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Microsoft is getting their hands dirty with Windows 8, and one of the things they're tweaking at the moment is the way the next-gen operating system manages multi-monitor setups, starting with the next major release of their OS.
Mark Yalovsky, a lead program manager on the User Experience team, had gone into detail explaining some of the features that have already been baked into the Consumer Preview, such as taskbar options for multiple displays, and some that will change like the ability to launch Metro apps on any display - but this post has been taken down.
Microsoft have collected data through the Windows Feedback Program, which points to 14-percent of desktop PCs and approximately 5-percent of laptop PCs sporting multiple monitors. Microsoft have taken this information, and made multi-monitor support better in Windows 8. They have set themselves a few goals: make the desktop a more personal experience, improve the efficiency of accessing apps across monitors, improve the efficiency of accessing system UI, and allow side-by-side Metro style and desktop apps.
LG have just today announced the Optimus UI 3.0 for Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) devices the company sells. The new user interface is an enhanced Quick Memo feature which allows users to use their finger to quickly take notes.
Quick Memo information also has the ability of sharing through to social networks, or sent as a text message, or e-mail. The update, according to LG, will make it "faster, simpler, and more convenient" for its Optimus owners to get work done on the handset.
Optimus UI 3.0 also includes a Voice Shutter feature, allowing users to take photos with voice commands, an icon customizer for changing how certain application icons look, and finally, a Download category for additional organization options. LG should release Optimus UI 3.0 with the LG Optimus LTE II which launches this week in Korea. The software will then find its next target, the LG Optimus 4X HD in June.
Apple have just rolled out a new update to their next-gen OS, OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. The developer preview has been pushed up to build 12A206j. This update replaces the current build 12A193i, which was released a little over two weeks ago.
Apple notes that "MacBookPro3,1", which links up to mid-to-late 2007 models, is not compatible with the new build of Mountain Lion, but will be fixed in later builds of the OS. There aren't many other details about the update, or what improvements it has made. But it seems Apple are baking in some final tweaks for developers leading up to their Worldwide Developers Conference next month.
The company is expected to provide extensive previews of Mountain Lion at the conference, with the public release scheduled for "late summer".
9to5Mac is reporting that earlier today an unnamed app developer informed the site that users accessing its software had been identified as running iOS 6 by analytics. Adding fuel to the iOS 6 fire is that other unidentified developers polled have also seen traces of the new iOS 6 since, wait for it, late-April. This means people in the wild, or people within Apple, are testing out iOS 6, right now.
Keeping in mind that prior to the 2011 Apple World Wide Developer's Conference, versions of iOS 5 were spotted in the same fashion. When enabled in an application, iOS apps can send data to developers, this data is mostly used for application improvement, and to track metrics of users in regards to which device along with which version of the iOS are being used.
But, it can all be a game, too. It's possible for someone to jailbreak a device, to spoof, or fake, an iOS or device revision metric passed onto a developer, but this is probably not what has happened, as iOS 6-based devices are known to be under active development.
Microsoft has always given a good deal on an upgrade to the next generation upgrade when a customer has purchased a computer just months before its release. Often that good deal is a free upgrade, however, that is not the case with Windows 7 to Windows 8. The reasoning for this good deal is simple: if customers know the next version is right around the corner, they often will hold off which kills sales for a few months.
The fee for users to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8 will be $15, according to one source. This upgrade will get you Windows Pro and no upgrade path will be offered to Windows 8 standard. The offer will be valid for users who purchase a computer after June 2, which roughly coincides with the Release Preview version of Windows 8.
Windows 8 is expected to be widely available in the second half of 2012. Microsoft will also be providing "in-the-box" upgrades packaged along with Windows 8. These upgrades will be in the form of "packs" that will provide Pro and Media Center capabilities. These packs take the place of the antiquated Windows Anytime Upgrade system.
I'm really hoping that struggling RIM (Research in Motion) and their next-generation OS, BlackBerry 10 (BB10) bodes well against the likes of Apple and Google. Just hours ago, there was a media briefing for RIM's next OS in London.
BB10's home screen has been hidden, until now. The media event showed off the swish looking home screen, which is now populated with widgets, but the change is that all of the on-screen widgets are actually active applications that will dynamically change based on your activities.
Most of BlackBerry 10's interface is gesture-driven, where you can quick swipe to the right to bring up the full launcher, where a swipe to the left will open the unified inbox. Definitely not revolutionary, or even resolutionary, but it's better than previous iterations of RIM's operating system. RIM have also updated the BB10 software keyboard, where RIM's Head of Software Portfolio, Vivek Bhardwaj has stated that the company spend a lot of time and effort trying to replicate the capabilities of the company's iconic plastic keyboards.
There have been people sitting around a watercooler somewhere, who have overheard the chatter of Apple replacing Google Maps in iOS 6 with an "in-house" maps application. The rumor isn't just a statement, it comes with some juicy nuggets, too.
These nuggets come in the form of silent acquisitions by Apple of Placebase, C3 and Poly9, what do all of these companies have in common? They're all mapping companies.
The original iPhone smashed into the market in 2008 and since then has had Google Maps as their default "Maps" app in iOS. Just recently, the Curpentino-based company dropped Google Maps in their iPhone app, but why? Could this rumor be something that would eventually create itself into reality?
Google have recently started to monetize Google Maps, that would piss Apple off. As well as the fact that Google have recently changed their terms of service, so that developers who use Google Maps in their projects and receive more than 25,000 views per month must pay a premium.
As usual, more news on this as it comes.
Quick one here, folks! Samsung GALAXY Note owners should love this: Samsung have very quietly begun rolling out the very long-awaited Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update for their 5.3-inch GALAXY Note smartphone.
The latest OS arrives with a "Premium Suite" full of S-pen-friendly apps such as S Note, Shape Match, My Story, and more. Samsung haven't confirmed the launch, but there are more than a few European users who are already loving ICS on their Note's.
If you've got a GALAXY Note, and upgrade to ICS, be sure to let us know how it is! I'm interested to see how Ice Cream Sandwich is on the 5.3-inch GALAXY Note.
Microsoft are really wanting to make Windows 8 stand out, bigger than most operating systems they've released before. Today, the Redmond-based company have announced that Windows Media Center is not going to be included with Windows 8.
If you'd like to have access to Windows Media Center, you'll need to pay for it. You're thinking this is bad, ridiculous, how could they? Well, Microsoft are promising that Windows 8 will "deliver a world-class video and audio entertainment experience", and they've made it clear that DVDs are not part of this. Windows Media Player will continue to be included with Windows 8, but the ability to play DVDs, will not.
ZDNet's Ed Bott has noted:
There will, of course, be plenty of decoders included with Windows 8. The goal is to "cover all key playback scenarios for mainstream content such as YouTube video, Netflix video, Amazon audio/video, H.264 web browsing/streaming, Hulu video, MP4 video, AVCHD video from camcorders, Ultraviolet video, and the HTML5 video tag."
Decoders for H.264, VC-1 (WMV), and MP4 video are included, as are audio codecs for MP3, WMA, AAC, PCM (Wave), and DD+. Metro style apps are free to add their own decoders, the post says, using FLAC, MKV, and OGG as examples.
There's always VLC.
Apple has pushed an update to their next-gen OS X, Mountain Lion, where the Developer Preview 3 release has been updated from build number 12A178q to 12A193i. Apple says:
If you already have Mountain Lion Developer Preview 3 installed, choose Software Update from the Apple menu to download the update from the Mac App Store. Download Xcode 4.4 Developer Preview 4 from the Mac Dev Center to continue building apps for Mountain Lion Developer Preview 3 Update.
9to5Mac notes a change with the new update, where they've spotted a "Do Not Disturb" setting in Mountain Lion's Notifications Center:
Apple has baked in a fair amount of iOS-like features, such as Reminders, Messages and Game Center. Mountain Lion should roar its way onto your Mac sometime in late summer 2012.