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Logitech Introduces Harmony Keyboard Control

Today Logitech announced the Logitech Harmony Smart Keyboard, a keyboard and touchpad combination specially designed for controlling streaming media in your living room. This new keyboard simplifies text entry, so you can search for shows, navigate menus and browse the Web on a PC or Mac connected to your TV or Internet-connected media devices, such as Apple TV, Roku or Xbox One.

"Internet-connected and streaming-media devices seem to deliver limitless entertainment options, however their accompanying remotes struggle to keep up with the text entry needed to search for selections," said Chad Thompson, senior director of worldwide marketing and product management for Logitech's digital home business group. "Our goal with the Logitech Harmony Smart Keyboard is to unite Logitech's expertise in both universal remotes and keyboards to provide a fast and simple way to search for and navigate through the vast content options available through the living room's entertainment devices."

Polk Announces Melee Gaming Headset and N1 Sound Bar

Polk, a high-performance audio brand with 40 years of sound, engineering and design expertise, today announced the retail availability of Melee, a gaming headset created for the Xbox 360 console, and the N1 sound bar which offers an immersive soundstage for gaming and entertainment across all gaming platforms including the new Xbox One. As Microsoft's Xbox 360 continues to be one of the top-selling consoles, the Melee and N1 are both custom engineered to immerse gamers in the worlds of their favorite Xbox games while delivering epic sound.

Polk has also extended its partnership with Microsoft through the end of 2014, creating additional opportunity for product development and deepening Polk's presence in the gaming category. The extension will open the doors for continued collaboration between Polk's sound engineers and Microsoft's 343 and Turn 10 Studios, who worked closely over the past year to create the perfect acoustic landscape for Xbox game play on the Halo and Forza game franchises.

Microsoft Reports Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year Results

Microsoft Corp. today announced quarterly revenue of $19.90 billion for the quarter ended June 30, 2013. Operating income, net income, and diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $6.07 billion, $4.97 billion, and $0.59 per share. These financial results include a $900 million charge, or a $0.07 per share impact, related to Surface RT inventory adjustments. In addition, these financial results reflect the recognition of $782 million of previously deferred revenue related to the Office Upgrade Offer. All growth comparisons relate to the corresponding period in the last fiscal year.

The following table reconciles these financial results reported in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) to non-GAAP financial results. We have provided this non-GAAP financial information to aid investors in better understanding the company's performance.

Microsoft Pulls a Fast One with E3 Xbox One Demos

With its focus on on-demand entertainment at the expense of gaming prowess, Xbox One didn't impress gamers at E3, who instead flocked to Amazon to pre-order their PlayStation 4, which not only features faster hardware, that could translate to better visuals in gaming, but is also a whole 20 percent cheaper ($499 vs. $399). At E3, Microsoft tried to pull a fast one. It set up several gaming stations allegedly powered by Xbox One, where gamers could play unreleased Xbox One games using the new Xbox One controller, just to get a feel of how rich and smooth the graphics really are. Some of them fell for it, others didn't. When these peeping toms didn't find the screens wired to an Xbox One main unit, they yanked open the cupboards below, only to find a full-fledged Windows 7 gaming PC.

How full-fledged you ask? Keen observers across the forumscape made out a rig powered by an Intel LGA2011 processor, which could at least be a Core i7-3820, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 700 series reference design graphics card, which could at least be a GeForce GTX 770. Such a system would obviously give you a rich and smooth gaming experience.

Diamond Multimedia Announces Unique 4-in-1 Networking Device

Diamond Multimedia has announced the release of the WR300NR, a 4 in 1 device that acts as a wireless router, wireless repeater and range extender, standalone wireless access point and wireless bridge device. The WR300NR is the latest and most functional version from Diamond Multimedia's popular Wireless Extender and Router series. The newest capability is that the WR300NR can act as a standalone router.

The WR300NR, Wireless Extender & Router, is a universal multi-purpose device for your home network. As a wireless range extender, it repeats and extends your existing wireless signal to areas in the home that have little or no coverage and eliminates wireless "dead zones." It extends internet access throughout your home for wireless devices like laptops, smartphones, game consoles such as Nintendo Wii, Xbox, Sony PlayStation and TVs. If you do not have a router, the WR300NR is a perfect solution for adding a wireless network to your home. It can be directly connected to your DSL/Cable modem providing a complete wired and wireless environment. It can also be used as a standalone wireless bridge and can connect to any wired Ethernet device to the Internet, so you can easily connect game consoles, digital media adapters, Blu-ray players and printers. Furthermore, the WR300NR can be configured as a wireless access point, adding Wi-Fi to wired networks.

Xbox One Chip Slower Than PlayStation 4

After bagging chip supply deals for all three new-generation consoles -- Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Wii U, things are looking up for AMD. While Wii U uses older-generation hardware technologies, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 use the very latest AMD has to offer -- "Jaguar" 64-bit x86 CPU micro-architecture, and Graphics CoreNext GPU architecture. Chips that run the two consoles have a lot in common, but also a few less-than-subtle differences.

PlayStation 4 chip, which came to light this February, is truly an engineer's fantasy. It combines eight "Jaguar" 64-bit x86 cores clocked at 1.60 GHz, with a fairly well spec'd Radeon GPU, which features 1,156 stream processors, 32 ROPs; and a 256-bit wide unified GDDR5 memory interface, clocked at 5.50 GHz. At these speeds, the system gets a memory bandwidth of 176 GB/s. Memory isn't handled like UMA (unified memory architecture), there's no partition between system- and graphics-memory. The two are treated as items on the same 8 GB of memory, and either can use up a majority of it.

Microsoft Reports Third-Quarter Results

Microsoft Corp. today announced quarterly revenue of $20.49 billion for the quarter ended March 31, 2013. Operating income, net income, and diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $7.61 billion, $6.06 billion, and $0.72 per share.

These financial results reflect the net recognition of revenue related to the Windows Upgrade Offer, Office Upgrade Offer and Pre-Sales, and the Entertainment and Devices Division Video Game Deferral, partially offset by the European Commission fine. The following table reconciles these financial results reported in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) to non-GAAP financial results. We have provided this non-GAAP financial information to aid investors in better understanding the company's performance.

Microsoft Reports Record Revenue of $21.5 Billion in Second Quarter

Microsoft Corp. today announced quarterly revenue of $21.46 billion for the quarter ended December 31, 2012. Operating income, net income, and diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $7.77 billion, $6.38 billion, and $0.76 per share.

These financial results reflect the net deferral of revenue for the Windows Upgrade Offer, Office Upgrade Offer and Pre-sales, and the Entertainment and Devices Division Video Game Deferral, partially offset by the recognition of previously deferred revenue for Windows 8 Pre-sales. The following table reconciles these financial results reported in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) to non-GAAP financial results. We have provided this non-GAAP financial information to aid investors in better understanding the company's performance.

Microsoft Gifts Xbox Live Veterans 10th Anniversary Special Edition Xbox 360

Microsoft's Xbox Live service is turning 10 soon, and the company plans to celebrate it by gifting some of its most loyal members with a special edition Xbox 360 console, which features a refreshing new color scheme, and "A decade of entertainment" logo printed on its sides. There's no clarity on what one has to do to be able to receive one of these, but we'd imagine only the most loyal Xbox Live members, probably with active memberships dating back years, get the console. A Kotaku reader was surprised to find one of these packages at his doorstep. He never ordered it, never entered a giveaway, and isn't affiliated with the gaming industry. If you've been a long enough active member of the service which started in October 2002, there's finally reason your subscription billing address could come handy.

Source: Kotaku

Xbox 360 250 GB Sold for $99, Too

In May, Microsoft sent ripples down the gaming industry by launching a subsidized $99 Xbox 360 + Kinect bundle. The bundle included an Xbox 360 4 GB console, Kinect, and "Kinect Adventures." The company applied a similar subsidy plan to the 250 GB HDD-equipped variant of the console, priced at the same $99, but which lacks Kinect bundle. One can now get a 250 GB Xbox 360 + Kinect bundle for as low as $149. Under Microsoft's subsidy plans, full-featured consoles are sold at low prices, in exchange for customers subscribing to Xbox Live for at $15 per month for two years.

Source: The Verge

Delta Six Game Gun Redesigned

Inventor David Kotkin announced today that his Delta Six project is getting a make-over. After the initial announcement of the Delta Six gaming controller hit the media, an unfortunate controversy erupted over its appearance. "The toy gun looked too realistic and was consequently considered threatening by some critics," said Kotkin. While many reviewers applauded the enhanced realism of the new game gun, anecdotal evidence suggested that some video game critics were opposed to it. Citing the controversy, a small number of potential investors began backing away from providing funding. Deciding to find new backers, Kotkin submitting Delta Six to Kickstarter, a leading source of the new enterprise of "crowd funding." It seems likely that success on Kickstarter will fully revive the project.

Apple Patents Game Controller and Console Remote

Apple might be diving into the world of console gaming yet again according to Shacknews and GI.biz The patent application shows a staggering similarity to Sony's DualShock controller and what seems to be an iPhone interacting with a Microsoft Xbox360. This might be an Apple style preemptive attack against future endeavors to create apps that interface with current generation consoles or it could be something new that Apple has in the works. With the current growth in Apples market share and the growing popularity of Apple TV it shouldn't come as a surprise it would want a piece of the console pie. Whether the big three (Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo) give any leeway to Apple has yet to be seen.

Source: Shacknews

Microsoft Reports Record Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year Revenue

Microsoft Corp. today announced quarterly revenue of $18.06 billion for the quarter ended June 30, 2012. Operating income and loss per share for the quarter were $192 million and $0.06 per share.

The financial results reflect the previously announced non-cash, non-tax-deductible income statement charge of $6.19 billion for the impairment of goodwill and the deferral of $540 million of revenue related to the Windows Upgrade Offer. Adjusting for these items, non-GAAP fourth quarter revenue, operating income, and earnings per share were $18.60 billion, $6.93 billion, and $0.73 per share, which represented increases of 7%, 12%, and 6%, respectively, over the prior year period.

Sharkoon Launches X-Tatic S7 Headset with Dolby Pro Logic II Support

With the Sharkoon X-Tatic S7, Sharkoon has thankfully updated the sound format by providing two additional sound channels for authentic and room-filling 7.1 surround sound. The headset supports the new "Dolby ProLogic" version IIx, which combined with "Dolby Headphone" technology generates authentic and room-filling 7.1 Sound for stereo headsets from analog stereo signals and digital 5.1 Dolby Digital signals.

In addition, Sharkoon has replaced the previous USB2.0 cable for an included USB2.0 Y-cable, providing a stable energy supply to the headset via a second USB port for current or weaker sound sources.

SEGA's Nights Coming to the PC

Sega is continuing to reach into its back catalog, and fans are loving it. The latest HD remaster from the house of Sonic is the Saturn classic, Nights into Dreams. The digital re-release will be available on Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and Windows PC this fall. The updated version adds widescreen HD graphics, as well as support for leaderboards, trophies, and achievements. The original game will be available to play in "Saturn Mode," just in case you're not fond of the sharper graphics and textures.

Battlefield 3 Getting Arranged Matches

To give the Battlefield 3 competitive scene a helping hand, DICE is working on a new 'Matches' feature that lets players set up and schedule closed servers for their bouts. It'll all run through the Battlelog, but you'll need to be renting a dedicated server. "Players will be able to coordinate Matches for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 through the Battlelog," community manager Ian Tornay explains on the Battlefield blog. "To coordinate a Match a player must be actively renting a dedicated server. Once a dedicated server has been selected the Match host can set the Match name, start time, game mode, team size, and map rotations." You can also set rosters, so only certain players are allowed in. Then there are options to tweak and fiddle with settings from friendly fire and available unlocks to health regeneration and squad leader spawning.

There's no word yet on when the Matches feature will launch.

Source: Shacknews

Doom 3 BFG Releases October 16th

The enhanced re-release of Doom 3 is coming just in time for Halloween, publisher Bethesda Softworks has announced. The "BFG Edition" of id's classic FPS will be available on October 16 on PC, Xbox 360, and PS3. The console versions will retail for $40, while the PC version will be $30. BFG adds Doom 3, Resurrection of Evil, and "The Lost Mission"--all optimized in 3D, 5.1 surround sound, achievements, improved rendering and lighting, and a new checkpoint save system. There's also an armor-mounted flashlight, "allowing players to illuminate dark corners and blast enemies at the same time."

The BFG Edition also includes the original Doom and Doom 2, making it the "definitive collection" for the series. Perhaps after this release, id will be a bit more forthcoming about Doom 4.

Source: Shacknews

WD Enters Wireless Home Networking Market

Western Digital, the world's leader in external storage solutions and maker of the popular WD TV media player family, today unveils its first line of wireless home networking products, designed specifically to accelerate movies, video and gaming, delivering a premium high-definition entertainment experience. With the My Net family of powerful and easy-to-use home networking products, WD debuts its exclusive FasTrack technology that instantly detects entertainment traffic on the network and fast-forwards it to gaming consoles, media players, smart TVs, tablets, smartphones, computers and other Wi-Fi connected devices.

Wave of Innovation Coming from Microsoft and its Partners This Year

Today during a keynote address at COMPUTEX, Steven Guggenheimer, corporate vice president of the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) division at Microsoft Corp., demonstrated the breadth of innovation happening across Windows and the Windows ecosystem. He announced the second community technology preview (CTP) for Windows Embedded Standard 8, unveiled Quanta's new private cloud server solution, highlighted Ford's launch of its award-winning SYNC in-car connectivity system for Taiwan, and showed off some of the latest Windows devices.

When it comes to delivering Windows technologies across PCs, servers, phones and specialized devices, Microsoft is taking a holistic approach by providing familiar tools and technologies that enable customers and partners to maximize their investments. To that end, Microsoft today announced the second CTP for Windows Embedded Standard 8, which delivers the power of Windows for specialized devices running line-of-business applications within intelligent systems. Windows Embedded Standard 8 encompasses tools for natural, immersive user experiences and the ability for OEMs to define and control the device capabilities, with additional technologies that extend the power of Windows on industry devices. The CTP is available immediately for download by visiting this page.

Microsoft Announces Availability of Windows 8 Release Preview

Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of the Windows 8 Release Preview, the next milestone of the highly anticipated Windows 8 operating system. Available for download today in 14 languages at here, the Windows 8 Release Preview delivers a fast and fluid experience, along with a new user interface that responds equally well to touch as it does to keyboard and mouse. Since the February release of Windows 8 Consumer Preview, which was downloaded more than 1 million times in the first 24 hours, Windows 8 has become the most tested Microsoft operating system of all time, and with today's release, it enters its final phase of development before it releases to manufacturing.

We're thrilled to be at this milestone with the Windows 8 Release Preview," said Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft.

Judge Recommends US Xbox 360 Ban in Motorola Dispute

Microsoft's legal battle with Motorola has taken another large step towards a console ban, but the company could still narrowly avoid that fate. Judge David Shaw recommended to the International Trade Commission (ITC) that Microsoft be given a cease-and-desist order on sales of the Xbox 360 slim model in the US. He also recommended ceasing Chinese imports of the systems, and a payment of 7% of the value of unsold systems in stores. Courthouse News Service (via Develop) reports that the ITC can now choose to let that determination stand, in which case it becomes the official stance of the ITC. Alternately, the commission could amend some terms, or send it back for a rewrite. If it does adopt Shaw's recommendation, President Barack Obama will have 60 days to review the decision, after which it would have to be appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. This follows a one-two punch against Microsoft in this case, after Motorola won its patent ruling, and was subsequently hit with a German sales injunction -- which won't go into effect until the US case is settled. Motorola claims a technology used across several Microsoft devices, but Microsoft alleges that Motorola demanded an unreasonable licensing fee for the patents.

Microsoft has argued that banning consoles would not serve the public interest, but Shaw claimed that enforcing property rights takes precedence. Though Microsoft could still potentially appeal, the threat of a ban is more real now. Either way, this likely isn't something Microsoft wants hanging over its head as we approach E3.Source: Shacknews

Treyarch says Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Doesn't Need a New Engine to Advance Graphics

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 doesn't need a brand new game engine to improve the graphics over previous games in the series, Treyarch has insisted. Black Ops 2 is built using the latest, most advanced version of the engine that Call of Duty developers have used to build the first-person shooter series since 2005's Call of Duty 2: a heavily modified version of the id Tech 3 engine. Some fans have called on Activision to invest in a brand new graphics engine in order to spruce up Call of Duty's visuals. But Treyarch chief Mark Lamia said continuing to upgrade the current engine was enough to meet the development team's design goals. "People always ask me, 'Is this a new engine?' he told One of Swords. "I liken it to people who live in an older house that has been remodelled. Just because you're remodelling the house and it will look new or it will have a new kitchen, you don't tear out the foundation, or break out some of the framing. You might even go as hardcore as replacing the plumbing, and we will do that sort of thing, as an analogy. It's a gross simplification, but it's one way to say that. There's a lot of good still in that foundation that you wouldn't get rid of, and we don't. We look to advance in the areas that support our game design.

"Engines, each time they get touched, they change. The creators alter them; they don't modify what they don't need to, and then they alter what they need to. You can't make a competitive product if you're not upgrading that engine along the way." He added: "I think the whole thing about a new engine... sometimes that's a great buzzword. Well, I have a new graphics engine - is that a new engine? Where does it start and stop? Elements of the code, you can trace back for a very, very long time... but whole parts of the code are entirely new. Two areas we did focus on for this game were the graphics and the lighting - a pretty significant amount of work is going into that."When Activision announced Black Ops 2 earlier this month it promised a "visual overhaul", with graphical upgrades a mix of "tech and technique". In a demo to press played on an Xbox 360 build of the game, an unpopulated level set on Socotra Island in Yemen showed HDR lighting, bounce lighting, self-shadowing and a new texture technique called reveal mapping - all running at 60 frames per second.

Xbox 360 Kinect Dons the Union Jack

To celebrate the 2012 Summer Olympics hosted by London, Microsoft came up with a new limited edition variant of its Xbox 360 Kinect game console, which dons the Union Jack. Officially, it is called the Xbox 360 Special Edition 4 GB Kinect Celebration Pack. The pack includes an Xbox 360 4 GB console, a Kinect sensor, a wireless controller, and two games: Kinect Adventures and Kinect Sports. It also includes a 3-month subscription of Xbox Live Gold. The bundle will be priced at £249.99 (US $405.8).

Source: Slashgear

Microsoft Reports Record Third-Quarter Revenue

Microsoft Corp. today announced quarterly revenue of $17.41 billion for the quarter ended Mar. 31, 2012, a 6% increase from the prior year period. Operating income was $6.37 billion, up 12% from the prior year period.

Net income and diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $5.11 billion and $0.60 per share, compared with $5.23 billion and $0.61 per share, respectively, in the prior year period. Prior year net income and diluted earnings per share included a $461 million or $0.05 per share tax benefit primarily related to a tax settlement with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

Halo 4 Release Date Revealed

The bets are off, there indeed is a new installment to the Halo franchise in the works, called Halo 4. Its release date was announced to be "Holiday 2012", more specifically 6 November, 2012. Microsoft and 343 Industries confirmed this date on Tuesday. "Set in the aftermath of Halo 3, Master Chief returns to confront his own destiny and face an ancient evil that threatens the fate of the entire universe. Halo 4 marks the start of a new trilogy that begins with its release in 2012," an Overview page on Halo website reads.
A video presentation follows.
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