Microsoft says that the Metro version of Skype is not that popular and it won’t continue with it. All users will be moved over to the Desktop version next month, having the Metro service close on the 7th of July. That’s in less than a month now, so wouldn’t an earlier heads up be nice?
Even so, Microsoft says that it wouldn’t make sense to have two apps delivering the same service on its latest operating system, namely Windows 10, since both Desktop and Metro apps will now open and interact in the same way. They say that while Skype for desktop is made for keyboard and mouse use, it does very well with touch input too.
While Metro Skype will redirect everyone to download the Desktop version of Skype after the 7th of July, Windows RT users will still be able to use the Metro version until upgrading to Windows 10.
We heard that Microsoft is planning on integrating the Skype feature in the latest Windows build, but we don’t know what it will include exactly. ZDNet states that Microsoft is also planning on releasing a dedicated Skype bundle. This means a new and improved Skype Messaging, Phone and Video service will be rolling out in the near future.
The exact release date of the new Skype bundle is not yet clear, but rumour has it that Microsoft plans to make it available to existing Windows 10 users sometime this fall. So what do you want to see in the new version of Skype? Let us know!
Thank you ZDNet for providing us with this information
Microsoft seems to be moving away from the ARM-powered Surface tablets and getting rid of its Windows RT operating system in the process. A report from WinBeta indicates that the company is planning to switch the Surface Pro series to the x86-powered CPU running on Windows 8.1 (and possibly Windows 10 once it gets released).
The report states that the new Surface will be a fanless device, powered by an Atom or Core M processor, and will be marketed as a consumer-oriented product. This might mean that the company would slot it beneath the Surface Pro 3, but it’s hard to say at this point given that details about it are still scarce.
The company’s non-Pro Surface tablet, the Surface 2, comes with a 10.6″ 1080p screen, up to 64GB of storage and with the Windows RT OS. A similar device with the Windows 8.1 (and Windows 10 in the future) could be a great consumer product, given the price is right. The Surface 2 is currently priced at $449 for the 32GB variant.
An official announcement is expected before or at Microsoft’s Build conference, which starts on April 29th.
Thank you Tech Report for providing us with this information
With all the rumours about Microsoft’s Surface Mini it is tough to tell whether the tablet will be released or not. Just last week we heard that Surface Mini production was halted after Microsoft received negative responses from industry partners. Now we are hearing production is back on, and the tablet will be released “this summer”. That’s all the famous leakers EVLeaks revealed, and that’s probably all we really need to know. The Surface Mini has been rumoured to come in a 7 or 8 inch form factor with a 1440 x 1080 4:3 display. The tablet will likely run Windows 8.1 RT, because Microsoft really wants to make people love that OS even if it will never happen. Expect some form of ARM processor to be at its heart, it could be Qualcomm made, it could be the Nvidia Tegra K1: right now we are not really sure. If this latest rumour is true then expect more Surface Mini related details to emerge in the coming weeks.
It isn’t news to say that Windows 8 has had a tough time in many markets and uptake had been fairly slow. However, in the last year Microsoft’s newest OS has gained significant traction and new data from the Sage Group suggests that in the last year Windows 8 uptake has surged, at least in Canada it has. Between 2013 and 2014 the share of Windows 8 running on Canadian desktops increased by 19%, taking it from less than a tenth to over a quarter of the entire market. A similar trend was observed in laptops but to Microsoft’s surprise gains were also made in both the tablet and smartphone markets. The below figures include Windows 8.1 and Windows 8, irrespective of whether users have made the upgrade or not, and they also include Windows Phone 8 and 8.1 for smartphones and Windows RT 8 and 8.1 for tablets. It isn’t clear why Microsoft has made such significant gains over the past year but a combination of the retirement of Windows XP, the success of Nokia Lumia sales and the growing popularity of Windows 8 based tablets and ultrabooks probably has a lot to do with it.
A new report from enterprise software vendor Good Technology suggests that Apple’s iPad is the dominant tablet in the enterprise space. Apple’s iPad holds a staggering 91.4% of all enterprise tablet activations in Q4 of 2013 according to Good Technology’s results.
The financial services industry are the biggest buyer of enterprise tablets accounting for 46.8% of activations while manufacturing and the public sector accounted for 9.4 and 9% respectively.
An additional survey carried out by Chitika suggests that when it comes to BYOD (bring your own device) workplaces Microsoft’s Surface tablets and Windows tablets in general become more popular. The results from Chitika suggest that for the average day iOS has four times as much web traffic as Android tablet users with Windows tablets well behind that. However, during work hours Windows tablets actually generate a higher share of web traffic than users of Android and iOS.
Do you use a tablet at work? If so is it Windows based, Android based, iOS based or running something else (BlackBerry OS, Tizen, Ubuntu, etc)?
Windows Phone rumors point to Windows Phone 9 launching sometime during the second half of 2014. The news arrives by way of Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin who previously made several accurate predictions on the mobile industry. He now claims that the Modern UI seen on current phones and tablets will be optional starting with Windows Phone 9.
“Windows phone 9 (2014 3-4q) have another UI. That’s not tales. I repeat – Microsoft change UI from Metro style,” he tweets. He also says that “they aren’t decided yet as far as I know. A lot of internal debates.” when asked about the feature’s availability in later Windows 8.x versions.
It is also said that Windows RT and Windows Phone will become one operating system by Spring 2015, and that Microsoft plans to lift the licensing fees for Windows on tablets and smartphones to combat Android. Eventually, Microsoft will have one platform for x86, one for ARM-based chips, and the OS installed on the Xbox One.
After all the fuss about the new Modern UI interface on PC, tablets and smartphones, it seems unlikely that Microsoft will completely ditch the interface with Windows 9. The idea of making the interface optional sounds like a good way to gain new customers who would have otherwise shunned the tile-based interface.
According to Microsoft Devices Chief Julie Larson-Green, Microsoft has too many operating systems for consumers and is looking to compact rather than expand.
“We have the Windows Phone OS, we have Windows RT and we have full Windows. We’re not going to have three”, said Larson-Green.
Larson also points out the poor sales made by the Surface RT series, leading Microsoft in losing $900 million. Now, Microsoft seems to be looking for a unified, mobile friendly edition of Windows, but still wants to differentiate the intensive desktop version.
“[Windows RT] just didn’t do everything that you expected Windows to do. So there’s been a lot of talk about it should have been a rebranding. We should not have called it Windows. How should we have made it more differentiated? I think over time you’ll see us continue to differentiate it more.” the same Larson-Green added.
While Larson states that the company believes in a high demand for mobile OS, Microsoft is said to be discussing a new future for Windows, in which there will be a single Windows OS for all device.
Yet to achieve its targets for this holiday season Microsoft still has many problems to deal with. Consumer confusion about the variety of available operating systems is one of those big problems – consumers don’t know if they need Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows RT or Windows 8.1 RT. The shopping experience is another and Microsoft thinks buying a Windows PC (desktop, notebook or tablet) is just too confusing and daunting for consumers. It wants to work with big retailers (such as BestBuy) to simplify the process.
Whether Microsoft’s ambitious holiday plan will work remains to be seen, check out more details on Microsoft’s plans here.
To our average reader I’d expect the difference between the Surface Pro and the Surface RT is pretty obvious – one runs Windows 8 RT and the other runs full Windows 8, one has an Nvidia Tegra 3 ARM processor and the other an Intel Core i5 processor. The differences are obvious to the technically minded but to your average consumer the difference probably isn’t so obvious, as let’s face it, both tablets and operating systems do look similar.
Speaking with PC Pro Microsoft Australia marketing manager, Jack Cowett, believes that the difference between the Surface Pro and the Surface RT have not been fully recognised by consumers, and may have even confused them:
“We think that there was some confusion in the market last year on the difference between Surface RT and Surface Pro…We want to help make it easier for people, and these are two different products designed for two different people.”
Microsoft obviously knows it has caused confusion as they have a dedicated web page set up to help consumers decide which one is right for them. With the second generation Microsoft looks to get around the confusion by ditching the RT moniker and just going with Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2. This way there is a clear indication that the Surface Pro 2 “is better” and aimed at the higher end user who does actually need the “professional” benefits of having a full Windows 8.1 tablet while the Surface 2 is aimed at a broader audience who can make do with ARM and lighter productivity.
While Microsoft is working hard to integrate the two platforms of theirs, those being the ARM dependent Windows RT and their Windows Phone platform, here’s something that confirms the impending demise of the former in favor of the latter.
The rumor is that Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone 8 GDR3 software update will bring more than just support for 1080p displays and quad-core processors. Amongst all the new features, the real game changer would be the addition of support for 10″ displays to the Windows Phone platform. This can only mean one thing, that the days of Windows RT is numbered, and the merging of the two platforms will happen sooner than we had initially anticipated.
We already heard that the GDR3 Windows Phone updatemight add support for 5- to 6-inch devices, but it seems the update after that – the Windows Phone 8.1 release, code named “Blue” – might push that even farther, although this obviously infringes on Windows RT/8.x tablets, so it’s not clear what the thinking is there.
Compatibility with more devices is generally a good thing, but there are few key questions that signal extending Windows Phone 8.1 to tablet-sized devices may not be a great idea. One question that Microsoft should take into consideration is the possibility to maintain and explain three different operating systems that are all on devices of the same size. Another question that is unclear is what will be left standing between the Windows 8 and RT that are currently battling over 10-inch displays if Windows Phone 8 tablets of the same size join the trio.
Finally, probably the most encountered question that everyone heard of, will the Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 eventually merge. It’s time for Microsoft to clarify their actions for current and future Windows users.
PhoneArena reports that Nokia’s Sirius tablet has appeared in the listing of a graphics benchmark, more or less confirming its existence. This Nokia Windows RT tablet has had some key details being revealed by the benchmark log. Firstly we know the CPU architecture is ARM which means it will be powered by Windows RT. Next we know it uses a quad core CPU with Qualcomm Adreno 330 graphics which indicates that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 is the likely choice of CPU.
The Nokia Sirius has also been spotted in a Bluetooth certification and this was achieved on September 12th. Both leaks confirm the Nokia tablet but with different design model numbers of RX-114 and RM-114 and its not known if these are the same Nokia tablets or different models.
For those of you who’ve yet to see it the Nokia Sirius has been pictured before, seen above, and was also revealed in another article we wrote last week which you can see here.
Image #1 and #2 courtesy of PhoneArena and Image#3 courtesy of Digi-Wo.com
Paul Thurrott of WinSuperSite.com has posted a picture of what is apparently the upcoming Nokia Lumia tablet based on Windows RT. The tablet which is being called the Nokia Sirius for the time being is expected to be Nokia’s first flagship tablet. The device will come with a sleek red design and may be available in a range of different colours like the Lumia handsets are. The screen is expected to be full HD 1920 x 1080 with 4G connectivity, a MicroSD card slot, a micro USB slot and there is also a micro HDMI connectors for streaming content to TVs.
Internally the Nokia Sirius is reported to be powered by a quad core Qualcomm 8974 ARM processors – meaning it will have to run Windows RT and probably will use the latest 8.1 revision of RT. The battery life will reportedly be about 10 hours and could be extended with a detachable keyboard dock that has an additional battery. The price point of the tablet is reported at $499.
A Digitimes report states that Microsoft is currently on a aggressive clearance of first generation Surface stocks. Microsoft has attempted to boost sales by dropping the price of its Surface Pro by $100 in North America and dropping the prices of Windows RT tablets very low for consumers as well as even lower for educational establishments where Microsoft is looking to get a foothold. According to Digitimes:
“Weak demand has caused related ODMs to still have about a million units of inventory, waiting to be digested. The sources believe the weak demand is due to Surface Pro’s high price and Surface RT’s poor compatibility.”
Microsoft’s excessively high inventory was the primary reason behind their inventory write-downs of $900 million that they announced after the second quarter results of this year. Just recently Microsoft was taken to court accused of lying about weak Surface sales at the most senior level within the company. Microsoft has now adjusted its sales strategy for the next generation of Surface tablets to avoid such catastrophes again:
“Having experienced the failure of its first-generation Surface, Microsoft is more cautious about its second-generation models and only placed order for about 300,000 units to Pegatron Technology initially, and will increase orders based on the demand, the sources said.”
ASUS, Lenovo and Samsung have already quit producing Surface RT tablets while Dell and Acer are both showing signs of reducing their Windows RT portfolio and maybe even exiting at a later date. The only other Microsoft partner who may be getting involved with Windows RT is Nokia who apparently have a second generation Windows RT tablet on the way.
According to ITWorld.com Dell has ditched one of its affordable Windows RT offerings – the $299 XPS 10. Since its introduction at a price of $499 last October the price of the Dell Windows RT tablet has fallen continously due to very weak demand. Dell is now only offering the Dell XPS 10 bundled with a keyboard for $479 and upwards on its businesses website.
Dell declined to comment on dropping the standalone versions of their Windows RT tablets but analysts have commented that Dell is now targeting business customers and sees the bundle as the only way to go to offer a functional tablet. Both the 32GB and 64GB tablets will come with an identical price point of $479 which is apparently due to a steep discount rate for the higher model.
As a specifications recap Dell’s Windows RT powered XPS 10 tablet uses a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, 10.1 inch display with 1366 by 768 resolution, comes bundled with a keyboard docking station and comes with either 32 or 64GB of storage. LTE options are available too for a steeper price.
Analysts have commented that bundling the Dell Windows RT tablets with their accessories and knocking the price down is Dells way of clearing Windows RT inventories before possibly pulling out of the Windows RT tablet market. Lenovo, ASUS and Samsung have all already exited.
An ITProPortal report has published the opinions of industry analyst Patrick Moorhead with regards to the success of Microsoft’s tablet venture. He believes that Microsoft is actually quite unhappy with Dell, Lenovo and HP’s performance with Windows OS tablets and as a result are expanding the Surface RT internationally themselves to try and compensate.
“This new commercial channel thrust for Microsoft is significant and really shows their unhappiness with Dell, HP, and Lenovo’s efforts in tablets. Commercial markets are really the only place the PC OEMs are making decent margins and Microsoft has just entered their turf, most likely capturing some of the profits.”
However, despite Microsoft’s push Moorhead believes that Windows RT tablets may continue to struggle based on their performance so far.
“Surface has sold very poorly in its current U.S. channels as evidenced by the massive $900-million write-down and deep price cuts. I attribute that primarily to the lack of Windows RT applications and narrow distribution around the holiday selling season,” said Moorhead, principal analyst for Moor Insights & Strategy.
With ASUS and Acer almost as good as done in the Windows RT market it remains to be seen whether Microsoft and a select few other vendors will be able to revive the ailing tablet OS.
Nokia have been one of the strongest promoters of Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system despite it being received relatively poorly by mobile consumers. Despite that Nokia is a brand that remains very loyal to Microsoft and it is pledging to deliver more Microsoft products in the form of a tablet later on this year. The Nokia tablet is expected to run Windows 8.1 and is rumoured to be launching on September 26th in New York City according to NokiaPowerUser.
The specificities of the operating system are not known so we could see Windows 8.1 or we could see Windows RT. Of course that uncertainty also means the hardware inside still remains totally unknown. The device is expected to arrive in the USA with wireless carrier AT&T . The tablet could be branded under the Nokia Lumia series though again details on this are also sketchy. That said we expect more details to be come available as we get closer to the late September launch event.
WinRT Source has been trying to figure out whether Microsoft’s recent price cuts have boosted sales. After asking several stores across the USA whether the price cuts have boosted sales, they say 100% of the 20 stores asked said that they had increased sales. It is not surprising as Microsoft has knocked around $150 off the top Surface RT models and offered significant discounts to students and educational establishments all across the world.
Speculation had suggested that Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer had said internally that sales of the Surface RT were not good enough. In fact Microsoft even took a huge $900 million loss not that long ago on Surface RT inventories as they simply had too much in terms of unsold stock and were charged $900 million as a result – probably by the OEM producer for not selling enough or meeting sales forecasts.
Have you picked up a Surface RT recently? If so what do you think of it?
Windows RT has been surrounded by crisis talks of late as vendors like Samsung, Acer and ASUS have all more or less dropped, or plan to drop, the ARM-based Windows operating system. Microsoft on the other hand is pushing ahead with the tablet operating system, that supports ARM processors, after a statement made to CNET clarified their position.
Microsoft is apparently already working on new Windows RT based tablets, as all other vendors are rushing to drop the platform.
“Windows remains committed to the ARM platform,” the spokesperson said. “We are looking forward to new ARM-based Windows devices that will launch later this year.”
Microsoft will continue to push Windows RT and Windows 8(.1) with a second generation of Surface tablets. Microsoft is believed to be collaborating with Qualcomm and Nvidia to developer the new series of Surface tablets. The new range of Surface tablets are expected to arrive in Q4 of this year and will start from about $250.
In an interview with AllThingsD the ASUS Chairman Jonney Shih stated that ASUS would be avoiding the Windows RT operating system because he didn’t see that the platform had the ability to be successful. He said that “The result is not very promising” with Windows RT.
While he didn’t rule out the possibility of using Windows RT in the future he did say that the immediate focus at ASUS (in terms of Windows) is on Intel-powered Windows 8(.1) tablets. This means ASUS will continue to focus on fully fledged Windows-based tablets that can run traditional Windows Apps.
The ASUS chairman also stated he believed Microsoft’s decision to remove the start menu from Windows 8 was a mistake, so no doubt he approves of the changes made in Windows 8.1 That said ASUS are by no means giving up on Windows products:
“The company recently introduced the Transformer Book Trio, which runs both Windows and Android, and the company is evaluating building smaller 10-inch and eight-inch Windows tablets.” according to AllThingsD.
Samsung’s European head of marketing Patrick Povel stated that new products from Samsung “can run all your software” because they are equipped with “the full version of Windows 8 and not the RT version”. Yet this goes totally against Microsoft’s plan as they are trying to push Windows RT to be really big yet Microsoft’s partners are having none of it and without Samsung onboard there are some big problems for Microsoft.
As far as know the only second generation tablet running Windows RT will be Microsoft’s Surface RT as all Microsoft’s partners have chosen to not produce one. Microsoft is expected to produce early versions of its second generation tablets and the BUILD conference on June 26th.
The Windows 8.1 Preview is arriving on June 26th and will be unveiled at an event in San Francisco known as the Microsoft Build Developer Conference. This event will last from June 26th to June 28th and Microsoft are expected to unveil some interesting things there.
According to a leak by Winclub.Pl the system requirements of Windows 8.1 will be identical to Windows 8. Or as Microsoft likes to put it, Windows 8.1 “works great on the same hardware that powers Windows 8”. For the Windows 8.1 RT Preview it requires a Windows RT capable device with at least 10GB of storage space. The desktop version on the other hand needs the following:
CPU/Processor: 1 GHz or faster
RAM: 1 GB for the 32-bit version or 2 GB for the 64-bit version
HDD: 16 GB for the 32-bit version or 20 GB for the 64-bit version
Graphics: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver
So as long as you can run Windows 8 then Windows 8.1 will be identical, which was kind-of to be expected although there were probably a lot of people who were hoping for a “lighter” running operating system that would be easier to run.
Stay tuned to eTeknix for more details about Windows 8.1 and other Microsoft products as we bring you all the coverage from the Microsoft Build Developer Conference next week.
While we have known that Windows 8 has been relatively unsuccessful it has been documented that Windows RT has been even more unsuccessful. Now according to a report by the Digitimes it has been so unsuccessful that Microsoft’s partners are “rebelling” and refusing to use the tablet orientated operating system. Most of Microsoft’s partners have refused to develop any Windows RT based products at all and so it seems that the only Windows 8.1-based RT tablet you will be able to buy will be courtesy of Microsoft’s Surface.
Digitimes claims in speaking with insiders from “the upstream supply chain” they have also come to the conclusion that the Windows Phone OS may suffer a similar fate and several smartphone/mobile vendors have already delayed their handsets running these operating suystems by quite some time.
This leaves Microsoft in a situation where Windows RT uptake will be so low that the only financially viable situation would be to retire it as it would cost too much to maintain an OS for such a small number of users. Furthermore unless Nokia’s fortunes take a huge positive turn it is also likely that theWindows Phone OS will die out too as it is currently dominated by Android and iOS. What’s more on Microsoft’s native platform, the desktop PC, Windows 8 is failing to spark much interest and Windows 8.1 may not be enough to revive Windows 8 according to some analysts like IDC.
Microsoft is thus left in quite a difficult situation, let’s see if they can pull anything out of the bag at their BUILD developer conference in San Francisco on June 26th.
Samsung’s Mobile Communications President, JK Shin, who just received a promotion to joint-CEO of Samsung electronic has had some damning words to say about Microsoft products. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal he downplayed speculation about a poor working relationship between Microsoft and Samsung instead stating that the poor performance of Microsoft’s Windows Phone, Windows 8 and Windows RT devices was the only issue.
Interviewer: What about your relationship with Microsoft? Has it changed after Nokia began to work more closely with Microsoft on Windows devices?
Mr. Shin: Smartphones and tablets based on Microsoft’s Windows operating system aren’t selling very well. There is a preference in the market for Android. In Europe, we’re also seeing lackluster demand for Windows-based products.
He sees Android as being a much more viable option stating that he likes Android and plans to continue good relations with Google. Earlier this year Samsung decided not to launch several of its planned Windows RT based tablets in the USA and Europe saying customer confusion was the main reason. However, it would seem Microsoft has a lot more work to do to reassure its hardware partners that it is even worth going to market with the new operating system. Intel’s progress in pushing ahead with x86 development shows us just how much companies are trying to get an x86 alternative to Windows 8 purely because it doesn’t sell well, has poor demand and high licensing fees which Android doesn’t have.
Do you think Samsung are right? Are Windows Phone, RT and 8 all a bit mediocre compared to Android and iOS? Are Samsung justified to come out and criticise Microsoft products? Let us know what you think!
Microsoft’s entrance into the tablet market was hyped up beyond belief and with all the promotional material they had, Microsoft really set everyone’s expectations high. However, since the launch everything about the Surface has more or less been negative and the Surface tablets have been criticised for their poor “fixability”, high price tags, lack of storage space and Windows 8 RT for its relatively pointless existence.
All that said Microsoft still expected sales to be pretty good and according to the latest figures their optimism was clearly misplaced. Since the launch Microsoft has manage to shift only 1.5 million Surface devices, this combines both Surface RT and Surface Pro figures. The Microsoft Surface Pro sold only 400,000 units due to its very high price point while the Surface RT did better selling about one million units. Microsoft’s expectations had suggested it would sell 2 million Surface RT tablets in December alone, yet they have only sold half that number in nearly 5 months and by those numbers alone you’d think that this whole venture has been an abysmal failure. Having ordered around 3 million Surface RT tablets, Microsoft still has a tonne of stock left to shift.
So where have the problems come from then? Well it seems obvious that the high retail prices of both Surface devices have been a thorn in the side. Given the proximity of the Surface pricing to established tablet brands and products already on the market people weren’t willing to try something new and weren’t happy to put their money on the table when it came to buying the Microsoft Surface. Critics have also laid into the Windows RT operating system, questioning its existence. With Intel continuing to push x86 based SoCs and processors as viable tablet options with the Windows 8 OS, it seems pointless to get involved with Windows RT because Android and iOS offer much better and more developed options if you aren’t using x86. Therefore, Windows RT finds itself stuck between x86 Windows 8 based tablets and ARM Android and iOS based tablets.
Microsoft has the resources, the know-how and the potential to turn this round but it will probably require some serious price cuts. Why do you think Microsoft’s Surface has failed to sell well? Has the price deterred you from buying one? Are Android and iOS based tablets just too strong for the Surface to deal with? Let us know what you think!
Nokia was launching their Lumia 620 in Pakistan, but what pulled people’s attention was that the Finnish handset manufacturer revealed the Lumia tablet in their background showcase.
The Lumia-themed tablet has similarities when compared to smartphones, including the colourful casing. There was a rumour that Nokia already made plans for a Lumia tablet but were not to sure which OS that they were using. But after looking at the picture on their background, it looks pretty sure so far that Nokia would be using Windows RT OS.
It’s been said that the tablet from Nokia would feature a 10.1″ display and have HDMI and USB support. There is also a rumour that the tablet would come with a battery equipped keyboard cover.