$7.2 Billion Later And Microsoft Is Now A Device Company

Microsoft is buy Nokia’s mobile device business for a whopping $7.2 billion (5.44 billion euros), that will bring Microsoft CEO contender Stephen Elop back into the Microsoft hive.

Current Nokia CEO Elop ran Microsoft’s Software Division up until he left, for Nokia, in 2010. Because of this many Finnish media outlets have labeled him a Trojan Horse and that this was planned all along as Elop presided over Nokia’s Market Collapse and it’s slow sad decline since.

There is a ton more info in the full article but, my take on this is:

Microsoft will have to be very careful moving forward with this. Nokia hasn’t been a power in the mobile devices market for some time now. One has to wonder if being made by Microsoft will really change the fact that Samsung, HTC and Apple own the mobile device market. Granted that Big-M will give a huge influx of new assets (money) and talent (people).

We’ll all have to wait and see what will happen as Microsoft tries to become a gadget and service company instead of the software, or what ever they claim to be now.

Full Article at finance.yahoo.com

Ballmer to Retire within 12 Months

Microsoft Steve Ballmer announced that he will retire within the next 12 months.

Now to be honest this doesn’t seem like that great of timing when you consider the struggles Microsoft has looming: falling Windows OS sales, a tablet that is failing to gain a substantial foothold in the market not to mention the quickly approaching console battle with Sony’s PlayStation 4.

From what’s reported, Ballmer has not developed a successor not even a group of possibilities. Joachim Kempin, a senior Microsoft executive from 1983 to 2002, stated in his recent book that this was intentional as Ballmer felt threatened by the future leaders in the company.

This will be a tough time for Microsoft as they look to find their next leader.

Fin the full article at yahoo.com

Meet the Ubuntu Edge

Popular Linux OS Ubuntu is working on their own smart phone, the Ubuntu Edge. They’re currently trying to raise $32,000,000 to secure funding for the project. The phone will be able to boot up into Ubuntu OS or Android OS, and will have some majorly impressive stats.

Compared to the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4:

Ubuntu Edge Apple iPhone 5 Samsung Galaxy S4
Mobile OS Dual-boots Android and Ubuntu mobile iOS Android
Desktop OS Ubuntu Desktop No No
RAM 4GB 1GB 2GB
Internal storage 128GB 64GB 16GB
Screen 720 x 1,280, 4.5 inches 640 x 1,136, 4 inches 1,080 x 1,920, 5 inches
Protection Sapphire Glass Corning Gorilla Glass Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Connectivity Dual-LTE, GSM LTE, GSM LTE, GSM
Speakers Stereo Mono Mono
Battery Silicon-anode Li-ion Li-ion Li-ion
Price $780-830 $849* $750**

CPU/GPU, screen technology to be finalised before production. * Apple Store ** Best Buy

 

Only thing I can see that isn’t better than either the iPhone 5 or Galaxy S4 is the screen, but honestly on a 4.5 inch screen 720p is still pretty damn impressive.

Check out the full details and contribute at indiegogo.com.

Windows Phone Going with the Dodo?

Forbes reports that the Windows phone is failing to gain traction in the competitive Mobile Phone OS market. While globally the Nokia Lumia set records with 7.4 million sold world wide in the quarter, it doesn’t hide the fact that it’s only sold 500,000 in North America.Also that prices dropped 20%, it appears that Nokia has dropped the price to spur sales.

Windows Phone seems to be gaining slightly in the low end phone market, however doesn’t seem to be gaining anything in the high end phones, which is dominated by the iPhone and Android. It appears that both Nokia and Windows Phone OS are at a crossroads.

Read the full report at forbes.com

PlayStation 4 Information from E3

So yesterday both Microsoft and Sony had their keynote conferences yesterday. Early, and continued, reactions to the two is not going well for Microsoft. Thanks to their conference a couple weeks ago we know a bunch of details about the Xbox One (still hate that name) than we do the PS4. So here on Nerditronics we’re going to cover the PS4 announcements first, well that and I don’t like Microsoft, and I’m in charge of the blog!

First off, Sony went into full beast-mode in it’s attack on the Xbox One. If you’re squeamish, might want to look away now. NAW who am I kidding keep reading!

Sony’s first jab to the Xbox One is it’s price, at $399 (In Europe, it’ll be €399 and £349.) PS4 will be priced a full $100 cheaper than Microsoft’s offering. This is a very welcomed change to the $600 launch of the PlayStation 3, which for the record, yes I still paid it. Though it does not appear that this will include the new PlayStation Eye camera.

At the console launch in February Sony didn’t show the actual console, however at E3 they fixed that quickly. I’ll be honest, I’m not psyched about the look, granted it doesn’t look like an old boxy VCR like the Xbox One does, but it does look like an italicized original PS2.

 

The system will include a 500GB hard drive similar to the X1 (hate that name too), however they’ve already announced that it will be upgradeable similar to the original PS3′s.

Now here’s where it gets a little ugly for Microsoft.

Jack Tretton, the president of Sony Computer Entertainment America said, ”We’re equally focused on delivering what gamers want most, without imposing restrictions or devaluing their PS4 purchases.” Soon after this Sony start launching bombs that were not subtle at all.

Kotaku’s summary of what happened next said it best I think.

“PlayStation 4 won’t impose any new restrictions on the use of PS4 games.” Twenty-second applause break. “When a gamer buys a PS4 disc, they have the rights to use that copy of the game, they can trade in the game at retail, sell it to another person, lend it to a friend, or keep it forever.” Twenty-second applause break, with “Sony” chant.

 

“PlayStation 4 disc-based games don’t need to be connected online to play.” Twelve-second applause break. “If you enjoy playing singleplayer games offline, PS4 won’t require you to check in online periodically.” Eight-second applause break. “And it won’t stop working if you haven’t authenticated within 24 hours.” Ten-second applause break.

These were obviously directly aimed at Microsoft’s ‘clarifications’ the other day, which has not sat well with gamers. Sony knew this and played into it beautifully.

Now all the cheering and brownie-points that Sony gained with the last announcements made this next bit of news go off oddly well:

The PlayStation 4 will now charge for Online Multiplayer, unlike with the PS3. You can pay $50 for a year’s subscription ($4.17-ish per month). However you will get multiple free games for your subscription and it’s good for every PlayStation device.

Now obviously this is very early on, and both systems are VERY far from launch, both slated for Holidays 2013. But at this point if Microsoft backs out on their announced plans they’ll run the risk of dropping more face with the customers by admitting that Sony was “right”. Also there’s no saying that Sony won’t change their mind about certain things between now and then. However as it stands now, Sony is swinging for the fences and Microsoft is leaving itself open for every shot.

Now for one last shot at the Xbox One, Sony released the following video.

Samsung announces new tablets

Samsung has announced a few new tablets, confirming to The Verge that they will release a new 8-inch and a new 10.1-inch tablets.

Now the 8-inch tablet will have 1.5 GHz Exynos dual-core processor, WXGA TFT 1280 x 800 (189 PPI) display, 1.5GB of RAM, a 5-megapixel rear-facing and 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, a 4,450 mAh battery, and 16GB or 32GB of internal storage.

As we previously reported the new 10.1 inch tablet will be dropping their old ARM chips for  an Intel 1.6 GHz dual-core processor. It will also have 1280 x 800 (149 PPI) WXGA TFT display, 1GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of internal storage, and a 6,800 mAh battery. However it will only have a 3-megapixel rear camera and the same 1.3 front camera.

They’ll both be available in June, no prices announced yet.

Check The Verge for the full story.

Mars Trip Radiation Threat

According to Alicia Chang from the Associated Press astronauts traveling to Mars will get about as much radiation as a person getting a full body CT scan about one a week for a full year. Round trip that’s about 662 millisieverts.

To put this in perspective, NASA’s lifetime limit for a male, who has never smoked, aged 30 – 60 is at max 1200 millisieverts. While on Earth the average person gets about 3 millisieverts a year.

Check the full article here.

 

 

The Xbox One: Hardware Analysis & Comparison to PlayStation 4

AnandTech has a good write up on the XBox One hardware and Compares it to the PlayStation 4.

For those that don’t want to read the entire article, here’s a high level view of what the neXt-Box is packing.

- 8-core AMD Jaguar CPU
- 12 CU/768 SP AMD GCN GPU
- 8GB DDR3 system memory
- 500GB HDD
- Blu-ray drive
- 2.4/5.0GHz 802.11 a/b/g/n, multiple radios with WiFi Direct support
- 4K HDMI in/out (for cable TV passthrough)
- USB 3.0

Check out the full write up here.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 to swap ARM chips for Intel

Reports are saying that Samsung will get rid of the Qualcomm ARM processors they’ve been using and will put in Intel’s Clover Trail+ chip.

On June 20th in London Samsung will hold an event to showcase some new tablets and phones. Haven’t heard for sure if the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 will be making an appearance there or not.

Check out the full article here.

Google Has Destroyed Apple’s Walled Garden From Within

So, minyanville.com has an article that hits on a few of my favorite things:

  1. Bashes Apple
  2. Talks about how awesome Android is
  3. Forgets Windows Phone even exists

When Apple released Siri (October 2011), the body-less ”assistant” everyone thought it was so revolutionary. However, the truth is, they took a page from Android’s ‘Voice Commands’ program. As much as I hate to admit it, Apple did one up Android, in that Siri allowed for a bit of “fuzzy language”. Instead of just knowing specific commands, it would try to figure out what you wanted as long as it was close-ish. While this didn’t always work as intended (http://whysiriwhy.com/) it did have an advantage over the current Google offering. But even Apple co-founder the great and powerful Woz (Steve Wozniak) and many other didn’t think it was up to Apple’s standards.

Then in June 2012 Apple tried to distance itself even further from it’s users reliance on Google and their tools, by launching Apple Maps. This was to offer better graphics, turn by turn directions, real time traffic updates and built in reviews from yelp! But too bad they spent so much time making it look pretty they forgot to make the map portion of the program any good at all. Entire Cities were missing, wrong directions were given and bridges rippled like water. And again the Woz was not ammused.

Apple Maps was so bad that Apple actually started referring people to Google Maps, except Apple banned the Google Maps app, so people had to use their web browser (Safari, THANKS APPLE!) to get to Google Maps that way. By December of that same year, Google Maps was back in the apple App Store.

“Big deal.” you may scoff, “Apple is allowed to make one mistake, Siri is still lightyears better than anything Google has!”

Not so fast. Google just launched Google Now. This is a Siri alternative that many people are saying, plays Siri better than Siri. Unfortunately there are a few things it can’t do, because Apple doesn’t allow third party applications access to them, such as setting alarms, e-mails, texts, etc. For the record it can do all these on Android. It also won’t provide a homepage widget, because again Apple says no.

What it can do, is search for things better than Siri. The author on minyanville.com took his wife’s iPhone 4 opened Google Now and asked when William Shatner was born. In about 1 second Google Now presented a card with the Shat’s photo and birth date, which G.N. read out loud to him. The same test on Siri, on the same phone, offered a 6 second delay after the question then Siri said that she was unable to find a “William Shatner” in the contact list and asked if he meant a different William in the list. It took the author a bit to realize Siri was waiting on a reply, when he said “No” she said “OK and that was it. No follow up, nothing just done.

Now this only 2 examples, but think about it. Most iPhone users would rather use Gmail, Google Chrome and Google Drive than the apps Apple supplies. And the really funny thing to me, is that this goes against Apple’s walled garden approach to everything. And despite what they may try Apple has no choice but to just smile and take it, because so many of their users are programmed to need Google apps.

Read the full article without my input here.