Tuesday, 21 May 2013

How Can Microsoft Take Over The Living Room

As all eyes look toward Microsoft's announcement of the next generation Xbox and its bid to take on the PlayStation 4 in the gaming space, the company also has an opportunity to broadly take over the burgeoning connected device space. How? By continuing to sell the Xbox 360 — but for a flat $99.99.

Yes, Microsoft has toyed with $99.99 Xbox 360 bundles in the past — but those bundles include a monthly Xbox Live Gold subscription that adds another $120 to the purchase. Instead, Microsoft should lower the price of its Xbox 360 starter pack to $99.99.

Think about it: At $199.99, the Xbox 360 is already one of the better deals out there. Yes, the console is seven — almost eight — years old, but it still plays great games. More importantly, Microsoft has access to some of the most compelling set of services for the living room. Netflix, Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, Vudu, Comcast, HBO Go, Verizon, The CW, YouTube, Slacker, iHeartRadio, Vevo, Rhapsody and Crackle are just some of the services available for the Xbox 360 — not to mention the official Xbox Music and Xbox Movies & TV apps for buying or streaming content.

That puts the Xbox 360 in Roku territory as having the most broad cross-device support and slightly ahead of the PlayStation 3 (to be fair, the PS3 also has a Blu-ray player but apparently I'm the only person who still likes to buy optical media for the picture, sound and extra features). At $99.99, the Xbox 360 could compete head-to-head with other connected devices for the living room, with the added benefit that it can play games.

Boanta supplied a Romanian criminal gang with gadgets that hid any evidence of foul play and made the cloned cards seem almost exactly like the originals.
His invention, called Secure Revolving System or SRS, can prevent skimming from happening in the first place.

Users insert their card into the SRS long edge first, instead of the narrow end. That way, any attached skimmer or other surveillance gadget would be unable to scan the card's magnetic strip. Once the card is safely inside the ATM, the device rotates it, reads it and spits it back out — long edge first.
Essentially, the SRS is a long-overdue upgrade for ATMs whose aging hardware can't compete with modern digital theft technologies.

Boanta designed the SRS from his cell in a Romanian prison, which he shares with five other burglars and a shelf full of books and technical manuals.

But he's not without outside help: His research is funded by Romanian tech firm MB Telecom, which has patented the SRS and says it will be available soon, though an exact release date has not yet been announced. MB Telecom President Mircea Tudor also told Reuters that Boanta would definitely have a job with the company when the reformed thief gets out of prison in four and a half years.

Romania is a frequent source of computer hacks, scams and malware. The former communist country has a history of both social unrest and technical education. The combination has made the country a haven for hackers; it's second only to China in incidents of reported cyberattacks, according to Verizon's 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report.



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