Despite the proliferation of smart TV’s in the living room, tech companies are still battling it out to get their own brand on the small screen. While Apple TV continues to sell well versus limited competition by Google and Roku, Microsoft has been noticeably absent from the party aside from their Xbox 360 which does everything expected and more. The problem with that is anyone who might be interested in the Xbox Live experience would have to pony up for a unit capable of gaming as well as an annual subscription which is a no-go with consumers who have been clutching their purse strings for the past few years.
That leads us to today’s story complements of The Verge who has uncovered that Microsoft is planning a generic Xbox Live set-top box to release alongside its 360 successor next year. This would verify a planned two-sku release from the Seattle-based company with the lower-end offering mere applications this time around. In other words, buyers of the Live-only unit will be relegated to smart phone games as opposed to the latest Call of Duty game. Continue Reading
Marketing campaigns between Google, Microsoft, and Apple have seldom been so direct as they mostly, in the past, veered to subtle jabs at ‘what it means’ to choose one over the other. Well, not anymore. Google pretty much knows the world prefers their browser and search over their competitor’s and that is a bit of a problem considering the latest Windows puts a huge focus on Internet Explorer and Bing as usual. Continue Reading
Just last year, audiences around the world saw the reveal of Nintendo’s next console dubbed the Wii U. While it pretty much seemed like a Wii HD, the device had a unique spin on things with its tablet-style controller taking center stage. Continue Reading
Back in 2006, Microsoft launched a new music device called Zune. The software giant saw the success that Apple was having with its iTunes store and wanted a piece of the music industry for themselves. For what was essentially a “poor man’s iPod,” the device’s initial sales were unexpectedly good thanks in large part to a well-executed marketing campaign on college campus’.
Zune went as high as 9% market share in the portable device industry; however, sales figures came crashing down after the introduction of Apple’s iPhone changed the game once again. Having no real desire to relaunch the product line, Microsoft officially boxed the Zune platforms in October 2011 which brings us to today’s news: Microsoft’s replacement.
The Verge is reporting that the company is preparing to debut a music streaming service in the vein of Spotify codenamed Woodstock. The service will utilize social integration via Facebook to share songs and playlists. Nothing unique is expected to be added to its repertoire compared to the competition, but look for more details to emerge this June at E3.
The service will be available on all Windows platforms, Xbox Live, and any computer with a browser. With that being said, it looks like it may even have a presence on non-Microsoft devices as well although that is yet to be confirmed.
Just last week, we ran a small piece on FiOS TV coming to Xbox Live and how it means little in the short term, but a lot in the long term considering the parameters of the program. This week will mark the continuation of this shift in Xbox Live’s identity further towards that of ‘ultimate home entertainment destination’ with the release of the console’s revamped dashboard which aims to provide easier navigation via a new design that will take full advantage of Microsoft’s Xbox tie-in known as Kinect.
The new dashboard is a bit easier to navigate as users can now see options more clearly when cycling the menu system, but this is not why Microsoft is changing their cash cow known as Xbox Live this time around. They also wanted an app system which should clue you into the big picture here. The new interface is all about a little thing called product homogenization. Xbox Live will now function more like MS’s phones, tablets, and most importantly, close to next year’s Windows 8. What that type of setup does is create deep familiarity with how to work devices from the software giant, and will ultimately lead to increased sales across all divisions simply because Microsoft knows that while people want things that are new, they also tend avoid things that are entirely new.
Microsoft has been working for close to a decade now to progress their Xbox unit into a full fledged media center for the living room, and the update users will see later in the week will be their most clear attempt yet at creating a functional device that is a little more convenient than the ad-heavy delivery mechanism that Live has been in the past.
While the following news qualifies as niche novelty, in the long term it could potentially lead to something much bigger so pay close attention. Verizon has made a deal with Microsoft to stream 26 live cable channels to Xbox Live provided the subscriber has a FiOS TV and Internet subscription. Continue Reading
It has been clear for some time where television is headed, and until now it looked like the war for major content distribution online was going to be played out by Google and Apple alone. Continue Reading
It has been uncanny over the years to see Microsoft correctly envisage the future, and once again they are showing us what our society is in for within the next decade or two. If only Microsoft knew how to capitalize on all the stuff they predicted… Continue Reading
Microsoft has unveiled today their strategy for using their Kinect technology in order to create a more engaging advertising experience that will benefit both consumers and sellers. Basically, it will provide for increased user interactivity going into the future with these ads which will make them less spam-like in nature. Continue Reading
The former Back to the Future star, Christopher Lloyd, is in a new commercial released at E3 for Microsoft’s Kinect Fun Labs which is a free addition to Xbox Live to all Kinect owners that allows users to import random household objects onto a screen as an animated character of sorts. Continue Reading
Despite Microsoft’s big surprised being outed by a slip up by the XBox marketing team early this morning when they announced Halo 4 prematurely online, there is still a huge amount of buzz that seems centered on the announcement of a brand new Halo trilogy to start where the third Halo left off. Here is the trailer for Halo 4 as well as other hot video clips from the event. Continue Reading
The first video of Windows 8′s interface has emerged recently, and many really have no idea what to think. Initial responses have been anywhere from ‘Vista all over again’ to ‘this looks like how it should have been all along.’ So what exactly is Microsoft thinking by doing away with the desktop model that has been around since Windows 95 in favor of app panels designed for touch screen functionality? Continue Reading