Microsoft is at a key juncture in its history as a consumer tech company, with two high stakes launches scheduled for next month. It will be rolling out Windows Phone 7 on November 8 (in North America) as it looks to atone for the sin that was Windows Mobile. At stake is a respectable position in the increasingly important smartphone market.
The North American launch of Kinect is also scheduled for November. Here too the stakes are high as the company is looking for a magical moment that could see its console take a clear lead in what has been a keenly contested console generation.
Those of you holding your breath for the Nintendo 3DS will have to do so until late February or March (depending on which part of the world you call home). Nintendo has confirmed the launch date of the 3DS and also revealed its price. The handheld will debut first in Japan on February 26, 2011 and then go on to launch in Europe, Australia and the U.S the following month.
The autostereoscopic successor to the Nintendo DS will cost ¥25,000 (US$298), according to Nintendo president Satoru Iwata. He made the announcement at a press event in Japan. The hardware package will include a Nintendo 3DS hardware unit, recharging cradle, AC adapter, 3DS stylus, 2GB SD memory card and 6 AR Cards (used for games with AR technologies). The complete 3DS spec list is available here.
The next iteration of Ubuntu will accommodate Canonical's UTouch framework, making it the first version of the world's most popular linux distro to feature multitouch support. Codenamed Maverick Meerkat, Ubuntu version 10.10 is scheduled for release on October 10, 2010. According to a post on Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth's official blog, at least a four-finger touch device is needed “to get the most out of it.”
He also revealed that Canonical is developing the new feature using the Dell Latitude XT2 as its development platform. “The design team has lead the way, developing a “touch language” which goes beyond the work that we’ve seen elsewhere. Rather than single, magic gestures, we’re making it possible for basic gestures to be chained, or composed, into more sophisticated 'sentences,'” the South African entrepreneur wrote in a blog post Monday.
“The basic gestures, or primitives, are like individual verbs, and stringing them together allows for richer interactions. It’s not quite the difference between banging rocks together and conducting a symphony orchestra, but it feels like a good step in the right direction.”
I’m amazed you’re even reading this. Not because the quality of the prose is lacking in this week’s roundup of open-source and freeware applications, mind you. Rather, if you haven’t noticed by the coverage (and advertising) permeating just about every known tech site in the universe right now, Starcraft 2 just came out. It’s a miracle I’ve been able to tear myself away from defending humanity to write this but, well, my heart for free software is just too strong.
While it would be awesome to give you some kind of “Top 5 ways to get Starcraft 2 for free” article or something like that, it’s just not happening. And no, before you ask, there really aren’t any launchers or applications specifically designed for the game that can give you some kind of competitive edge or awesome third-party tie-in just yet. Wishful, if not silly thinking, no?
However, that’s not to say that applications don’t exist that could otherwise enhance your Starcraft 2 gaming experience in some capacity. Like I said, nothing’s been written specifically for the title, but there are a number of useful, free apps that you can use to otherwise bolster your gaming-life-that-just-so-happens-to-be-Blizzard’s-latest-title. I apologize for the tongue-twistedness of it all; simply put, you can use the following 5 apps to make Starcraft 2—or any game—rock just a little bit more.
However, Speed alone is not the only area of improvement. The browser is now armed with key HTML5 technologies, including Appcache, Web Workers and the royalty-free WebM online video format (based on the VP8 codec). The latest version also brings improvements to the UI and search suggestions. “Beyond the speed boost, the latest version of Opera improves on our robust HTML5 support and provides more options for quick and efficient Web search through your preferred search engines. By combining raw speed with intuitive and easy-to-use features, Opera places you among the fastest Internet users on the planet.”
It only makes sense to follow last week's "Best Mouse Ever" review on Maximum PC with a listing of some of the best freeware and open-source tools for making the most of your handheld input device--or, in layman's terms, the mouse.
If you think that's an easy task, than I have a golden, $500 mouse with your name on it. Simply put, there's just not that much love for the ol' mouse in today's software world. I suppose that makes sense, however. I have a flashy gaming mouse, yet, the only real software I used to extend its functionality is the very app, shipped by the manufacturer, that helps me customize said mouse's buttons. That's all you need, right?
I have indeed managed to find five apps that do their part to enhance your one-handed experience with your computer. At the end of the day, I'd still opt for a flashier mouse over a new piece of software when it comes to really making your input device rock. However, that's not to say that these programs aren't cool or useful in their own rights. Give ‘em a shot and let me know what you think in the comments!
Although Sprint refrained from letting out any numbers, it revealed that EVO's first day sales far exceeded the previous record for the “largest quantity of a single phone sold in one day ever for Sprint - the record was previously held by both Samsung Instinct and Palm Pre.”
Furthermore, the EVO's launch day sales also blazed past the tally racked up by Samsung Instinct and Palm Pre during their first three days on the market: “The total number of HTC EVO 4G devices sold on launch day was three times the number of Samsung Instinct and Palm Pre devices sold over their first three days on the market combined.”
The huge demand lead many of the 22,000 retail locations to expend their quota of EVO's in no time at all. To counter this, Sprint is constantly sending in fresh supplies, with some sales locations even receiving them on a daily basis.
Installing a password onto your default user account in Windows 7 is one of the best--and easiest--ways to keep average folk from messing around with your system. However, if you don't often have said "folk" around to bother with your PC, you might be tempted to relax your own security settings for convenience's sake.
After all, locking down your Windows account means that you'll never be able to just hit your power button and brew a coffee while your system boots. To get into the real meat of your operating system's boot process, you'll have to hover around your system and enter your password to continue onward. That's not the most frustrating of situations, however, it does become a pain if you're ever running a huge batch of downloads that's set to restart your system when it's done--or updates, for that matter. Or, worse, if your system just takes forever to boot.
Simply put, you'll never be able to just one-shot it to your desktop. Your own security settings prevent that... until now!
It's no secret that Google is a fan of open standards, and in particular, open video. The HTML5 beta currently in full swing on YouTube is evidence enough of this trend, but at least up until now, all the video being delivered has been in patent encumbered H.264. Given the commitment made to the standard it seemed pretty clear cut that they would be the codec winners in the Google camp, but in a rather interesting turn of events, the search giant has decided to dump a ton of cash into TheorARM, a competitor to H.264 aimed at mobile platforms.
Just in case we lost you, HTML5 delivers on its promise to offer up open standards for Web video, but browser vendors have so far been unable to reach a consensus on what underlying codec should be used. Ogg Theora is a royalty free option favored by most, but when it comes to sheer compression power, H.264 has it beat hands down. Compression is likely the reason for H.264's popularity given the massive bandwidth bills for streaming internet video, but clearly Google doesn't want to be seen as picking sides.
By supporting TheorARM Google is making a significant contribution to open video, and might eventually make it possible for Theora to gain broader support on the mobile web. According to Google's Robin Watts, "We need a baseline to work from-one standard format that (if all else fails) everything can fall back to". This hardly sounds like a ringing endorsement of the technology, but I'm sure the Theora won't turn down the support or big bag of cash.
It's important not to confuse sales with shipments. Huberty expects Apple to sell more than 6 million units this year. However, Wall Street is not as sanguine over the iPad's sales prospects and has settled for a more conservative estimate of 3-4 million units.