T-Mobile ramping up 4G LTE in the U.K. this year

T-Mobile is looking to ramp up its rollout of 4G LTE service in the U.K. this year.

Operating under the umbrella of Everything Everywhere, a company jointly owned by Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom, T-Mobile and Orange will kick off the first trials of 4G over the 1800MHz band across Bristol in the U.K. this April.

The new trial follows a live customer test of 4G over the 800MHz band that took place in the rural area of Cornwall in September. That initial test was a success. However, running 4G over the 1800MHz band can provide better coverage at a lower cost, … Read more

Is Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning the most accessible RPG ever?

The story behind Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is an interesting tale. Its development house, 38 Studios, was founded by former Major League Baseball pitcher Curt Schilling.

After finishing up his baseball career with the Boston Red Sox, Schilling refocused his energy (and a lot of money) into the company in addition to tying up sci-fi mastermind R.A. Salvatore and comic book veteran Todd McFarlane.

Jeff: While its story and characters are less than memorable, Reckoning is a lot of fun to play and has a combat system that's good enough to stand on its own. Historically, RPG games don't even have much of a fighting mechanic, but the one in Reckoning is totally out of the ordinary--and that's a good thing.

To me, Reckoning feels like an RPG stripped of its inaccessible number-crunching stat-trackers and at times comes across as a linear adventure altogether. That said, all the usual RPG suspects are accounted for, including choosing your class, upgrading a varied and complex skill tree, and deciding which quests to take on.

While it might be a blast to swing your sword at droves of enemies, Reckoning doesn't do much for me in the character development department. Considering the major players involved in the game's creation, it's a bit shocking to see that a lot of that energy may have been devoted to the game's expansive backstory instead of conveying a world filled with characters that players can identify with. You can talk with nonplayable characters in the game, but I'm not sure you need to.… Read more

Apple getting greener, adds iPad, iPhone recycling program for U.K., France, Germany

Apple has once again reached out to the greener side of our sympathies, this time by implementing its recycling program for iPads and iPhones in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.

The recycling program, extended to iPads and iPhones in the United States this summer, allows customers with older-model iOS devices to send them in to Apple and receive an Apple gift card in return for the remaining value of the device.

In Germany, France, and the U.K., customers will get a direct deposit into their bank accounts for the value as opposed to a gift card, according to … Read more

Facebook time is tops abroad, with Singapore No. 1

Here at the epicenter of social networking, birthplace of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, it's easy to lose sight of just how much the rest of the world loves our homespun social-media creations.

As it turns out, social networking is enjoyed overseas even more than here at home in Silicon Valley. Underscoring this notion is a newly released international study from Experian Hitwise tracking the top eight countries spending the most time on Facebook and other social networks.

Here's the lowdown: Singapore loves Facebook more than any other country. In August, people in Singapore spent the most time on Facebook 38 minutes and 46 seconds per session, while those in New Zealand spent 30 minutes and 31 seconds. Australians spent 26 minutes and 27 seconds; next, folks in the United Kingdom spent 25 minutes and 33 seconds; and the United States came in 5th place with 20 minutes 46 seconds, followed by France, India, and Brazil.

Not surprisingly, Facebook was the most visited social network in the United States in August, leading with 91 percent of all visits. Second place went to Twitter with 1.92 percent of all social-networking visits. San Francisco-based came in third place for the first time with 1.04 percent of all visits, overtaking MySpace. … Read more

The Bluebird Electric, Europe's fastest EV, will be shown at EcoVelocity

If you happen to be in South London this September attending the green motor festival EcoVelocity, check out Europe's fastest car, the Bluebird Electric.

Bluebird Electric is piloted by will Don Wales, the grandson of legendary racing motorist Sir Malcolm Campbell. Wales currently holds the U.K. land speed record for electric vehicles at 137mph, when he piloted the Bluebird Electric in August 2000.

Sometime before 2013, Wales will attempt to break 500 mph, he said in a press release.

"One day we're going to run out of today's fuels, and electric is the future," … Read more

Zune Pass comes to U.K.

As first reported by LiveSide, Microsoft has begun offering the Zune Pass subscription service to customers in the U.K. The Zune devices have never been sold outside North America, so there hasn't been much reason to offer the related subscription service, which offers unlimited streams and temporary downloads plus 10 permanent downloads a month. But the Windows Phone 7 software has the Zune HD's functionality built in, and with that phone platform slated to launch worldwide later this year, it makes sense for Microsoft to begin testing it now.

I was able to confirm the report for … Read more

I crown you King!

We Rule is a real-time kingdom simulation game where you'll need to earn money to expand your kingdom. Earning money in We Rule requires that you grow crops and build factories and shops that will bring in a steady income over time. The touch-screen interface is fairly intuitive for choosing what type of objects you want to build, but lacks descriptions of buildings making it difficult to predict how much income you will gain by placing a specific type of building. Part of the fun is finding out which building will net you the most cash. You also can … Read more

A game show app and a real-time kingdom: iPhone apps of the week

The big news this week was Apple's special event to announce the coming release of iPhone OS 4. Among the more than 100 new features in the updated operating system, Apple announced some big changes that both iPhone users and app developers will appreciate. According to Apple, the OS upgrade will be available to iPad users this fall.

Perhaps the biggest announcement of all was the addition of multitasking. This long-awaited feature will let you run multiple apps at a time so you can, for example, run Pandora to listen to music, while you play your favorite game or … Read more

U.K. embraces 'three strikes' for illegal file sharing

Update: 12:43 p.m. To include quote from NBC Universal general counsel.

The U.K.'s House of Commons overwhelmingly voted in favor of creating a law that would enable copyright owners to seek the suspension of Internet service of those accused multiple times of illegal file sharing.

The House of Commons voted 189 to 47 to pass the Digital Economy Bill, which also seeks to give the country's government the authority to block access to Web sites suspected of engaging in pirated material, according to British publication The Telegraph.

The bill still needs to go back to … Read more

British Times papers to charge for Web content

It appears the day when we we'll be paying to read general interest news stories on the Web is coming sooner rather than later--perhaps as early as June for readers of the U.K.-based Times publications.

News International, the British division of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., announced on Friday that two of its newspapers, The Times and The Sunday Times of London, are set to begin charging readers using its sites in June.

The two papers have been offering their content in a combined news Web site called Times Online. Under the new plan, however, News International … Read more