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7 and 8-inch Windows based tablets could be on their way. Microsoft has just altered the specification requirements for Windows 8 tablets opening up a new avenue for OEMs to begin developing smaller Windows 8 based devices.
Up until now, devices wishing to run Windows 8 needed to have a minimum resolution of 1366x768, and that caused problems for manufacturers wanting to release cheaper Windows 8 based tablets. Microsoft has just fixed that issue by lowering the minimum screen resolution supported to 1024x768.
Microsoft says that the new minimum resolution requirements will allow "partners exploring designs for certain markets could find greater design flexibility helpful," which is a strong hint that smaller form factor Windows 8 tablets could be on the way. With the growing popularity of Samsung's Galaxy Note series, Google's Nexus 7 and Apple's iPad mini growing in popularity every day, it only makes sense that Redmond opens up Windows 8 for smaller devices.
Microsoft are close to releasing their next-generation Windows OS, which is reportedly set for our consumption later this year. The Verge reports that Microsoft began working on a "milestone preview" version of Windows Blue earlier this month.
The Redmond-based software giant plans to make it available to developers and enthusiasts at their Build developer conference in June. The final product most likely won't arrive as 'Windows Blue,' but right now there are no rumors on the new name Microsoft will give it. Rumors have suggested, however, that the return of the Start Bar would be included.
Microsoft's Build conference takes place on June 26 in San Francisco.
China is notorious for trying to control every aspect of its citizen's computing lives. It regularly blocks websites, restricts software and cuts internet connection from its people. Surprisingly even with all of that control, the Chinese government seemingly loves Linux.
Most of you will be surprised to hear that China has had open source "Software Promotion Union" since 2004 and the union is teaming up with Canonical to create a better Linux distro just for China. Dubbed Kylin, this version of Linux is designed to replace "Red Flag", the current "Chinese only" Linux based OS.
Kylin will support Chinese characters and will link up with Chinese web services for banking, music streaming and local mapping. Reports have us seeing an official release of the distro as early as April. With Ubuntu Founder Mark Shuttleworth heading up the Software Promotion Union, we expect that estimate to be fairly accurate.
The latest leaked build of Windows Blue has floated out and onto the Internet, with build 9364 of the upcoming updated OS is available in both 32- and 64-bit, and will set you back around 2.63GB as an ISO file.
This is of course a leaked build, nothing official, so it's only available from the usual file-sharing websites. The latest build shows off some updated larger and smaller Live Tiles, some more Start screen customization as well as updated side-by-side app view which helps multi-tasking quite a bit as you can now display two applications with matching width.
There are some other things included with build 9364, such as a Play option under the Devices panel, a screenshot button on the Share sidebar, as well as Internet Explore 11 which comes included with Windows Blue.
With Tim Cook steering the Apple ship, we are seeing the company go in a new direction, something I'm guessing will help them gain more users, but not alienate others who like iOS. The latest news is that the Apple CEO has set Jony Ive with leadership of Apple's Human Interface teams, as well as his role as the head of Industrial Design.
This news has suggested that Apple's hardware and software user interfaces could be intertwined even more, with one executive in charge of everything you see and touch on an iOS device. The Wall Street Journal has chimed in, confirming that this is true, with mobile software teams being briefed about new hardware prototypes earlier in the design cycle. Ive is now sitting in on the human interface team's review sessions, where he can have more one-on-one time with the new designs.
Some suggested that in Apple's next mobile operating system, Ive is pushing a more "flat design" that is starker and simpler, according to developers who have spoken to Apple employees but didn't have further details. Overall, they expect any changes to be pretty conservative. For the past few years, Apple has unveiled versions of its mobile operating system in the summer.
Design is one example of the increased "collaboration across hardware, software and services" that Apple said it was aiming for when Cook pushed senior vice president and mobile software chief Scott Forstall out of the company last year.
If you haven't updated to Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) yet, you'll be forced to in the coming days. Microsoft are rolling out SP1 automatically through Windows Update, so you'll no longer have the option to opt-out of the update.
Previously, SP1 was available on Windows Update, but required the user to action the installation. As of tomorrow, the installation of SP1 will be fully automatic, not requiring the user to choose to update to SP1 or not to those who have Automatic Update enabled. SP1 will eventually roll out to all customers on the RTM version of Windows 7.
Over 750 million Android devices activated, over 25 billion apps downloaded from the Google Play Store
Google are currently on a rampage, with some new milestones reached on their mobile OS platform, Android. Google CEO Larry Page announced the news, where there are now over 750 million Android devices activated across the world.
Not just that, but there have been 25 billion apps downloaded from the Google Play Store. Interestingly, the 750 million devices activated does not include Amazon's Kindle series, knockoffs, or devices that aren't running any of the Google apps of services. That's 750 million guaranteed Android devices, period.
Where will we be this time next year? 1.25 billion devices and 5 billion+ apps? The Galaxy S IV is nearly here, and I'm sure we'll see 50 million of those sold in the next twelve months alone.
It's not like we didn't know it was coming, but Microsoft are working on both Windows 9 and Internet Explorer 11. The news comes from MSFTKitchen, who posted a link to a Microsoft job post, which is looking for a "Software Development Engineer-BING."
The job post mentions Windows 9 and Internet Explorer 11, stating:
The team will be constantly delivering great products in areas including Windows 9, IE11 services integration, touch friendly devices including iPad and more.
This isn't Windows Blue, either, as that is a separate update to Windows 8 that is coming later in the year. This is the true, next-generation OS from Microsoft. Something I that I think will wrap their worlds together with Surface, Xbox, and more.
Samsung continue to show no love for Windows Phone, they have no 'interest in seeing the Windows Phone platform succeed'
With Samsung seeing so much success with their Android-based Galaxy range of devices, can you blame the company for digging on Microsoft's Windows Phone platform? Well, according to a new research note from Detwiler Fenton analyst Jeff Johnston, it looks like Samsung aren't interested in Windows Phone, the analyst says:
There is no evidence that Samsung has any interest in seeing the Windows Phone platform succeed.
Quite a strong statement, but Samsung are seeing great success with Android, and are waiting in the wings with their Tizen platform, too. Johnston continues, saying that Samsung's "Windows Phone roadmap is limited to a small number of smartphones, none of which appear to be all that exciting."
The analyst finishes with "Having a successful Windows Phone 8 platform only means it will have another mobile platform (backed by deep pockets) to compete with. Samsung has a long way to go before we can take Tizen seriously however one thing seems certain, it is going to keep its foot on MSFT's throat as it pours money into Tizen."
Intel-optimized Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean dev code released, gives the option to dual-boot with Windows 8
It looks like Intel have been busy, where they've just released a pre-alpha, Intel-optimized release of Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. Intel's Open Source Technology Center developers have been working closely with the Android Open-Source Project, so that they can get a decent build out for Intel-powered devices.
This could mean PCs, or traditional smartphones and tablets. Better yet, thanks to being powered by the Linux 3.9 kernel, there's a new interactive installer as well as the stellar ability to dual-boot on a Windows 8 system. Let's hope this makes it to consumers' hands, quick.