Monthly Archives: January 2011

Framerate Fest: a Microsoft HTML5 art gallery

Ever since Internet Explorer 9’s unveil late last year, Microsoft has been touting the HTML5 flag high and proud with its industry-leading GPU acceleration feature (which to this day is yet to be matched by any other browser in development).

The latest demonstration of its prowess is a competition by Microsoft Netherland for web designers to showcase their HTML5 masterpieces in just a frame of 300 pixels squared, thus the name Framerate Fest.

Since the website just launched days ago there are currently only 8 submissions showcased. At the time of writing the most voted for is a dynamically generated and playable “Amazing maze“, and my personal favorite is an interactive bacteria-like visualizer “Pixel Outbreak“.

Submissions are open until 25th of March and will be voted on to determine the ultimate frame. The winner gets a XBOX 360 with Kinect and a 3D print of the competition logo to hang on their fridge. Technical guidelines for submissions can be found here.

Microsoft kicks off “Be what’s next” tagline with Golden Globes TV ads

Microsoft has began promoting its new “Be what’s next” tagline with a duo of TV ads scheduled to air during the 68th Golden Globes awards presentation on January 16. This will be the first time Microsoft promote it to the public since its trademark late last year.

To fit in with the theme of the event Microsoft is sponsoring, the two ads – one briefly mentioning Windows Phone 7 and the other Bing, shows off a number of aspiring actors hoping to make a name for themselves. The text “You don’t know them. But you will” appears before the voiceover “Windows Phone pre-congratulates the Golden Globe winners of tomorrow” is heard.

Although the ads are motivating, especially to screen actors, they lack a sense of inspiration that I think was much stronger in previous Microsoft brand campaigns like the “You see” ads for the “Your potential, our passion” tagline.

On a related note, I feel the arbitrary product placement of WP7 and Bing are extremely out of place and distracting from the otherwise sincere message. Perhaps it might have been much better if it just said “Microsoft pre-congratulates the Golden Globe winners of tomorrow”. What do you think?

Win a trip to MIX11 for Aussie WP7 developers

For Windows Phone 7 developers down under, Microsoft Australia is hosting a Windows Phone 7 Dev vs Dev competition to seek “an app worthy of claiming the Windows Phone 7 App Champion title” with the first-prize winner going to Las Vegas for the Microsoft MIX11 conference in April.

To enter, the Windows Phone 7 application must already be submitted to and approved in the Marketplace. Applications will be judged on originality, creativity, marketability and the potential popularity by a panel of local Australian mobile industry experts.

Everyone who submits an entry will receive a free Windows Phone 7 shirt so there’s no reason not to enter, plus five runner ups will also receive a HTC 7 Mozart phone. Entries close 28th of February.

Intel takes an action movie to the Windows 7 desktop

Recently, Intel posted an extremely interesting ad for the second generation Core processors that shows off the power of multi-tasking in an exciting and fun way.

Using a combination of applications on the Windows 7 desktop, including (in sequence) Windows Media Player, Quicktime, Office 2010 Word, Excel, Internet Explorer 8, iTunes, Windows Live Messenger, Adobe Photoshop CS5, a custom game, Google Earth, Google Chrome and PowerPoint, the ad illustrates a short 2-minute action-packed story involving some bandits chasing a female agent.

Although some of the graphics and animations appear to be simulated, most of the sequences appear somewhat practical for the applications they are shown in. After all, a real OSX desktop and applications has been demonstrated to make a similar movie in the past.

Ford and Microsoft’s lead in car-infotainment

As demand for more energy efficient cars has driven the development of car technologies in the past several years, another aspect of the driving experience, infotainment, is also rapidly changing and Microsoft with partners like Ford is clearly leading the way.

Ford’s second-generation SYNC with MyFord Touch included in the newly announced Focus Electric, originally based on top of the Microsoft Auto platform, offers an impressive range of functionality presented with a futuristic user interface both inside the instrument panel and center console. Specific to EVs are numerous customizations that inform the driver of their driving habits and energy usage.

Microsoft’s early investments into a platform optimized for the automotive industry as early as 1998 might pay off very well in the near future as more car companies will leverage more functional and better designed infotainment systems as a differentiator in the marketplace.

The latest release, Windows Embedded Automotive 7, offers an impressive range of features including support for Silverlight UIs, flawless voice recognition via Tellme, connectivity to a wide range of mobile devices and comprehensive media management features.

No matter how foolishly easy it is to make a joke about blue screens in a car, the reality is Microsoft clearly leads the industry and might very well show up in your next car.

Disclosure: Ford Motor Company paid for my travel and accommodations at the 2-day Driving Green Technology event.