Microsoft are reportedly set to release a $99 Xbox bundle which will include the 4GB-sporting Xbox 360, as well as their Kinect motion sensor device. The Xbox 360 won't be sold flat-out for $99, but will have a two-year $15 per month subscription attached to it.
At the end of the two-year period, customers would have paid slightly more for the bundle, compared to if they had dumped $299 down up-front. But, most people would rather pay a smaller monthly fee, then dump all of that money down at once. It's how smartphones are sold, in droves.
Included with the two-year subscription is a two-year warranty, membership to Microsoft's Xbox Live Gold service, and possible extra streaming material. If customers want to break the contract, they can do so by paying an early termination fee. This fee is currently unknown.
Valve have released a Steam beta client which has a new feature tucked into it called Remote Downloads. Remote Downloads is a feature that lets users manage their game libraries remotely. This means that users can login to the official Steam site and have access to their game list.
From here, they can start downloads and monitor their progress. The only requirement is that Steam has to be left running on their PC, which is obvious. Because Remote Downloads is done through a standard web browser, this means that smart devices like smartphones and tablets should be able to get in on the fun.
At the moment, the Steam apps for iOs and Android allow game purchases, but don't play well with a home installation of Steam. This function should be baked into the app once Remote Downloads makes its way out of beta, and into Steam as a proper feature. Nice work, Valve!
Images have leaked out onto the Internet of Lenovo's Ivy Bridge-powered Ultrabook thanks to Swiss retailer ThinkpadCenter.ch. They've posted a photo and some information on specs for Lenovo's upcoming Ultrabook, and tablet.
The new Lenovo products should arrive within the next eight weeks or so. The leaked image teases the Lenovo ThinkPad X230, which is an Ultrabook which keeps Lenovo's ThinkPad aesthetic, sporting a chiclet-style AccuTyre keyboard.
The site also shows off some information on the ThinkPad X230t, which is the tablet version of the product, but there's no pictures available for that model. The laptop and tablets will sport 12.5-inch screens with a 1366x768 resolution display. Storage options include 320GB and 500GB traditional HDDs, as well as a 180GB SSD option.
ValveTime are reporting that forum member "tabernumse" has posted the e-mail response he received from Gabe Newell in reference to their plans for E3, shown below:
We are not announcing anything at E3. Really. We are not announcing Half-Life 3 or Portal 3 or Left 4 Dead 3. We are going to be showing stuff everyone already knows about (CS:Go, Dota 2, 10' UI, ...)
This has got to be the coolest clock that has ever been designed. I've seen pictures of this clock floating around the internet for a while now, but was always unable to figure out the name of it or who makes it. I have finally completed this quest, and now present to you the Qlocktwo. This is handmade by Biegert & Funk in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany.
A description of the clock by the manufacturer:
QLOCKTWO® makes you stop and look at time in a different way. The typographical display combines the moment with the written word and turns it into a statement. "It is half past nine."
In a move that is sure to upset people who purchased Rock Band on iOS, EA has started an in-app announcement alerting players that "on May 31, Rock Band will no longer be playable on your device. Thanks for rocking out with us!" It's not clear whether just the multiplayer is being shut down or if they are going to disable the app.
Even better is the fact that the app is still available for purchase without any sort of warning about the May 31 date. Makers of apps are able to remove their apps at anytime from the app store, but the software often remains playable on devices which have it installed. If EA fully disables the software come May 31, there could be bad publicity.
EA has shut down games before. Just last month they announced the shutdown of nearly a dozen titles. "As games get replaced with newer titles, the number of players still enjoying the older games dwindles to a level -- fewer than 1 percent of all peak online players across all EA titles -- where it's no longer feasible to continue the behind-the-scenes work involved with keeping these games up and running," the company said at the time.
If for some reason you just can't wait for the official announcement of the upcoming Trinity platform, then do I have some good news for you. Chinese site EXPreview has supposedly come across AMD presentation slides which detail the upcoming APU. The slides do look to be legitimate as some of the details match what AMD has already released.
AMD has already made public that the new Trinity APU will feature the updated Bulldozer CPU cores dubbed Piledriver. The slides purport that the new cores will process more instructions per clock while leaking less power. The APUs are set to come in dual- and quad-core versions that range from 2.0GHz to 3.8GHz. The TDP appears to top out at 100W.
The lower clock speeds are partially expected due to the fact that the CPU shares its die with a powerful graphics processor. Speaking of the graphics processor, the GPU included on die has up to 384 ALUs which can clock all the way up to 800MHz. The GPU appears that it takes up over half of the silicon die.
It's pretty tough to run a website, especially a mega-large website, without some sort of revenue. Servers, IT people, web developers, and the rest aren't free, so Tumblr has been living off of its start-up investments for a while now. They have finally decided that they need to make some money off of the site in order to keep running.
Enter Tumblr's first ads. These were first announced two weeks ago at Ad Age's digital conference. The ads aren't very intrusive on users' blogs, which is a good thing. MySpace fell out of favor because of the sheer intrusiveness of its advertising. It wasn't too long ago that the CEO of Tumblr said they would rather sell the desks in the office than put ads on the site. Curiously, that same CEO left the company yesterday. It is possible that that and today's launch have some sort of connection.
These ads aren't ads in the traditional sense. Instead the company is using its Radar and Spotlight features to help highlight content from advertisers/sponsors. According to the company, Tumblr Radar gets 120 million impressions a day. The feature is designed to hgihlight "the most creative and interesting media" on the Tumblr network and advertisers will "get a dedicated share of attention, with the opportunity to gain thousands of new followers, likes and reblogs."
In what can only be seen as a major ruling, German courts have told Microsoft to stop selling its Windows 7 and Xbox 360 products, apparently due to patent infringement. The judgement comes from a lawsuit in which Motorola Mobility alleged that Microsoft's products infringed upon two patents regarding H.264 video coding and playback.
The court has found that Microsoft has used some of Motorola's intellectual property and found that a sales ban will be set in place until the matter can be settled. A settlement in this instant would require vast sums of money to change hands. How perfect for Google who just acquired Motorola Mobility!
It's unlikely that Microsoft will pull its products from store shelves just yet as Microsoft has said they will carry on as normal until an appeal of the decision can be made. The ban also includes Internet Explorer and Windows Media player. Microsoft also has the support of the US where a court has ruled a ban of the ban.
Google and its partner Onix Networking have just won a $35 million contract to run a new cloud-based e-mail and collaboration system for the US Department of the Interior. Incredibly, this wasn't always a definite thing for Google and its partner. Previously in 2010, a contract for the same thing had been awarded to Microsoft for $59.3 million.
Of course, because of the litigious society that we live in, Google and its partner quickly filed suit to block the contract. Google claimed that the selection process for the contract unfairly favored Microsoft and didn't give Google a chance. The lawsuit was withdrawn last September after the Department canceled its plans to use Microsoft due to the fact its original decision was "now stale in light of new developments in technology and entrants into the market."
Microsoft is obviously not the happiest with this decision. As such they have issued a statement: