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The Death of the Kin – On Film

Remember the Kin? Of course you do! No, really, you should – it was the original Windows Phone, Microsoft’s first attempt to redefine mobile phones after Windows Mobile was pushed face down in the dust by Android and iOS.

However, the platform died a death very early (making webOS look positively ancient) and Microsoft quietly swept it away, under a big carpet. Visually it was an interesting device, but the real problem was that it just didn’t work, for one reason or another.

Wired have recently released these videos of the Kin being tested. It’s not pleasant.

It seems that even dialling – that most basic of phone functions – was difficult:

The lag wasn’t limited to fialling, either….

Somehow the Kin was launched, despite the evidence seen here – to pretty poor reviews. The evolution of the Kin is a little convoluted – it’s inspired-yet-flawed social networking integration would be removed, downgrading the phone to a feature phone – but essentially it didn’t live long past the summer of 2010, existing in the wild in its original form for about two months.

Of course, there is a happy takeaway from all this – without the very patient testing group, Kin wouldn’t have been dropped, and I wouldn’t be sat here with a nice new Windows Phone 8 ūüėÄ

(Via the wonderful WPCentral)

Does iOSification Stand in the Way of Mountain Lion Take Up?

News that just 25% of Mac users have upgraded to the latest release of OS X has lead to a variety of theories as to why this might be the case. Top of the list is the operating system’s march towards looking and feeling like it’s “little brother”, iOS.

Why have only 25% of Mac users upgraded to Mountain Lion?

Given that Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion features some considerable performance boosts, the fact that take up isn’t higher (I mean, it’s only $19.95 to upgrade!) has lead some to question if the main player, Snow Leopard, might become Apple’s equivalent of Windows XP.

There are, of course, various advantages to using Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. To begin with, there is the compatibility with PowerPC applications which later versions of the operating system don’t support. There’s also the Hackintosh phenomenon – sadly it is becoming trickier to install Mac OS on newer non-Mac hardware, but Snow Leopard can be configured to run on a large selection of systems and even as a virtual machine on computers with AMD processors.

Financial constraints on users might also be to blame, although the low cost of the software upgrade (as opposed to the hardware) suggests otherwise. The real problem might simply be Apple’s growing popularity as the “friendly” and “usable” platform is reaching a new audience that has already been through enough transferring from Windows and doesn’t want the perceived hassle of yet another “upgrade”.

But what of the iOSification of the platform? Seen by some as inevitable, you only need to glance at Launchpad, Mail, iPhoto and many other Apple and third party apps to see that the whole look, style and ethos of iOS is being adapted wholesale for what is a desktop computing platform. This isn’t to everyone’s tastes.

What is most interesting about this is that it puts Apple into a situation similar to that experienced by Microsoft since Windows XP’s initial end of life date. Now extended to 2014 (although with a share of 41% earlier this year, that date seems extremely optimistic) Windows XP support is a major bugbear for Microsoft, particularly as it isn’t Metro friendly and can’t even run Office 2013. Yet it persists in popularity among users and games publishers.

Apple were forced to issue a patch for Snow Leopard in September 2012, something that isn’t usually done for the last-but-one release. Usually at this stage support is dropped, so it will be interesting going forward to see how Cupertino deals with this particular problem.

In the meantime, they’ll be hoping that the low price and the coming holiday season leads to an increase in the uptake of upgrades…

Adverts On a £200 Games Console with a £40 Annual Sub?

Xbox Live set to display adverts for streamed videoMad, but true: Microsoft is about to start running advertisements on Xbox Live.

Included under the auspices of providing “break time” for users, the ads are set to appear between video and TV apps on the service, with providers such as ESPN, Last.fm, GameSpot and MUZU.TV adding their commercials to existing in-app promos from names such as UFC, TMZ, and Crackle.

Microsoft’s Ross Honey said:

“With the growth of Xbox Live, advertisers no longer have to choose between digital and TV advertising – we’re offering the impact of TV and the interactivity and addressability of digital in one platform.

“As more and more industry leaders like ESPN work with us to help monetise their content on Xbox Live, TV media buyers win with the ability to extend their standard TV spots to this highly engaged consumer audience.”

However, he and M$ (once again the acronym is apt) are completely missing the point. Users pay enough for the service as it is without being bombarded with adverts, while PlayStation 3 users enjoy a service that remains commercial-free zone (and yes, sometimes it is an uptime free zone, but let’s stick to the point).

This is a massive #fail for Microsoft, and they need to go into a quick reverse on this decision if Xbox Live is to retain any credibility as an entertainment system. After all, people opt to stream video to avoid inconveniences like advertising.

What next, news bulletins in the middle of Halo 4?

Windows Phone 7 is Coming!

Windows Phone 7 Games

Following two huge press events on both sides of the Atlantic on Monday, Windows Phone 7 will finally be launched for public consumption.

Already one UK operator, O2, is listing the phone in their “coming soon” section, while Orange have posted and since removed a help document concerning the platform.

In the USA, T-Mobile and AT&T are set to be the main networks carrying the devices – set to be one each from Samsung, LG and mobile big hitters HTC.

These are new devices with new, higher specs than previous Windows Mobile devices – although this hasn’t stopped regulars at the XDA-developers.com forum from apparently porting the new mobile platform to a HTC HD2 handset.

On a personal note, I’ve been looking forward to WP7 for MONTHS. A long-time user of Windows Mobile, I’ve been using Android for about 6 months now and although I’m happy with it, it too closely resembles the iOS which I’ve been avoiding.

Windows Phone 7 represents something new and exciting – and I cannot wait!

Google Acquires BumpTop

For several years, BumpTop has existed as an OS shell program that turns your desktop into a 3D, real desktop environment in which you can play around with icons and files the same way you would on your wood and metal desk. The upside is that it’s really fun to play around with and a very¬†visceral¬†experience for the user, but the downside is that it requires some pretty hefty graphics processing and it’s an experience that’s so completely different that some people have trouble adjusting.

Recently, it was bought out by Google while at the same time telling its users that, as of July 1, it will no longer be available for purchase or download. This is a very interesting move for Google. They have been talking about developing a tablet PC for a long time now, and acquiring a company that specializes in an awesome GUI experience tells a fascinating tale. Perhaps the Chrome OS tablet will be running an interface similar to BumpTop? Google’s future has never been more¬†fascinating!

SOURCE: Mashable

Windows Phone 7 Streaming Netflix

Netflix Windows Mobile

Windows 7 news is all over the internet lately. It seems like it’s going to make a huge splash when it finally touches down. But one of the awesomest things to come out of the headlines in the past couple of days is its streaming Netflix app. Unveiled at MIX10, the app features the Watch Instantly functionality that it currently has available on its website and various other devices that connect to your TV (such as, say… oh, I dunno, Xbox 360?) The more information that comes out about the Windows Phone 7, the better I feel about it. Being a movie geek myself, this app adds a thousand points to its win points.

There’s a video from Engadget that shows the app in action.