Next-Gen Game Upgrades Abound, but Buyer Beware

Tech

Even if you’re planning to pick up a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One in November, the game industry would very much like you to keep buying games right now.

As such, both Amazon and GameStop are offering $10 upgrades from Xbox 360 to Xbox One versions of select games. A similar PlayStation 3 to PlayStation 4 promotion is in the works, according to Polygon, but the details haven’t been announced.

For the Xbox One promotion, Amazon’s terms are a little friendlier than GameStop’s. While both retailers allow you to upgrade any time before December 31, GameStop requires you to be a member of its PowerUp Rewards program. GameStop also stipulates that you must purchase the Xbox 360 version of the game you want to trade within 30 days of its release date.

Both retailers are allowing trade-ins for FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Battlefield 4, Watch Dogs, Assassin’s Creed…

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If Facebook’s internet.org effort really wants to shake things up it should bypass the carriers

Gigaom

Facebook’s(s fb) newly launched internet.org coalition to deliver mobile internet to everyone is more than its attempt to connect to its next billion users. It wants to reduce the cost of mobile data for the 5 billion people who are not online by making mobile data cheaper to deliver and apps more efficient.

Facebook has signed up top wireless chipmakers Qualcomm(s qcom) and MediaTek, as well as device and equipment makers Samsung (Samsung has a big chip business too), Nokia(s nok) and Ericsson(s eric), to take part in this coalition. In a call last night with Jay Parikh, the head of infrastructure at Facebook, I came away thinking two things — one, that Facebook doesn’t seem to have much beyond a plan to make this happen, and two, if it really wants to shake things up it should try to bypass carriers as much as possible.

Facebook’s plan is probably…

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Hot Damn: Turn Your iPad into a Foosball Table

Tech

Back in my day (early 2000), you had to drive to the Sportmart in the dodgy end of Tacoma, buy a $400 foosball table on your 18.9% interest rate credit card, use Diana’s El Camino to lug it back to the house you rented junior year with six other people, assemble it, derive an entire year of joy from it, then argue about who should lug it to the two-person apartment you rented senior year before giving it up and leaving it in the junior house for the next group of hoopleheads.

You kids today have it easy! All you need is an iPad and a hundred bucks. No driving to Sportmart, no El Camino, no spending $400 you don’t have, no leaving it behind because you can’t move it. Actually, it’s only $75 on Amazon. Again, you kids today have it easy.

Man, this thing even has…

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Omate TrueSmart Watch Makes Calls All By Itself

Tech

It’s tough to keep track of all the Kickstarter campaigns, smartwatches and Kickstarter campaigns for smartwatches these days, but here’s something novel: The Omate TrueSmart watch promises to have a built-in microSIM card slot, so you can make calls and get text messages without tethering to your smartphone.

The TrueSmart has some other fancy specs too, like a dual-core processor, a 1.54-inch color touchscreen, a 5-megapixel camera, GPS and vibration alerts. The microSIM slot supports 2G and 3G networks, but no 4G LTE, unfortunately.

The Kickstarter campaign is taking pledges now, starting at $179 to $189 to secure yourself a watch (or $199 after the early bird specials are gone). Omate estimates that it’ll ship in November, but given the track record of other Kickstarter projects we can pretty much assume that’s not going to happen.

In any case, the Omate TrueSmart will have some microSIM-equipped company later this…

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Nokia reportedly set to launch its first large-screen phone in September

Gigaom

September is shaping up to be a very busy month for mobile. We’re already expecting major announcements from Apple(s aapl) and Samsung, not to mention IFA. Now, according to a report from Reuters, Nokia(s nok) is planning to throw its hat in the ring with the launch of its very first “phablet,” among other new devices, late next month.

According to the report, “Nokia has developed more than one new mobile device and is due to announce them at an event in New York in late September.” No further specs or details are given, other than the fact that one of these devices will be a phablet (a smartphone with a screen five inches or larger). This jibes with Monday’s report of the Nokia Bandit. Bandit is believed to be the codename for Nokia’s first phablet — a 6-inch, 1080p Windows Phone device with a 20-megapixel…

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