I’ve been reading a lot of blogs and tweets lately on how Zune HD is Microsoft’s reply to iPod Touch. Even some people from Microsoft have been labeling it as an iPod Touch killer, which is totally ridiculous. Just because it has a browser and multi-touch, doesn’t mean it falls in the same category of devices as Touch. It is more of a competitor to Sony Walkman and Samsung’s PMP than the iPod Touch. Here are my reasons:
( keep in mind this list is subject to the announcement of any possible app store for Zune HD and other feature announcements)
1. App Store
Sure, it’s called an iPod. But it’s not just a device made for listening to music and watching videos. It works with almost all of the (approximately) 50,000 applications in the App Store, which as Apple says it, ‘Solve life’s dilemma’s, one application at a time’. It’s very difficult to compete with that. Microsoft might have to start from scratch if they decide not to bring Windows Mobile Marketplace to Zune HD. Even if they do, the developer support for App Store is very strong and a force to reckon with.
2. User Interface
Look at the UI of an iPod Touch and then look at the one on a Zune HD. Which one looks more suited to applications? The UI on Zune HD doesn’t even look as if it has been made keeping any sort of application support in mind. Heck, it doesn’t even have a clock! If somehow it does, a user will have to dig deep into sub menus. ‘More’ seems to be the only place where they might have applications or games. I might be wrong and the final UI could change but at the moment, it looks far from giving the iPod Touch a run for its money.
Reuters recently did a tour of Microsoft Research Labs in Cambridge where they were shown Second Light, Sense Cam and other projects being worked on. They also have a huge, antique disk platter from main frames which had just 1 MB capacity. Surface PC and touch based computing seem to be a priority in the research labs as they show a few different types of implementations in the video.
Microsoft announced at GDC 2009 that it’ll be providing digital distribution for games ala Steam for Windows. While, that hasn’t appeared on the horizon yet, we’ve been shown a demo already of XBOX 360’s Games on Demand service which was unveiled at E3. Once you’ve made sure you have enough space on your HDD, a credit card and a fast Internet connection you’re good to go. And the best thing is you can play other locally saved games while the new one is downloaded. It’s good to see Microsoft open heartedly accepting digital distribution of games, but I wonder how it’ll effect customers in an era when ISPs are shaping traffic and putting caps on Internet usage. Anyhow, keeping that aside, it’s a win win situation for the customer, specially if the game downloads aren’t restricted to regions, it’ll be guaranteed to be a hit.
One of the most popular games in the world, Tetris celebrates its 25th birthday today. According to Telegraph
The game was created by Alexey Pajitnov, a computer engineer who was working for the Computing Centre of the Soviet Academy of Sciences.
It has sold more than 70 million copies, been released for nearly every video-game platform of the past two decades and even been played on the side of a skyscraper.
In honor of Tetris’ birthday, this edition of Apps for Windows is dedicated to a Tetris games. The first one, Tetris Zone, is a desktop game and one of the better looking games of Tetris available. It has a free demo available for download, and can be bought for $9.95 as well. Its feature list includes:
- Four game variations will keep you entertained for hours:
- Marathon – 15 challenging levels of gameplay.
- Challenge – See how far you can go in 10 minutes!
- Sprint – Race to clear 40 lines.
- Master – Instant drops — think fast!
- Watch a full instant replay of your best game, including the all-time and daily best!
- Awesome graphics and sounds heighten the Tetris experience.
- Automatically upload your score to a world-wide Leader Board — compare your ranking against players from the around the world!
If you followed the E3 conference, you must have noticed how Sony and PS 3 fanboys were claiming that Microsoft only showed scripted/acted demos and not live one for Project Natal ( they acted as the Paint Party and Ricochet demos weren’t live ). Microsoft had promised demos behind closed doors, for people attending the conference and they did stick to their promise. A lot of celebrities, amongst other people, got a taste of Project Natal at E3, and the reaction has been amazing. Felicia Day, Brittany Snow, Aisha Tyler and many others got live demos of Project Natal and the videos are up at the Project Natal Youtube Channel. I’ve embedded Felicia’s hands on video of Project Natal below, others can be seen at the Youtube Channel.
Long Zheng has found official confirmation for Windows 7 box art from the Microsoft Store. It looks the same as the one leaked by CentrumXP.pl. While this art is confirmed for the full version upgrades, the upgrade version have yet to be confirmed. They aren’t as pleasant on the eyes as these ones, so we’ll have to wait for them to be uncovered. The above box art can be seen at the Microsoft Store, but there’s no sign of pricing yet.
The box art looks really clean and simple as with the rest of Windows 7. It feels as if they’ve toned it down after the not so successful ‘Wow starts now’ campaign for Vista. And with October 22 marked as the date for public availability of Windows 7, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of a marketing approach they take this time. I guess, it’ll reflect the simplicity of the OS just like the box art does.
Update: As a reader pointed out in the comments, this had already been posted by Ars Technica some time ago.
What do Google and Yahoo don’t have? Ringtones! Microsoft has released BingTones for Bing. You can download them for free and have various voices go ‘Bing, Bing’ whenever your phone rings or you get a message. I am not a very ringtone-changing person, but I have found my new BingTones. :) Download them here.
[via Steve Clayton]
Yes, there was a Bing in Windows 95. Chandler Bing from the popular TV Show Friends. Acted by Matthew Perry, he is one of the most loved characters from the show. Matthew Perry, along with Jennifer Aniston, who was also in Friends as Rachel, starred in a promotional instructional video for Windows 95. It was funny and informational with a little bit of story which starts with them ending up in Bill Gates’ office, with a lot of weird characters interfering in between who showed off more features. Matthew Perry really knew his way around Windows 95.
It would be really awesome if they could bring back Matthew Perry and Jennifer Aniston for a marketing video for Bing too. It’s available on YouTube over 4 parts, so click read more to check out the rest.
TED is one of the most fascinating annual conferences in the world. The videos from the conference always have something different and interesting. The new Silverlight 3 TED Video Player by Thirteen 23 lets you watch TED videos right from the comfort of your desktop. It is a Silverlight 3 out of browser application therefore available for both platforms.
The application is very easy to use. You can search for TED talks, see the newest and popular ones as well as the jaw-dropping ones. Although it doesn’t have the ‘Resize’ filters that the TED website itself has, but it helps you find the video you’re looking for. The video player isn’t the same as the one on TED website, but it’s really clean and simple with a timeline, play/pause button and volume control. You can also skip to any particular time on the timeline.
It’s a joy to watch interesting TED Talks using this video player and it’s a must have if you follow TED too.