The release of the Microsoft Surface is a much bigger deal that the average consumer might perceive it to be. You see, Surface marks Microsoft's entry into the PC market. That might sound odd, but it's true--Microsoft may be the maker of Windows, but it's always been Microsoft partners who build the PCs. I'm talking about companies like Samsung, Toshiba, Dell, Lenovo, and others. Now, Microsoft is competing directly with its partners, hoping that consumers will flock to its Surface in a major way.
Similar to Apple's approach, Surface is the marriage of first-party software with first-party hardware. Microsoft controls the whole platform. If devices like the Mac, iPhone, iPad, and even Microsoft's own Xbox 360 have shown us anything, it's that when you have the ability to control the whole device as it pertains to software and hardware functionality, you can generally make a better product than you could using third-party ingredients. It's never a guarantee, but we think it puts you in a better spot to shine. That is the hope that Surface brings. Does Surface succeed in carving out its own niche, and filling a need that consumers are willing to pay to remedy? That's what we are here to discuss, so following along with us for our Microsoft Surface RT review.
Next up in our 2012 Holiday Gift Guide is Kinect Sesame Street TV, an educational title for the Xbox 360 geared towards young children. In the game kids are invited to experience the world of Sesame Street alongside their favorite characters, such as Big Bird, Grover, Cookie Monster and Elmo, like never before. With Kinect players to share in the experience through visual and physical interactions with characters of Sesame Street, placing them right in the Sesame Street experience.
Children can interact with their favorite Sesame Street characters on screen to help them with tasks, play in their world, and learn together. Full-body gestures and voice recognition are used to move from experience to experience, and go from passive watching to active participation, and the game even includes hundreds of clips from the Sesame Street archive. You can pick up Kinect Sesame Street TV for about $30 on Amazon.
Read More | Kinect Sesame Street TV
Microsoft, the parent company of Skype, has patched a password recovery tool bug that Russian hackers utilized to exploit and gain access to user's accounts with nothing more than their account name and email. According to The Next of Web, they independently verified the five step process and confirmed that it works. Skype made this announcement on its website blog:
Early this morning we were notified of user concerns surrounding the security of the password reset feature on our website. This issue affected some users where multiple Skype accounts were registered to the same email address. We suspended the password reset feature temporarily this morning as a precaution and have made updates to the password reset process today so that it is now working properly. We are reaching out to a small number of users who may have been impacted to assist as necessary. Skype is committed to providing a safe and secure communications experience to our users and we apologize for the inconvenience.
Read More | Skype
After a ridiculously long wait, it's finally been announced that AT&T will be selling launching the Nokia Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 Windows Phones this Friday, November 9th, with pre-orders starting tomorrow. Pricing has also been revealed, and things are looking good there as well, with the flagship 920 costing $99.99 with two-year contract, and including a wireless charging dock. If you'd prefer the 820, that one will sell for $49.99 on contract. Now that the pricing is public, anyone planning on picking up one of the new Nokia Windows Phone 8 devices?
Among the smaller tablets of the world like the iPad mini, Kindle Fire HD, and Nexus 7, Microsoft's platform is nowhere to be found. Sure, the company just launched Surface a couple of weeks ago, it's first first-party tablet device, and it has the Surface Pro on the way too…but what about the smaller form factor? Well, it turns out that Microsoft is working on it's very own 7-inch tablet, the previously-uncovered Xbox Surface.
Read More | The Verge
Halo 4 launched today, and is downright amazing. If there's a gamer in your life who didn't already pick this one up, do them a favor and grab them a copy of this Limited Edition version, because this one is good enough to make it into our 2012 Holiday Gift Guide. What sets the Halo 4 Limited Edition apart from the standard version? Well, a lot. Read on, but just remember that these are going to go fast. We don't expect to see the Limited Edition version in stock for more than a few more days:
- Spartan-IV “Recruit” In-Game Armor
- Spartan-IV “Prime” In-Game Armor Skin
- Assault Rifle “Prime” In-Game Weapon Skin
- “Prime” In-Game Emblem
- Xbox LIVE Avatar “Recruit” Armor
- Cryo-Tube Xbox LIVE Avatar Prop
Read More | Halo 4 Limited Edition
We are live, front and center, in one of the largest tents ever contructed getting ready for Microsoft to kick off Build 2012, it's annual developer conference. It's been a big week for Microsoft, what with the launch of Windows Phone 8, its Surface tablet, and of course, Windows 8. The last piece of the puzzle is making sure developers are on board with all the new stuff, and Build is where Microsoft will push that message. Things get kicked off in just a bit, so keep it locked here on Gear Live for live coverage of the Day One Keynote!
Parents--how many times have you handed your smartphone to your little one, only to find apps moved around, deleted emails, and text message gobbledygook sent to your boss? Windows Phone 8 is set to eliminate these fears with the introduction of Kid's Corner. From the lock screen, rather than swiping up, you swipe to the right to enter the Kid's Corner interface. This area only allows guest users to access the specific apps, games, music, and videos on your phone that you allow. Quite honestly, we are left scratching our heads wondering why something this smart has yet to appear on iOS or Android.
Microsoft is touting a bunch of the new apps that will be coming to Windows Phone 8, and one it's really excited about is Pandora. You're in for a little bit of a wait for the app, as it won't appear for Windows Phone 8 users until early 2013, but when it does, it will offer ad-free listening for the first year. That's basically free 12-month subscription to Pandora One from Microsoft for users of its new smartphones. Pretty nice.
Microsoft is introducing a new lock screen on Windows Phone 8 that can be customized thanks to the Live App infrastructure. What does this mean for you? Well, your lock screen just became a lot more useful, as you can have it display things like recent photos, sports scores, Facebook updates from close friends, and more. Not the most groundbreaking feature in the world, but it's another way that Windows Phone 8 allows you to customize your phone in a personal way, bringing real-time updates to the first screen you see when your turn on your phone.
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