Weekly wrapup: Pirate Bay, Sony PS3, Roku, Blockbuster, Chumby, INQ, Palm, and more

Here’s a summary of the last two weeks’ digital lifestyle action on last100. Note that you can subscribe to the weekly wrapups, either via the special weekly wrapup RSS feed or by email.

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Internet TV

Download the complete Pirate Bay torrent index, if you dare

I personally wouldn’t go anywhere near this. The occasional ‘ilegal’ torrent at a time, such as a missed episode of Mad Men, may carry a little risk, but try justifying the complete Pirate Bay torrent index sitting on your hard drive — all 21 GB of it — and well I wish you good luck.

VidZone, Sony PS3’s on-demand music video service, is a hit with… record labels

I was so underwhelmed with VidZone, the PlayStation 3’s on-demand music video service, that I couldn’t bring myself to review it. The UI is clunky and videos stream in a 4:3 aspect ratio, even for recent releases, so that they don’t fill up the whole screen on my High Def telly.

Roku set-top box adds Major League Baseball streaming (MLB.TV)

Roku’s cheap but increasingly versatile set-top box has added another feather to its bow. Joining both Netflix and Amazon-On-Demand, the $99 Roku Video Player can now stream live ‘out of market’ and archived baseball matches — in 720p HD no less — courtesy of MLB.TV (US-only).

Sony PlayStation video store coming to the UK, France, Germany and Spain this November

While the U.S. version launched all the way back in July 08, it’s been a long wait for users across the pond. Along with announcing a new slimmer version of the PS3 and a bunch of other service enhancements, yesterday Sony revealed that the PlayStation video store will be opening its doors to parts of Europe from November this year.

Blockbuster VOD service to land on Motorola handsets sometime in the future

Bricks ‘n’ mortar video rental chain Blockbuster is teaming up with Motorola in the U.S. to deliver its video-on-demand service to the handset maker’s future devices.

First ‘powered by Chumby’ device to be a digital picture frame, Internet-connected TVs to follow

The first Chumby-powered photo frame will be able to display content from photo sites Flickr and Photobucket, along with accessing social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as news feeds, Internet radio and weather forecasts.


INQ’s mass market ‘Twitter phone’ takes aim at overpriced QWERTY touting smartphones

I pretty much had this one pegged. Hutchison-owned INQ have announced the follow up to the award winning INQ1 — dubbed the Facebook phone — with a QWERTY-touting handset that, amongst other things, targets users of Twitter.

Why Sony is embracing the ‘open’ ePub eBook standard (Hint: Amazon)

I’ve argued before that with regards to eBooks and the Kindle, Amazon doesn’t view itself as a hardware company. Unlike the iTunes ecosystem designed to shift more iPods and iPhones, for Amazon it’s actually about selling digital content — the eBooks themselves — as demonstrated by the release of the iPhone ‘Kindle’ eBook reader and the company’s work-around to keep Apple away from any iPhone-generated eBook revenue.

Palm invites developers to begin submitting their paid-for WebOS apps

Palm is to begin accepting applications from developers who want to charge for their Palm Pre WebOS apps, with the pending launch of the company’s Palm App Catalog e-commerce beta program in mid-September. Attracting developers to Palm’s new platform will be key to the Pre’s success and future handsets released by the company running on its shiny new WebOS.

Samsung opens up its TouchWhiz homescreen; widgets let developers target all three screens

Samsung announced that it’s finally opening up the TouchWhiz widget platform, which exists across many of the company’s touch screen phones running Symbian, Windows Mobile, and the handset maker’s proprietary operating system.

Can I survive on half a QWERTY? Nokia E55 in the house

I was intrigued when Nokia announced the E55 with a keyboard that the company describes as a compact-QWERTY. Similar to BackBerry’s sure-type layout, each key houses two letters. The option of predictive text helps to smooth over this obvious compromise but then on the other hand you get the advantage of a candy bar form factor, and in the E55’s case, a very slender one too.

That’s a wrap. Thanks for reading,

– Steve (follow me on Twitter: sohear)

last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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