E3: Games, Games and…. Well, just more games
Last year’s E3 was a surplus of long-awaited titles, consoles and gaming-innovation. We saw the launch of the new Xbox One and the Playstation 4, as well as major announcements from Nintendo, Oculus Rift and Android Mojo. Sadly, E3 2014 just couldn’t quite live up to its predecessor. While the event delivered on several long overdue new games, many fans were disappointed by the lack of fresh hardware and devices. As the evening went on it became clear that all anyone was planning on talking about was games, games and more games. Having said that however, Sony proved the exception to the rule with the launch of a white PS4 and a pre-existing PlayStation TV box …not exactly groundbreaking innovations.
Amazon starts a Fire in the mobile marketplace
After months of tax issues and negative publicity, June finally saw Amazon taking home a win with its new “Amazon Fire Phone”. Specifically designed to shop on the go, the Fire Phone represents a strong rival for both Apple and Google. In stark contrast to other mobile developers, Amazon has made an unusual transition from the tablet (and originally ebook) market into the smartphone sector. In an era when the lines between smartphones and tablets are beginning to blur, this reverse market strategy could put Amazon in a uniquely strong position. The phone itself runs a sleek Fire OS and costs a mere $199… without tax, of course.
Google glass has arrived… again
Only two years after it was ostentatiously announced, Google’s wearable ‘Glass’ headset is finally available in UK shops. Costing a mere £1,000 pounds, Glass will now become a stable part of both our high streets and our faces. Well, not quite. Once again, this “launch” isn’t really a launch. In fact, despite being openly on sale, Google claims that the smartglasses are still in prototype form. As such, this essentially represents a test run to enable early adopters to say they had a pair “before it was cool” (before it was good). Still, after two years of puffery, this launch has once again managed to stir up yet more press for what is essentially an incomplete product, so I say good job Google.
A month of outages and hack attacks
June was truly a month of cyber attacks and security flaws. In the first few weeks, popular news aggregation service Feedly and note-taking app Evernote were both pushed offline by a series of DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks. Feedly later announced that it was being held to ransom by hackers refusing to restore the site until payment was made. Shortly after this attack, Dominos Pizza received a similar ransom demand, with hackers claiming that they had stolen the personal data of more than 600,000 of the company’s online users. Next it was Twitter’s turn, with the micro-blog’s popular Tweetdeck platform being hit by a cyber-attack that quickly infiltrated several high profile accounts, including that of Labour leader Ed Miliband. Last but not least was Facebook, which suffered its longest outage in four years. This time however, the blackout wasn’t caused by malicious attackers, but rather just too many people trying to upload pictures of their inane lives and pointless pets.