Google’s Android is rapidly gaining and has almost tripled internet market share from 8.2 percent last November to 23.8 percent this year. Apple’s iOS has fallen from 51.9 percent to 33 percent over the same period. “These figures suggest that developers should not be developing solely for the iPhone to the exclusion of BlackBerry and Android,” said Aodhan Cullen, chief executive of StatCounter. He added that, if current trends continue, BlackBerry and Android combined are on course to become twice the size of iOS as regards mobile internet usage in the next year.

IT services company Origina has announced a new partnership with Microsoft in the Irish market to offer virtualisation solutions to businesses. Through the integration of Origina’s private cloud infrastructure and Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtual servers, the new service aims to be available at significantly lower cost than comparable rival offerings, with Origina claiming this could be up to 40 percent in some cases. This joint initiative will see Origina and Microsoft target all enterprises in Ireland with more than 25 physical servers. This announcement follows Origina’s recent investment of more than €1 million in a private cloud infrastructure.

GameStop has announced that it will open nine stores at 11pm on 6 December to celebrate the upcoming release of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the highly anticipated third expansion for the massive multiplayer online role-playing game. GameStop stores in Henry Street in Dublin, Patrick Street in Cork, Arthur Square in Belfast, Waterford Shopping Centre, Clonmel, Ballincollig, Navan Shopping Centre, Dundalk and Wexford Town will open at that time to support gamers looking to pick up their copy of the expansion the moment it goes live. GameStop will be selling the standard edition of the expansion as well as the Collectors Edition (while stocks last) which contains the following bonus items in addition to the game disc: World of Warcraft: Cataclysm PC or MAC Game, a behind-the-scenes DVD including over an hour of developer interviews and commentaries, a Collector’s Edition soundtrack CD, The Art of Cataclysm which is a 176-page hardback book featuring never-before-seen artwork from the development process, a starter pack and exclusive cards for the World of Warcraft trading card game, an in-game pet called Lil’ Deathwing, and a special edition mousepad.

And finally…Some of you no doubt recall our recent review of the excellent NBA 2K11. Normally 2K Sports are forced to compete with EA Sports in the sports games market but the decision by EA to pull the plug on NBA Elite 11 left NBA 2K11 uncontested for the Christmas market. In a recent interview with Kotaku, EA boss John Riccitiello gave a blow by blow account of how a once promising game bit the dust just days from its global release. It’s an interesting read about a game which featured one of the  most bizarre glitches in  history but the most important news for gamers is undoubtedly Riccitello’s bullish outlook on the future. When asked if they would be back in the NBA games market he had a simple response “We’re EA Sports for Christ’s sake.”

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