As we mentioned earlier, Microsoft has decided to do an about-face, now offering the Xbox One without Kinect for $399. The move continues Microsoft's seemingly cowardly backtracking trend that it's been doing with the Xbox One for about a year now. While many see this simply as a price drop and a way to get the Xbox One without an accessory that they may now want, for all intents and purposes, this kills Kinect dead. Right where it stands.
Allow me to explain. When the original Kinect launched for the Xbox 360, there was a lot of hype and excitement surrounding its release. For the first time, you could use your body as the controller for a new type of gaming experience. It was cool, and about as novel as the original Wii. It was a toy and a gimmick, and soon many folks stopped playing Kinect games, and none really took off at retail. However, Microsoft was getting good data and feedback for what we realized the "real" Kinect would be. The one that launched with the next Microsoft console.
Microsoft surprised the gaming world this morning with the announcement it will sell the Xbox One without Kinect for $399 starting on June 9th in the U.S. This brings the price of the Xbox 360 in line with that of the PlayStation 4, which should bring the two consoles into even more heated competition.
An odd move (though some might say it was expected in order to compete,) since the company wouldn't stop talking about how essential Kinect is to the Xbox One functionality and gaming direction less than a year ago. I guess Microsoft has been feeling the heat if the PlayStation 4 sales, and had to adjust that strategy right quick.
Huawei is the third-largest smartphone maker in the world, doing brisk business in Japan and Europe, and to a lesser degree in the United States. It wants to increase that ranking and hope that their latest product is enough to corner the US market. With the launch of the Hauwei Ascend P7, it has a hot product on its hands to help reach that goal. Announced Wednesday morning in Paris, the P7 ships with Android 4.4 KitKat and is an impressive piece of equipment. It competes with the other big name brands for system specs, boasting a 5-inch 1920 x 1080 display, LTE network capability, a 1.8GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, 13-megapixel rear camera, and 16GB of storage. Seriously, this things blows my last computer out of the water and is giving my new one a run for its money. At 6.5mm in thickness, it's considerably slimmer too.
The customer service of online shopping. The convenience of a physical store. It might not seem like a winning combination, but the number of people turning away from sales representatives and towards digital apps is rising-- even in brick and mortar stores.
A recent study conducted by financial analytics firm Deloitte has found a massive jump in in-store sales conducted with or aided by mobile and digital technologies. From 2012 to 2013 mobile devices jumped from playing a key role in 5 percent of sales to 19 percent. The use of digital devices in these transactions leaped from 14 percent to 36 percent.
When people go into stores today with a smartphone, they can look up products, reviews, prices and competitors. In the past, you had to make do with a sales representative, and with that the dealer's agenda- to push a product. Half the time I go into a store I do all my research on the spot, whipping out my iPhone to aid my shopping trip.
Everyone knows at least one guy who uses Linux. I don't use it myself, but I knew that one guy. He built all his PCs from spart parts, he knew the ins and outs of programming, he was a little bit of an anarchist (ok, more than a little). He fits the bill of the Linux user stereotype-- the young hobbyist and hacker.
But now Linux has a new user. The United States military. Oddly, if I were to describe the military in a few words, hobbyist and hacker would be the dead last words I picked.
Raytheon makes drone and missile systems for the United States. These systems used to run on the Solaris operating system, but the Navy has asked Raytheon to help make some code switches so that they can use Linux for their upcoming unmanned helicopter project, the Mq-8B Fire Scout.
The move is expected to create more intuitive controls for the new unarmed aerial vehicles and save money in the long run. The military originally held that open source software presented too great a security risk for defense applications. It seems that Linux has changed minds.
How do you feel about the Navy's choice to go open source? Chime in in the comments to let us know.
In this episode of Bleeding Edge TV, I show you how to set up the Nest Protect. The easiest way to getthe smart connected smoke + carbon monoxide detector from Nest ready for installation is using the iPhone or Android smartphone apps that the company provides. Using the Nest app, you set up the Nest Protect on your Wi-Fi network, test its functions prior to installation, get familiar with its features, and then move on to installation (which will be in our next video.) If you have any questions about the setup process, let us know over on our Patreon page.
Don't forget to check out our Nest Protect unboxing as well!
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Apple is purportedly set to make its biggest acquisition in the history of the company, as The Financial Times is reporting that it is about to buy Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion. What would Apple get out of Beats Audio? Well, for starters, there's the Beats Music subscription platform, which allows customers to listen to on-demand music along with curated mood-based playlists. That would be a great complement to iTunes Radio, which doesn't allow users to put songs on repeat, and limits skip functionality. Additionally, Beats is likely most known for its iconic Beats by Dr. Dre headphone line. Apple would become owner of the audio hardware in the case of an acquisition, and could even use the Beats Audio sound profile in future iOS devices (similar to what HTC did in its phones when it was a stakeholder in Beats Audio a couple of years ago.)
Apple and Beats Electronics are both keeping silent for now, but if the deal does go through, it's large enough that an official announcement will be made by both companies.
Gramofon might be named after the 19th century sound system, but it's as modern as it gets. It's a wireless jukebox that streams music from cloud services like Spotify.
It's the latest brainchild of Fon, the crowdsourced W-iFi network. You connect the Gramofon to your speakers and your Wi-Fi network, and it acts as a Wi-Fi booster and gives off a signal that mobile devices can connect to. Those devices can be used to manipulate playlists.
Now, if you are thinking “so how is this any different than plugging speakers into my iPhone?”, well, with the Gramofon you can make music more social, as anyone on your network is able to use it. You and your friends can share music, create and modify playlists and otherwise get your groove on.
At first, Gramofon will stream from Spotify and Rhapsody. However, the company plans to add other services like Rdio, Grooveshark, SoundCloud, Pandora, Google Play, Songza, and more. If you're interested, check it out on Kickstarter. Fon has stated that the first batch of Gramofons are ready to ship in July. You can get yourself one by backing it for $50. Check out video of the project after the jump.
Read More | Gramofon on Kickstarter
Remember the scene in Batman Begins where Christian Bale takes a taser directly to his bat armor and doesn't flinch? If you found that pretty cool then get excited, because this same borderline-superhuman ability can be yours. Hackaday user Shenzhen claims to have developed a way to make stun gun-proof clothing.
You won't look as intimidating as the Batman but you can get away with more style since just about any piece of clothing can be converted into high tech shock-armor. You just need a layer of carbon fiber, and that's widely available, given that it is commonly used in upholstery fabric at under $20 per yard.
With the smartphone being a huge success, companies like Samsung and Sony got the idea to make it smaller and wrist mounted, creating the Galaxy Gear and Sony Smartwatch lines respectively. Now Microsoft has decided to muscle into the game, registering its patents with the U.S. Government this week.
The application filed with the patent office describes the wearable as a music player, phone, message device, and fitness measuring device. The watchface would be detachable from the wristband so that it can be connected to a charging port.
The features described are still speculation, and no date has been stated for release. Microsoft is up against competition from Samsung, who released their product last year, Motorola, which plans to release the Moto 360 in July, and Pebble, which has already sold over 400,000 units.
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