Curious about how Cortana made her way from assisting Master Chief in Halo over to helping you out on Windows Phone? During a sit-down with Microsoft's Marcus Ash, he spoke to us about what it took to get Cortana just right on Windows Phone and to be seen as a legitimate competitor to Apple's Siri.
First, the Cortana logo was the first thing Microsoft has to get right. Originally, they didn't want a physical representation. The thought was that people could think it was creepy if it is "too human." They also didn't want it to be like Clippy, the infamous character from Microsoft Office that was hated by many. It was also decided that Cortana couldn't be just a voice, since it wouldn't feel the same.
Initially, Microsoft tried to use the Xbox Live avatar idea, but that was odd due to everyone having the female Cortana voice. Then they started playing around with the circle. A circle can stretch, bounce, and transform. They also tried triangles, diamonds, hearts, and the ability of letter the user choose any of these. At the end of the day, the circle next to Metro on the start screen looked good, so that was what Microsoft decided on. The next issue was that a simple circle isn't iconic, and is hard to brand. That's when the Windows Phone team met with the Halo team at 343 Industries.
This year, E3 had one of those showing that only happens once every 8-10 years. E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is the biggest video game conference in the world, and it's where game publishers show off what they're working on. E3 2014 was unique because it was the first one after the release of two major consoles--the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4. Developers got to show for the first time full portfolios dedicated to the new hardware, and it was glorious. There was a lot to see during both the Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation media briefings, and Nintendo surprised many with game announcements of its own. I figured I'd whittle things down and share the ten games I was most excited about, in no particular order.
Recently, we gave you a look at the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, and today we have the 5.5-inch design for you! Apple will announce the iPhone 6 next month, and word on the street is that for the first time, it will announce two new sizes for its flagship smartphone, the 4.7-inch and the 5.5-inch. What do you think of this one? For me, I think it's a little too big, but we know that there are a lot of people out there who love the large phablet form factor. Are you gonna pick up the iPhone 6? If so, which size are you gonna go with? Let us know in the comments, because we're curious!
The iPhone 6 is right around the corner, and we are giving you an advance look! Apple should be announcing its next flagship smartphone in September, but thanks to a bunch of leaked images, schematics, and dummy units used by accessory makers, we have a pretty good idea of what it's gonna look like. In fact, we have an iPhone 6 dummy unit here in house, and we show it to you in this episode! We also give our thoughts on the new form factor of the device, and what we like and don't like about it, along with things we hope change in the actual, final shipping version of the iPhone 6.
It's summertime, and we've got a few items we're giving away to bring the fun to a whole new level. Courtesy of AT&T here in Seattle, we've got a Jawbone mini Jambox, Jawbone UP24, and a Bodyguardz tempered glass protective cover for the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. Here's a little more on each item and why we think they're perfect for this Summer Bundle Giveaway:
- Jawbone mini Jambox: Okay, for real, who doesn't wanna have music with them when by the pool or at the beach? A lot of us have a seemingly unlimited amount of music accessible by our smartphones and tablets, and the mini Jambox allows you to stream it over Bluetooth. At the next family BBQ, you'll be the star of the show.
- Jawbone UP24: Fitness wearables are all the rage these days, and if you like tracking your stats or are looking for a motivational tool, then it's easy to see why. With the UP24, you can monitor your fitness throughout the day, and even track your calories and water intake. At night, it'll even keep track of how well you are sleeping, which is probably not well if you're out camping in a tent. The device connects to your smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth LE, so the battery lasts a full week, and there's no plugging anything in to sync.
- Bodyguardz Screenguardz Pure: I always thought it was kind of silly for people to protect their smartphone screens with a thin plastic film. The Screenguardz Pure is a super-thin piece of tempered glass that can actually take a real beating, and exceeds the hardness of steel. That's protection.
So, are you ready to enter to win some of that goodness? Simply use the widget below to keep track of your entries! Remember, if you're a Gear Live Patreon backer at any level, you get an extra 25 entries in this giveaway! We've got a lot of ways for you to enter even if you aren't, but don't check off any that you don't actually perform. If you do, you'll be eliminated:
When most people think about gadgets in the home, they focus on the living room. The thing is, while that 4K UHD TV may look great, there is a lot of fun you can have in the kitchen with the right high-tech tools. I wanted to bring you a look at a few kitchen gadgets that I'm a fan of that will add a flair of fashionable tech to this often-neglected room. Be forewarned--just like other gadgets, kitchen appliances can have a hefty price tag!
We were on-hand in Detroit where Ford revealed the 2015 Ford Edge to the world during its 2014 Trends Conference. Check out this video and watch the intro video, followed by the unveiling of the rebuilt SUV. As you can see and hear, the 2015 Ford Edge has been rebuilt from wheel to roof--all new design, and a ton of new technology features.
HP decided that it was time to build a business notebook that sports the best features of the top consumer laptops, and the result is the HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1. Ridiculously long name aside, the thin and light body construction is the right first-impression, and is a stark change from the typical squared-off black boxes that you typically find in a business notebook.
That said, you should never judge a laptop by its cover, and we've been using the HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1 for the past month to put it through the proper paces in anticipation of this review. Does this PC succeed at accomplishing all the things a business power user needs while maintaining the sexy appearance of a consumer laptop? Join us for our full HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1 review to find out.
We've been taking part in the Absolute LoJack #DigitallyDark challenge, giving up our smartphones for a full 24 hours to emulate what it might feel like to have them stolen. As part of the campaign, we're giving away an awesome Absolute LoJack Premium Family Pack. That gives the winner give 1-year Absolute LoJack premium subscriptions, which can be installed on any Mac, PC, or Android devices they own, giving them the ultimate in protection with a guarantee that they'll get the device(s) back in the event of theft. If it isn't back in your hands in 60 days, they'll give you $1000 to help replace the laptop, and $600 for a tablet or smartphone. How cool is that?
Ready to enter? Simply use the widget below to keep track of your entries! If you're a Gear Live Patreon backer at any level, you get an extra 25 entries in this giveaway! We've got a lot of ways for you to enter even if you aren't, but don't check off any that you don't actually perform. If you do, you'll be eliminated:
Oh, and if you wanna get in on all this awesomeness, use this link to get 30% off any Absolute LoJack subscription until June 30th--just enter promo code DARK30 at checkout!
Amazon just announced its new Fire Phone, and one of the big value-adds is that owners will get unlimited photo storage on Amazon Cloud Drive. This comes just two weeks after Apple announced the new iCloud Photo Library option during its WWDC 2014 keynote, which allows you to store all of the photos and videos that you have, with the difference being that Apple only gives you the first 5GB of storage for free, and then you have to pay for additional tiers, which starts at $0.99 per month for 20GB. Amazon is providing unlimited photo storage (although they didn't specifically say that videos were included) right off the bat, a key differentiator. This means you can snap away without fear of using up all your local storage space, and it's one less backup you need to worry about as well.
The Amazon Fire Phone will sell for $199.99 on-contract, and is exclusive to AT&T. You can pre-order today, and it'll be released on July 25th. For a limited time, buyers will also receive a free year of Amazon Prime with purchase!
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