Digital Crave

High hopes for Halo 4 and Google’s Nexus debuts early

Most of the big technology news this week is all about tablets. Apple appears to have another hit on its hands with the iPad Mini and Microsoft is looking to get a chunk of the tablet market with its Windows 8-powered Surface tablet. Meanwhile, another bar-dwelling tech company employee left a prototype of Google's upcoming Nexus 4 phone at a San Francisco bar. And soon, gamers will be able to play the most expensive game Microsoft has ever made — Halo 4.

Nexus 4 debuts early in San Francisco bar

The bartender at The 500 Club in San Francisco didn't recognize the unclaimed phone someone left in his establishment. The phone was locked. On the back was a "not for sale" sticker and Google's logo. Turns out it was an unreleased phone from Google, the Nexus 4, that has been the subject of much tech nerd speculation for some time. If this all sounds familiar it's because the same thing happened to Apple in 2010 when someone mistakenly (or on purpose?) left an iPhone 4 prototype at a bar before the phone was launched.

Back then, Gizmodo got the scoop. This time, Wired was able to get to the phone before Google's henchmen fetched it. Wired reported that the phone is made by LG, sports a 4.4-inch screen and an 8-megapixel rear camera.

Tablet time
Apple's iPad Mini looks like a holiday hit already. Its unveiling impressed technology media writers and Apple acolytes as well. It aims to compete with lower priced tablets, but still comes in at $329. With comparable tablets —such as the Kindle Fire — coming in under $200, consumers have a lot of decisions to make. However, there are plenty of excellent MP3 players that can match Apple in that product category but go unnoticed by people that simply love Apple. The company still has cool cache to spare, and consumers will consider that when deciding what to buy.

Into the tablet fray steps Microsoft, a company that has been trying to cash in on Apple's cool corner of the market for years with little success. Remember the Zune? No? You're not alone.

Their Surface tablet is here. It looks great and sports the anticipated Windows 8. It's got enough hardware under the hood to compete with Apple and the other high-end tablet makers. But will holiday shoppers be happy enough with its apps selection to take a chance on it? Not if they want to use Facebook, Twitter or Google+. These apps are certainly on their way, but they're not available yet. http://www.microsoft.com/Surface

Halo 4 costs Microsoft a pretty penny
There is little doubt that this month's Halo 4 for the Xbox 360 will be a commercial success. The Halo franchise — which debuted on the first Xbox — is a juggernaut. Highly regarded by critics and fans, the series has yet to make a misstep. However, the creator and developer of the franchise — Bungie Studios — have nothing to do with this new game. Their last contribution to the franchise was Halo: Reach. Microsoft Studio 343 Industries is at the helm this time. Early reports from critics have been positive. And that's a good thing, because it's the most expensive game Microsoft has ever made.

Gamers will be able to see where all that money went — estimated to be around $100 million - when the game drops on November 6. http://www.halowaypoint.com/halo4/en-US/

Note: This was written by Victor Paul Alvarez, a Digital Crave contributor.

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