So, Windows Vista has been around now for a good thirteen months, and in that time, it has seen much criticism. If you’ve been on the fence about switching or upgrading to Vista, we are sure that Microsoft is hoping that their upcoming price drop will be enough to get you to make the move. The new pricing details will be as follows:
- Windows Vista Ultimate: $320, down from $400
- WIndows Vista Ultimate Upgrade: $220, down from $260
- Windows Vista Home Premium: $130, down from $160
The price drops are expected to coincide with the shipment of the first major update to Vista, Service Pack 1.
Read More | Reuters
We knew that Microsoft Research had something pretty amazing up its sleeve after talking to a few people at the company, in addition to having dinner with Robert Scoble, who told us that what he saw brought him to tears. As it turns out, it is the WorldWide Telescope that had people in awe. After watching Roy Gould introduce the software in the above video during TED, we have to say, we agree. Think of the WorldWide Telescope as the equivalent to the full-featured version of Google Earth - except that the WorldWide Telescope software is free, and instead of looking at the earth in extreme detail, you get to peruse the cosmos instead. I mean, watch the video to see how truly mind-blowing this technology really is. Look for it to be available for download this Spring for the Windows platform. No word on how beefy a machine you will need to run it as smoothly as it worked in the demo - but here’s hoping that everyone who downloads the WorldWide Telescope will be able to enjoy the same experience seen here.
Well, with the news that HD DVD had been killed by Toshiba, you knew that it was only a matter of time before the Xbox 360 HD DVD player was eliminated as well, right? Well, the time has come, as Microsoft sent us the following update:
As a result of recent decisions made by Toshiba, Hollywood studios, and retailers, Microsoft plans to withdraw from HD DVD. Xbox will no longer manufacture new HD DVD players for the Xbox 360, but we will continue to provide standard product and warranty support for all Xbox 360 HD DVD Players in the market. As we stated earlier, we do not believe this decision will have any material impact on the Xbox 360 platform or our position in the marketplace. HD DVD is one of the several ways we offer a high definition experience to consumers and we will continue to give consumers the choice to enjoy digital distribution of high definition movies and TV shows directly to their living room, along with playback of the DVD movies they already own.
Okay, well, shouldn’t that be “HD DVD was one of the several ways…”? So, now that we know that the Xbox 360 HD DVD player add-on will no longer be manufactured, if you really really want one, they can now be had for $49.99. That is 75% off of it’s original price, for those of you keeping track. So if you want a piece of recently outdated technology, now is your chance.
Read More | Bloomberg
It was just announced this morning by Microsoft during their GDC keynote - Gears of War 2 will be hitting Xbox 360 consoles this November. That’s right kids - November 2008. You ready for this? Here is the word from Microsoft:
Providing a dramatic close to Microsoft’s GDC keynote address, Epic Games Inc.’s lead designer Cliff Bleszinski announced that the epic saga of Marcus Fenix and Delta Squad continues exclusively on the Xbox 360 this fall with “Gears of War 2.” This highly anticipated sequel to the 4.5 million-selling blockbuster “Gears of War” delves deeper into humanity’s struggle for survival against the nightmarish Locust Horde, and promises to take high-definition visuals to a whole new level.
Check out the trailer, at the top of this post.
Read More | Gears of War product page
“We do not believe the recent reports about HD DVD will have any material impact on the Xbox 360 platform or our position in the marketplace. As we’ve long stated, we believe it is games that sell consoles and Xbox 360 continues to have the largest next-gen games library with the most exclusives and best selling games in the industry. We will wait until we hear from Toshiba before announcing any specific plans around the Xbox 360 HD DVD player. HD DVD is one of the several ways we offer a high definition experience to consumers and we will continue to give consumers the choice to enjoy digital distribution of high definition movies and TV shows directly to their living room along with playback of the DVD movies they already own.”
Well, we think it is safe to say that we will be seeing the 360 HD DVD player (along with all the others) hitting the bargain bins over the next week or so. Now we await official word of an Xbox 360 Blu-ray add-on. It’s gotta happen.
Dell and Microsoft have teamed together and come up with (PRODUCT) RED items to help fight AIDS in Africa. The line includes:
- The XPS One that offers high def viewing for multimedia. At a price beginning at $1,599.00, $80.00 goes to the Global Fund.
- The ultra-thin (0.9-inch) XPS M1330 has a 13.3-inch display and an MSRP starting at $1,149.00 and $50.00 to the Global Fund.
- The 15.4-inch XPS M1530 has a built-in webcam and fingerprint reader with a price starting at $1,149.00, with $50.00 for the Global Fund.
- Dell’s 948 Printer is an all-in-one, and operates with or without computer connection. At a price of $149.00, $5.00 is given to the Global Fund.
There are lots of choices, lots of help for Africa.
Read More | Dell
In conjunction with a company called Plano, Microsoft is hoping to put its eggs in more than one basket. Beginning in the latter part of 2008, East Coast ShopRite Supermarkets will have grocery carts with consoles to help find products, then scan and pay for them without a need for humans. Users with loyalty cards can log into a site and submit a grocery list that will appear when they reach the store, complete with automatic coupons. While this sounds feasible, we suspect we will still forget one or two items between the site and the store.
Read More | Physorg
We learned all about Microsoft Sync at CES, and have lots to share. Sync is integrated software that’s factory-installed in certain Ford, Lincoln and Mercury cars. It allows you to control your cell phone and music player via voice recognition. Once your cell phone is “synced” with the software and your contacts are transferred, just press the button on the steering wheel and speak your command, such as “Call Mom.” Mom is immediately dialed, and you can talk to her without ever touching your phone. What’s also cool is that you can control your entire music library via voice as well, just by saying the name of the artist, song, album or even playlist. Just sync up your iPod (except the Shuffle), iPhone, MP3 player or even a thumb drive, and you’re good to go.
This holiday season, consumers have three choices if they are wanting to buy a Microsoft Zune for themselves or a loved one. In this Federated Media Holiday Gadget Guide video post, we take a look at the Holiday 2007 Microsoft Zune lineup in detail. In the video we compare the old-school Zune 30 GB with the new Zune 2 lineup - the Zune 80 and the Zune 8. The Zune 80 is a hard drive based Zune that holds up to 80 GB of content, while the Zune 8 and Zune 4 are the new flash based Zune players, holding 8 GB and 4 GB of media respectively. Check out the video for the full scoop on the complete Zune lineup available this holiday season.
Sensationalism aside it appears the Xbox 360 is a meltable platform. Thankfully, the above melted carnage was the result of a not-so-bright user keeping their 360 on their stove(!) rather than a result of console cooling gone wrong - but it’s still an image that will send chills down the spine of any gamer worth their salt. Seriously though folks - don’t store your expensive consumer electronics on a stove - unless you are busy Breaking Stuff!
Read More | Engadget