Strange New World: Picks of the Week

This week, we got a look at what could be the best BlackBerry yet, but you may have to make a trip north of the border to get it. We also found some cool new DVD players for people who aren't ready to make the jump to Blu-ray, and we almost missed work because we were playing "Spore." Here are our picks of the week.

It's BlackBerry Season Up North

We got our hands on the brand spanking new 4.8-ounce BlackBerry Bold and we have to say it was pretty impressive.

The first thing we noticed about the latest and greatest device from Ontario-based Research in Motion is the bright and colorful screen. It's got the same resolution as the iPhone screen.

The Bold comes ready to edit Microsoft documents thanks to the included DataViz Documents to Go software, and unlike the iPhone, you can cut and paste between apps and docs.

Now the bad news: Unless you live in Canada and are on the Rogers cell network in the Great White North, you're not going to be able to get this phone anytime soon. It's not available here in the United States and won't be until AT&T can get its 3G network cell tower issues figured out. Until then, all the "crackberry" addicts in the United States will have to wait.

New TVs Need New DVD Players

Millions of Americans find themselves in a similar predicament: They have a brand new widescreen HD TV, but are not ready to abandon their library of standard definition DVDs. We totally understand the hesitation to spend $500 on a new Blu-ray player after just dropping 3 grand on a TV.

Don't fret. There is a whole new class of DVD players on the market that solve this problem by upscaling the resolution to fit the widescreen format. In some cases, they add more details to the old discs.

Big players like Pioneer and Panasonic are showing some serious hardware. Pioneer has a midlevel unit it calls XDE (extended detail), which upconverts standard discs. Yamaha is also showing a high-end ($1,199.95) picture-in-picture, non-Web-enabled set-top, the BD-S2900. These units are trying to be a half step between standard def and Blu-ray.

'Spore' Is Finally Here

It took a lot of effort, but we managed to tear ourselves away from Will Wright's addictive new video game to write this column.

After years and years of development, "Spore" has finally arrived! Players can guide their creatures from life as a single-celled organism through various stages of evolution, all the way up to the level of space exploration.

We especially like the level of detail you can have when evolving your little dudes. For instance, after getting our butts kicked by other primordial creatures, we made sure to evolve a mean set of antlers. "Spore" is in stores Sunday.

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