Dear Microsoft: Manage your message or someone will do it for you. Case in point: the recent, none-too-surprising news that the lovely Zune HD will meet a timely death. Within minutes of the news breaking, stories and tweets flooded the Internet declaring, "The Zune is Dead." This was followed by people asking if everything "Zune" was gone or just the hardware. I assured people that the obvious answer was the hardware only, but is it that obvious? And why wasn't Microsoft out in front of this information?
Yes, the fact that Microsoft is giving up on music player hardware is bad news for Microsoft and good news for Apple, but it's up to Microsoft to stand up and explain its decision and strategy. In the absence of clear information from Microsoft, everyone else can and will shape the message. So now, even though most within the industry are quite sure that the Zune software and service, which lives on in phones and PCs, is in no danger, average consumers are no longer certain. They could at this very minute be making plans to switch to Apple, iPods and iTunes.
If I were Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, I would have stepped forward and explained the shift away from music-only hardware (leaving aside the fact that most music players do a whole lot more). Then, while wiping away one single tear, I would have quickly shifted gears to a clear strategy, which isn't even new: "For mobile devices, we're focusing our attention on Windows Phone, which already has Zune and Xbox Live functionality." Then I'd add, "This, friends, is not a loss. Lessons we learned from Zune hardware's five-year life have given us invaluable insight and made it possible for use to deliver the Windows Phone platform and some truly stellar partner-driven hardware to wrap around it."
In conjunction with Free App A Day (FAAD), Atakamalabs has released the popular IndieCade Jury Award winning title rewrite, Today I Die Again by Daniel Benmergui, completely free. Today I Die Again is a thought provoking adventure using words as means to action.
The scene opens underwater with the body of a dead woman floating lifeless in the dark. The rock tied around her waist suggests that her demise was no accident. A poem floats above her: “hopeless world / full of shadows / today I die”
Players must use the floating glowing words or reveal hidden ones to help you transform the ever-present poem in order to progress through the game. All along the way you battle the dark creatures from the depths in effort to break through to the surface. The oddly creative music score sets the mood perfectly as you are immersed deeper into this pixelated world. Today I Die Again is truly a unique game unlike any other, exploring new ways to express emotions through a video game experience.
Do you like Monster Trucks and Laughing Skulls? And stuff that blows up real good?
Then you’ll want to play iPad’s Game of the Week: Trucks & Skulls!
It was created by the gang at Appy Entertainment, which is run by a couple of friends of mine (Chris Ulm and Paul O’Connor) who are both comic book industry veterans. Ulm is the guy who came up with the idea for the Ultraverse, and O’Connor wrote several dozen comics back in the go-go 1980s.
Apple's focused on the iPod touch as being the "funnest iPod ever" for a while now, but the introduction of the fourth generation model put it over the top. You've got the Retina display, FaceTime video chat, high definition video capture, and built-in gyroscope all packed into the thinnest iPod touch ever. Of course, you need great software running on hardware like this, and the App Store fits the bill with over 200,000 apps available. A great gift for teens who don't need an iPhone, or anyone who isn't on AT&T but still wants a mobile iOS device. Prices start at $229 (or $220 on Amazon):
Be sure to check out the rest of the stuff in our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide, we're adding new suggestions every day!
App developer Big Bucket Software posted a blog yesterday that details how their iPad game The Incident can be played "like your old gaming console from the 80s only widescreenier."
Version 1.3 of The Incident will allow owners of both iPads and iPod touches or iPhones to link their devices. Doing this allows the iPad to display the game on a television while the iPhone/iPod touch is used as the game controller. We'd love to see more devs add this type of functionality to their titles.
Read More | Big Bucket Software
There’s still a bit of Dreamcast nostalgia left around in the air circulating from it’s recent 11th anniversary and revival on Xbox Live and PSN. So what else can you do to pay tribute to that great system that died before its time? How about encasing your new iPod nano in the VMU? It may be a bit bulky in comparison to the nano, but its a cool way of showing off your Sega pride and general geekery. Imagine the look on peoples’ faces when you pull a VMU out of your pocket and nonchalantly start touching the screen and playing music. Priceless.
Check out the video after the jump.
Read More | Kotaku
Newegg‘s got a killer deal on the iHome iP39SZC Kitchen Time & FM Alark Clock Radio for iPod/iPhone, offering up the product at a full 50% off the standard price. So you end up getting it for $50, rather than $100. Deals like this one are rare, so we wanted to let you guys know about this one right away. The iP39SZC is easy-to-clean, has an alarm mode, charges your iOS device, and has a huge backlit display. It’s sleek and compact, and is an overall nice unit to have in the kitchen if you own an Apple portable product. Check out the iHome iP39SZC on Newegg for the full scoop.
As always, you can find all sorts of Newegg promo code and deals on our forums.
Read More | Newegg iHome iP39SZC promo code
When Apple announced the Retina display packing, FaceTime rocking iPod touch 2010 model, we knew this thing was gonna be a hit. We’re currently hard at work on our iPod touch review, but in the meantime we’ve snapped a bunch of pics of what’s gotta be the best looking iPod touch to date. Seriously, this thing is thin to the point of ridiculousness. Obviously with the Retina display, the screen looks sharp, and you also gain camera on both the front and back of the unit. Take a gander at the gallery.
You can pick up an iPod touch from Apple.
Gallery: iPod touch 2010 unboxing
In addition to all the other news coming out of Apple’s fall music event, the company announced a complete redesign of the iPod nano. The click-wheel is gone, as is a lot of the display size, as Apple instead focused on making this thing more like an iPod shuffle with a multitouch display. The new nano is 46% smaller and 42% lighter than the previous model, and while it gains multitouch and what appears to be a modified version of iOS, it loses the video camera (of course, if you want an iPod with a video camera, the new iPod touch meets that need.) Apple says the battery on the nano will provide 24 continuous hours of audio playback, and the device is available in seven colors. You can get the 8GB model for $149, or the 16GB nano for $179. Pre-orders are live now, and they ship in a week.
Read More | iPod nano
At this morning’s Apple event, Steve Jobs introduced the fourth generation iPod touch. As expected, the iPod touch has been updated to pretty much match what we’ve seen with the iPhone 4. That means it has a Retina Display, as well as dual cameras. A
camera on the back that takes images at 960x720, and a VGA camera on front—yup, that means that the new iPod touch is now FaceTime-compatible. The device is available in three sizes: 8GB for $229, 32GB for $299, and a 64GB model for $399. They’ll be available next week, but you can pre-order starting today.
Read More | iPod touch