The mobile scene has been on fire in the past week or so, and all of this has culminated at the Mobile World Congress going on now in Barcelona. Today, Microsoft head Steve Ballmer presented the latest updates to the Windows Phone 7 operating system, coming in March. Much like Apple finally implemented, WP7 now has 3rd party multitasking – via a card system very much like webOS – and copy/paste. Why these features weren’t there in the first place is beyond me, but at least it didn’t take three (or four) iterations to include these features…. Apple. Along for the ride as well is a new browser using the much faster and more modern IE9 underpinnings (allowing for hardware acceleration), Twitter integration and finally support for CDMA (Verizon and Sprint customers).
It’s good to see Microsoft being pretty quick with updates. I said from the beginning that the only way Microsoft could be successful was by issuing updates often, showing that they are constantly improving the platform. These updates should placate those who felt WP7 was lacking a bit.
Here’s an interesting tidbit that has made its internet rounds this morning: apparently Apple is set to completely redesign its Apple TV set-top box. Long considered a hobby project by the electronics company, the Apple TV is designed to stream content from iTunes on you computer to your TV and allow for local storage. The Apple TV debuted in 2007 to a pretty lukewarm reception but has seen a few software updates to increase functionality. Despite these improvements, the Apple TV has remained pretty much stagnant over the past three years. If Engadget is to be believe, however, this is going to change.
The new Apple TV, which may be announced at WWDC, will be built completely off the iPhone and iPad. It will run a customized version of iPhone OS instead of the current modified OSX interface, use the A4 chip, and have a scant 16GB of flash memory. To compensate for this drop in storage space is a new cloud-based storage system that may be linked to iTunes, allowing for 1080p content streaming and some storage of favorite music, movies, and photos on the flash memory. Using the iPhone OS may allow for added capabilities like access to the App store with specialized apps meant for TV resolutions. The A4 chip, though designed for mobile hardware, will most likely keep the new Apple TV running smoothly once under the new OS, and still allows for full 1080p playback due to the powerful PowerVR SGX 535. The A4 will also be markedly cheaper than the current Apple TV’s Pentium M + GeForce 7300 Go configuration. So much so that the next Apple TV may cost only $99. At that price, I would strongly consider buying one.
Hopefully these rumors are true, and the Apple TV can finally become the device that Apple meant for it to be all those years ago.
30 years ago today The Empire Strikes Back, arguably the best of all the Star Wars movies and my personal favorite of the series, was released in theaters. Episode V brought some darkness to an otherwise whimsical genre and started a trend of making sequels in trilogies usually the darkest of the movies. Look at Temple of Doom in Indiana Jones, Dead Man’s Chest in Pirates of the Caribbean, or Mass Effect 2 in the planned Mass Effect Trilogy to see what I mean. Not only that, but Empire has by far some of the best lines in movie history. Who could forget “I am your father!” or “‘I love you.’ ‘I know.'” Great stuff. Not only that, but the movie the introduced Boba Fett and Lando Calrissian into the series for some much needed badass-ery and gave us our first proper look at Yoda and real force powers. Empire vastly increased the cast and scope of the series to make it what it is today: pure geek magic. In celebration of The Empire Strikes Back, I will be watching the movie today and remembering all the good times.