Archive for May 20th, 2009

Microsofts ‘Magic Wand’

Newly released patent applications from Microsoft have sparked speculation that it is to unveil a Wii remote rival at the E3 expo in Los Angeles. An application was filed in 2007 for a motion controller, dubbed Magic Wand, that interacts with “a collection of sensors”.

Microsoft says it will not “comment on speculation” about a possible launch. Gavin Ogden, from gaming site http://www.c& told the BBC that Microsoft needed to “jump on the motion sensor bandwagon”. “We thought they were going to show something off at the E3 Expo in 2007 – some sort of waggle stick – but nothing materialised,” he said. “I have no doubt they are going to try and do something, although it remains to be seen how they do it.”


The patent application also describes “biometric sensors” that would examine “fingerprint, hand geometry, hand vein pattern, palm pattern, and grip configuration” along with “facial thermogram, a facial feature, a retinal feature, or an iris feature”.

“There was talk, a long time ago, about mapping people’s faces on to characters,” said Mr Ogden. “However, there were concerns that people would stick real faces on it – such as Gordon Brown – and then spend all day shooting them. The world wasn’t ready for that.”

At the beginning of May, Microsoft’s boss, Steve Ballmer, gave a speech to the Dallas Regional Chamber and was quoted as saying: “Pay attention to the stuff we’re announcing in the next month on Xbox.”

So the industry will be waiting to see if Microsoft comes up with any surprises at the Los Angeles expo in June.

Palm announce ‘Pre’ launch date

The Palm Pre will go on sale on 6 June in the US and will only be available on the Sprint network.
The much-anticipated handset will cost $199.99 (£129), after a rebate, and buyers must take out a two-year contract when signing up.
Palm said it expected the phone to be available nationwide at launch and has signed up four stores to put the gadget on their shelves.
No date has been given for when the handset will launch in the UK.
Data share
First announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2009, the Pre has generated a huge amount of interest largely thanks to Palm’s long history in personal data devices.
The Pre impressed many with its operating system, which is geared towards working with the websites, such as social networks and e-mail services, people use when out and about.
The phone automatically recognises when owners connect to social or e-mail services and builds up a global list of contacts and login details as it is used. Unlike many other phones, the handset also allows owners to have several different applications running at the same time. The phone also has an innovative interface based around its touch screen and a “gesture area” below the display.
The phone will use Sprint’s 3G network and buyers are recommended to take out an unlimited data plan as the phone swaps a lot of information back and forth as it is being used. The phone is widely seen as a rival to other smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone, Android handsets and RIM’s Blackberry.
Also on sale at launch will be the wireless charging system. This will not be included in the basic bundle for the phone but will cost an additional $69.99 (£45) for the Touchstone dock and cover for the Pre.
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