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With the first quarter of 2013 out of the way, it's time to reflect on those Windows 8 numbers, isn't it? Net Applications' latest data shows that April was a good month for Windows 8, but for Windows as a whole, not so much.
Worldwide OS market share for April 2013 showed that Windows 8 gained 0.53% from 3.31% to 3.84%, whereas Windows 7 dropped 0.01% from 44.73% to 44.72%. Windows 8 isn't growing much at all, gaining just 0.66% OS market share since December, four months ago now. Windows Blue, or Windows 8.1, is going to meet the same fate, unfortunately.
Google has updated Chrome OS with a new Managed Public Sessions feature so that Chromebooks can more easily be set up as public kiosks. The new feature allows users to surf the web without requiring any sort of login, all the while providing Administrators the tools they need via a web-based management console.
Google points to examples of where this could be useful. For instance, a retail store could set up a kiosk so customers could order out-of-stock merchandise. They could also be used in the business center of a hotel. The uses are really quite endless.
Administrators can easily customize any Chrome device to be a public session device using the web-based management console. The features that you'll find in the console include the ability to set the default sites and apps a user sees at login, custom brand the homepage, block sites and apps that shouldn't be accessed, configure device inputs and outputs, and set timed log-out sessions. For security reasons, public session data is cleared on logout so the next user starts fresh.
Apple will announce OS X 10.9 this June at WWDC and this morning we are learning of a few new features that the OS will see. The updated operating system is said to include two very sought after features. Tabbed browsing in Finder as well as tagging. The update will also bring forth iOS style multitasking and a new version of Safari.
The new version of File Explorer will allow users to switch between multiple folders via tabs which removes the hassle of multiple Finder windows. Users will also be able to tag documents and files from within Finder, making searching for items much easier.
The update, which is codenamed "Cabernet", will also see a Safari refresh that is said to improve speed and efficiency, but I suspect Google Chrome will still be the better choice in browsers. Finally the update is said to bring forth a very iOS-esque style of multitasking where background apps will be paused when not in the active window.
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