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November 24, 2010

A good month for Microsoft

Last week I returned from a trip to find my new Windows Phone and my new Xbox + Kinect waiting for me.  (It's my job to try out new technologies.  Really.  I have to do it.)  Then on Wednesday, Microsoft officially launched Lync, the newest version of their UC product, formerly Office Communications Server.

Lync

I've had a lot time on Lync since Gold Systems was part of the early release program with Microsoft, and I believe we were the first or second company to go into production with it.  Lync is the first version from Microsoft that can really replace a PBX, which is what we're doing at Gold Systems.  This is such a big announcement, that they got Bill Gates himself to join in via satellite to talk about how he envisioned the day when software would replace hardware to really improve communications.  Check out the Bill Gates video and more information about Lync at http://lync.microsoft.com/en-us/launch/Pages/launch.aspx

Having lived with Lync, and Office Communications Server before that, I really believe that Microsoft is going to have a huge presence in the communications sector.  I also have a used PBX for sale if anyone wants it.  :-)

I'll do more Lync posts soon, and I'll talk about how we're extending it to do even more interesting things.

Windows Phone

I've been using the Samsung Focus, which is one of the new Windows Phone devices for a little over a week now.  I have to say, I'm surprised by how nice it is.

Not that I was expecting it to be bad, but even Microsoft has said that they missed the boat the last couple of years and were starting from scratch on Windows Phone.  I think that everyone who has seen and held this device has said it is lighter, prettier and more interesting than their iPhone or Droid.  Given that it is only a week old, I don't expect it to compare feature for feature, though there are some things about it that I like even better than what I see on the iPhone or Android.  It's worth checking out and it is nice to see that Microsoft is back in the mobile business.

A few things to note about Windows Phone.  The new interface works and it is really snappy.  The Zune pass allows me to download and listen to a huge catalog of music for $14.95 a month rather than 99 cents a track.  I've downloaded at least 10 CDs worth of music since I got the phone.

It connects to Xbox, so if I play a game on my phone and get an achievement, it shows up on my Xbox Live account.  I can also access my account, including my avitar, on the phone as well as my friends accounts.  They are just getting started with the Xbox integration I think.

There are a few apps missing that I really need, like a Lync Communicator client (it's in the works) and a nice task list app.  Word, Excel, PowerPoint and even OneNote are already there, which is great.  It would also be nice to see eWallet, Evernote and a few others, but they are off to a good start and they already have more apps than some people thought they would at this stage.  They've even managed to get some of the best sellers that were exclusive to iPhone to create apps for Windows Phone.

Here's my thought on this.  If you are using a Blackberry, Windows Mobile device or you don't have a smart phone yet, be sure and check this out.  If you are using an iPhone or Android, but you are a gamer or you like the idea of lots of good music for one low price then the Windows Phone just might get you to make a change.

I got the Samsung Focus, but there are other devices available so if you prefer a real keyboard you can get it.

Xbox Kinect

Wow, the Xbox Kinect is just alien technology.  I happend to see a commercial for Dance Central today, and it really is just like the commercial makes it look.  Think Guitar Hero for dancing, except when you're done you might really be able to dance.  It takes you through the moves and gets people up off the couch who wouldn't ordinarilly want to stand up and dance.  One of the achiviements is the Off the Wall for getting past the Wallflower rank.

The Kinect really does track movement as well as they said it would, and I think we'll see a whole new type of game being developed over the next year or two.  The hardware has definately leaped ahead of the software, or at least the applications.  The current games that I've tried are good, but I imagine with just a little more time we might put down the controler for good.

 

That's it for now . . .

November 24, 2010 in Unified Communications, Web/Tech | Permalink

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