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Even thought millions upon millions of people still use Windows 7 across the world, Microsoft will be ending mainstream support of its most popular OS early next year.
The company normally supports its operating systems for a minimum of 10 years, with a minimum of five years for its 'mainstream' support - or for two years after its successor is released (in this case, Windows 8). Another minimum of five years (or an additional two years after its successor is released) in something Microsoft calls extended support.
During the first few years with mainstream support, Microsoft offers the OS security updates, non-security hot-fixes, performance enhancements, feature improvements and design changes, all for free, as well as still accepting warranty claims. Once this mainstream support has passed, and it is entering extended support, the company only provides security updates, and paid hotfix support.
Google has seen a nice increase in Android 4.4 KitKat usage over the last seven days, where the mobile OS has jumped onto 4.3% more devices. Last month, KitKat was sitting on 13.6% of Android devices, with this number now sitting at 17.9%.
When it comes to Android 4.1 - 4.3 Jelly Bean, it dropped from 58.4% last month to 55.5% in the first week of July. Android 4.0.x Ice Cream Sandwich is also down, from 12.3% to 11.4% and so is Android 2.3 Gingerbread, which dropped from 14.9% to 13.5%.
If you're an Android user, you should begin to get excited for the next iteration of Android, simply known right now as the 'L' release. Rewinding back to when Jelly Bean was released, which featured Project Butter - an initiative that improved the overall speed and performance of the entire OS.
When Google unleashed KitKat, we saw Project Svelte tightening things up, optimizing the installation of Android to run on just 512MB. This allowed entry-level smartphones and tablets to rock the latest mobile OS from Google, without requiring the latest and greatest hardware. Moving onto the new L release, which should arrive as Android 5.0, and its new Project Volta.
Project Volta has the aim of battery life in its sights, with Ars Technica getting its hands-on Android L's Project Volta, and chucking into a battery life test. In their Wi-Fi browsing test, the Android L Developer Preview was able to beat out Android 4.4 KitKat by 36%, which is a huge difference. This provides an additional two-or-so hours of battery life, which is some what of a small, but gigantic victory for Google. The testing itself was performance on what Ars Technica explains as a "beat-up, daily driver phone" so we should expect even better numbers with Google's official release.
Microsoft is having a very hard time convincing users of its operating system that it is worthwhile to upgrade. That means that the profitability for its Windows division isn't what it used to be. The next major Windows release is expected to happen in the spring of 2015.
The name of that major release is up in the air, it is being called Windows "Threshold" right now, but it could ultimately be called Windows 9. The main goal of the operating system is to lure Windows 7 holdouts to upgrade. To get Windows 7 users to go to a new OS, Microsoft will fit it with features specifically aimed at desktop users that interface with a mouse and keyboard or touch.
Reports indicate that the OS will use profiles that make it look different depending on what type of hardware it is running on. The next version of Windows will have versions that are designed for desktops and put Windows Desktop for legacy apps in the forefront and version that supports switching for convertible devices between metro-style mode and Windowed mode. Interestingly, there is some indication that Threshold may be a free update for everyone on Windows 8.1.
Google I/O 2014 - The L release of Android is getting a good tease at Google I/O, with the next iteration of Google's mobile OS fusing together the world of personal and corporate smartphones - seeing the same applications installed on both.
Within the OS, there is still data separation, so your personal data doesn't mix with the important work data. This will pave the way for the bulk deployment of apps too, which will make the lives of IT support staff that much easier. Samsung has worked closely with Google on this, with Google thanking Samsung for its contribution on their work on Knox.
Google I/O 2014 - There's an update coming out later in the year, which will allow you to use your Chromecast to blast your screen on your smartphone, to your TV.
You can mirror anything on the TV, including the camera app if that's what you wish. LG, HTC and Samsung will be supporting it, with a slew of smartphones to work with this technology, and many more to come.
Google I/O 2014 - Google just announced the impressive looking Android TV at Google I/O, but one of the bigger announcements that didn't seem to get much attention was who Google were working with.
Google will have Android TV powering the entire 2015 lineup of HD and UHD smart TV ranges from Sony, Sharp, TP Vision and Philips. Sony is a big partner here, and seems to be center stage for the Android TV platform. I'm excited to see what Sony can pull off with Android TV with its future HD and UHD sets.
Razer and ASUS will also be making Android TV-powered streaming boxes, which is another interesting thing to see.
Google I/O 2014 - Something that has been rumored for quite a while now, has just been confirmed at Google I/O: Android TV. Android TV will support inputs from HDMI, receivers, and more, and will have an application available for your phone.
The home screen will overlay over the top of whatever is playing, be it a TV show or movie. Google seems to have absolutely nailed the user interface, with something that is simple, yet slick. It's not all about movies and TV though, as there will be apps and games, too. You can speak into your smartphone searching for stuff, with the responses turning up on Android TV - a nice touch.
An Android Wear-powered smartwatch can even control Android TV, something I'm sure you didn't expect, but will welcome. Games on Android TV are also something that can work incredibly well, with gamepads being supported (which ones, we don't know yet).
Google I/O 2014 - Google's upcoming L series of Android will feature a "factory reset protection" feature, which will allow users to remotely wipe their device in the event that it is stolen.
Not only that, but the upcoming release of Android will also feature Malware Protection, and Security Patches through Play Services. The more and more time that goes past with Android, the more it becomes a much stronger OS. We will have more details on the L release of Android hopefully very soon.
Google I/O 2014 - Something that plagues virtually every smartphone and tablet user is battery life, right? Well, at Google I/O, Google teased something called Project Volta, with the aim of improving battery life on every subsystem of Android.
Not only that, but the L release of Android will also have improved battery life, so we should see quite the injection of battery life with an L-powered Android device, with Project Volta running behind the scenes.