Tag Archives: microsoft

Silverlight 5 officially announced, strong on media support and hardware acceleration

There was (and still is) some uncertainty about Silverlight future, especially with HTML 5 around and how Microsoft wants to position it…There were talks about its future mainly as a development platform for Windows phone 7 devices, etc. All these talks however didn’t stop the developers of cooking yet another Silverlight version, number 5. The new version improves media playback support promising 1080p video streaming from a netbook with a minimal impact over its battery life. This is done by relying strongly on GPU hardware acceleration.

Many other features added to Silverlight 5 were chosen based on developer popularity vote and Microsoft claims about 70 percent of the suggestions were incorporated into Silverlight 5. Among these we can find Trickplay enabling variable speed media playback, a new DRM (DECE), improved power management, multiple desktop windows, low latency networking (games?), OpenType fonts for printing, multi-column text flow (any newspaper reading app in mind?), etc.

There are still a lot of goodies to be announced so check Microsoft Silverlight fire-starter event for more info including videos ,tips on creating web apps using WCF, REST and LINQ, RIA services, data binding in Silverlight and Windows Phone, etc.

Silverlight 5 will be available in beta version sometime in the first half of 2011 with the final version scheduled for the end of the same year.

Google Search now on Windows Phone 7

It didn’t take long, did it? Google takes an additional step toward Google everywhere dream and now you can find their Google Search app on competition’s phones, the recently released Windows Phone 7 devices. The application is as expected, free, enables web searching along with images and local news and features Google latest trick, instant search, displaying suggestions as you type. If you want to download it right now, the link is here. (use it from a Windows Phone 7 device)

There is no way currently to replace Bing as the main search engine on the phone, but having it pinned to Start page (and in the top position) should do the trick…And wait for the day when the regulators will force Microsoft to include all search engines and browsers on their phone, in a neat random order waiting for you at startup

Xbox 360 Fall 2010 Dashboard Update is out

Today the XBOX 360 owners have a reason to rejoice – The Fall 2010 Dashboard Update is out and, like usual, it brings out a ton of goodies. Let’s see what they are:

1. ESPN streaming – This is huge and might be the necessary argument for some to skip cable / satellite TV subscription. If you already have XBOX Live Gold and you are getting your internet through one of the approved ISPs, you can stream ESPN live and/ or clips in full HD glory. If your ISP is not yet affiliate, you will still have access to streaming, but not the live events.

2. Netflix search with live results update – this is something that we really expected ,especially that now PS3 got its disk-less Netflix too and search as well. What we didn’t expect (or we did, but we had different hopes) is that Netflix access still requires Live Gold subscription…Come on Microsoft, PS3 and Wii are doing it for free.

3. Music and Zune Pass added to Zune Video along with some neat UI changes

4. Kinect (of course) including gesture based UI interaction a la Minority Report

5. Dashboard changes – now you can see three panels at the same time, side by side instead of all of them overlapped

You can see the full list of changes at Major Nelson’s website.

Sony Ericsson to release Windows Phone 7 handsets in 2011

In a recent press conference with investors, company’s CEO Bert Nordberg announced that Sony Ericsson will work to release Windows Phone 7 based smartphones in 2011, moving away from previous OS used, Symbian. Nordberg did not explicitly said what kind of handsets they will release or even when exactly they will be released, but we cannot feel sorry that the company will miss the holidays again.

Sony Ericsson is not amazingly successful, due in part to their prices and their lack of coherent plans for software upgrade. The most expensive Sony Ericsson smartphone, Xperia X10 for example doesn’t use the latest Android OS 2.2 (when most of its competition does) while being priced significantly above the market.

Windows Phone series, as a Microsoft product is famous to bring deep XBOX Live integration. It would be interesting to know if Sony intends to add any kind of Playstation Network Functionalities or even PS3 Remote Play, a technology found in their portable PSP devices and some Sony Vayo laptops that allows PlayStation Portable user to interact with their PlayStation 3’s Xross Media Bar.

Sales overall were €1.6bn, with net income of €48m ($68.8m) which is fairly weak for a major player in the smartphone market.

Zune 4.7 software released, available for download

The latest version of Zune PC Client (4.7) is now out in the wild, available for download. Its launch coincides with the launch of Windows Phone 7 and it is the Microsoft equivalent of Apple iTunes. The most important new features are of course, support for the new Windows Phone 7 handsets (and also available are apps for Windows Phone 7) and HD video streaming.

You can download the new Zune version here. If you are an existing user, you’ll be prompted to update next time you’ll start the application.

The new version will keep compatibility with all Zune devices including Zune HD and offers access to Zune Pass, movies, TV shows, etc. Just like the Zune client from XBOX 360, Zune 4.7 can start HD streams instantly using a Microsoft proprietary technology.

Microsoft’s director of game platform strategy goes to Amazon

In an interesting and certainly unexpected turn of events, Microsoft’s director of game platform strategy Andre Vrignaud will go to work for Amazon, leaving Microsoft. While Amazon has announced its intention to somehow enter in game development, how they will do it is up to speculation, since their only in-house electronic device is Kindle (review) with its limited gaming capability.

Andre’s departure from Microsoft will certainly be a blow to the company’s strategy but I am sure Microsoft has a deep enough talent pool to replace him. What is far more interesting at this point is Amazon’s future strategy: Will we see a new Tablet device? A Kindle on steroids with an OLED or LCD screen? something else entirely? Time will certainly tell but it is getting interesting. Apple’s iPad success beside creating a tablet craze has left the entire industry salivating for a similar success story.

Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft goes on a suing spree

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen just filled a patent violation suit against no less than 11 companies, Wall Street Journal reports. The big 11 are Apple and Google, AOL Inc., eBay Inc., Facebook Inc., Netflix Inc., Office Depot Inc., OfficeMax Inc., Staples Inc., Yahoo Inc. and YouTube. Paul Allen owns patents related to optimizing Internet user experience that he claims the companies named in the lawsuit are infringing. We cannot stop noticing that Paul did not sue Microsoft (presumably because he still owns a big chunk of the company) and Amazon (because it is located in his childhood town ? oh, memories 🙂 ) No damages amount is requested at this point, but I’m sure we will enjoy the figure when it becomes public.

If the lawsuit has indeed merits (and if it won’t get settled out of the court) it might impact negatively the way we experience the Internet since a big part of current functionality is covered by the above mentioned patents.

Microsoft launches Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4.0

Today Microsoft removes beta word from Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4.0. The new development suite sports a completely redesigned UI based on Office’s ribbon, and include tools for app development for Azure, Silverlight, Sharepoint and also the recently announced Windows Phone 7. The Silverlight 4 version is supported also, and it will launch tomorrow (with the release to come later).

Amongst the new features included in VS2010, you can find:

  • Multiple monitor support (finally I can use my dual 24″ HP displays at work without starting two VS instances)
  • Better Intellisense (it can find words that include what you type, not only that start with)
  • Intellisense supports now JavaScript and jQuery
  • Cleaner HTML
  • Website dependency diagrams (for website developers)
  • Intellitrace (to improve debugging and bug reproduction)
  • ASP.NET MVC 2.0 built in
  • Improved deployment tools

You can also expect to see improvements across all the functionality. To really improve the VS2010 performance, I strongly suggest buying a SSD drive which in my experience increase the compiling performance up to 5 times or more, depending of your usage.

Apple against Adobe/Flash war and how can Microsoft/Silverlight profit from it?

Yesterday following the Apple’s release of the new iPhone OS 4.0 SDK, a specific change in terms made waves all over the internet and in many software developer’s lives. This specific change sounds like this:

Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).

What this change means is that, a lot of software developers that previously were developing multi-platform and were using multi-platform devkits will be now forced to use Apple’s own tools. In other words it would mean going back to the programming technology of the ‘90s.

Read More…

Silverlight 4 Facebook client

According to NewTeeVee, Microsoft’s Silverlight client reached critical mass being installed on more than 60% of all Internet devices according with Microsoft exec. Brad Becker, director of product management for rich client platforms at Microsoft. Beside GPU acceleration, Silverlight 4 offers a bunch of useful features like multi-touch, accelerometers support, video-camera and mic support to promote voip solutions inside the web browser, etc.

Silverlight client is Microsoft’s answer to Adobe Flash and as we all now, is the technology behind Netflix’s movie streaming. Recently launched is the Silverlight 4 client, RC version and a new Silverlight client for Facebook that offers photos, feeds, Read More…