Tag Archives: launch

Xbox One launches today

Exactly one week after Sony let loose PS4, Microsoft is replacing its aging console with Xbox One. And just like PS4’s release, gamers can expect a Day One patch to get the system working at full capacity and a brand new SmartGlass app for all your Xbox on-the-go and wireless slinging needs. Download the app today at iTunes and Google Play Store. Brush up on the hardware’s launch titles here.

The house that Bill Gates built is pimping their Xbox 360 successor to be the “one” stop destination for all your entertainment needs; for example, with its HDMI IN port you can run your cable box through the console and watch live TV while you’re gaming. It’s all exciting stuff but how will the new Xbox fare against the new PlayStation, a next-gen console that Sony built with hard-core gamers in mind first and entertainment needs later. Time, as they say, will tell.

So what are you waiting for? Jump ahead.

Update: Microsoft confirms that the Xbox One launch “was the biggest launch in Xbox history, with more than one million consoles sold through worldwide in less than 24 hours – surpassing day one Xbox 360 sales and setting a new record for Microsoft.”

“We are humbled and grateful for the excitement of Xbox fans around the world,” said Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President of Marketing and Strategy at Xbox. “Seeing thousands of excited fans lined up to get their Xbox One and their love for gaming was truly a special moment for everyone on the Xbox team. We are working hard to create more Xbox One consoles and look forward to fulfilling holiday gift wishes this season.”

Nintendo’s Wii U launches this Sunday

The next wave of video game home consoles begins this Sunday, November 18 when Nintendo ships the successor to the Wii dubbed Wii U. We know pretty much all there is to know about the Wii U already: the HD console’s main selling point is its tablet-like controller that enables new forms of gameplay and second-screen interactivity; the Nintendo Network will finally usher Mario and the gang into the modern online gaming era; over 30 launch day games will be available for purchase alongside the system; and Nintendo is offering two SKUs starting at $300 for the basic set. For all things Wii U, refer to these marked posts.

Leading up to release day, Nintendo shed light on a couple new system features. First, up to 12 players can register on a single console. Your personal profile is directly tied to your game saves, settings, play history, and Internet browser bookmarks. Next, we already know that the Wii U GamePad enables video chat with its front-facing camera, and now Nintendo has divulged that the magic happens with an app called Wii U Chat. With an Internet connection, users can connect to other Wii U owners and video chat across their GamePads and TV screens. Using the GamePad you can draw on top of your recipients face and they will see your creations in real time. If you’re playing a game, you’ll be notified of an incoming call when you see the controller’s Home button flash a blue hue.

Besides online gameplay via the Nintendo Network, another way the house that built Mario is jumping ahead is by offering up entertainment consumption apps like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and its own interactive second screen experience that curates video content called Nintendo TVii. Originally it was planned that these apps would arrive via a software update on launch day, but this week Ninty shared unfortunate news spilling that they will be delayed until December. Netflix told Engadget that their app will indeed ship when the console does on Sunday, but as for the rest of them we’ll have to wait a few weeks.

With its unique GamePad, the Wii U hopes to once again revolutionize the way gamers play games. And with their newfound approach to providing entertainment content, Nintendo offers yet another way to consume movies, TV shows, and sports. With Xbox SmartGlass just finding its feet, will the Wii U steal the spotlight and provide an even better second screen experience with games and other content? The second screen is built into the Wii U’s DNA and that’s what Ninty is banking on. Get in line, pick one up, and give it a spin. (If you didn’t preorder, you’re likely out of luck, unless of course you live in the NYC area and are willing to participate in Nintendo World’s midnight launch event!) PR after the break.

Update (11/18): If you managed to pick up a Wii U today, you should know that the console does not come preinstalled with many of its touted software-based functions. In order to access and run Miiverse, Nintendo eShop, the Internet browser, and WiiU Chat, you must download and install a chunky software update. This update also enabled backwards compatibility with Wii games and even reproduces the last-gen Wii menu interface when a game disc is inserted. Netflix is also available via a separate update, and the other video consumption apps Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and Nintendo TVii are coming later this year as previously reported.

Update 2 (11/22): Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and YouTube have officially joined Netflix on the Wii U. When Nintendo TVii decides to drop, you’ll know! READ MORE Nintendo’s Wii U launches this Sunday

PS Vita is out now!

PS Vita, the most powerful handheld video game console ever, is out now. Have launch day nerves? Here’s what you need to know. Sony is selling two different SKUs: the $249 PS Vita with WiFi and the $299 model that also packs in 3G from AT&T. (Also available are the $299 Launch Bundle and the $349 First Edition Bundle, but these are being sold in limited quantities.) If you opt for the 3G model, AT&T is offering up tiered data plans that go like this:  250MB ($14.99), 3GB ($30), and 5GB ($50). There are 25 PS Vita-specific titles from first and third party developers, and the standout must-buy game is Naughty Dog’s Uncharted: Golden Abyss. In addition to fantastic graphics, Uncharted takes advantage of many of the Vita’s innovative input functions including the dual analog sticks, the six-axis motion sensor, and the touch-sensitive back; and so the game will help acclimate you to the new handheld. What else? The PlayStation Store has been updated with Vita-specific apps including Facebook, Netflix, LiveTweet, and Flickr; these freebies are necessities for early adopters, no doubt.

Gamers, it’s time to getcha game on and discover what the new PlayStation Portable is all about. Links to snag one for yourself rest in the paragraph above.

Apple rolls out iTunes Match, makes syncing your music collection to iCloud a reality

As of yesterday, iTunes Match has been made available for use for iTunes users and iOS device owners. For $24.99 a year, you can sync your entire music collection to Apple’s iCloud. Chances are your music library consists of music purchased from iTunes and music ripped from your personal collection of CDs. Apple will automatically match all your purchased songs from iTunes and they will become immediately available to listen to on a compatible device. As for your ripped music, Apple will also attempt to match them to their music servers and upload them that way. If they can’t, they will still be uploaded and made available for streaming at 256-Kbps AAC DRM-free quality. Apple limits iTunes Match subscribers to 25,000 songs, but keep in mind that music purchased from the iTunes Store does not count towards that ceiling. To get started, make sure you have downloaded the new iTunes 10.5.1 update, the iOS 5 update, and set up iCloud on your iOS device (and Mac and/or PC).

[Via Apple]

‘Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3’ generates $400 million in 24 hours, bests its predecessors to become biggest entertainment launch of all time

Infinity Ward’s latest first-person shooter Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 launched one week ago on November 8 and on that day the game sold over 6.5 million units in North America and the UK generating over $400 million in sales. MW3 is the biggest entertainment launch of all time. Does this all sound familiar to you? Well that’s because this is the third consecutive year that the Call of Duty franchise has set day one launch records across all forms of entertainment. It started in 2009 when Modern Warfare 2 sold 4.7 million copies and generated $310 million in sales; and then it happened again the very next year when Black Ops sold 5.6 million copies and made $310 million.

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick shared his enthusiasm about the franchise’s success in a press release. “We believe the launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is the biggest entertainment launch of all time in any medium, and we achieved this record with sales from only two territories. Other than Call of Duty, there has never been another entertainment franchise that has set opening day records three years in a row. Life-to-date sales for the Call of Duty franchise exceed worldwide theatrical box office for “Star Wars” and “Lord of the Rings,” two of the most successful entertainment franchises of all time.”

Same time, same place next year, people?

[Via PRNewsWire]

Droid RAZR by Motorola available now for $299 on Verizon Wireless

The latest edition to the Droid smartphone family is officially available for purchase. Verizon launched the super slim and sleek Droid RAZR on November 11, 2011 at precisely 11:11 AM. If you’re ready to sign a new two-year contract with Verizon Wireless, the modern RAZR can be yours for $299.99. The 4G LTE handset can be purchased at Verzion stores and online. If you feel like brushing up on the phone’s specs, flash back to the mid-October introduction.

iPad 2 on sale tomorrow, here’s when & where to get it

The next generation iPad is nearly here. Tomorrow, March 11 it arrives in stores. Starting at 5PM local time, all 236 Apple retail stores in the US, AT&T stores, retailers like Best Buy, Target, Verizon Wireless, and Walmart and select Apple Authorized Resellers will unleash iPad 2 unto the world. Starting at 1AM Pacific Time customers will be able to order the tablet online through the Apple Store. As you know, the iPad ranges in price from $499 to $829 determined by storage capacity (16, 32, 64GB) and connectivity (WiFi, WiFi + 3G with AT&T or Verizon). Black and white models will be available at launch. For those of you who have patiently been waiting for updated iPad hardware, today is the day to reward yourself and celebrate.

And here’s a nice surprise. Along with iOS 4.3, Apple has let loose the new iPad versions of GarageBand and iMovie one day early. They’re both available for download at the App Store for five bucks each.

Official PR after the break. READ MORE iPad 2 on sale tomorrow, here’s when & where to get it

Verizon iPhone launch information

The Verizon iPhone is almost here. Here’s the scoop on how to get yours.

During the wee morning hours of Thursday, February 3, Verizon Wireless allowed its current subscriber base to preorder the Verizon iPhone 4 on a first-come, first-served basis. After the first two hours of the preorder window (precisely between 3AM and 5AM) VZW ceased online orders of the phone due to high demand and ended the most successful first day sales in the history of the company. Missed out on this opportunity? Not a current VZW customers? Read on.

Beginning Wednesday, February 9, you can order the phone through the Apple Store online for delivery OR reserve it for in-store pick up beginning Thursday, February 10. At at 7AM local time on Thursday the 10th, run–don’t walk–to a brick-and-mortar Apple Store to purchase the phone; they’ll be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.  On launch day you’ll also find the phone being sold at over 2,000 Verizon Wireless Stores (also starting at 7AM), Best Buy, select Wal-Mart stores, and online at verizonwireless.com and apple.com. Verizon’s got a nice Special Upgrade Offer happening right now; it’ll help you save money on purchasing an iPhone if you bought your latest handset between 11/26 and 1/10.

Got it? Good. Starting brewing some coffee now and prepare for the online and retail insanity to begin. The day you’ve been dreaming about is just around the corner.

[Via Engadget, here & here]

News Corp. unveils ‘The Daily’, the first iPad-driven news publication

“New times require new journalism. Our challenge was to take the best of traditional journalism, competitive shoe-leather reporting, good editing, a skeptical eye, and combine it with the best of contemporary technology.” That’s how News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch opened up the launch event for his company’s brand new digital newspaper The Daily. It’s being described as “the industry’s first national daily news publication created from the ground up for iPad.” News Corp. and Apple worked together to come up with a news source tailor-made for the tablet community. The Daily will push out new content every day and publish up to 100 pages focused on these specific areas: news, sports, gossip and celebrity, opinion, arts and life, and apps and games. It takes advantage of the iPad’s multitouch display by providing interactive methods of implementation.  For example, the home screen of the app provides readers with a carousel view of the day’s news, and you can easily swipe through them and tap on the ones that interest you most. Also, you can use your fingers to take a 360 degree view of a photograph. In addition to photos, the paper will highlight news using text, embedded videos, audio, information graphics, and real-time data and social feeds. For example, inside the gossip and celebrity section you might find a Twitter feed of a celeb who is making headlines and discover what she is up to that way. In short, The Daily allows its editors to deliver stories to their readers in new and exciting ways that simply are not possible in the realm of TV, radio, and traditional papers.

The Daily also includes… A selection of articles can be read aloud to you by actual people (read: no GPS-like robotic voices); the paper can be customized with your preferences (think: weather, sports teams); the apps and games section provides reviews and ratings for select iPad applications and will link you directly to the App Store if you decide to purchase an app; Sudoku and crossword puzzles are available to play within the app; readers can leave comments on Daily stories in either written or audio form; said stories can be bookmarked and saved for reading later; stories can be shared with others via Facebook, Twitter, and email (those who receive shared stories can read Web-friendly versions of the articles even if they’re not subscribers).

Readers are promised a new Daily to be automatically downloaded to their iPad straight from the either 365 days a year with new content everyday. If a day happens to be packed with breaking news, the editors can jump into the paper at any time and provide readers with the latest news (they can even change the cover story if they like). All of this comes at a price; since The Daily is an iPad-driven news source News Corp. does not have to worry about paper, factory, and delivery costs and the savings trickle down to the subscriber. It’s priced at $.99 per week or $39.99 annually, not bad at all. The first two weeks of use are free, thanks Verizon Wireless. It’s first application made available on the App Store featuring a subscription model; subscriber fees are billed directly to an iTunes account. The Daily app is available to download today right here.

The Daily promises a new voice for a new technologically-advanced era. I’m excited that a powerfully influential force in Murdoch’s News Corp. is behind the first digital paper made from the ground up for the iPad, and I’m equally curious to see how newspaper readers respond to it. It’s easy to assume that the young crowd of 20-somethings will take the charge in signing up for subscriptions, but what I’m most interested in seeing is whether or not those people who are used to reading traditional (read: physical) papers will take a liking to The Daily and transition over to it. At the get-go it certainly takes advantage of Apple’s tablet in terms of browsing and visually immersive experiences, so we’ll have to see if the editorial team can keep things up all throughout the year. If they continually pump out new content and update the app appropriately with readability improvements, I envision a bright future for the newspaper readers of tomorrow.

Look after the break a visual tour of The Daily and official PR.

[Via The Daily] READ MORE News Corp. unveils ‘The Daily’, the first iPad-driven news publication

Hulu Plus officially launches, drops price to $7.99/month and adds Roku support

Hulu Plus has already been exhaustively detailed, so let’s get right to the good stuff.  For the last four months Hulu has been testing the waters with the $9.99/month subscription based service in a preview period.  Today the streaming service finally officially launched Hulu Plus to the masses.  And at the same time they lowered the monthly fee to $7.99.  Score!  They say, “Any users who subscribed during the preview period will also receive a credit for the difference from the $9.99 preview price to be applied automatically to their next billing cycle.”  So that’s been sorted out nicely.  In tandem with the launch and price drop, Hulu Plus will now be accessible on Roku boxes. Check out the official PR after the break to see a list of all other Hulu Plus supported devices.  All new subscribers to Hulu Plus receive a 1-week free trial–get started here.

[Via HuluEngadget] READ MORE Hulu Plus officially launches, drops price to $7.99/month and adds Roku support

Windows Phone 7: 10 devices, 4 launch hardware partners, 60 mobile carriers in over 30 countries worldwide; coming 10/21 in Europe & Asia, early November in U.S.

Today Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took the stage in New York City to reveal the final details surrounding the launch of Windows Phone 7.  Microsoft first unveiled their new cell phone operating system in February at Mobile World Congress; next they spotlighted developer support at MIX’10; and most recently they detailed Xbox Live integration.  All there was left to do is reveal launch harware and mobile operator partners and device release dates and pricing.  And that’s exactly what went down today in NYC.

Let’s start with the Windows Phone 7 launch hardware partners and the actual devices you might potentially pick up come this holiday season.  Samsung, LG, HTC, and Dell are collectively bringing ten new devices that will run WP7.  The Samsung Focus (codenamed Cetus) features a 4-inch (480×800) Super AMOLED display, 1GHz processor, 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, and 8GB of onboard storage with microSD expansion up to 32GB.  It’s the thinnest WP7 launch device measuring at 9.9mm (or .3 inches) thin.  It will launch exclusively with AT&T in the U.S.  The Samsung Omnia 7 features the same 4-inch (480×800) Super AMOLED display, 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, and 8GB of onboard storage.  It will launch with Orange (France and UK), SFR (France), Movistar (Spain), and Deutsch Telekom on November 8.  The LG Quantum (or Optimus 7Q outside the U.S.) features a 3.5 inch (480×800) display, 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, 8GB of onboard storage, a slideout QWERTY keyboard, and it comes preloaded with PlayTo, an app that allows users to wirelessly stream content to DLNA-enabled devices.  It will launch exclusively with AT&T in the U.S. and with Telstra in Australia.  The LG Optimus 7 features a 3.8 inch (480×800) LCD display, 1GHz processor, 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, and 16GB of onboard storage.  It will launch with Telus (Canada), América Móvil (Mexico), Movistar (Spain), Vodafone (Germany, Italy, Spain and UK), and SingTel (Singapore).

HTC is launching five WP7-powered devices.  The HTC HD7 features a 4.3 inch (480×800) display (it’s the WP7 launch device with the largest display), 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 576MB of RAM, 5 megapixel autofocus camera with dual LED flash (supports HD 720p video recording), 16GB of onboard memory, built-in kickstand, and it comes preloaded with Netflix, Slacker,  T-Mobile Family Room (a note-taking sharing app), and a T-Mobile TV entertainment app.  It will launch exclusively with T-Mobile in the U.S. in mid-November and with O2 (UK, Germany, Ireland), Movistar (Spain), SingTel (Singapore), Telstra (Australia), and Bouygues Telecom (France) on October 21.  The HTC 7 Surround features a 3.8 inch (480×800) display, 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 576MB of RAM, 5 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash (supports HD 720p video recording), built-in kickstand, and 8GB of onboard storage.  What makes this device standout from all the others is the slideout speaker that features Dolby Mobile and SRS Surround Sound technologies.  It will launch exclusively with AT&T in the U.S. and with Telus in Canada.  The HTC 7 Pro will be the first WP7 CDMA device and will launch exclusively with Sprint in the first half of 2011.  It features a 3.6 inch (400×800) display, 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 576MB of RAM, 5 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash (supports HD 720p video recording), 16GB of onboard storage, and a slideout QWERTY keyboard.  Update: The 7 Pro will arrive in Europe “early next year.”  The HTC 7 Mozart and HTC 7 Trophy are two WP7 handsets that will not (initially, at least) not make it to the U.S. market.  They both feature a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 576MB of RAM, 8GB of built-in storage, and HD 720p video recording.  Here’s where they differ.  The Mozart features a sleek aluminum unibody construction with a  3.7-inch (480×800) display and 8 megapixel camera with a Xenon flash.  The Trophy, on the other hand, features a slightly larger 3.8 inch (480×800) display and a slightly lesser 5 megapixel camera with LED flash.  The Mozart with launch with Orange (France and UK), Deutsche Telekom (Germany), Telstra (Australia) and the Trophy will launch with Vodafone (Australia, Germany, Spain and UK) and SFR (France).

And finally there’s the Dell Venue Pro.  It features a 4.1-inch (480×800) AMOLED display, 1GHz Snapdragon processor,  5 megapixel camera with flash, and a portrait-designed QWERTY keyboard.  It will launch exclusively with T-Mobile in the U.S.

And that’s a wrap on the hardware discussion.  As you can see, all ten WP7 devices are very similar in terms of internals: the 1GHz processor, the 5 megapixel camera, the 8GB-16GB internal storage, 3.5 inch to 4.3 displays, and the handful of slideout QWERTY keyboard-equipped models.  Through the end of the year, WP7 devices will be exclusive to AT&T and T-Mobile; this leaves a wide gap in the CDMA (Verizon/Sprint) playing field.  By the time Q1 of 2011 rolls around, Microsoft better have deals finalized with the other mobile carriers if they truly want to compete in the competitive smartphone market.  Also, hardware partners will eventually have to up their game with better and differentiating specifications and designs if they want to stay relevant.  HTC is doing a fine job so far with the 7 Surround speaker design the HD7’s large 4.3 inch display.  But for now, the WP7 starting lineup is quite impressive.  The stars are certainly aligning for a successful launch.

In addition to revealing hardware and mobile carrier partners, Microsoft also shared some information regarding software developments.  Though they weren’t specific about the exact number of launch apps for Windows Marketplace, they did show off bunch of promising apps.  They include Twitter, eBay, Fandango, Netflix, Slacker, IMDb, and games such as Tetris, The Sims 3, Monopoly, Need for Speed: Undercover, and The Harvest.  AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega was on hand to show off the AT&T U-verse app.  The app will be preloaded on all AT&T WP7 devices and will allow users to download and watch TV shows on the go.  If you are already a U-verse subscriber at home, accessing and downloading content off the app is free.  You will have the ability to manage your DVR recordings, access TV guide listings and an On Demand library.  If you are not a subscriber, AT&T will offer a $9.99/month plan to watch TV on the go when WP7 launches wide in November.  (Keep in mind, “live” TV is not available; you are simply downloading content to watch now or later.)  In related news, AT&T has confirmed that Xbox 360 owners will have the ability to use their console as a U-verse receiver starting October 15.  New subscribers can order a $99 Xbox installation kit and a technician will load the software onto the console for you; current subscribers will be forced to pay an extra $55 on top of the $99 installation kit to make the switch from set-top box to Xbox.  And here’s one last software tidbit: Microsoft promises a free software update bringing copy-and-paste functionality to all WP7 devices will be pushed out in “early 2011.”  Update: In a statement Microsoft confirms that public beta software will be available for Mac users to sync “select content” with their WP7 device later this year.  Look after the break for the first two WP7 commercials!

Apple, Google, RIM…it’s on.

[Via Engadget, here, here & here; Quantum image via PhoneArena] READ MORE Windows Phone 7: 10 devices, 4 launch hardware partners, 60 mobile carriers in over 30 countries worldwide; coming 10/21 in Europe & Asia, early November in U.S.