Windows 8

Windows 8 Reaches 100 Million Sales, Still Behind Pace

As Microsoft continues to push Windows 8 on all PC users, it’s interesting to look at the sales numbers for the new operating system. Microsoft just recently announced that they have sold 100 million licenses for Windows 8.

Though 100 million sounds like quite a bit of sales, Windows 8 only accounted for 2.3% of the operating system market share when they announced 60 million sales in January. It’s unlikely that they have broken the 5% mark yet.

Although PCs are still about as prevalent as they always have been, they are getting a bit of a competition from tablets and other mobile devices. Microsoft has made it obvious with Windows 8 that they’d like to blend the two markets. The Surface is an example of this, blending a laptop with a tablet.

Many experts have begun to speculate if the PC market will start to shrink as the tablet market grows. Despite marketing Windows 8 for both markets, it’s notable that the adoption rate for Windows 8 is even below Windows Vista in its release year, another operating system that Microsoft struggled to get to the market.

Microsoft has come under fire for forcing their new operating systems on consumers in the past. This became an even bigger issue when Microsoft announced their new pricing model for Microsoft Office updates. I have seen quite a few people who have returned their computer because they weren’t a fan of Windows 8. Consumers are resistant to the wide sweeping changes that Microsoft has put into the new operating system, and many of those changes just make the user interface more complicated instead of simplifying things.

With so much competition from other electronics, the PC market is dependent on new operating systems to be a hit. If Windows can’t put out a product that consumers will want to pay for, then consumers will find a cheaper alternative for their technology needs. Especially as people begin to pay hundreds more dollars for Microsoft Office, it’s likely that we’ll start to see more robust software from competitors who will chip away at Microsoft’s market share.

Source: All Things D

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GFiber

Google Fiber everywhere

You have inevitably hear about Google Fiber by now. It has launched in Kansas City, will be expanding to Austin Texas and was announced to be heading to Provo Utah.  Google Fiber is using Google installed fiber optics to bring internet and TV service at Google says 100 times faster. The hope is that Google would eventually step into the ring as an Internet Service Provider(ISP) and bring Google Fiber nationwide. However many posts have been written about the enormous cost it would take and also the roadblocks and hurdles Google would face to take on such an endeavour. However there is a way that there could be Google Fiber everywhere.

Well at least here in North America. The problem is just one word “Greed” but you’ll understand more about that when we get into it. It will take many billions of dollars to bring Google Fiber to all the cities in North America. A huge cost even for Google but if you think about what fiber and that 100 times faster internet means there is a way that it might happen. The recent talks of the new video game consoles Sony’s Playstation 4 and Microsoft’s XBox 720 or whatever it will be called brought up a very interesting idea. The idea that games would be streamed to the consoles making a fast and stable internet connection a must. Then if you think about the topic of streaming music like Matt Weber imagines again Google Fiber would make it a more attainable goal.

Google might not have enough money on their own to tackle this project but if they roped in Microsoft, Sony and some of the other big companies who stand to gain from Google Fiber. Then it could very well become a reality and along with it crazy internet speeds that would enable gaming consoles to stream games like butter. The North American market is huge for video games and since the casual market and mobile devices have gained in popularity gaming consoles are not what they once were. So they stand to gain in a very big way from having Google Fiber in as many places as possible. However like I said the problem is going to be greed. When you have so many big companies in one venture it will undoubtedly lead to them arguing over who gets a cut of what. Parties will threaten to go to the existing ISPs who will be shaking at the thought of Google Fiber. That would be the huge monkey wrench that smashes the possibility of innovation and advancement and that’s too bad.

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Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts Teaming Up with Microsoft?

When Sony announced the PS4 just two months ago, one publisher that was noticeably absent was the largest third party, Electronic Arts. As we get closer to Microsoft’s reveal of the next Xbox, it has started to look more and more likely that EA will be offering some type of exclusive deal with Microsoft.

The latest nail in the coffin comes as Respawn Entertainment, a new studio under the wings of Electronic Arts, announced that their anticipated multiplayer shooter will be exclusive to Microsoft consoles. Respawn was founded by the original creators of the Call of Duty franchise.

Other evidence comes as Microsoft has begun to actively promote some of the EA Sports games on their twitter account. EA has been very quiet on next generation games coming to the PS4, despite the console likely being released in less than seven months.

With the rumors that the next Xbox will require an internet connection in order to even play a game, it isn’t surprising that the kings of DRM will do what they can to back that philosophy.

Microsoft would have quite a bit of trouble selling consoles with all things being equal other than an anti-consumer DRM policy such as an always online console. There are absolutely zero benefits to the consumer, who would otherwise be fine with online being optional. The only people that this helps is the game developers and publishers.

Electronic Arts has a history of trying to push DRM on their consumers. They came up with the idea of limited installs for PC games, online passes required to prevent used game sales, and they had the bright idea of having a historically single player franchise be forced to be played online, only for the launch to blow up in their face.

It all seems to fit together. Microsoft knows that they will seriously hinder the size of their consumer base if they had an always online console. They need exclusive games to convince gamers to still buy their console. EA doesn’t like used game sales and piracy eating into their profits, so they’re likely willing to take a short term loss in order to get rid of these practices. With Peter Moore being in such a prominent position at Electronic Arts, it’s likely that he was able to negotiate with some of his old buddies in Microsoft’s console division to make such a deal happen.

Although nothing is official yet, it’s looking likely that we’ll see some type of exclusive deal between Microsoft and Electronic Arts for the next Xbox when the console is revealed in just three short weeks. Here’s to hoping that our worst fears aren’t realized.

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the 3 cast

Not Racist Racist – The 3 Cast #118

We got dark really fast this week. We talk about Apple’s earnings, an awesome new technology from Japan that makes paper relevant again, and we talk about how Microsoft is killing itself. All that and more on this week’s episode of The 3 Cast! Make sure to follow us on Soundcloud!


 

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Hosts: Matthew Weber, Vincent Hui, Ricky Williams, Paul Shirey

Topics: Paper is relevant again, Apple earnings and naysayers, and Microsoft’s suicide

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Xbox

Next Xbox Likely to Include Video Sharing

It’s almost tradition now for game console developers to take ideas from other developers and put them into their consoles. Sony put in a half baked motion control sensor in their SIXAXIS controller after Nintendo announced the Wii. Nintendo copied their digital distribution model directly from the App Store. Now, Microsoft looks like they’ll be using Sony’s video sharing feature in the next generation Xbox.

Sony announced this feature as a part of their console reveal at the end of February. When in the middle of a game, gamers can press the “Share” button on their PS4 controller, and they would be able to send a live video stream to other gamers.

According to sources over at Polygon, the new system would work like a DVR system. Gamers would be able to record key moments automatically, such as when they receive achievements. They would also be able to rewatch their games, selecting highlights. These would then be able to be put directly on YouTube of other social media sites.

Though that doesn’t sound quite as cool as Sony allowing us to stream live broadcasts, it is definitely a framework that could lead to that feature easily. It does suggest that the next Xbox will also have a very large amount of onboard storage, if it’s going to be constantly recording HD video.

It’s not surprising to see such a similar feature implemented into the Xbox. Out of all of the PS4’s new features, the video broadcasts seemed to be one of the most popular ideas. Microsoft has had plenty of time to see that response and make a video sharing system of their own.

The downside to this feature likely being put into the new Xbox is that even more attention has been made to the social media and multimedia features of the new system, instead of having a focus on how to improve the gaming aspect of the console. Microsoft has a lot of ground to make up in the public eye when they reveal their new console. Their reveal is scheduled for May 21st, which is now just 22 days away. For many gamers, that date can’t come soon enough.

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22

Intel Android Notebooks Confirmed

Intel Android Notebooks are going to arrive soon; this news comes from a high ranking Intel executive. Previously we had rumors circulating that Intel would be moving its forces onto another OS, as a retaliation to Microsoft doling resources to ARM chips. There were several reports of Intel powered laptops which would run on Android.

Dadi Perimutter, the Intel chief product officer was the bearer of the news and he spilled the beans while talking to CNET. Just last week CEO of Intel Paul Otellini mentioned that the chip manufacturer would be providing silicon to touchscreen PCs which will cost around $200, although the operating system was not mentioned by him.

Today things got a little bit clearer, $200 laptop which runs on Windows 8 would have been a long shot as Microsoft charges a lot of money for its operating system. Even if they made one such budget Windows 8 device, either Microsoft would have to sacrifice its profits or the hardware would have been really lousy. With Android running the show, the $200 Intel Android Notebook makes a lot of sense. Google doesn’t charge anything for its OS, making it a natural choice for many manufacturers.

Intel Android Notebooks

“We have a good technology that enables a very cost-effective price point,” Perlmutter said. The price of Windows 8 laptops “depends on how Microsoft prices Windows 8. It may be a slightly higher price point.”

The Intel Android Notebooks will run on Intel Atom processors and there is a big chance that they will turn out to be Android tablets with keyboard docks. Although we don’t have confirmation from any manufacturer about the $200 Intel Android Notebooks, so it might be a while before we actually see any such devices. Intel has been making amazing chips for as long as I can remember, and I trust Intel to make the best of the best. I belong to a tech crazy family, my dad and I both are software engineers and while we use our desktop PCs for very different reasons (dad use them for 3D modeling, while I use them for gaming), we still prefer “Intel inside”. If Intel does manage to produce Intel Android Notebooks for $200, I for one will be standing in the launch line.

Source: CNET

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XBOX 720

XBOX 720 To Be Announced on May 21

This is it Xbox fans, Microsoft has confirmed that it will “give you a real taste of the future” during an event being held on the 21st of May. Microsoft has confirmed that it will be holding an even on May 21 at the headquarters in Redmond, Washington and will be revealing the XBOX 720 (we will use this until the actual name is announced).

“On Tuesday May 21st, we’ll mark the beginning of a new generation of games, TV and entertainment,” said Microsoft’s announcement. “On that day, we’ll be holding a special press event on the Xbox campus and we invite you to join us via the live global stream that will be available on Xbox.com, Xbox Live and broadcast on Spike TV if you are in the US or Canada.”

A good move by Microsoft here, showing the XBOX 720 live event one TV as well as various other sources ensures that no gamer is left behind. Gamers like me who reside in Asia also want to experience the thrill of the XBOX 720 announcement and it will be a shame if we missed that due to a “technical problem” on the video streaming site.

“On that day, we’ll share our vision for Xbox, and give you a real taste of the future,” stated the announcement. “Then, 19-days later at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, we’ll continue the conversation and showcase our full lineup of blockbuster games.”

So here is what I think, Microsoft will bring the actual XBOX 720 console on the stage and showcase its various features without touching the games. Because in the recent years Microsoft has shifted the focus on gaming and is working to make the XBOX a media center device, the one to take over your TV. If that is the case be ready to witness, Kinect video controls and better Netflix integration.

“We are thrilled to pull back the curtain and reveal what we’ve been working on.”

We are too Microsoft, but please don’t bring the always online thing up again. Or be ready to be booed down the stage

Source: Gamespot

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ps4controller-2

PS4 share button was pitched using Microsoft software

The PS4 has gained a lot of respect in the gaming circles ever since it was announced. The developers simply can’t stop praising the wonderful gaming console. That is because the PS4 has been designed by keeping the development ease in mind. The PS4 follows an architecture which is much closer to the one which PC has and hence has made every developer on this planet instantly familiar with the PS4 hardware.

Remember in the start of the current console cycle, the games were not too amazing? And by the end they are absolutely stunning? Well that is because the developers have become intimately familiar with the architecture of the consoles. By knowing what the console is actually capable of is one thing, being able to milk the resources to the fullest is another and it takes a lot of time. The point is PS4 is a more developer friendly console and it is quite evident because the PS4 share button was suggested by a first party developer.

PS4-Controller-Design-Concept

“I think it was [creative director] Nathan Gary in Santa Monica studios who suggested it,” said Sony’s President of Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida in an interview with Edge Magazine. “So Nathan put together a PowerPoint and pitched in this Share button idea, and we all went, that’s a brilliant idea! So it was a pretty quick decision after he suggested it and I’m sure he’s pretty proud of his contribution.”

So the share button the latest Dualshock 4 controller was pitched using software made by Microsoft, a company which is the archrival of Sony in the gaming console business. Well to be honest, we all use Microsoft products. I love what Microsoft office has to offer, hell this article would have a ton of mistakes if it weren’t for the magic of Microsoft Word.  So in a way Microsoft is responsible of enabling Sony to implement their ideas in a more professional manner. The irony while not so strong in this case, is still present nevertheless.

Source: TechRadar

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FBiOS Bnnr

Facebook chat heads are coming soon on iOS

I love that today Bloomberg reported that Facebook was working with Apple to bring Facebook Home or elements of it to iOS. Then The Next Web says Facebook is not in discussions with Apple. Low and behold if you were to look for app updates on iOS it seems the Facebook chat heads are coming soon on iOS. The chat heads are one element of Facebook Home and it looks to be coming to both iPhone and iPad soon. Just gotta love how the tech industry works, many people saying many things and then after denial it turns out to be true.

Now you might remember that I said in a post that Apple probably wouldn’t get the full Facebook Home treatment but it would probably get elements of it. Well so far it seems that is just what might be happening. When I did an app update today on my iPad there was an update for the Facebook app. It lists “chat heads” as available for everyone soon.

IMG_0043_2r

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Smartwatch

Microsoft Developing Smartwatch to Compete With Apple

Is a smartwatch the logical next step for mobile technology? Apple and Microsoft seem to think so. While Google is developing their Google Glass technology, Apple and Samsung have been hard at work developing a smartwatch. Now you can add Microsoft to the list of companies reportedly developing a smartwatch.

Some of you might be wondering what exactly a smartwatch is. The premise is that it’s very similar to a smartphone. It’s a small device worn on the wrist that is a miniature computer. A smartwatch would also have sensors to things such as a person’s pulse and body temperature.

In a world where humans are relying more and more on their mobile devices, it’s important for tech companies to be on top of the new trends. Microsoft admittedly missed the boat on smartphones, and they’re still trying to catch up to Apple and Google in that market. With tablets, Microsoft has been able to make a strong push to get back in the mobile game, especially with their focus of their new operating system being on portable touch screen devices.

What most people don’t know is that Microsoft has actually released a smartwatch before, a subscription based device that was shown around ten years ago.

The leak of Microsoft’s development of a smartwatch came from shipment records. Microsoft is buying components from a manufacturer in Asia, including 1.5″ displays. Apple has been developing the iWatch for a while now, and they have been planning on releasing a version of it sometime this year.

As someone who exercises regularly, a smartwatch would be convenient to have if sold at the right price. Being able to make certain features of my smartphone even more accessible as well as having all the health benefits would make it a device worth having. Besides, who doesn’t want to be playing a game on their wrist?

Whether smartwatches are the future, Google Glass, or some other technology we haven’t seen yet, it isn’t surprising to see Microsoft learn from their mistakes in the smartphone market. What uses do you see in having a smartwatch? Let us know by posting a comment.

Source: Fox Business

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