The next Xbox and Amazon's phone: when will we know more?
29th Mar 2013 | 11:00
Playing, paying, showrooms and shops
It's been a busy old week in tech: we've seen some record-breaking new kit, discovered some worrying new trends and said hello to an old favourite we thought we'd lost forever.
Kit first: fancy the world's fastest graphics card? AMD reckons it has just that in the form of the Radeon HD 7990, a card so powerful it can open a portal into another dimension.
That wasn't the only good news for gamers at this year's GDC conference, though: we saw new screens from GTA5, the new Android-powered GameStick console and the news that Mozilla and Epic Games want to bring console-quality games to web browsers.
What we didn't see, though, was the PlayStation 4 or the Xbox 720. Sony did offer more details on its upcoming console and showed off the latest DualShock controller, but the console itself remains a mystery - as does the Xbox 720, which we think Microsoft will reveal in the next few weeks.
Is the Amazon phone real?
We're hoping for a big reveal from Amazon soon too: the rumours of an Amazon phone are swirling, with the latest reports suggesting a 4.7-inch display and a mid-2013 release. We'd expect it to be rather like a Kindle Fire: affordable and tied tightly into Amazon's various offerings.
While it's unclear whether Amazon's phone actually exists, Microsoft's much-discussed Windows Blue is definitely real - and it should appear at June's Build conference. Sadly Windows Blue won't be the official name, but the rest of the news is good: there's improved Skydrive integration, new apps and better personalisation options. It's coming to phones too, which should be fun.
Another brick in the wall
Could the era of free online news be coming to an end? It certainly looks that way: the Telegraph is putting up a paywall and so is the Sun - although in the latter case it's part of a package that also includes Premier League football clips. "It's no longer scaremongering to suggest that we are heading towards a two-tier internet - one premium rate service and a second class ad-funded proletarian section - because it's already happening," says Patrick Goss.
Bundles are where we're heading: "Imagine if your Netflix subscription also bagged you Spotify Premium, free Wi-Fi in coffee shops and 10 free hours of Now TV or 1TB of cloud storage and free use of Office 365."
The trouble with tech is that it often causes problems for traditional businesses, such as shops. One Australian shopkeeper is so annoyed by showroomers - people browsing her shop then ordering the products online - that she's imposed a $5 fee for browsing.
For Gary Marshall, it's the latest in a long string of terrible ideas from retailers. "There's no doubt that it's tough out there, and of course every retail job loss is a tragedy for the people put out of work," he says, "but it'd help if some businesses' strategy for combating the internet threat wasn't 'deliver the most miserable shopping experience imaginable'.
"We can't uninvent the internet or online shopping, and "that means retailers face the same choices major music companies faced in the early 2000s: come up with something different and better, or watch the tech firms take over."
Jessops lives on
That brings us nicely to Jessops, the much-loved UK photographic chain that hit the skids earlier this year. It's back! Back! BACK! The first six stores open this week, with a further 30 opening in April, and it sounds like they're getting an Apple-inspired revamp.
The new-look Jessops will also offer product hands-ons and in-store photography courses. Best of all, Jessops will be hiring back many former employees. We wish it, and them, the very best.