Microsoft Plans to Launch Its Own Mobile Games App Store

If it overcomes regulatory hurdles and completes its $75 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft plans to launch a mobile app store for games to challenge Apple and Google, according to Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Games. The EU’s Digital Markets Act mandates that the makers of Android devices and iPhones must make their mobile platforms accessible to app stores by third parties, with enforcement beginning in March 2024. That means Microsoft could open a mobile app store as soon as next year, adapting the company’s Xbox and Game Pass apps to accommodate sales to mobile devices. Continue reading Microsoft Plans to Launch Its Own Mobile Games App Store

Microsoft’s New Gaming Strategy Includes Xbox Mobile Store

Microsoft is reportedly building an Xbox mobile store, challenging Apple and Google. The Redmond company’s pending Activision Blizzard deal is key to successful implementation of its mobile gaming strategy, which was previously hinted at and now comes to light in a filing with the UK Competition and Markets Authority, which requested additional information from Microsoft as part of its analysis of the $68.7 billion deal. In its filings, Microsoft says a “next generation” game store that “operates across a range of devices, including mobile” is significant impetus for the acquisition. Continue reading Microsoft’s New Gaming Strategy Includes Xbox Mobile Store

Facebook Debuts Oculus Quest 2, Readies New Smartglasses

Facebook released Oculus Quest 2, a customizable VR headset priced at $299 — $100 less than its predecessor. Improved hardware includes a fast-switching LCDs with 1832×1920 resolution per eye and 50 percent more pixels than the first version. Although it doesn’t have the same black levels as the original Quest’s OLED screens, it offers support for an (eventual) 90Hz refresh rate; Quest 2 launches with a 72Hz refresh rate. In partnership with Ray-Ban, Facebook also plans to debut a pair of smartglasses in 2021. Continue reading Facebook Debuts Oculus Quest 2, Readies New Smartglasses

Black Friday Experiences New E-Commerce Sales Records

Online sales boomed this Thanksgiving holiday weekend, with record-breaking $4.2 billion in purchases on Turkey Day, followed by $7.4 billion spent on Black Friday. Although this was a new high — up $1.2 billion from last year’s Black Friday — it didn’t meet Adobe Analytics’ prediction of $7.5 billion. Salesforce reported $7.2 billion in sales, even lower than Adobe’s numbers. Of those numbers, $2.9 billion in sales were conducted on smartphones that day. Top-selling electronics included Apple laptops, AirPods and Samsung TVs. Continue reading Black Friday Experiences New E-Commerce Sales Records

ESports Popularity Leads to Skyrocketing Revenue, Fanbase

ESports is booming, having earned $756 million in 2017 and anticipated to reach $1 billion in 2018. Traditional sports leagues are launching eSports leagues and buying eSports franchises, and more than 60 colleges and universities offer eSports programs recognized by the National Association of Collegiate eSports (NACE), while many more have unofficial programs. Colleges are doing everything from supporting student eSport athletes with scholarships and building eSports arenas. UC Irvine actively recruits talented players. Continue reading ESports Popularity Leads to Skyrocketing Revenue, Fanbase

Intel Looks to Eliminate PC Cables with its Skylake Platform

Intel believes that the wireless display and charging features of its next-generation Skylake platform will soon result in Intel reference designs that will eliminate all cables from personal computers. During Computex, the chipmaker detailed how docking, wireless power and connectivity will form the foundation of its post-Broadwell reference designs. Skylake is expected by the second half of next year, suggesting that devices based on Intel’s designs would hit the market as soon as 2016. Continue reading Intel Looks to Eliminate PC Cables with its Skylake Platform

Intel Develops Depth Sensing 3D Cameras to Track Emotion

Intel is developing depth sensing 3D cameras and software that are able to detect an individual’s emotional state. While refined motion detection technologies are not entirely new, Intel’s product goes beyond tracking the physical movements of objects to determining what the movement actually means. Intel’s depth sensing technology will first be available in webcams and may eventually become available in laptops, smartphones and tablets. Continue reading Intel Develops Depth Sensing 3D Cameras to Track Emotion

Apple Plans Support for Third-Party MFi Game Controllers

Apple has created software specifications that it hopes will encourage developers to build game controllers for its computers and mobile devices including iPads, iPhones and iPod touches. The company says the specs are designed to ensure that controllers “have consistent sets of control elements that both players and game designers can rely on.” According to the document, “Controllers must enhance gameplay — they must not be required.” Continue reading Apple Plans Support for Third-Party MFi Game Controllers

Viewsonic Cancels Boxee HDTV: Will Apple Revive Demand For Smart TVs?

  • Viewsonic announced it will axe the launch of its planned smart HDTV, which would have run Boxee’s media center software. Coupled with Logitech’s price cut for Google TV, it seems there is little demand for smart TVs that are connected to the Internet.
  • However, some analysts believe that may change.
  • “The Logitech Revue and Boxee were both originally priced considerably higher than the $99 Apple TV, which has sold relatively well on Amazon, despite only being what Steve Jobs famously referred to as a ‘hobby’ for the company,” reports ReadWriteWeb.
  • We’re all expecting the future living room to be Web-connected and interactive — as initial steps are taken by mobile technology, social networking and second screen apps — but what we don’t know is exactly how this will play out. Apple has long been rumored to be working on a smart HDTV that would possibly play a more prominent role in our living rooms.
  • Will Apple TV jumpstart the smart TV market? ReadWriteWeb points out: “If Apple’s impact on the markets for smartphones and tablets is any indication, an Apple-branded HDTV may serve to popularize connected TVs in a way that Boxee and Google TV have failed to thus far.”

Google Chair Remains Committed to Google TV, Hints at New Partners

  • Google remains “absolutely committed” to Google TV, according to executive chairman Eric Schmidt.
  • “Google TV, which allows viewers to mix Web and television content on TV screens via a browser, has received lukewarm reviews and been blocked by the major U.S. networks since its launch in the United States in October,” reports Reuters.
  • However, Schmidt told Edinburgh International Television Festival attendees that Sony and Logitech will remain partners for the next version and added, “I believe there are many more coming.” He also summed up three trends to watch most regarding the future of TV — Mobile, Local and Social.
  • Additionally, Schmidt explained there are “interesting ideas” how Motorola can help Google TV (last week Google announced its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility), but he would not provide details until the merger was completed.
  • “We’re intending to run Motorola, which would include the set top box business, as a completely separate business,” he said. “That does not mean that there won’t be communication between the two, and obviously sharing and knowledge sharing.”

Logitech Takes to the Cloud with Mobile Video Meetings

  • Logitech’s LifeSize division — headquartered in Austin, Texas — is looking to the cloud in an effort to extend its videoconferencing reach.
  • The company is introducing the $1,499 LifeSize Passport Connect, a new videoconferencing system that integrates with the company’s cloud-based LifeSize Connections service.
  • The high-defintion endpoint system is built around a Logitech webcam and is priced below other LifeSize end systems.
  • Logitech also announced it has acquired Italian mobile video company, Mirial, which offers videoconferencing clients for PCs, Macs, and an array of mobile devices such as Android tablets, iPads and iPhones.
  • The company plans to integrate Mirial’s clients into LifeSize Connections.