Microsoft reported its quarterly earnings this week looking at most aspects of its business. One of the things that didn't get talked about during the quarterly report was exactly how sales for the Xbox One are going. Early in the launch cycle for the new console, Microsoft was bragging frequently about how the console was selling.
All we heard on sales stats for the console during the earnings report was that Microsoft shipped 1.1 million Xbox One consoles in the last quarter. Microsoft has only moved 100,000 more consoles than it did last year in the same period when the Xbox One wasn't available.
The last official Xbox One sales figures came in May of this year when Microsoft said it had shipped over 5 million Xbox One consoles to retailers around the world. That number put it about 2 million units behind the PS4 in sales.
Apple posted its quarterly profits this week and shed a bit of light on sales for its popular iPad and iPhone devices. While iPhone sales are up, sales of iPad tablets are slowing with sales slumping to 13.3 million units during the quarter, a 9% decline.
This marks the second quarter in a row where sales of the iPad have been on the decline. CEO Tim Cook says that the key to reviving iPad sales is to get more of the tablets into the business world. Cook notes that Apple has 76% of the commercial market with its products, but tablets are used less often in the commercial setting than laptops.
Apple admits that sales for the iPad last quarter were less than some analysts predicted, but says that sales were in line with its own predictions. "We still feel the category as a whole is in its early days and there is significant innovation that can be brought to the iPad and we plan on doing that," Cook said.
Google is offering a new prize for anyone who can build a better power inverter. The price is a cool $1 million and it is being offered as part of the little box challenge. To win designers need to build a better small-scale power inverter than is available today.
What Google and the other firms backing the prize are looking for is a kW-scale power inverter with a density of at least 50W per cubic inch. Some believe that a power inverter of this type will allow the unlocking of billions of dollars of commercial value from the electric grid.
Google says, "We believe that inverters will become increasingly important to our economy and environment as solar PV, batteries, and similar power sources continue their rapid growth. More broadly, similar forms of power electronics are everywhere: in laptops, phones, motors drives, electric vehicles, wind turbines, to give just a few examples. We expect that the innovations inspired by this prize will have wide applicability across these areas, increasing efficiency, driving down costs, and opening up new uses cases that we can't imagine today. It also doesn't hurt that many of these improvements could make our data centers run more safely and efficiently."
Flir is a company that has been making thermal imaging cameras for commercial and military use for a number of years. The company has been under pressure to branch out into the broader consumer market and has an interesting new product to help. The new product is called the Flir One and it is an accessory for the iPhone 5 or 5S smartphones.
The accessory camera will sell for $349 making it much cheaper than the $1000 price the next cheapest thermal camera sells for. A version of the Flir one for Android users will roll out next year.
Flir thinks that consumers will see the benefit in a thermal imaging camera that sells for $350. Using the camera people can do things like check for cold or hot air leaking into or out of a home allowing them to better insulate and save money on heating and cooling. Developers are working with Flir now on making apps to take advantage of the camera.
Muscle car fans are probably familiar with the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat; the car is one of the most powerful production muscle cars in the world. Dodge gave the Hellcat a massive amount of power with an engine making 707hp and claiming the horsepower crown in the muscle car realm.
With the Camaro ZL1 packing 580hp and the Shelby GT500 packing 662hp, you might expect the Hellcat with significantly more power to be price a lot higher, and it is more expensive. The sales price for the Hellcat is going to start at $60,990. The Camaro ZL1 starts at $57,650 and the GT500 starts at $55,935.
707hp is an insane amount of power to come from a factory engine in a car meant for the streets. The Hellcat will go on sale this fall along with the other available versions of the car. The SRT 392 version of the car will sell for $46,990.
Electronic Arts posted its results for the first quarter of the fiscal 2015 year (the three-month period that ended on June 30) where the company saw a net revenue of $1.21 billion. This is an 8% increase compared to EA's revenue in the previous quarter, which was $1.12 billion.
When comparing to year-over-year results, it's an increase of 27.9%. The company has also increased its digital revenue by a little over 9% in the last three months too, increasing this revenue from $491 million to $536 million. EA's net income dropped 8.7% for the last quarter, dropping from $367 million in Q4 of fiscal 2014 to $335 million.
If we compare it to the same quarter of last year, EA's net income has increased by a whopping 50.9%. The company took the time to announce two delays for two of its biggest franchises, with Dragon Age: Inquisition being pushed back a month into November, and delaying Battlefield: Hardline into 2015.
Rumors continue to swirl that Apple is getting ready to launch a smartwatch in the US. A patent has now been granted by the USPTO that covers an electronic wristwatch that was originally filed in July 2011. The patent certainly shows what Apple was thinking about a wearable device as far back as three years ago.
The patent is US Patent 8,787,006 and went public yesterday. If you are hoping that the patent will shed light on what the iWatch, or iTime device might be like, all the patent really shows is what Apple was thinking in 2011. The watch in the line art with the patent looks nothing like the bangle we have seen in concept renderings.
The watch in the patent is a wristband that has a mobile device component that can be clipped onto the band worn on the wrist and can function when off the band too. The patent does call the device iTime, but no note of a trademark being filed for that name has been found. This patent almost looks like a spinoff of the iPod nano watchbands that were common a few years ago.
EA has delayed a second game today, with the first being Battlefield: Hardline pushed back into sometime next year, but Dragon Age: Inquisition is also getting a little more time in the oven. Bioware's upcoming fantasy RPG has a new release date of November 18, 2014 - an extra month of waiting.
Executive Producer on the game, Mark Darrah, explains: "I'm writing to let you know that Dragon Age: Inquisition has a new release date of November 18, 2014 in North America (November 21st in EU). We appreciate the enormous support we've received from all of you to get to this point, and while this extra few weeks may not seem like a lot, I know the game you'll play will be all the better for it".
Darrah continued: "Since we began working on Dragon Age: Inquisition almost four years ago, our goal was to create the best Dragon Age experience ever. It was that goal that motivated many of our decisions: moving to Frostbite, bringing race choice and customisation back, improving tactical camera, building a team of characters whose relationships evolve based on your actions, and most importantly, crafting an epic, nation-spanning story that both draws upon past games and takes you to many new places in the realm of Thedas".
The lure of easy pickings in online cybercrime has drawn many criminals to the Internet, where they look to compromise users, steal debit and credit card information along with other personal data. The use of social engineering to manipulate victims remains popular, but many Internet users provide information to criminals too easily.
The basic tips apply: don't provide personal information when you don't have to, such Social Security numbers; always monitor bank accounts; avoid clicking links in unsolicited emails, or other suspicious messages; and choosing a secure password are important.
"Con artists are going online to steal your hard-earned money," said Bob Gallo, AARP Illinois State Director, in a press statement. "Common sense should tell us that if it sounds too good to be true, chances are it is. But AARP's nationwide Fraud Watch Network can also help you beat con artists at their own game and get critical information to fight back and protect your money."
During the Commonwealth Games that take place between 24th July and the 3rd of August, BBC Research and Development will be conducting a few trials and public demonstrations. These experiments will see a number of industry partners working together to help create the future of BBC R&D's vision of the future of TV. These broadcasting milestones include:
- The first ever Ultra-HD broadcast of a Commonwealth Games
- The first major live event to be produced and delivered entirely over the Internet
- The first UK trial broadcasting live coverage over 4G mobile networks
- The first live virtual reality broadcast combining 360 degree video with 3D audio
- The first public outing for several cutting-edge BBC R&D projects demonstrating the editorial and creative potential of a new Internet-based broadcasting system
The biggest part here is that we're going to be seeing the first live VR broadcast done, which will use a combination of 360-degree video with 3D audio. The BBC R&D team will be getting a hand from UCL, where they will create "the most immersive live virtual reality broadcast to date". The demonstration will involve "a panoramic, 360 degree video camera, and a 3D audio microphone will be placed into the SSE Hydro Stadium in Glasgow, streaming the live feeds to an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset in the Glasgow Science Centre". They continue, by teasing that "This provides the viewer with the sensation of being transported inside the stadium and being part of the crowd. This work forms part of ongoing projects to explore the creative and editorial potential of new consumer audio-visual technology".