Sunday, September 19, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up: September 12-18, 2010

This week’s wrap-up is the first that I’ve done since August. I’ve been busy, but I’ll try to be a little more consistent with getting these out. I’m pretty sure I’ll stick with the Sunday schedule, that way I get news that happened over the weekend as well. Remember, you can always follow me on Twitter to see the little news snippets throughout the week that I find. So, without further-ado, here’s a brief recap of what’s happening in the Microsoft world and the tech industry as a whole.


Halo: Reach is Now Available

Microsoft’s sixth installment of the Halo series is now available for the Xbox 360. This game became available on Tuesday, September 14 and from both what I’ve heard from individuals and via online reviews, it seems to be a pretty cool game. One of the best parts about Halo: Reach are the graphics, they are truly HD graphics, some of the best that I’ve seen in a while. Since 2001 when Microsoft first released Halo the series has sold a whopping 35 million copies, not bad for a single franchise.


Rumor Department: A Facebook Phone

And if you thought the whole hubbub of Facebook wasn’t bad enough, apparently some tech journalists believe rumors going around that Facebook is creating their own phone OS, or some variation. What will this spell out for users? Well, the details are pretty unspecific at this time (it is, after-all, just a rumor). Whether these rumors are true or not The rumors are false, plus I can’t really see Facebook creating a successful phone, but that’s just me. Personally, I won’t be discussing much more about this until it becomes more factual. Frankly, I don’t think a Facebook Phone would stand a chance to Windows Phone 7, Android, iOS, or any of the other current phone OSes.


Update: Facebook makes sense of this nonsense, says they’re NOT building a phone. The whole thing is pointless, so I crossed the entire section out.


Internet Explorer 9 Beta

Hopefully, you didn’t miss the IE 9 Beta release on Wednesday. Microsoft released the beta, which includes an updated user interface along with several great features. IE 9 now supports full integration of websites on the Windows 7 taskbar, which essentially further blurs the line between apps that run locally and those that run in the cloud. But where IE 9 really shines is in performance. It offers full, read 100%, support for HTML 5 and CSS 3 along with several performance enhancements that make IE 9 comparable to its competition, Firefox, Chrome and Safari. Stay tuned for a full review of IE 9 later this week. If you want to check out the beta yourself, visit the Beauty of the Web site.


Bing Gets HTML 5 Functionality

And speaking of IE 9 and HTML 5, Microsoft will be introducing several feature enhancements with its web search engine, Bing. Now, if you recall, Bing was introduced early June of last year. Since then it’s gained significant market share and now with it feeding results to Yahoo! it will be the second most used search engine. The HTML 5 implementations will offer niceties such as the ability to view videos, photo slideshows, etc., without any type of plug-ins such as Flash or Java. The best part is, according to the team, it took less than a day to implement these feature changes thanks to the simplicity and powerfulness of HTML 5. Way to go Microsoft for embracing the future of the Internet! If you want to find more information on the new Bing functionalities, look up this post and video at My Microsoft Life.


Windows Phone 7 Initially Only Available for GSM Devices

Microsoft announced this week that Windows Phone 7 will only support GSM devices at launch. For those who are still using a CDMA network (Verizon and Sprint) will have to wait until the first half of 2011 when Microsoft expects to update the phone for CDMA support. If you’re currently using a GSM network, such as AT&T or T-Mobile, you should have no problem getting a device at launch. As excited as I am for Windows Phone 7, it looks like I won’t be able to get a device at launch no matter how much I wanted one, as I’m currently attached to Verizon for now.


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