All Articles by Kane Gao

Price of the Chinese Xbox One leaked, well within the reasonable range

There was rumor before, that the Chinese Xbox One will sport a whopping $800 (4,999 RMB) price tag. But a picture leaked yesterday seems to put consumers at ease, bringing down the price of Xbox One "limited edition" to 3,499 RMB ($565). I should mention that every price tag in China is the after-tax price. For something labeled $500 pre-tax in the United States, $65 extra for tax and tariff isn't bad at all. The price even competes well against Xbox Ones smuggled into China (how the majority of Chinese consumers are buying game consoles in the past decade), which are mostly in the 3,100 - 3,700 RMB range on Taobao, China's most popular online shopping site.

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The first commercial for the Chinese Xbox One is...very game-uncentric

Before the formal debut which is planned for September this year, Microsoft and its Chinese joint-venture partner BesTV just brought the Chinese version of Xbox One to China International Cartoon & Game Expo (July 10 - 14, in Shanghai), for a brief demonstration. A quite lengthy commercial for the console was revealed, highlighting the Chinese Xbox One's, um, for lack of better words, let's say "highly localized functionality and marketing strategy".

Here is the video itself, in Chinese, for your enjoyment. There are English subtitles, but sadly they are blocked by all those human heads. I'll try to explain what exactly happened in the video below.

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The first games on Chinese Xbox One are… PC MMORPGs [Updated]

Microsoft will be the icebreaker in China’s previously prohibited video game industry with the introduction of the Chinese Xbox One later this year. We have voiced our concerns about that bizarre adventure, like pricing, and the rigid content censorship for game software. The ridiculously high price might be a placeholder, but the frustration on the game content front seems to be very true.

As we have mentioned earlier, the problem of China as a game market is that there are no rules to follow. The country doesn’t have a game rating system like the ESRB. Every game is to be reviewed separately by multiple government organs, led by the Ministry of Culture. In this process a game could be condemned improper, harmful, or politically incorrect, and banned for all sorts of reasons.

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Hisense and China Telecom are about to show Windows Phone more support in China

Ever since Microsoft removed the licensing fee for the Windows Phone operating system, we have seen a healthy number of new OEMs joining the ecosystem in a pretty short time. Now Hisense, a relatively low profile Chinese smartphone maker that previously has been focusing on Android, is about to announce their first ever Windows Phone device on June 26. That is the 26th day of June in China, which means by the time you are reading this story, the device would have already been unveiled, and our follow-up story will be almost ready.

News of such an announcement by Hisense came yesterday, though we have more details to add to the story today.

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Microsoft rumored to have put Project Fortaleza augmented reality glasses on hold

If you were expecting Microsoft to unveil something more substantial than just games on E3 2014, especially when Sony was showing off new tech demos for its Project Morpheus virtual reality visor, well, you must have been disappointed. Brace yourself then, for this rumor is going to disappoint more.

From last year's leaked patent, we learned that Microsoft has been brewing a new peripheral for Xbox One: an augmented reality spectacle codenamed "Project Fortaleza." However, things have been eerily quiet on that front ever since that initial leak. Microsoft has neither confirmed nor denied the existence of such technology, and there is no update even from rumor mills. Now citing insider sources, Chinese site WPDang is reporting that Microsoft has "temporarily canceled" the device.

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Rumor: Nokia X2, new Lumia, and more coming later this month

Again it's time to get the rumor mill running. According to Indian tech site BGR India, Microsoft (or Nokia, it's the same thing now) is set to release the successor to Nokia X, the entry-level Android smartphone that sparkled much controversy just a few months ago. The Nokia X2 will reportedly sport a 4.3" WVGA display, 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon 200 processor, 1GB of RAM, and 4GB of internal storage.

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Xbox One for China formally confirmed, facing an uncertain future

As expected, Microsoft  just formally announced Xbox One for the Chinese market in Shanghai. You could call this an event of historical significance, because game consoles have been banned indifferently in China for the past 14 years. Xbox One is the first to break the ice, now that the ban has sort of loosened a bit.

Unlike product launch elsewhere, Microsoft is navigating through a tricky situation to bring Xbox One to China. Firstly, the Chinese government’s ban on game consoles isn’t really lifted yet. The country just created a Free Trade Zone in Shanghai (“SFTZ” for short), where enterprises enjoy more freedom in business. It’s within this specific zone that the ban is loosened. Microsoft has formed a subsidiary within SFTZ, in joint-venture with its Chinese partner BesTV, an IPTV content provider. The subsidiary’s special SFTZ status supposedly allows it to sell Xbox One to the rest of the country.

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Nokia X sold out in China within minutes

Previously we covered the story about Nokia China racking up extremely high pre-order numbers in a dubious method. By the end of this week, the total number of pre-order (at no cost at all, up to 3 units for each registered user, with a chance to win a free phone) reached 10 million.

The actual sales of Nokia X commenced on Chinese e-commerce platform JD.com on 10:00 am of March 24 (Beijing time). Everyone with a pre-order has two options: either to make the payment and seal the deal, or to forfeit the pre-order and forget about it. Didn't even make a pre-order? Well, you will be served last then, if there's any chance left.

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Nokia X pre-order reaching almost 4 million in China, but may not be the full story

Nokia's brand new Android-based smartphone "X" has been gaining amazing momentum in China, at least it looks so on paper. On March 10, Nokia started a pre-order campaign on JD.com, one of China's leading online vendors. Within 4 days, over 1 million units were pre-ordered through the platform. Earlier today Nokia China made an announcement with updated numbers, pushing the total count to a whopping 3.8 million.

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China launching a second round of probes on the Nokia-Microsoft deal

The Nokia-Microsoft deal is marching steadily to a conclusion as being approved by the United States, the European Union, and of course, Nokia's shareholders. However, China is still reluctant to give its word. Recently China's Ministry of Commerce has started a second round of probes into Microsoft's acquisition case. This time the government has a new emphasis: antitrust.

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Rumor: Xbox breaking into the Chinese market by September 2014

The Chinese government recently lifted its decade-long ban on the selling of gaming consoles within the country, which has been in place since 2000. Console makers are expected to seize the opportunity and extend their war to another huge new market. According to reports, Microsoft will be the one to make the first move, bringing Xbox to China in September 2014.

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Microsoft finally taking back Skype in China

Well, this is going to be a brain twist to many. Although the title for this article might look like nonsense, it is true: Microsoft, who had acquired Skype quite some time ago, the company doesn't have any ownership rights over the VoIP software in China, at least until quite recently.

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Nokia employees at the Dongguan factory in China go on strike over Microsoft deal (Updated)

Update: More info has come forward, reported below

The Nokia and Microsoft deal is going well so far, with shareholders now also on board. However, it appears that not everyone approves the acquisition as some of Nokia's China workforce have gone on strike.

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Rumor: Microsoft has a final idea for its next CEO and it may be a surpise

The time is nigh. Steve Ballmer announced his retirement plan not very long ago, leaving Microsoft quite little time to find the best candidate for its next CEO.

There have been rumors all around, highlighting key figures like Stephen Elop and Alan Mulally. Now a new round of rumors has arrived, saying that the board of directors at Microsoft has already made up their collective mind on this matter, and the decision is sort of surprising and not surprising at the same time.

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Nokia StoryTeller beta available in the Windows Phone Store, but you can't download it

Nokia announced a new photography-focused app called "StoryTeller" in Abu Dhabi last month. The new tool offers a way to organize image and video files on Lumia Windows Phones, according to the time or location they are taken. We knew the software will be released in the near future, but weren't entirely sure when. Now a beta version of StoryTeller is available on the Windows Phone Store.

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Nokia China publishes Lumia 1520 pre-order page before Nokia World announcement

It's only a matter of days before we're live from the Nokia World event in Abu Dhabi and it looks like Nokia China is too excited to keep the Lumia 1520 a secret. The official Nokia China store already published a pre-order page for Lumia 1520, accompanied by a fair amount of product information. What's more is the product listing is still live.

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Rumor: Nokia and HTC both working on dual-SIM Windows Phones

Back in September, Evleaks revealed on Twitter that Nokia was working on a dual-SIM version of Lumia 720. So far, the device hasn't materialized in front of us yet. But according to latest rumors, it's still on the way: Nokia's dual-SIM isn't dead yet.

Citing an unnamed insider source, Chinese tech site WPDang reported that both Nokia and HTC are currently preparing several dual-SIM Windows Phones. Unlike on some Nokia feature phones where you are allowed to shove in two SIM cards, but only one will work at a time, SIM cards in these devices will work simultaneously.

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Rumor: There's a white version of the Xbox One for non-Microsoft-employees

Previously we reported that Microsoft will be giving a special white edition of the Xbox One console to team members of the Xbox division. If you are consumed by the fire of jealousy, consider this to be some good news: supposedly an insider source in China revealed that the white next-gen Xbox One will be available to the consumer market some time after the console's initial launch in late November.

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Chinese OEM Xiaomi "borrowing" from both Microsoft and Nokia designs

Xiaomi is a Chinese smartphone brand who recently came to international attention by the successfully hiring of Hugo Barra, a top executive from Android. From there, the company went forth with a series of new product announcements to continue the good media vibe. The first item is MI3, the latest of the company's smartphone line. The device is powered by a Tegra 4 processor, and marketed as "the fastest phone out there". Performance put aside, the official rendering of MI3 looks disturbingly familiar...

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Huawei Ascend W2 is now available in China - A colorful and well valued Windows Phone

Huawei is one of the few Windows Phone OEMs that have not been discouraged by the dominance of Nokia. Recently the Chinese phone maker just released its Ascend W2 to the Chinese market. We have heard quite a bit about the successor to the W1 in the past. But today we finally get to see it in full function.

Let's go over the specs of W2 first. It's not a superstar device by any definition: 4.3" touchscreen with a resolution of 800x480, dual core processor clocked at 1.4GHz, 512MB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, a 5 megapixel rear camera that does not come with a LED flashlight like most other smartphones do these days, and no front-facing camera at all. That's right. It's not a high end phone, and never intended to be sold as one. Ascend W2 is currently sold on Chinese e-commerce website 360Buy for CNY 999 (US$ 163), or even cheaper if you are of higher-tiered membership at 360Buy.

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