Microsofts Surface Pro 3

I’m fairly interested in the new 12″ Microsoft Surface Pro that Redmond seems to be boasting as the answer to both the MacBook Air and the iPad. Coming in at £639 and going all the way up to £1,649 the hybrid laptablet/tablet-top is pretty steep and there is clearly a reason why it is named pro. Not many consumers are going to be smashing out almost £2,000 on a Core i7 512gb beast. Microsoft is claiming up to 9 hours for video playback on these devices which is pretty impressive given the internals. I’m intrigued to see how games perform on such a device. In fact, the tech specs overall are amazing. It’s about the size of a MacBook Air and will definitely blow it out of the water.

The interesting thing is that Microsoft can obviously make an incredible device. The specs, the size, the engineering that has gone into this machine look very good. Even the pen has had a fair amount of thought go into it but can Microsoft market such a device. I honestly never understood how appalling Microsofts marketing skills are. They have some bloody good products yet always seem to focus on something that doesn’t make people reconsider why they use what they currently do. If Microsoft showed me an advert that proved Windows 8 managed windows better than my MacBook Pro then I would be more inclined to jump ship. I’d like to try out Windows 8 for a long time but so far I’ve just not had a reason. Windows 7 runs perfectly well on my ThinkPad. My iPad does all those pesky little things like Flipboard, FaceTime and other time wasting antics. I’m not sure I’ve felt the need to have one device to rule them all yet, and I certainly don’t want to be reading Kindle books on a 12″ with an i7 processor.

I’d thoroughly recommend checking out the Surface website here for it is pretty beautiful and shows off the Surface Pro 3 quite well. Will this turn Microsofts attempt to get it’s Windows Hardware products into our hands, well that we will have to see. I look forward to the sales figures in a years time.

Twitch $1 Billion Acquisition Shows Gaming Is Still Serious Money

I have to admit, I’ve felt pretty removed from the gaming industry for a number of years, my Internet connection in London is pretty intermittent so I don’t get online much, my MacBook and ThinkPad are now considered old and no computer games that come out run on them and the only consoles I have with me are a Wii U and a 3DS. Yeah, those two Nintendo consoles that have about 3 highly rated games each.

I’ve yet to buy a PS4 or Xbox One although I’m sure I’ll get round to it. I’m going to be moving around the UK every 6 Months for the next 2 years so I couldn’t tell you when.

What I can tell you that if YouTube is to incorporate Twitch, the streaming video game service that allows gamers to show themselves playing various games to multiple viewers, we are going to be shown that the future of gaming is serious money. It already is serious money, although I think many people don’t appreciate how much money. YouTube channels like Machinima are vast and make a large amount of money. If Google is valuing Twitch at $1 billion they aren’t doing so lightly. Young gamers are engaging with video like never before, media companies such as IGN and VOX are no longer the only people who screen record for reviews and there are countless gaming critics making money online.

This week, the candy crush saga owner, Riccardo Zacconi, made the Times rich list this week along with some of the leads on Grand Theft Auto. Games that almost everybody has heard about however not everyone necessarily plays.

Video games have historically been for geeks and nerds and not necessarily the wider audience, the aforementioned Nintendo actually changed all that with the Wii and DS consoles that their successors have so miserably failed to replicate in terms of success. Xbox One’s and PS4s are becoming the centre of the average family living room and thus encouraging more purchases of content for the living room across the family, not just the gamers of the families.

Indie developers are continuing to hope they get a smash hit with a game on the iOS and Android platforms investing countless hours in code, design and promotion. Meanwhile a game named Goat Simulator is making a developer a ton of money.

Facebook bought Oculus, a virtual reality headset maker that hopes to succeed where others have failed in bringing virtual reality to the masses. Another joker has even suggested making psuedo free-range chickens by bringing VR to the pecking kind of creature.

The gaming industry is one to watch. It’s huge, it has a more passionate fan group than I have ever witnessed in my life, seriously, people will get into arguments on the internet about whether their console is the better one to play the same game on. It’s not just for kids anymore, gaming is serious and it’s here to stay and there is a vast amount of money to be made in it. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, EA, Ubisoft and many others seek to capitalise on that and will continue to as long as they can.

Tesla To Land In The UK

When I was strolling through the streets of San Francisco or heading up towards the valley last year, it was clear there was champion of cars among the bay area inhabitants. The home-grown American Electric Car, the brainchild of Elon Musk, real life Tony Stark.

The car is finally making it’s way to the United Kingdom, with the right hand drive model being launched in Britain before any other right hand market.

This is the car to scare off all non-electric cars. Tesla has insanely good after sales care, they can raise the height of your car remotely if it’s near enough to a familiar wifi connection. It’s one manufacturer that really seems to understand software. Of course we have the german manufacturers increasingly relying on code to ensure efficiency for their cars however they are old dogs in a new world and Tesla has built this electric car up around technology and software.

The other thing that is coming with Tesla’s cars to the United Kingdom is the Supercharger network. Something we will begin to see at service stations across the main motorways that allow you to add 130 miles to your range in 20 minutes. Or in Moto or Welcome Break terms, a trip to the loo and an overpriced Coffee/Mineral Water from Costa.

This is the first electric car that looks like it might be something people might consider as an alternative to a 3-series or Audi A4. It’s a good looking car which is spacious, insanely quick (0-60 is less than 5s) and by all means less trips to the fuel pumps (note: 0).  There is an expanding market for electric cars in the United Kingdom however it’s still not growing at an exponential rate that a green-tech enthusiast would hope. The sods law of, until we have lots of electric cars there is no point installing loads of charging points. Hopefully with the delivery of Teslas to brits people will start to see that electric cars don’t have to be disgracefully ugly or for eco-freaks. The Tesla is a good option as a mid range commuter car, very few journeys in the UK are over 300 miles so if you have the money, why not take one for a test drive and join the electric car revolution.

Apple To Purchase Beats by Dre.

Ugh. I don’t even know where to begin on this one. It does actually make quite a lot of sense except, Apple makes some very beautifully engineered products, Beats by Dre have only one pair of headphones that are remotely well made and you pay probably at a higher markup than you do on an iPhone 5S. I speak of course about the pro edition which actually feel quite nice.

I’ve alway hated the Dre beats though. I don’t like the sound, I don’t like the connotations and I don’t understand how they took off so bloody quickly. It’s genius business. Every single music video since 2008 has contained a pair, as we have seen music videos become more and more about product placement and brand bragging (Grey Goose anyone?). I’m not even sure if I speak as hypocrite being the owner of a pair of Bose QuietComfort 15s. That said I bought them because they are the best noise-cancelling headphones on the market and that’s what I was looking for.

The important question here is what is in it for Apple. I suspect that Dre Beats are some of the most sold products through the EPOS systems at Apple stores. They can see the sales on these, the markup is astronomical, I heard from a friend of a Monster engineer that typically they won’t talk about a product unless the markup can be guaranteed to over 800%. Makes perfect sense I guess. We have also seen Apple delve into this market before, remember their absolutely ghastly iPod dock that looked like a less hollow baby bath?

The streaming service that Beats offers is also part of the deal we are supposed to assume. I guess it’s buying customers to an extent but it’s almost definitely going to be more expensive than Facebook paid for Whatsapp per customer and realistically, it’s nowhere near as good as Spotify.

I sit here among countless tech enthusiasts scratching my head. How long have these negotiations been going on for? What would Steve Jobs think? Why didn’t Apple use their large supply of talent to create a legitimate competitor in house rather than spend a huge amount on a company favoured by hip hop contemporaries. I’m just interested to see how this develops.