Thurrott Daily: May 26

Posted on May 26, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Mobile, Music + Videos, Windows Phones, Xbox, Xbox One with 0

Thurrott Daily: May 26

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End for PlayStation 4

Tech tidbits from around the web: Sony has now sold over 40 million PlayStation 4 consoles, Microsoft shouldn’t be making smart phones, Google kills the Nexus 9 and Nexus Player, and Microsoft isn’t alone in wanting to kill passwords.

5/26/2016 8:38:10 AM

It’s official: Sony has sold 40 million PlayStation 4 consoles

Sony announced today that it has sold over 40 million PlayStation 4 video game consoles to customers since the product’s launch in November 2014.

Sony today announced that PlayStation 4 has cumulatively sold through more than 40 million units to consumers worldwide as of May 22, 2016, continuing to demonstrate the fastest-selling console in PlayStation history. By offering users a vast array of exciting software titles from 3rd party developers and publishers as well as from [Sony], PS4 software sales also remain strong, with more than 270.9 million copies sold in retail stores globally and through digital downloads on PlayStation Store as of May 22, 2016.

On the software front, [the] much anticipated title Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was released on May 10, recording remarkable global sales of over 2.7 million units in just one week.

This pretty much confirms that the PS4 is outselling the Xbox One by about 2-to-1, as the most recent estimates for Xbox One sales are in the 18 million to 20 million unit range. Obviously, this year’s E3 is going to be very interesting.

The smartest thing a tech company can do? Don’t make a phone

WIRED has an interesting piece on the futility of making smart phones. (Disclaimer: The author contacted me for information, but I wasn’t able to reply in time for his deadline.) It’s worth reading.

Microsoft is not giving up on smartphones entirely. But it might as well be. The company was never able to get much of a foothold in the market—so much so that last year Microsoft took a $7.5 billion write-down on its Nokia acquisition. (It also laid off so many people in Nokia’s home country of Finland that the government applied for economic assistance from the European Union.)

And yet, in giving up on smartphones, Microsoft is arguably a stronger mobile company than ever. But instead of pouring money into making phones, the company has figured out savvy ways to put more of its products on other companies’ phones and mobile operating systems than ever. While it’s obviously terrible for all the people who have been left jobless, it turns out that at the height of the mobile era the smartest thing most tech companies can do is not make phones.

I agree with this completely. And while I know that many Windows phone diehards still can’t stomach Satya Nadella’s “mobility of experiences” mantra, this is a pragmatic way forward for Microsoft in mobile. (Witness today’s update to Next Lock Screen for Android, a tiny but important step towards Microsoft’s guerrilla campaign on mobile.)

No’ mo’ Nexus 9, Nexus Player

Two of the more pointless Google Nexus devices ever made—and yes, I bought and still own both of them—were silently killed off recently. I am referring, of course to the terrible Nexus 9 tablet and the pointless Nexus Player.

News of the Nexus 9 demise comes courtesy of HTC, which manufactured the device for Google.

Taiwanese device maker HTC has stopped manufacturing Google’s flagship tablet, an HTC spokesman confirmed to CNET. The device was pulled from the Google Play store last month, though some models of the Nexus 9 remain on sale through HTC’s website.

Do not buy a Nexus 9, it’s a terrible tablet with rampant performance issues that really ruin the experience. I’ve not yet tried its replacement, the expensive Google Pixel C, and to be fair, I probably won’t. But it has to be better than the Nexus 9.

On the Nexus Player front, Google has confirmed that the living room set-top box has been pulled from its store.

Google has now pulled the Nexus Player’s store listing entirely. The product’s information page remains, at least for now. “Nexus Player is still available on some retail sites,” a spokesperson told The Verge, meaning that finding it elsewhere is your last remaining option for getting one.

It’s amazing how many Google living room devices have failed. Equally amazing is how successful Chromecast has been, given how simple these devices are. But the new versions are pretty great, despite lacking remotes, even as options.

Google plans to replace passwords, too

If you’re in the Microsoft camp, you know that our favorite software giant is working to kill off passwords, and that Windows 10 in particular offers far more elegant and diverse ways to authenticate yourself, when compared to out-of-date competitors like macOS and Chrome OS. But Microsoft isn’t the only one working to kill off passwords, as WIRED UK notes.

Google wants to get rid of your password.

The company has proposed a system it calls “trust scores” to remove the need to remember usual numerical and linguistic credentials using a ‘Trust API’ on Android phones.

The API would factor in a number of personal identifiers including the way your voice sounds, facial recognition, location in relation to known Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth devices and typing speed.

Trust scores would vary – games, for example, would require a low trust score to run but more advanced scores would be in place for high-risk apps such as banking apps or anything involving secure data.

This is obviously very interesting, and you can learn more from this Google I/O session video. I can’t actually watch it myself at the moment, as I’m on the train, but I’ll save it for later.

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