Jun 152009

First off‚ in the interest of full disclosure‚ I own an XBox 360.  Despite Microsoft’s involvement‚ developers have managed to take a hilariously deficient piece of hardware (my personal RROD hit about 8 months after purchase) and build a gaming library that allows me to swear at 10 year-olds a couple of nights a week.

Now at E3‚ Microsoft pulled one of its game-changing-breakthroughs-for-which-we-have-no-release-date announcements.  Haven’t I seen this kind of thing before?  Tell me if this doesn’t look familiar:

-Is the product being pounded into the dirt by competition that is either better-in-class (PS3) or through the use of innovative technology (Wii)?  Check and check.

-Does the announcement have a delivery date?  Not really.

-Is the speculated release date for the product make it look less like vaporware?  Ummm…late 2010?  18 fucking months? Jesus Christ: that’s the tech equivalent of 10 years!

-Despite not having any official release date for a real-world product‚ has that prevented from demoing the non-product as something that looks pretty goddamned finished?  Or having it announced by an academy-award winning director (by the way Spielberg‚ after what you did to the Indiana Jones franchise‚ shilling M$ vaporware was a natural next step for you)‚ pimped by celebrities and hyped on late-night talk shows?   Nah.

-Are said demos staged‚ if not downright choreographed?  You tell me.  (Please make a note of the camera time depicting actual gameplay vs. the time spent on everything else.  I get 4 seconds.)

This is a classic M$ vaporware setup.

1. Announce something that looks like you have a shread of creativity.

2. Do not give a release date or imply a date so far out in the future that hybrid hovercars stand as good a shot of coming to market.  That way the product might be out in 18 months‚ but it could be 6!  OMG – which one is it?!?!

3. Enjoy the benefit of having frozen purchases of your competitor’s superior products indefinitely.

4a. Turn 18 months into 3 years‚ then shrug your shoulders and claim the product was “a concept”.

4b. Release something that has 10% of the utility (or as they like to say in Redmond “Teh Wow”) intimated by your breathless initial demos/celebrity knob-gobbling.

I have to give the company credit: they work this bit more effectively than anyone out there.

Update: Gizmodo reports that Ballmer has confirmed 2010 as the availability…year.  And we know that Steve the Less never misses a projection, right?

Jun 152009

The guys over at Anandtech have completed their battery benchmarks for the new 15″ MacBook Pros. My favorite line: “Eight, freakin, hours. I couldn’t believe it…There’s no way this could be right.” This was for non-Java webpages (20 seconds per page) with iTunes songs looping simultaneously.

I have a feeling the people bitching about the replaceability of the battery might pipe down a bit.

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