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We heard about the Threshold update not long ago, something that might include more than we expect from Microsoft. Now we have Microsoft expert, Paul Thurrott, chiming in, where he believes we might see a return of the Start menu to Windows.
The Start menu would return to an optional desktop-only version of Windows, something that would be included in desktop versions of the OS. Touch-based versions of the OS will completely rid themselves of the desktop component, and will not feature the Start menu, and will only use the Start screen as its one, and only UI.
I think this makes much more sense, and is something I've talked about in various articles. Splitting the OS up into two: one with a Start menu/destined for desktop, one for touch-based devices/notebooks. I'm sure you could still get your hands on the desktop-based OS with the Start menu, and install it onto your notebook/Ultrabook, which is something I will be doing in the near future.
Apple has updated its developer website for the iOS App Store, which shows some great adoption rates for iOS 7. Apple's latest mobile OS is on 74% of devices, which is a 10% increase over October's numbers.
22% of active App Store users are running iOS 6, which means that if we combined the numbers, we're looking at 96% of iOS users being on the latest two operating systems from Apple. This is something that Apple excels in - iOS adoption rates. Compared to Android, where there are still 25.8% of its users on versions of Google's mobile OS older than Android 4.x.
It looks like Google is preparing to update its Nexus range of devices with an even newer version of its deliciously-named KitKat OS. The new update would crank it up to version 4.4.1.
We don't know what to expect from this small update, but I would put bets on just small bug fixes. The news is coming from 9to5Google's analytics, which show a few devices running Android 4.4.1 originating from Google's Santa Clara, California HQ.
Microsoft's next major milestone is something called "Threshold", an internal name for an upcoming update to its platforms. ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley is reporting from multiple anonymous sources, as well as an internal Microsoft e-mail from Executive Vice President, Terry Myerson.
Foley says that Threshold will hit all three major platforms from Microsoft: Windows, Xbox One and Windows Phone. The company is wanting to unify the developer toolset for all three platforms, and support the same core set of "high value activities" across platforms. There are four parts to this, the first is expression/documents (Office), decision making/task completion (Bing), IT management (intune) and something else, which is labeled as "serious fun".
We did hear about this not long ago, so we should expect big things from this Threshold update. Before Threshold, we should expect an update being pushed out for Windows 8.1, which is known as Windows 8.1 Update 1, and Windows Phone 8.1, sometime next year.
Microsoft's three key Windows platforms will eventually be merged into one, super OS, according to Microsoft executive Julie Larson-Green. The MS exec recently spoke at the UBS Global Technology Summit, where she said that this merging will take some time.
Larson-Green said: "We have the phone OS, we have Windows RT, and we have full Windows. We are not going to have three." The executive did have some comments regarding the necessity of the platform, for Microsoft's current operations: "We do think there is a world where there is a more mobile operating system, that doesn't have the risks to battery life or the risk to security [that Windows does]," she said, "but it also comes with a cost of flexibility."
I've been running my Nexus 5 for around a week now, and I love it - Android 4.4 KitKat is a very nice upgrade to the Android ecosystem, and now Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition owners can get some of that KitKat lovin'.
It's good timing, as the HTC One Google Play Edition received its update a few hours ago, and now the second Google Play Edition handset, and premium smartphone has received it. If you haven't received your update yet, it should roll through in the next couple of hours hopefully. Do comment and let us know what you think about the new deliciously-named OS!
Google has confirmed it will be providing RAW file support for Android, as well as native burst shot for the Camera application on Android, too. These functions have been rumored, but now confirmed.
The news has been announced by Google spokesperson Gina Scigliano, who said: "Android's latest camera HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) and framework supports raw and burst-mode photography. We will expose a developer API in a future release to expose more of the HAL functionality." RAW support will allow users to create professional-style photos by using photo editors, just like people who snap photos with a DSLR can.
Sure, it won't be as good as using a DSLR camera, but RAW support will only be embraced, not pushed away.
Microsoft has evolved Windows over the years, to the point where Windows 8.1 is all but unrecognizable to its older operating systems - like Windows 95/98. Of course, time goes by, and we can't expect Microsoft to stay in the dark ages, while everyone wants something better. Well, Windows 8 ushered in a touchscreen interface for Microsoft, something that most people don't like because, well, they don't own a touchscreen. Sure, it's great for tablets and touch-enabled PCs, but not for normal desktop users, like myself.
There's some concept art that users have made for Windows 9, that address some of these problems that Windows 8 ushered in. The Windows 9 concepts all use a Start button, something that was complained about so much with Windows 8, that Microsoft was forced to provide a Start button in Windows 8.1. They look absolutely gorgeous, but I know Microsoft won't go in this direction, unfortunately.
I wish they would offer us a touch-enabled UI (that we see in Windows 8) but with a professional/desktop-based UI, as we see in these concept pieces. This would help Microsoft gain some of those lost customers back, and it would help the company get people to upgrade from Windows 7, instead of not providing anything to the user as an incentive to upgrade.
If you're rocking a Nexus 4 smartphone, or Nexus 7 tablet (in either the 2012 or 2013 edition) then you'll be happy to know that Google is pushing out Android 4.4 KitKat factory images.
This is great, because some of the Nexus 7 versions aren't receiving their over-the-air (OTA) updates, but now any Nexus 4 or Nexus 7 owner can download it and apply them. I've been using Android 4.4 KitKat on my Nexus 5 for the last few days, and I'm coming to really enjoy the changes that Google has pushed onto the platform.
Windows Vista has come and gone, Windows 7 is still here, but even that has been replaced with Windows 8 and now we have Windows 8.1. But, there are plenty of people still on the ageing Windows XP, and this has to stop.
Director of Trustworthy Computing at Microsoft, Tim Rains, has reminded people that the company will no longer provide support for Windows XP once it strikes midnight on April 8, 2014. This will end security updates for Windows XP, which will leave it more vulnerable to malware. The company stopped supporting Windows XP Service Pack 2, and within two years "its malware infection rate was 66 percent higher than Windows XP Service Pack 3."
We should expect similar numbers for malware in Windows XP SP3, so you might want to upgrade, especially when the malware infection rate of Windows 8.1 is around six times smaller.