Microsoft has historically had a difficult time trying to sell its game consoles in Japan, where Sony's PlayStation platform has dominated. Not surprisingly, the Xbox One - which trails global sales behind the PlayStation 4 - and has fallen flat during Microsoft's first few days in Japan. Just 23,562 Xbox One units were sold in the first four days, with the Xbox and Xbox 360 both selling better during their launch weekends.
The PS4 sold 308,000 units as the Nintendo Wii U sold 322,000 during the first few days they were available in Japan. Microsoft launched the Xbox One in Japan on September 6 and included a game catalog of 29 different titles, hoping it would be enough to get Japanese consumers interested.
Microsoft hopes a lower price tag and console bundles will help increase sales - as all three companies prepare for what could become an extremely busy Christmas holiday shopping season this year.
Amplidata, a software provider in the nascent object storage market, has received $10 million in a latest round of funding by Western Digital Capital. In the announcement regarding the investment, Amplidata also announced that HGST, a wholly owned subsidiary of Western Digital Corp., will jointly develop a suite of storage solutions built on the Amplidata Himalaya software.
Exactly what product will result from the HGST partnership is still an unknown. According to the press release, "The companies will partner to create solutions that will dramatically improve the storage economics for the Exabyte-scale needs of the world's largest businesses." The future products are described as being "ultra-dense storage solutions" which most likely translates to a total external storage solution, no longer just components from HGST. This is interesting to note since HGST was acquired by WD in 2012 and has remained mostly a hard drive manufacturer until now. It appears that they now aim to enter the space of their ex-parent, Hitachi (owner of HDS), and provide total solutions to the enterprise market.
There are now more than 15 million smartphones running with some type of malware, and security threats continue to emerge, according to Kindsight Security Labs, an Alcatel-Lucent company. At least sixty percent of infected phones are running Google Android, with around 40 percent of Microsoft Windows PCs accessing mobile networks making up the rest of the reported threats.
Four out of the 10 top threats facing smartphone owners is now spyware, with criminals able to monitor phone calls, text and photo images, GPS location, and Internet browsing history. However, most Android malware isn't overly sophisticated and cybercriminals are adjusting how to develop their attacks for smartphones and other mobile devices.
Even though Android and PCs running Windows make up most infected devices spotted by Kindsight Security Labs, criminals have shown greater interest in trying to compromise Apple iPhone devices. Security experts recommend users run anti-virus and anti-malware software on their phones, which offers an additional layer of protection.
Sprint hopes to use the Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to help springboard back into competition with Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and T-Mobile. The company said new and current subscribers will be able to purchase either new iPhone and pay $50 per month for unlimited talk, text and data, which is $10 cheaper than the entry-level unlimited plan.
In addition, Sprint also has an "iPhone for Life" plan so customers can pay $20 per month for 24 months - and then they can turn the older model in for a newer iPhone. It's a rather neat promotion as carriers become more aggressive to ensure consumers are likely to join their network and stay as a long-term subscriber.
"They're great phones to be able to show off the value that we have compared to our competition," said Jeff Hallock, Sprint chief marketing officer. "We made a strategic investment in the data part of service pricing and bringing that to customers with the best value, certainly you take the devices like the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which we expect customers to do a lot on."
If you have purchased a Microsoft Xbox One game console and think it is louder than it should be, Microsoft is willing to send out replacements. It's unknown how many customers have complained, but it reportedly is a "small number" of systems - with a growing number of Xbox fans complaining about it, especially after launching in new regions.
"We have heard that a small number of Xbox One owners in some situations may hear a noise from the console that is too loud,", a Microsoft spokesperson recently confirmed. "While this does not affect the safety or functionality of the system, we're asking customers who believe they are experience this issue to contact Xbox Support. At the request of our customers, we are exchanging those consoles for new systems."
The louder Xbox One doesn't help entice consumers to purchase the console, which has steadily trailed the Sony PlayStation 4. Both devices were released last November, and are preparing for what could be a very competitive Christmas holiday shopping season. In September, Microsoft launched the Xbox in Chile, Colombia, Japan and sixteen other countries - with scheduled launches in Israel, China and Russia scheduled for later this month.
Verizon Wireless will offer subscribers a free Apple iPhone 6 16GB if they sign a two-year contract and exchange their old phone. The 16GB iPhone 6 model costs $199, and eligible trade-in devices include the following: iPhone 4, 4S, 5, 5C, or 5S smartphones. The launch of major smartphones is a selling point to consumers interested in switching carriers, which hasn't gone unnoticed by the No. 1 wireless carrier in the United States.
Even if many seem underwhelmed by Apple's recent announcements, wireless carriers have been quick to offer subscribers incentives to join their networks.
Apple's pricing is a rather curious one, as T-Mobile and other carriers begin to eliminate mandatory two-year contracts while also unbundling service. Equipment financing plans of more expensive smartphones isn't as appealing, with a growing number of subscribers interested in paying installments for expensive smartphones.
This year's 'Transformers: Age of Extinction' might have made just shy of $1.1 billion at the worldwide box office (and the entire series an astonishing $4 billion), but according to the Inquisitor, Director Michael Bay is finally walking from the franchise.
Many, including myself criticised the latest film for being far too long and indulgent, the fun of the first entry now a distant memory, so new blood at the top is a well overdue and welcome bit of news. Whilst the inclusion of Mark Wahlberg replacing the lead role previously played by Shia LaBeouf made for a novelty, it seems that he also has no interest in returning.
It's no surprise that Paramount wants to keep the franchise going, but without a director or key cast, the mooted 2016 release date seems all but impossible.
After a long, multi-million dollar restoration effort to restore one of the best loved science fiction TV series of all time, CBS Entertainment have unveiled plans to release the seventh and final season of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' on Blu-ray, along with a separate feature film version of the two part finale 'All Good Things'.
The six disc set includes all 26 episode episodes, fully remastered in 1080p, including a newly produced three part documentary 'The Sky's the Limit: The Eclipse of Star Trek: The Next Generation', an 'In Conversation: Lensing Star Trek: The Next Generation' feature which reunites some of the best Next Generation directors, three audio commentaries, 23 deleted scenes, a gag reel, original footage of the sets in 'A Tour of the Real Enterprise', the vintage documentary 'Journey's End: The Saga of Star Trek: The Next Generation', TV spots and all original DVD features.
Season 7 comes to Blu-ray on December 2nd in the US, and December 10th in Australia.
An interesting rumor is emerging, that Microsoft will acquire Mojang, the developer behind the super-successful Minecraft. The Wall Street Journal is behind the report, which gives it some weight, which says that a "person familiar with the matter" has noted that the deal is worth over $2 billion.
Other than that, there's not much to report on now, but you can be sure we'll have more to say if and when this happens.
Intel continues to develop and manufacture hardware for mobile devices, as Dell and other OEMs show their CPU partner support. In addition to its blossoming plans for increased tablet market saturation, the company also has its sights set on the lucrative smartphone market.
"We've made good progress getting into tablets," said Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO, in a statement. "We've gone from nothing to something where I consider us a real tablet manufacturer."
Just a few years ago, Intel was fully dedicated to notebooks, PCs and servers - but a continuing migration to mobile devices shook the company up - and Intel fights for market share in a competitive market. However, Intel didn't want to miss the boat long-term, and invested in expanding mobile research and development. It will still be an uphill battle to compete with ARM, but Intel is grinding away to close the gap.