Posted by Edgar Alvarez | Filed under Techie Stuff
With this year's holidays being just around the corner, it's only natural for companies to start tempting potential customers with cash-saving, too-good-to-pass deals. With that in mind, Microsoft, via the informative Major Nelson, announced earlier today its 2012 Xbox 360 holiday bundles in hopes of luring some folks in; among these are a 250GB console with Kinect, Dance Central 2, Kinect Sports, Kinect Adventures and one month of Xbox Live for $400, while there's also a 4GB, $300 option that comes with the same Gold subscription, Redmond's motion-tracking peripheral, Kinect Disneyland Adventures and Kinect Adventures. In addition, the Surface maker said retailers should start offering the console for $50 off MSRP, and that this limited time deal will also apply to the Halo 4 bundle which is due to come out on November 6th. Better yet, these new bundles and promos are available now -- so, for those living in the US, now could be a good time to snag one of Microsoft's renowned consoles.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Microsoft CEO Ballmer braces us for a ‘fundamental shift’ in strategy with more Microsoft-designed devices
Microsoft's Surface tablets could already be considered warning shots across the bow, signalling that a change in strategy was underway. For anyone who was in doubt, however, CEO Steve Ballmer has clearly spelled out in a shareholder letter that Microsoft now sees its own devices as crucial to the company as anything else. There's a "fundamental shift" in how the Redmond-based crew works, he says, and investors should expect that Microsoft will periodically make "specific devices for specific purposes" (like Surface or the Xbox) that show off services in the best light possible. Ballmer adds that plans in the long run focus on new device types and learning interfaces. The message is ostensibly a rosy one for the company's future, but there's also a subtext for hardware makers that have complained about competing against their OS partner: get used to it. Ballmer sees Microsoft-designed hardware like Surface as complementary to what third parties do, and his company isn't about to reverse course anytime soon.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Posted by Edgar Alvarez | Filed under Techie Stuff
Earlier today, rumors started circulating around the web about Microsoft having hired a former CBS executive to oversee the creation of original video content for the company's famed console. It didn't take long for the whispers to turn into something more concrete, however, as Redmond has now made it official, announcing that Nancy Tellem will be the outfit's Entertainment and Digital Media president. According to Microsoft, Tellem's set to take over a new production studio in Los Angeles, California -- one that's going to be in charge of developing "interactive and linear content for Xbox and other devices." Certainly this could be seen as a smart move from Microsoft in its quest to take over the living room reigns, which would make perfect sense given the Xbox's obvious transition from a simple gaming console to an all-around media hub. You'll find all the official details inside the presser below.
[Image Credit: Getty Images / Peter Kramer]Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Welcome to Engadget's back to school guide! The end of summer vacation isn't nearly as much fun as the weeks that come before, but a chance to update your tech tools likely helps to ease the pain. Today, we're getting our game on -- and you can head to the back to school hub to see the rest of the product guides as they're added throughout the month. Be sure to keep checking back -- at the end of the month we'll be giving away a ton of the gear featured in our guides -- and hit up the hub page right here!
It's time to balance out that daily grind at school with some well-deserved leisure. Fortunately, many of our choices walk that fine line between work and play -- if you're willing to stump up some more cash beyond a normal laptop, you could get something capable of handling the latest PC titles. Some of our other choices may be a harder sell in the education stakes, but we all need some stress relief, right? And with bigger consoles nearing the end of their life cycles, there's never been a more wallet-friendly time to get involved. Jump in after the break for our favorite gaming choices. If all your money's been earmarked for learnin', then you should certainly enter our sweepstakes. Leave a comment after the break for a chance to win, and visit our giveaway page for all the details.
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Posted by Jon Fingas | Filed under Techie Stuff
Microsoft has never been shy about its ambitions for Kinect's depth sensing abilities. A pair of patent applications, however, show that its hopes and dreams are taking a more Hollywood turn. One patent has the depth camera going portable: a "mobile environment sensor" determines its trajectory through a room and generates a depth map as it goes, whether it's using a Kinect-style infrared sensor or stereoscopic cameras. If the visual mapping isn't enough, the would-be camera relies on a motion sensor like an accelerometer to better judge its position as it's jostled around. Microsoft doesn't want to suggest what kind of device (if any) might use the patent for its camera, but it's not ruling out anything from smartphones through to traditional PCs.
The second patent filing uses the Kinect already in the house for that directorial debut you've always been putting off. Hand gestures control the movie editing, but the depth camera both generates a model of the environment and creates 3D props out of real objects. Motion capture, naturally, lets the humans in the scene pursue their own short-lived acting careers. We haven't seen any immediate signs that Microsoft is planning to use this or the mobile sensor patent filing in the real world, although both are closer to reality than some of the flights of fancy that pass by the USPTO -- the movie editor has all the hallmarks of a potential Dashboard update or Kinect Fun Labs project.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Posted by Sarah Silbert | Filed under Techie Stuff
NASA has already made it clear that the Curiosity's touchdown on Mars is a nerve-wracking experience, what with the seven minutes of radio silence, zero margin of error and all. To drive that point home, the organization partnered with Microsoft to offer Xbox Live players the experience of controlling the nerve-wracking descent. Starting Monday, you'll be able to download the free Mars Rover Landing, NASA's first Xbox Live game. The title uses the Kinect motion controller to simulate the many phases of landing, including dropping the heat shield and deploying the supersonic parachute, with players' movements controlling the speed and direction of the craft as it approaches the Red Planet. You'll get three scores -- one for each of the landing process -- not to mention some newfound appreciation for what employees at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory will be going through on August 5th.
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Posted by James Trew | Filed under Techie Stuff
A document passing itself off as an internal Microsoft presentation about the future of Xbox has surfaced, and is stirring internet chatter with its possible hints at the future of the console. Despite turning up online over a month ago and potentially dating back to 2010, a few things mentioned that have since come to fruition -- like SmartGlass -- are earning it more attention. The proposed developments include cloud-based entertainment, native 3D, augmented reality "Fortaleza Glasses," scalable hardware -- all by 2015. If that's too long to wait, however, the time line also indicates we'd be seeing the next generation hardware in 2013 for $299 (more precise and four-player ready Kinect 2 included). The Xbox 720 package described includes such pie-in-the-sky bullet points as Blu-ray and whole-home DVR features, all from a low-power always-on box built on a "Yukon" ARM hardware platform.
Of course, even if this is legit and not just some business student's exercise, all the talk of value propositions, OEM licensing and developer profitability are proposals that could have changed. Need more reasons to be skeptical? Digital Foundry points out the extremely optimistic wattages listed and previous appearances of the illustrations included. Ponder over the full 56-page document for yourself -- taking into account the bored minds on the internet that are capable of cranking out this kind of stuff, like that infamous Nintendo Revolution video -- after the break.
Update: The document has been pulled from Scribd, apparently at the request of a Covington & Burling, LLP.
[Thanks, Leonard]Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Tags: Microsoft Xbox
Most Xbox 360 bundles focus on shiny colors over extra features. We'll take them any day, but we prefer functional pack-ins like that in the just-unveiled 250GB Racing Bundle. On top of Microsoft's higher-end console, you'll find a copy of Forza Motorsport 4 to build your racing chops and a Wireless Speed Wheel to give a slightly more faithful driving experience. The effect won't match that of a Motion Simulation TL1, but at $299, you'll have money left over to buy a real car when the Xbox bundle arrives in mid-June -- and only a slight premium over the usual 250GB console's $249 price tag.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Posted by John Browning | Filed under Techie Stuff
For all intents and purposes, the original Xbox, with its NVIDIA GPU, 8-10GB hard disk and custom Pentium III processor was a high-end PC for its time -- albeit, one that connected to a television. What Microsoft didn't realize back then, though, was that when you put that kind of hardware in the hands of hackers and enthusiasts, it's only a matter of time before people start doing more than just playing Halo. Fast forward to 2003, the year the Xbox Media Center was born. Nowadays, it's simply referred to as XBMC, since it runs on more than just your Xbox. In brief, XBMC is an open-source software solution that enables a plethora of media streaming capabilities on all sorts of devices. What once was limited to the original Xbox, can now be put to use on everything from a bare-bones Linux desktop to an Apple TV. In this how-to, we'll show you how to build a simple XBMC setup using XBMCbuntu. Catch us after the break for the full step-by-step.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Tags: Microsoft Xbox