Kinect Sensor was an instant hit when it was released a couple of years ago for the Xbox 360,which wrote the success story for the console right from the launch of the Sensor.Then came the hacks from the enthusiasts who tried to stretch the usability of Kinect to try out some interesting stuff and then a couple of months ago Kinect for Windows was released to bring the Kinect Sensor to Windows platform.
In the past we have seen a lot of demo videos featuring the Kinect Integration between the Xbox Live Services and Windows Phone devices.But have you ever thought that the Kinect itself would make an appearance in the Windows Phone itself ? Well your wish might come out to be true.
According to recent reports from VR-Zone,Microsoft is planning big for the upcoming Windows Phone 8 release with a possible Kinect Technology integrated directly onto the Windows Phone 8 Devices,claiming that Microsoft is working hard to bring the Kinect Natural User Interface (NUI) to Windows Phone 8 which would make it an exciting and one of the most innovative features on a smartphone device.
According to their sources, “Kinect NUI is being closely tied to Microsoft TellMe, since Kinect allegedly captured more voice patterns than Apple Siri”.So along with Kinect we can also see advanced voice recognition feature in Windows Phone 8.Tough at this stage this is tagged as a rumor but it would be an interesting feature and could possibly be beneficial for Windows Phone platform which is still to prove its mettle in the smartphone market.
Microsoft has been working hard to bring all their platforms closer with Windows Phone+Xbox 360 and even the Windows operating system together.Making attempts like bringing the Kinect hardware to Windows as well as the much awaited Windows Phone to Xbox 360 integration.
It looks like we are ready to get our hands on such type of integration for Windows Phones and Xbox 360 with the next version of Sonic Game Sonic the Hedgehog: Ep II.The game will allow a user who is playing that game on his/her Windows Phone to pause it on the phone and then later on he/she can continue playing the game(resume) on their Xbox 360 on the big screen.It will be the first Xbox Live game to support this feature.
As demonstrated earlier by Official Xbox Magazine for the game which is slated to be released this Spring on multiple platforms like Xbox 360, Playstation, iOS and Windows Phone. Talking about the unique feature of the game Ken Balough, Digital Grand Manager on Sonic Episode II, said,
“one of the cool things about it is that the Windows Mobile 7 (sic) and the Xbox are going to be able to work in tandem in ways that are completely new. So when you pick up the Windows Mobile 7 and you’ll be able to play Sonic Episode II, save it, stop, boot up your Xbox 360 and pick up right where you left off. And that’s a really cool thing Microsoft has going between the devices and I’m a huge fan of it”
With this release we can expect some more such games to bring this feature in their upcoming editions for Windows Phone and Xbox 360.
With the launch of Windows 8 nearing, it seems Microsoft is considering to supplement it with the rumored launch of a new Music Service. Well, this is the latest rumor doing the rounds which mentions the software giant’s new venture in the music stream. According to this new rumor which was initiated today by cnet.com ,the site claims, via unnamed sources, that Microsoft is in negotiations with a number of the major music companies about this new service. The speculated music service will be targeted for platforms like the Xbox 360 and an unnamed Windows Phone-based device.
While the negotiations are still in the preliminary stage, the site claims that Microsoft would like to launch this new music service later this year.Also, it is speculated that it would support both streaming music and music downloads. The Windows Phone device that would support the unnamed service could be made by Nokia or HTC.
While Microsoft already possesses its own music service, the Zune Music Pass, which can be used on Windows Phone 7-based devices as well as PCs and the Xbox 360. The subscription service offers access to millions of tunes for a $9.99 monthly fee. And with the service to be integrated with XBox, the record companies will welcome the chance to have a higher profile on the XBox, with its 40 million worldwide XBox Live subscribers, as well as on any new Windows phones.
As Microsoft already possesses music licenses, it’s still unclear whether Microsoft must acquire new licenses for its service .Also, it remains to be seen of what would happen to Zune Music Pass,will it replaced by this new service or if this new service would simply be an upgrade to the existing Zune Music Pass.
Rumor mills are working overtime in the last month or so, with a variety of stories floating around on the web. Stories such as, when Microsoft and Sony might launch the next versions of their game consoles. Amongst such rumors one mentioned as to when Microsoft and Sony would announce their next-generation game consoles. With the possible announcement coming late this year at E3 2012 in June, with the idea of grabbing headlines ahead of Nintendo’s Wii U, which was shown at E3 2011 and is scheduled to launch sometime before the end of 2012.
According to reports by IndustryGamers.com, they have made contact with a solid source who claims that at least one, if not both, of Microsoft and Sony’s successors to the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 could actually be available for the users by the end of 2012, rather than by the end of 2013 as others expected.
The “source” said:
The ‘trick’ to these rumors is not the console manufacturers themselves, but rather the chip makers. All indications from them are that things change significantly (ie next generation) come November of this year. As such, it has been my presumption since the middle of this past year that we would see new boxes in the market for Christmas of 2012.
Although, it is very unlikely that Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo will all release their next generation game console hardware by the end of this year, which would mean we could be in for a clash of the titans scenario. But, Microsoft did successfully launched the Xbox 360 in 2005, a mere four years after the launch of the original Xbox which was a huge stride in gaining a strong foothold in the console market. And so it is very much possible for Microsoft to release Xbox before Nintendo’s Wii U launch and spoil the party.
Finally after some initial delay with the release of the app,Xbox Companion app is now available over Windows Phone Marketplace. Its a Free app which helps the users find, learn more about and control content from popular entertainment services on Xbox LIVE.
Some of the cool features of This Xbox Companion app includes:
Xbox Companion search powered by Bing. Search the unified Xbox catalog for movies, TV shows, music, games and apps using the Windows phone.You can View a detailed unified results page across all content providers. You can also see recently played games and apps and browse the Zune video catalog.
Using the Xbox Companion app you can learn more details about the movie, TV show, music or game that is playing on your console. You can also get friend activity (friends online, friends with beacons, friends who have recently played), achievements and related items. You’ll also be able to select a search result, and launch a movie, TV show, game or app on the connected console as well as play, pause, fw, rw the playing video or music on the connected Xbox,initiate media purchase and navigate your Xbox console with Windows Phone using the Xbox Companion.
Microsoft’s Chief Research & Strategy officer Craig Mundie spoke to the Forbes magazine recently and stated that Siri — Apple’s new voice activated digital assistant — is nothing new. Microsoft has been doing it for over a year now. Windows Phone 7 already has a feature called Tellme that allows you to dictate and send text messages to people. And there is Bing’s voice search engine as well. Mundie also added that Siri is only this popular because of Apple’s marketing and admitted that perhaps that only area where they (Microsoft) could learn from Apple is in the marketing.
Now that he has highlighted it, let’s look at Windows 8 and its allied resources that are going to start becoming available throughout next year. Microsoft’s official word on the Windows 8 phone situation says that it is not happening with the Windows 8 launch for PC’s. So let’s talk only about PC’s here.
As Mundie has already pointed out, Microsoft already has the necessary resources to pull off a proper voice recognition system. It can in fact do more than just voice — it can recognize colors and gestures too. Yes, I am talking about Kinect. Recently Kinect came in to news because Microsoft decided to star making a SDK for Kinect on Windows 8. And earlier this week, Microsoft announced that they are going to launch a beta hardware of Kinect for Windows in January 2012.
With the technology already in place, it is hard to think of reasons why Microsoft would not want to put it in there. Thus, it is entirely possible that once you buy a Windows 8 PC, all you have to do is hook it up with Kinect and start talking to it. Give it dictations, ask it set reminders, open an application or a website, etc. Bing voice search is already coming to Xbox and it is a Kinect dependent feature. Hence, Windows 8 is very likely to be completely voice aware just as the new iPhone 4S is with Siri.
Once Windows 8 makes it way to phones, it should be able to deliver the exact experience that Siri delivers but probably with some Microsoft twists in it. You can already to a lot with Tellme, so it would interesting to see that technology developed further and ported over to Windows 8 so that it can eventually work without any Kinect support. Right now however, even if Microsoft does not include a voice recognizing digital assistant in to Windows 8, third party solutions surely will have it ready soon with the Kinect SDK for Windows 8. At which point we should be seeing a sharp rise the adoption of Windows 8.
There’s a upgrade coming to the Xbox 360 gaming console’s dashboard and it seems to have been heavily influenced by the Metro interface from the current Windows Phone 7 and the upcoming Windows 8 platforms. Windows 8 is not even in Beta yet and this dashboard is a finalized UI. This gives us a peek in to what the Metro UI would feel like when Windows 8 is finally released.
The new dashboard features the signature Metro UI tiles with live updates and other relevant features. It is an colorful array of tiles that totally changes the experience that you have had so far with Xbox 360′s dashboard. Part of the Xbox Live platform, the new dashboard will be launching officially on December 6th, Tuesday. The new dashboard is not only a precursor to the full fledged Windows 8 Metro experience, it comes with a host of new features like Sky Drive storage, voice search through Bing (UK, CA and US only at the moment, needs Kinect), better voice and gesture control (also requires Kinect) and some new content.
This new content will be supplied by different providers in over 20 countries. Many of these providers have a worldwide presence. New movies and TV shows are only a part of the whole entertainment upgrade that is about to come in with the new upgrade to the Xbox 360.
In changing the look of the new Xbox 360 dashboard, Microsoft seems to have started its migration to a unified user experience. Its one of the best design decisions that Microsoft has taken so far. They are looking to keep the user experience unified across all their platforms. Currently that includes both the Windows Phone 7 series and the Xbox 360. Windows Phone 7 is what introduced Metro in the first place and now that Xbox also has it, Windows 8 will be launched amidst familiar grounds for users of either or both of these platforms. But most importantly, new users will always feel like they are on familiar territories once Windows 8 launches and completes the cycle.
Microsoft announced yesterday that they are working with Sesame Street, Sesame Street Workshop, National Geographic and other leading academics and learning research institutions in order to bring new interactive learning content on the Xbox 360 platform. This content will be made interactive by Kinect. Microsoft seeks to turn the TV in to an immersive learning experience for the kids and adults alike. Disney is also apparently on board for another family game that is currently code-named Rush. This will be one of the multiple additions that Microsoft seeks to make to their family gaming titles portfolio.
In association with experts from Sesame Street and Nat Geo, Microsoft is producing individual series like
“Kinect Sesame Street TV,” “Kinect Nat Geo TV” and code-named “Project Columbia”
These are endeavors that seek to inspire kids to collaborate be active and learn all at the same time. These seek to engage the kids and provide a more effective learning environment for them. The Kinect Sesame Street TV is a special interactive show being produced jointly by Microsoft and Sesame Street. The sessions will be driven by the Kinect’s motion tracking and gesture recognition features, allowing children to use natural movements and just develop motor skills.
The Kinect Nat Geo TV also seeks to engage kids and transform their TV watching habits in to more active ones. But the most exciting of them all is probably what has been code named as Project Columbia. Developed in association with Sesame Workshop Curriculum Team by Microsoft, this is a project that seeks to bring books back to kids. This one of a kind project uses the Xbox 360 platform and Kinect’s features in order to bring stories to life like never before. It allows kids to become part of the stories themselves. This not only fosters reading habits but it also challenges their minds by creating an role-playing environment. Kids will interact with illustrations and words and thus freely enter a learning environment and participate actively in it.
For anyone with young children at home, creating an environment where they can learn and have fun at the same time can become challenging. Microsoft has right pointed out that the promise of interactive TV and learning has not been delivered by any one so far. All the programming out there cannot really involve kids without some kind of an interface like the Kinect. Hence, this experience from Microsoft is definitely going to be the first of its kind.
The Sesame Street shows will feature popular characters from Sesame Street who will play their own roles in helping the children learn the alphabets, numbers and basic maths like addition, substraction, etc. The Nat Geo shows will contain programming from Nat Geo WILD and will help children learn about animals. The shows will have children friendly user interfaces that children will be able to to use intuitively instead of being forced to learn something new. Look at the video on the Press Release to get a better idea of what Microsoft has in store for the little ones.
Today it’s thanksgiving day and Microsoft is offering huge discount on it’s various products including Windows 7,XBOX 360,Kinect and Zune HD.
Some of the hot offers provided by Microsoft
Windows 7 Family Pack + Cisco Router: $149.99
Zune HD 32 GB: $229.99
A teaser has been added on the XBOX site stating that huge discounts would be provided on Black Friday-
During Thanksgiving week, Xbox LIVE Marketplace is the place to be, with a one-week sale featuring big discounts on some of the hit Marketplace items, with huge discounts on some of the most popular Marketplace offerings on “Black Friday,” November 26.
Major Nelson has posted a comprehensive posts giving details about the offers on games and other things related to XBOX 360 which would be offered on Black Friday.
Kinect has just been released and some lucky guys have got their hands on this new hardware.Paul thurrott the author of SuperSite Blog have posted the unboxing images of Microsoft Kinect,just check them out-