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All posts tagged XBox

 

 

The Windows10 Briefing Is Over…

… if you watched it and weren’t impressed by the incredible display of passion and innovation and then you probably don’t have one uncynical bone in your body.

Windows10 by all definitions appears to be outrageously good and Microsoft have clearly been working tooth and nail to deliver what promises to be an incredible User Experience. Much of this they credit to the vast number of participants in the Windows Insider Program.

What Do We Know?

After an all-star cast from Microsoft presented various aspects of what Windows10 is going to be all about; here’s what we know: –

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  1. FREE in the first year: Microsoft will make it free, yes FREE to upgrade Windows 8.1 in the first year of Windows10 release. Note to all those misunderstanding this: after a year you aren’t going to get charged, stop being so daft. There’s more though: this free upgrade extends to Windows Phone 8 and Windows 7. Yes you read that right, if you have Windows 7 you can upgrade for FREE!!! Now I assume you will want to run a compatibility check to ensure your hardware can handle Windows10 but the implication is most of the hardware will be supported.
  2. UNIVERSAL Apps: Microsoft never does anything without one eye on their developer community and this is no exception. The big example cited is Office for Windows10. The new Office will work cross-device and have strong touch-orientation.
    1. Continuum is a colossally important feature. It’s all about responsive OS and behavior of devices based on context and use: docked hybrid devices act and display like a laptop, undocked Continuum allows them to behave like a tablet.
  3. CORTANA on the PC: Joe Belfiore and Cortana gave an amazing, humorous but informative presentation of just how Cortana will be implemented on the Desktop.
  4. SPARTAN: Microsoft reimagines the browser. This is not an attempt to kill Internet Explorer, instead this is a new browser to respond to the evolution of the web. Spartan is intended as a browser that maximizes productivity through richer interaction with web content.
  5. XBOX and Windows10: Xbox will have an app in Windows10 on every device. The app won’t only allow for social networking but will have some killer features:
    1. Game DVR for recording the previous 30 seconds, trimming and sharing epic moments from within the game.
    2. Direct-X 12 which will make drastic performance and resource improvements, and better power consumption for mobile gaming.
    3. Cross-platform game play between Xbox and Windows10 of games available on both platforms.
    4. Streamed play of Xbox only games from on Windows10 devices.
  6. Devices: this is where things get radically innovative: –
    1. The SURFACE HUB: Microsoft delivers the ultimate in work productivity and collaboration devices. This is a wall-mounted 84″, touch tablet with stylus, sensors, wifi and more: –
      1. Taking remote meetings and collaborating split screen will be just awesome.
      2. Wired or wireless connection for projected presentations.
      3. Whiteboard just by picking up the stylus and OneNote for the Hub appears.
    2. HOLOLENS and Windows HOLOGRAPHIC: Microsoft unveils a taste of future computing based on holograms. Instead of immersive virtual experience, the technology will exist and interact with our real worlds as holograms: –
      1. HOLOLENS is the wearable visor computer that allows the wearer to create, view and interact with Windows10 and through holographic versions of existing apps and by creating 3D holograms with an incredible Holographic Studio.
      2. Microsoft has created a whole new processing unit, the HPU to support what can only be described as the most incredible and covert (until now) of Redmond’s innovations.

    You can see an amazing video on Microsoft’s Hololens Page

    1. 2015 will be the year of undisclosed Windows 10 flagship phones.
    2. OEM devices. So far Windows 8 has encouraged some interesting devices from the OEMs. With geometrically greater levels of awesomeness from Windows10 we can expect even greater devices from the OEMs.

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The Warptest POV

Microsoft pulled out the big guns with the team that pitched Windows10 including CEO Satya Nadella, Joe Belfiore and Terry Myerson but the star of the briefing has to be Alex Kipman whose raw passion and drive and obvious high level of technical know-how shone through in his presentation of Microsoft’s Hololens and Holographic technology. When watching him I felt I was watching a Steve Jobs era Apple presentation.

Windows10 - Alex Kipman

The partnership with the Jet propulsion Lab and the demonstration of holographic interaction with the Mars Rover drove home how far Microsoft have pushed the boundaries of innovation taking this kind of wearable in a completely different direction from Google Glass. As one of the scientists noted in the short clip “they have made science-fiction into science fact”. In fact the announcement of a NASA App today led me to make this comment on Facebook:

 

Clearly Microsoft have brought their A game to Windows10 and adhered to the new reimagining of the company as the mobile first, cloud first, productivity company.

The free upgrade offering not just from Windows 8x or Windows Phone 8x but also Windows 7 is a huge change for the consumer and Microsoft. Whilst many of the more conservative Windows users will want to stay with Windows 7, the UX of Windows10 should make this a hard to resist proposition.

Cortana and Spartan are game changers for desktop and tablet devices and with Continuum the UX will at last truly tailor itself in a contextual and use case manner.

The demonstration of Xbox and the Xbox app left me impressed with Direct-X 12, the game demo and the Unity announcement make me think seriously about if and when I’m going to get back into gaming.

One has to wonder just how much of this innovation began under Steve Ballmer and has now come to fruition. Clearly, Hololens has been a long-term project in the making.

In a nutshell, as a Windows Insider with free access to the preview versions I’m only more excited to see these new features in action and test them for myself.

I’m giving Windows10 a strong Warptest recommendation. If you haven’t signed on as a Windows Insider you should do it now and see for yourself as well.

 

Today Microsoft’s Kinectimals Arrived on Windows Phone For Free…

As a Windows Phone owner who is also a Dad I’m always happy to try out games that might entertain the kids when desperately needed.

Kinectimals - Windows Phone

Kinectimals Unleashed is a great game that encourages the player to pay attention to their dog (or other animal) and in doing so earn coins that can be used to shop for things the animal may need.

In addition there is the game itself with a variety of challenges for player and animal together.

Offering a variety of scenarios and 85 different animals neither you nor your kids are going to be bored.

The game animation is excellent, detailed and almost life like. The animals behave as expected and the rendering is smooth.

So far I’ve played catch with Toffee the dog with balls and then progressed to Frisbee and it’s fun, engaging and entertaining.

The Warptest POV

Better still I can see how a parent being pressed by their kids for a dog might use Kinectimals as an interim step. Especially as the underlying message of the game is teaching kids all about being attentive to pets and providing the things the animal might need.

If you are a Windows Phone user I’m going to strongly recommend this game for you and your kids for fun and educational value.

Kinectimals ball play - Windows Phone

Kinectimals tiger - Windows Phone

In a nutshell, Microsoft has a great game here and it being free just sweetens the deal. Well played Windows Phone.

Let me know what you think of the game. Enjoy.

Google Glass and Microsoft Kinect…

Google Glass and Microsoft Kinect, both big time disrupters. Kinect the game-changer that allows your gaming experience to react to your body movements and voice. My first question when I first heard about this was, just how much processing power does it take for the Kinect to act as your primary interface?

Google Glass - actually this is Kinect

images courtesy of Microsoft’s  XBox – Kinect Homepage

Of course Microsoft are well on their way to realizing the full potential of Kinect. For example, voice controlled search via Bing, combined with XBox Live and more.

Next question: when is Windows Phone going to make this the primary interface?

Google’s Project Glass

Last week the whole tech blogosphere and beyond went wild about Google’s Project Glass. It is a sleek, wearable heads-up augmented reality display that will act as the user’s primary interface with the world.

Google Glass heads

images courtesy of Project Glass on Google+

It seems that according to what we know from the G+ page, Glass will interact with head tilt and other basic motion .. possibly using a gyroscope and or accelerometer (the example cited is for the Navigation System).

The Warptest POV

Google Glass sounds like an amazing concept that should be scaring the other platforms into playing catch-up.

In a nutshell were Project Glass (or a WP7 OS equivalent) to mate with the Kinect then the wearable, immersive, augmented reality interface would kill the competition.

However with Kinect the user may not need to look like an extra from Universal Soldier or Star Trek TNG:

Google Glass - Unisol    images courtesy of IMDB   Google Glass - STNG

Google Glass - Kinect phone mockup

(the image above is a mockup)

Redmond, if you are reading.. it’s catch-up time!