Review Category : Microsoft

MSN has partnered up with Motor Trend to launch a new car website to help people shop for, look at, and talk about cars.  The site is expected to launch in early 2014.  The central focus of the site will be a completely redesigned, easy-to-use Buying Guide heavy on vital information and seamlessly integrated into the overall experience, including deep car comparison tools, engaging editorial, and professionally produced videos.  Microsoft hopes to be able to monetize this site with gaining advertisers for a niche audience. “We are very excited about our partnership with MSN,” said Eric B. Schwab, EVP, Sales & Marketing, and Group Publisher of the Motor Trend Automotive Group. “The idea of Motor Trend on MSN is to combine the reach and capability of MSN with the rich and authoritative premium auto content from Motor Trend.  Automotive influencers, as well as new car intenders, will be offered an entirely new ...

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Major Nelson recently talked to Chad Gibson, Principle Group Program manager for Xbox Live Gaming features and Mike Lavin, Sr. Global Product Marketing manager for Xbox Live about how the Smart Match & Social Reputation features work on Xbox Live. Asynchronous Matchmaking Smart Watch makes it easy for a title to create a match request and then “untether” me so you do not need wait in the title while the match search is processing. I can switch to reading a quick social blog or watch a viral video and when the match is ready Xbox One tells me to pull me back into the title to play.  The new Smart Match service allows titles to change their match model from traditional peer-based host searching for players typical in Xbox 360 to now completely untethered cloud-based. With Beacons in Xbox 360 you could set a toast to tell other friends of your desire ...

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Jean-Baptiste Kempf, president of VLC, gave an update on the progress of the WinRT VLC app.  You may remember they did a kickstarter to raise nearly $75,000 to work on a Metro Win8 app.  One of the major problems VLC faces is an enormous amount of legacy code written for the traditional desktop environment and not within the limitations of WinRT.  There are a number of symbols forbidden in the Win8 Metro environment, VLC had over 600 of these in their code and have been working on eliminating these one by one.  They are now down to getting rid of the last 16 forbidden symbols, an additional 32 remain if they want to add some network functionality to Metro VLC Win8 app. Hello, We are still working a lot of time, with almost a couple of persons spending most of their time on the WinRT port of VLC media player. ...

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Microsoft has released a firmware update for the Surface Pro & RT every month.  Updates rolled out the for this month include: Surface Pro: Update includes driver and performance improvements including: LifeCam driver that enhances clarity for low light operation and improves reliability when switching between the integrated camera and an external camera. Surface RT Update includes these firmware and performance improvements: Surface Home Button driver update that improves the reliability of the devices waking up immediately on the first button press. Firmware update for Surface Type Cover and Surface Touch Cover that improves functionality for both accessories. Includes the ability to toggle function keys, new shortcuts, and helpful keyboard navigation improvements.   ...

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The Bing Maps team has been quite busy lately.  On their blog today they announced a number of updates to Bing Maps, including the largest shipment of Bird’s Eye imagery yet, nearly 270 terabytes of data or the equivalent of 100,000 DVD’s, along with expanded venue maps and our new “Report a problem” feature.   To date Bing has published a total of 1,452,958 sq km, or half a petabyte of data, of Bird’s Eye scenes from around the world. The section in yellow below are the newly added Bing Bird’s Eye Imagery: Venue Maps in more than 59 countries on Bing Maps, you can navigate your way around malls, airports, amusement parks and more using your Windows phone, tablet, or PC!  While on Bing Maps and within a zoom level of 1000 feet, purple and green polygons will appear to outline particular points of interest for a given venue. Green shading ...

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Microsoft and Sony has finally revealed most of the details on their next generation gaming consoles. While both Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PS4 has almost identical specs, they differ in many other ways. Sony PlayStation 4 is now leading the pre-order sales over Xbox One in many Amazon websites around the world. There are many reason behind it. For example, the recently revealed details on Xbox One’s DRM, pricing and other details has take a hit at their pre-order sales. There is a positive news for Microsoft, they can fix all the issues/misconceptions around the console right now. 1) 24 hours login requirement – Microsoft can easily change their decision to allow gamers to login once a week with other tweaks in policies. 2) Used games: Microsoft’s message that developers can opt-in/opt-out for used games restriction didn’t reach out to the consumers fully yet. Also Xbox One allows you ...

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Microsoft announced yesterday that their next generation console Xbox One is launching in November this year. Only 21 markets around the world will have launch this year and other countries will have this device in a staged roll-out process. Here are the list of countries that will have Xbox One in November, United States France Netherlands Canada Germany Switzerland Mexico Spain Russia Brazil Italy Sweden Australia Ireland Norway New Zealand Belgium Finland United Kingdom Austria Denmark Microsoft is working on bringing the new device in select Asian markets – Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and India and Microsoft said that they are working on localized content for the device. Microsoft is also planning to aggressively market the new re-designed Xbox 360 console in the emerging markets to keep up the console sales.   ...

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While copying Windows Phone, Apple decided it may as well switch to Bing too.  All kidding aside, Google is a powerful enemy and an ever increasing threat to Apple and Microsoft.  Since Windows Phone has less marketshare, Apple has decided to switch to Bing when iOS users use Siri. Today at WWDC Apple announced iOS 7, which brings Bing web search integration to Siri, Apple’s breakthrough personal assistant, for the first time.  Starting this fall with iOS 7, Bing will power Siri’s new integrated web search. When users ask Siri a question either the specific answer or web search links will now be delivered automatically so users can find information even faster. Bing.com will now be available to Siri users on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. This deal between Apple and Microsoft is similar to the one with Yahoo.  The average user will not notice any front-end changes to Siri, but on the ...

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Looks like the cool thing to do nowadays is to copy Microsoft.  First it was Apple with iOS7, now it is Sony with the PS4.  As the old saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  Wonder why they decided not to show this at their original press conference to begin with.  Without any further rambling from me, here is the picture:     ...

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Microsoft has is integrating smartglass more deeply into the Xbox One.  Smartglass can be accessed through your phone or pc and can allow for control of the Xbox One and integration with games.  Today at E3 Microsoft talked about smartglass and the Xbox One. Richer SmartGlass Experiences: Xbox SmartGlass for Xbox One allows you to turn your console on and off, adjust volume, manage your TV set-top box and Blu-ray, and integrates with Xbox One so you can search the programming guide without interrupting your current activity. Xbox SmartGlass also gives you full control over your game to start a game, launch multiplayer, view achievements, see real-time progress updates during gameplay, receive in-game tips, purchase Add-ons and more. Microsoft also made minor announcements about the TV guide on Xbox One and Kinect. Xbox OneGuide: Now you can navigate and watch live TV without switching inputs. Your Xbox Live Gold membership ...

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Coming exclusively to Xbox One in November, “Ryse: Son of Rome” is an immersive action-adventure story of struggle, brutality and heroism, following a fearless Roman soldier named Marius Titus as he seeks to avenge the death of his family and leads an army to save the Roman Empire. “Ryse: Son of Rome” presents a cinematic re-creation of ancient Rome and brings the brutality and intensity of Roman warfare to life in visceral detail, thrusting you into the chaos of close-combat and epic-scale battles. ...

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Today at E3 Microsoft talked about some the exlusive games and launch titles for the Xbox One: “Ryse: Son of Rome,” from Crytek, is an epic action-adventure story that immerses you in the intensity of Roman warfare as you seek vengeance across the battlefields of ancient Rome. “Ryse: Son of Rome” extends the gameplay experience with Xbox SmartGlass and Game DVR and lets you call in legions of troops while in the heat of battle with the sound of your voice using Kinect.   Turn 10 Studios unveiled the breathtaking visuals and adrenaline-filled action of “Forza Motorsport 5,” the next installment of the highest-rated racing franchise of the past 10 years.  Designed for Xbox One and the vast power of the cloud, “Forza Motorsport 5” features revolutionary Drivatar technology that learns how you and your friends drive, delivering real human behavior and an ever-evolving network of opponents always ready to ...

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Microsoft is integrating a number of social features into the Xbox One.  The Xbox One has a built-in Cloud Game DVR, an upload studio that allows you to edit your videos easily, and a partnership with Twitch to allow live broadcasts of your gameplay. Social: Xbox Live on Xbox One brings you all new ways to record, edit, share and broadcast epic gaming moments directly on your TV, including: Game DVR: Amp up your bragging rights with Game DVR by capturing your highlights. Gamers can also use Game DVR content to provide real-time help for friends. Upload Studio: What better way to show off your greatest gaming moments than by adding a little flare. With the new Upload Studio you can add voice over, skins, slow motion and other awesome features to your recorded clips, then share them out and compare to your friends’ creations.* Twitch: We are excited to announce ...

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Microsoft made a number of announcements at E3 regarding new gaming features for the Xbox One New Level of Cloud Integration: With the Azure powered cloud backing Xbox Live, everything is more convenient and accessible. All of your games and entertainment to be stored and saved on Xbox Live, so you can instantly access them anytime, from any Xbox One. You do not have to wait for a system or application updates. Xbox One will always be up-to-date and ready for you – wherever you left off. Developers can take advantage of the 300,000 servers backing Xbox Live when we launch this fall to build immersive worlds.   Expanded Achievements: The all-new achievements system for Xbox One is no longer confined to a single game. We want gamers to be rewarded for skill, participation and time-based challenges. Plus, developers can take advantage of the power of Xbox Live to continue ...

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Today Microsoft announced that Skype group calling, a premium Skype service, included with your Xbox Live Gold Membership.  This benefit stays with you even if you are using Skype on your PC or Mac.  Microsoft bought Skype for $8.5 Billion dollars a little over two years ago and is integrating the service throughout products within the company.  Skype is considered one of Microsoft’s core services.     ...

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Microsoft is finally getting rid of Microsoft Points in favor of local currency. This has long been rumored but is finally confirmed to be happening.  The ability to purchase games, movies, apps and entertainment will all be done in local currency on the Xbox 360 starting after the Fall 2013 update and in time for the Xbox One launch.     ...

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