Thurrott Daily: January 6

Thurrott Daily: January 6
John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, two years ago this week.

Good morning. Here a few tidbits from around the web.

1/6/2016 9:00:55 AM

Windows Store is about to get its first AAA game title

For the past three years, the Windows Store has been home to a sad collection of mostly wannabe mobile game titles. But that is about to change: Square Enix announced this week that the hit Xbox gameRise of the Tomb Raider will soon be released via Microsoft dark little corner of the Internet.

Square Enix today announced that Rise of the Tomb Raider will be available for Windows 10 and Steam on January 28, 2016.

The PC version of Rise of the Tomb Raider will be available as a digital download via Steam, the Windows Store, Amazon, the Square Enix e-store and other major retailers – both in-store and online. Standard edition pricing is $59.99. The Digital Deluxe edition is $89.99 and includes a Season Pass to nearly all current and future DLC.

So this is interesting to me because Rise of the Tomb Raider can’t be a universal Windows app. (It works on Windows 7 or newer.) So this is perhaps the first real example of a Win32/desktop title (that I know of) actually being literally sold in the Store (and not just offered via the Store, like Microsoft’s desktop Office applications).

Microsoft may soon have augmented reality competition

This is the dual-edged sword of Microsoft’s decision to reveal its HoloLens augmented reality technology too early. If the firm waited too long to go public, it may have been seen as following others into the market. But by going too early, it is giving competitors a chance to ship cheaper solutions more quickly. And according to The Wall Street Journal, that may in fact be happening.

Two small Silicon Valley companies are releasing electronic glasses that show workers a digital display in their field of view, ahead of similar augmented-reality devices from Microsoft Corp. and Google.

Entertainment giant 21st Century Fox Inc. said Tuesday that it had bought an undisclosed stake in one of the augmented-reality firms, Osterhout Design Group, to push “the film experience into the future.”

Osterhout Design last month began shipping $2,750 headsets that resemble sunglasses and display partly transparent digital screens. Atheer Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., plans by April to ship $4,000 headsets that resemble ski goggles and can be controlled with hand waves.

In the two years ending Sept. 30, 2015, investors made 114 investments totaling $1.3 billion in virtual and augmented reality, according to CB Insights. The largest deal, by far, was Google’s $542 million investment in October 2014 in Magic Leap, the Dania Beach, Fla., startup that says its augmented-reality glasses project images directly into users’ retinas for a more lifelike experience.

OK, maybe not more cheaply. 🙂 At those prices, his isn’t close to being consumer technology, obviously. Unless you’re Apple I guess.

Nexus 6P goes gold

Well, I guess we can add Google (or at least Huawei) to the list of smart phone makers who are emulating Apple and offering a gold version of a popular flagship device. (Maybe they should go “full Samsung” and offer a rose gold version while they’re at it.) Anyway, gold wasn’t among the offerings when I purchased my Nexus 6P a few weeks ago. But it is now.


There’s no addition charge for the gold option, and as before the Nexus 6P is available with storage capacities of 32, 64 or 128 GB.

Huawei shipped 108 million smartphones in 2015

And speaking of Huawei, which makes the Nexus 6P for Google, the China-based smart phone maker had a stellar 2015, with unit sales rising 44 percent to 108 million units. And it’s now the world’s number three maker of smart phones behind Samsung and Apple.

Huawei Technologies, the world’s top three smartphone vendor, said on Wednesday its smartphone shipments rose 44 percent annually to 108 million in 2015, thanks to strong sales in China and Western Europe.

The Shenzhen-based company also said revenue for its consumer business group, which sells products such as smartphones and tablets, jumped 70 percent year-on-year to $20 billion in 2015.

Is Apple cutting iPhone 6S/6S Plus production?

This one is only vaguely interesting to me because it shows how the thin-skinned Apple fanbase responds to bad news. Which is to say, poorly. Reuters and The Wall Street Journal—hardly reactionary, sensationalist sources of news—both cite the same source, Nikkei, which says Apple has cut its iPhone forecast by a whopping 30 percent.

Not so fast, says AppleInsider. And they’ve brought out the big guns to prove their point, since after all—and Apple fanatics really do love to keep bringing this up—so many people have been wrong about Apple before. So here are their two points of contradiction. First, PiperJaffray analyst Gene Munster, who is wrong so often about Apple he’s become a joke in the industry (including, most likely, to AppleInsider too, since they love to point out when people are wrong). And my favorite one: Nikkei was “wrong before”. In 2013. Yes. Three years ago.

Hey, no need to hold a grudge, guys. We’re all wrong sometimes. Heck, I’m probably “wrong” about something everyday. If we were all perfect, there’d be no reason to keep learning, I guess.

Anyway, here’s what’s really important. Even if iPhone sales do fall by exactly 30 percent, the iPhone will still outpace the industry by a wide margin, and it will still be the best-selling smart phone model. And, yes, since Apple fans love to point this out too, the iPhone will continue to sop up all the smart phone profits as well. At some point, iPhone sales have to slow and then maybe even fall from time to time. The market is maturing. Let’s mature along with it, eh?

“Apple’s App Store Sales Hit $20 Billion, Signs of Slower Growth Emerge”

Apple fanatics will not tolerate “slower growth.” Expect a retort to this one too.


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