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It's an interesting time for Windows-based systems, as there are mountains of Android- and iOS-based devices being sold every minute of every day, with no sign of slowing down.
DigiTimes' latest report is that major PC vendors are joining Intel in their push for Android-based convertible touch-based devices. Yes, Android-based devices are wanted from Intel, with it looking like they're slowly shifting away from Windows. Lenovo are the ones reportedly leading the pack, where they'll release an Android-based version of their Yoga, an 11-inch convertible tablet.
Acer, ASUS, HP and Toshiba are all preparing Android-based devices, which we should see more of heading into Computex and even more in Q3 2013. DigiTimes' sources have said that the "sweet spot" for Android notebook pricing is at around $500, which means we should see some pretty powerful devices similar to what we see from Apple and their iPad, and Samsung and others with their current Android-based slates.
When Microsoft killed the start button with Windows 8, many long time users were appalled, and cried foul. This morning the Verge is reporting that we will see a reappearance of the start button in the Windows 8.1, but don't get too excited yet.
If you were hoping for a start menu along with the revived start button, you will be sadly disappointed, the new start button is essentially a reskinned copy of the charm that appears when you mouse over to the right hand side of the desktop. Clicking the new start button will open the live tile interface.
News of this addition comes shortly after the announcement that Windows 8.1 will include a "boot to desktop" mode that will let users log directly into the desktop interface and forgo ever having to look at live tiles again.
Windows 8.1 has seen its third leak, arriving to file sharing websites as build 9374. Build 9374 of Windows 8.1 doesn't seem to include any huge changes, but there is one interesting new addition: Kiosk Mode.
Kiosk Mode can be found in the PC settings menu, and seems to be a way of locking down a device to a single Windows 8-style application. These apps can be selected to launch at login, with the app lockdown in place for user accounts. Kiosk Mode seems destined for business users, or someone who wants to set it up in an embedded-like terminal that runs a single application.
Retail units could be deployed to run a single application, or business devices that allow employees to run a line-of-business application.
Canonical has announced that Ubuntu 13.04 will be available with a GNOME interface, pleasing many users who found that the Unity interface didn't work well on older hardware. Other users, such as myself, found the Unity interface to be terribly designed and not easy to work.
This will be the first version of Ubuntu to feature GNOME as an interface since version 11.04. The version of Ubuntu, known as Ubuntu GNOME, has been around as an independent project since last year. Just because Canonical is offering up GNOME as an interface choice doesn't mean that Unity is gone.
Canonical still has high hopes for a unified Ubuntu across all devices, as its show with Ubuntu Mobile and Ubuntu Tablet.
Windows 8 has been here for half a year now, and I still haven't bothered even considering to change over - with millions of others in the same position. There's now new rumors on Windows 8.1, which is set to fuse the desktop and mobile Windows worlds.
Microsoft mainly wants to do this to target Android, but I can't see how this will happen in the short term. The other news is that Microsoft is planning a September launch for Windows 8.1, but we should see a more public appearance sometime in August if everything goes to plan. New screenshots have surfaced confirming the new version is called Windows 8.1 Pro Preview, which is an interesting shift in names for Microsoft.
Should we expect no Service Pack for Windows 8, and just a shift to Windows 8.1? There are a few things to look forward to in Windows 8.1, such as 50/50 split-screen Metro app support, multi-monitor Metro app support, Internet Explorer will receive WelGL and SPDY support as well as Tab syncing, and much more. This is on top of the slew of performance increases and bug fixes we should expect from Windows 8.1.
Apple needs a come back in the mobile OS department, and it looks like iOS 7 could just be that. The Cupertino-based giant is set to tease the world with iOS 7 at their Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June.
Then we have news from Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Haberty, who predicts Apple's iOS 7 will include a new Internet service, such as a mobile payment system that will continue on from Passbook, or a new music streaming service - something we've heard about before - where she expects this new service to be iOS 7's 'killer app'.
We've already heard of the huge UI overhaul on iOS 7, so it looks like Apple is now playing catch up to Android - because if the world's most advanced mobile operating system was indeed titled correctly, we should only expect evolution, not revolution.
BlackBerry is apparently already readying an update for its BlackBerry 10 operating system used on its latest flagship devices. The new update is said to be in the works for release by the end of the month and will bring with it numerous improvements.
According to the leak, BlackBerry 10 users can expect numerous improvements for just the camera. BB10.1 is said to feature a faster camera and HDR support. BB10.1 will also be getting UI and keyboard tweaks to help BlackBerry users adjust to the on-screen keyboard. The full list of improvements is below:
- Mnemonic Phone Dialing
- BlackBerry Mobile Voice System Support
- Keyboard Shortcuts
- BlackBerry Balance
- Word Prediction
- Type N Go
- Corporate Liable Feature
- Cross Domain Email Warnings
- Dark Theme Support
- Smartcard Support
A warning to all of our readers in Brazil: If your system is powered by Microsoft's 32-bit version of Windows 7, you should disable automatic Windows Updates. Patch number KB2823324 will cause 32-bit Windows 7 systems in Brazil to enter an infinite reboot loop, something most would like to avoid.
Oddly enough, the problem only presents itself in Brazil: "The problem is isolated to Brazil and we are working on a solution," Microsoft said.
To fix the problem, you'll need to load a recent System Restore points. If you don't use System Restore, you might be able to use Command Prompt in Safe Mode to remove the botched patch. Run the following command:
DISM.exe / image: C: [windows8 install]/ cleanup-image / revertpendingact
Of course, your mileage may vary. If all else fails, you can wait for Microsoft to issue an official fix or reinstall your operating system.
T-Mobile has started the roll out of software updates for the scores of unlocked iPhones already running on the carrier's network. If you're using an unlocked iPhone 5 on T-Mobile's network, this update will enable LTE and Visual Voicemail as well as fix minor bugs and optimizations.
We previously reported that this roll out would start today. You can easily update your device over the air or by connecting up to iTunes. The update details what it brings to the table:
Enables the following:
4G network indicator
Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS)
AWS LTE (T-Mobile and officially unlocked AT&T iPhone 5 only)
HD Voice (T-Mobile and officially unlocked AT&T iPhone 5 only)
AWS HSPA+ (T-Mobile and new 2013 AT&T iPhone 5 only)
Personal Hotspot Settings (Smartphone Mobile Hotspot)
APN settings for LTE connectivity
CyanogenMod founder Steve Kondik has taken to his Google+ page to announce that he has restored the opt-out feature on stats gathering within CyanogenMod this morning. He had some choice words to say about the situation:
It's incredibly frustrating that a handful of incredibly vocal users are ready to "fork" over the issue. News flash: there are already a hundred forks of CM. We like it, and we enable it! And there's no sinister plot to crack the hashed data and sell your deepest darkest secrets to Verizon and the NSA.
In the end though, we should respect everyone's wishes here. The change was well-intentioned- we just want to have better answers to certain questions. There are many applications out there who are doing incredibly dubious things like uploading all of your contacts without your consent, so certain suspicions are understandable. I do not want CM to ever be perceived as a group who doesn't respect the privacy of it's users.