Tag Archives: microsoft

Microsoft Xbox Design Lab Creating Custom Controllers

Colorful controllers are headed to homes of serious gamers this September, as Microsoft is shipping its first batch of Xbox Design Lab pieces, according to this article from digitaltrends.com. Read more about it now:

device pitstop xbox design lab

First batch of Xbox Design Lab custom controllers arrives in September

By Danny Cowan

Microsoft is boxing up its initial shipment of player-customized Xbox Design Lab controllers for the Xbox One, announcing that its first wave of vibrantly colorful gamepads will arrive on player doorsteps in September.

Xbox Design Lab controllers are still up for pre-order, and newly created designs will ship out within 14 business days.

The Xbox Design Lab is an online customization program that allows players to outfit Xbox One controllers with colorful shells, buttons, analog sticks, and d-pads. Microsoft notes that Xbox Design Lab controllers offer players 8 million different color combinations to choose from, and custom-crafted designs can be shared across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Xbox Design Lab gives players an easy way to identify their Xbox One controllers in a group setting with a personalized touch. Custom-built controllers can also be outfitted with a laser-engraved 16-character message, making it easier to identify your hardware if an opponent tries to swipe your controller at a local meet-up.

Microsoft’s made-to-order Xbox Design Lab controllers are currently available for purchase in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, and the company plans to “[bring] Xbox Design Lab to more Xbox markets in 2017 and will have more to share in the near future.”

Xbox One owners have multiple options with regard to controller input, as the recently launched Xbox One S console introduced a redesigned controller with Bluetooth support, boosted wireless range, and textured grips. Players who demand precision may opt to pick up the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller, a $150 device that boasts customizable metal analog sticks, a disc-shaped d-pad, and rear slots for interchangeable paddles.

Hardware appears to be a major component of Microsoft’s Xbox platform strategy, as the company recently revealed that an upgraded version of its Xbox One console is in the works. Code-named “Scorpio,” the upcoming Xbox One hardware refresh is rumored to feature a faster GPU, VR compatibility, and support for 4K resolutions.

Xbox Design Lab controllers can be customized and ordered via Microsoft’s website. Prices for custom orders start at $80.

Click here to see more from digitaltrends.com.

Xbox One to Release New Karaoke Game: Just Sing

Spruce up your voice because the upcoming Just Sing game from Xbox One is expected to be just as entertaining as its successful predecessor, Just Dance. Check out this article from winbeta.org to find out more.

Device Pitstop Just Sing video game from Xbox
Photo from YouTube promotional video about Just Sing from Xbox.

Ubisoft announces new karaoke video game for Xbox One, Just Sing

Play a console game… on your phone!

By Brad Stephenson

Ubisoft has just announced a brand new video game series called Just Sing which will see release in September of this year on Microsoft’s Xbox One console. While their Just Dance video game franchise focuses on dancing, Just Sing, as many can probably guess, revolves around karaoke and lip syncing.

The official press release says that the game will use smartphones for recording video and audio from players but a report on IGN claims that the Xbox One’s Kinect camera can also be used to record content. Ubisoft had already begun a transition away from console cameras to smartphones with Just Dance 2015 and Just Dance 2016 both adding support for smartphone-based motion tracking but neither advertised the use of smartphones as heavily as Just Sing. Check out the new trailer for the game below to see just how hard they’re pushing smartphones as a game controller.

To use a smartphone in Just Sing, players will need to download the official Just Sing Android or iPhone app. No Windows phone app has been announced as of yet.

Here’s the official game description for Just Sing: Create your own music videos with Just Sing! Sing or lip sync to the hottest hits and all-time favorites. A smartphone is all you need to play the game! Simply download the free Just Sing Companion App to your smartphone, sync it with your console and use your smartphone as your microphone and camera.

With Just Sing, easily create memorable videos with up to 3 friends by changing themes and filters as you perform. Save your video locally to keep track of the fun or share it with your friends!

Just Sing will feature 45 songs packed in with the initial release with more tracks expected to be added as paid downloadable content in the months afterwards. What do you think about Just Sing? Are you surprised by the focus on smartphones? Let us know in the comments below.

Click here to see more from winbeta.org.

Write Smarter with New Tools from Microsoft

Credible research and word-choice help are just a couple of the benefits that Microsoft’s new tools will offer its users. Check out this article from pocket-lint.com to learn more.

Device Pitstop laptop photo typing writing

Microsoft’s new Editor and Researcher tools help you easily write the perfect essays

By Cam Bunton

Microsoft has unveiled two new Word features for its Office 365 users. Researcher and Editor are two tools which harness machine learning to help you create better work.

Microsoft is aiming the first of its new tools at those who need to write quality essays, by giving them a single-click tool for adding in properly formatted citation. The second is for tidying up any grammatical errors once you’re finished.

Microsoft Researcher

Researcher makes use of Bing Knowledge Graph to pull in relevant content from around the web which is “structured, safe and credible”. In other words, it shouldn’t just give you a bunch of links from Wikipedia to throw in to your thesis.

As the service develops, Microsoft will increase reference materials to include information from national science centers, respected encyclopedias and history databases among others to ensure that all the information you could need is reliable, and easy to get to.

Microsoft Editor

A few months ago, Microsoft purchased SwiftKey, the company most well known for its predictive Android keyboard app. And it seems as though it’s putting the company’s expertise in natural language processing to good use right away with Editor.

Editor uses machine learning and natural language processing to make suggestions that help improve your grammar and choice of words.

In its early state it will help you by simplifying any written work by flagging complex words, or phrases which aren’t clear. An example given by Microsoft is something like recommending “most” instead of “the majority of”.

Because it’s cloud-based and uses machine learning, Editor will get better over time. From autumn this year it will be even be able to tell you why words or phrases may not be accurate in your Word documents, teaching you how to write better, as well as correcting you.

Microsoft Outlook – Focused inbox and @ mentions

Microsoft’s Outlook apps for both iOS and Android have a really neat focused inbox feature which helps filter out emails you want to read, moving them away from the spam you don’t want to read.

This feature is now making its way to Outlook for both Windows and Mac as well as Outlook on the web.

In addition, Microsoft is rolling out @metions to Outlook on Windows and Mac. This lets you flag actions for other users just by typing the @ symbol in the email. Then you just choose the person you want to flag, and it’s done. That person will then know that an action is required.

What’s more, you can filter emails based on which ones you are flagged in, to find actions you need to complete more easily.

PowerPoint Zoom

Lastly, Microsoft announced a new Zoom feature for PowerPoint which lets you create interactive and non-linear presentations.

It’s essentially a way to smoothly transition from one slide to another, even if they’re in different sections of the presentation. It’s no longer a case of going from one slide to the next in sequence.

Click here to see more from pocket-lint.com.

Microsoft Surface as a Service for Faster Device Refresh Cycles

Device Pitstop Microsoft Surface as a Service
Photo courtesy Microsoft newsroom.

This article from techcrunch.com explains the benefits of Microsoft’s new Surface as a Service for businesses. Read about it below or click here to see the article on techcrunch.com.

Microsoft debuts “Surface as a Service” program aimed at getting devices into the enterprise

By Sarah Perez

Microsoft announced this morning a new program aimed at expanding Surface’s footprint in the enterprise, dubbed “Surface as a Service.” The initiative will allow businesses to lease Surface devices, alongside subscriptions to Office 365 and Windows 10. The company says this will allow customers to benefit from access to the latest hardware as well as faster device refresh cycles.

Surface has been a growing business at Microsoft, the company also notes, having grown in the past year from generating $1 billion in revenue per year to $1 billion per quarter.

More recently, Microsoft has been focusing on expanding Surface beyond the consumer market. Last fall, for example, it partnered with Dell and HP to sell the Surface hardware through its commercial sales organization. Today, it announced two more partnerships with IBM and Booz Allen Hamilton, who will now join the lineup of Surface resellers.

IBM will deliver industry-specific solutions for the financial services and consumer packaged goods sectors that take advantage of Surface’s unique hardware capabilities, Microsoft says, while Booz Allen Hamilton will focus on solutions for government, the public sector and healthcare.

The new “Surface as a Service” program is meant to offer a different way of bringing the device into the enterprise, beyond these traditional reseller programs. Details were light on how the subscription service will work, but it will be made available to Cloud Solution Providers who are also Surface Authorized Distributors.

The program is initially being launched with ALSO, a Cloud Solution Provider in Europe, but Microsoft says it will expand the program worldwide.

For organizations with Surface as a Service, the benefit of the subscription service is that their devices will always get updated with the latest releases of Windows 10 and Office 365.

The program’s launch also follows the recent unveiling a Surface Membership program, which lets consumers buy Surface devices by making low monthly payments. The plan was also aimed at businesses, not consumers, and offered access to Surface Book, Surface Pro 4 and Surface 3 models. It included free upgrades when new models became available.

In addition to the subscription service, and new Surface resellers, Microsoft also adding CDW, SHI, Insight, and Zones to its Surface Multi-National Purchasing Program. That makes it easier for businesses to put Surface devices and accessories on their company-wide purchasing lists with the resellers.

Click here to see more from techcrunch.com.