LOS ANGELES (AP) — Microsoft is rolling out dozens of new apps for the Xbox 360, building on statistics that show members of its paid online subscription service spend more time on it watching video than they do playing multiplayer games over the Internet.
The company said Tuesday that by early next year it will add more than 40 apps to its Xbox Live service, such as MTV, The CW Network and CBC's Hockey Night in Canada. Many of the apps will require paid subscriptions on top of the Xbox Live Gold subscription, which costs $60 a year, or $10 a month.
Several services, such as the Canadian hockey app, are only offered in the country of origin.
In the U.S., Xbox Live subscribers spend an average of 84 hours a month on the service. Globally, the number of hours spent on the service has grown 30 percent, said the company, which is based in Redmond, Washington state.
Some of the new apps are launching Tuesday, including a Karaoke sing-along app in all regions but Japan and the United Arab Emirates, and SkyDrive, Microsoft's Internet-based document storage service.
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Recently, French researchers at Institut Polytechnique de Grenoble rolled out wallpaper that <a href="http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/05/anti-wifi-wallpaper-lets-cellular-and-radio-through/" target="_hplink">can block Wi-Fi signals</a>. The technology dates back to 2004 when a British defense contrator was tasked to create a system that would restrict Wi-Fi from escaping the confines of a room while, at the same time, allowing mobile phone signals to get through.
Mobile Control Of Appliances
As previewed in a concept smart house in Germany, smart-home tech would allow owners to control various <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8495479.stm" target="_hplink">appliances and settings with a mobile device</a>. Want to put on a cup of coffee from the comfort of your bed? No problem!
Digital Tables And Countertops
Imagine having a giant iPad table, or an iTable. It exists! The ultimate smart house would have this technology on every flat surface in the home from the dinning room table to countertops and nightstands.
A Wi-Fi enabled refrigerator by Samsung goes far beyond the capabilities of your average fridge. The Samsung RF4289 allows users to play music via Pandora, read recipes online, check a Google calendar and even send a tweet.
Wi-Fi Enabled Pavement
With Wi-Fi-blocking wallpaper inside the house, smart home owners will need a separate device to enable backyards or front porches for high-speed Internet access. Created by Spanish tech company Via Inteligente, iPavement is a system of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi-enabled tiles that is <a href="http://www.good.is/post/ipavement-puts-a-world-of-knowledge-beneath-your-feet/" target="_hplink">equipped with a 5GB microprocessor</a>.
Disappearing Indoor Pool
Ever want to go for a swim during the winter? With the Hydropool, smart home owners can swim laps inside their house, then, with a click of the button, make the pool disappear by raising the floor of the pool to meet the floor of the room.
Gesture Control TV
Samsung's smart tv gives viewers control via gesture and voice commands. With Wi-Fi capabilities, users can also access Internet apps and social networking sites through the interface.
Sharp's Cocorobo can vacuum your house and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/08/vacuum-robot-is-trilingua_0_n_1499129.html" target="_hplink">speak three languages</a>. If that's not techie enough for you, Cocorobo can also send photos to your cell phone.