1377 posts • joined 19 Jun 2009
The games market is actually getting worse at generating PC sales.
We have the mass defection of casual gamers to phones and tablets completely removing the need for any sort of competent PC/laptop for many.
At the same time there's been an explosion of game download services fighting for customers. Unlike store shelves they can afford to keep older games 'in stock'. It's become trivially easy to find 2,5 or even 10 year old games worth playing, at ludicrously low prices. Literally thousands of games to choose from, more games than anyone has time to play. I have something like 20 AAA titles from the last 5 years I didn't have time to play at release, all waiting to be played.
Unless you're chasing brand new AAA titles no-one needs a new gaming PC. And of course the AAA chasers all moved to console 5 years ago anyway!
Re: Better legislation to appear
ACTA was not poorly written. It was carefully crafted to hold as many flaws as possible that could be exploited later. They didn't need secrecy to smuggle in controversial policies, they needed it to preserve those built in exploits from detection and correction.
Presumably they thought that it wouldn't matter when they were exposed to late to correct, no-one would back out of signing. They got really unlucky with SOPA, though arguably there would still have been enough protest to stop this rights grab without a public primed by SOPA.
Bob H:"Most people don't actually own a DVR"
True but the minority that do may be much larger than you imagine. Walk down the TV aisle in any supermarket and the shelves are infested with cheap PVRs, mostly dual tuner this year. Despite such low quality I wouldn't prop a door open with them, they do appear to be selling, Asda doesn't tend to waste so much shelf space on things that don't sell.
And that's the problem. Us early adopters have expensive hi end PVRs we're not so keen on replacing, or far more capable HTPCs. The mass market (such as there is) are already used to £60 dual tuner Freeview boxes. A £300 box is going to be a hard sell for those folk.
Re: Win7 cant even run all XP games
James 47:"Considering I can run Win95 games on Win7 MS are pretty good at maintaining backwards compatibility."
Considering how many XP games won't run on Win7 or run so badly it's not worth doing, MS aren't as good as you think.
Re: Android apps have forward and backward compatibility
Spearchucker Jones: "Apps targeted at ICS or Jellybean don't run on 2.3 either!"
...there are vanishingly small numbers of apps targeting ICS (and surprisingly many that don't even require Android 2.x). And guess what, they will run perfectly happily until you try to actually call a specific ICS feature and its trivial to either catch the exception or check the platform before triggering one.
My app compiles against 1.6, targets 1.5+, modifies it's behaviour for changed OS behaviour on 4.03+. Because I'm lazy I simply removed the 1 code line not supported in 1.5 rather than handle it at runtime. I fully expect the same apk to carry on running on Jelly Bean and Android 5.
The WP7/WP8 compatibility is strictly one way and even that depends on recompilation, how well that works only Microsoft know.
Re: The world's largest ad broker
One possible reply will be digging up earlier complaints that Google *weren't sufficiently differentiating* their own search results, which I believe involved some of the same 'Fairsearch' pond scum. It would seem the only acceptable result to Microsofts accomplices in Fairsearch is Google getting out of the search biz, except for when freeloaders can get a free ride!
Not yet but I can almost hear the outraged squealing the self serving alliance of Google enemies and shady search companies are about to emit ;)
very believable, no-one would ever fake a user agent
I fully believe it, most of my & my wifes mobile access show an iPhone or iPad user agent, so it must be true.
Of course both active phones are actually Android and the spare phones with real user agents haven't been turned on for months ;)
Re: great buy
It does look impressive on a phone (well, the OnLive equivalent did when I tried it), the small screen hides the appalling compression artefacts, touch control is poor and disguises the latency problems and people still have lower expectations for a phone.
On a PC both OnLive and Gaikai were disappointing. Laggy, bad compression artefacts, low FPS on Gaikai, bad latency on both and low resolution.
Bandwidth is a bigger immediate problem. It sucked 5Mbit on my 10Mbit connection - thats 2Gb/hour. That triggered throttling on my Virgin cable, it would quickly hit the bandwidth cap on most UK accounts. That 5Mbit bought me just 720 line resolution and looked like shit. To properly support a HD TV 10Mbit+ and no cap is going to be needed. That's going to work well in a country that struggles to supply 5Mbit connections!
I agree, it's going to turn up on handheld devices first while they wait for the network to catch up with the scheme. Unlike you though, I've had OnLive on my phone for months and just don't bother to use it, it's failed to interest me at all. Firmly in the 'surprised it works at all usably' rather than impressed.
seems I'm less extreme than I thought ;)
I'll carry on calling mine a mobile.
Mobile phone. Sometimes
Mobile game console. Every day.
Mobile browser. Oh yes.
It took 8 months to receive the 1st call on my first mobile, 11 before I made a call. Sent hundreds of texts along the way. It actually did more service as an alarm clock/watch than a phone. Current smartphone averages less than 5min/month. Sometimes zero. Email wiped out my phone use long before mobiles became popular and nothings really changed, don't even clock up more than 15min of the fixed line in a busy month.
Re: Surface - it's really a laptop
The fact that you apparently don't know bluetooth keyboards, cases with stands and combinations of the 2 have been available for iPad since weeks after launch, says a lot for how in demand the concept is. It's a little harder for Android simply because there are so many form factors to accommodate but they're also available and of course there are Android devices like the Transformer.
All so successful most people never noticed they exist or noticed their plain old tablet is missing anything. Even hard keyboards on phones are getting hard to find, it's such a popular feature!
The only thing new about Surface is it runs Windows. That's it. The only question is will it perform better in the market than all the other failed attempts at the same thing. All that Surface RT is likely to achieve is increased awareness that iPad and Android can work with keyboards as more effort is made to sell them. As you say, Surface Pro is just an ultrabook with a detachable keyboard, quite useful but it's an ultrabook, the form factor no-one can afford as a toy.
no smart zoom or text reflow - Epic Fail
Another Android FF release that absolutely refuses to honour my zoom level between pages, is completely incapable of any sort of smart zoom, page fit or even text reflow. And it's been like that in every release so far - they're never going to do anything to improve it.
So I can have the browser adapt pages for most convenient viewing in Dolphin,Opera,android stock - *even* FF on the desktop. But not in this. Doesn't matter how fast it is, how many plugins, it fails at the simplest function of a browser - showing me the fscking page contents on a small screen device.
did everyone forget the Microsoft Kin?
Microsoft have already tried launching a phone, the Kin. Remaindered 3 months after launch in the states with rumours of sales as low as 500 units.
Microsoft most certainly will remember that fiasco. Those responsible are unlikely to have any influence inside Microsoft. I doubt there's much stomach for trying again in the near future. In 18 months time when Win8/WP8 aren't shifting as fast as expected maybe, if only because there won't be any viable partner left to shaft.
Oh Jim, so blindly optimistic.
Suppose Nokia do throw out a WP8 capable N9xx, that doesn't make the existing ones WP8 capable. Also the new multicore *requirement* means current WP7 devices could never perform to the specified level, even if Microsoft choose to build a suitable kernel for them. Make no mistake, Microsoft went multicore for a reason (the incessant complaints about poor multitasking) and aren't going to let 2million Lumia owners mess they're shiny new multitasking improvements up.
BTW with very few exceptions Android apps carry on working as you upgrade OS, carry on working on older OSes and don't need some magical cloud recompilation to achieve it. Looking at the deployed device stats I might drop Android 1.5 support soon. Or probably won't because I had to avoid just 1 non-essential feature to maintain backward compatibility across all those versions.
WP7 devices have been orphaned, the OS stack they were built on has been obsoleted because its convenient for Microsoft. Eventually you'll believe it.
Re: Sounds pretty amazing
"WinPho7 is very fast on mediocre hardware"
Isn't that because WP7 doesn't let the phone or individual apps get too busy?
Typical Android user ladles on sanity challenging numbers of background apps, never, ever closes apps and then cant understand why it might take a little longer to fire up the next app! That's not really possible on WP7, tasks are too restricted.
The real killer though is native code. VM's tend to be scheduler friendly. Native code shouldn't be able to stop preemptive task switching but somehow it always seems to manage it. The big advance dual core brought me on XP was the ability to still control the damn machine when some rogue app (or Win32 itself) grabbed 100% of a core.
WP8 brings more multitasking and native code. Multicore suddenly seems like a good safety net ;)
Re: Sounds pretty amazing
"comparison of this phone and an identically priced WinPho"
Who right now is most angry, Android or WP fanbois? (After ruling out Xperia Play owners ;)
A fair few of the WP 'usual suspects' were made into liars by the 'no WP8 upgrade' admission, some seem conveniently MIA right now but I wouldn't be surprised if they're still voting.
I suppose some of the Android crew might forget that stock firmware is just where you start, it's very easy to criticise - and a good fallback when suppliers layer on too much, like the 10+ Facebook+Twitter integration apks Sony scatter on devices like manure on fields.
Re: Looks amazing for the money
As I said above, in the unlikely event Huawei don't deliver, an independent ICS rom is being worked on right now. Contrary to popular chatter ICS can work very well in 512Mb.
The nice thing about this phone is even if Huawei don't come through with ICS (and I really don't expect them to pull a Sony), people are already at work on 3rd party ICS roms. Pretty much a no brainer really if the hardware's good enough for you.
"Didn't you begin your post by stating that everyone you know who has a tablet also has a laptop? "
Yes, but they owned laptops to start with ;)
I'm commenting on the widely believed and ongoing decline in laptop sales, while tablet sales rise. I speculate people simply aren't replacing their tired old laptops as quickly or at all, presumably because all the media consumption has now switched to the new shiny and there's not much left for the laptops. I know when mine dies I won't bother replacing it. Hell, I'm not even going to replace its battery, my smartphone replaced it.
Should be able to squeeze a cheapish laptop AND a tablet out of $800. An only slightly compromised device to 'work' + something to throw in a bag/on the sofa/breakfast table/bed for browsing seems much more appealing. Can never have too many screens.
Everyone I know with a tablet also owns a laptop and sometimes several of each to go round a family. We've had assorted transformable tablets and keyboard addons for a couple of years now and demand seems MIA. I think manufacturers have mistaken the swapping of laptops for tablets as a sign that people really want both, when in reality they've often worked out they don't need the laptop at all and definitely worked out their 2nd screen isn't going to be one.
Bugger. Now I have to remove all that shelving, CD racks and that fireplace to provide projection friendly walls to view TV properly. Good thing I'm not a goth with black walls ;)
Re: Pre-emptive strike
@Alistair: it doesn't work if your new shiny won't arrive in the same year as the competition, no-one waits more than a few weeks to widen their choice of new toy. So of course Microsoft had to fall back on making theirs so incredibly shiny it might buy a few months. So shiny punters won't notice the deception, the good one is too expensive, the cheap one can't do the things they're talking up.
What a pity the Nexus tablets are already on the container ships, ready for launch next week ;)
"In the past Microsoft has always had the lever of the desktop monopoly to use in conquering adjacent markets"
That's the only sort of marketing Microsoft know. The Metro/Win8 mess is Microsoft disrupting their desktop business to serve the needs of marketing mobile,tablet and embedded devices. Instead of building new product and new marketing they simply pervert the existing monopoly so it can carry on as normal as a coercive marketing tool. It seems there's no limit to how much they'll screw over desktop users along the way.
BTW XBox had one major value to PC users: it forced game writers to use DX9. That largely defused their Vista/Win7 strategy of hooking gamers into updates by not upgrading XP beyond DX9. There are only a handful of games that won't run on XP, giving little pressure to upgrade for most gamers.
Damn. I expected $1 more...
Oracles case hit the buffers long before the copyrightability ruling, when the jury deadlocked on Googles fair use defence. At the time Oracle reportedly looked really happy, obviously assuming they'd just missed winning and could fix the problem at retrial. The rest of us weren't well pleased. It was only after the jury was dismissed Oracle discovered the vote was 9-3 FOR Google, they reportedly looked surprised and shell shocked. At that point the API ruling barely mattered, all that was left was an appeal.
Did you mistype "****ed good"?
Re: The OS also supports microSD storage
...then replace the browser, Google apps are rarely the best in class. Dolphin HD is nice.
Re: wont be getting ICS?
Phoenix50:"like the many Android phones out there which their manufacturers have announced wont be getting ICS?"
Sony told me I couldn't have ICS.
I installed it anyway.
HTC told me my G1 wouldn't be getting Gingerbread.
I installed it anyway.
Its the Android way :)
the killing blow to Nokia
All the fun to be had baiting the Microsoft apologists, all now frantically treading air cartoon style after the ground was snatched from under them, distracts from the big news here.
Microsoft just administered the killing blow to Nokia. Who in their right mind will buy todays Lumias now? This is the 'burning platform' all over again. Except this time they have stock sitting unsold in warehouses waiting for a loss making fire sale.
When it hits $50 I might even buy one as a keepsake.
The Play hardware is perfectly capable of running ICS, I'm running AOKP 4.0.4 right now with no problems. It's not capable of running Sony's broken ICS build however. It really is a Sony programming cockup, not the hardware.
The gaming issues are even more annoying. ICS itself broke a lot of high profile games from Gameloft and EA mainly. Gamelofts bug has been traced and eventually games will be updated for ICS.
The joypad problems would also have been fixed, by game authors if Sony couldn't manage something. Most games I own actually work. Except there's no product to fix them for now. Sony killed ICS on Play and with it any need to support ICS on Play. They killed the Play itself.
The update process doesn't need much RAM, just enough reserved Flash storage and indeed OTA updates for the Play have happened. But actually indiscriminately OTA pushing crapware like the Sony ICS build is a really bad idea, plus there are devices that simply wouldn't get an update OTA, so the PC option has to be available and might as well be the default for some updates.
If you really want ICS on a 512Mb Xperia though, dump Sony's broken effort. Turns out ICS has no problem running in 512Mb, it's Sonys build that has the problem. Stripping out all the bloatware doesn't fix it, they seem to have configured the core OS for a device with more RAM or they're gobbling RAM for something I can't see, either way it's perpetually RAM starved. I can recommend the AOKP RC3 build for the Play, provided you're prepared to apply the WiFi fixes and accept it's a WIP. It seems to have no problems at all in 512Mb.
"But what else could they have brought to the table that Samsung doesn’t already?"
The Nokia brand *was* valuable before Elop, that alone would have bought them an enormous headstart against the entire market. Samsungs early devices weren't that good, they had to fight their way to the top, Nokia could have beaten them if they'd moved early.
Nokia may still have a usable reputation for quality hardware with most punters. With multiple OS teams already working on Linux devices its entirely believable they could have produced noticeably better devices running Android, before Samsung took the market. If 1-2 years ago Nokia Android offered 1.5 days battery life compared to the normal 1 day, they'd have minted money and bought brand loyalty.
Today it's too late, the entire biz is commodised to the point there's too little high end market to share and brand loyalties are entrenched. So entrenched Microsoft has resorted to perverting and risking desktop loyalty in Windows 8 to backdoor its way into mobile.
Re: Bye bye Nokia...
Last year there were claims from people claiming to be insiders that at least some of the board and investors knew exactly what they were doing when Elop was hired. Since Elop could not have just surprised them with the whole 'burning platform' and move to WinPhone - the board at least must have approved this, so perhaps not a completely paranoid conspiracy theory.
If true there's a much more interesting story (and lawsuit) waiting to be revealed.
Re: You could have seen it coming...
You've forgotten that Nokia have been priced squeezed everywhere. They do sell a lot of feature and simple phones but there own financial statements reveal they make very little profit on any of those. The entire low and midrange market has been commoditised and Nokia failed to move quickly enough to hold their share of the high end while it remains profitable.
Looking at the Lumia pricing they've already conceded the smartphone highend, the 710 and 800 are virtually being given away (street prices).
Let's assume the Anonymous Idiot above is right and all the heavy G+ action is in private. Seems likely those users are ignoring the public face of G+ completely and only bothering with the private stuff. Not much chance they're playing games on it.
...that of course is if you believe this fantasy of rampant private use of G+, as believed by only the tiny minority actually doing it ;)
From 'meh' to tart then on to fugly
The semi-official explanation for this travesty is they want to de-emphasis and minimise the chrome, to reduce distractions. They've sure de-emphasised it, to the point of making it harder to use. Not seeing any sign they've minimised its use of space though, just acres of empty space where controls used to be.
They really are determined to cripple desktop mode so Metro looks irresistible :(
All that gratuitous Aero shit deserves to go, pointless distraction. I can cope with a meh UI like XP. Not a chance in hell I'm putting up with this fugly mound of excrement.
This looks worse than GEM on my Atari ST back in the 80's, where at least the edges of windows stood out and all the chrome was consistent. Hell, I had better windowed GUIs than this in C64 games.
dogged:"Android would have meant a profit write-off on every single one of Nokia's service offerings"
What's the point of owning services if you cant sell devices to consume them? If you can't or won't sell the services to anyone that does sell devices?
Nokia were losing their smartphone share and that part of their services market with it. Worrying about a profit write off when there's no profit to write off is a great way to lose a business.
SVN in Eclipse deserves to die
I'm not surprised SVN is declining on Eclipse, the implementations are horribly fragile and I'm getting tired of manually fixing the repository when Eclipse gets itself out of sync. Eclipse also seems utterly incapable of creating new SVN projects on a Windows machine, have to fire up Tortoise or the command line to bootstrap it every time.
Probably time to bite the bullet and migrate.
Android clones? Did you mistype "WP clones"?
WP7 'clones' I can understand, Microsoft have the spec so locked down almost all manufacturers can change is the size and colour of the casing. Over in Android land there's so much device differentiation no discussion can avoid the 'fragmentation' bogeyman!
If Nokia wanted to differentiate their devices they picked the wrong OS and wrong OS partner. If they really have ninja hardware skills they could own the Android market. Owning the WP niche hardly compares.
Re: Would this be an accurate summary of events?
...just wondering where they're going to get the 'lucrative smartphone business' from?
Re: My 2p worth
Oh yes, the Americans love their all American Samsung phones... oh, my mistake.
The US market is hard to break into because as a market it's totally broken with no real competition between carriers, no real way to bypass them for phone sales and public attitudes to mobile years behind the rest of the world. Having an American hardware/OS partner matters less than having an American carrier on your side. And they're agnostic about where they get their wholesale devices, beyond the problems having cell systems incompatible with the rest of the world cause. Having systems incompatible with each other they like, that just traps customers.
Also, in case you forgot, Google is an American company. If having an American partner mattered so much they might as well have gone with Google. Instead of fighting for the mass market they decided to be the biggest fish in a very small pool and wait for it to grow. Problem is they can't throw enough subsidies at users to make that happen and still survive, meanwhile Microsoft can just wait to pick off the IP.
Most of us saw this coming when Elop announced the WP strategy. Nice that Orlowski finally caught up.
Re: what happened?
When did we stop being disappointed when the new toy turns out to be a turkey?
Re: There are no folders in metro
Androids home screen folder support will get copied to Metro eventually. Wasting a entire 'tile' worth of space makes no sense on small screen devices but would become more usable on tablets or PC. Will reinforce the absolute space wasting stupidity of Metros tile sizing but too late to fix that.
I don't think it solves all the problems though. Nest folders deeply and that's a lot of extra clicks navigating them, leave them shallow and you're back to running out of screen estate. Only works on Android because they made launch icons small, not screen gobbling monster tiles.
And you've still had to switch context from the classic desktop to use it.
Re: Didn't this happen with Windows 95?
The difference was: a small minority gave kneejerk howls of protest, the majority hated Program Manager with a passion. The exact opposite of Metro vs Start.
...and then the idiots noticed they could still run Program Manager, but didn't bother.
Re: I thought I'd have a look around
Memories are short aren't they? I remember when Google launched and word of mouth spread like wildfire across the net. There were at least a dozen search engines bookmarked in my browser and I'd switched to aggregated results from many of them in a desperate attempt to get relevant results.
Google wiped out AltaVista in less than a year just by being better, with nothing but pure search available. I can't even remember the names of any other search services now. The legions of SEO services, the continual gaming of Pagerank has seriously damaged Googles search quality, a better search could still do to Google what Google did to Altavista. That is after all the entire point of vertical search engines, limit the scope so you can afford to do it better. Yet few of them even try to be better.
Bing fails because they aren't trying to be better at search, they aren't trying to be better at services. They're deliberately trying to build a sticky web to trap users, copying the integration Google evolved but skipping on the quality of each component.
Re: Monopoly vs Racket
It believe it's wrong to suggest the EU are 'eager' to do anything here, they're pretty conspicuously giving Google several opportunities to nix this. Their problem is an organised campaign to force them to act which I'd call it a conspiracy if it weren't being done in the open.
An unholy alliance of sleazy failed 'vertical search' companies who've spent years trying to game Google search without success and arch competitor Microsoft (and no doubt some I've forgotten|not noticed) compiled 400 pages of allegations and dumped them on the EU. Hard to do nothing faced with that but the EU have tried hard, presenting just 4 concerns last month to Google, 1 of which appears to be false (or if I'm feeling charitable is a mistake, a contractual restriction from a *different* Google 'product' where it's actually defensible).
Microsoft are in a difficult position, Bing is just successful enough no-one would take their complaint seriously, so they're hovering in the background padding the complaint. The other scum are really complaining that 'Search Engine Optimisation' isn't working for them, what they really want is PageRank crippled so SEO does work or bypassed so they don't even need SEO.
I'd love to know how many of them genuinely believe they have good products that would succeed in a PageRank free free for all. Instead of sinking completely without trace, without even Google to find them with.
Beginning to look like they're trying very hard to get Google to provide an excuse to do nothing, some offer that has no material effect. If nothing else they must be aware of just how expensive checking if there's any unfair behaviour in the ranking system will be.
If comment seen elsewhere is true, at least some of the supposed contractual strongarm claims are simply false, probably made up by the vertical search scum agitating for this. Very easy to say "we don't do that now and won't start doing it".
The sticky bit is ensuring the scumbags don't get to bypass proper ranking of their useless sites.
Re: At least they phone you back
To add further insult, if I somehow manage to get connected in those 1st few seconds, I sit there for 20min or more in a fscking queueing system, racking up 0845 call charges! So far I've not managed to actually talk to a human on the system, it always drops my call some random time 10s of minutes into the wait.
Do have a nice pile of NHS feedback forms they insist on sending me but what's the point of filling them in if I've never met my doctor, 5 years now and never managed to catch him actually in the surgery? His locum spends longer in the bloody surgery.
And they don't phone back here...
@Alex Walsh: I'm sure the gaming sites will have extreme resolution and AA tests, you're expecting too much from The Reg! They've done just enough to show there's not much difference in fairly typical gaming setups though a 16x AA test would have been informative.
@BenR: the high end gamers buying these cards aren't much worried about the price of the monitor(s), especially not compared to £800-900 for a pair of cards to drive it. Cards that will be updated more frequently than a good monitor and they'll pay for a good monitor because a cheap one can really screw up play.
what were you looking at while you were in the start menu that's so important?
...a tree of program names instead of a flat list? A tree that fits onscreen without scrolling despite having hundreds of assorted things in it...
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