Coffee Talk #191: Will Mice Become Niche Gamer Products?

So I’m still thinking about Apple’s Magic Trackpad (way more than I ought to). It’s more than that though. I’m thinking about the evolution of input methods. Games started with Pong paddles, moved onto joysticks, which gave way to gamepads, which are currently being overshadowed by the dawn of motion controls. Phones had rotary dials, eventually started using digital keys, and now use touchscreens.

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, Lady Gaga being so forthcoming about her cocaine use, Lance Berkman (really?!?), or if electric cars will take off this time around, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

So I’m still thinking about Apple’s Magic Trackpad (way more than I ought to). It’s more than that though. I’m thinking about the evolution of input methods. Games started with Pong paddles, moved onto joysticks, which gave way to gamepads, which are currently being overshadowed by the dawn of motion controls. Phones had rotary dials, eventually started using digital keys, and now use touchscreens.

What’s fascinating about personal computers is that the input method hasn’t really changed in more than 25 years. The vast majority of users out there still use a keyboard and mouse to interact with their computer. This just seems ridiculous to me. Mice are mostly inefficient and certainly dated. Whether it’s the Magic Trackpad or some other device, I can’t wait until the mouse is displaced as the most common input device.

Having said that, I still think that mice are the best choice for PC gaming. Will mice eventually becoming niche products that are purchased mainly by gamers? Will mice become the minority by the end of this decade? Or are people to comfortable and familiar with them? To paraphrase Johnny 5, I want your thoughts on “input”!

Sony to Overtake Microsoft in the Near Future?

A good number of my gaming industry colleagues believe that it’s only a matter of time before the global installed based of the Sony PlayStation 3 overtakes that of the Microsoft Xbox 360. I lean that way myself, but don’t want to make any predictions (I’ll leave that to Pachter). With that in mind, I was surprised by the number crunching and gathering done by Industry Gamers. The race is way closer than I thought it was. Check it out:

The respective global installed bases for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 are showing 41.7 million units sold for Microsoft and 38.1 million for Sony. That’s a difference of just 3.6 million units on a worldwide basis, and considering that Microsoft got a full 1-year head start with the Xbox 360, it shows how strong Sony has come on of late.

It shows that Sony is doing something very right, or that Microsoft is doing something wrong and failed to really capitalize on its early jump on the next-gen market. Numerous analysts have said that PS3 could pass Xbox 360 in the years ahead, and if this PS3 sales pace keeps up, and if Microsoft doesn’t jump start its business with Kinect this holiday, then we could easily see it happening. Over the last fiscal year, 10.3 million Xbox 360 consoles were sold, but Sony shifted 14.3 million PS3 units.

Q4 2010 will be extremely interesting. Will Microsoft be able to snag new customers with Kinect? Will Sony be able to do the same with Move? Will Sony be able to maintain its momentum? Under optimum conditions, there’s a chance that Sony will be able to close the gap by the end of the year — something I didn’t think was possible until 2011.

Most importantly, I want to know what you think of these numbers. How do you think things will play out in 2010? Leave your predictions in the comments section (please)! You can even give yourself a two-million unit margin of error like Michael Pachter.

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Unlocked iPhone 4 Available in Canada and Mexico…FML

In a move that’s fantastic for our neighbors to the north and south (and sucks for me!), Apple is selling the iPhone 4 unlocked in Canada and Mexico. The unlocked Canadian version has common knowledge for weeks, but the Mexican version is new news. Not only does Mexico have the better version of Coke, it also has the superior version of the iPhone 4.

Yay for Canada and Mexico…. Yes, I’m in the bitter barn right now. Visiting my Zoe in Vancouver or taking a long weekend in Cabo would be fun…but I should save the money for a new computer. (Jokingly) FML.

Apple’s Magic Trackpad Hinting at Mac OS’ Multi-Touch Future?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Apple Magic Trackpad lately. You might think it’s crazy (Ric Ocasek!) to spend time thinking about an input peripheral, but I think the Magic Trackpad is more than that. I’m positive that the device is a gateway to Mac OS’ multi-touch future.

Think about it for a few minutes (Ha! Now I have you thinking about input devices. Win.) Apple has done a ton with multi-touch on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. I think the company is going to go even heavier on touch features with Mac OS. Sure, there are lots of multi-touch gestures that are currently supported, but I think that Apple will design future operating systems with multi-touch in mind from the start. Obviously a touchscreen 27″ iMac would be ridiculous, but controlling a huge screen with a Magic Trackpad totally works.

There are a few reasons Apple would do this. First of all, it realizes that mice are archaic and inefficient. More importantly, it keeps with its “walled garden” approach. By having a familiar touch experience on iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Mac products, Apple makes it harder for its customers to leave for competing products.

I’m pretty sure I’m right about Mac OS going way heavier with touch in the near future. I just need Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer to dismiss it, then I’d be 100-percent sure I’m right. What do you think of my postulations on Mac OS’ multi-touch future? Am I spot on? Am I crazy?

What Are You Playing This Weekend?

I have no idea what I want to play this weekend. I’ve been so busy waking up early to write on the site, working on super secret project(s) during business hours, and taking two business dinners that I can’t believe it’s Friday. Where the hell did the week go?!?

Perhaps I’ll dive into some MLB 10 The Show to start things off. If my brain can hack it, I’ll move onto an RPG. I still have Dragon Quest IX and Glory of Heracles to conquer.

How about you? What’s on your weekend playlist?

Coffee Talk #190: What’s Your Favorite Star Trek?

Last week a few of you started a fun Star Trek fight debate. It started with The Original Series vs. The Next Generation, moved onto Kirk vs. Picard, and even touched on Spock vs. Data. I was thoroughly entertained and hope you’re up for it again! This time around let’s include all of the Star Trek shows — even Voyager (Come on! A woman captain and a black vulcan?!?). Let’s start with the poll:

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, Intelligentsia’s Edelweiss Finagro Estate Tanzania, if Roy Oswalt is a difference maker, or the rumor that Apple’s new trackpad uses sorcery instead of magic, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

Last week a few of you started a fun Star Trek fight debate. It started with The Original Series vs. The Next Generation, moved onto Kirk vs. Picard, and even touched on Spock vs. Data. I was thoroughly entertained and hope you’re up for it again! This time around let’s include all of the Star Trek shows — even Voyager (Come on! A woman captain and a black vulcan?!?). Let’s start with the poll:

[poll id=”61″]

I’d love to learn more about your Star Trek preferences. In addition to your favorite show, I want to know your favorite characters, aliens, weapons, etc. As for me, I have four words for you: “There are four lights!!!”

Sprint Announces Android 2.2 (FroYo) for the HTC Evo 4G

Sprint has announced that its HTC Evo 4G will be getting upgraded to Google Android 2.2 (codename FroYo) starting August 3, 2010. Through its Twitter account, the company pointed out that it “is the first wireless carrier to bring Android 2.2 to customers”. FroYo adds some fantastic performance improvements and interesting features, which I covered in my Google I/O keynote live blog. Here are the features Sprint is highlighting:

  • Voice Dialing Over Bluetooth.
  • Application Storage on External Memory, giving users more storage room for all their apps.
  • Camera 4-way rotation allows the camera icons to rotate with the camera.
  • Improved Browser Performance including a faster JavaScript engine and Flash 10x Support improving the user’s ability to view videos and available content associated with web pages.

Sprint is having a very interesting year. It was the first American carrier to launch a 4G phone. During its quarterly earnings announcement, it gained subscribers for the first time in three years. Leading the way with FroYo is another sign that the company is, perhaps, transforming from the loser I left in 2009 to a progressive and aggressive carrier.

I’ll download FroYo on my Evo as soon as possible and give you guys the skinny. Stay tuned!

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