Tag Archives: Microsoft

How Many Windows Phone 7 Devices Have Been Sold?

Microsoft is finally talking hard numbers. According to the company earlier today, they have sold about 1.5 million devices – but not to consumers. The announcement notes that there have been 1.5 million phone manufacturer sales: in other words, “phones being bought and stocked by mobile operators and retailers on their way to customers.” The number of units sold tell a story, to be sure. What we aren’t being told is how many of those devices are being activated.

Apple and Google routinely talk about how many phones are being activated. Reportedly, there are around 300,000 Android activations every day and even more new iPhone customers. Those numbers boggle the mind, and leaves us to wonder – who the heck is activating Windows Phone 7 devices? The report shows us how many devices have been purchased by people – including those used to stock the shelves in the stores. In my opinion, that’s trying to put a positive spin on what should technically be a dismal report.

If Microsoft truly wants to be a player, they need to stop beating around the bush. Tell us how many devices are being activated. If they aren’t happy with that number, then they need to look at why things are going in the direction they are. The handsets and operating system are both solid. What’s holding them back? Could there still be that much stigma surrounding the company when it comes to the mobile market? Perhaps they need to come up with a new game plan to get these phones into the hands of real people who will give them a fair and unbiased opinion.

What are your thoughts? I don’t want to hear from Microsoft haters or Apple (or Android!) fanboys. I want to know WHY you feel Windows Phone 7 isn’t selling as well as the folks in Redmond had hoped. Please don’t just use the tired argument of “Microsoft sucks,” because that isn’t going to help anyone. Let’s hear what you honestly think, and perhaps together we can all come up with some fresh ideas.

The Kin is back from the dead! [COMIC]

At the end of June, Microsoft killed off their line of Kin phones. There were reports that only about five hundred of the devices ever sold. Speculation pointed to the high cost of the device and its plan, as well as the fact that they seemed to be geared towards teenagers.

Apparently, the Kin is back with an updated pricing plan. Do you think resurrecting this device was a good idea?

The Kin is back from the dead! [COMIC]

Windows Phone 7 Devices Hit the Streets Today in the U.S.

Mobile enthusiast and a garage developer Richard Mungeer was the first person to purchase a Windows Phone 7 device today in New York City’s Times Square AT&T Store. From what I’ve seen already, Microsoft is definitely back in the mobile game with this launch.

It’s worth noting that reports are circulating telling you that you can purchase one of these new devices on either Dell Mobility or Amazon Wireless for as low as $149.99 with a new two-year contract. That’s a dang good deal for phones which are going to be very big sellers.

Many of the articles we’re seeing come across the wire thus far this morning are giving high praise to these devices, and the operating system for which they were built, such as over on GearLive:

The home screen introduces you to the tiles that make up the main navigation, some of which are live tiles that update with information in realtime. The live tiles are great because they give glance-able information that let you take a quick gander at your device and get information without having to go into an app and back out.

The tiles can be removed, or rearranged however you’d like them to be. If you’ve used a Zune HD, then you will be familiar with the UI of Windows Phone 7. The phone, though, is far more customizable, with Microsoft wanting you to be able to personalize the phone and make it totally “yours.”

The general consensus so far is that Windows Phone 7 is definitely worth your time and money. “If you’re the corporate type, Windows Phone 7 will sync right up with Exchange, while also offering you a bunch of entertainment options that are built right in to the device in a way that no other mobile OS has captured yet.” This statement alone could sell quite a few large companies on making a switch to this operating system for all of their employees.

What are your thoughts? Have you actually used a Windows phone 7 device yet? Are you looking forward to getting your hands on one?

Are You Ready to Kinect?

This is a guest post written by long-time community member and friend Mike Parks – otherwise known as simply @BigRedPimp. You can also find him helping to “pimp” out his wife’s Eco-friendly Homemaker site. Mike has had a Kinect in his hot little hands for nearly three months now, and was gracious enough to give us his thoughts on the device thus far.

Video game controllers have come a long way since some of us were kids. We’ve gone from blocky, one-button joysticks that move a small, yellow circle around a maze to current iterations that have more buttons than we have fingers. Often times, we find ourselves wondering what’s next and hoping for a little more interaction with the games we play. Gamers want just a bit more immersion into worlds they choose to dedicate their spare time to.

In recent years, some companies have experimented with video-based or motion controls. Games using these technologies would allow the player to get involved through motions that either the controller or the camera would pick up and translate into movement. These often offered minimal enjoyment and, after the newness wore off, felt gimmicky at best.

Enter Kinect for Xbox 360. In order to hopefully offer something different, Microsoft has released a new style of gaming peripheral that uses camera-based game play and offers a totally new twist on anything we’ve seen before.

The Kinect is an attempt to get users off the couch and into the games they play. It offers a camera, microphone and a depth sensor that allows it to not only see and hear the players but determine their location in front of the TV. Kinect even allows for more than one person at a time to play which is great for getting families involved.

CAMERA

The camera in the Kinect is an RGB camera that captures video at [email protected] It offers an impressive image quality that is not only good for allowing games to capture detailed images but great for video chat using Video Kinect. It seems to lag behind slightly during Video Kinect sessions but that does not interfere with its processing during normal game activity. Overall, it’s a great camera for its purposes.

MICROPHONE

The microphone is a fairly standard multi-array microphone that is able to pick up a wide spectrum of sound. The sound quality is above average and great for voice communication via Video Kinect or even issuing voice commands to the Xbox 360. To get the attention of the Dashboard, you just say “Xbox” and it responds. You may have some issues with responsiveness of voice commands with certain accents and dialects but it still seems fairly accurate. The microphone is passable but far from horrible.

DEPTH SENSOR

Kinect uses a depth sensor to track a player’s location in the room. If you’re curious how it works, it basically bounces infrared light onto the play area and processes the brightness of a series of images into a sort of greyscale image. With this information, it’s able to figure out the shapes of things like your furniture as well as recognize facial & body movements. If you walk forward, your avatar moves forward. Act like you’re kicking a ball and your avatar will do the same. This is the best aspect of the product and does a fantastic job at what it does.

GAMES & SOFTWARE

Of course, the whole thing would be useless without the games. Kinect comes with a game called Kinect Adventures that has players kicking and punching dodgeballs at targets, navigating a raft down a river or even racing around an obstacle course. The game has a lot to offer players with 20 different game types to play as well as collecting trophies along the way to document your adventures.

Another game that flexes the muscle of Kinect is Kinect Sports. This game includes a few sports titles that really get you off the couch and involved in the game. One minute, you could be swearing off that last gutter ball in Bowling, hurling a javelin for distance in Track & Field or even scoring the game-winning header in Football (sorry, “Soccer” isn’t in my vocabulary).

You’re not stuck with having to buy all the software to use the Kinect either. There’s plenty of things to do within the Xbox Dashboard too. Currently, the ESPN, Last.fm and Zune applications as well as Video Kinect take advantage of certain aspects of Kinect. It has something to offer everyone, no matter the price.

OVERALL

The Kinect experience is definitely one that everyone should try at least once. The offerings as of this review range from sports, exercise & music titles with a few action games rounding out the mix. Kinect has a lot of potential to get families playing together. The core gamers shouldn’t feel left out either as there are plenty of titles both current and in the works to satisfy even the most hardcore gaming appetite. While it may not be a game-changer, it does well at enhancing the fun factor and leave players wanting more.

Han Solo's Blaster Drawn in Microsoft Paint

Can you believe FuggedabouditNL was able to do this in Microsoft Paint? I could barely draw a circle with the official circle-drawing tool. Guess it’s not about the tool, after all. He puts Photoshop artists to shame!

As you probably know, MS Paint is free software! This video once again proves that one doesn’t need expensive programs like Photoshop to create some nice 3D images!

This drawing was done in only five hours. Can you even believe he did this? Seriously? I’d like to see YOU try it!

Music Credit – Epic Demo by Cesc Vilà.

Do You Remember Windows 1.0?

Yesterday, I noticed a tweet float across the screen from the Microsoft Springboard Series team. It said: “This is awesome. Ray Ozzie just posted a scan he made of the 1985 Windows 1.0 Press Kit! Vintage!” You know I had to check that out. How cool is this scan?

Back in 1985 when this was released, it was major news. This offering out of Microsoft made history, and helped shape things to come. It changed the way we lived and worked. Windows 1.0 is a piece of our history – and it’s great of Ray to share this with all of us.

Do you remember those days? How did using Windows 1.0 change your life?

Is Your Computer Part of a Botnet in the US?

During the first half of 2010, more than two million computers in the United States alone were found to be part of a botnet. Microsoft performed the research, which showed that Brazil had the second highest level of infections at 550,000. The country hit hardest is South Korea, where 14.6 out of every 1000 machines were found to be enrolled in botnets.

Cliff Evans is the head of security and identity in the UK. “Most people have this idea of a virus and how it used to announce itself,” he said. “Few people know about botnets.” Botnets start when a virus infects a computer, either through spam or an infected web page. The virus puts the Windows machine under the control of a botnet herder. “Once they have control of the machine they have the potential to put any kind of malicious code on there,” said Mr Evans. “It becomes a distributed computing resource they then sell on to others.”

The stats for the report were gathered from more than 600 million machines which are enrolled in Microsoft’s various update services or use its Essentials and Defender security packages. The conclusions of the report show that people need to be much more vigilant. You have to keep yourself well protected against threats of any kind. Even though they’re a pain, you need to apply your Windows updates when they become available, keep programs updated (such as Java) and make sure that you understand security basics.

What Does the Future of Mobile Development Hold?


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During Gnomedex, we learned about the future of mobile technology. Amy Karlson is a researcher in the Computational User Experiences (CUE) subgroup of the Visualization and Interaction for Business and Entertainment (VIBE) research area at Microsoft Research, focusing on HCI and user experiences within mobile and multi-device environments.

She received a B.A. and M.S. in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University. She received her Ph.D. from University of Maryland, College Park in Computer Science, where she specialized in HCI and one-handed interaction with touchscreen-based mobile devices, and for which she was awarded a Microsoft LiveLabs Fellowship. Prior to earning her Ph.D., Ms. Karlson worked for several years as a research scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

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Does Microsoft Hate Open Source Software?


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Josh represented Microsoft during OpenCamp recently. People were quite confused as to why Microsoft would be interested in Open Source products. While Windows and Linux may be competitors, much of the Open Source applications are not. They run really well in Windows.

The IIS team is making sure that open source software runs better on Windows than it does on Linux. Microsoft is very supportive of the people making these applications, and attends a lot of conferences to help them in every way they can.

To anyone who feels that Microsoft hates Open Source, Josh asks them to take a new look at the Redmond team. They compete hard where they have a product that may be similar, such as the operating system and Microsoft Office. However, when it comes to everything else – keep your eyes open and let Microsoft work with you to make the best application you can produce.

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