Tech 2.0 for Thursday, February 21, 2013
Hotmail will soon be a thing of the past -- that's because Microsoft is making its email service Outlook available worldwide - ultimately transferring 300 million Hotmail users in the process. The transition will be gradual -- at first, users can choose whether to make the switch immediately or postpone it. But by the end of the summer, Microsoft expects all Hotmail users to have moved to Outlook. Hotmail devotees will still be able to use their original email address - but the actual interface will look like Outlook. Microsoft is planning a full advertising campaign for Outlook - including TV spots - in a bid to win over competition. Once the transition is finished - the new Outlook.com should become a force to be reckoned with. The email service will have hundreds of millions of users -- putting it on the same scale as Gmail and Yahoo.
How would you like to have a cell phone you can see through? The Taiwan division of a US company, Polytron Technologies, unveiled a prototype of a transparent cell phone. They spent six years researching and developing it. The phone is made of conductive glass and is scratch and shatter resistant. The battery is just about the only thing that cannot be made transparent, so the company is working on minimizing its size. The phone is slightly bigger than the iPhone 5. It can be touch-activated only on one side, but can display images on both front and back. The company plans to introduce the transparent phone to the market by the end of the year. They are keeping the price under wraps, but say it will definitely be cheaper than the iPhone 5.
Sony is opening a new front in the gaming wars. It announced the long-awaited Playstation 4 in New York on Wednesday. While not showing the console, they did show the new controller which has a touchpad and "share" button, so users can broadcast their live gameplay to friends. The company needs to become a trailblazer once again if it hopes to compete with Playstation's rivals -- the Xbox and Wii. Sony, which hasn't turned a profit since 2008, is hoping to change its fortunes. The last fiscal year was the worst in the company's history -- partly due to the aftermath of Japan's devastating tsunami, but also because of a weak product lineup.