Dashboard Computer; Microsoft’s PlayReady; New Sanyo Camera

Can the Web save the Big 3 automobile companies? Probably not, but making Web-friendly vehicles could help to sell a few more cars. Tech companies have increasingly been showcasing web applications for automobiles. Microsoft was working with Hyundai on making an in-car computing system and OnStar may be incorporating Twitter into its vehicle systems. Now Ford will be allowing owners of the Ford F-150, Super Duty, E-Series and Transit Connect trucks and vans to access the web from their vehicles through the Opera mobile browser. Opera will be the featured browser on Ford’s first broadband-capable, in-dash computer.

Ford is purposely installing these computers in trucks and vans to appeal to contractors, farmers, and construction workers to turn these cars into “mobile offices.” Truck owners will be able to use the in-dash browser to access sales information, contact databases, job-site plans, inventory lists, calendars, e-mail, or even the weather.

But don’t think about driving using your cell phone, that is far too dangerous…

*~*~*

Taking steps to help expand the marketplace and improve the consumer experience for digital entertainment, Microsoft Corp. today announced that PacketVideo Corp. will include support for Microsoft PlayReady technology in its CORE multimedia platform, significantly broadening PlayReady’s reach to a range of mobile device platforms. Microsoft also announced the availability of the PlayReady Service Provider Program, in addition to announcing a range of content and technology companies that join the more than 50 companies that have selected Microsoft PlayReady technology to power products and services to deliver mobile and in-home entertainment content. PlayReady is a content access technology that enables content owners and service providers to deliver virtually any type of digital content, using a wide range of business models, from on-demand streaming video and subscription to rental or download-to-own. PlayReady also provides significant improvements in ease of use for consumers looking to access, manage and sync protected content with devices.

More Microsoft news…

At CTIA 2009, Robbie Bach, head of Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices Division, ran through essentially the same news that his boss, CEO Steve Ballmer, presented about six weeks ago during the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona. The company demonstrated how Windows 7 has built-in software for connecting to 3G wireless networks, showed off some of the features of Windows Mobile 6.5, and played a quick video highlighting its mobile application store, Windows Marketplace for Mobile.

The demonstrations were all geared around Bach’s central theme of the “three screens:” the PC, the television and the mobile phone. Microsoft intends to make sure Windows is able to give people access to their personal data, information, and services on all three of those screens.

But Bach promised that Windows Mobile phones will be the subject of Microsoft’s next big advertising push, and said the company’s partners will have 10 phones running Windows Mobile 6.5 ready when that operating system arrives in the second half of this year.

*~*~*

SANYO Fisher Company (SANYO), a subsidiary of SANYO North America Corporation, today announces that shipping has started for the new, 2009 Dual Camera Xacti lineup announced in January this year.

The all-HD Dual Camera lineup for 2009 offers a variety of unique features including 1080p, 60frames per second High Definition Video with 8 megapixel photos (VPC-FH1), standard (720p) High Definition Video, up to 2 megapixel photos and 30x optical zoom (VPC-TH1) on land, or even underwater – down to a depth of 10 feet for an hour (VPC-WH1), and standard (720p) High Definition Video and 10 megapixel photos (VPC-CG10).

As part of the launch for the new lineup, SANYO has also unveiled part of its marketing plan for the 2009 Dual Cameras part of which includes a push into online communities. One highlight of the plan features SANYO’s Dual Camera line in a number of videos alongside a number of Web Stars – many of the hottest names in online video culture. Some of these stars earn a living making viral videos capable of generating audiences that often surpass that of some hit TV series. Web names such as Lisa Nova, iJustine, Rhett & Link, Mr. Safety, Audrey Kitching, Brandon Hardesty and Apprentice A are creating a variety of videos typical of their style, but with a theme relevant to the 2009 Dual Camera line.

*~*~*

Is gaming all about ego? Gosh I hope not!

“Most people are very narcissistic,” said Electronic Arts’ Wright, creator of the Sim City and Sims franchises and now last year’s avant-garde Spore, onstage with Federated Media’s John Battelle. “The more you can make the game about that person, the more interested, the more emotionally involved they will get.”

Advancements in technology have made it possible for the customization craze of the social-networking world to permeate the console and PC gaming sectors, and that has begun to open up the industry to new users who didn’t see the appeal in hardcore gaming or immersive role-playing virtual universes.

When it comes to the Wii, probably not.

“The Wii, to me, represents the idea of non-immersive gaming,” he said. “When you think about the Wii…most of the entertainment is not happening on the screen, it’s about watching your friend act like a doofus swinging the thing around and maybe throw it into the TV set.”