Following up on the promise of more free games for the Zune HD, Microsoft has released six new titles that are now available for your downloading pleasure. We’ve got a blurb on each game here, but we’ve gotta just say, after playing with PGR Ferrari Edition, we are thankful for that Tegra processor that the Zune HD is packing. Sure, it’s no App Store equivalent, but hey, it’s free content that is actually more fun than a flashlight or tip calculator:
- Audiosurf Tilt: Audiosurf creates a rollercoaster ride from any song. Choose any song from your music collection and watch Audiosurf turn it into a unique roller coaster track for you to ride. The song you choose determines the shape, the speed, and the mood of each track. Tilt your Zune like a steering wheel to collect colored blocks and avoid speedbumps. Unlock more than 30 designs, each with its own special theme and color palette.
- Checkers: Enjoy the classic game of Checkers in a beautiful outdoor park setting. Play against the computer or against a friend.
- Lucky Lanes Bowling: Bowl in different game modes: exhibition, blackjack, golf. Play in five different bowling alleys with unique themes, all with the swipe of a finger. Choose from twenty different bowlers and twenty two different ball styles. You can play against the computer or play with up to four friends.
- Piano: Play your own tune, or play along with your favorite music on this electronic piano.
- Project Gotham Racing: Ferrari Edition: Tear through the streets of London, Tokyo, and New York in the Ferrari of your choice using multi touch controls and the built in accelerometer.
- Vans Sk8: Pool Service: From the Admiral to the old abandoned rec center pool, Bucky Lasek and Omar Hassan know a good bowl to skate. Hit the pools and put these Vans skaters to the test with all the tricks in their bag and achieve hero status once you unlock their pro model skateboards.
We got our hands on the new Fall 2009 Xbox 360 Dashboard update, which features Facebook, Twitter, Last.fm, and Instant-on 1080p movie streaming from Zune. You can get the full scoop in the video, but in a nutshell, here are our thoughts:
- Facebook: Facebook on Xbox 360 is integrated well into the console. We like that you can see which of your Xbox 360 friends are on Facebook, and which Facebook friends have an Xbox 360 account. The problem is that the Xbox 360’s ridiculous friend limit really stands out here. You have a limit of 100 friends, and if you have a bunch of friends on Facebook that you want to connect with, you will quickly find that you have to pick and choose. You see what I mean in the video. Other than that, being able to view profile data and photo galleries of friends is a nice touch. Updating or commenting sucks if you don’t have a Chatpad.
- Twitter: Twitter, on the other hand, is way too simple for our liking. It shows you the last 50 tweets from people you following, trending topics, and basic profile info. You can also send tweets out from the Xbox 360, but it’s frustrating to do, unless you have a Chatpad handy.
- Last.fm: This works as expected. You sign in, and you get access to all your channels, and you can create new channels on the fly. What sucks? You can’t see your Last.fm friends, which is something I miss. Even worse? The music only plays when you are actually in the Last.fm area. If you leave, the music stops. This means you can’t carry it over to the dashboard, or in-game. So really, what’s the point?
- Zune Instant on 1080p: This was awesome. Definitely blew me away. We streamed a portion of the movie 300. After a bandwidth test, the Xbox 360 confirmed we were good to go for instant 1080p streaming, and it delivered. Fantastic. The best streaming video quality we’ve seen from any service.
There are a few other new details as well, and we give you a detailed look at it all in this video. Sit back and enjoy!
We just got word from our friends at Xbox LIVE that we’ll be getting the new Fall 2009 Dashboard Update on Monday, which means we’ll be bringing you a preview and walkthrough of all the upcoming Xbox 360 dashboard features, including Twitter, Facebook, Zune instant-on 1080p movies, Last.fm, and more. For a look at everything we’ll be bringing you on Monday, hit the jump. Now go enjoy your weekend!
Just a quick note to those of you who haven’t already enabled MMS on your iPhone yourself already, the official rollout happens this Friday afternoon, according to AT&T’s Facebook page:
MMS Update: We know you’ve been eager for this service so we wanted to offer a quick update on the launch plans for MMS on Friday, Sept. 25. Late morning, Pacific Time, on Friday, the new carrier settings update enabling MMS should be live and ready to download through iTunes. We’ll provide the steps and all of the details you need right here at that time.
So there you have it - we fully expect that Friday to be full of cute kitten pictures, and video files of people mooning their iPhone cameras. Good times.
Yeah, in case you forgot, today is the day that the masses (including you) get access to all the fancy new features in the latest Xbox 360 Dashboard Update! I’m talking about things like Netflix Movie Parties, Games on Demand, the Avatar Marketplace, etc. You can get the full scoop on all the updates, both major and minor, at the link below. What we wanna know now, though, is how you are liking it. Let us know in the comments.
Oh, and remember, there is more to come in a couple of months, as we still have Twitter, Facebook, Last.fm, and Zune Marketplace with 1080p instant-on movie streaming to look forward to later this fall.
Read More | August 2009 Dashboard Update Details
The social media Internets are all up in arms this afternoon with the news that FriendFeed has been acquired by Facebook. The full details were announced on the FriendFeed blog, and according to the press release, “all FriendFeed employees will join Facebook and FriendFeed’s four founders will hold senior roles on Facebook’s engineering and product teams.”
A lot of the recent Facebook feature additions have been borrowed from, or inspired by, FriendFeed, so the move only makes sense. It brings Facebook directly into the real-time web scene, as they take aim for Twitter.
There is a lot of speculation right now as to what exactly will become of the FriendFeed product, since there is quite a bit of overlap between what FriendFeed does and what Facebook does. Fans of FriendFeed fear that all the features will be rolled into Facebook, while FriendFeed ceases to exist. All we know for now is that “FriendFeed.com will continue to operate normally for the time being. We’re still figuring out our longer-term plans for the product with the Facebook team.” Kind of ominous, I know.
Still, if handled right, Facebook may become the standard for both connecting and real-time sharable status updates. Full press release after the cut.
Okay, I’ve had enough of the Xbox Live friend limit that Microsoft has imposed on us for far too long. I think this has gone on long enough, and I’m really not seeing a good reason for it. As many Xbox Live gamers know, the current limit on friends you can have is set to 100. The thing is, in the age of social networks like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and all the others, we are now used to connecting with many people in our social graph across many different services.
Now, all that said, there is still one more very annoying piece to this puzzle. Did you know that the Zune Social and Xbox Live share one common friends list? In other words, if you currently have 100 Xbox Live friends, and you go out and buy a Zune, and want to connect with people who also have Zune’s (but don’t necessarily play games,) you are out of luck. You’ll have to remove someone from your Xbox Live friend list to add someone else. This is, in two words, absolutely ridiculous. I get wanting to share the Zune and Xbox ecosystem, but to shoot yourself in the foot like this is just puzzling. I personally have at least 15 people that I would like to add as friends on the Zune Social, but I can’t, because my Xbox Live list is maxed out.
For those of you who don’t want or need a BlackBerry, but do want some of the features of a smartphone, then you might want to check out two new phones from INQ. The purpose of the INQ Chat (with QWERTY keyboard) and INQ Mini (candybar model) is to bring “mobile Internet to the mass-market.” Each of them come with some Twitter-friendly applications and the user can also get some one-click apps for Facebook, Skype, IM, and Gmail. Details are sketchy on these phones, and we don’t even have a release date or price.
Oh, and speaking of Twitter, you can follow Gear Live to stay updated on the latest news.
Read More | INQ Press Release
What the F*ck is Social Media: One Year Later, is a presentation by Marta Kagan depicting the impact of social media on our current culture. A great starting point for anyone just jumping into the social media bandwagon and a perfect way convince businesses to start taking social media seriously. The presentation explains that social media is about dialog with your consumers—it’s no longer a monologue. Filled with statics, metrics and tips, What the F*ck is Social Media One Year Later is a great presentation that gives some insight into the social media world in a clean, easy to understand manner.
This morning, Microsoft hooked us up with an early preview of the next Xbox 360 Dashboard Update. We were able to get a look at the new Netflix features (which no longer require a PC,) the Avatar Marketplace, Game Ratings, Games on Demand, and more. While more coveted features like Twitter, Facebook, Last.fm, and Zune Marketplace won’t be landing until the fall, the update is still a solid one. Here are our thoughts on the next update, which lands on your Xbox 360 on August 11 (or sooner if you apply for early access!)
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