HTC Announces Windows Phone 8X and Windows Phone 8S Smartphones, Coming to Verizon (among others)

Subject: Mobile | September 20, 2012 - 08:23 PM |
Tagged: wp8, windows phone 8x, windows phone 8s, windows phone 8, snapdragon s4, microsoft, htc

Not content to let Samsung and Nokia have all the fun with Windows Phone 8, smartphone company HTC has announced two new WP8 devices. The results of a partnership with Microsoft, HTC will be releasing the Windows Phone 8X and Windows Phone 8S shortly following the official unveiling of the Windows Phone 8 operating system in October.

The HTC Windows Phone 8X will be the company’s flagship WP8 smartphone. On the outside, the HTC phone features a 4.2” Super LCD 2 display with a resolution of 1280x720 pixels (341 PPI). The smartphones will come in yellow, red, black, and blue colors. The front of the device is flat with a ring of color (of your choice) while the back and edges are rounded. No specific dimensions were given, but the smartphone weighs 130 grams. Cameras include a 2.1 MP front-facing camera for video calling that is capable of recording 1080p video as well as an 8 MP rear camera.

HTC WP8X.jpg

Internal specifications include a 1.5GHz dual core SnapDragon S4 SoC, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and an 1800 mAh battery. Wi-Fi and NFC radios are also present, but the Windows Phone 8X does not appear to support US LTE networks similar to the Samsung ATIV S. On the audio side of things, HTC is touting Beats Audio functionality and an internal amplifier that will allow users to attach larger headphones to the HTC 8X.

The 8X is not the only Windows Phone 8 smartphone that HTC is releasing. Positioned as a budget WP8 option is the HTC Windows Phone 8S. This device goes for a two-tone approach by placing a strip of color along the bottom of the front that extends to fill the entire back. The area around the display is black, and the available colors include white, yellow, red, and blue. It weighs in at 113 grams, which makes it the lightest WP8 smartphone announced so far.

The front of the device features a 4” Super LCD with resolution of 800x480 (233 PPI), and a row of capacitive buttons. There is no front-facing camera on this smartphone, but it does have a mircoSD card slot (unlike the 8X).

Internal specifications include a dual core SnapDragon S4 SoC running at 1GHz, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, and a 1700 mAh battery. The HTC 8S does feature a 5MP rear camera that is capable of recording 720p video. Radios include Wi-Fi and at least 3G. It does not appear to support LTE networks. There is also no NFC support.

HTC WP8S.jpg

WPCentral got hands-on time with the 8S.

The HTC 8S also has support for Beats audio, and HTC is including a Beats Audio application that will allow users to adjust audio output settings.

HTC has not announced any specific pricing, but both models should be available for purchase in November. The HTC 8X smartphone will be supported on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon in the US. In Canada, Bell and Rogers will support the 8X, and in Europe it will be carried by Orange, O2, Telefonica, MTS, Three UK, T-Mobile, and Vodafone. Unfortunately, there is no word on which cellular networks will carry the HTC 8S. At least in the US, AT&T and T-Mobile seem like good bets.

Comparison of Upcoming Windows Phone 8 Devices

Current Windows Phone 8 Lineup.jpg

Some details are not official yet (LTE support), or unknown. 

The 8X and 8S are smaller than the Windows Phone 8 devices from Nokia and Samsung, and it will be interesting to see which design direction customers prefer. I would expect both of the HTC smartphones to be priced comptetively under the Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 based on the specifications to try and lure potential customers in with a lower price tag and similar feature set. As far as raw specs go, the Lumia series seems to have the upper hand, but if HTC prices these right it could be a popular and 'good enough' alternative.

You can find more photos of the 8X over at WPCentral. The video below shows off both the HTC 8X and 8S and the design concepts behind them.

Source: The Verge

RIM is licensing from Microsoft, not the other way 'round

Subject: General Tech | September 19, 2012 - 03:04 PM |
Tagged: RIM, blackberry, microsoft, exFAT

While the news was enough to bump RIM stocks up somewhat this morning, the deal inked between Microsoft and RIM does not have Microsoft licensing hardware or software to RIM, instead it is the other way around.  RIM is licensing the exFAT operating system for use in its phones at an undisclosed price per device.  We know that Microsoft has charged $15/device from some other mobile companies; not that they paid it that way, instead it took a court case for Microsoft to get their full price.  Where exactly RIM is going to find the resources to pay for this deal is a mystery, the already cash strapped company is currently suffering from their new OSes failure to launch on time.  At least their new phones will be using a common format for their flash storage, assuming the company lasts until the BlackBerry 10 can be marketed.  More over at The Register.

rim-blackberry-10.JPG

"Shares of Research in Motion spiked briefly on Tuesday on news that the struggling smartphone maker had signed a new licensing agreement with Microsoft, but investors who hoped the deal meant Redmond would bundle BlackBerry technology with its phones were in for a disappointment."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Microsoft is going out of their way to make Office 365 more attractive than its boxed cousin

Subject: General Tech | September 18, 2012 - 01:24 PM |
Tagged: SaaS, office 365, office 2013, microsoft, cloud

Today The Register posted the pricing Microsoft plans for their two new office suites, the familiar semi-yearly upgrade that is Office 2013 and the brand new, yearly licensed cloud dwelling Office 365.  They are two very distinct products in many ways even if they both encompass the same software suite.  The boxed Office 2013 will come it the three flavours we are familiar with as well as pricing that remains in line with previous releases, though the licensing terms of one copy of Office per machine seem to be more strict and you may not be able to transfer a license to a new PC if your old one is forcibly retired.

Office-2013-Logo.jpg

Office 365 on the other hand is a very different beast and it seems that Microsoft is offering a few carrots to tempt the home and small office users who didn't really jump onto the beta release of this new online version of Office.  Pricing is much less especially considering you get the same suite of programs as the most expensive boxed edition, though it is of course a  yearly fee. However at the cost of $100/yr a home user would only start paying more than the Professional Edition of the boxed set after the fourth year and you can bet that Microsoft would have released a newer version in the interim. 

Ofice365.jpg

The other edition of Office 365 is intended for small to medium companies and as even the basic edition of 365 comes with Outlook, Access and Publisher, Microsoft needed to find another hook to attract customers.  That hook is a hosted Exchange server with a 25GB Outlook mailbox for each user, 10GB of online storage plus another 500MB per user, and HD Video conferencing which will more than likely use Skype.  The pricing isn't bad either, at $150 per license you do pay a bit for the extras but each Small Business Premium license allows the user to install Office 365 on five different machines, though only under their user and obviously nobody would ever share users to overcome that hurdle. 

This is a very different Office, which will have to compete with Open Office and Google's new offering as well.  It is hard to predict if small companies will jump on this new way of licensing Office but the lack of an announcement about an Enterprise Edition is very telling.

"Redmond is still offering shrink-wrapped versions of Office 2013 for those who prefer the old model. The suite will be available in three configurations: Home & Student for $139.99, Home & Business for $219.99, and Professional for $399.99.

All three bundle the same core components, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. The Home & Business edition adds Outlook, and the Professional edition throws in Publisher and Access."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Surprise! The Microsoft Surface won't be $200

Subject: General Tech | September 17, 2012 - 12:36 PM |
Tagged: surface, microsoft, obvious, ballmer

While Steve Ballmer did not give a firm price for his companies Surface Tablet, The Inquirer was given a range that starts well above the original $200 price tag.  The range he gave stretches from just over $300 to just over $800, fairly similar to the iPad range of pricing from the base 16GB WiFi only to the full 64GB WiFi and cellular.  The hardware of Surface tablet is going to have to shine in order to compete in the tablet market, as simply running Windows 8 will probably not be enough to make it stand out, if sales of Win7 based phones and tablets are any indicator.  The pricing may appease some of Microsoft's clients such as Acer, who were more than a little upset at Microsoft's announcement that they were getting into hardware instead of simply licensing manufacturers to use the Win8 OS and branding.

Apparently there is a way to get both a Surface Tablet and a Win8 phone on the cheap, Microsoft will be handing out one of each to all of its full time employees.

af26f631_Steve-Ballmer.jpg

"200 Microsoft dollars"

"BOUNCY MICROSOFT CEO Steve Ballmer has refused to put a price on the Windows Surface tablet and has only given a ballpark figure of somewhere between £200 and £500.

What this means is that a Windows Surface tablet will cost more than an Android tablet, such as the Asus Nexus 7 for example, but less than an Ipad."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Windows 8 can go diskless

Subject: General Tech | September 13, 2012 - 01:53 PM |
Tagged: win8, cloud, microsoft, Windows to Go, kingston, super talent

Installing Windows from a USB drive is old hat to many, both consumers and professionals, but booting to Windows from an external drive would be a new trick.  Windows 8 has been designed with this type of usage in mind, which is unsurprising considering how much talk there is about the cloud.  A proper implementation of this would mean that low cost computers, shipped without a hard drive, could be readily sold.  Both Kingston and Super Talent have designed USB 3.0 devices which will have "Windows to Go" on them; fully able to boot to a full installation of Win8 on Intel powered machines.  Unfortunately there is a problem with WinPE installations on ARM based devices, as that method requires a wired network connection which may mean ARM devices would have to be sold with a USB to ethernet dongle in order to allow for booting.  Once the machine is booted and the wireless drivers load then the ARM devices could be unplugged.  Check out the hurdles Microsoft had to pass in order to make this work at The Register.

WINPE.JPG

"Such devices, Niehaus said, will have to be certified to run Windows to Go for two reasons, one of which is that in Microsoft's tests external storage ran dangerously hot.

The second reason is that external drives can't be partitioned in the ways Windows 8 requires, thanks to its use of BIOS-replacement Unified Extensible Firmware Interface(UEFI) that is an important contributor to the new OS' faster boot times. Niehaus explained that UEFI means Windows 8 needs four partitions in a disk. One is for recovery purposes, a second for the system, while UEFI uses a third invisible partition of 128MB to help it go about its work. The fourth partition holds the OS and user data."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Samsung Unveils ATIV S WP8 Smartphone at IFA 2012

Subject: Mobile | September 6, 2012 - 07:16 PM |
Tagged: wp8, windows phone 8, Samsung, microsoft, ifa, ativ s

Tablets and ultrabooks are not the only devices Samsung is unveiling at IFA 2012. The company also showed off its first Windows Phone 8 smartphone, the ATIV S.

Featuring a brushed aluminum chassis, the ATIV S is 8.7mm thin and weights 135 grams (just under 0.3 pounds). It is approximately 5.4” tall and 2.8” wide at 137.2mm x 70.5mm. The front of the smartphone features a large 4.8” HD Super AMOLED touchscreen display covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 2. Below the display is a slightly raised physical Windows button along with capacitive back and search buttons on either side. Above the display is a 1.9MP webcam and aluminum speaker grill. On the rear of the ATIV S is an 8MP autofocus camera, rear aluminum speaker bar, and a compartment that holds a 2300 mAh battery.

Samsung ATIV S.jpg

Inside the smartphone running Windows Phone 8 is a 1.5 GHz dual core ARM SoC, 1GB of RAM, and 16 or 32 GB of storage. The ATIV S also includes a microSD card slot. According to the Windows Team Blog, the ATIV S is noticeably thinner than Samsung’s other Windows Phone (7) smartphones. On the other hand, the phone is wider and taller, so it is less pocket-able. Thanks to the slightly curved edges of the phone, it is easy to hold and use with one hand despite the larger form factor (I’m sure Josh is making a joke for the podcast as we speak).

Samsung ATIV S_back.jpg

Overall, it looks like Samsung has put a lot of work into its new ATIV S Windows Phone 8 smartphone. While I’ve been intrigued with the Windows Phone mobile OS for a while now, I have not found a phone running it that I like; Nokia is great and all but the Nokia 920’s design just isn’t my thing. Personally, I think the ATIV S might be the perfect replacement for my Samsung Infuse 4G. You can see more photos of the ATIV S over at the Windows Team Blog.

Read more about Windows Phone 8 at PC Perspective.

ASUS Shows Off Vivo Windows 8 and Windows RT Tablets At IFA 2012

Subject: Mobile | September 2, 2012 - 09:27 PM |
Tagged: windows 8 rt, windows 8, tablet 810, tablet 600, microsoft, ifa 2012, ifa, asus vivo, asus

During Computex 2012 in June, ASUS showed off two new tablet computers that at the time were labeled the ASUS Tablet 810 and Tablet 600 respectively. At the company’s booth, they had both models on display and released some basic specifications on the machines. It seems that the two Windows 8 tablets are closer to launch as they now have official names and what appears to be final specs.

The ASUS Tablet 810 and 600 are now part of the company’s Vivo series and will be named the Vivo Tab and Vivo Tab RT at launch. We now know the final specifications, but pricing is still up in the air. On or around October 26, 2012 would be a good guess as far as when they will be available for purchase as several other tablet launches are set to coincide with the official launch of Windows 8.

In many respects, the two Vivo tabs are Transformer tablets – only running Windows 8 instead of Android. The two Vivo tabs are touchscreen-enabled tablets with a dockable keyboard that turns in into a laptop.

Here's what is official so far on the two new Vivo tablets.

ASUS Vivo Tab

Formerly known as the ASUS Tablet 810, the Vivo Tab is an 11" tablet measuring 8.7mm thick and weighing 675 grams. It features an 11.6" SuperIPS+ display at 1366x768 resolution as well as an 8 MP rear camera with LED flash and autofocus, and a 2 MP webcam on the front. On the inside is an Intel Atom (Clover Trail) processor, 2GB of RAM, and 64GB of eMMC internal memory. For those enticed by styluses (styli?), the Vivo Tab has you covered as well with a Wacom digitizer offering up to 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity. 

The Vivo Tab can further be docked with a keyboard. The keyboard is similar to the one used by the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer due to offering up a full QWERTY keyboard, trackpad, USB port, and second battery that adds some additional life to the Vivo Tab. The Vivo Tab will run Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 operating system and will be able to access both the traditional desktop applications as well as Modern UI/Metro UI/Windows 8-Style UI/Whatever-it-is-called-this-week UI apps via the Windows Store thanks to its x86 architecture. Other features include Wi-Fi, NFC, and SonicMaster audio. If I had to guess, I would estimate it to cost between $100 and $200 more than the Transformer Prime (ie priced around $550). Compared to the recently announced Transformer Infinity, it should be about $70 more since the Infinity is priced at $488 on Amazon at time of writing. Granted, the atom architecture is not going to cost $200 more to implement, but that – in addition to a Windows license – will likely add up to a bit of a premium over the Android-powered Transformer line.

ASUS Vivo Tab RT

The ASUS Vivo Tab RT is a 10" tablet that is 8.3mm thick and weights 520 grams – a bit smaller (and lighter) than the Vivo Tab and Transformer. The Vivo Tab RT is even closer to the Eee Pad Transformer due to its Tegra 3 underpinnings (Tegra 3 "4+1" core processor+12 core GPU). On the other hand, the Vivo Tab RT has a total of 2GB of RAM (the Transformer has only 1GB) and 32GB of internal storage. It will run the ARM version of Windows 8 called Windows RT, and will have access to Metro apps as well as the full Microsoft Office. However, other traditional desktop applications will not run on the ARM-powered tablet. On the outside, the Vivo Tab RT features a 10.1" SuperIPS+ touchscreen display with resolution of 1366x768, an 8MP rear camera (with LED flash and autofocus), and a 2MP webcam on the front of the device. It also supports SonicMaster-powered audio.

Asus Vivo Windows 8 Tablet.jpg

The Vivo Tab does not have the Wacom digitizer of its larger Vivo Tab relative, but it does feature a similar keyboard dock. The docks packs an additional battery, full QWERTY keyboard, trackpad, and USB port. While the Vivo Tab's (Tablet 810) keyboard dock is silver with black keys, the Vivo Tab RT's keyboard dock is all black and slightly smaller to match the width of the 10" tablet. I would expect this one to be priced more in line with the latest Transformer tablet with a small premium for the Windows license due to being very similar hardware specifications-wise.

The table below shows the specifications of the Vivo Tab, Vivo Tab RT, and the Transformer Prime which represent the latest ASUS has to offer in the dockable tablet department.

Comparison of ASUS' Transformer-style tablets
  ASUS Vivo Tab ASUS Vivo Tab RT ASUS Transformer Prime ASUS Transformer Infinity
Processor/SoC Intel Atom NVIDIA Tegra 3 NVIDIA Tegra 3 NVIDIA Tegra 3
RAM 2GB 2GB 1GB 1GB
Internal Memory 64GB 32GB 32GB 64GB
Display 10.1" Super IPS+ @ 1366x768 11.6" Super IPS+ @ 1366x768 10.1" IPS @ 1280x800 10.1" Super IPS+ @ 1920x1200
Camera(s) 8MP rear, 2MP front 8MP rear, 2MP front 8MP rear, 1.2MP front 8MP rear, 2MP front
Size 8.7mm thick 8.3mm thick 10.4" x 7.1" x .3" 10.4" x 7.1" x .3" (8.5mm thick)
Weight 675g 520g 589.67g 598g

As the chart above illustrates, the Vivo Tabs are an improvement in almost every respect versus the Android-powered Transformer Prime in boasting more memory, better cameras – and in the Vivo Tab's case – being thinner and lighter. On the other hand, the Transformer Prime offers up a 1280x800 resolution panel such that when it is in laptop mode you will have a bit more vertical space. Further, the recently launched ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity has the best display of the bunch with 1920x1200 resolution. As far as weight, it fits between the Vivo Tab RT and Vivo Tab while being closer in physcial dimensions to the Vivo Tab RT. The Infinity's only negative versus the Windows 8 tablets specifications-wise is memory as it has only 1GB of DDR3L RAM, though it should not be a huge performance hit.

Further, the Transformers should be cheaper than the Windows-powered tablets. I do think that there is a place for both Android and Windows 8 tablets, and ASUS seems to believe that as well. Price is likely going to be the deciding factor for many, so I am anxious to learn just how much the Vivo-series tablets are going to cost.

Have you been eyeing a Windows 8 tablet, and if so which one? Are you holding out for the Microsoft Surface?

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more Windows RT tablet coverage!

Continue reading to see videos of the Vivo tablets in action!

Source: Engadget

Nokia Rumored To Be Releasing Two Windows Phone 8 Smartphones On September 5, 2012

Subject: Mobile | August 24, 2012 - 06:41 AM |
Tagged: windows phone 8, smartphone, nokia, microsoft

While Windows 8 on the desktop (and ARM devices) have occupied much of the spotlight for Microsoft’s products, it is not the only Windows 8 product coming out soon. Namely, the mobile variant that is Windows Phone 8 is set to officially release later this year. In line with, and suggesting a release day, the launch are leaked details on two Nokia smartphones that will run the next-generation Microsoft mobile operating system.

According to sources in the know, Nokia is planning to launch two new smartphones under its Lumia brand during a media event in NYC on September 5th 2012. As the event will see both Nokia and Microsoft on stage, the September 5th date seems very likely to be the official Windows Phone 8 debut. On the Nokia side of things specifically, the company plans to launch both a mid-range handset as well as the Windows Phone 8 flagship smartphone. The Nokia mobile devices are currently known by their code names of “Arrow” and “Phi” respectively. While specifications on the mid-range handset are unknown, the flagship Phi smartphone will reportedly feature similar design aesthetics to the company’s other Lumia-series smartphones–including a curved glass display and polycarbonate body.

The Phi will be an AT&T exclusive device while the Arrow will be available on both AT&T and T-Mobile. Interestingly, if the rumors hold true Verizon will not have a launch WP8 device. It will see a tweaked version of the mid-range Arrow codenamed Atlas but it is not going to launch with the other two Nokia devices.

Windows Phone 8 Start Screen.jpg

Image credit: CNET.

Windows Phone 8 improves on hardware support, adds features, and tweaks the software interface to be more user friendly. Some of the more interesting new features include a shared codebase with Windows 8 RT and Windows 8 (x86-64) where only minor tweaks will be necessary to deploy “Metro” Modern UI apps to phones, tablets, and desktops.  Further, hardware requirements have been upgraded to support 720p or 1280x768 (WXGA) displays, NFC (Near Field Communication. Think RFID but at shorter distances (and some other differences)), multi-core processors, and the inclusion of SD card slots.

On the software side of things, Windows Phone 8 will integrate the licensed map technology from Nokia and will feature a new Start Screen that allows changing tile size (small, medium, large) and ditches the navigational cue arrow. Nokia does seem to have some decent map technology from what I've used of it, so I'm glad Microsoft is taking advantage of the close relationship between itself and Nokia to get a licensing agreement going (and here's hoping Nokia is making some money off of it, they could always use the boost).

Unfortunately there is no pricing information or clues as to whether the two smartphones will actually be purchasable on announcement day. I guess we will all find out on September 5th!

In spite of the controversy surrounding the Modern UI on the desktop, Windows Phone 8 is looking to be a solid improvement over WP7 and it seems that Microsoft is moving in the right direction. Questions remain on whether or not it will be enough to take on the Google Android and Apple IOS juggernauts, however. Tizen and Firefox OS are going to have a harder time breaking into the market thanks to WP8, however.

That’s just my opinion and bit of speculation, however. What do you think? Will Nokia and Microsoft see better sales and increased adoption with Windows Phone 8 and Nokia’s second try at a smartphone running Microsoft’s OS? Will you be considering an upgrade or switch over to WP8?

Read more Windows Phone coverage using the Windows Phone 8 tag.

Source: The Verge

Microsoft Unveils New Colorful, Modern-UI Inspired Logo

Subject: General Tech | August 23, 2012 - 05:30 PM |
Tagged: windows, Microsoft Store, microsoft, logo

Windows 8 is not the only big change for the company this year as it retires the italicized logo that has been in service since 1987 in favor of a simple graphic and sans-serif type Segoe face. Reportedly inspired by the company's Microsoft Store logo and Windows Flag, the new logo is intended to signify the new direction the company is taking with its full lineup of software products.

Microsoft is making a number of rather large changes this year. It is embracing the ARM platform in a big way with a version of Windows (WinRT), pushing forward with Windows Phone OS, revamping the entire Office 2013 suite with a Modern UI /Metro-inspired interface, and releasing the next iteration of its desktop operating system with app store in Windows 8. And all those changes are before even mentioning the company's entrance into the hardware market with the Surface tablet, and the new Windows logo that had many users divided.

Speaking of logo changes, the company dropped the traditional Windows flag logo in favor of a simplified single-color logo reminiscent of an actual window. The two dimensional logo was a big shift, but was in line with the company's goal of presenting a flat Windows experience (namely by removing Aero Glass and the 3D effects with translucent windows borders) of simple colors as well as the new tile-based "Metro" Modern UI app interface and Start Screen. The flag logo will live on in a more basic form with the new Microsoft logo, however. Inspired by both the Windows Flag and Microsoft Store logos, Microsoft has unveiled its new company logo. The word "Microsoft" is no longer bold and italicized. Instead it is written in Microsoft's Segoe font in a light gray color. To the left of the written logo is an image of four flat squares of red, green, blue, and yellow arranged like the Windows logo but without the perspective shift. 

new Microsoft logo.jpg

Microsoft General Manager (of Brand Strategy) Jeff Hansen was quoted by the Seattle Times in stating that the new logo is intended to "signal the heritage but also signal the future — a newness and freshness" of the company.  Further, the addition of color to the new Microsoft logo is meant to convey the idea that the company has a wealth of diverse products to offer.

The company is wasting no time in transitioning to the new logo, and it should be proliferating out to all of the company's online websites and social media accounts starting today. As Windows 8 nears release, we should further start seeing the new logo being used in TV and online advertisements for the company's products.

I know many people were against the Windows 8 logo, but what do you think of the new Microsoft logo? Will you miss the old logo?

Personally, I think it is rather nice as far as logos go, simple yet catching thanks to the addition of color. The bold and italic Microsoft text logo served the company well, but it's a much different world than it was 25 years ago. If it helps, Neowin points out that logo does look rather similar to an old image used during the 90's for Microsoft advertising, so the new logo is not totally coming out of nowhere.

Find more Microsoft coverage by following the "microsoft" tag.

Microsoft Opens Registration for $14.99 Windows 8 Pro Upgrades

Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2012 - 12:51 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, Windows 7, upgrade, microsoft

If you are finding it difficult to delay the purchase of that shiny new computer until after Windows 8 comes out, Microsoft has a solution for you. Thanks to the Windows Upgrade Offer, you can buy a new PC now and be eligible to upgrade to Windows 8 for $14.99.

Starting June 2nd 2012, if you purchase a new PC with Windows 7 you are eligible for a discounted upgrade to Windows 8. This ensures that you are able to run the latest Microsoft operating system even if you buy a new PC before it is released. Eligible PCs include any OEM machine pre-installed with the following operating system SKUs using a valid product key:

  • Windows 7 Home Basic
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Windows 7 Professions
  • Windows 7 Ultimate

This does include OEM machines with System Builder (COEM) versions of Windows 7, which means if you buy a system put together by a DIY builder, you are still eligible for the discounted pricing. One caveat is that computers with Windows 7 Starter are not eligible for the discounted Windows 8 pricing.

Further, there is a maximum of five upgrades per customer and one per machine, so at most you could get five upgrades to Windows 8 at the $14.99 price when you purchase five or more new PCs.

Windows8UpgradeProgram.jpg

The $14.99 price gets you a downloadable upgrade version of Windows 8 Pro. This version can be used on any computer with a previous version of Windows installed to upgrade from. In that respect, it is just like any other upgrade version of Windows 8 and could be given to someone else if you wanted to stick with Windows 7 on your new PC. Microsoft is further willing to provide a physical copy of the upgrade, but it will cost you an additional fee (exact fee not stated).

The other limitation is that this upgrade version comes without the add-on pack that includes Windows Media Center. If you want that feature, you will have to pay for it at an undiscounted price.

The promotional period ends January 31, 2013 which is the same day that the $39.99 promotional upgrade price for everyone else ends. (No word yet on whether there will also be student promos like Windows 7 had, however.)

Microsoft’s registration page recently went live. If you are interested in getting the discounted pricing, you will need to register for the deal and provide purchase information and the product key for version of Windows that came pre-installed on your computer. Once Windows 8 is officially released on October 26, 2012 Microsoft will email you a download link and product key.

Windows 8 is somewhat controversial release but at least Microsoft is pricing it attractively.

Source: Microsoft