Posts Tagged ‘ microsoft ’

Tech Predictions for 2012

by Dave Loft

Tech Predictions for 2012

Apple

  • The iPad 3 will be released in Q2. The big upgrade will be the display with an increase in resolution to 2048 x 1536 and be called the Retina display. It will launch with Apple’s new A6 chip and upgraded to 1GB of RAM. The front and rear cameras will also be upgraded.
  • The iPhone 6, yes I said 6, the iPhone 4s is the 5th gen iPhone, so it makes no sense to call the 6th gen phone 5. The iPhone 6 will launch in Q3 and have the same internal specs as the iPad 3. The glass back will be replaced with an aluminum back like the iPad. The iPhone will be thinner, but won’t have a bigger display because if they make it bigger, it won’t technically be a Retina display. It will also not have LTE as the chips still won’t be power efficient enough, the carriers won’t have complete coverage in the US or Canada and because many international carriers have not even started building LTE.
  • iOS 6 will launch with the release of the iPhone 6 and will bring a full release of Siri which will be compatible with all devices that can run the latest OS.
  • Apple TV will get new hardware in 2012 that supports 1080p and will launch with iOS 6, letting users download apps, play games and control their TV with Siri.

Google

  • Android is number one worldwide and in the US, but in Canada it’s only number 3. By the end of Q3, Android will be number one in Canada .
  • Google will launch a Nexus tablet in Q2 during the Google IO conference. It will run an updated version of Android, no not Jelly Bean, just an incremental update to Ice Cream Sandwich. It will have a 10.1″ 1080p or higher display, with 2GB RAM, 32GB ROM and a Quad Core Processor.
  • Unlike what many people think, Google will keep Motorola’s hardware business. They will let Motorola do their thing and design phones like they have been doing. But that’s all Motorola will be doing. Google will do the software and keep Motorola devices running stock Android. As a result Motorola devices will likely get updates quicker, just like the Nexus devices. Hopefully as a result, Motorola’s competitors will be forced to improve.
  • Google will acquire the 4th major label in 2012 and will continue to expand their music offering. In Q4 Google will launch a subscription service giving users access to Google’s entire catalogue for a monthly fee.
  • Google will also launch a news stand on the Android Market with Magazines and Newspapers.
  • Google+ will still not come close to competing with Facebook, but it will continue to grow steadily due mainly to the popularity of Android.
  • In Q4 of 2012 Google will launch a new Nexus device running the latest version of Android, Jelly Bean. It will be built by Samsung and based off of the Galaxy S III. It will have the same resolution of the Galaxy Nexus, but the display will be upgraded to the Super AMOLED Plus with a full RGB layout. The internal specs will be similar to the Nexus tablet released by Google in Q2 of 2012.
  • Android tablets will be the sleeper hit of the year. No one single tablet will match the sales of the iPad. But ever increasing number of tablets, running Ice Cream Sandwich in all shapes and prices from $100 and up will eat at Apples lead. By the end of the year Android will be close to surpassing iOS on tablets.
  • And before the end of 2012, Google will release Chrome for Android.

Microsoft

  • Microsoft will increase spending on advertising Windows Phone in 2012. Combine that with the help of Nokia’s latest and greatest smartphones and Microsoft will start increasing their market share. By the end of the year they still won’t be close to Google or Apple, but the downward trend will be over and they will have some momentum going into 2013.
  • Windows Phone 7 will have 150,000 apps by the end of 2012.
  • By the end of 2012 Microsoft will be circling RIM and looking for an opportunity to expand, either through partnership or out right purchase.
  • The much anticipated Windows 8 tablets will be meet with poor reviews. The tablets will either have little to no software natively built for it and the full windows apps won’t run well on mobile hardware if at all.

Amazon

  • Amazon will release a true iPad competitor, it will be a 10″ tablet built on Ice Cream Sandwich, but modified as heavily as the 7″ Kindle Fire. It will be built with a more powerful quad core architecture.
  • Amazon will have one of the best selling Android devices, I say one of and not the best because as of right now it’s only a US product as the ecosystem isn’t fully available in any other country. In the US, Amazon will only be second to only one tablet, the iPad.
  • Amazon’s success will bring more developers to Android. Because if your going to build for the Kindle Fire, you might as well increase the market availability and release it on the Android Market.

Check out my Tech Predictions for 2011 which I wrote 1 year ago today. Here’s hoping I do as well 2012 as I did with 2011.

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Tech Predictions for 2011

Apple

  • iPhone 4 will be refreshed with a new qualcomm chip that not only supports AT&T but also Verizon’s CDMA network. This will be announced during CES, but not at CES.
  • iPad 2 will come out in second quarter of 2011 with the addition of a camera and a slightly smaller, slightly lighter body. It will only be available in 9.7″ and will not see a resolution increase or storage increase. The processor will move to dual core, the GPU will improve and the RAM will double from 256MB to 512MB.
  • iPhone 5 will launch in the summer and will move to the same dual core CPU and new GPU as used in the second gen iPad. Form-factor, display, Ram and storage will stay the same.
  • A new iPod Touch will launch in September of 2011 and will come with the same optics as found in the latest iPhone. The base model will have the single core CPU while the two high end models will get the dual core CPU.
  • The iPod Nano will stay much the same but will add Bluetooth audio and Apple will sell watchband accessories for it.
  • The iPod Classic will not be mentioned and will be fazed out by the end of 2011.

Google

  • Google will officially announce HoneyComb at CES with the release of the Motorola Xoom tablet. The tablet will become available in March\April and will not just be a big screen Android phone.
  • Shortly after the launch of HoneyComb, Google will launch a web based Android Market allowing users to easily browse their apps and install them from their desktop OS.
  • Google will launch a music service to compete with iTunes in late summer, just before Apple’s yearly iTunes announcement.
  • Google will launch another Nexus phone built by HTC in the second half of 2011. It will have a qHD display and a dual core processor.
  • Android is already the best selling OS in the US and by the end of the second quarter of 2011 Android will have the largest install base of any smartphone OS.

Microsoft

  • Windows Phone 7 will get two major updates in 2011. They will add cut ‘n’ paste and multi-tasking.
  • Windows Phone 7 will have 50,000 apps by the end of 2011 and will be far ahead of the competition. Except for Android and iOS of course.
  • Microsoft will delay Windows 8 to 2012.
  • Thanks to Windows Phone 7 Xbox Live integration and the popularity of Kinect, the Xbox 360 will have it’s best year yet.

Microsoft’s Press Conference E3 2010

Microsoft had their press conference yesterday at E3 in Los Angeles. Here is the breakdown of what they announced.

Hardware

  • New Xbox 360 hardware that’s sleeker, smaller and whisper quiet w\ a 250GB Hard drive, built in Wireless N, ready for Kinect, it’s selling for the same price and its available today
  • Microsoft Kinect allows for motion and voice control in menus and games and  launches Nov 4th

Software and Services

  • Video Kinect allows video chat with friends and family between Xbox Live and Windows Live Messenger
  • The Zune service adds music to the 360 complementing the video Zune already provides
  • ESPN provides 3500 live sporting events within the first year and it’s free for Xbox Live Gold members

Kinect Games

  • Kinectimals
  • Kinect Sports (200m Hurdles, Soccer, Bowling, Javelin, Long Jump, Ping Pong, Boxing, Volleyball)
  • Kinect Joy Ride
  • Kinect Adventures!
  • Your Shape Fitness Evolved (Ubisoft)
  • Dance Central (Harmonix)
  • Kinect Star Wars (Lucasarts)
  • Kinect Forza (Turn 10)

Tradional Games

  • Call of Duty: Black-Ops (Treyarch & Activision) All Call of Duty games from 2010 – 2012 have early access to map packs on Xbox 360
  • Metal Gear Solid: Rising (Konami)
  • Gears of War 3 (Epic) (early 2011)
  • Fable III (Lionhead Stuios)
  • Codename Kingdoms (Crytek)
  • Halo Reach (Bungie)

My Thoughts

It seemed like a well-balanced presentation. They had 3 first party and 3 third party games for hardcore gamers. Codename Kingdoms only had a teaser trailer on show and is supposed to be Microsoft’s answer to God of War.

Microsoft renamed Project Natal to Kinect and demonstrated 8 games. Kinectimals is for the kids allowing them to interact with different baby animals. Kinect Sports is reminiscent of Wii Sports and is good for the family. Your Shape looked really impressive and far beyond what can be done with Wii Fit this is a great game for mom. For the teenagers they have Dance Central and impressive dance game that could only be done with Kinect.

The multimedia content available to the Xbox 360 at least in the US is impressive. You finally get the full Zune experience on the Xbox with music and video. ESPN when combined with Netflix and Zune is yet another reason to not need cable or a Blu-Ray player.

The new hardware is impressive and finally has WiFi built in and a 250GB hard drive. They kept the $300 price tag which is reasonable but I would have loved a price drop. No price mentioned for Kinect but $150 is floating around as a possibility. $150 seems like it’s too much especially if you don’t already own a 360.

We shall see how most of these turn out by the end of the year.

Dave Loft

Why is everyone just handing the tablet category to Apple?

Microsoft is currently recommending full blown Windows 7 for a tablet, while also offering up Windows Embedded Compact 7 to OEM’s as an option. At first I thought that sounded interesting. Then I heard they are not creating the UI for it and instead leaving it up to the OEM to design their own interface. It doesn’t make any sense and I can’t believe anyone would think this was a good idea.

Now I’m a huge fan of Windows 7 and it’s great on a laptop and desktop. Windows EC 7 is small and light and is the underpinnings for the Zune and Windows Phone 7. It would make an excellent basis for a tablet. But they need to create the UI and ecosystem with a cohesive marketplace that provides the same experience on all OEM’s products. They can base it on Silverlight which would make it very easy to create apps for the tablet as well as Windows Phone 7.

I believe Microsoft’s long-term goal is to head in that direction but they are putting all their resources into two big launches this fall, Windows Phone 7 and Project Natal for Xbox 360. The recent release of the Kin by Microsoft was a waste of time. It doesn’t make sense and takes away from what they are doing with Windows Phone 7. Microsoft is late to the phone market and because of it they are also late to the tablet market. The current promotion of full Windows 7 on tablets is just to fill the gap till they have a proper product in place.

Google has caught up to Apple in the phone department but has nothing for tablets. They don’t talk about them or do anything to help current Android tablets succeed. I’m hoping that when Google launches the next version of Android codenamed Gingerbread that it includes a modified UI and ecosystem for Tablets. Either that or they make good on their promise of the Chrome OS if it can make better use of the screen space the tablet provides.

That leads me to my other point and question why everyone says Microsoft should just bring their phone OS to the tablet. Many people believe Google should just bring Android to the tablet and forget about Chrome OS. Also HP bought Palm mainly with the purpose of bringing WebOS to the tablet. I’m not sure that’s the best strategy. A tablet is a different category and needs a similar touch based OS but it needs to be more powerful with a focus on multitasking and frankly multiple windows. I have no interest in running games or apps designed for a small 3-4″ screen on a 7-12″ tablet. They need apps written specifically for them, so why not make an OS specifically for the tablet.

I also believe that flash is fundamental to a tablet competing with Apple. It will provide them with some leverage to win over customers. The internet will take longer to change to HTML5 then it will take for competing tablets to hit the market. Also the hardware to run Flash smoothly without killing the battery will be available long before HTML5. I can live without it on my phone, but not on a tablet.

I don’t like the direction everyone is heading with tablets. If they actually want them to replace laptops for most consumer uses they need to be more of a PC and less of a Phone. They really need to find the perfect medium between the two and if Google, HP or Microsoft can actually do it they have a chance of capturing this emerging market. If they release a tablet running a phone OS or desktop OS, they blew it.

Dave Loft

What Would I do if I was in Charge Of Microsoft

Originally written on January 23rd 2007.

For Microsoft to compete with where tech is headed they need to unify their hardware lineup. To do this they first need to launch the Live anywhere marketplace.  This single marketplace would allow you to connect from your Windows Vista PC, Windows Mobile 6.0 phone, Xbox 360 gaming console and a Zune media player.  Any music, video or casual game purchased would be playable from any of those devices without requiring multiple purchases.  There will also be device specific content.

Obviously this would mean bringing the Zune capability to the Windows Mobile 6.0 platform.  They could start from scratch, but why build a new phone platform when you already have one in place. They need to build a media centre like interface that would run over top of Windows Mobile providing the user with a simplified interface giving them access to all the basic features.  This would include all multimedia as well as phone and communication.  This interface would be maintained and updated by Microsoft and not the device manufacturers. This would allow Microsoft to update the experience on all devices to keep the interface and features consistent.

For Microsoft to take on Apple they have to do some things differently.  Opening up their devices to more codecs will go a long way with the tech community and establishing it as a true competitor.  I would add OGG and FLAC audio support as well as Mpeg1 and Mpeg4 codecs like DivX and XviD.

For the regular Zune I would release a larger capacity 80GB model. The hardware is in place so no need to update it right away.  They should however update what the current Zune can do with software.  They need to improve the Zune to Zune sharing and add the ability to buy and stream media from the Zune marketplace on the mobile device.  Next I would release a flash based player to compete with the iPod Nano.  It will be about the same size as the Nano, just a little bigger. But it will all of the full size Zune’s capabilities.

The Xbox 360 lineup could use an update.  They should phase out the current models and bring in two new ones.  The new versions would be quieter, smaller and output less heat due to improvements in the processor and other internal components. It would also add HDMI and full 1080p output capability.  The new core unit would come with a 40GB hard drive and a basic wired controller.  The premium version would come with a 120 GB hard drive, a wireless controller and headset.  The price of the two new units should be the same as the current models.  To help phase out the current models they should be reduced in price.  The HD-DVD drive will still be available to add to any Xbox 360.

The catalogue of music and video on the marketplace needs to be greatly expanded.  They need to make some major deals with the record labels and movie studios.  Music, videos and games are must on this marketplace, but it also needs software, podcasts, eBooks, newspapers, comics and audio books to be relevant with what’s to come.   Microsoft has a music subscription service to differentiate itself and it exopanded to TV and movies as well.

They also need to land the whole social aspect of the internet and use a community to create and share content which would help drive their service. Ultimately getting the live anywhere service right will be the key to Microsoft’s success.

Dave Loft

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