Microsoft also announced a significant number of related content partnerships, bringing most major services to the Xbox platform this week or by early 2012. On Dec. 6, Starting Dec. 6, a free Xbox Companion app for Windows Phone will let also let users find, learn more about and control content from popular entertainment services on Xbox LIVE.
Shortly after midnight on Sunday night, Microsoft said that the "Bing on Xbox" update would arrive on U.S. consoles beginning "tomorrow," and roll out to U.S. console owners over the coming weeks. Those without a Kinect peripheral will be able to search using Bing text search.
The voice search capability, first revealed in June, will work with both the Xbox Live Marketplace, Zune Video, and selected content partners. On Dec. 6, presumably the date of the update, Microsoft plans to add content from new entertainment partners, including apps, from EPIX, ESPN, Hulu Plus, Netflix, and MSNBC's Today.
Microsoft's vision for the Xbox platform, including voice search via Kinect, probably was more significant six months ago before Apple's Siri began dominating headlines with its ability to naturally search and interact with the user and a variety of apps. Nevertheless, it allows users to interact with a growing sea of content as simply as possible.
Let the console-jockeying commence: Rumored specifications for Nintendo's big follow up to the Wii are hitting the airwaves and, if true, they'll give Nintendo a one-up on its console rivals for a brief period of time, at least.
According to Wii U Daily, an undisclosed developer has allegedly leaked some of the specifications for Nintendo's Wii U gaming console, currently rumored for released in the latter part of next year. According to the rumor-starter, the Wii U will allegedly pack a quad-core, 3-GHz CPU from IBM into its design, a 45-nanometer PowerPC chip that's "very similar" to the 3.2-GHz triple-core PowerPC processor found in the Xbox 360.
Wii U Daily goes on to mention that the Wii U will come with 768 megabytes of embedded DRAM – built on the same die as the CPU itself – as well as an "unknown," 40-nanometer GPU from ATI.
Are your eyebrows raised yet? If not, they should be. First off, IBM's already insinuated that the Wii U will be using a Power7 variant of its Power-based microprocessor architecture, not a PowerPC. That said, there is a four-core Power7 CPU in IBM's arsenal that runs at 3.0-GHz on the dot – make of that what you will. As Extreme Tech's Sebastian Anthony puts it, "In terms of raw power, this should put the Wii U way ahead of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3."
The Amazon Black Friday 2011 sale is now live, and they've got tons of deals that you can take advantage of from the comfort of your warm home - seriously, why would you wanna brave the lines and the cold if you can get a similar deal on Amazon? The nice thing is that Amazon seems to have been keeping tabs on other retail stores, and has matched many of the Black Friday deals that are already out there. Go check out Amazon now to get in on the good stuff.
Microsoft is adjusting firmware and optimizing certain hardware components to ready its Kinect motion-sensing input device for PCs running Windows, the company said Tuesday. Microsoft currently sells Kinect as a peripheral for its Xbox 360 game consoles, but has announced a Kinect for Windows commercial program that begins in early 2012.
"Coupled with the numerous upgrades and improvements our team is making to the Software Development Kit (SDK) and runtime, the new hardware delivers features and functionality that Windows developers and Microsoft customers have been asking for," Craig Eisler, general manager of Kinect for Windows, wrote in a blog post.
"Simple changes include shortening the USB cable to ensure reliability across a broad range of computers and the inclusion of a small dongle to improve coexistence with other USB peripherals," Eisler elaborated. "Of particular interest to developers will be the new firmware which enables the depth camera to see objects as close as 50 centimeters in front of the device without losing accuracy or precision, with graceful degradation down to 40 centimeters. 'Near Mode' will enable a whole new class of 'close up' applications, beyond the living room scenarios for Kinect for Xbox 360. This is one of the most requested features from the many developers and companies participating in our Kinect for Windows pilot program and folks commenting on our forums, and we're pleased to deliver this, and more, at launch."
The announcement comes the same day that Microsoft acquired VideoSurf for $70 million with an eye towards integrating the San Mateo, Calif.-based company's online video search technology into its Xbox Live ecosystem.
Amazon has a great deal on the Kinect going today. While supplies last, you can get the Kinect sensor with three games included for $125 - that's $25 less than Kinect sells for without the extra games. The titles are Kinect Adventures, Fruit Ninja Kinect, and The Gunstringer. Go and grab it now!
RadioShack's Black Friday 2011 sale looks enticing, and we rarely say that kind of stuff about The Shack. Doors open at 5:30 am the day after Thanksgiving, but you can get the Black Friday prices a day early by shopping on radioshack.com. We've got the highlights of the sale for you after the break, which include a $300 15-inch Toshiba laptop, a $99 7-inch Velocity Micro Cruz tablet, 20% off Beats by Dr. Dre Solo headphones, and more.
Black Friday 2011 is near, and we've been collecting the best ads we can find, highlighting the good stuff. Here we've got the best from what Toys R Us will have to offer. Interestingly enough, Toys R Us isn't even waiting for Friday to arrive, as their sales start at 9:00 pm on Thanksgiving, three hours before other stores will be kicking off their midnight Black Friday sales. Some highlights include a free $50 gift card when you buy an iPod touch, as well as great discounts on games for Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS, DS, PS3, Wii, and Kinect.
We've been busy posting some of the tech-heavy Black Friday 2011 sales that we're finding, and up next is GameStop. We don't particularly enjoy the GameStop shopping experience throughout the year, but they definitely have some good stuff planned for Black Friday with their midnight open. We've got the list for you after the break, where you can expect deep discounts on a bunch of new Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS, DS, PS3, and Wii titles, as well as cheaper hardware like the consoles themselves and the Kinect sensor.
We've been busy posting some of the tech-heavy Black Friday 2011 sales that we're finding, and now we've arrived at Target. Doors at Target will open at midnight, where you can grab an $85 Kindle Keyboard 3G, and a $298 46-inch Westinghouse 1080p television. We've got the full list after the break, and it's definitely worth taking a look.
Walmart's Black Friday 2011 ad is live, and for ambitious shoppers who venture out at midnight, the store will have a number of deals on TVs, PCs, and gaming consoles. We've listed the highlights after the break.
On the TV front, Walmart will have discounts on Emerson, Samsung, and LG sets. Samsung LCD TVs will start at $98 for a 19-inch 720p model, followed by a 32-inch 720p version for $278. The 40-inch and 46-inch 1080p models will retail for $428 and $598, respectively. Finally, a 51-inch 720p Samsung LCD TV will be on sale for $498.
Looking for a PC? Walmart is offering a 15.6-inch, dual-core HP laptop with a 320GB hard drive and 3GB of memory for $248. An HP laptop with a 500GB hard drive and 17.3-inch screen will be $388. An HP dual-core 500GB desktop with 18.5-inch monitor, integrated speakers, mouse, and keyboard will also be available for $298. A 15.6-inch Compaq Presario laptop with a 250GB hard drive will be on sale for $198.
For the gamers, an Xbox 360 4GB console bundle with Gears of War 3, Xbox Live three-month membership, and a $50 Walmart gift card will be $199. An Xbox 360 4GB bundle with the Kinect sensor, Kinect Adventures, and a one-month Xbox Live Gold membership will be $199.96, while a Kinect bundle with Kinect Adventures, The GunStringer, and Fruit Ninja will be $99.96. An Xbox Live three-month subscription card will also be $12, while an Xbox 360 wireless controller will be $49.96.
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