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.
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It looks like Nintendo's Wii U, the follow-up to the highly successful Wii, is continuing to falter in terms of sales. In fact, Gamasutra is reporting that it received a tip from someone with access to the latest NPD sales data for January, and it shows Wii U sales were well under 100,000 sold. In fact, it estimates that the number lies somewhere between 45k-59k for January. That is bad. To put that into perspective, the Wii U is not even four months old yet, and it has already sold less in January than the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, or Nintendo Wii sold in any month, ever. Nintendo is going to have to do something about this fairly quickly. The Playstation 4 has already been unveiled, and the next Xbox is reportedly set for an unveiling next month, and you can bet that both of these consoles will offer "true" next-generation experiences.
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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
We recently reported on the Slacker Radio redesign, and the company is keeping the freshness going, debuting on the Xbox 360 today. You can download the Slacker app for free, and you've gotta be an Xbox Live Gold subscriber in the US or Canada for the privilege. You get the same overhauled color scheme, music guide, and Kinect voice controls. Head over to the Xbox Live Marketplace to grab the 116 MB download.
Slacker has been around for a few years as both a free and premium Internet radio service, and now the service has released a new redesign. The old black and gold interface is replaced with a newer, hipper, cleaner look on all platforms, including web, Xbox 360 app, and mobile apps. Slacker had to do something to take some attention away from Rdio, Spotify, Pandora, and the like, and we have to say that the new design makes things easier on the eyes, and thusly, easier to use.
Slacker pricing remains intact. You have the free version, Radio Plus for $3.99 per month, and then Slacker Premium for $9.99 per month. Updated Windows Phone 8 and BlackBerry 10 versions are on the way as well.
Elgato has stepped into the game capture card market with its Game Capture HD device. Connecting through HDMI, high-definition video can be captured at up to 1080p (after a recent update) on either your Windows or Mac computer. One of the biggest draws to this product is that it’s a self-powered, external capture card allowing use a laptop to capture from the comfort of your living room.
The Game Capture HD was designed to be used with all of your favorite gaming consoles and has even been updated to work directly with the newly released Wii U. As an avid Playstation gamer, the only “issue” with in in Sony’s HDCP protection with HDMI connections. Elgato has us covered though and provides a special AV cable that runs into the PS3’s multi-port to capture HD gameplay and audio. While the Game Capture HD was created with game consoles in mind, any non-HDCP protected devices with HDMI outs can be captured, including iOS devices and computers.
Stereo headsets have been a part of computer gaming and theater experiences for years but they’ve recently started making the cross into the living room with gaming consoles. Turtle Beach has been a leader in the gaming headsets and have released a number of headsets that work with the Xbox 360 or the Playstation 3. The EAR FORCE PX5 is a wireless Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound headset that works with both.
Upon opening the PX5, I was surprised to see they had included not only the receiver, wireless surround sound headset, and detachable microphone, but also an optical cable and and others to get going. The included optical cable is very thin and feels a bit on the cheap side but the quality of sound it provides in my case was the same as a more expensive cable, but I do fear that moving it around too much may break the cable. The receiver includes an optical in and out port, standard red/white RCA jacks, a port for a wired headset in case you are playing with a friend and finally the DC power port.
If you're not familiar with the SmartGlass second-screen app for Microsoft's Xbox 360, it is an app that seeks to improve user viewing experience by connecting the 360 console to smartphones and tablets. Sports fans might be in for a new reason to download the app if they haven't already, as Microsoft is bringing SmartGlass functionality to it's ESPN and NBA Game Time apps, as well as a new Sports Picks app.
From the SmartGlass app for iOS, Android, and Windows, you will be able to navigate the content from the apps directly from the tablet or smartphone. SmartGlass also brings more interaction to the viewing experience, such as allowing competition between friends to see who is most knowledgeable about whatever they're watching, with the chance to be featured in a global leader board.
There’s no question that it’s been a momentous year at Microsoft. The company introduced the world to Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, announced its family of Surface PCs, showcased a new version of Microsoft Office and released “Halo 4,” keeping up a steady rhythm of advancements across its most popular products for individuals and businesses throughout the year. - Microsoft
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