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Microsoft are on quite the roll this week, first up we had their Surface tablets, and now the announcement of Windows Phone 8. The next-generation mobile operating system will sport a redesigned home screen, now allowing every tile to be customized in one of three available sizes, and completely ditches the right-hand "rail" that help the link to the full app list.
Skype and VoiP functionality are built directly into Windows Phone 8. Microsoft are adding a background agent that handles incoming and outgoing calls, as well as messaging and integration with several of the Windows Phone 8 features. Skype takes full advantage of this, as well as any other VoiP-based application without favoring one over the other. Microsoft's Greg Sullivan says the integration is so good that he jokes that Apple should create its own FaceTime app on Windows Phone 8, and it would work better than it does on the iPhone.
HTC's One X looks to be soon receiving an update that should include the latest build of Ice Cream Sandwich, Android 4.0.4. This should definitely close that nasty gap between HTC's One X and Samsung's GALAXY S III.
As usual in this world of Internet craziness we have, ROM developer and XDA member 'Football' has received the leaked ROM and has stirred up a ROM based on the firmware. The new update will be 2.05.401.2, and should be a noticeable update over the current 1.29.401.11.
Android version number gets an update up to Android 4.0.4, which includes some default stability improvements, also baked in are updated kernels, radios and software drivers, too. Early adopters of the new ROM have been happy, with some reporting a better web browsing experience, tweaked auto brightness settings, a smoother user interface and faster unlock speeds - can't complain at that!
You want proof that Apple is still a little bit OCD even post-Jobs? Pull out your iPhone with iOS 6 and take a look at the chrome slider reflection. Now, tilt your phone side-to-side. Yup, the reflection actually changes as the phone is tilted. Proof positive that Apple still has some OCD, detail-oriented people on its payroll.
This is just insane that Apple would actually dedicate the resources to do something this tiny. It serves no purpose other than to look good and replicate what would really happen. It's extremely impressive, but at the same time completely pointless. iOS 6 has many other more major features, so this isn't the whole reason for the update.
We all know Android is popular and during the Mobile World Congress in February, Google were seeing 850,000 activations per day but now those numbers are stronger. They're currently seeing 900,000 activations each and every day. This equates to around 625 per minute!
Insane numbers for Google and it'll only grow with the number of Android-powered devices coming out every few weeks. Andy Rubin was also rumored to be leaving Google, but he has squashed these numbers on his Twitter page where he says "No plans to leave Google", adding a tease of the activation numbers "oh, and just for meme completeness -- there are over 900,000 android devices activated each day :-)".
The rumor that Rubin was leaving came from Robert Scoble who is known for rumor mongering, where he reported through Google+ that Rubin was leaving to take charge of a new startup called CloudCar, but Rubin debunked this quite quickly.
Mountain Lion is nearing completion and will start shipping in July. With it comes a host of new APIs for App developers. Users will be happy to hear that updates from as far back as Snow Lion will only cost $19.99. Users who buy a new Mac will get a free upgrade when it ships in July.
A new feature has been introduced into OSX Mountain Lion which will allow the PC to continue updating while sleeping. The feature works with the second-gen MacBook Airs and the new MacBook Pro. It's claimed to be efficient and silent. I just wish it worked on more devices than the second-gen Air and Retina MBP.
We know it's coming, but now we have some pretty strong and undeniable evidence that the next-generation mobile operating system from Apple is nearly here in the form of iOS 6. The news comes from a banner being put up at Mascone West in San Francisco, where Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference is being held.
The banner also confirms Apple's move toward a silver theme for iOS, a change from the current blue theme. Workers started hanging out the banners two days ago now, and before this, the only thing Apple have said about WWDC and iOS is that they would discuss the "future of iOS" at the event.
What are you hoping iOS will deliver?
Apparently I am not the only one who thinks that Windows 8 is going to be terrible. A Wall Street Journal writer by the name of John Dvorak shares some of the same concerns as me and even went as far as to say "Windows 8 looks to me to be an unmitigated disaster that could decidedly hurt the company and its future."
I'm not sure I would go quite that far, but some of his concerns are echoed by journalists around the web. His major problem seems to lie in the new Metro desktop interface that appears to be designed for tablets. He had some hope when it appeared that he could still use the old style desktop, but with the latest release candidate, that is no longer an option.
The real problem is that it is both unusable and annoying. It makes your teeth itch as you keep asking, "Why are they doing this!?"
First of all, the system-software product is mostly divorced from all the thought and trends developed by Windows over the years, as if to say that they were wrong the whole time, so let's try something altogether new.
No business will tolerate this software, let me assure you. As a productivity tool, it is unusable.
Furthermore, he reiterates the idea that the Metro desktop is more useful, and wanted, on a smartphone or tablet rather than a PC. He points the issues with trying to use one GUI across every platform and the issues that not everyone will want that unification.
XP has been top of the pack for a long time now, but it looks as though Windows 7 may be poised to overtake for the top spot. Net Applications took a snapshot of the operating system landscape in May and found that the gap between Windows XP and Windows 7 was the narrowest it has ever been in the history of the two OSs.
The study placed XP's market share at 44.8% and Windows 7's market share at 40.5%. Soon, XP support will be dropped by Microsoft and businesses will be forced to upgrade. Considering some of the possible issues with Windows 8, it's likely they will jump to Windows 7 which will further push it into the top spot.
This fact has been inevitable. Microsoft itself has been pushing the upgrade from XP to 7 by telling companies explicitly not to wait for Windows 8. Even still, OS migration is not an easy task which explains the slow uptake. After all, XP is a stable, proven, and robust operating system so there has been no reason to upgrade.
If you wanted to jump on the bandwagon, or just be cool, Microsoft have just made Windows 8 Release Preview available to the public. So if you're still on Windows 7, or on the Consumer Preview of Windows 8, you can jump to the latest version of their next-gen operating system.
There's a bunch of highlights in the new installation, and tonnes of things to do, explore and find. You can read the in-depth Windows 8 Release Preview product guide, if you wish, or you could dive right into it.
We will be getting a Windows 8 Tweak Guide in the coming weeks, which we will be accepting user-given guides/tweaks where you can send in your tweaks and adjustments that make your Windows 8 life better. Look for this in the weeks after Computex and get your tweaks together now!