With Google and Apple already battling it out for ownership of your computer-enhanced living room TV, Microsoft is feeling a bit left behind. But not for long, if their rumored Xbox 360 plans are accurate.
There's just no good way to simulate a real keyboard with a touchscreen, no matter what Acer wants us to think. Microsoft is working on a new technology that can turn touchscreens into shape-shifting keyboards with keys you can actually feel.
While tech pundits are crowing about the decline of Microsoft, the fact is that the company's new Kinect game controller has actually inspired gamers to create innovations on top of their platform like the Kinect Lightsaber.
It's always interesting to hear what new technologies are offered to what companies, and how things shake out. The iPhone, for instance, was initially turned down by Verizon before it went to AT&T. Turns out Apple could have stolen a key technology away from Microsoft's gaming division: the Kinect.
The new Kinect add-on for the Xbox 360 sounds like the future. It allows you to play video games without a controller, using fancy cameras and sensors to see where you are and what you're doing. It has microphones and voice recognition to hear your commands. It's like virtual reality, from the movies! It's the future! But is it any fun?
Cue the applause. Microsoft's Xbox 360 Kinect motion detecting camera is going to be huge. Why does it deserve credit? Microsoft's managed to optimize Kinect down to the core right up to tomorrow's launch.
I admit it. As many of you've suspected and accused me of over the last few months, I'm not a huge fan of Microsoft. I wouldn't exactly characterize myself as an Apple fanboy, but I'm sure others would (and have). My own view is that any attachment as fierce as "Apple fanboy" implies to anything other than a body part is emotionally unhealthy and a waste of time and energy. I have extolled Apple for its innovations, and have equally excoriated Apple for its idiocies.
Microsoft has found itself on a short release cycle when it comes to Windows as of late: much-maligned Vista landed in 2007, well-reviewed Windows 7 came in '09, and now the company hints that Windows 8 could be here by 2012. Are we ready for more Windows?
Vista? What's a Vista? Microsoft proves it still knows a thing or two about desktop operating systems with Windows 7 selling more than 240 million licenses in its first year.
Kinect hasn't even launched yet — but that hasn't stopped the press from picking it apart and revealing its shortcomings. Issues such as lag, required setup space and whether the camera sensor will work with gamers who are sitting down are on everyone's minds. Cross the last one off your list, because Microsoft's fixed that problem.