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According to ZDNet's sources, Microsoft's upcoming Windows Blue will be known as Windows 8.1 to the public. As you can see in the screenshot below, the operating system is clearly labeled as "Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro." It looks like Windows Blue could be similar to the service packs of yesteryear.
The update appears to follow along the lines of Windows Phone 7 and 7.5. Windows RT is said to be known as "Windows RT 8.1." Microsoft envisions Windows 8 as a multiple selling season product meaning these refreshes every year or so, somewhat like how Apple updates Mac OS X in that they have 10.6, 10.7, and 10.8 each with their own codename.
It's not clear whether Microsoft intends to charge customers to update, though I would venture to guess they will charge a fee. If I had to guess a number, I'd guess $20.
Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system continues to be somewhat of a flop. Usage data from Net Applications show Windows 8 usage is still behind that of Microsoft's last flop, Windows Vista. Windows XP and Windows 7 continue to be top contenders, even though XP was initially released over 11 years ago.
Windows 8 is used on 3.17 percent of computers, up from 2.67 percent in February. Vista, on the other hand, is found on 4.99 percent of systems. Windows XP is still found on 38.73 percent of systems and Windows 7 is the largest used operating system, found on 44.73 percent of systems.
Mac OS X 10.6-10.8 combined is found on below 7 percent of systems. Windows 8 uptake is likely to increase and is predicted to eclipse that of Vista within the year.
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.