(Credit: The Cat Scan)

The Cat Scan requires no explanation--the blurry scans of smooshed feline paws speak for themselves, but the Webmasters need fan contributions to continue updating the site--that may be the only thing The Cat Scan has in common with Wikipedia.

They also advise you to cat-scan at your own risk as any damage caused by little Chairman Meow will likely void your warranty, but feel free to submit scans anyway!

More of our favorite cat scans after the break.

Should Nintendo release the Wii U?

Should Nintendo release the Wii U?

(Credit: Screenshot by CNET)

At least one game developer is wondering why console makers are even considering releasing next-generation hardware.

Speaking to IndustryGamers in an interview published yesterday, Epic Games President Mike Capps said that Apple's iPhone should be enough to make console makers second-guess their desire to launch follow-up devices.

"If you look at the ridiculous acceleration of iPhone hardware and technology, trying to find a sweet spot for tech to make your mobile game... I mean, what would your mobile game look like in 2015?" Capps pondered in the interview with IndustryGamers. "Who knows how fast that's going to operate, but you can bet it's going to be faster than an Xbox 360."

Capps, whose company is best known for the Gears of War franchise, said that the industry will need to "deal with iPhone 8." That device, he says, "will probably plug into your TV, or better yet, wirelessly connect to your television set to give you that big screen gaming experience with good sound.

"So really, what's the point of those next-gen consoles?" he continued.

Related stories:
Next Xbox to feature 'Avatar'-like graphics?
E3 2011: Nintendo's new Wii U set for 2012
Report: Next Xbox, PlayStation launching in 2014

Nintendo might disagree with that sentiment. At the E3 gaming expo earlier this year, the company unveiled the Wii U, the next installment in its long line of consoles. The device, which is scheduled to launch next year, is expected to offer better graphics than its predecessor and come with a controller featuring a 6.2-inch touch screen that lets users interact with on-screen content and continue gameplay on it while away from the console.

Recent reports suggest Sony and Microsoft are also considering launching new consoles in the coming years. Last month, AMD's director of ISV relationship management, Neal Robinson, told Official Xbox Magazine in an interview that the next Xbox will come "pretty darn close" to offering the graphical sophistication of 2009 blockbuster movie "Avatar." Robinson didn't say when that device might launch.

Earlier this year, however, game blog Kotaku reported that Microsoft and Sony were readying their next consoles for 2014. So far, neither company has confirmed that report.

Capps isn't alone in believing that those launches might not make sense. Last year, Electronic Arts CFO Eric Brown said that there is simply no compelling reason for hardware makers to release new consoles anytime soon.

"Today we have two of the three consoles that operate in full high-definition and are running games at 60 frames per second," Brown said. "If you step back and say if it's a multibillion capital dollar investment for the next generation, the question I would ask is 'if you were to produce that then what would you display it on?' There's really nothing in terms of broadly available consumer viewing technology other than 1080p flat panel televisions. And so you could upgrade in theory, but you wouldn't get the obvious graphical benefit that we saw really drove the sharp transitions in the prior cycle."

So what will happen next? It's tough to say. But given the industry's history, the Wii U will likely be followed up by new consoles from Microsoft and Sony--whether or not some developers think it's a smart move.

Samsung Conquer 4G

The Samsung Conquer 4G hits Sprint on August 21 for $99.99.

(Credit: Samsung)

After an early game of peek-a-boo, Sprint and Samsung officially announced the Samsung Conquer 4G today, the carrier's first 4G-capable Android smartphone, for less than $100.

Available starting August 21 for $99.99 with a two-year contract and after a $50 mail-in rebate, the Conquer 4G might not have the most advanced technology but still packs in a good amount of features for the price. This includes Android 2.3 Gingerbread, with the option to customize with Sprint ID (no TouchWiz installed), support for Sprint's 4G WiMax network, mobile hot-spot capabilities, and a 1GHz Snapdragon processor.

The smartphone also offers a rear-facing 3.2-megapixel camera, a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera, and a 3.5-inch, HVGA touch screen. Sprint will ship the Conquer 4G with a 2GB microSD card, though the expansion slot can accept up to 32GB.

So what do you think? Pretty good deal for the price?

Apple reigns supreme in the second quarter, according to IDC.

Apple reigns supreme in the second quarter, according to IDC.

(Credit: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker)

In one short year, Apple has toppled Nokia and taken control of the worldwide smartphone market.

According to research firm IDC, Apple's sales of 20.3 million iPhones worldwide during the second quarter of 2011 helped the company secure 19.1 percent market share and lead all other vendors. The company's shipments grew 141.7 percent compared to the second quarter of 2010 when it sold just 8.4 million iPhones and secured 13 percent share.

Apple's growth is all the more impressive when one considers that the iPhone 4 has been on store shelves for over a year now, and speculation abounds that it could be replaced with a new version of the device within weeks. However, Apple hasn't confirmed that it will, in fact, launch a new iPhone this year, and even the rumor mill can't seem to agree over whether the iPhone 5 will ship or if Apple will offer up an updated version of the iPhone 4.

Although Apple's year-over-year growth was strong, it was Samsung that stole the show. That company saw its shipments grow 380.6 percent year over year to settle at 17.3 million in the second quarter. At that level, Samsung was able to secure 16.2 percent share. Samsung's success is due mainly to the company's high-end devices, like the Galaxy S, IDC said.

"What originally began as a series of high-end smartphones has proliferated well into the mass-market, but has not strayed too far from its high-end roots," wrote about Samsung in its report on smartphone shipments. "Moreover, its steady cadence of device releases and updates has kept Samsung's smartphones well out in front of the competition."

Related stories:
iPhone 5 rumor roundup
iPhone doubles world market share, outpaces rivals
Apple wins global smartphone crown, Nokia now 3rd

While Apple and Samsung had a strong quarter, Nokia didn't fare so well. That company saw its shipments decline 30.4 percent during the second quarter from 24 million last year to 16.7 million this year. What's more, Nokia, which was easily dominating the smartphone space last year with 37.3 percent share, was only able to secure 15.7 percent of the market last quarter.

"Nokia ceded the number one position for the first time in the history of IDC's Mobile Phone Tracker, with smartphone volumes dipping below the 20 million unit mark for the first time since 3Q09," IDC said. "Even as the company released new smartphones running on Symbian^3, demand for its products running on the aged Symbian platform has shifted to other devices."

That said, IDC acknowledged that Nokia's market share dip also has something to do with the state of its operation. Earlier this year, the company announced that Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 platform would become the "principal" operating system on its line of smartphones. Nokia is currently focusing much of its efforts there, and will likely continue to take a short-term hit for the eventual goal of reestablishing its brand over the long-term.

Even so, Nokia is still leading the pack in total mobile phone shipments. Last month, IDC reported that Nokia shipped 88.5 million handsets during the second quarter, helping it to secure 24.2 percent share. Although its shipments were down 20.3 percent, the company still easily bested second-place Samsung, which shipped 70.2 million mobile phones during the period, securing 19.2 percent market share. LG came in third with 6.8 percent share on 24.8 million phone shipments.

Back to smartphones, Research In Motion and HTC rounded out the top five, securing 11.6 percent and 11 percent market share, respectively. RIM's shipments were up 10.7 percent year over year, while HTC's grew by 165.9 percent.

Overall, the worldwide smartphone market grew by 65.4 percent to 106.5 million shipments, IDC said.

IDC's findings follow a similar report last week from research firm Strategy Analytics. That company said 110 million smartphones shipped during the second quarter, and the market was led by Apple with 18.5 percent share. Samsung, the firm said, secured the second spot with 17.5 percent share on 19.2 million smartphones shipped. Nokia came in third in Strategy Analytics' report with 15.2 percent share.

Captain America headphones (Credit: Coloud)

First off, congrats to David K. of Aberdeen, Md., who won a Garmin Nuvi 255WT GPS unit preloaded with a Darth Vader VoiceSkin in last week's Crave giveaway. May the Force be with you, David!

Now, on to this week's giveaway, a pair of Coloud Captain America headphones. They may not be made of vibranium, but consider them your own dose of Vita-Rays. The 'phones are part of Coloud's line of Marvel-themed headphones, which also come in Ka-Pow, Wolverine Retro, Punisher, and X-Men styles.

Normally, Coloud's Captain America headphones would cost you around $40, but you have the chance to get them gratis, superhero wannabes.

So how do you try to win this week's prize and stand out from the crowd of standard-black headphone wearers? Let me enumerate the basic rules. Please read them carefully; there will be a test.

  • Register as a CNET user. Go to the top of this page and hit the "Join CNET" link to start the registration process. If you're already registered, there's no need to register again.
  • Leave a comment below. You can leave whatever comment you want. If it's funny or insightful, it won't help you win, but we're trying to have fun here, so anything entertaining is appreciated.
  • Leave only one comment. You may enter for this specific giveaway only once. If you enter more than one comment, you will be automatically disqualified.
  • The winner will be chosen randomly. The winner will receive one (1) pair of Coloud Captain America headphones with a retail value of $40.
  • If you are chosen, you will be notified via e-mail. The winner must respond within three days of the end of the contest. If you do not respond within that period, another winner will be chosen.
  • Entries can be submitted until Monday, August 8, at 12 p.m. ET.

And here's the disclaimer that our legal department said we had to include (sorry for the caps, but rules are rules):

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. MUST BE LEGAL RESIDENT OF ONE OF THE 50 UNITED STATES OR D.C., 18 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER AT DATE OF ENTRY INTO SWEEPSTAKES. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, ALL U.S. TERRITORIES AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Sweepstakes ends at 12 p.m. ET on August 8, 2011. See official rules for details.

Good luck.

Bonnie is returning an important assignment in Toronto this week so our new colleague in CNET News, Roger Cheng, joins us to talk new BlackBerry phones, prepaid carriers, and Android rumors. Formerly of the Wall Street Journal, Roger works with Maggie Reardon in New York to cover the wireless industry from all sides. Also in the podcast, I call Jessica by Bonnie's name, Nicole rules the review roost, and we give Roger a crash course in our weirdness.

Ep. 185: We go BlackBerry picking

Listen now: Download today's podcast



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AT&T quietly releases Android-powered Sharp FX Plus
Huawei's Vision eyes high-end Android market
On Call: What we'd really lose in an AT&T-T-Mobile merger
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New iPhone Atlas
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Originally posted at Dialed In