[This unedited press release is made available courtesy of Gamasutra and its partnership with notable game PR-related resource GamesPress.]
Los Angeles, CA – December 18, 2012 –
Zen Studios, creators of Zen Pinball, Marvel Pinball, and Pinball
FX2 today announced Zen Pinball HD is available for Google
Play™ for Android powered smart phones and tablets. Zen
Pinball HD is the most exciting mobile pinball game experience
available, featuring interactive 3D models, the most advanced ball
physics, rich social features and hot seat multiplayer, Zen Pinball
HD continues the rich pinball tradition established by Zen Studios,
the definitive leader in pinball videogames.
To celebrate the release of Zen Pinball HD, all Marvel themed
pinball tables will be on sale for $0.99 for the first week of
Zen Pinball HD is a free pinball platform download featuring a
mix of Zen’s original pinball designs and the hugely popular
Marvel Pinball, and will feature 15 tables at launch. All players
are invited to download and play risk free – downloading Zen
Pinball HD scores a FREE copy of Sorcerer’s Lair (no strings
attached). Zen Studios will support Zen Pinball HD on Google Play
with frequent table releases which can be purchased individually as
Key Game Features
To download Zen Pinball HD assets, please visit the Zen
Studios Press Center.
About Zen Studios
Zen Studios is a global producer and digital publisher of
interactive entertainment software for all leading game platforms
including Microsoft Xbox 360®, PlayStation®3 computer
entertainment system, PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system,
Nintendo DS™, Nintendo 3DS™, Wii U™, iTunes
App®Store, Mac App®Store and Google Play™. The
company is headquartered in Budapest, Hungary with offices in North
America. Zen Studios has worked with some of the largest
intellectual properties in the videogame industry, including
Capcom’s Street Fighter, Tecmo’s Ninja Gaiden, PopCap
Games’ Plants vs. Zombies, and Marvel Entertainment.
Zen’s Pinball FX2 franchise on Xbox LIVE® Arcade is one
of the most popular titles on the platform, has garnered numerous
awards, and was named the best selling game of 2011. Zen Studios is
hard at work on two new original titles, CastleStorm and KickBeat,
both scheduled for release in 2013. For more information about Zen
Studios, please visit
+1 (209) 586-9520
Why buy a laptop that runs nothing but a web browser, when you could buy a laptop that runs everything? That’s the question that comes up in pretty much every debate about Chromebooks — a series of stripped-down laptops that are merely vessels for Google’s Chrome web browser.
Unlike Windows PCs or Macs, Chromebooks cannot install any software. If you can’t access it through the web browser, you can’t run it on a Chromebook.
What you can’t do defines so much of the Chromebook experience — the laptops have very little local storage as well — that the existence of the products has been tough to justify. This was especially true with the first generation of Chromebooks from 2011, which were so underpowered that they couldn’t even provide a decent web browsing experience.
But now there’s a new Chromebook on the market that fixes many of the old ones’ problems. It’s fast enough to handle dozens of tabs across multiple windows. It’s got an excellent trackpad and keyboard. The Chrome OS software has been refined, so it rarely gets in the way of surfing the web. Best of all, the price is a mere $450 for the Wi-Fi model. (A 3G-equipped version with 100 MB of free Verizon data per month costs $550.)
During the E3 trade show in Los Angeles this month, I used a loaner Chromebook — built by Samsung and dubbed the Series 5 550 — as my primary laptop. I took notes on the Chromebook during press conferences and filed my stories through the WordPress blogging platform. When I needed to edit an image, I used the online photo editor Pixlr. I brought my three year-old Windows laptop as a security blanket, but never used it.
In the end, I was convinced that I’d happily ditch my Windows-based travel laptop in favor of a Chromebook.
Understand that I’m very close to the ideal user that Google envisions. Chrome is already my browser of choice, and I rarely use native applications. When possible, I prefer web apps, because they don’t clog up my system and they reside in my existing browser windows for easy access. If I need a document editor, I can get by with Google Docs. The Chromebook required no major tweaks to my work routine.
The latest version of Chrome OS includes some big changes that make the Chromebook more useful. Browser windows now reside in a desktop-like setting, so you can resize them, minimize them and place multiple windows side-by-side. Users can also pin their favorite web apps to the bottom taskbar for easy access alongside other browser windows.
The hardware is attractive too, with an aluminum shell and palm rest that give the Chromebook a hint of MacBook-like quality. (Much of the laptop, however, is clad in plastic.) The island-style keyboard is firm and responsive, and although the jumbo matte trackpad isn’t as smooth as the MacBook’s glass panel, it’s not as jerky as the trackpads on so many run-of-the-mill Windows laptops. The Chromebook’s speakers — usually a throwaway feature on laptops — are loud and rich enough to hear the bassline while listening to music.
The only major pain point on the new Chromebook is its 12.1-inch display, whose resolution is a measly 1280-800 pixels. It’s not a dealbreaker — and the matte screen was great at fending off outdoor glare — but when on-screen text runs small, it can be tough to read.
Other nitpicks: I wish the web app list in Chrome OS showed up in new tabs as it does in the desktop version of Chrome, instead of in a separate menu that I never got used to visiting. Also, when you’ve got a pinned app open already, it’d be nice if clicking the pinned icon led you to the relevant tab instead of opening a new tab every time.
On a few occasions, Chrome OS crashed, requiring a hard reboot by holding down the power button. In one instance, a website didn’t recognize my version of Chrome as a supported browser. (I got around this with an extension that tells websites a different browser is in use.)
I should also note that the original review unit Google sent had problems staying connected to Wi-Fi for more than 15 minutes at a time. One other reviewer, at PCWorld, had the same issue, but a Samsung representative said she was unaware of any other reported problems. After ruling out that it was a problem on my end, Google sent a second unit, which had no problems, so I’m assuming this was a freak defect.
Small gripes aside, the new Chromebook was light, fast, and quick to resume from standby, which made it an excellent travel companion. But back to the original question: Why limit yourself to a browser-based PC in the first place?
You need only look to Apple for the answer. Apple is successful because it builds its hardware to carry out the goals of its software. And that’s exactly what Google and Samsung have done with the new Chromebook. Gone is the clutter that you get with a traditional laptop–things like the row of F1 through F12 keys that you never use, the long bootup times, the annoying notifications and sluggishness from software you installed and forgot about.
By contrast, the Chromebook is built solely to help you browse the web faster. Instead of a caps lock key, there’s a search button. Instead of F-number keys, there are buttons for switching tabs, switching to full screen mode and moving backward and forward in the browser. You’ll find some of these functions on other laptops, but they must share real estate with the legacy keys they’re obligated to support.
Chromebooks are liberated from the baggage. Even the laptop’s storage limitations embody that idea: Instead of loading up the machine with pictures, music and video, just leave them on a networked PC or hard drive, or in a cloud storage service, and only store copies of the ones you immediately need.
Of course, there’s the issue of offline use. Most of the Chromebook’s apps require Internet access, but for those who scoff at the idea, I challenge you to unplug your router and see how much you get done on any other PC. Chrome OS could use some more built-in offline tools, such as a full-featured image editor and a version of Docs that lets you edit files and not just view them, but if you live and breathe offline, Chromebooks aren’t for you to begin with.
I’ve always been optimistic about Chromebooks, and was disappointed that the first wave of them were such a letdown. With the Series 5 550, Samsung has finally executed on Google’s vision. Chrome OS still feels like a futuristic concept, but it now it serves a practical purpose: The new Chromebook is a thin, light, inexpensive laptop with well-designed hardware that’s made for web browsing. You’ll have a tough time finding other laptops that meet all those criteria.
Will Android-based tablets be able to eat away at the iPad’s market share? Not anytime soon, according to new stats from IDC.
In the coming months, the new iPad will help “shift a larger percentage of future units toward iOS and away from Android,” according to IDC.
Apple’s iOS will likely grow its global market share from 58.2 percent in 2011 to 62.5 percent in 2012. Android, however, will drop from 38.7 percent last year to 36.5 percent this year, while Research in Motion’s share slips from 1.7 percent to 1 percent, IDC predicted.
“After a very strong launch of new products in March, Apple’s iPad shows few signs of slowing down,” Tom Mainelli, research director of Mobile Connected Devices at IDC, said in a statement. “The addition of the Retina display and 4G capabilities to the third-generation products clearly enticed many current owners to upgrade.”
Also helping Apple was its decision to continue selling the iPad 2 at a lower price. “Moving the entry-level price down to $399seems to be paying off as well, Mainelli said. “If Apple launches a sub-$300, 7-inch product into the market later this year as rumored, we expect the company’s grip on this market to become even stronger.”
The release of Windows 8, however, could shake things up.
“We expect pending new products from major players, increasingly affordable mainstream devices, and a huge marketing blitz from Microsoft around Windows 8 to drive increased consumer interest in the category through the end of the year,” Mainelli said.
At this point, IDC is not making any Windows 8-specific predictions, but will start doing so during the next quarter. “Our current thinking, based upon early pricing expectations for these products, is that Windows-based tablets will be largely additive to our existing media tablet market forecast,” Mainelli said this week. “We don’t expect Windows-based tablets to necessarily take share from Apple and Android, but will grow the overall tablet market.”
Microsoft will reportedly reveal its own tablet at a Monday press event in Los Angeles that promises a “major” announcement from Redmond. Stay tuned for all the details.
Overall, meanwhile, IDC has increased its tablet sale prediction from 106.1 million units this year to 107.4 million units.
For more, see PCMag’s full review of the new iPad and the slideshow above.
For more from Chloe, follow her on Twitter @ChloeAlbanesius.
For the top stories in tech, follow us on Twitter at @PCMag.
Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2405871,00.asp
By Josh Ong
Published: 11:40 PM EST (08:40 PM PST)
Sony revealed on Monday at E3 that it is partnering up with Taiwanese handset maker HTC for the first non-Sony devices to feature its newly-renamed “PlayStation Mobile” Android gaming platform.
During a keynote presentation at E3 2012 in Los Angeles, Calif., Sony announced that it was changing the name of its fledgling PlayStation Suite platform to PlayStation Mobile to “reflect the mobility of the PlayStation experience,” The Verge reports. The company first unveiled its plans for the Android game store last January.
Sony said that response to its PlayStation Suite beta, which began in April, has been “nothing short of phenomenal.”
“Very soon we will be bringing the PlayStation experience to Android tablets and smartphones in a major way,” the company added. “We have many PS Certified phones coming to market this year.”
The electronics maker outed HTC as its first “non-Sony group partner” for the platform. HTC enjoyed early success on the Android platform, but it has struggled in recent months. In April, the vendor announced that profits had fallen 70 percent in the first quarter of 2012 “because of competition from the iPhone 4S.”
Most recently, HTC experienced some delays in shipping its handsets to the U.S., a market that used to account for more than half of the company’s revenue. The customs review was prompted by an injunction that Apple had won against HTC via a lawsuit with the International Trade Commission.
With the PlayStation Mobile platform, Sony is taking a pronged approach to reasserting its mobile gaming prowess. For years, Sony’s gaming arm held a large chunk of the industry’s profits, but the increasing popularity of smartphone and tablet gaming has begun to quickly erode that share. Sony fought back with the release of its PlayStation Vita handheld last year, but the device has so far only encountered middling demand.
During a recent earnings call, Sony revealed that it had sold 1.8 million Vitas as of March 2012. Sony expects to sell 16 million handhelds, including its older PSP, over the next fiscal year, which runs until March 2013.
After years of its Mac platform being known as second-rate for gaming, Apple has found a hit with its iOS app ecosystem. CEO Tim Cook said at a conference last week that he believes the company is “big in gaming” with the iPod touch. He added that he wasn’t interested in getting into the console business just to be in it, while noting that Apple does want to do what its customers want it to do.
In April, sources claimed that Apple engineers are working on a physical controller for gaming on its mobile devices. One game developer said in March that the arrival of a controller for the iPad would pose a serious challenge to console gaming incumbents like Sony and Microsoft.
Other news items of interest to come out of E3 on Monday include the announcement that the highly-anticipated Counter-Strike: Global Offensive game will arrive on OS X at the same time as Windows, PlayStation and Xbox and Microsoft’s unveiling of an AirPlay-like feature called SmartGlass that will tie-in content on iOS devices with Xbox 360 content.
Reduces administrative costs, speeds expense reimbursement and corporate card payments
Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) May 22, 2012
Chrome River Technologies, a leading provider of expense management software and automated invoice processing, announced today the availability of Chrome River DIRECT PAY, a service that automates and speeds the payment process for corporate credit card accounts and employee expense reimbursements. The secure DIRECT PAY service debits an organization’s bank account for all approved expenses and credits employees’ corporate cards and personal bank accounts. As an integrated service to Chrome River EXPENSE, DIRECT PAY’s automated electronic payment capability handles the entire expense payment process.
DIRECT PAY enhances the expense reimbursement process by submitting electronic payments directly into an employee’s bank account within just a few business days. All employees within an organization are eligible for DIRECT PAY and the setup process is easy. The employee self-service bank account maintenance is secure in the DIRECT PAY encrypted vault, freeing up time for the accounts payable staff by eliminating the need to store, maintain and update this information internally. DIRECT PAY also allows an organization to control cash flow while ensuring that corporate card payments are made on time, reducing costs by eliminating any late charges that could be assessed.
With the DIRECT PAY ACH processing service, the accounts payable staff can focus on more high-level tasks since many of the back-end steps in the reimbursement process are eliminated. Approved expenses are exported as both journal and cost entries to an organization’s financial system and into electronic payment files for the bank-to-bank and bank-to-credit card provider transfers. Since all transactions are handled automatically, duplicative data entry is eliminated. Organizations can carry on their “green” initiatives while realizing reduced processing costs by eliminating the administrative tasks of preparing, printing and mailing paper checks.
“Chrome River is excited to provide our customers with the ability to automate the payment process for employee expense reimbursements and corporate card providers. We’re confident that Chrome River DIRECT PAY will help organizations reduce expenses through lowered costs for expense report payment processing and by eliminating late charges that stem from corporate cards not being paid on time.” said Dave Terry, co-founder and COO of Chrome River Technologies. “Organizations will also derive positive benefits for their employees, such as increased employee satisfaction due to faster expense reimbursement and elimination of lower-level administrative accounts payable tasks allowing staff to focus on more strategic business tasks.”
Chrome River is committed to keeping their end users happy with continuous enhancements and innovations that impress and make their lives easier. The addition of Chrome River DIRECT PAY is another enhancement that adds significant value to Chrome River’s expense reporting software.
About Chrome River
Chrome River Technologies, Inc. provides expense reporting and invoice automation solutions that uniquely combine the latest available internet technologies with over 25 years of financial systems experience. Chrome River delivers immediate payback via a “Software as a Service” delivery model that requires no hardware, no software, and no long-term commitment. This unique service is easily configurable to meet the needs of organizations worldwide with complex expense management policies and collaborative approval processes. Additional information about Chrome River Technologies, Inc. and its solutions may be obtained by phone at 1.888.781.0088 or by visiting the company website at http://www.chromeriver.com.
Chrome River Technologies
Tel: 888.781.0088 x 701
For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2012/5/prweb9529641.htm
Closing out the week with a drive-thru lunch date, Justin Bieber escorted his lovely singer/actress girlfriend Selena Gomez over to a local Chick-fil-A in Los Angeles, California on Friday afternoon (April 6).
Sending mixed messages, the “Boyfriend” teen sensation looked to be trying to go incognito while hiding behind a black winter hat and big black shades – unfortunately his ride was about as head-turning as it could possibly be.
As for what he was driving, Bieber happened to be behind the wheel of a blindingly shiny chrome Fisker Karma – as the electric luxury vehicle was doted to him as a birthday present during an appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”.
Meanwhile, once handed their chicken meals and shakes, the young Hollywood power couple proceeded to speed off to the Jim Henson Studios in Hollywood.
And while he’s certainly enjoying time with his lady, Justin is itching to get back to seeing his millions of worldwide fans, as he tweeted later in the evening, “Miss traveling. miss promo. miss tour. miss seeing all of you AROUND THE WORLD! Im will be there soon. #BELIEVE”
Enjoy the pictures of Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez cruising through Chick-fil-A in Los Angeles, California (April 6).