Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system continues to be somewhat of a flop. Usage data from Net Applications show Windows 8 usage is still behind that of Microsoft's last flop, Windows Vista. Windows XP and Windows 7 continue to be top contenders, even though XP was initially released over 11 years ago.
Windows 8 is used on 3.17 percent of computers, up from 2.67 percent in February. Vista, on the other hand, is found on 4.99 percent of systems. Windows XP is still found on 38.73 percent of systems and Windows 7 is the largest used operating system, found on 44.73 percent of systems.
Mac OS X 10.6-10.8 combined is found on below 7 percent of systems. Windows 8 uptake is likely to increase and is predicted to eclipse that of Vista within the year.
7 and 8-inch Windows based tablets could be on their way. Microsoft has just altered the specification requirements for Windows 8 tablets opening up a new avenue for OEMs to begin developing smaller Windows 8 based devices.
Up until now, devices wishing to run Windows 8 needed to have a minimum resolution of 1366x768, and that caused problems for manufacturers wanting to release cheaper Windows 8 based tablets. Microsoft has just fixed that issue by lowering the minimum screen resolution supported to 1024x768.
Microsoft says that the new minimum resolution requirements will allow "partners exploring designs for certain markets could find greater design flexibility helpful," which is a strong hint that smaller form factor Windows 8 tablets could be on the way. With the growing popularity of Samsung's Galaxy Note series, Google's Nexus 7 and Apple's iPad mini growing in popularity every day, it only makes sense that Redmond opens up Windows 8 for smaller devices.
Microsoft are close to releasing their next-generation Windows OS, which is reportedly set for our consumption later this year. The Verge reports that Microsoft began working on a "milestone preview" version of Windows Blue earlier this month.
The Redmond-based software giant plans to make it available to developers and enthusiasts at their Build developer conference in June. The final product most likely won't arrive as 'Windows Blue,' but right now there are no rumors on the new name Microsoft will give it. Rumors have suggested, however, that the return of the Start Bar would be included.
Microsoft's Build conference takes place on June 26 in San Francisco.
China is notorious for trying to control every aspect of its citizen's computing lives. It regularly blocks websites, restricts software and cuts internet connection from its people. Surprisingly even with all of that control, the Chinese government seemingly loves Linux.
Most of you will be surprised to hear that China has had open source "Software Promotion Union" since 2004 and the union is teaming up with Canonical to create a better Linux distro just for China. Dubbed Kylin, this version of Linux is designed to replace "Red Flag", the current "Chinese only" Linux based OS.
Kylin will support Chinese characters and will link up with Chinese web services for banking, music streaming and local mapping. Reports have us seeing an official release of the distro as early as April. With Ubuntu Founder Mark Shuttleworth heading up the Software Promotion Union, we expect that estimate to be fairly accurate.
The latest leaked build of Windows Blue has floated out and onto the Internet, with build 9364 of the upcoming updated OS is available in both 32- and 64-bit, and will set you back around 2.63GB as an ISO file.
This is of course a leaked build, nothing official, so it's only available from the usual file-sharing websites. The latest build shows off some updated larger and smaller Live Tiles, some more Start screen customization as well as updated side-by-side app view which helps multi-tasking quite a bit as you can now display two applications with matching width.
There are some other things included with build 9364, such as a Play option under the Devices panel, a screenshot button on the Share sidebar, as well as Internet Explore 11 which comes included with Windows Blue.
With Tim Cook steering the Apple ship, we are seeing the company go in a new direction, something I'm guessing will help them gain more users, but not alienate others who like iOS. The latest news is that the Apple CEO has set Jony Ive with leadership of Apple's Human Interface teams, as well as his role as the head of Industrial Design.
This news has suggested that Apple's hardware and software user interfaces could be intertwined even more, with one executive in charge of everything you see and touch on an iOS device. The Wall Street Journal has chimed in, confirming that this is true, with mobile software teams being briefed about new hardware prototypes earlier in the design cycle. Ive is now sitting in on the human interface team's review sessions, where he can have more one-on-one time with the new designs.
Some suggested that in Apple's next mobile operating system, Ive is pushing a more "flat design" that is starker and simpler, according to developers who have spoken to Apple employees but didn't have further details. Overall, they expect any changes to be pretty conservative. For the past few years, Apple has unveiled versions of its mobile operating system in the summer.
Design is one example of the increased "collaboration across hardware, software and services" that Apple said it was aiming for when Cook pushed senior vice president and mobile software chief Scott Forstall out of the company last year.
If you haven't updated to Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) yet, you'll be forced to in the coming days. Microsoft are rolling out SP1 automatically through Windows Update, so you'll no longer have the option to opt-out of the update.
Previously, SP1 was available on Windows Update, but required the user to action the installation. As of tomorrow, the installation of SP1 will be fully automatic, not requiring the user to choose to update to SP1 or not to those who have Automatic Update enabled. SP1 will eventually roll out to all customers on the RTM version of Windows 7.
Over 750 million Android devices activated, over 25 billion apps downloaded from the Google Play Store
Google are currently on a rampage, with some new milestones reached on their mobile OS platform, Android. Google CEO Larry Page announced the news, where there are now over 750 million Android devices activated across the world.
Not just that, but there have been 25 billion apps downloaded from the Google Play Store. Interestingly, the 750 million devices activated does not include Amazon's Kindle series, knockoffs, or devices that aren't running any of the Google apps of services. That's 750 million guaranteed Android devices, period.
Where will we be this time next year? 1.25 billion devices and 5 billion+ apps? The Galaxy S IV is nearly here, and I'm sure we'll see 50 million of those sold in the next twelve months alone.
It's not like we didn't know it was coming, but Microsoft are working on both Windows 9 and Internet Explorer 11. The news comes from MSFTKitchen, who posted a link to a Microsoft job post, which is looking for a "Software Development Engineer-BING."
The job post mentions Windows 9 and Internet Explorer 11, stating:
The team will be constantly delivering great products in areas including Windows 9, IE11 services integration, touch friendly devices including iPad and more.
This isn't Windows Blue, either, as that is a separate update to Windows 8 that is coming later in the year. This is the true, next-generation OS from Microsoft. Something I that I think will wrap their worlds together with Surface, Xbox, and more.
Samsung continue to show no love for Windows Phone, they have no 'interest in seeing the Windows Phone platform succeed'
With Samsung seeing so much success with their Android-based Galaxy range of devices, can you blame the company for digging on Microsoft's Windows Phone platform? Well, according to a new research note from Detwiler Fenton analyst Jeff Johnston, it looks like Samsung aren't interested in Windows Phone, the analyst says:
There is no evidence that Samsung has any interest in seeing the Windows Phone platform succeed.
Quite a strong statement, but Samsung are seeing great success with Android, and are waiting in the wings with their Tizen platform, too. Johnston continues, saying that Samsung's "Windows Phone roadmap is limited to a small number of smartphones, none of which appear to be all that exciting."
The analyst finishes with "Having a successful Windows Phone 8 platform only means it will have another mobile platform (backed by deep pockets) to compete with. Samsung has a long way to go before we can take Tizen seriously however one thing seems certain, it is going to keep its foot on MSFT's throat as it pours money into Tizen."
Intel-optimized Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean dev code released, gives the option to dual-boot with Windows 8
It looks like Intel have been busy, where they've just released a pre-alpha, Intel-optimized release of Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. Intel's Open Source Technology Center developers have been working closely with the Android Open-Source Project, so that they can get a decent build out for Intel-powered devices.
This could mean PCs, or traditional smartphones and tablets. Better yet, thanks to being powered by the Linux 3.9 kernel, there's a new interactive installer as well as the stellar ability to dual-boot on a Windows 8 system. Let's hope this makes it to consumers' hands, quick.
The president of Samsung's mobile chip division, Jun Dong-soo, has had some very interesting comments to say regarding Windows 8 when speaking with The Korea Times. The Samsung executive said: "The global PC industry is steadily shrinking despite the launch of Windows 8. I think the Windows 8 system is no better than the previous Windows Vista platform."
With Windows Vista being one of Microsoft's low points, it is quite the statement to make. Samsung is a big partner to Microsoft, another point to consider when thinking about that strong statement. The Samsung executive had even more to say, adding:
MS's rollout of its Windows Surface tablet is seeing lackluster demand ... Meanwhile, previous vigorous pitches by Intel and MS for thinner ultra-books simply failed and I believe that's mostly because of the less-competitive Windows platform.
Canonical's Mark Shuttleworth says he wants Ubuntu to appeal to the masses, has no interest in keeping things "leet"
Ubuntu, the user-friendly Linux distro, has seen a multitude of changes and transformations over the last few months. It has sprouted wings and became a fully functional multi-platform operating system. With these changes Canonical has taken a lot of flak and now founder Mark Shuttleworth is speaking out about how he feels.
Shuttleworth on his personal blog said that he has no interest in keeping Ubuntu "hard" for the "elite" crowd. He said that in the grand scheme of things unity, mobile processing and cloud applications are being focused on because that is where the common PC user wants things to go.
"I simply have zero interest in the crowd who wants to be different. Leet. 'Linux is supposed to be hard so it's exclusive' is just the dumbest thing that a smart person could say. People being people, there are of course smart people who hold that view."
He went on to state that Ubuntu is simply trying to maximize its user base by making things easier to use, and have a more familiar feel. He feels that Ubuntu has a once in a lifetime chance to make free and open source software the norm and he is unwilling to compromise because a small group of elitist users would prefer to keep Linux exclusive.
Android malware numbers are staggering, with the OS accounting for 79% of all mobile malware in 2012
According to F-Secure, a security firm, Android accounted for 79% of all mobile malware in 2012. This is an increase of 66.7% and 11.25% for 2011 and 2010, respectively. Apple's iOS doesn't even attempt to come close to these numbers, and only accounted for 0.7% of mobile malware in 2012.
Windows Mobile, Blackberry and Symbian all entered the pie with much less than Android, with 0.3%, 0.3% and 19%, for Windows Mobile, Blackberry and Symbian, respectively. The security firm also discovered that Android saw a surge in malware at the end of the year, but most of the malware is found in emerging markets. This means that most, not all, people in Europe and the US won't be affected, but everyone should always play it safe when opening up messages, links and emails.
New data released by comScore shows that Android lost ground to iOS in the three month average from October 2012 to January 2013 as compared to the three month average from August 2012 to October 2012. Most interesting is the fact that Microsoft's Windows Phone failed to gain any market share.
In fact, Microsoft's Windows Phone actually lost 0.1 percent of the market despite a marketing push from the Windows giant. Of course 0.1 percent is not statistically significant meaning that for all intents and purposes, Microsoft's market share remained steady at just over 3 percent.
Android saw a 1.3 percent decrease in market share while iOS picked up a 3.5 percent increase. Blackberry was the largest loser, losing 1.9 percent of the market. Interestingly enough, Blackberry continues to be ahead of Microsoft with 5.9 percent.
It's that time of the month again, where we get to take a look at the Android platform numbers. Versions 4.1 and 4.2, also known as Jelly Bean, are slowly but surely chomping away at more of that mobile OS market share pie.
Breaking them down into two sections for 4.1 and 4.2, we have 14.9% and 1.6%, respectively. Combined, we have 16.5% of all Android devices now running Jelly Bean, a nice 2.9% increase in from the last time we looked at the numbers. Gingerbread dropped from 45.6% to now just 44.2%, a drop of 1.4% and we've also seen Ice Cream Sandwich melt down a little, from 29% to 28.6%, a small drop of just 0.4%.
We should expect new versions of Android and iOS this year with new phones being released every couple of months now, but what about Microsoft? According to a new job listing, the Redmond-based software giant is set to release their next version of Windows Phone later this year.
According to the job post, work on the current version of Windows Phone is being wound down, and they're "getting ready for our next release targeting the holiday of this year." This would mean that we can expect the update to fall under the Blue umbrella of tweaks for Windows. While a "next release" tease doesn't tell us much, we should expect it to bring a bunch of changes and improvements if it wants to keep up with the next versions of iOS and Android.
According to one of the developers of the Evasi0n jailbreak, the new iOS 6.1.3 beta 2 update that was seeded to developers last week fixes one of the exploits used by the jailbreak. This means that the jailbreak will no longer work, so it is imperative that users do not update to the latest version when it releases.
"If one of the vulnerabilities doesn't work, evasi0n doesn't work," David Wang says. "We could replace that part with a different vulnerability, but [Apple] will probably fix most if not all of the bugs we've used when 6.1.3 comes out."
Wang adds that the team behind the Evasi0n jailbreak, evad3rs, has found numerous more bugs that could be used in a future jailbreak tool. It's not clear whether or not Apple will patch some or all of these bugs. "If they patch most of the bugs, then we're starting from scratch."
For the really not faint at heart, Canonical has made available a developer preview of the upcoming Ubuntu Touch operating system. This developer preview is just that--a preview for developers. It's still quite rough around the edges, much more so than, say, the Windows 8 alpha or beta.
If you aren't scared off by the possibility of bricking your device, then you can consider installing the developer preview on your Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, or Nexus 10. You'll need to know what you're doing to attempt this and TweakTown takes no responsibility if something happens to your device. Make sure your device is one of the supported ones at Ubuntu's Touch website.
Apple has had to be especially diligent with updates and patches after the iOS 6.1 update. iOS 6.1 came with numerous bugs, some of which have already been patched by previous updates, and some that are still hanging around. Apple needs to quickly address these issues to maintain the notion that Apple products "just work."
iOS 6.1.3 beta 2 is actually a renamed iOS 6.1.1 update. Apple was forced to delay the iOS 6.1.1 update to deal with critical issues of cellular connectivity and battery life. The recently released 6.1.2 took care of the Exchange bug that was causing poor battery life in iOS 6.1 devices.
The new beta, which has been seeded to developers, includes the patch for the lock-screen bug that allowed people to easily bypass a password-protected iPhone. This update also includes the improvements to Apple Maps in Japan. Let's hope, for Apple's sake, that this latest update, when made publicly available, doesn't include any more bugs.
Good news for those of you who run, or were thinking of running CyanogenMod, the team have just added HDR (High Dynamic Range) camera functionality for most devices running the CM10.1 build.
The new camera function has been enabled on most devices, which will capture and process images similar to how Google's Nexus 4 handles it, with it's stock Android ROM. The camera takes three images per second - one under exposed, one neutral exposed and the final one over exposed - after which it processes them together and makes the image quality 'pop' a little more than usual.
The new HDR functionality is now ready for anyone who uses the default CyanogenMod camera app. As with most custom ROMs, the new function will work with most devices, but not all. The CyanogenMod team recommends that you use some form of image stabilizer, such as a tripod. You can read more, and grab it right here.