Thurrott Daily: December 18

Thurrott Daily: December 18
Young Paul is rather ambivalent about an early meeting with Santa.

It’s beginning to look a lot like time is running out for Christmas. A few notes from around the web.

12/18/2015 10:20:01 AM

Be sure to check out Microsoft’s Holiday Super Sale

With just a week to go until Christmas, Microsoft is having a last-ditchHoliday Super Sale at its online and retail stores. There are a number of deals, including:

Surface Pro 3: $300 off, and you can get a Type Cover for $60 off

Surface 3: $150 off when you buy a Type Cover too

Microsoft Band 2: $50 off (just $200)

Select Xbox One consoles: $50 off, plus get a $50 gift card

PC deals: Save up to $500 on PCs

No contract (AT&T) Lumia 950: $50 off


Briefly assessing the success of Kinect

Curious about the clickbait headline One of Microsoft’s biggest product failures may not have been its fault, I made the mistake of actually reading a Business Insider post. Where I read:

Kinect, the accessory that pairs with an Xbox and allows for input via physical movements, is one of Microsoft’s biggest product failures as a company.


While Kinect’s value as a gesture-based, Minority Report-style interaction peripheral has been on the minimal side, I think it’s fairer to say that Kinect’s real value—real success—has been voice control, and that this technology led directly to both “Hey Xbox” on Xbox One, Cortana on multiple platforms, and to HoloLens. And that means it is definitely not “one of Microsoft’s biggest product failures as a company.”

But I also have a memory of Kinect setting some sales records when it was first introduced. And sure enough, Kinect is the fastest-selling consumer electronics device and gaming peripheral in history, selling 8 million units in its first 60 days on sale in 2010. (It even beat out the iPad and iPhone 4, both released that same year.) And all of those Kinect sales were entirely based on its use in gesture-based games.

So. I may not have a need for Kinect personally, beyond shouting “Xbox, record that!” at my Xbox One. But calling it “one of Microsoft’s biggest product failures as a company” is more than just wrong. It’s ridiculous. But then, that’s what I get for reading Business Insider. My mistake.

With universal apps, you win some, you lose some

Every day, it seems, we get reports of new universal apps coming on board. For example, NPR:

Earlier this year, NPR released a Windows 8 version of NPR One for Windows, and recently, a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) version.

“Seventy percent of NPR listeners use Windows devices, and we’ve seen a 50-percent increase in their listening time just since Windows 10 came out. And that was before we upgraded our app.”

So it’s kind of hard to credit the universal app platform then. Which I think is part of the problem. So is the fact that we’re seeing companies drop support for Windows all the time, too. Like Comedy Central, which provides this message when you use the app:

This app is leaving Windows.

But don’t worry — you can watch your favorite shows on

Worried? Why would I be ready?

Google and Udacity have created some incredible resources for learning Android programming

In the Windows world, we have Bob Tabor and his wonderful developer learning video series. And if you want to learn iOS development, you can’t do better than Big Nerd Ranch. But if you’re looking to learn Android development, it’s not been as clear where to turn … until now.

Google has teamed with Udacity to create a series of Android developer learning videos for beginning and advanced developers alike. And this week, the Android Developers Blog has highlighted each.

  • Beginners. More and more people around the world are embracing mobile at an increasing pace, whether on their phones, in their cars, at home, and around their wrists. Learn to build apps for them! Includes Android For Beginners, Developing Android Apps, and more.
  • Advanced. The Advanced Android App Development course, built by Udacity in conjunction with Google, is a follow-up course to Developing Android apps. The advanced course is for Android Developers who are ready to learn how to polish, productionize and publish their app, and even distribute it through Google Play.

Go forth and create.


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