Windows super-fan Paul Thurrott, who has a good track record for internal Microsoft rumors, is sharing information that he has heard as it pertains to the launch window and pricing of the new Xbox (which we are assuming will be called Xbox Reveal or Infinity, but is codenamed Durango.) First, the next Xbox will launch in early November 2013, and will cost $499 out of the gate. Alternatively, you'll be able to pay $299 for the console if you also pay a $10 monthly subscription fee.
If this is true, then we imagine that this is where all of the hoopla over an "always-on" console is coming from. If you choose to go the subscription route, then your Xbox will likely need to be connected to the Internet in order to make sure the subscription is active. Piggybacking on that thought, maybe if you stop paying (or if you can't get the Xbox online,) then the Xbox will simply not let you play games until you are paid up or reconnect it to Xbox Live.
Other information shared include that the new console will ship with a Blu-ray drive, and will run on a modified version of Windows 8. We will have all the news as it happens when Microsoft unveils the next Xbox on May 21.
Read More | Windows IT Pro
Microsoft has announced that it will reveal the next Xbox on May 21st at an event to take place at the Xbox campus in Redmond. Gamers have been patiently waiting for an announcement from Microsoft on the next Xbox (codenamed Durango,) especially after Sony announced the Playstation 4 at an event in February. The company says that the event will "mark the beginning of a new generation of games, TV, and entertainment." Aside from inviting select press to be on hand, the event will also be broadcast as it happens on Xbox LIVE for all to see. It'll also be broadcast on SPike TV for those who are in the US or Canada.
Don't expect all the info on the next Xbox to be revealed on the 21st, though. Microsoft says that they'll wait about three weeks before announcing the full line-up of games, which it'll do at E3. There's a lot riding on the next Xbox, which follows up the current generations most successful console, the Xbox 360.
Read More | Major Nelson
It looks like Verizon Wireless is set to finally offer the Nokia Lumia 928, giving Verizon a flagship Windows Phone 8 device, starting next month. While no formal announcements have been made, two people familiar with the details have confirmed it. Since flagship Lumia smartphones in the US have typically been AT&T exclusives, it'll be interesting to see what the Verizon effect will have on sales. The Lumia 928 will have an aluminum enclosure rather than the polycarbonate Lumias that we're used to, with a 4.5-inch display, 8-megapixel camera, and wireless charging capabilities.
It looks like Microsoft is set to bring back the Start button in Windows 8.1, a mainstay of the Windows OS that was removed in Windows 8. According to a report from The Verge, the new Windows 8.1 Start button will not include the traditional Start button functionality, but will rather be a method of taking you back to the Start screen. In addition to the Start button making a reappearance (in name, at least,) Microsoft is also said to be including a feature that will allow users to boot directly to the desktop, bypassing the Start screen altogether.
Read More | The Verge
This morning Xbox SmartGlass made its long-awaited debut on the Amazon Appstore. You can now download Microsoft's second-screen app for the Amazon Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD, fitting perfectly on the display of all Fire and Fire HD tablet models. With Xbox SmartGlass, which has been available for iOS, Windows, Windows Phone, and Android for the past six months, users can navigate and control their Xbox 360 consoles right from the tablet or smartphone.
Read More | Xbox SmartGlass for Kindle Fire
T-Mobile is set to release the Nokia Lumia 521, powered by Windows Phone 8, sometime next month in May. The Lumia 521 sports a 4-inch display, 5 megapixel rear camera with autofocus that records 720p video, and the exclusive suite of Nokia apps like Nokia Music, Cinemagraph, Maps, Transit, HERE Drive, etc. The device will run on T-Mobile 4G (not LTE) network. T-Mobile is keeping quiet on exact pricing and availability for now for whatever reason, but the Lumia 521 won't exactly be flying off of store shelves, so you shouldn't have a hard time finding it once it lands at Walmart, Microsoft Retail Stores, and T-Mobile locations next month.
We open up the Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone 8 smartphone in this episode. It's the flagship model available from AT&T, sporting a PureMotion HD+ display, 4G LTE, and PureView camera with optical image stabilization and Carl Zeiss lens. You can pick up the Nokia Lumia 920 from AT&T from $99.99. It's a bit heavy, but the phone looks great, the camera is fantastic, and for $100, it's hard to beat the value.
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As we reported months ago, Pandora has finally come to Windows Phone 8. Even better, Windows Phone 8 users get free ad-free listening for the rest of the year, a feature that typically costs $3.99 per month, or $36 per year, known as Pandora One. A few weeks back, Pandora also announced a monthly 40-hour listening cap for free users, so this makes Pandora on Windows Phone 8 the best bang for your buck--provided you want to use a Windows Phone. One other cool feature is that Pandora integrates in with the Windows Phone Kid's Corner feature. When in Kid's Corner, Pandora doesn't show or play any explicit content. You can download it now.
Read More | Windows Phone
The future of search, according to Microsoft, is outside of the white search bar. "Now the way for human beings to express their interest or needs goes way beyond a browser search typing in keywords," said Microsoft's Bing chief, Qi Lu. "You can use voice to have a conversation, you can use gestures to express yourself."
Moving forward, Bing will fit into all of Microsoft's products, providing information access from physical objects to expand the context of its search.
"The battle between us and Google is going to be over who can build understanding more quickly to serve people in a much more anticipatory way," says Microsoft's Adam Sohn. "Google's going to understand every entity on the planet, we're gonna understand every entity on the planet, but the question will be what do you do with that information?"
Read More | The Verge
The big rumor on the street about the next Xbox is that Microsoft will block used games from working with the console. Reports from sources have hit various news outlets saying that the new Xbox, which should launch later this year, will require mandatory game installs to the hard drive of the console, and will require an activation code in order to get them to play. Once the code is used, that game is activated for that console specifically (or, maybe, that specific Gamertag,) and won't work on other consoles, effectively killing the used game market.
Read More | MCV India
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