Thurrott Daily: June 15

Thurrott Daily: June 15

Tech tidbits from around the web.

6/15/2016 7:26:11 PM

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Microsoft delivers Starbucks add-in for Outlook

And, curiously, it’s not about buying coffee. Microsoft explains:

Strong relationships grow by developing personal connections, which are best made face-to-face in an informal, friendly environment, over a cup of coffee. Starting today, it’s easier for you to do business while building that personal connection through the new Starbucks for Outlook add-in.

To make this even sweeter, we have an exciting offer running for a limited time!When you send a Starbucks eGift Card using Outlook, you are eligible to get a free $5 Starbucks eGift Card in return, so your next coffee is on us!

Ok. You can learn more about the Starbucks add-in for Outlook on the Better with Office web site. But here’s a quick list of what it does:

  • Create meetings at a local Starbucks. When creating a new meeting, click the “Meet at Starbucks” command from the ribbon when creating a new meeting request, search for your favorite Starbucks store, and add it as the location of your upcoming meeting.
  • Send a Starbucks eGift Card using Outlook. You can send Starbucks eGift cards directly from Outlook.

Download the Starbucks for Outlook add-in from the Office Store. To be clear, it works in Outlook 2016, Outlook on the Web (Office 365) and the new

Sony PlayStation VR launch set for October 13

I understandably got caught up in Microsoft’s E3 announcements this week, but Sony was there too, and they’re big play this year is of course PlayStation VR. Here are the details, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal:

Sony said Monday its virtual-reality headset will be rolled out Oct. 13.

“Final Fantasy,” “Star Wars,” “Batman Arkham” and “Resident Evil” will be playable on the $399 VR device, Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC, the Japanese company’s videogame unit, announced ahead of the world’s largest videogame trade show in Los Angeles, E3.

The challenge facing Sony is whether the company will have enough units ready for the launch. Its PlayStation 4 console has sold more than 40 million units since its release in November 2013.

PlayStation VR will cost $400. The big problem? Supply, I bet.

Rhapsody rebrands itself. As Napster

What’s next? Yahoo renaming itself to Quantum Link? Anyway, one of the more reviled brands in tech history is making yet another attempt at a comeback.

This summer Rhapsody will become Napster. Join our global community now to discover more of the music you love.

All Rhapsody subscribers will automatically be brought in under the Napster name via auto updates. The Rhapsody app on your phone will be the same but the name and logo will change to Napster.

For our customers, partners, and employees across the U.S. and the 33 countries in which we operate as Napster today, we will be collectively known as Napster. Our goal is to create a consistent worldwide message of who we are and the services we provide. You will not need to make any changes to your settings, account, playlists, favorites etc.

I don’t get it. Rhapsody just doesn’t matter, no matter what they call it.

“Kantar: iOS vs Android battle will intensify ‘with Windows phones exiting the market'”

LOL. Yeah, because competing with Windows Phone is what was holding them back.

Nintendo’s back. Sort of.

Three or four years after it matters in the slightest, Nintendo has finally announced a new Zelda title, for the Wii U. The WSJ reports:

Rather than show NX at E3, Nintendo allowed gamers Tuesday to play the next “Zelda” game, called “Breath of the Wild.”

It is a gamble. Nintendo has been dinged before for taking a too-casual approach to E3 while rivals show off high-powered games. The version of “Zelda” at E3 isn’t for NX but for the Wii U console, which ranks a distant third in sales behind Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One.

It is easy to see why Nintendo is leaning on “Zelda.” The franchise has sold more than 75 million copies as of April, making it one of the company’s most popular series behind “Mario,” Nintendo said. The E3 showcase, in a two-story booth at the videogame conference, caters to the type of die-hard fan that has carried Nintendo through slumps in the past.

I have to think this would have made a killer NX launch title. It just seems like these guys are floundering.

OnePlus chose the wrong week to launch a new phone

Normally, the release of a new OnePlus handset would garner lots of attention. But boy—between E3, Apple WWDC, and Microsoft’s LinkedIn acquisition—did those guys pick the wrong week.

Here’s one peek, from Android Headlines:

The Good: a Snapdragon 820 CPU, 6GB of RAM, fast charging and a much-improved fingerprint sensor … a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera that packs not just more resolution than most other flagships of 2016, but also two methods of stabilization.

The Bad: [Nothing substantive. Mostly they bitch about the launch. –Paul]

The Ugly: Beauty is of course in the eye of the beholder, but the OnePlus 3 is most definitely a design that will divide people … copying the iPhone’s design … not unique and a different design would have certainly helped them to stand out from the crowd.

Overal, eh.

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