Tech news from around the web:
China has overtaken the US as the world’s biggest smartphone market by volume in the third quarter, Reuters reports. According to research company Strategy Analytics, smartphone shipments grew 58% to reach 23.9m units in China during the quarter, while US shipments fell 7% from the second quarter to reach 23.3m devices.
Could it finally be time to wave goodbye to passive TV advertising?
A year ago at the Cannes Lions advertising festival, Microsoft demonstrated the first in-game ads to use Kinect, its motion-sensing Xbox 360 controller. It was rudimentary but there was clearly huge potential for advertisers in having a camera, microphone and internet connection plugged into the TV.
This week, back in Cannes, Microsoft took a big step forward to unlocking that potential with “NUads”.
Microsoft kicked off this week’s E3 video game trade show in Los Angeles with its usual eve-of-show press conference, where the emphasis seemed to be on consolidating its place in the living room rather than making any ground-breaking announcements. While Sony is expected to reveal more details on its next-generation portable device coming later this year at the show and Nintendo is due to unveil its successor to the Wii, Microsoft confined itself to touting the success of its Kinect motion controller and revealing new features and games that would take advantage of it.
The relationship between video game developers and their marketing departments is usually akin to a bulletstorm between two warring sides in one of their shoot-em-up titles. Or so Kudo Tsunoda, creative director for Microsoft’s Kinect motion controller, and Danny Bilson, THQ’s head of core games, implied in speeches at the MI6 video game marketing conference on Thursday – while pointing out that the respective successes of Kinect and THQ’s Homefront game have been forged by exceptions to that rule.
Microsoft appears to be on track to fulfil its prediction of 5m Kinect sales by the end of the year, with its latest update revealing more than 2.5m motion controllers have been sold since its launch 25 days ago.
UPDATE: Sony has followed up with a report of “incredible demand” and sales of 4.1m units of its Move motion controller since launch in mid-September.
Waving at our televisions is replacing button pushing with the new motion controllers for games consoles from Microsoft and Sony.
The Kinect, launched in Europe this week, and Sony’s Move are inspired by the Wii, but what do they offer that’s better or different from Nintendo’s big success? – a question I sought to answer in the Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section this week.
Microsoft has announced a mixed bag of pricing for its Kinect motion controller and a new version of its Xbox 360.
The low $200 price for a 4-gigabyte version of the Xbox 360 S coming in August may give Microsoft an advantage over Sony and Nintendo in new console sales, but existing Xbox owners may baulk at paying an extra $150 for a Kinect sensor, available from November 4.
The Cannes Lions International Advertising festival is upon us. Once again, agencies, advertisers and tech companies are vying to out-geek each other, to prove they’re on top of the latest digital trends.
Delegates are welcomed to the Palais des Festivals by a giant “touchwall” – a 12-foot by five-foot screen by WPP unit Schematic, showing seminars, 3D maps and other interactive goodies.
SapientNitro – the digital agency which caused a stir last year by buying a traditional agency and scooping several awards for its “best job in the world” campaign for Tourism Queensland – has unveiled what it claims (and who could say otherwise) is the world’s first smile-activated ice-cream van. The van dishes out Unilever treats from Ben & Jerry’s and Wall’s to passers-by in return for a photo of a big grin, which is (inevitably) uploaded to Facebook.
Microsoft, meanwhile, is crowing about its first advertiser to use Kinect, the motion-sensing camera for Xbox 360 that was unveiled at E3 last week.