tech planet

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Microsoft won't solely favor Nokia with Windows Phone 8

Microsoft's relationship with Nokia is rock-solid, both companies say, but Microsoft isn't shy about backing HTC, either.

Invitation to Microsoft's official Windows Phone 8 launch
Microsoft and Nokia may have vowed to support one another through thick and thin, but Redmond's newfound vocal support of HTC's Windows Phone 8X device means Microsoft isn't relying on one partner to see its platform through.
Our invitation to Microsoft' official launch of the Windows Phone 8 operating system cleverly wraps event details into HTC's premier Windows Phone. It turns out that this design is one of four depicting key Windows phones that Microsoft sent to journalists inviting them to the event. Two show off HTC handsets and two depict the Nokia Lumia phones.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's involvement in the September Windows Phone 8X unveiling was a show of support for HTC, whose new phones bear a striking resemblance to Nokia's Lumia 920. Although Microsoft is spreading the Windows Phone love, this invitation is one more indication that Microsoft won't play favorites with Nokia, the one company dedicated to solely supporting Windows Phone's platform going forward.
HTC's upsurge as a serious Windows Phone player is significant. Verizon, the U.S.'s largest carrier, is using the Windows Phone 8X device as its first foray into Windows Phone in more than a year. Verizon completely ignored Nokia's Lumia 900 and every other Windows Phone of 2012. If Nokia can't compete with HTC on Verizon, it could easily lose ground to HTC as the U.S.' pre-eminent Windows Phone brand.
HTC Windows Phone 8X, Nokia Lumia 920
The HTC Windows Phone 8X (right) strongly resembles the Nokia Lumia 920.
(Credit: CNET )
For his part, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop projects an air of disconcern. Speaking to CNET in an interview, he said:
Anyone can call their devices "Windows Phone." So, we could call our devices "Windows Phone." But what we did was we established the "Lumia" name for this family of products, because Lumia does signify that we've been able to go a step further than the standard spec with Windows Phone devices.
Nokia has also commented that HTC's unveiling is "more good news for the Windows Phone ecosystem," emphasizing instead its differentiated features, like the PureView camera, wireless charging, and Nokia Music.
We'll see what Microsoft has in store at its October 29 launch. CNET will be on the ground, covering the action.

Acoustic Barcodes Are The Audio QR Codes Of The Future

A new technology has been created called Acoustic Barcodes which consist of a pattern of physical notches on an object that when swiped with a finger nail, or the edge of the smartphone, created a complex sounds that can then be converted by a smartphone or similar device into a binary ID.
The Acoustic Barcodes work in a similar way to the popular QR codes, but use audio rather than just images. Check out the video after the jump to learn more about the new Acoustic Barcodes and way they could possibly work with smartphone devices and everyday objects.
Acoustic Barcodes
The creators of Acoustic Barcodes explain : “A single, inexpensive contact microphone attached to a surface or object is used to capture the waveform. We present our method for decoding sounds into IDs, which handles variations in swipe velocity and other factors. Acoustic Barcodes could be used for information retrieval or to triggering interactive functions. They are passive, durable and inexpensive to produce. Further, they can be applied to a wide range of materials and objects, including plastic, wood, glass and stone. We conclude with several example applications that highlight the utility of our approach, and a user study that explores its feasibility.”
Acoustic Barcodes are currently just a concept at the moment, but the idea could very well make the jump to mainstream uses very soon. As always we will keep you updated with progress as more information becomes available. To learn more about the Acoustic Barcodes jump over to the Chris Harrison website.

Painter robot turns your sleep into 'art

(Credit: Video screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET )
Last time I stayed at an Ibis hotel, I had a good experience. Quick service, decent decor, and a great location in central Busan, South Korea. Sadly, it lacked a robot.
The international chain is making up for this shortcoming by offering something no guest can do without: a robot that paints your sleep patterns.
In a decidedly wacky PR stunt being held in Paris, Berlin, and London, Ibis commissioned a robot arm to turn select guests' sleep data into painted canvases.
The Sleep Art project involves an ABB industrial robot and a special mattress equipped with 80 sensors.

Some canvases recall the geometric doodlings of a Spirograph. Some look like light trails made by fireflies.
Throughout the night, sensors pick up data on a sleeper's movements, temperature, and sounds. Algorithms translate them into brushstrokes using a palette of four colors.
I wonder if snoring translates into abstract expressionism.
It took 100 people six months to produce the sleep artist, and it runs on 50,000 lines of code, according to Ibis, which is owned by France-based Accor.
If you want to sign up for the chance to have your sleep painted by the machine, check out the Berlin and London event dates here.
Just don't have any nightmares about robots.

Delta Six Controller Hits Kickstarter

Some of our readers might remember the very unique rifle styled games controller called theDelta Six which we featured here on Geeky Gadgets at the beginning of this month.
Now the Delta Six first-person-shooter (FPS) controller has landed on Kickstarter looking to raise enough pledges to help it make the jump from concept into production. To learn more about the Delta Six games controller watch the video after the jump.
Delta Six Controller
David Kotkin the game controllers designer has created it to provide gamers with a controller for first person shooter that will add even more game immersion, he explains: “When I designed Delta SiX, I wanted to create a product that combines motion control gaming with a hardcore First Person Shooter methodology. It has been my goal for years to design a product that will take gaming—online and off to the next level.”
Once launched the Delta Six controller will be compatible with Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, the Wii U, and the Kickstarter open source console OUYA. For more information jump over to the Kickstarter website to learn more and make a pledge.

Microsoft Reveals Its Sold Over 70 Million Xbox 360 Consoles Worldwide

Microsoft has revealed this week that since its launch back in November 2005, its Xbox 360gaming console has now sold over 70 million units worldwide.
Consolidating its position as the worlds second most popular gaming console after Nintendo’s Wii console which has amassed a massive 96.5 6 million sales, as of the end of June 2012.
Xbox 360 Consoles
Sony’s PlayStation 3 takes up third position clocking up an impressive 63.9 million unit sales, as the end of March 2012. Eurogamer explains that Microsoft’s:
“Entertainment and Devices Division, of which Xbox is a part, enjoyed revenue of $1.95 billion, a decrease of just 1 per cent year on year. Income dropped from $340 million to $19 million off the back of tough comparisons: Microsoft launched Gears of War 3,

Battlefield 3 in September 2011 and didn’t launch anything major during Q1 fiscal 2013.”

Microsoft also identified that their Xbox 3660 gaming console is the most popular out of the three in the US, holding a massive 49 percent market share.
Source: Eurogamer