Thurrott Daily: October 7

Posted on October 7, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Groove Music, Mobile, Windows 10, Xbox with 9 Comments

Thurrott Daily: October 7

“I’m surrounded by a$$sholes!”

Tech tidbits from around the web.

10/7/2016 6:48:12 PM

Groove Music is updated in Windows 10 Insider Preview

Yesterday, I wrote about a big update to the Photos app in the Fast ring of the Windows 10 Insider Preview. But Groove Music also got a huge update. I tweeted about this yesterday, but here’s a quick rundown of the new features, courtesy of Microsoft’s Ellen Kilbourne:

  • There are a few UX updates throughout the app…see if you can spot them all!
  • You can use your voice to navigate the app on Xbox One consoles.
  • You can select items in the app with a single click now.
  • Sign in will work more reliability because we changed the way we check your region.
  • We did work to ensure the correct track title and album title are displayed in playlists you follow.
  • The Navigation Pane in Groove Music on Xbox One console has been resized to fit better on average sized screens.
  • You can give detailed feedback in the Groove Music app. >-This change makes it easier for us to triage incoming feedback! Check the settings page for these new options.
  • We updated the way we create version numbers so that it’s easier for us to tell when a version was produced just by looking at the version number – this one was built in the second half of September 2016 so 16092.

Sleeping with the enemy: Runtastic + Google Play Music

Google announces a new partnership with Runtastic, which you may recall is/was a Microsoft Band partner as well.

Google Play Music has teamed up with Runtastic, the leading fitness tracking tool, to offer Android users a new music experience with fitness playlists that help you forget the burn and focus on the beats as you work out.

Runtastic Running & Fitness Android app users can access a wide array of workout playlists to suit any mood or activity curated by Google Play Music. Whether you’re jogging on the open road or in gym mode, Google Play provides music to suit your preferred workout style directly in the Runtastic app so you can keep track of your fitness goals and your music at the same time in one place.

After opening the Runtastic app’s music section, users will be presented with relevant workout playlists that they can play, pause and skip directly within the Runtastic app.

I don’t go running, but this is a neat idea. I assume there are other partnerships like this.

Oculus held a press conference and you’re not going to believe what happened next

A couple of items of interest from this week’s Oculus Connect press conference…

Ars Technica reports that Oculus has lowered the PC hardware requirements for its VR headset.

When Oculus first announced the minimum PC specs for the Oculus Rift, the headset needed an Nvidia GTX 970 equivalent and an Intel i5-4590 to run acceptably. Now without changing the hardware, Oculus has used a new software API called “asynchronous spacewarp” to officially lower that recommended spec. Today, Oculus says the Rift will run acceptably on any machine with an Nvidia 960 or greater and an intel i3-6100 (or AMD FX4350) or greater.

Oculus is also certifying four Oculus-ready laptops from the likes of ASUS, Alienware, Lenovo, Aorus. Iribe promised that, within a few years, there will be hundreds of laptops that meet that Oculus Ready spec. For now, though, Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe said “PC VR is more affordable than ever.

And Windows Central notes that Oculus Rift is also looking to a PC-less future.

Oculus showed a video demo of a prototype Oculus Rift VR headset that did not need to be hooked up to a PC during the company’s Oculus Connect keynote today. Little else about the headset was revealed.

The video demo showed what looked very much like the current Oculus Rift headset, except that it didn’t have any wires to connect to a PC or smartphone. The standalone prototype used positional tracking, according to Oculus, but other than that, there was no word on the headset’s hardware specs. There was also no information on how much this will cost or when the final version will be released. It sounds like this product won’t be out for a while, but it does show that Oculus, and its parent company Facebook, have their eyes set for freeing their VR headset from the PC.

Google actually advertises their new phones

Well, this is something we never really saw with Nexus. Reuters reports:

Google’s new “Pixel” smartphone is off to a fast marketing start with $3.2 million in television ads in two days since it announced the upcoming launch, and ad executives expect Google to spend hundreds of millions more to keep up with rivals Samsung and Apple.

Random aside: Why “Pixel”? They’re called Pixel. No quotes are needed. Does Reuters write Apple’s “iPhone”? I bet they don’t. Anyway…

Google declined to discuss how much it will spend advertising the Pixel but Google Vice President of Product Management Mario Queiroz told Reuters it was a “very significant marketing campaign”.

He said the tech giant may buy ads during Thanksgiving football games. Such ads can cost around a million dollars, according to a media buyer, who wished to remain anonymous.

Over the two days of the Google launch, when the company could be expected to spend heavily, Apple spent $2.45 million and Samsung spent $1.4 million, according to iSpot.tv, showing a competitive start for the Pixel.

Apple probably spends $2.5 million a day just advertising on billboards in San Francisco.

 

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7 Comments
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  1. 3 | Reply
    straker135 Alpha Member #251 - 2 months ago
    And where the heck is Hololens? If Microsoft dont get that into the mainstream very soon they will have missed yet another opportunity to more focussed and nimble competitors. And while I'm moaning I would strongly recommend that Microsoft do more to market its products and improve them outside the US, y'know the other 95% of the planet... We have money and tech needs too and need more competition for Apple and Alphabet please.
  2. 0 | Reply
    crmguru Alpha Member #2345 - 1 month ago

    Microsoft is actively selling Hololense in commercial accounts.  The Skype remote assistance is resounding in some verticals.   

    Lowe's is expanding their use in retail.   It is a real deal now.  

  3. 0 | Reply
    mortarm - 1 month ago

    >Why “Pixel”? They’re called Pixel. No quotes are needed.

    Glass houses, Paul.

  4. 0 | Reply
    cornercurve Alpha Member #2311 - 2 months ago
    1. 2 | Reply
      BTRProducer Alpha Member #1531 - 2 months ago
      In reply to cornercurve:

      This. I could not agree more. Sick of  constantly wanting to use MS products but not being able to, because they haven't officially launched it outside the USA.

      Case  in point -  Cortana. Would love to use it on my android phone, but can't. Because it isn't here In Australia. 

    2. 1 | Reply
      melinau Alpha Member #388 - 1 month ago
      In reply to BTRProducer:

      Absolutely.  Recently it (Cortana)  has appeared in UK, but why on earth do MS insist on US-only services, especially when The USA is so wedded toi Apple's walled garden.   UK & Europe in general would be a much more productive area to launch Software & Services.

    3. 0 | Reply
      crmguru Alpha Member #2345 - 1 month ago
      In reply to BTRProducer:

      Blame lawyers.   It certainly is not for technical reasons that Cortana is not Down under