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.
Apple's iPhone sees incredible success because it has iTunes. While many will argue that iTunes has become a bloated and slow piece of software — there is no denying that if it was a Mac OS X only software, there probably wouldn't be as many iPhone owners as there are. Microsoft will finally release a tool that will allow Windows Phone 7 to sync to Macs.
In a couple of hours, Windows Phone 7 will make its big debut. Reviews of the preview build of the OS were generally favorable, but the technology is just the beginning. Cellphones are completely different beasts than they were when Microsoft first entered the mobile market 10 years ago. WP7 is challenged like other major smartphone OS has been. Here's why.
A leaked instruction manual for Microsoft's new motion-controlled camera, Kinect, hit the Web last night and is already spurring a lot of controversy. The graphic shows a requirement of six to eight feet of space needed to set up the system for it to track your body gestures properly. That's a lot of real estate, but there is a rationale, believe it or not.
If Don Draper were alive today (or even real), he'd have a field day with Microsoft's teaser ad for Windows Phone 7. If you haven't seen it, take a look at it above. I'll wait. In the meantime I'll chain smoke a couple of Luckys and down a double Scotch since Microsoft's Mad Men seem to think this is 1962.