Good morning folks,
Starting todays report with the biggest news item of the day – Microsoft’s announcement of the Xbox One.
- Yesterday marked the Microsoft’s announcement of the new Xbox One, which is the follow up gaming console to the Xbox 360. There are a lot of details, so here is a list of the major items:
- The console contains an 8-core processor with 8GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. The Xbox will contain a Blu-ray drive for the first time, with HDMI input and outputs along with USB 3.0 support.
- Even though it looks roughly the same, the controller got a major upgrade too, with new ergonomics and a set of triggers that provide vibration feedback. It also has a new directional pad, new thumbsticks, and an integrated battery compartment.
- The system will come with a Kinect sensor with a 1080p camera that can shoot 60 frames per second, with an expanded field of view (60% larger) to allow it to capture more objects in the frame.
- In terms of software, Xbox On (not to be confused with the console name) is a feature that uses the Kinect sensor to use voice and hand recognition to perform a number of commands without the controller, allowing you to even turn on the system with your voice and switch through apps.
- The system basically runs on three operating systems: First is the raw Xbox OS used for gaming; Second is a Windows kernel portion used for apps and such; Third is one that helps the two communicate with each other.
- Xbox Live is still a key component to the online services and the premium Gold subscription service will give gamers access to a new “Game DVR” allowing users to record, edit, and share gameplay videos.
- Skype wants to own living room communications as its built into the system, with the ability to even display Skype sessions along side programming and gaming so you both can talk while watching or playing the same thing.
- A number of gaming companies showed off their new products, including EA Sports FIFA 14, Activision’s Call of Duty: Ghosts, and even Steven Spielberg made an appearance to announce a new live-action Halo television series.
- Unfortunately for Xbox 360 owners, the system is not backwards compatible, due to the new architecture.
- Microsoft has partnered with the NFL to bring a more interactive and immersive football experience to users, allowing them to live-stream games and manage fantasy football teams directly in the console, along with the ability to open side windows to chat with friends through Skype.
- Microsoft didn’t provide specifics on when to expect the device to hit the streets, other than to say at some point “later this year.
- Resources: (link1), (link2), Great 4 min. highlight video (link3),
- VUDU has updated its iOS player to allow users to download movies for offline viewing as well as modifying the video player and adding Closed Captioning support. (link)
- Sprint boosted its offer for Clearwire at the last minute from $2.97 to $3.40 per share as shareholders prepare to meet to vote on the buyout. Sprint originally made the offer back in December, and since then Clearwire shareholders have been expressing dissatisfaction with the terms, especially following Dish’s offer at $3.30 per share. The shareholder got pushed back to Friday now, so we’ll have to see if Dish takes advantage of the time to up its offer. (link)
- Apple CEO Tim Cook went to Washington yesterday to answer Congressional questions about Apple’s tax practices and denying the company uses overseas “tax gimmicks” to dodge its obligations. Cook went on to say the company has created or supported an estimated 600,000 American jobs, making it one of the largest corporate taxpayers in the US. When asked by Senator McCaskill for his advise on reforming the American corporate tax code, Cook answered to simplify the tax code and drastically reduce the rate at which repatriated funds are taxed, which is currently at 35%. (link)
- A new Pew Research Center study on teens and social media found that Twitter usage has seen a huge spike in the past years, as one in four teens are now using the service, up from 12% last year to 26% this year. In fact, teens are outpacing adults in terms of overall Twitter usage, which sits at 16% for adults. Instagram is another popular platform gaining 11% usage. Recently purchased Tumblr also saw a spike in usage as 2% of teens used the service last year, growing to 5% this year, which is actually higher than Google+ usage at 3%. Now, before you ask – Facebook is still the big winner with 94% of teens using Facebook. (link)
- Spotify is now publishing a top-50 list of the most listened to and most shared songs on its service, and making those available to fans free of charge without requiring sign-up or registration to Spotify. The lists will be updated each Monday around noon. (link)
- RUMOR: Some insiders are suggesting that the upcoming iOS 7 operating system will include an increased integration of social networks, with Flickr and Vimeo being added to the equation. (link)