One of the many things that Microsoft initially claimed about the Xbox One is that it would launch in 21 countries when it goes on sale in November. Like with the always-online, Steam-style DRM and a permanently attached Kinect before it, this plan too is being walked back.
Xbox One will now launch in just 13 markets. Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Spain, United Kingdom, United States, and New Zealand will all receive the console in November.
Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and Switzerland, originally also due to be part of this first wave, have now been pushed back to 2014. Microsoft cites extra work localizing the software, partnering with local companies to create apps, and supporting additional voices and languages as the reasons for the delay.
It’s late afternoon on a Wednesday, and you know what that means (bonus points if you didn’t cheat by looking at the headline)! That’s right: It’s time for another edition of the TechCrunch Droidcast featuring myself and hirsute wunderkind Darrell Etherington. But this time we’ve roped in a special guest to join the fun.
Dan Bader (of MobileSyrup and Betakit fame) stops by to help us unpack a pretty hefty docket: the nuances of HTC’s kooky new advertising strategy and Samsung’s curious Android-powered, dual-screen flip phone. And we couldn’t resist the temptation to dig into Twitter designer Paul Stamatiou’s lengthy love letter to Android since people have been spreading it around like crazy lately … along with some of the responses it’s already elicited.
WASHINGTON, DC—The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) hasn’t yet cleared the runway for unmanned aircraft to fly under any circumstances other than federal law enforcement, public safety, and a few experimental applications. But for those looking to take a flying leap into creating their own unmanned eyes in the sky, a Newport Beach, California, company called Airware is trying to make it as easy as pie—Raspberry Pi, that is.
Airware has created the os-Series, a ready-made line of autopilots with a software developer toolkit to operate sensors and other devices. It’s all based on a Cortex ARM processor and Linux, with interfaces included for control surfaces and propulsion. There are servos for onboard cameras and other sensors, as well as a built-in datalink radio for communication with a ground station computer and software. The autopilot modules all come with integrated GPS systems, GPS waypoint-based ground control software, and autonomous take-off and landing support (though they also include manual override modes).
Airware’s ARM/Linux autopilots: from left to right, osFlexPilot for larger fixed-wing and vertical take-off drones; osNanoPilot for lightweight drones; and osFlexQuad for quadrocopters and other multi-rotor drones.
The software kit includes both programming interfaces for its autopilot and ground control software; developer kits also come with a “hardware-in-the-loop” simulator for testing before taking to the skies. The control system is based on a message-based API, so developers can create their own applications that run on the autopilot itself to drive the sensors, other components of the aircraft’s payload, and “plug-ins” for the ground station. Airware even provides drivers for many off-the-shelf components, so they can quickly be integrated into the onboard software without the need for custom development.
Newark Mayor and Silicon Valley white knight Cory Booker trounced his competitors in last night’s primary election. He raked in four times as many votes as his closest Democratic competitor, Congressman Rush Holt, and more than 100,000 people turned out to vote just for him, compared to the last non-presidential race in 2006.
For Booker’s innovative use of technology, he made friends fast with the Silicon Valley elite, ultimately leading to millions of dollars in investments in his video startup, #waywire. But with celebrity supporters and consulting firm 270 Strategies – which was launched by veterans of President Obama’s campaign — Booker has come under the watchful eye of a political press suspicious of anyone who rubs shoulders with the social elite. This did matter in the primary, as he sailed to victory.
Booker, Alone, May Have Caused The Surge In Turnout
For the last 20 years of non-presidential elections, New Jersey primary turnout has hovered around 250,000 votes for the Democrat of choice. Booker snagged 353,000 votes. The total votes for Steve Lonegan, who won the Republican primary and will face Booker in a special election on October 10, did not experience a similar bump in turnout over 2006.
According to transparency watchdog group The Sunlight Foundation, Booker raised 60 percent more than all of his competitors combined ($8.6 million vs. $5.1 million).
Of course, $8.6 million might not even be close to enough, since Booker is a likely presidential contender, and Republicans would be wise to spend a lot of money to try to beat him before he gains momentum.
Divesting in #waywire
As is standard for a federal official, Booker has agreed to put his stake in #waywire into a blind trust if he becomes a U.S. Senator. The $1 million to $5 million worth of investment Booker has in #waywire wouldn’t be as troubling as the financial relationship with the investors. Google and its Chairman, Eric Schmidt, for instance, are under constant scrutiny from the federal government for anti-trust and other issues. It would make it more difficult for Booker to have oversight over Schmidt and his other tech investors if he were financially tied to them (one could argue, it will be difficult whether or not he divests from #waywire).
If I were a betting man, I would say Booker is going to win the Senate race handily.
New multiplayer features for Call of Duty: Ghosts were revealed today by Infinity Ward at an event for the game. The first reaction highlights include a “squad” mode and customizable soldiers, but the trailer above also reveals that—for the first time ever—females will be allowed in multiplayer. Female character skins, that is.
The “squad mode” will send players into multiplayer maps alongside up to 10 AI-controlled soldiers (the “squad”). The squad can be customized, and each starts with one level of prestige. Once on the map, the squad fights either with or against the human player. Players can earn experience and rank up by playing with the squads, which Infinity Ward asserts will “play like real players.”
In addition to leading or fighting their own squads, players will be able to team up and play against the squads of other offline players. Players can also take their squad to play against an AI squad. That’s right: multiplayer without multiple players.
Redox Power Systems, a Fulton, MD-based start-up company founded last year, sealed the deal on a partnership with researchers at the University of Maryland to commercialize a potentially game-changing distributed generation technology.