Sunday, June 20, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up #3 (June 13-19, 2010)

E3 2010 was a great hit this year. A lot of companies brought forth some great, groundbreaking products. I found many of the announcements to be quite interesting, especially Microsoft’s Kinect and the slimmer Xbox 360 (denoted as the new Xbox 3060 S). This week, instead of just focusing on news events, I thought I would also discuss the products unveiled at E3 (predominantly Microsoft products).

The Xbox 360 S

One of the great products Microsoft unveiled this week was the new Xbox 360 S. The S in the name, of course, is an indication to the newer and sleeker design that the new Xbox 360 offers. Along with its slimmer design, the new 360 also offers up a 250GB hard drive, Wi-Fi, and is apparently a bit quieter than its predecessor. The new units ship in black only and are selling for a mere $250. That’s not a bad price, considering the current Xbox 360 Elite sells for $300. It’s currently unclear whether or not the new Xbox 360 S will solve all of the old hardware issues—i.e. overheating, RROD, noise, etc.—although, that will take some time before anyone will know the absolute truth on just that.

Microsoft Kinect

Another very cool Microsoft product that was discussed a bit more was Microsoft Kinect. Microsoft Kinect will be available not just for the new Xbox 360 S, but also for all Xbox 360 models. This unique add-on brings a new type of interface to the Xbox 360. However, as cool and thrilling as this toy seems to be, it’s more of an evolution of technology than any type of revolution. Essentially, Kinect expands upon the Wii and makes improvements upon this same functionality. The most unique functionality of Kinect is the ability to offer controller-less functionality. This seems to be a very unique feature for some games, but others, it seems like it would be a bit of a drag.

Zelda: Skyward Sword

Ultimately, this isn’t a Microsoft product, title, or have any relevance to Microsoft at all, but the new Zelda: Skyward Sword game looks pretty cool. I’ve been an intense LoTZ player for much of my life, and have always been excited for new releases such as this one. The new title will incorporate a lot more of the Wii functionality. The main reason for this is that Nintendo won’t be porting the game back to the GameCube this time as it did with Twilight Princess. However, as I don’t currently own a Wii, I can’t exactly say whether or not this game would justify the purchase of one. This would be the first console-based Zelda title that I haven’t purchased since before Ocarina of Time (back in 1996). If you’re interested in seeing the trailer for the game, you can check it out here.

Other Xbox 360 games coming down the channels

When the Kinect device arrives November 4th it will bring a multitude (roughly fifteen) of new games to the Xbox 360 platform. One of these new games, simply entitled Kinectimals, will give players the chance to adopt their very own exotic animal. Further, players will be able to teach their pets tricks, play with them, and a whole lot more.

Other Microsoft Related News

In other news, Microsoft has started its roll-out of the new Hotmail this week. This update will be the biggest update to date, and should be welcome among most users. If you haven’t seen the update yet, don’t panic, Microsoft stated that it will take a while before everyone is updated to the new service.

Office 2010 is also now available to the general public. Office 2010 is a great upgrade to its predecessor, Office 2007. And, if you’re still running Office 2003 or earlier, Office 2010 is a must have. The new Ribbon UI can be found in every Office 2010 application. You can read my first of soon to be many Office 2010 Up-Close articles to learn more about the different product editions and pricing.

Wrapping it up

That’s it for this week. If you want to follow me more, you can follow me on Twitter, send me an e-mail, or leave me a comment. As always, you’ll find articles like this and more at the home of my blog, Tinkering with Windows. Stay tuned for next week’s Weekly Wrap-Up.


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