Windows Phone Is Now ‘On Hold’

Microsoft has been keen on promoting their “one platform for all premise”. This meant that no matter what device you were using, be it your computer, a tablet or a phone, you would experience the same system. The concept of Windows Phone has recently been put in doubt, with major projects such as the porting of Android Apps to the platform being stopped and sales constantly decreasing. It would seem now that Windows Phones won’t be making any big steps anytime soon as the system is declared all but ‘on hold’.

Microsoft held their Build keynote on Wednesday, explaining all their big steps and their phones didn’t even get a mention. The reason it would seem is that, according to Windows chief Terry Myerson, it’s just not the right time for the “4-inch screen”. In his explanation, Myerson goes to say that “there will be a time for it to be our focus” and saying that while it is “a part of the family” the phones are not “the core of where I hope to generate developer interest over the next year”.

With the news that not all Lumia phones would be receiving the update to Windows 10 as previously promised among the collection of “updates not delivered” for Windows phones, it’s hard not to see the signs that the mobile OS will change from its new on hold status to something you’ll see anytime soon.

Are you a Windows Mobile user? Were you thinking of getting a Windows Mobile at any time? Having previously used one, I enjoyed it until the lack of support and apps meant that the experience was all but as thrilling as first advertised. Leave us your thoughts in the comments below about what Microsoft needs to do to make their mobiles as catchy as their PC’s and laptops.

Windows 10 Mobile Will Not Come to All Lumia Phones as Promised

With news that Windows 10 Mobile will be coming to the Lumia line of phones, people were eagerly awaiting the update after what could only be considered a lackluster of support and empty promises for windows 8 mobile. Sadly not everyone will be able to enjoy this as it has now been revealed that windows 10 mobile will not be coming to all the Lumia phones as it was previously promised.

What does this mean? If you are one of the unlucky ones you will end up with a phone that will permanently stuck on Windows Phone 8. If you own one of the following phones, you will be given the option to update to windows 10 sometime soon on your phone:

  • Lumia 1520
  • Lumia 930
  • Lumia 830
  • Lumia 730
  • Lumia 735
  • Lumia 640
  • Lumia 640XL
  • Lumia 635 1GB
  • Lumia 636 1GB
  • Lumia 638 1GB
  • Lumia 540
  • Lumia 535
  • Lumia 532
  • Lumia 435
  • Lumia 430

While the age of some Lumia phones may seem like a good reason to stop supporting them, the pressure to get their mobile platform correct seems to be building with expectations that Windows 10’s united platform would help save a platform that many consider almost invisible on the modern market.

The real problem people have is the broken promises that seem to be spewing from Microsoft. Firstly there is a long list of phones running Windows Phone 7 which were never upgraded to 8, leaving them with a broken and unsupported mobile OS and doing the same to Windows Phone 8 users question if the mobile system is as dead as it’s been reported.

Microsoft Will Only Support New Processors on Windows 10

Microsoft has recently stated that security updates for Windows 8 will stop this month, and we all know that leaves people with only two fully supported operating systems for windows. Currently, the choice is now between Windows 10 and Windows 8.1, both options that some people may not like. The decision between the two may not be up to you if you want to upgrade your PC though as Microsoft revealed in their blog yesterday.

In the blog article, they start by listing the OEM partners that celebrated success at CES recently, then going on to explain that compared to windows 7 when combined with windows 10 Skylake processors, the 6th generation of Intel core processors, enable “up to 30x better graphics and 3x the battery life”.

To clarify, the support that will be coming to Windows 7, 8.1 and Windows 10. While they will be supported till July 17, 2017, Skylake devices will not be supported after this date on windows 8.1 or 7.

As new generations of processors are introduced, Microsoft state “they will require the latest Windows platform at that time for support”. To clarify, if you want to use te upcoming processors such as Intel’s “Kaby lake”, QualComm’s “8996” and AMD’s “Bristol Ridge” processors you will need to be on windows 10 to receive support.

Do you feel like choices like this means you are forced to upgrade to windows 10 if you want an up to date PC? Which operating system do you like using and why? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments below

Windows 8 To Stop Receiving Security Updates

Microsoft recently cut off support for their popular operating system, Windows 7. In light of this, you would think their later operating systems would have a little longer left on the clock? Not if you are one of the users who stuck with Windows 8.

The follow-up and slightly controversial operating system which was only released three years ago. Typically windows support an operating system for 10 years, but Windows 8 received more than a few bad reviews covering everything from their new Metro start menu to the difficulty users had with software even when run in compatibility mode. Windows 8 will stop receiving the all important security updates as of January 12th.

The reason for the cut short updates? Windows 8.1, the solution that Microsoft provided to the problems many faced. Originally cited as a “service pack” and released nearly a year after Windows 8 made its debut, the “service pack” in question rounded off a lot of criticisms people had with Windows 8, offering more customizability and fixing a lot of the technical difficulties that people faced.

While originally released as a free update for Windows 8, there is still roughly 3% of desktop users who use the operating system as of December 2015. While this may be scary, Windows XP stopped receiving security updates in April 2014 and still accounts for roughly 11%, we don’t know however how many of these systems are used by companies, a fact that would be even scarier given what data they could have about you on their system.

If you’re still using Windows 8 it may be worth looking at an upgrade, if not to Windows 8.1 then maybe check out Windows 10, an operating system that people can upgrade to for free from Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 until summer.

Windows 10 Hits 110 Million Mark by Second Month

Earlier in the month, we got word that Windows 10 had surpassed the 100 million install mark. While that was an unofficial source, we now getting word directly from Microsoft that their new operating system managed to hit 110 million installs in the first 2 months. By this point of the month, Windows 10 is sure to have already surpassed that point, with well over 110 million installs.

Windows 10 managed to hit 75 million installs in the first month which was much better than what previous Microsoft OS’s have managed to do. Despite a drop in the adoption rate, Windows 10 still managed a quite respectable 35 million in the second month, putting it above what Windows 7 managed, if only barely. Compared to Windows 8, Windows 10 has managed to nearly double the number in 2 months.

For Microsoft, the free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8 users look to be paying off. With update rates trailing off though, Microsoft’s lofty goal of a billion Windows 10 devices in 3 years still seems a fair bit away. Even with all of the privacy concerns and other bugs, Windows 10 is still looking really strong. With DX12 and the promise of further fixes to both bugs and maybe even privacy, Microsoft will be sure to attract more users to upgrade eventually.

Windows 10 Data Policy is Optionally Coming to Older Operating Systems

The recently revised “Microsoft Services Agreement” has caused a great deal of controversy and could theoretically disable pirated games and unauthorized software. Additionally there are concerns about Microsoft’s data policy in regards to monitoring user activity. It’s still unclear what the true extent of these updated terms are, but some users have reverted back to older operating systems due to privacy concerns. However, Microsoft is now implementing updates in Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 which report information back to Microsoft’s servers.  The updates in question are KB3075249 and KB3080149 and designed to:

KB3075249 “Update that adds telemetry points to consent.exe in Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 ”

KB3080149 “This update aligns down-level devices on the same UTC binary that’s released in Windows 10. This update would enable all the down-level devices to receive the software updates, design updates, and additional power and performance tuning.”

Once updated, your PC will share data in a similar vein to Windows 10. Whether you’re happy with this or not is all down to user-preference. You could argue, that there is no privacy online, and Microsoft requires this information to customizable apps such as Cortana to your needs. On the other hand, other users will feel aggrieved by this intrusive data sharing and decided to dismiss Windows 10 for this very reason. Most importantly, the updates are optional and Windows cannot under any circumstances, apply the updates automatically. Although, this could change in the future.

If Microsoft do make this an integral system update, you can always disable Windows Update.

Are you concerned with the new Microsoft Services Agreement or feel people are being overly paranoid?

Thank you TechWorm for providing us with this information. 

OneDrive Can Finally Sync Shared Folders

The long-awaited option to synch shared folders on OneDrive is finally here. Microsoft finally started to roll out an update that allows users to sync content in shared folders and have it pushed to other users as soon as the files get synced.

Up until now, Google Drive and Dropbox took the lead in sharing folders and making it easier to collaborate with other people on the same projects. I personally preferred Dropbox so far due to the fact that it synced files and delivered the updated files to colleagues almost instantly (depending on the internet speed, of course). However, as Microsoft wants to integrate OneDrive in its upcoming Office 2016 suite, changes needed to be made.

Besides, synching folders in OneDrive was one of the top upvoted features in Microsoft’s feedback forum, so it was bound to be implemented sooner or later. You may not have the feature yet, but Microsoft is said to have started gradually rolling out the update to users. Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 and Mac OS X will get the aforementioned update, and yes, it seems that Windows 8.1 will be skipped. OneDrive Director of Product Management, Angus Logan, tells that Microsoft is focusing on Windows 10 and this might be a way to ‘force’ users to update to the latest Microsoft OS.

It seems that Microsoft is moving one step closer to helping businesses collaborate and make it easier to share and sync files, but is it enough to get you to switch to OneDrive? We like to know what software you are using to share folders. Is it Dropbox, Google Drive, or will you switch to OneDrive in the end? Let us know!

Thank you PCWorld for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of macitynet.it

Windows 10 Hits 14 Million Upgrades in Just 24 Hours

Many Windows users look like they’re jumping right onto the Windows 10 bandwagon right away. According to Microsoft, more than 14 million devices have upgraded to and are using Windows 10. Given that many users on Windows 7 and 8/8.1 that are eligible for upgrading but have not yet gotten their prompt, that number is likely to balloon for the near future.

These early adopters are sure to face a whole slew of issues though. Microsoft’s touted personal assistant Cortana is currently limited to a select few countries and even then, sometimes it has trouble activating. Other bugs like the app store and other Metro apps crashing have also popped up. For instance, I was unable to install any of the Universal apps and have multiple app store crashes. Along with some other issues and privacy concerns, it’s probably not quite that time for an upgrade yet.

For those that are eager to try out Microsoft’s new OS but have not yet gotten their upgrade option, you can find our guide to download Windows 10 here. Having tried Windows 10 myself yesterday, Microsoft really should have spent a bit more time fine tuning the OS in improving the UI and bug fixes before launch. Overall though the OS is largely fine but still feels rough around the edges. It will take a while yet till we know how the public at large responds to Windows 10.

Why You Shouldn’t Upgrade to Windows 10 Today

Introduction


The launch date of Windows 10 has finally arrived after an extensive Beta testing period for users in the Windows Insider Program. Microsoft’s latest operating system is designed to be light on system resources and implement the Metro user-interface in a less obnoxious way. Windows 8 was heavily criticized by Microsoft customers, game developers and even Valve who became so concerned, they pushed their own Linux-based operating system. Microsoft’s strategic direction was too focused on mobile devices and tried to implement touch functionality at the expense of Desktop PCs.

Microsoft made a catastrophic error in trying to enforce full-screen applications through the Metro user-interface. As a result, it was extremely awkward to arrange multiple Windows and the OS felt pretty cluttered. Furthermore, navigating to newly installed programs, the Control Panel or advanced settings seemed counter-intuitive and hidden behind too many sub-menus. The end result was a terrible operating system for power users or customers opting for a traditional keyboard and mouse control scheme.

Windows 8.1 alleviated some of these concerns but kept the garish Metro system and Microsoft were unwilling to admit defeat. Many users derogatorily refer to Windows 8 as “the next Vista” and refuse to upgrade from the highly acclaimed Windows 7 operating system. Given the amount of disdain Windows 8 received, you might be a little perplexed about not upgrading today. However, there are a number of factors which you should take into consideration before upgrading.

Slow Download Servers


As with any digital product launch, the download servers are being hammered and resulting in extremely slow download speeds. This can create a rather frustrating experience as the queues grow and Microsoft struggles to keep up with demand. Perhaps waiting a few days is a more cogent option so you can download the update when the servers aren’t overpopulated. Also, the free download only applies to existing customers. Subsequently, you cannot legitimately acquire an ISO from a fast mirror and apply the update yourself. Personally, I would perform a re-format of my existing operating system, then install Windows 10; unless you have a boot SSD and few programs, this may take a while.

Windows 10 Could Suffer From Undocumented Compatibility Problems


Despite undergoing a thorough Beta testing phase, Windows 10 hasn’t been adopted on such a widespread scale. This means various third-party programs, games or hardware could experience teething problems. For example, older printers using a Parallel to USB converter might no longer work until the manufacturer releases a fix. Of course, this is a very small percentage of people but emphasizes what kind of problems you might run into. More commonly, many older games could become unstable or fail to detect the platform being used. It shouldn’t be a major issue due to Windows’ compatibility mode, but it’s something to be wary of.

Additionally, mods or unofficial game patches are untested and it’s sensible to let others be the guinea pig. Another factor to take into consideration is the amount of old games like Wing Commander which already struggle on modern operating systems. Windows 10 is brand new, so the amount of threads with information to get the game running will be minimal. Hopefully, the Windows 8.1 fixes work on Windows 10, but this is still an unknown entity.

DirectX 12 is Here, the Games are not


In terms of potential, DirectX 12 is one of the most revolutionary changes to PC Gaming in over a decade. This new low-level API reduces CPU overheads and theoretically increases the performance of games by an estimated 20%. However, there are no games on the market able to leverage this extra performance and it’s up to developers to begin supporting the new API. Realistically, this could take at least a year before modern games are reworked to use DirectX 12.

A large quantity of older games were produced by defunct studios and unable to implement DirectX 12 functionality. I highly doubt this could be done by a modder since the engine needs to be reworked. The data on DirectX 12 is quite new and we need to wait until the API has matured before analyzing its significance. Make no mistake, DirectX 12 will be a monumental change, but gamers shouldn’t expect to see this anytime soon.

Windows 10 Will be Free for a Year


It’s remarkably easy to get into the hullabaloo of a product launch and be disappointed by the final result. There’s no need to rush if you want to upgrade because Windows 10 will remain free for an entire year. As such, you could wait a month to see how well the operating system has been received and until the launch bugs are patched. Perhaps Windows 10 doesn’t offer enough of an improvement from Windows 7 and isn’t worth the hassle of learning a new visual style. This will be fairly prominent with those who aren’t technically minded and struggle to navigate around an operating system.

The Metro UI Still Exists


For all Windows 10’s posturing about returning to its Desktop roots, the Metro UI is still an integral component, albeit in a less obtrusive manner. In Windows 10, clicking the Start icon brings up the familiar Start menu. Unfortunately, this takes up a lot more space as the Metro icons are positioned adjacent to the Start menu. Once pressed, the menu can take up to 50% of your screen space instead of the narrow 20% seen in Windows 7. Microsoft’s ideology revolves and integrating all their services together including mobile, PC and Xbox. This sounds like a good idea, but I strongly believe Microsoft should release two versions of Windows 10; a Metro-based tablet edition and PC version which drops the Metro UI completely.

Windows 8 or 8.1 users can download an invaluable tool called Classic Shell which removes the Metro UI and replaces it with a simple, yet customizable Start menu. I’m surprised Microsoft didn’t take greater notice of this software which creates a much better experience than Windows’ 10 default setup. While the tool should work on Windows 10, this is just another example of how previous operating systems can be made more intuitive than Microsoft’s latest effort.

Final Thoughts


Windows 10 is shaping up to be a highly successful release, as Microsoft attempts to transfer individuals from older operating systems through the free upgrade incentive. Despite this, launch dates are always marred with a wide array of problems. In this case, the servers are almost at breaking point and I wouldn’t recommend downloading the update right now. Furthermore, DirectX 12 games could be some time off, and the Metro user-interface is still an integral part of the user-experience.

There’s no need to rush out and instantly download the update either as the average user will not majorly benefit from upgrading today. This doesn’t apply to technology enthusiasts or tweakers who want to play with the latest operating system. I’m still wary about the lack of mature drivers for unusual peripherals and wonder if they will work without any complications.

Microsoft has hinted that this could be the last version of Windows formally released. After that, Windows could possibly become a service platform which evolves without reselling the operating system as a product revision. Windows 10 is here and you should definitely upgrade, but now is probably not the best time for everyone.

Windows 10 Rolls Out – Upgrade Available to Install Now

Windows 10 has officially arrived for Windows users. For a lucky few who have already reserved their copies of the new Microsoft OS, Windows Update is already offering a 2.699 GB download to upgrade from your current OS. The rollout is staggered so don’t fret if you don’t see it for a while yet. For those that are more impatient to get their free upgrade, ISO images are available. These will allow in-place upgrades, but they will also allow for a fresh install for those that want to do that.

Given that Windows 10 is free for upgrades for the next year, there really is no need to rush and upgrade right away. For those who haven’t tried Windows 10 during the beta test, it might be a good idea to hold off installing the new OS on a production machine and let others be the guinea pigs. There are some concerns about incompatibilities and automatic updating though Microsoft has addressed these concerns somewhat.

For those who aren’t eligible for an upgrade, you should be able to pick retail boxed CDs and USBs relatively soon. Windows 10 is set to receive support for the next 10 years and pioneer Microsoft’s new focus on Software as a Service. Microsoft attempted to address some of the concerns users had for Windows 8 and we shall soon see how the public receives this new OS.

Windows XP Has More Users than Windows 8.x, Not Bad for an OS That Is 14 Years Old

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that there are still many people using Windows XP. Though, it may be surprising to learn that the desktop market share of the 14 year old OS has more market share than the recent Windows 8 versions (Win 8/ Win 8.1).

According to Net Application’s collected data Windows 8.x ended March with 14.07% of the market share for desktops. Windows XP ended the month with 16.94%, beating Windows 8.x by 2.87%.  Going back to November 2014 Windows 8.x had a combined market share of 18.65% against XP at 13.57%. Surprisingly November 2014 was the only month that Win 8.x beat out XP. This is pretty surprising given that XP is no longer officially supported by Microsoft, with support having been ended a year ago. Could this be the reason for Microsoft saying that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade? It would be a safe bet just by looking at the numbers, and with Windows 10 actually looking pretty great, it is a win for everyone.

Source: Hot Hardware

Microsoft Surface 3 Runs Full Windows, not RT

Microsoft has abandoned its ARM processor/Windows RT experiment with the release of the Surface 3 tablet, which runs a full version of Windows 8 and is the first non-Pro Surface device to feature an Intel chip. Microsoft’s hope is to replicate the success of the Surface Pro 3 with this new mid-range version.

Dale Perrigo, Surface Marketing Manager, says, “For people that need to get stuff done, generally you need a keyboard and some people need a pen, and that’s where our device plays.” He adds, “If you want a pure entertainment that’s not what this device is.”

The Microsoft Surface 3 has 64GB on-board storage, 2GB RAM, and an Intel Atom x7 processor. Priced £419 – though, add another £155 for the keyboard and pen – the Surface 3 is released on 7th May.

Source: BBC

Windows 10 Upgrade Could Free up 14.6GB Hard Drive Space

The forthcoming Windows 10 operating system boasts a myriad of improvements on previous versions, and the latest to be announced is that it will take up less hard drive space than its two most immediate predecessors. In a post on Windows Blog, Microsoft revealed that the new OS could use up to 14.6GB less space than Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Windows 10 uses enhanced compression, using a new algorithm that assesses the computer’s memory to compress files without impeding performance. The new compression system could free up 1.5GB on a 32-bit system and up to 2.6GB on a 64-bit system.

Most of the space, though, will be freed up by the removal of a separate recovery image to reset the OS to factory settings. Previously, these files could take up 12GB of hard disk space.

“Through the capacity savings of system compression and recovery enhancements, Windows devices can be lightweight and highly mobile, yet, when you need it, have the full capabilities of the Windows OS,” the Windows Blog post reads.

Source: TechRadar

Microsoft To Punish Windows XP Holdouts With Doubled Support Costs

Microsoft is so keen to persuade Windows XP users to finally upgrade that it is doubling the support costs for the aging operating system. Despite XP being followed by three different iterations – Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 – many home and business users continue to rely on the 14-year-old software.

The per-PC price of Microsoft custom support agreements for enterprise users will rise to $400 (£249), double the previous fee. Though official Microsoft support for the OS ended on 8th April 2014, 15.17% of the world’s PCs still run Windows XP.

Though Windows XP is still preferred by a significant number of users, the operating system is vulnerable to memory injection attacks, a problem that is not solvent for Microsoft to patch, considering its understandable focus on supporting its more current operating systems, especially with the release of Windows 10 on the horizon. Since there’s no practical way of making XP safe, Microsoft is making it as unattractive as possible not to upgrade.

Source: Daily Tech

Windows 10 Install Will Work via Update Function

Microsoft unveiled in a media event that their latest build of Windows 10 will make updating from older versions of the Operating System as easy as installing an update. It is actually just that.

Windows 7 and Windows 8 users will be able to update to the new version directly through Windows Update, effectively removing the need for a DVD to be burned of flash drive to be created – including possible changing BIOS boot order and more.

At launch, this upgrade should be delivered straight through Microsoft Update, but for now you’ll need to go to the Windows 10 Technical Preview Page and select Upgrade now. This will download a file to your PC which after you will run it you will reboot and then be able to “upgrade to Windows 10 technical preview” as an option on Window update.

It’s nice to see Microsoft making it easier to update the OS, now they just need to learn that one doesn’t need to reboot the entire system when upgrading single software components; they can be restarted.

Thanks to Overclock3d for providing us with this information

Mainstream Support for Windows 7 Reaches its End

As of 13th January, 2014, Microsoft’s Windows 7 is no longer under mainstream support, so will no longer receive any new product updates or features. The operating system has now moved into what is known as the extended support phase, a period in which critical security updates will still be issues, and will last until 14th January 2020.

Windows 7 has been Microsoft’s most popular operating system since XP –– and is currently Microsoft’s OS market leader. Within six months of its release in late-2009, Windows 7 sold over 100 million copies, making it Microsoft’s fastest-selling OS to date. After the major GUI overhaul of Windows 8, and with its predecessor Vista considered an unstable failure, many users stuck with Windows 7 instead of upgrading.

With the technical preview version already available, Windows 10 is expected for full release later this year.

Source: Techspot

Xbox One Software Development Kit Leaked

A Hacker group called H4LT has obtained and leaked the Xbox One software development kit (SDK), allowing home developers to create their own homebrew software for the Microsoft console.

In a short interview with The TechGame, H4LT claim, “We leaked it to the community because if something is shared then […] progress is achieved faster than alone. […] The SDK will basically allow the community to reverse and open doors towards homebrew applications being present on the Xbox One.”

Though H4LT says “there is no definite exploit,” the group hopes that coders with Windows 8 experience will crack it soon.

Source: Yahoo! Games

Microsoft Plans Windows 10 Update For Windows 8 Lumia Phones

Microsoft has announced that its existing Lumia handsets running Windows 8 will update to Windows 10 when it becomes available. It made the pledge on its official Twitter account, in response to a customer question, tweeting, “We plan to upgrade all Windows Phone 8 devices to Windows 10 in the future.”

Though not exactly a press announcement, such a public declaration on an official social media account suggests the statement can be taken as concrete. Two years ago, Microsoft displeased Lumia users when they revealed that Windows Phone 7 devices would not be updated to Windows 8 due to a kernel problem. The company seems to have made plans to avoid undermining customer satisfaction a second time.

No release date for Windows 10 has been confirmed, but it’s expected to be available in 2015.

Source: THE VERGE

Logitech Unveils Multi-Device Keyboard

Logitech has unveiled their new multi-device keyboard, the Logitech K480 Bluetooth keyboard. The new keyboard stands out from the rest by allowing it to connect to three devices simultaneous with the ability to switch between then with a simple knob on the keyboard. The keyboard is completely multi-platform oriented and not only compatible with all major operating systems, it also has the dedicated keys for them printed where they should be.

Not long ago, we posted news about another multi-device keyboard that allowed to connect up to 5 devices, but as many of our readers so well pointed out, the placement of the switch key, instead of the left control key, wasn’t to smart. Logitech has solved this much better with the turn-knob at the top left of the board. The K480 also features a secure cradle-dock for your phone and/or tablets that angles the display for a better viewing-angle. The cradle is 10.5 mm thick and 258 mm wide, so it should fit most mobile smart-devices.

This cradle is the really interesting new thing though, as we’ve previously seen similar smart switches on the K760 and K810 keyboards.

“Typing needs have evolved and consumers are computing and texting across multiple screens, often using two or three different operating systems,” said Charlotte Johs, global vice president of computer peripherals at Logitech. “The Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard K480 makes it simple for people to work, create or communicate quickly and comfortably, no matter what computing device or platform they are using.”

The new keyboard is guaranteed to work with Windows 7 or later, Mac OS X or later, Chrome OS, iOS 5 or later and Android 3.2 or later, but should theoretical work with any Bluetooth capable device. It comes in two colour choices, white and black. It uses two AAA batteries that are pre-installed and the battery life is set to four million keystrokes, that equals about 2 years of work in an office environment.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MceLc7-w1lQ[/youtube]

It has a pretty low warranty period of only 1 year, so it might wear out fast. That however is just a speculation of mine. It doesn’t take up much space on your desktop or in your backpack either, if you want to take it in the go. The height is is 20 mm, width 299 mm and the depth is 195 mm, it does however weigh 820 gram.

The availability starts within days in both Europe and the US. A few shops already report stock while other expect them to land within the next 1-2 days. The Logitech K480 has a MSRP of $49.99. In Germany it’s being listed starting at €40 while the cheapest version in the UK was listed at £49.99 at the time of writing.

Thank you Logitech for providing us with this information

Images and video courtesy of Logitech.

Age of Empires Series Returns on Windows 8

Microsoft has far from abandoned their child Age of Empires and is readying a new version of the game. It will be fully presented at the PAX Prime 2014 that starts in a couple of days. Age of Empires: Castle Siege will be a Windows 8 exclusive and is a joint developed game between Microsoft itself and Smoking Gun Interactive Game Studios. The new game is specially designed to take advantage of touch-based devices with lot of swipe functions.

[youtube width=”800″ height=”600″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBU_D4FVYmY[/youtube]

The new game also allows you to connect with your friends through the Xbox Live portal and compete for the crown. The goal of the game is the usual you’re used to from the series, gather resources, build your castles, forts and armies and then attack the enemy players for the victory.

The player has six civilization to chose from, each with their unique cultural units. The game progress is saved between multiple Windows 8 devices if you should have more then one and it will feature in-game purchases to accelerate game play. The new Age of Empires has a size of 168MB and will only be available as digital download from the Windows stores.

Thank you Microsoft for providing this information

Image and video curtsey of Microsoft.

Windows 9 To Revamp The Modern UI, Only For Touch Devices

The Windows 8 Start Screen

We’ve already heard several times that there will be two versions of Windows 9 “Threshold” – one for desktop style users and the other for touch-device users. Of course, there will be exceptions to that rule: like Microsoft Surface devices are touch based but will likely run the desktop OS version, and some touch-enabled laptops might run the desktop variant too. For desktop-style devices the main feature of the OS will be the desktop while for touch-style devices the main feature is to be the modern UI interface. Winbeta reports that Microsoft is giving the modern UI interface a revamp and at the heart of this new approach is making the modern UI “front and centre”. That means for appropriate touch devices the modern UI is the only things users will experience, no conflict between the desktop and modern UI. The Start Screen is also set to get a few updates: notably it will get interactive live tiles which allow users to interact with them without opening the application. Other new additions include a notification centre, which is rumoured to be similar to the notification centre on Windows Phone 8.1, the addition of Microsoft’s assistant app Cortana and the removal of the charms bar.

Of course it is worth restating again that devices which run the desktop version of Windows 9 will not experience any of these updates since the Modern UI is not present. That means Surface Pro, Notebook and Desktop users will end up experiencing the desktop environment only. The upcoming preview of Windows 9 is said to be for the desktop variant only, Microsoft is unlikely to release a preview  for the RT-style version of Windows 9. Check out more details from WinBeta’s extensive report at the source link.

Source: Winbeta

Image courtesy of Softpedia

The Windows 9 Preview Gets A Confirmed Reveal Date

Windows 9 this, Windows 9 that: let’s face it you’re probably sick of the Windows 9 rumours by now. Well here’s to hoping that this is the rumour to end them all: The Verge is reporting that Windows 9 “Threshold” will be officially unveiled by Microsoft on September 30th, that’s in just over a month. Microsoft will host a special press event for the Windows “Threshold” unveiling and at the event Microsoft will begin to detail the changes that Windows 9 brings compared to Windows 8. A reveal is not a release so let’s be clear here: Microsoft won’t be offering anything with widespread access although a technical preview version will be made available to a select group of developers.

This is what the Windows 9 Start Menu is rumoured to look like

Why all the hype about Windows 9? Well if all the recent press and rumours are to be believed Windows 9 will dramatically change what we saw with Windows 8, and maybe give Windows 7 loyalists the successor they always wanted. Windows 9 “Threshold” could bring a start menu, the removal of the charms bar, several UI changes such as Metro Apps running on the desktop and even the introduction of the Cortana personal assistant. All of this is still to be confirmed, but Microsoft should be enlightening us all about Windows 9 next month, so stay tuned for that news.

Source: The Verge

Image #1 courtesy of Winbeta, Image #2 courtesy of MYCE

Chinese Authorities Pay an ‘Unexpected’ Visit to Microsoft Offices

Microsoft offices from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu have been unexpectedly visited by the Chinese State Administration for Industry & Commerce, according to a report from Reuters. A spokesperson for the company has confirmed the visit, but declined to give a reason for the inspection ‘outside of working hours’.

The company is said to have become a target for the Chinese government since former U.S. National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden, revealed the various spying programs enforced by the agency, including PRISM. However, Microsoft states that its goal is to provide quality products, security and reliability to customers.

“We aim to build products that deliver the features, security and reliability customers expect and we’re happy to answer the government’s questions.” the company’s spokesperson stated.

The Chinese state media have been out to get American tech firms since the NSA leaks went online, calling for “severe punishment” for companies found to be helping the U.S. government steal secrets and monitor the country’s activities. Microsoft’s OneDrive has even been targeted by activists this month, having its services disrupted in China.

Further anti-U.S. activities have been stated to be present in central government offices, where the Chinese have banned installing and/or using Windows 8 on new computers. The ban has been stated to still be in effect even today.

Given the above, Microsoft still plans to release its Xbox One console in China this September, while also aiming to form ties with China Telecom Corp and e-commerce company, JD.com Inc.

Thank you Reuters for providing us with this information

Zmartframe: How To Make Any Monitor A Touch Screen For $130

The biggest complaint about Windows 8.x: I don’t have a touch screen. The biggest complain about touch screens: they are too expensive! The solution? Well apparently it is Zmartframe. Another interesting project has emerged on IndieGoGo which proposes to turn any old monitor into a touch screen device. If you’ve got a 19, 22 or 24 inch display with a standard 16:9 aspect ratio then you’re ready to get Zmartframe-d. The Zmartframe adds a touch-screen overlay to any existing monitor with a 17mm thickness, an 8ms response time and a 2mm accuracy. It may not be the best spec’d touch-screen panel in the world but it’s more than just a touch-screen panel. The Zmartframe also boasts a dual core Cortex A9 CPU, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage driven by Android to give you a fully functional touch-screen tablet with any old display.

While the project looks like it needs a bit of polishing, the idea is still neat. For $130 I think a lot of people will snap these up although a cheaper version without the Android hardware might be better placed to target PC users – sadly they do not offer this (yet). Be sure to check out the project page here to see what you think. Also check out the video below of the Zmartframe in action!

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEH-MGurEvo[/youtube]

Source: IndieGoGo

Image courtesy of Zmartframe

Microsoft Planning Its Biggest Job Cut In Its History

If you are a Microsoft employee then there is reason to worry right now. According to insider sources cited by Reuters Microsoft could be looking to cut as many as 6000 jobs in an announcement that will be made later on today. Microsoft is seeking to trim-down the newly acquired Nokia smartphone business as well as reshape the cloud-computing and mobile software divisions. The job cut could end up being the largest in Microsoft’s 39 year history coming just five months after the new CEO Satya Nadella took to the helm. Just last week the new CEO spoke to the public and Microsoft’s employees about his vision to create a leaner business.

Microsoft is rumoured to be cutting staff mainly at the Nokia division but some job losses might also come in the Xbox Game and Entertainment unit. Microsoft is currently undergoing a visionary change under its new CEO that will see it move from a primarily software company to one that sells online services, apps and devices with a specific focus on productivity.

Nadella’s cuts are expected to be the biggest since former CEO Steve Ballmer axed 5800 jobs (6% of Microsoft’s workforce) in 2009 during the depths of the Western recession.

Source: Reuters (via Business Insider)

Image courtesy of WeNerdHard.com

Microsoft Mistakenly Presents WhatsApp For Windows 8

Microsoft unintentionally revealed some never-before-seen Windows 8.X apps at its Worldwide Partner Conference yesterday. In a presentation given by marketing executive Tony Prophet Microsoft discussed the progress they have been making with their Windows 8 Apps and their Windows App Store. Upon the demonstration system running desktop Windows 8 Microsoft paraded apps for WhatsApp, WeChat and Pandora: three apps not seen before on Windows 8. Just as everyone started to get excited by the new apps it turns out that these apps will not be made available on the Windows 8 platform after all, they are merely Windows Phone 8 apps that Microsoft mis-presented. WhatsApp’s business head even came out to confirm it was a mistake by Microsoft and that they are not developing WhatsApp for any desktop or notebook platforms. Good job Microsoft…

Source: Softpedia

Image courtesy of Softpedia

Microsoft Planning New Sub $250 Notebooks – Wants To Beat Chromebooks

It isn’t a secret that Microsoft is not fond of Google’s Chromebooks. They are one of the things Microsoft has attacked Google for in its scroogled campaign. However, up until recently Microsoft hasn’t been able to compete that well with Google’s Chromebooks because its partners haven’t offered enough cheap devices. That all changes now according to Microsoft’s rhetoric at its WPC (Worldwide Partner Conference). For this holiday season Microsoft has been working with Acer, Toshiba and HP to bring full Windows 8 notebooks to the same price as Chromebooks. The two models displayed above are from Acer and Toshiba and cost $249 but HP is also expected to bring a $199 Windows 8 notebook in for this holiday season too, the device will be called “Stream”. HP will also release 7 and 8 inch versions of its Stream PCs for just $99.

How are Windows partners achieving these cost savings? Well firstly Microsoft is cutting the bulk Windows license costs to its partners so they can produce cheaper notebooks: this is important given Chrome OS is totally free. Secondly, Intel’s latest Bay Trail CPU platform is helping bring the costs of Windows tablets down. Although Bay Trail is arriving with Chromebooks too so it isn’t just Windows notebooks that will benefit. The main worry for Microsoft here is that its partners “under-equip” these budget notebooks, such a move would be fatal since Chrome OS runs a lot more efficiently than Windows 8.X. If Microsoft’s partners simply sell rubbish spec’d Windows notebooks: 2GB of RAM, Bay Trail CPUs and 500GB mechanical hard drives, then it is unlikely these units will be able to compete against the snappy Chromebooks that use SSD storage and require minimal RAM.

Source: The Verge

Image courtesy of The Verge