Kinect for XBox 360... For NowThe Kinect for the XBox 360 comes last because it really isn't that huge of a FAIL. It's definitely a game changer for video games (pun/redundancy intended.) All that needs to be fixed is the fact that if coffee tables were a species of animal, this product would be they key factor in ensuring their extinction.
Also, the Kinect was supposed to have its own processor to reduce lag to the Xbox. It does not.
It was believed that it would work for all games and it doesn't. What it does is it works with a collection of games similiar to the Wii fit. Lame and unoriginal. "Kinectimals" is a great example of why the games suck and how hard they can do so.
The Kinect was meant to satisfy hard-core Xbox gamers, and on that level, it offers no reason for them to switch from the standard controllers to generic version of "interactivity" other than curiosity, or "the will to live past 50 due to regular exercise", which c'mon, who cares.
Among other things, a Kinect gamer will have to shut out sunlight for the most part so that the Kinect can recognize their body and after that, they'll need to find better indoor lighting in case the room itself is too dark. Gamers also have to stand in a very particular position in a very particular place for the Kinect to register, just one of the many features the Kinect imposes on a person to keep their room tidy and furniture-less.
So, gamers practically have to play Kinect in a room with pretty much nothing in it (i.e. an airplane hangar) in order to get the Kinect to recognize that it is actually them. Not to mention a gamer's current TV system can interfere with the Kinect's reliability.
And don't even bother thinking what it's like trying to play Kinect with two people. Check out the embedded video.
All in all, these are things that can be fixed and the Kinect is actually reasonably priced ($150 at launch), so it's not the biggest FAIL in the history of the world, but definitely a massive "let's get this out before Christmas before we actually test it at all" FAIL of 2010.
New Windows PhoneApart from trying to enter a very competitive and crowded market, the Windows Phone does not have a lot going for it.
Its initial sales were disappointingly low, proving already that the world does not care or need another smart phone interface. There are still those that are hopeful, citing Windows has the potential to develop a lot of apps, but the truth is Windows has a lot of catching up to do with Apple and even Google. I mean look at how long it's taken for even the Droid Market to be even a fraction of what the Apple iPhone App Market is at this point (and it is still miles, miles away from even becoming half of what that is.)
The Windows Phone also does not allow one to multi-task, a crucial element of how business is done these days nor does it allow its users to cut and paste. It is also what has been the glowing, damning and most prominent argument against their major competitor's (Apple's) phone: so why wouldn't they make it a point to fix this? Why not improve on your competition in a way that the market is obviously crying out for? This makes absolutely no sense.
Being a new product in an industry where the competition already has years of experience, Windows phone will probably be having to face a new software trial in the hopes it will offer something to entice buyers. Either that or it will be facing oblivion for coming into the game too late. Either THAT, or consumers can decide that an antiquated name in technology such as Microsoft (that has brought us such recent issues as Vista, and the fact that you can't have two freaking PowerPoint windows open at the same time) doesn't belong in the smartphone market at all.
Russian GPS SateliteReady for another In Soviet Russia joke? There will be plenty coming from this story for years to come.
Ready to launch GLONASS (look, there's an ass in the title, go nuts late-night crowd), the Russian equivalent to GPS, all of Russia stood proud to finally release their very own global navigation system to the world. In fact, it was even added to the list of 2010's most important space achievements. All that was left was the final launch of all three GLONASS satellites to join several others already in space.
After launch, the rocket carrying the satellites malfunctioned. It first veered off course, then separated from its booster engines at a higher altitude than planned. And so, thanks to a failing rocket, the satellites never had a chance to deploy and instead the 160 million dollar investment plummeted back down to Earth into a non-navigable area of the Pacific. The closest port? Honolulu.
Just when it seemed Russia was done competing with the U.S., they crash land into the arms of their "competitor." GLONASS now waits for its next launch in 6 months. For that amount of noise made about this story, it's safe to say that at least in 2010, this was a complete, unfortunate FAIL.
Click here for the full report.
The Apple iPad aka the iPhone Call-LessApple is making a serious bid at ruling all of the technology world (or at least the technology that's used in TV and movies.) After unleashing the game-changing iPods and iPhones, Steve Jobs set his attention on defeating another technological milestone: the art of digital reading. Namely, Jobs wanted to kill the Amazon Kindle.
Enter The Apple iPad.
When released, people wondered "what is it exactly? A very big iPhone without the ability to make a call? A small laptop with no keyboards?" It became quickly apparent that Steve Jobs thought we were back in the 80's where carrying around boom boxes instead of a Walkman was cool.
The iPad comes off as an annoyingly oversized iPhone with all the apps and the touchscreen and the Internet access, yet still no Flash. Pretty much everything that could already be found on the iPhone. For 300 bucks more. The iPhone Macro, if you will.
In his attempt to make his product more distinctive and "cooler" than the Kindle, Jobs forgot the reason Kindles probably sell so well in the first place: People can read any book they want peacefully and pleasantly without almost no distractions from life. They can also read comfortably in the sun without being bothered by pesky (beautiful/shiny, but ineffective) reflective screens.
Over the year, and with the implementation of Netflix's Instant Play app for the iPhone/iPod/iPad, the iPad has quickly become a luxury item (not a useful tool) for those who travel frequently and like to have slightly bigger screens. It's kind of a cool thing if you want a closer view of your Angry Birds game, or if you want to check out that episode of 30 Rock while you're waiting for the bus, but not so much if you want to do things like "work" or "read" unless you bought it specifically to read comic books, in which case, this product is perfect for you.
Otherwise, though, this thing is not a game-changer, rather, a great toy for a generation of people who are sick and tired of the books they read the Cliff's Notes for in high school anyway.
Honorable mention: The Apple iPhone 4's Antenna Placement
This really wasn't that big of a FAIL due to the scope of how successful and stable of a machine the iPhone 4 really turned out to be. Also, the antenna doesn't do that much more damage than having AT&T does as it is, which is why it doesn't get its own item on this list. The iPad was a HUGE opportunity to revolutionize the way people see laptops, something that people need for business and their every day lives, yet is now something that people need as much as they did MP3 players in 1998.
Angry Birds for the Droid aka the Droid Marketplace in GeneralThe Droid Marketplace overall is like your local Swap Meet/Flea Market.
Remember when your parents used to take you out to these places and you'd catch a Batman and Robin toyset which clearly included Batman and Robin, but without capes, and the packaging would read "Bat Hero and Companion" or you'd find a vintage-looking Superman toy with no "S" on his chest with a box marked "Super Alien Hero"? That's what most apps for the Droid are.
One of the most popular apps for the iPhone, Hipstamatic, which allows people who fancy themselves photographers to add annoying grain/darkness to their pictures so they look "artsy" has a competitor on the Droid marketplace called "Retro Camera", the top played game on the Droid market for a long time was a simple, unimaginative (yet arguably really addicting) Tower Defense game called, wait for it, "Robo Defense."
It's a wasteland of cheap versions of slower-working iPhone apps, except for your bare essentials (or those apps with more money behind them) like TweetDeck, Facebook, FourSquare and the like.
So, the one, shining example in 2010 of this, and a moderately sound argument for hardware exclusivity, is the fact that the Google Droid interface, in late 2009, was added to a barrage of different non-Google devices. Everyone from Motorola to HTC started making a bunch of different clones of each other to support this great, potentially iPhone-killing interface.
GREAT, right?... Wrong. When some of the best mobile games are made/developed, they are seldom made for the majority of Droid users, and when they are, they're made for the Droid users with the most powerful Droids on the market (aka, not "most" of the market.)
The best example of this was Angry Birds. Easily the most popular new mobile game of 2010 and arguably the most addictive, Angry Birds was the Plants vs. Zombies of 2010 in that every iPhone gamer held it over every Droid would-be gamer's head that they couldn't have it (NOTE: there are no Droid gamers, there are little to no good games for the Droid that you wouldn't get in a crappy computer-game bundle from the 80s from your Aunt at Christmas.)
Once Angry Birds (easily the most beloved new mobile game of the year) DID come out for the Droid, though, over half a year later, it worked for the most powerful Motorola models, but not for most of the lesser HTC models that most people who were looking to save money ended up buying in 2009. People with lesser Droids were forced to wait for a release that would seemingly never come... until it did. Amazing. Finally everyone could play the best game around, no matter what their touch-screen smart phone (Blackberries don't count right now.)
Once this did happen, though, people found that their phones could not run the game properly, so much that it was unplayable and that this game that would EASILY run on the iPhone, illustrating how a great operating system is currently being run on millions of incapable machines.
This entire thing served as a microcosm for not only how behind the Droid market is to this day (they couldn't bring ONE thing over) and how superior the iPhone is as a basic machine and as an operating system... at least for the time being.
And yeah yeah yeah, you can mod the Droid operating system and you can do all kinds of great stuff with it -- if you're a huge techie. If you're an average consumer (read: most people), then the Droid does still pale in comparison to the iPhone because all people really want is to run an app successfully, to have a fun, well-known selection of games and fun (Netflix Instant exists for the iPhone, not for the Droid) and to feel like they have the top of the line technology.
Having a Droid is a constant reminder of what you can't have. It's like when you brought that fake Batman toy to school, just so all the other boys and girls could see the inferiority of what you ended up buying and so you could feel (and learn) that you should have known better.
I'm not an Apple fanboy by any stretch of the imagination, but the fact that people who own Droids can't enjoy even 10% of the same cool stuff people can with an iPhone is just ridiculous. As soon as this changes, Droids will start winning an edge, but until then... FAIL.
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