Archivi giornalieri: 05/06/2012
Sure today’s Microsoft E3 keynote was jam-packed full of high octane explosions, but the biggest excitement from the hardware-free event was arguably SmartGlass, a new technology from Redmond that promises to help to bring together users’ diverse array of screens. When it was initially leaked ahead of the event, SmartGlass looked to largely be a somewhat straightforward AirPlay competitor. Judging by Microsoft’s flashy demo video, however, the company is clearly looking to build it into its own beast all together. Thankfully, we got to play with it a bit — albeit for a very short amount of time, given the fairly early state of the technology.
Let’s start thing off by clarifying a big question surrounding the somewhat enigmatic demo that we saw at today’s event: yes, SmartGlass gives developers the potential to turn smartphones and tablets into a controller for the Xbox 360. As suspected, it will likely be integrated into more casual games — after all, we shudder at the thought of controlling, say, Halo 4 using just a touchscreen. As is the nature of the product, the company isn’t letting the details flow too freely here, but in a demo we saw of the technology tonight, a Microsoft rep name-dropped a title called Home Run Stars — a baseball game, as you’ve likely already gathered from the fairly straightforward name.
Yes, another Windows 8 tablet. After getting hands-on with some new devices from Acer, ASUS and Samsung, you might already having trouble telling one device from the other. You might even say the same about Lenovo, which is showing off an early-stage tablet here at Computex. The difference? We can’t remember the last time we saw even a Windows 7 tablet by Lenovo. So when the company trots out a slate running Win8, it doesn’t just feel like a mandatory upgrade from one OS to another; it feels like Lenovo entering a new category.
HP has been very eager to take the Envy line in an Ultrabook direction, leaving performance hounds a bit wanting. Much to their (and our) relief, the full-fat Envy 15, Envy 17, and Envy 17 3D have all made the leap to Intel’s latest round of Ivy Bridge processors. Along with the 2.3GHz to 2.7GHz quad Core i7 chips we all know and love, the Envy 15 and regular 17 can get a dual 2.5GHz Core i5 to keep the price slightly closer to Earth. All of them ship with an equally upgraded AMD Radeon HD 7850M to give games that extra jolt of energy, and you won’t find one with less than 6GB of RAM and a 750GB hard drive. Should you like the Envy’s current formula and just wish it had that much more oomph, you can pay a post-discount $1,100, $1,250 or $1,530 to bring one to your door.
We didn’t spot it on stage during the pre-E3 2012 press conference, but Sony’s PlayStation Blog is showing off a new PS Move Racing Wheel on the way. This framework apparently fits around the Move, featuring different grip styles with twist throttles and paddle shifters depending on what kind of racing you’d like to do. The “precise motion tracking” afforded by the Move appears to be targeted at titles like the upcoming LittleBigPlanet Karting, but it’s hard to see how this will be real wheel, or even controller, alternative for serious gamers. It certainly seems to be fair competition for Microsoft’s Wireless Speed Wheel that was introduced last year or the Nintendo Wii Wheel, but frankly we’re surprised that’s a battle anyone else wanted to be in. Either way, we expect to get our hands on it this week before it hits stores this fall for $39.99.
Well, look at what we have here! We just swung by Samsung’s booth at Computex, and the outfit is showing off not one, but two touch-enabled variations of its Series 5 Ultrabooks. These include the Ultra Touch, a classic clamshell laptop, along with the Ultra Convertible, whose 13-inch display folds all the way back (not unlike the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga). Both devices are on their way stateside; it’s just not clear when or how much they’ll cost. Until then, we’ve got hands-on preview photos below, along with detailed impressions and a pair of walk-through videos. So join us, won’t you?
Still not sold on the PlayStation Vita? Then Sony’s hoping that it’s latest bundle will be more to your liking. In addition to the just-announced Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation game, it packs a limited edition “crystal white” PS Vita (WiFi only), along with a 4GB memory card. Unfortunately, you’ll still have a bit of a wait before you can get your hands on it, with the bundle only set to hit stores on October 30th (coinciding with the game’s release). No word on a price for it just yet, nor is there any word on the white PS Vita being sold separately. Not to be left out, the PlayStation 3 is also getting an Assassin’s Creed III bundle of its own, which includes the game and some exclusive DLC — no price for it either, though.
Samsung shows off Series 7 all-in-one PC with slim design and metal stand, stays mum on specs (update: hands-on photos)
In addition to that Series 5 laptop / tablet hybrid, Samsung has one other goodie up its sleeve. The company is also teasing a Series 7 all-in-one PC, a desktop that we can only imagine was built to run Windows 8 (notice that those cheeky blokes in Sammy’s marketing department aren’t even showing a Win8 screen in that lone photo you see up there). As with the Series 5 hybrid, Samsung is revealing maddeningly little about specs. We do know it responds to both voice input and hand gestures — both uncommon features for a desktop, especially in that combination. We don’t even know the screen size or resolution, but we’re told this panel is capable of recognizing up to 10 fingers at once. Lastly, Samsung says the stand is made of metal and the display is slim, but you probably already gathered that. And that, folks, is all she wrote, but we’ll be sure to report back with more details between now and when this goes on sale, presumably sometime after Win8 ships this fall.
It’s been barely over a month since the Firefox 13 beta began, but the wait for a completed version has felt especially drawn out. Thankfully, Mozilla has just wrapped up its work and set loose the polished code. The new release makes its changes felt right away, as you’ll see a new default home page with bookmarks and history. Opening a new tab page presents a list of most visited pages — a feature that we can swear we’ve seen in a few browsers before. A slightly fresher addition switches on Google’s SPDY protocol by default, which as its convenient acronym suggests should squeeze and streamline web traffic to load it faster. Mozilla won’t completely open the floodgates until tomorrow, but you can download Mac and Windows editions today from the source links below.
Microsoft’s SmartGlass gets official: app brings AirPlay-esque streams to Android, iOS and Windows Phone
Microsoft may not be introducing a next-gen console at E3 this year, but it is teaching its venerable Xbox 360 some new tricks. SmartGlass brings AirPlay-style wireless technology to Xbox and Windows 8 by letting you send video from your tablet or phone to your TV. It then turns that second screen into an information window giving you data of the content you’re watching. Plus, it updates the info on your mobile device as the content on the TV changes. The app also enables peripheral controls for games you’re playing — so you can scroll through different plays on your tablet while playing Madden on your big screen, for example.
In addition to providing your peripherals with contextual awareness, the SmartGlass app turns your phone into a remote and trackpad for your Xbox, in case using Kinect and regular controllers aren’t something you’re into. So, you can pinch to zoom, move the onscreen cursor and scroll to your heart’s content in Xbox’s new web browser using your tablet or phone. When will we be seeing SmartGlass in living rooms? Unfortunately, not until this fall, so our liveblog photos of the app in action will have to suffice until then.
Say goodbye to Zune, folks. Microsoft has just announced its brand new Xbox Music service during its big E3 presentation. That brings with a library of more than 30 million tracks, which you’ll be able to access across all of your Microsoft devices, including your PC, Windows 8 tablet and Windows Phone in addition to the Xbox 360 itself. Expectedly, that all comes wrapped in a Metro-style interface, but it appears to basically be a Zune rebrand beyond that, with few other surprises to be found (at least for now).
Xbox 360 software at E3: FIFA 2013 / Madden 2013 gaining Kinect voice commands; Halo 4, Fable, Forza Horizon and Gears of War showcased
No new hardware for Microsoft at E3? No problem. Clearly, this year’s all about software for the Xbox 360, with both FIFA 2013 and Madden 2013 confirmed for release with Kinect support. Aside from letting you flail to and fro in order to make plays, both titles will also support voice commands, right down to understanding multiple dialects in the former. As for Madden? There’s some pretty intense voice integration, enabling one Joe Montana to actually call plays and direct the huddle with his voice here at the E3 stage. The demo was unsurprisingly awesome, and we’re told to expect it on store shelves on August 28th. For those who aren’t exactly “sports-inclined,” there’s also Fable and Halo 4 — two titles that’ll supposedly make this year the “best ever” for Xbox 360 software.
If anything’s giving gaming juggernauts like Nintendo and Sony reason to look over their shoulders, it’s the recent uptick in mobile gaming. And much to those titans’ chagrin, Nyko’s come to stir the pot. Announced just today, the accessory maker’s outing a new line of wireless controllers made specifically for TegraZone titles. The peripherals, co-developed with NVIDIA, come in two distinct sizes: the PlayPad Pro for more traditional gaming with its dual analog controllers, d-pad and array of shoulder and face buttons, and the diminutive PlayPad with its dual analog sliders, carrying case and foldable stand for a truer portable experience. Though both controllers are designed for use with optimized Tegra 2 or 3 titles, legacy games will also be supported via the accessory maker’s free Playground app, which will also allow for customized layouts, as well as pre-sets for top titles on devices running Android 3.0 and up. No pricing or concrete release information’s been made available at the moment, with the company mentioning only a Fall launch for later this year.
As the world of digital DJing offers those who spin increasingly individual configurations, there’s still a dedicated crowd who like to keep it strictly “ones and twos.” Denon hears this, and is hoping to snag some of those faithful with its latest SC2900 DJ media player. From the tease video (after the break) it looks like it’s pitting itself against Pioneer’s CDJ900 and CDJ2000 models. There’s a 7-inch platter (Denon’s first without a motor,) jazzed up with LEDs for cue and marker points. This can be used to get hands on with CDs (audio and MP3,) USB drives, music direct from the companion “Engine” software (i.e. hosted on a Mac or PC,) and shared media from other compatible networked players. Other goodies include four hot cues, native support for Traktor (and other) DJ software over MIDI, a “slip mode” made popular by the CDJ900 for keeping tracks in the mix even when scratching, and library browsing via iPad (though we’re not sure if it’s anything more than that). Pricing and availability should get played out soon, in the meantime you might want to start boning up on those old DMC routines.