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Friday Five – The most insane keynote you’ll ever see

Chris Mayer

Guest appearances from the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Maroon 5 and Big Bird. Also including David Bowie and Pokemon. Eclectic mix for certain

The January gloom has descended on JAX Towers. Or maybe it’s just the London fog in general, we’re not sure. But there are still a few nice things to savour this month, such as Qualcomm’s truly bonkers CES keynote, Eric Schmidt’s unexpected North Korean holiday and the return to of two old friends.

1. That Qualcomm keynote at CES

It’s difficult to know where to start here. Amidst the array of snazzy devices shown off at CES 2013, there was this – the Qualcomm keynote. With this being the first non-Microsoft keynote in the conference’s history, Qualcomm brought out the big hitters to get their Born Mobile message across.

While Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s enthusiasm wasn’t out of the ordinary (if anything it was low key for him), the appearances of director Guillermo Del Toro, the Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Big Bird were slightly unexpected.

We’re just trying to picture the whiteboard session that took place in planning it. You can relive the highlights from it in The Verge’s hilarious montage. Cringeworthy for sure, but it got people talking.


Oh and it provided this gif of Ballmer chasing a cake…

2. Lego’s awesome customer service

A heartwarming story here. Seven year-old Luka Apps couldn’t wait to spend his Christmas money on the latest Ninjago Ultrasonic Raider set. Like most seven year-olds, Luka didn’t want to part with his newly bought toy and took it to the supermarket, despite his father telling him to leave it behind. 

Inevitably, the toy went AWOL during the shopping trip. Luka’s father advised him to email LEGO to see if they could help him out. Here’s LEGO’s superbly thought-out reply to Luka.

3. Eric Schmidt North Korean trip

Generating plenty of column inches this week has been Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s trip to the isolated nation. The four day visit to the single-party state has created controversy, with many speculating over the Google’s boss secretive trip.

Speaking to reporters at Beijing airport, Schmidt had a stark warning for North Korea and urged them to adopt a more open policy:

As the world becomes increasingly connected, their decision to be virtually isolated is very much going to affect their physical world, their economic growth and so forth, and it will make it harder for them to catch up economically…

Once the internet starts, citizens in a country can certainly build on top of it, but the government has to do something…

They have to make it possible for people to use the internet, which the government in North Korea has not yet done. It’s their choice now, and in my view it’s time now for them to start or they will remain behind.

4. Bowie’s back

The Thin White Duke returned on his birthday completely out of the blue to deliver his first single in over a decade, ‘Where Are We Now’. It split the office down the middle. Run of the mill ballad it may be, but we’re glad that one of pop music’s greatest icons is still wanting to make music at 66.

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This return is welcomed even more, considering Bowie’s 2002 predictions about the future of music, as discussed on The Next Web. Sure, copyright isn’t dead just yet as he predicted, but he wasn’t far off.

5. Pokemon X & Y

And finally… after nine “generations” of games, 15 films and endless merchandise, you might be forgiven for thinking that the Pokemon series has overstayed its welcome. Yet the games still sell in their millions, and the next set, announced for the 3DS earlier this week, look like another pair of winners.

For the first time in the series’ history, Pokemon X and Y are finally making the full transition to 3D – both in battles and outside – marking an end to its distinctive, albeit dated, sprites. Hopefully the move to three dimensions will bring further shake-ups to a series that has essentially been the same game for over a decade.

Of the game’s new Pokemon so far revealed, the bets are two new ‘legendary’ Pokemon shaped like an X and a Y – yes, just like the title. No doubt further mind-blowing revelations will come to light before the games’ worldwide October launch. (Elliot Bentley)

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