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Nine years later, Nintendo set to lead again

Nintendo is set to regain its leadership position in video game consoles for the first time since 2009, according to the latest projections from Strategy Analytics’ Connected Home Devices service.

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The report, Global Game Console Market Forecast, predicts that Nintendo will sell 17.3 million Switch consoles worldwide in 2019, while Sony will sell 17.1 million PS4 and PS4 Pro consoles. Microsoft will remain in third place, selling 10.0 million Xbox One and Xbox One X devices. The overall console market has performed well in 2018, with total global sales reaching 46.1 million devices, the highest level since 2010.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Sony is still the market leader in terms of consoles in use; it accounts for nearly half of all video games consoles in use, and 84% of these are now PS4 or PS4 Pro devices
  • Video game console ownership has been rising again in recent years; 45% of North American homes and 20% of Western European homes now own at least one console
  • The global retail value of the games console business is predicted to reach $15.4bn in 2018, an increase of 7.6%
  • 2019 revenues are expected to decline by 10% as shipment volumes and prices fall
  • By 2023 revenues will return to 2018 levels, driven by the launch of next generation systems such as the PS5 and Xbox and Switch updates

David Watkins, Director at Strategy Analytics, commented, “Contrary to some expectations, the global TV games console market remains healthy. Many pundits have written it off over the years, for reasons ranging from the emergence of cloud gaming to the dominance of mobile devices and the arrival of VR, but it refuses to die. In fact, there is an argument that the enduring appeal of the TV games console, now in its sixth decade, continues to demonstrate the weaknesses and limitations of alternative games platforms.”

Chirag Upadhyay, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics, added, “Console upgrade cycles continue, and the three-way battle between Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, which has been raging now for the best part of two decades, shows no sign of abating as each platform owner discusses its plans for updates and new generations. In partnership with developers and driven by the ever-rising expectations of consumers we fully expect these platform owners to continue to push the boundaries of the large screen gaming experience for many more years to come.”

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CES: Most useless gadgets

The worst gadgets of CES also deserve their moment of infamy, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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It’s fairly easy to choose the best new gadgets launched at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week. Most lists – and there are many – highlight the LG roll-up TV, the Samsung modular TV, the Royole foldable phone, the impossible burger, and the walking car.

But what about the voice assisted bed, the smart baby dining table, the self-driving suitcase and the robot that does nothing? In their current renditions, they sum up what is not only bad about technology, but how technology for its own sake quickly leads us down the rabbit hole of waste and futility.

The following pick of the worst of CES may well be a thinly veneered attempt at mockery, but it is also intended as a caution against getting caught up in hype and justification of pointless technology.

1. DUX voice-assisted bed

The single most useless product launched at CES this year must surely be a bed with Alexa voice control built in. No, not to control the bed itself, but to manage the smart home features with which Alexa and other smart speakers are associated. Or that any smartphone with Siri or Google Assistant could handle. Swedish luxury bedmaker DUX thinks it’s a good idea to manage smart lights, TV, security and air conditioning through the bed itself. Just don’t say Alexa’s “wake word” in your sleep.

2. Smart Baby Dining Table 

Ironically, the runner-up comes from a brand that also makes smart beds: China’s 37 Degree Smart Home. Self-described as “the world’s first smart furniture brand that is transforming technology into furniture”, it outdid itself with a Smart Baby Dining Table. This isa baby feeding table with a removable dining chair that contains a weight detector and adjustable camera, to make children’s weight and temperature visible to parents via the brand’s app. Score one for hands-off parenting.

Click here to read about smart diapers, self-driving suitcases, laundry folders, and bad robot companions.

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CES: Language tech means no more “lost in translation”

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Talking to strangers in foreign countries just got a lot easier with recent advancements in translation technology. Last week, major companies and small startups alike showed the CES technology expo in Las Vegas how well their translation worked at live translation.

Most existing translation apps, like Bixby and Siri Translate, are still in their infancy with live speech translation, which brings about the need for dedicated solutions like these technologies:

Babel’s AIcorrect pocket translator

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The AIcorrect Translator, developed by Beijing-based Babel Technology, attracted attention as the linguistic king of the show. As an advanced application of AI technology in consumer technology, the pocket translator deals with problems in cross-linguistic communication. 

It supports real-time mutual translation in multiple situations between Chinese/English and 30 other languages, including Japanese, Korean, Thai, French, Russian and Spanish. A significant differentiator is that major languages like English being further divided into accents. The translation quality reaches as high as 96%.

It has a touch screen, where transcription and audio translation are shown at the same time. Lei Guan, CEO of Babel Technology, said: “As a Chinese pathfinder in the field of AI, we designed the device in hoping that hundreds of millions of people can have access to it and carry out cross-linguistic communication all barrier-free.” 

Click here to read about the Pilot, Travis, Pocketalk, Google and Zoi translators.

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