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All posts tagged "windows 8"

Friday, April 13, 2012

Windows 8 Tablets to be made of Sugar and Spice or Something Nice

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 01:00 PM

"Intel is offering more specifics on the features of future Windows 8 tablet at a conference in Beijing. It's a laudable goal, but can Intel make it happen this year? Underneath the glass will be beat an Atom Z2760 "Clover Trail" chip: dual-core capable with "burst mode" (for quick bursts of performance when needed) and Hyperthreading -- the latter allows a dual-core chip to behave in quad-core-like fashion in some cases."

If you are like me, you often sit under a tree on a great sunny day thinking, "I wonder what sort of specifications Windows 8 tablets will have!" Well, wait no longer, because Intel has published its specs on what things should be like. Some of the requirements are interesting, though I do wonder how many of them will make it into reality, and how many will find themselves quickly changed, like what happened to Ultrabooks. Of course, all these are on paper, and the real sauce will be what the actual experience will be like using a Windows 8 tablet. For that, I remain skeptical.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Ten (10) Windows 8 Advantages Over iPad

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 11:00 AM

"Windows 8 is now available for anyone to download, and it already shows a ton of potential. In fact, Microsoft’s bold new OS, which reminds us a lot of Windows Phone, outshines the iPad in some key areas. Granted, there were things we didn’t like in our Windows 8 Consumer Preview– — and the iPad 3 or iPad HD is just around the corner– — but there’s no question that Apple will soon have a real fight on its hands. Here are the top 10 ways Windows 8 is better than the iPad right now."

A bit of an apples vs oranges comparison here: how about hardware vs hardware, and/or software vs software? Anyway, many of the touted features of Windows 8 will be solid, and will appeal to users looking for more tablet-like behavior from their mainstream computing devices. Whether there will be push-back from users on the major changes is yet to be determined. Much of the criticism that I've heard and read over the last few years regarding Windows vs iOS is that "traditional" users don't want tablet features, so it'll be interesting to follow the next iteration of Windows and its acceptance. I've already heard major griping on the removal (or displacement) of the start button ...

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Windows 8 Consumer Preview (Beta) Arrives for Everyone

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 02:00 PM;siu-container

"Summary: With today’s release of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, Microsoft is finally ready for the public to pass judgment on its most important software release in nearly two decades. Here’s what to expect."

Naturally there is controversy already: much of what I've seen written today has been about the disappearance of the start button in the lower left of the screen. Funny the amount of resistance to change in technology; reminds me of the introduction of Windows 95. I even saw Windows 8 referred-to as MS BOB V2. In any case, this is only a beta, not a finished product, so I'm sure that MS is paying attention to feedback.

The Consumer Preview performs well, and W8 may breathe a bit of life into computers that struggle with Windows 7. It is a 2.5GB download, and should run in a virtual environment. This article is a very good overview, and even explains the new keyboard shortcuts. Reading the comments, there seems to be real resistance to change, with comments akin to "how will I get Grandma to change?" or "who will support the users when they get lost?" Well, based on tablet acceptance and the improved user experience, I expect fewer problems for more casual users. Grandma will be fine. Thoughts?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Intel Nikiski: An Windows 8 Ultrabook with Tablet Features

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 10:00 AM

"During its CES 2012 press conference today, Intel took us on a tour of what might just be the future of the Ultrabook. That future is something the company calls ‘Nikiski’ and it’s a concept that replaces your normal trackpad, with a transparent touchpad, that can double as a gorgeous touchscreen when the Ultrabook is closed."

Pretty cool stuff maybe on the horizon! Operates as a standard notebook (ultrabook class) computer, but the transparent "full-width" touchpad functions as a mini-tablet when the computer is closed and flipped on its back. Email, calendar entries, alerts, etc; can all be handled in the tablet mode, and, when the notebook is opened, whatever is being worked on in "tiles" will be (quickly) active in notebook mode. Of course, this does require Windows 8 and Metro, and the video mentions to audience members to not even think about copying the technology, 'cause it's patented. Seems like an ideal melding of notebook and tablet to me.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Road To Windows 8 Tablets Is Uphill

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 03:00 PM

"Windows-based tablets haven’t been treated kindly by the test of time. Those released in the Windows XP era relied on wonky, stylus-based data entry, and even modern, touch-based tablets running Windows 7 are poor performers. Indeed, Microsoft has a troubled tablet history that the public isn’t soon to forget. This November, Forrester released a study that showed consumer interest in a Windows-based tablet dropped significantly this year. At the start of 2011, 46 percent of potential tablet owners wanted a Windows device. By Q3, that number slipped to 25 percent."

Windows has been losing a lot of ground lately. As technology advances, the need for a desktop computer, or even a laptop has become less and less so for your average consumer. While Microsoft fights in the smartphone market with Windows Phone 7, it hopes to see success in the tablet market with Windows 8. While Windows 7 tablets do exist, they have not been flying off the shelves like iPads. With iOS and Android currently dominating the market, can Microsoft become relevant? If they are willing to stay in it for the long run, I believe so. This is not the first time Microsoft has tried to make a market a three-party system. The original X-box was a gamble, and cost Microsoft a considerable amount of money, but now in its second iteration (and maybe soon to be third), the company has carved itself a sizable chunk of the console market. It might just be able to repeat that success with tablets.

Monday, October 31, 2011

New ASUS Tablets (Android and Windows 8) Coming in 2012

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Asus Eee PC Transformer" @ 05:30 PM

"The Transformer Prime, with its quad-core silicon and tasty OS, has rightfully garnered much attention lately. A PowerPoint deck detailing ASUS' Q3 earnings now gives us a peek at its Eee Pad strategy -- confirming the aforementioned Prime's November 9th release date, while also promising two more bot-powered slates in the first quarter of 2012."

Looking at the accompanying information from ASUS, translated into English (somewhere), and then extracted from a German-language site, the news is about an ASUS Transformer Prime, followed by an ASUS PadFone and a variant on the Eee Pad Slider. Two (2) Windows 8 tablets (Eee Slate E121 and the Eee Slate Business B121) are scheduled to be available in the autumn of 2012, giving ASUS two tablet technologies (consumer *and* business) in the marketplace.

The Transformer Prime looks to have NVIDIA's new Tegra 3 quad-core processor, a 10-inch display, 14.5-hour battery run time, and should run Android's newest OS. The current Transformer is a very solid tablet, and these updates should be welcomed by its fans.

ASUS estimates that it will sell roughly 1.8-million tablets in 2011, with an additional estimate of 600K still to be sold/delivered in Q4 2011 in addition to the 1.2-million sold to date. While the news is (and dates are) a bit contradictory in translation, we can expect some new competitors to the iPad from ASUS.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Kindle Fire Creating Switchers Amongst Manufacturers?

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 05:30 PM

"Amazon did more than just throw down the gauntlet when it announced its $200 Kindle Fire tablet, the e-tailer may have also scared off some of the competition altogether. Oddly enough, the Kindle Fire might actually help Microsoft increase its presence in the mobile market, as OEMs look to Windows 8-based slates in order to avoid a price war among Android tablets."

Interesting conjecture, that rather than trying to continue to compete in the cut-throat Android tablet space, some manufacturers are considering switching to (building) Windows 8 tablets to target more "business" customers. RIM tried this with the PlayBook, but with a product that was great in concept, but short on execution. Even current Android tablet makers are cutting prices to try to compete with Amazon. But $199?

Dell and HP are two manufacturers mentioned by name, with Dell maybe a real possibility, but HP seems to have totally lost credibility in the market with the TouchPad debacle. Months back, I ordered an HP Slate 500 tablet running Windows 7 when it was announced, but gave up and cancelled my order after they couldn't deliver a tablet more than two months after it was supposedly shipping. And, it was $799, not $199.

The Kindle Fire is going to be a game changer, if Amazon can meet the demand. I've got an iPhone and an iPad, but I ordered one, just because.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Windows 8 Tablet Review: Kupa X11

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Other Slates & Tablets" @ 09:00 AM

"Windows 8 tablets are just around the corner but and tablet maker Kupa is showing off the X11 running the upcoming operating systems. It was great to play around with a tablet that has Windows 8 navigation up and running."

Interesting to see Windows 8 and the new Metro UI running (and running pretty well for a prototype) on a tablet. Retailing starting at $699, the 900 gram, 10.1-inch X11 sports an Intel Atom processor, a 1366x768 semi-gloss high-res screen, 2GB RAM, front and rear cameras, a nice collection of ports, and a 64GB SSD. For $999 (or $799 per the video) the X11 adds 3G service, and ups the SSD to 128GB. No details were provided on availability, or on a critical component, battery life. To me, the X11 looked a bit bulky (thick), and a bit unwieldy, but again, it's a prototype, not a finished product. Thoughts?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Introducing Windows 8 Ultratablets

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 12:00 AM

"This week we have warring conferences as Microsoft and Intel scheduled their developer events on top of each other. This means there are a massive number of us trying to be in two places at once, mostly unsuccessfully."

Intel and Microsoft are trying to hasten the evolution of the transportable computer by melding an ultralight laptop and a touchscreen tablet. Windows 8 aims to kick-start things on x86-based Ultratablets by running both the new Metro UI (touchy-feely) for tablet-style apps, and a traditional desktop for legacy Windows apps. ARM computers (tablets) will be limited to Metro UI style apps (no legacy Windows) at least until legacy apps are ported. In the Apple world, this is analagous to Mac OS X gaining the ability to run iOS apps, along with OS X, while iOS devices can run only iOS (not legacy OS X) apps.

Assuming that the big brains can get this all right, we'll see Ultratablets with a great touch interface (but also a keyboard), long battery life, under $1000, with the power to run any (type of) apps. So no more laptops that are great content creators but lousy content providers/consumers, or tablets that are lousy content creators but great content consumers. One device that meets all these needs, the Ultratablet - isn't this what we're all hoping for?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Is Windows 8 The Future of Tablet Operating Systems?

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 07:00 PM

"The Samsung Windows 8 Developer Preview PC is kind of like the anti-iPad. And we’re not complaining. The Live Tile interface is more dynamic. You can write on it with a pen. And it boots even faster. But you can’t buy this slate. It was designed to let developers sink their teeth into Windows 8 to start cranking out apps."

Are we seeing the beginning of the end for Windows laptops? This preview edition seems to meld the best of a laptop with tablet features (or Windows Phone 7 features, if you prefer). The Metro UI is quite a departure from legacy Windows, but the more I see of it, the more I like it. And, there will be a desktop mode for those that aren't (yet) comfortable with touch mode. Not a lot of core apps are available now, but the preview is impressive.

Throw the tablet in its docking station, and add a bluetooth keyboard, and, bye bye laptop!

Hello Windows of the future!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Xbox Live Coming to Windows 8

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 04:56 PM

The above image is from someone's Flickr account, so I'm not sure if it's real, but Engadget is reporting that Xbox Live is coming to Windows 8. This is impressive - between the Xbox hooked up to a TV, a Windows Phone, and Windows 8 on a PC or tablet, Microsoft has a three-screens entertainment strategy that can actually compete with Apple's iTunes ecosystem. Not bad Microsoft, not bad at all. Note that there's no word "Zune" anywhere in that screen shot, or on the Engadget one. That reinforces to me that the Zune brand is on the way out...but I wonder what they'll re-brand the awesome desktop software to? Xbox doesn't make sense as a media player brand - well, not to me at least.

Windows 8: This is the Future of Windows

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 09:48 AM

"Microsoft is welcoming around 5,000 developers to its BUILD conference today to unveil the most significant change in the PC space since Windows 95. "It's a launch," explains Windows chief Steven Sinofsky. "It's a launch of an opportunity for developers. That's a lot, it's a big deal to do today and tomorrow," he says during an opening address to media and analysts in Anaheim California. You sense the sense of excitement in the room and the realisation that Windows 8 is a really big deal for Microsoft, a deal that cannot go wrong."

It's taken years, but Microsoft has finally delivered a truly workable touch-based interface. Check out the video above; the performance is stunning. Everything is smooth and impressively fluid. Yes, this is a developer's build so it's not finished, but seeing performance like this early on is a great indicator of what's to come. Windows 8 is also significantly lighter on resources than Windows 7; Engadget's post says that Windows 7 SP1 required 404 MB of RAM and had 32 processes running. Compare that to Windows 8 using only 281 MB of RAM and having 28 processes - that's big, big improvement.

Are you excited? I'm excited! More coverage here on Business Insider and Engadget.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Microsoft Improves File Copying in Windows 8

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 10:37 AM

"Microsoft tonight showed a new approach to copying and moving files in Windows 8, the next version of its PC operating system - aiming to clean up, clarify and consolidate the jumble of dialog boxes that Windows users have dealt with for years."

The above screen shot is more than a little geeky - let's face it, an average user isn't going to click on More Details to see this - but I really like this. Now if I could only figure out why file transfers to my HP Windows Home Server start out at 90 MB/s and drop to 5 MB/s after a few minutes. Sigh...

Friday, June 3, 2011

Windows 8: "Always On, Always Connected" or Standard Windows

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts News" @ 11:30 PM

"Part of Microsoft's Windows 8 presentation involved showing the money - that it could run on ARM hardware so they demoed the upcoming finger-touch friendly OS on a couple of tablets and a standard laptop. The tablets sported either a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8660 (1.2GHz, dual-core), Nvidia Tegra 3 (quad-core) or TI OMAP4430 (1GHz, dual-core, as on the BlackBerry Playbook) processors while the laptop ran Tegra 3."

We're seeing some exciting new technologies for Windows emerging - Windows tablets based on ARM processors, and traditional notebook form factor systems, also ARM powered. All are dual-mode, with what Microsoft is calling ", always on, always connected" and a more traditional Windows desktop with features from Windows Phone. Easy toggling between modes. These are really impressive feature videos, especially so early in the Windows 8 development cycle.

Here we have a clamshell system, non-touchscreen, running with an ARM processor, Kal-El Quad Core, running a real version of Microsoft Word. Power, small size, a long battery life, and runs the apps that I need on the job. I'm impressed!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Windows 8 Sneak Peek: Well This is Different!

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 07:00 AM

"On Wednesday, Microsoft offered the first glimpse of Windows 8, a sneak peek that reveals much about both the influences and the strategic goals of the major overhaul of Microsoft's 25-year-old operating system. The fundamental goal with the new operating system, which is being shown for the first time at D9, is to create something that is equally well at home on an 8-inch tablet as it is on a powerful desktop attached to a huge monitor."

Microsoft is serious about the Metro UI being part of their product line-up, and we can see that in action in the screen shot above (check out the source article for a high-res image). This looks like what you'd expect it Microsoft transformed Windows Phone 7 into a tablet UI: Live Tiles more appropriate for a device with a big screen, a panoramic pivot view, and some extremely funky colours. I still have severe reservations around the performance and battery life of a tablet running full-blown Windows (even based on ARM), but I'm excited to see Microsoft going after this hard by betting on a radically different UI overlay.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Windows 8: Still Carrying the Baggage of Legacy Windows

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Laptop Thoughts Talk" @ 10:30 PM

"The new Windows 8 touch-based UI, revealed earlier today at the D9 Conference, looks good. It’s clearly drawn from the same inspiration as Windows Phone 7, and shows some seriously innovative UI thinking. The idea of tiles rather than icons is rich, and strikes me as even better-suited to bigger screens than phones. The snapping concept is an interesting way to make use of a bigger screen to show two apps at once. Displaying side-by-side content isn’t possible on iOS, and no one’s yet solved that problem in the post-windows (note lowercase “w”) UI landscape."

Interesting that the D9 conference actually had some hands-on time with an early version of the Windows 8 Touch UI, heavily influenced by Windows Phone 7's UI. These demos show just how heavily Apple has influenced industry UI development over the last few years. The author's main point is that Microsoft is trying to add these new (touch) features to coexist alongside existing Windows code, and he doesn't think that it'll work. Imagine the complexity of a real enterprise Excel spreadsheet (huge!) on a touch-screen tablet. Mind boggling. Obviously it's early in the Windows 8 development cycle, so things may change drastically between now and when it gets into consumers' hands. Will we see "more of the same," or will Microsoft truly innovate this time around? Predictions?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Windows 8 to Support "Portable Workspace" on USB Flash Drives

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 09:42 AM

"An early copy of Windows 8 leaked to the Internet this week and enthusiasts have been digging their way through the various new bits in Microsoft's next-generation operating system. Windows 8 build 7850.0.winmain_win8m1.100922-1508 contains a number of references to a brand new feature in Windows: Portable Workspaces. Microsoft will allow Enterprise customers to create USB storage driven copies of Windows. "Portable Workspace is a Windows feature that allows you to run Windows from a USB storage device," notes Microsoft in its description of the feature inside Windows 8. Users at mydigitallife unveiled the features inside 7850 and discovered that the feature requires at least 16GB of space."

I've been wondering what sorts of new features would be a part of Windows 8, and it looks like we have something truly unique: the ability to create a bootable, portable version of Windows 8 that you can put on a 16 GB or bigger flash drive and do everything from. Lots of questions remain: what sort of functionality will you actually get given when you connect to a different PC you'll be using generic drivers for video, networking, etc.? Still, it's a neat idea with some interesting potential.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Peeking Into The Features Of Windows 8

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:30 PM

"Rafael Rivera posted a number of screenshots on Monday that reveal Microsoft’s “Immersive” browser in Windows 8. Rivera speculates that the application is designed to run full screen only and that he is witnessing limitations trying to enable it on a pre-beta version of Windows 8. “One clue to the Immersive UI, however, exists in a new Immersive version of Internet Explorer, which looks and works much like Windows Phone’s IE Mobile, but uses the desktop IE 9 renderer,” writes Rivera."

With the release of Windows 8 slowly approaching, it looks as if the Microsoft PR engine is starting up and we're getting a better look at what Windows 8 will have to offer. The influence from the smartphone and tablet market is obvious; the most obvious is the Windows applicaiton store. Though I would argue that services like X-box live arcade, Steam and even going back in a more basic form, linux distro repositories are all ancestors of the what we now think of as an app store.

The quasi-unification of the user interface between smartphones, tablets and desktops is also interesting, but I worry that we might lose something in the translation. They are separate form factors, and what is most efficent for one is not for another. Must we have the same thing for everything? A supreme jack of all trades UI?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

PC Makers Get First Hands-On With Windows 8

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 03:30 PM

"Microsoft has shipped the first test version of Windows 8 to PC makers, according to posts on online forums, which means it's on track for a late 2012 release. Windows 8 is a big deal for Microsoft because it will have special features for tablets -- it will be the first version of the full Windows desktop OS to run on the low-powered ARM processors used in most tablets, and will have a design that works better on touch screens."

Am I crazy, or does Windows 7 still feel "new"? I guess after the massive, painful gap between Windows XP and Windows Vista, anything faster than that is going to feel a bit different - though Windows 7 couldn't come fast enough after Vista. I didn't hate Vista like some people did, but I knew Windows 7 was going to fix a lot of the rough edges around Vista, so I was keenly looking forward to it. Windows 8 coming in late 2012 or 2013 makes sense; Windows 7 came out in October of 2009, so late 2012 would make it three years. Windows 7 is an excellent operating system; I wonder what improvements Windows 8 will bring to the table beyond the tablet improvements? I'm still extremely reluctant to believe that Microsoft can implement a touch-based UI that doesn't feel tacked on. Guess we'll see!

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