Microsoft has made a couple of important announcements with respect to their older Windows XP desktop platform. First is the news that support for Windows XP Service Pack 2 shall end on July 13, 2010. Users wishing to continue receiving support must soon upgrade to Windows XP SP 3 to continue receiving support till April 2014.
Another important news is that Microsoft has sent reminders to OEMs to stop pre-installing Microsoft Windows XP on new netbooks beginning October of this year. The move is aimed at migrating customers to a newer Windows 7 platform. With Microsoft’s focus moving towards its latest OS, continuing the distribution of its older XP platform may lead to defragmentation worries in the future.
However, not everyone is happy. OEMs are worried that replacing Windows XP with Windows 7 may increase the cost of the final product that will eventually hit them on the sale volumes. Also, Windows 7 will require the use of more advance processors which will eventually drive prices up. That could be disastrous for the netbook segment which is already feeling the pinch due to the arrival of tablets in the market.
Voxofon; not to be confused with Vodafone, has announced that they will be the first company to bring a mobile VoIP solution for Windows Phone 7. The company has said that their solution will help future Windows Phone 7 users save up to 98% on their international calls.
This should not mean much considering that Windows Phone 7 is yet to officially launch and there is really no good way to measure the authenticity of Voxofon’s statements.
But one thing that’s for certain is that Voxofon is the first company to announce that they are first to bring mobile VoIP to the new Microsoft mobile platform. Skype, Trufon and the likes have not made any announcement in this regard.
The Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, is all set to launch in less than two weeks from now and there are huge expectations of the event already. One announcement that is highly anticipated from Microsoft is about Project Natal – which is rumored to be called the “Wave”.
Another interesting revelation, or rather speculation, is that Microsoft may announce the integration of Hulu to Xbox 360. Xbox users can integrate the Hulu offering to their Xbox dashboard in much the same way as they do with Netflix which will allow them to access the wide catalog of TV shows from the popular video streaming service.
It is however not expected to come for free. The source that GearLive spoke to has indicated that there will be a subscription fee for access. And speculation is that it may be on a monthly/quarterly access basis.
Lots of interesting news are coming with respect to Microsoft Xbox 360. Last month, we had written about possibilities of live TV coming to Xbox 360 in 2011. We’ll have to wait and see how many of these rumors turn out to be true.
[via Gear Live]
Zune Pass, the popular subscription service that allows Zune users to stream music on their Zune portable player may soon see a price cut. An indication towards this was offered by Terry Farrell, Senior Product Manager at Microsoft.
The move comes after Rhapsody, one of the prime rivals for Microsoft in the online music streaming segment announced a price cut on their service which saw users bring down their monthly payment from $14.99 to $10. Microsoft may now match the subscription pricing offered by Rhapsody.
The Zune service, which is now reported to be owned by 2% of American customers, is expected to become available on Windows Phone 7 based smartphones that will release later this year.
[via Business Week]
A gaming website has claimed information from an “inside source” that Microsoft’s latest addition to its Xbox 360 peripherals – the much anticipated Project Natal would named ‘Wave‘. The source terms the naming to directly take on a similar product from Sony, named Playstation Move.
This is however a rumor and will need to be taken with skepticism. While ‘Wave‘ does fit the product category, we are not sure about the credibility of the source. So, we would tend to keep this low for the moment.
Microsoft’s Project Natal – a controller-free peripheral for Xbox 360 that will let users interact with the console without having to use a game controller is now revealed to launch in the US in October at a price of $149.
According to the sources, Natal shall be bundled along with the Xbox 360 Arcade and will retail at a price of $299. The peripheral will also launch outside US, but the price is noted to be determined later based on several factors including exchange rates.
As it should be evident, the marketed name is not going to be Natal though we are still unsure what it is going to be called. It has been earlier revealed that Sony’s Natal competitor will be called Playstation Move.
[via Edge Online]
The Netflix online streaming service for Mac and Windows computers makes use of Microsoft’s PlayReady DRM. Now, this DRM may also be employed on a range of new Netflix enabled devices come summer.
In a media release published yesterday, Microsoft has confirmed the signing of an agreement to this effect. The statement notes that this will bring Microsoft PlayReady technology enabled content to “a wide range of new devices — Internet TVs, Blu-ray disc players, home theater systems, video game consoles and other devices“.
The PlayReady DRM technology was introduced by Microsoft in 2007 to enable content access across a wide range of consumer devices. The technology is not accessible via Apple Devices like the iPhone or iPod.
Do you still remember what “series” in Windows Phone 7 series mean? They are three different form factors that Microsoft’s latest mobile OS is programmed to cater to. One of the three form factors, Chassis 2, referred to Palm Treo like phones with real sliding keyboards plus touch.
One such phone, an LG slider has made an appearance out of nowhere. The photo was supposedly leaked by a French Microsoft employee. Tough to argue with that, or the authenticity of the pictures. But nevertheless, take a look.
[via Tracy and Matt]
After Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 unveiling got rave reviews, the company disappointed its fans by announcing a feature phone instead of a smartphone. However, it now appears that the platform on the Kin phones may ultimately get merged with Windows Phone 7 which will allow users to download apps and play games.
Greg Sullivan, Senior Product Manager at Microsoft has said,
“Over the longer term, we’ll be merging [Kin and Windows Phone 7] platforms and having downloadable apps.”
This was ratified by another email by Microsoft
“Both Kin and Windows Phone 7 share common OS components, software and services. We will seek to align around a single platform for both products as well as consistent hardware specifications, so we can drive our ecosystem at scale and strength across all products.”
Microsoft Kin has a refreshing form factor and a smartphone OS in the device may go a long way in popularizing the device. Now that the reassurance has been given, it will only be a matter of time before we should get to see it in the device.
A Canadian website is claiming that Xbox 360 could come with live TV capabilities by 2011. According to a “trusted source“, the website notes that the feature could be much bigger than what European users get with Sky TV. Microsoft is claimed to be repositioning the XBox into a digital TV set top box with PVR capabilities supported by a prominent Canadian network carrier.
You may remember rumors from late last month that a live TV channel could be coming to Xbox. The source claims that this is going to be much bigger than just a solitary TV channel. Instead, the source says this will be “like putting Netflix, Zune Marketplace and Sky TV all in one place.”
We have our doubts. But let’s pretend to believe it for now.
[via Game Focus]