Subject: Mobile | September 6, 2012 - 07:16 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: wp8, windows phone 8, Samsung, microsoft, ifa, 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.
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).
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.
Subject: Mobile | September 2, 2012 - 09:27 PM | Tim Verry
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.
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.
|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|
|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)|
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!
Subject: Mobile | August 24, 2012 - 06:41 AM | Tim Verry
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.
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.
Subject: General Tech | August 23, 2012 - 05:30 PM | Tim Verry
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.
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.
Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2012 - 12:51 PM | Tim Verry
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.
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.
Subject: General Tech | August 21, 2012 - 11:38 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows 8, skydrive, microsoft, cloud storage
Earlier this month, Microsoft gave its webmail service an overhaul and rebranding from Hotmail to Outlook.com. In our preview of the service, I noted that while Outlook.com is integrated with SkyDrive, the company's cloud storage web interface was still using the same old UI. Fortunately, the company has taken the need for an updated interface for SkyDrive to heart and has given SkyDrive the same Modern-UI facelift as Outlook.com. Welcome to the new SkyDrive.
Skydrive is now broken up into two main panels with an action bar along the top. It looks very similar to Outlook.com in that respect. The left panel contains a search box as well as links to your Skydrive folders, shared items, groups, and connected computers (with the SkyDrive app installed). The right panel is where the folders and files are displayed.
The "Recent docs" link in the left panel does just what the name implies: opens a list of the most recently accessed documents. The "Shared" link displays a list of all the files and folders that are being shared with you. The "Groups" link opens a page in the right panel where you can create and manage sharing groups. You can create a group of people in your family with which you share out photos in certain folders, for example. Basically, it just makes it easier to share with multiple people.
Along the top is a bar with links. In the top-left corner is a Skydrive button that brings up the same Metro/Modern UI tiles that link to other Microsoft services.
Along that same blue action bar are links to create, upload, share, and manipulate your SkyDrive data. The "Create" link allows you create a new folder or document. Using Microsoft's web apps (in the future it may integrate with the remote-accessible versions of Office 2013 but for now it's the same old Office Web Apps), you can further create new Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote documents.
You can further use the upload button to not only add files but multiple files at a time (finally!). Unfortunately, it is still not possible to select and upload folders but the ability to select multiple files for uploading is a step in the right direction. Technically, it has been possible to upload multiple files before now, but it required you to use Internet Explorer. In order to upload entire folders, you will need to use the SkyDrive application. The "Share" button is fairly self-explanatory and works the same as it always has. You can send files in an email, post to Facebook, or get a link that you can then send to anyone you want to have access to the file(s) or folder. Finally, the Folder Actions button provides a drop-down menu that provides the following options for the selected items: download, embed, order prints, delete, move, and view properties.
In all, the action buttons have been simplified and are large enough that they should be easy to see and hit on mobile devices with touchscreens. It is much easier to navigate around as well. When you log into the SkyDrive site, it defaults to the "Files" tab and presents you with a collection of thumbnails listing folders and files. If the file is a photo or if it is a folder that contains photos, the icon will be a "live tile" that displays an icon of the photo or the photos it contains respectively (it cycles through multiple photos in a mini-slideshow). On the other hand, if there are no photos inside the folder, the icon will simply be a solid color with the file/folder name in text in the bottom-left corner of the rectangular tile. To the right of the name is a number that represents the number of files or sub-folders inside.
In my SkyDrive folder list, the tiles appear to be a bit messy as not all folders are live tiles. And when they are not live–and just a large solid colored rectangle– it results in a lot of wasted space (and relatively small text). Alternatively, there is also a more traditional details list view that presents files similar to Windows Explorer (and the traditional SkyDrive interface).
You can view photos within the SkyDrive web interface and open documents with the Office Web Apps service, but for any other files you will have to download them in order to open and view them. Just like the Outlook.com interface, you can enable the messaging sidebar to talk with your friends on the various social networks. In the bottom-left corner, Microsoft shows the amount of storage space you have remaining in your SkyDrive. If you click on "Manage Storage" beneath the remaining storage number, you get a new Metro options menu. Here you can opt into the new office web apps, disable people tagging, upgrade storage, and set the default file format to either Microsoft Office Open XML or OpenDocument Format which is nice to see.
Overall, the new SkyDrive interface is a nice improvement offering a cleaner interface and simplified navigation. It now fits in nicely when transitioning between SkyDrive.com, Outlook.com, and the People and Calendar apps. When navigating around the SkyDrive site, it feels much more responsive than it used to, and the ability to add multiple files without needing to use Internet Explorer is a feature I've been waiting for (for a long time). Not being able to add folders is a bummer, and in that respect using the SkyDrive Windows app is still easier, but in general the new SkyDrive will make accessing my files from a remote computer using the website a more enjoyable experience!
Have you tried out the overhauled SkyDrive web interface yet?
Subject: General Tech | August 15, 2012 - 01:27 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: rumour, microsoft, arm, surface
With yesterdays announcement that Asus, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung will all be releasing ARM based WinRT systems, the rumour we are hearing from The Register today is very interesting. If indeed the ARM powered Surface will be selling for $200 it would be less than half of the price analysts predicted it would arrive at. That Acer is not on that list of manufacturers lends credence to their CEO's statement that the $200 Surface will have a negative impact on current tablet vendors. On the other hand, if it turns out that a reasonably functional and sturdy ARM based tablet/laptop can be designed and sold for $200 then it will be a definite win for the consumer and compete with Google's new tablet as well as certain high end eReaders.
"If the latest Redmond rumors are to be believed, Microsoft's ARM-based Surface tablet models could arrive priced as low as $199, positioning them as heavyweights in the burgeoning low-cost tablet category."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Adobe Officially Kills New Flash Installations On Android @ Slashdot
- Microsoft redesigns Skydrive and announces an Android app @ The Inquirer
- Sapphire 6GB 7970 Toxic cards have NOT been cancelled @ Kitguru
- RIM: We can't flog phones, would you like our nuke plant OS instead? @ The Register
- Ninjalane Podcast Episode 20
Subject: General Tech | August 14, 2012 - 02:54 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: winRT, asus, dell, Lenovo, Samsung, microsoft, arm
When Microsoft released their Surface tablet/notebook, the tech community wondered if this move by a software company would upset the Tier 1 hardware vendors who might not want the competition. That discussion was ended when Microsoft announced that Surface was a proof of concept and would be released in very limited qualities. Today The Inquirer reports on upcoming mobile devices running on ARM hardware and WinRT from all the major vendors, giving us a rough idea what to expect in the way of performance. The quoted specs include user interface animations at 60FPS and touchscreen sampling rates of 100Hz per finger. Battery life will be impressive, 320 hours and 409 hours of standby time and for video playback you can expect 8-13 hours of HD playtime, though they do not talk about the quality of that playback.
"SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Microsoft has revealed Asus, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung Windows RT devices will be available at the launch of the operating system.
Microsoft has been playing a very dangerous game with its Surface tablet hogging the Windows RT limelight, something that its long-term and invaluable partners will not like. Now the company has come out and said that Asus, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung will also have Windows RT devices when the operating system launches later this year."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel: Xeon breaks Calxeda's ARM in Apache benchmark @ The Register
- Wireless power for the price of a penny @ NanoTechWeb
- ARM tags GlobalFoundries for future chip tech @ The Register
- Ubuntu 12.10 Is Faster With Intel Hardware @ Phoronix
- Hardware Secrets Interviews Arctic
- Canon Pixma Pro-1 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Intel refutes nVidia claims regarding HD4000 game compatibility @ Kitguru
- How do you organize the cables and networking equipment from your computer? @ Hardware Secrets
- Genius G-Shot HD575T Digital Camcorder Review @ TechwareLabs
- Mini Apple iPad to launch at £179 on 12th September @ Kitguru
- Win A Silverstone Fortress FT03-MINI Chassis @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | August 8, 2012 - 03:05 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows 8, retail windows 8, microsoft, box art
Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system is well on its way to retail availability, and that means retail packaging. Unlike the simple green boxes of previous operating systems (ultimate edition excluded), Microsoft has decided to overhaul its box art for the new OS in Windows 8 UI style. The new boxes feature a large and colorful tile-based Windows logo set against either a white or black background color. Windows 8 will get a white background with Blue text and Windows 8 Pro versions will feature the black background and white text. It is not a bad design as far as Microsoft box art goes. The simple design is fairly pleasing to the eye, though some might argue that the OS inside the box is not as pretty as the box itself.
The Verge managed to get its hands on the image above of the two boxed Windows 8 versions. Reportedly, Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro will be the only two versions that are sold at retail. Further, the two boxes are for the retail (not upgrade) versions. While The Verge speculates that the upgrade versions of Windows 8 will look similar to the boxed versions of Windows 7, there is no way to know for sure until the box art leaks or Microsoft announces it officially.
What do you think of the new Windows 8 retail box art? Did Microsoft make a good move here?
You can find more of PC Perspective's Windows 8 coverage by following our Windows 8 tag.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | August 7, 2012 - 02:07 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows 8 style ui, windows 8, windows, operating system, microsoft, Metro
The Windows 8 RTM leak has coincided with numerous articles around the Internet that detail the new features and the Windows 8 Style UI once known as Metro. It seems that a new setup process and the removal of Aero Glass were not the only big aesthetic changes. With the new build came several alleged tweaks by Microsoft that prevent several methods for automatically booting to the desktop. Group Policy tweaks and a autorun shortcut were two such methods–that worked on early beta builds but no longer work on the RTM–to skip past the Metro/Windows 8 Style UI Start Screen, according to Rafael Rivera of Windows 8 Secrets.
Previously, users could login and be automatically taken to the desktop. They would still see the Metro screen, but only for a split second. Now, users wanting to do this are back to square one, and will have to manually launch the desktop each time they login to their computers.
It is not all bad news, however (well, at least not as bad). If you drag the desktop
Metro Windows 8 Style UI tile to the top-left corner, as soon as you login, you can hit the Enter key to go to the desktop. It is a less automatic way than has been previously possible, but it is better than nothing.
Some speculation and opinion follows:
It seems that Microsoft is taking a very firm position on Windows 8’s new Start Screen interface and full screen applications. While it is likely that developers and enthusiasts are working on new tweaks to get to the desktop automatically again, I foresee this being a drawn out tit-for-tat battle between Microsoft and its users. Beyond the new interface, this stance of working against customization is something I have not seen before on this level, as previous operating system have had numerous tweaking utilities and Microsoft did not seem to have a problem with them. My only guess is that they believe by forcing users to use Windows 8 Style UI as much as it possibly can, it will get users used to, and accepting of, the interface faster (essentially trying to get users over the radical interface change as quickly as possible–ike ripping a bandaid off). And if I let the cynical side get the best of me, Microsoft does have a vested interest in keeping users on the Metro/Windows 8 Style interface as much as possible as they want users to buy Metro apps and not use traditional applications. They are selling the upgrades for $40 and likely want to “make up” the money (compared to selling prices of previous versions) by taking a cut of Windows Store app purchases. The company’s insistence on forcing usage is only going to hurt them, I fear, as people who are on the fence about Metro–but who are interested in the other improvements–likely want to come to the new interface on their own terms (if at all). Actively working against users trying to use and customize their operating systems may well cost them a few sales. It would seem to me that Microsoft should be welcoming anyone that wants to use Windows 8, even if they do not want to stay in (or use at all) the Metro interface but that's just my opinion and apparently Microsoft is of a different mind.
Whether you love, hate, or feel somewhere in-between on Windows 8 Style UI, options are not a bad thing. I do think that more people would be willing to give Microsoft’s new interface a chance if it was more optional than it is. What do you think?
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