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With Windows 8 Zune is out and Xbox is in. Zune will be no more, that Microsoft has made abundantly clear. We finally have an answer as to what is replacing it: Xbox. Increasing from its humble roots as a gaming platform, the large brand will become an entire entertainment center for Windows 8 on phones, PCs, tablets, and TVs.
This year, Xbox becomes the premium entertainment service for Microsoft. Whether on your PC, tablet, TV or phone, Xbox will be a gateway to the best in music and video, your favorite games and instant access to your friends.
With the launch of Windows 8, we'll bring Xbox entertainment to everyone. With Xbox on Windows 8 devices, we rapidly accelerate the reach of Xbox entertainment from more than 60 million people to hundreds of millions of people worldwide.
This makes sense as Microsoft is working on a new music service for Xbox. Xbox is continually getting new and more varied services so it was only a matter of time before an announcement like this came. I can see where it soon could be an unlimited music, movie, and gaming platform for a single price. Seems simple and the likely way to go.
A Microsoft-sponsored IDC report claims that the annual support costs for a Windows XP systems are five times higher than a Windows 7-based system, as part of Microsoft's latest efforts in pushing more people toward Windows 7.
Microsoft have also issued a statement that has told organizations if they have not started "the migration to a modern PC, you are late". Windows XP gets orphaned by the software company with no further support or patches in April 2014, close to 13 years since it launched.
The report states that 42-percent of Windows' non-home installed base remains on the ageing Windows XP OS. If this continues, 11-percent of all Windows users will continue to be powered by Windows XP when the security patches end in 2014. As for support costs: IT workers' time and worker productivity costs jump by 25- and 23-percent respectively in year four.
A report from Neowin, that a well-known Windows insider "Canouna" has tweeted the intended launch date of the Release Candidate of Windows 8. According to "Canouna", Windows 8 RC will be available on June 1. This does agree with previous talks of the "first-week of June", that we heard about last month. The tweet reads:
"#Microsoft #Windows8 Release Preview public download = 1st June".
So, one could guess from there, we're looking at a June 1 release. But, this isn't from Microsoft, or a credible website, so it gets slapped with the RumorTT stamp. Canouna also tweeted that Windows that Windows 8 will be the first Windows OS to include Adobe Flash pre-installed. Yes, pre-installed! But, Microsoft seem to be experiencing some serious lag, as Flash has been around since the days of Windows 98.
Windows 8 is nearing release, and with it, we're prompted with more and more news about it, but that's good, right? The latest out of the gate is that the upcoming OS from Redmond is booting... too fast? Yes, too fast. Everyone wants quicker boot times, and Windows 8 definitely delivers in that way.
But, there are problems with an OS that boots too quickly, that if you need to enter the setup menu by pressing F2/F8 during the boot, there's next to no time to tap those keys. What did Microsoft do? Well, they can't just hold the OS boot time back, that would be crazy, so they've had to add some new features to the OS to make it easier to get to these menus.
If you have a machine with a solid-state drive installed, you can boot into a machine in around 7 seconds, and this will only decrease as hardware gets faster over time. In a test machine at Microsoft sporting an SSD and UEFI system, the time window to tap F8 is 200 milliseconds, yes, 200 milliseconds. In the case where you can't boot into Windows, Windows 8 will automatically enter automatic failover behavior which is determined by an algorithm that establishes a baseline over several boots.
Microsoft are putting up more than one way to get to the boot menu options for when it's needed and for the most part, the average user won't even need to use any of these options. But for enthusiasts, and users who love to tinker, this is something that should put you at ease: Microsoft is thinking of you, too.
Microsoft have just announced that starting today, you'll be required to have Windows Phone 7.5 on phones to download, buy, update, or review apps in Marketplace. This change applies to both the phone and web Marketplace storefronts.
While this seems like a strange move, remember that most phones are already running Windows Phone 7.5, and most phones can be upgraded to the latest version if they're stuck on a previous version of the operating system.
If you're running an older version of Windows Phone and try to access the Marketplace, you'll be prompted with an error message when you try to download a new app, or update an app that's already on your device. If you do get the error, all you need to do is install the free Windows Phone 7.5 upgrade.
You can find more information, and a step-by-step instruction guide on Update Central.
Windows 8 arrives later this year, and we're already getting some huge numbers from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on predictions of sales. In a speech to the Seoul Digital Forum in South Korea, Ballmer has said that up to 500 million users will be on a Windows 8-based device by the end of 2013. Ballmer added:
It's really, in some senses, a dawning of the rebirth of MS Windows... It's certainly the most important piece of work we've done.
Ballmer also teased that Microsoft will "soon" launch a version of Skype for Windows 8. This could be part of, or arrive close to the Release Preview of Windows 8, which is expected sometime in teh first week of June. Ballmer also talked about cloud computing, predicting that in a few years, there'll only be a few companies that will dominate that industry, he continues:
The number of core (cloud) platforms, around which software developers will do their innovation, is not ever-broadening. It's really a quite smaller and focused number -- Windows, various forms of Linux, the Apple ecosystem.
Since this is an enthusiast site, I imagine a majority of the readers are running multiple monitor setups. If you are, I'm sure you're aware of some of the difficulties associated with such a setup on previous versions of Windows. Well, Windows 8 isn't just receiving a touch screen UI upgrade; it's also receiving tweaks for multiple monitor setups.
There are several different tweaks that Microsoft is making in the upcoming Windows 8. One of the more minor tweaks is that you will now be able to put different backgrounds onto different monitors as seen in the picture above. Additionally, it will be possible to span a single panoramic picture across multiple monitors.
Microsoft has also improved the slideshow function to take advantage of multiple monitors. This is an especially important feature for users who have monitors in different orientations. Some pictures are more suited for a portrait or landscape monitor, so Microsoft has added a piece of logic code to show images on monitors to which they are better suited.
A further option, one that I am particularly excited about, is the addition of the task bar options. The task bar will be visible on all monitors, if the user desires. Additionally, users can select where they would like application icons to show up. Users have the option to show the task bar icon on the main bar, the bar on the monitor where the window is open, or both.
The latest developer build of Apple's upcoming OS X Mountain Lion dropped last week, and has shown off some iOS-like automatic app downloads to Mac App Store purchases.
Like on the iPhone and iPad, when you buy and install an app on one of your Macs, all of your other Macs logged into the same App Store account will automatically install the app too.
Unfortunately, the feature does not seem to be working completely. While the App Store will still offer to enable automatic downloads (as seen above), it does not actually install anything when you purchase apps from another computer.
This is something that just makes using a computer... easier. Not everyone lives on the bleeding edge of app updates, and not all apps auto-update. Hopefully we see something from Microsoft along these lines with Windows 8. But, then there's the case of what if an app was working perfectly before the update, and starts having issues after? Auto-updates are a double-edged sword.
Sony have revealed some great information for Sony tablet owners, that all Sony-branded tablets in all regions will receive over-the-air updates to Android 4.0 by the end of May.
Sony had previously announced the coming updates for their tablets, but only their latest models, and now this news have confirmed it. Sony's Tablet S has received Android 4.0 ICS, but only in the US. Europe, Japan and everywhere else has been on Android 3.2.1. The ICS update for the Tablet S brings panoramic camera mode, an updated gallery viewer with SD card access, and browser enhancements.
Tablet S and Tablet P will receive the update on May 24.
When Aero Glass first arrived with Windows Vista, people were finally impressed with the sleek look of a Microsoft operating system. Windows 7 polished it up a bit, and pushed it even more, but it seems like Microsoft are ready to throw Aero out when Windows 8 arrives.
Microsoft has "moved beyond" the design, and are looking forward to embrace an approach that feels "clean and crisp". Microsoft's development blog has some great thoughts and information on the move, where they say that by "flattening surfaces, removing reflections and scaling back distracting gradients", Windows 8 will provide a simplified experience over its flashier predecessors:
We applied the principles of "clean and crisp" when updating window and taskbar chrome. Gone are the glass and reflections. We squared off the edges of windows and the taskbar. We removed all the glows and gradients found on buttons within the chrome. We made the appearance of windows crisper by removing unnecessary shadows and transparency. The default window chrome is white, creating an airy and premium look. The taskbar continues to blend into the desktop wallpaper, but appears less complicated overall.