The interwebs tells me that Microsoft registered domains for XboxPhone.com, XboxTablet.com, XboxLiveTV.com, XboxCompanion.com, Xbox8.us and Xbox8.org. That’s really all we know, but allow me to offer up the kind of baseless conjecture that you expect from the internet.
I don’t see the next Xbox being called Xbox 8, so let’s rule that out. After all, calling the current generation Xbox 360 made no sense, but going from 360 to 8 makes even less sense. It also can’t be an internal name for the next console because they wouldn’t have bothered to get the domains. It’s much more likely that these new Xbox8 domains will be used to show consumers the different ways that Windows 8 and the current Xbox can interface. I’m guessing that XboxPhone and XboxTablet will be used to demonstrate ways to use your phone and tablet with the Xbox. It probably has something to do with SmartGlass or the upcoming Xbox Music service. The XboxLiveTV domain will probably be a website where you can check what kind of TV services can be piped to your Xbox in your service area. The XboxCompanion domain throws me a little, but I think Xbox Companion might be a site for account management. Based on the name, I think it will be geared towards casual and non-gamers and emphasize the use of services like SmartGlass and Xbox Music.
It looks like the sleeping dragon in Redmond has finally awoken. As an avid Windows user, this excites me. Monday I posted about Microsoft’s Surface for Windows tablets. To me, it completely leapfrogs the iPad by being a device that can replace your current tablet and your laptop. Today they unveiled Windows Phone 8, and that too looks amazing. More after the jump.
…two first-party Microsoft tablets called Surface.
One is the Surface for Windows RT, and it uses an Nvidia-built ARM setup. The other is the Surface for Windows 8 Pro, and it has the full desktop OS, USB 3.0 and a few other features to set it apart.
Both have HD screens, Gorilla Glass, USB ports (3.0 for the Pro), Wi-fi and all of the other stuff you’d expect from a Windows tablet. However, the real unexpected part of all this are the covers. The Touch Cover looks like it has a keyboard printed on the inside, and when open, it actually works as a touch keyboard with a touch pad. The Type Cover is more like a traditional keyboard, offering hard plastic and mechanical keys and a layout reminiscent of an ultrabook.
The big tech sites all have more info than this, but I am pretty excited. Make no mistake, one of these will be replacing my laptop and iPad.
I have been following E3 for years. I even went once. E3 has delivered some excellent surprises over the years, but nothing really feels that way this year. I’ve been following E3 2012, and everything that looks interesting was announced long before E3. Still, I can’t help but be excited by one of the games because it looks it will be exactly what fans have been hoping for.
What is it? Not SmartGlass or the Wii U. Cocked Hammers has my attention, but not even Jason Bateman and Will Arnett can make me care about Call of Duty games. No, what has me excited this year is South Park: The Stick of Truth, and it looks awesome.
Windows 8 Consumer Preview was released today. For the uninitiated, it’s essentially Windows 8 beta for everyone. That means this is not the final version. There are still bugs to be fixed and changes to be made. On the plus side, it’s a free way to acquaint yourself with the basics of Windows 8 before it launches.
To me it looks pretty awesome. I love the idea of walking around with a Windows 8 tablet in Metro mode all day then plugging it in to a dock when I’m at my desk and doing some normal keyboard/mouse work in desktop mode.
Apple didn’t make your iPhone. They designed and developed it, but they didn’t make it. Your iPhone was made in China by a company called Foxconn.
Over the last few years, Foxconn has become the poster boy for bad working conditions in Chinese electronics plants because of the headline making suicides at their facilities and the popularity of the Apple products they produce. It’s not just Apple who uses them, either. Sony, Motorola, Microsoft, Nintendo, Acer, and many others all have contracts with Foxconn. In fact, just last month 150 people (some media outlets are reporting 300) working in a plant that produces the Xbox 360 threatened mass suicide over working conditions. It can be easy rationalize things like this as “the cost of doing business”. We tell ourselves that having this kind of work done in factories like these keeps costs down and allows companies to pass the savings along to the consumer. Here’s a reality check: Apple makes nearly a 75% profit margin on the iPhone 4s and has $97.7 billion in cash reserves. The savings are not being passed on to you. Not only are they not saving you money, but companies that use Foxconn are choosing to support a system where people are literally worked to death instead of being slightly less profitable.
While I personally won’t be buying another Apple product unless some significant changes are made, I understand that not everyone is willing to make that same leap, and I get that. There are Foxconn-produced items that I won’t be giving up, but this isn’t an all or nothing scenario. If you love Apple and their products, you can keep buying them and contact Apple to let them know you find conditions at Foxconn to be unacceptable. The same can be done with any other company that has contracts with Foxconn.
[Update 3/16/2012: It has been revealed that some of the information revealed in "Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory" was a fabrication for the purposes of making a good one-man show. Which parts of the story are fabricated will be revealed in This American Life's latest episode "Retraction". This doesn't clear Foxconn of all wrongdoing. They are still guilty of a large number of abuses against workers, and there is plenty of evidence to support that outside of Daisey's show. His show didn't invent the allegations of abuse. Those allegations inspired Daisey to create his show.]
Whatever you decide on this, whatever you feel on this, I encourage you all to follow the link to a This American Life episode called “Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory”.
Kinect for Windows has launched today. The bundle includes a Kinect unit and a commercial license for the hardware. Interestingly enough the Windows version of Kinect supposedly features advanced speech and audio capabilities, better skeletal tracking and the ability to be as close as 16 inches in front of the sensor. There is no word on whether or not these updates will make it to the Xbox version, but I wouldn’t count on it. I would however expect some serious Kinect integration with Windows 8. Microsoft hopes to push Kinect beyond gaming and to expand in to industries like education, healthcare, retail and manufacturing. I have to say, the sci-fi nerd in me wonders about the defense applications. With the rise of UAVs how long will it be until humanoid drones are being piloted remotely by soldiers in front of Kinects?
Anyway, a video history of Kinect waits for you after the jump.