Blue His Build with Leaked Blue Little Windows...

Subject: General Tech, Systems | March 24, 2013 - 03:56 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, Blue, windows blue

It was only a matter of time before Windows Blue was leaked, like just about every other version of the operating system in recent memory. Internally, Blue is a transition for Microsoft into an annual release schedule for Windows products; externally, Blue is the first feature-release for Windows.

Yes, Sean Bean, win'ders has come.

Zac from WinBeta, embed above, got hold of the operating system, apparently leaked today, and played around with the changes for all of YouTube to see.

Notable changes, as of build 9364, are:
  • New split-screen App options. (Unclear whether multi-monitor app support is fixed)
  • Minor clarifications for user instruction.
  • New tile sizes.
  • Swipe up from Start Screen to access list of apps.
  • More personalization options.
  • Picture frame mode.
  • New App: Calculator.
  • New App: Alarm.
  • New App: Sound Recorder.
  • New App: Movie Moments... apparently a new, confidential, video editing application.
  • Internet Explorer updated to version 11.

Personally, despite sticking with Windows 7 for political reasons, the new App options seem like they would be the most engaging feature for Windows Blue. For being such a core segment of the "modern" Windows experience, apps are surprisingly annoying to manage as they currently exist on Windows 8. If you have two or more monitors then you are probably having a nightmare with anything outside of Windows 8's desktop mode.

We now know that app support is being looked at, so there is some hope that multiple monitor users will be considered too.

Source: WinBeta

CES 2013: MSI Slidebook S20 to Debut This Month for $1299

Subject: Mobile | January 10, 2013 - 02:37 AM |
Tagged: windows 8, tablet, slider s20, slidebook, msi, ces 2013, CES

MSI first showed off its Slider S20 Windows 8 convertible tablet with slider hinge at Computex, and now it is making a new showing at this year’s CES. It has updated specifications, a slightly tweaked name, and an official release date later this month. The Slider S20 is now known as the Slidebook S20 and is classified as a convertible ultrabook.

MSI Slidebook S20.jpg

The Tech Report goes hands-on with the Slidebook S20.

The Slidebook S20 is a convertible tablet where the display can slide upwards to reveal a physical keyboard. Then, the display can swivel upwards to act as a notebook. The display is an 11.6” IPS display with a resolution of 1920x1080 and 10 point multi-touch input. It has a single horizontal hinge to attach the display to the keyboard instead of the traditional single-point swivel hinge on tablets like the Dell Latitude XT series. The Slidebook S20 measures .8” thin and is estimated to be around 2.5 lbs.

Internal specifications include an Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB solid state drive. Further, the system runs the full version of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system.

The S20 tablet features a mini HDMI video output, two USB 3.0 ports, a single headphone jack, and a DC input jack on the right side. The left side of the tablet includes an Ethernet jack and the back edge of the tablet includes a volume rocker and orientation switch.

According to MSI, the Slidebook S20 will be available later this month for $1299 with 8GB of RAM. It is a neat form factor and the sliding hinge should make the S20 fairly sturdy. Even so, it does lack a touchpad and the price ended up being higher than the rumored sub-$1000 mark that I was hoping for. I do worry that the S20’s keyboard will suffer the same fate as other smartphones, where the top row of keys will be difficult to hit as the display is positioned right up against them. (At least the number keys are cushioned by the F1-12 keys, so it is less of an issue heh.)

MSI shows off the Slidebook S20.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Laptop Mag

CES 2013: Panasonic Unveils Two New Ruggedized Toughpad Tablets Running Windows 8 and Android

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2013 - 02:51 AM |
Tagged: CES, windows 8, toughpad, tablet, ruggedized, Panasonic, Android, ces 2013

Panasonic is continuing to branch out from ruggedized notebooks into the world of tablets, and this time around the company is releasing two new ruggedized tablets that succeed the current-generation FZ-A1. The new Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 will run Windows 8 Pro while the JT-B1 will run Android 4.0 and use ARM hardware.

-toughpad-fz-g1-2.jpg

The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 packs some respectable hardware for this type of ruggedized product. A dual core (with HyperThreading for four total threads) Intel Core i5-3437U processor running at 1.9GHz base/2.9GHz turbo, up to 8GB of RAM, and up to a 256GB SSD comprise the basic internal specifications. On the outside is a 10.1” touchscreen with active digitizer along with USB 3.0, USB 2.0, HDMI, microSDXC, RJ45, and serial ports. The FZ-G1 can also host a dedicated GPS and tap into Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular networks. The tablet is rated for various Mil-spec standards such that it can survive harsh working environments of industrial, military, public safety, et al jobs. The tablet does not come cheap though, as the ruggedized form factor comes at a high price – starting at $2,899 for the base model. Still, it is interesting to see that tablets are even being embraced in roles that ruggedized notebooks have long dominated. Notably, Panasonic has stated that it hopes to capture 50% of the ruggedized tablet market by 2015.

Processor Intel Core-i5 3437U @ 1.9GHz (2.9GHz turbo)
Memory 4-8GB
Storage 128-256GB SSD
Display 10.1" touchscreen w/ active digitizer @ 1920x1200
IO Full size: USB 3.0, HDMI, micro SDXC (optional), USB 2.0, LAN, and serial port or dedicated GPS.
Wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, optional 4G LTE or 3G
Dimensions 10.6" x 7.4" x 0.75"
Weight 2.43 lbs
OS Windows 8 Pro
Rugged MIL-STD-810G, 4' drop, IP65, 14° to 122°F (operational temp range)

While the FZ-G1 runs Windows and has x86-64 hardware, the Panasonic Toughpad JT-B1 is smaller and goes with ARM internals and Google’s Android mobile OS. This 7” tablet maintains the same MIL-spec ratings as its bigger sibling, but weighs half as much. The JT-B1 features a 7” touchscreen with a resolution of 1024x600, a front and rear camera, and a micro USB port on the outside. Internally, the JT-B1 tablet includes a dual core TI OMAP 4660 (similar to the SoC used in Amazon’s Kindle HD tablets) running at 1.5GHz, 1GB of RAM, 16GB ROM for storage, and Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular radios.

toughpad-jt-b1.jpg

The Panasonic JT-B1 will run Android 4.0 and has a starting price of $1,199 making it only viable for the specialized industries that need such a ruggedized device--it is no Nexus 7 (but that’s a good thing for certain jobs).

Processor TI OMAP 4460 @ 1.5GHz (dual core)
Memory 1GB
Storage 16GB ROM
Display 7" touchscreen @ 1024x600
IO Micro USB, Front 1.3MP webcam, rear 13MP autofocus camera with LED flash
Wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, optional 4G LTE and 3G
Dimensions 8.7"x 5.1" x 0.7"
Weight 1.2 lbs
OS Android 4.0
Rugged MIL-STD-810G, 5' drop, IP65, 14° to 122°F (operational temp range)

Both of the Panasonic Toughpads will be available later this year. The FZ-G1 will be available in March for $2,899 and the JT-B1 will be available in February for $1,199. You can find the full press release over at Engadget.

Tablet Pricing (base) Availability
Panasonic FZ-G1 $2,899 March
Panasonic JT-B1 $1,199 February

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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Source: Engadget

Lenovo ThinkVision LT1423p Touch Mobile Monitor

Subject: General Tech, Displays, Mobile | January 6, 2013 - 06:00 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, thinkvision, mobile, LT1423p, Lenovo, CES

Not one to be left out of the fray, Lenovo latest mobile announcement for CES comes in the form of a 13.3 inch, Windows 8 touch optimized mobile monitor.

01.jpg

Courtesy of Lenovo

The ThinkVision LT1423p Mobile Monitor is being markets as a touch enabled secondary screen to be used by on-the-go professionals wanting the added productivity that a touch screen provides for the Windows 8 experience. The screen is an AH-IPS LED-based display with an edge to edge Gorilla Glass coating for added strength and durability. The monitor also support both wired and wireless forms of connectivity for added versatility.

KeyFeatures
Courtesy of Lenovo

  • Windows 8 touch optimized wired mobile monitor
  • 10 point multi-touch Gorilla Glass screen with anti-reflection and anti-fingerprint surfaces
  • One USB3.0 interface for its signal and power or optional WiFi wireless connectivity for ultra-mobility
  • Digitizer pen with 256 pressure, 2540lpi resolution, and a 133pps data rate
  • 4-directions wide viewing angle supported by latest 13.3 inch AH-IPS LED viewing panel
  • Ultra slim design ranging from 0.3 inch at its thinnest point to 0.6 inch at its thickest

02.jpg

Courtesy of Lenovo

The touch screen monitor is only 1/2 an inch thick, weighing a mere 1.6 lbs. Not only is this sized to fit in the same bag as your ultrabook or laptop, but will not add much weight to that shoulder bag either.

03.jpg

Courtesy of Lenovo

In addition to its 10 point multi-touch support, the ThinkVision LT1423p supports use of an stylus-type touch pen device for finer touch control.

Technical Specifications (provided by Lenovo)

Screen Size

13.3 inches

Panel Type

AH-IPS, LED

Display/Resolution

1600*900, HD+

Brightness

300nit

Contrast Ratio

500 : 1

DCR

10M:1

Interface

1 USB3.0

Multi-touch

10 point multi-touch

Touch Pen

Digitizer with 256 pressure transducers

Cover / Stand

Cover with stand to support landscape and portrait use

Weight

Starting at 1.6 pounds (730g)

Thickness

0.28 inches thin (7.1 mm thin)

Price

Starting at USD$349

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Microsoft Surface Pro Priced and Dated

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | November 29, 2012 - 10:52 PM |
Tagged: surface, Surface Pro, windows 8

When surface was originally announced we were promised the availability of two different models: Surface RT and Surface Pro. The two devices are what Microsoft considers canonical to the modern Windows experience. The original Microsoft Surface, an interactive table designed for commercial applications, was stripped of its trademark and rebranded Microsoft PixelSense.

The Surface RT was positioned as the introductory and lower-end Windows tablet incapable of x86-support. With a base price of $499 the ARM-based device takes up the lower end of the market with an attempt to bring laptop form to an iPad-style platform.

3286.Surface_Pro.jpg-550x0.jpg

The Surface Pro will come in two SKUs: a 64GB version will cost you $899 or fork over $999 to double that to 128GB of flash storage. All SKUs will include an Intel i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and an Intel HD 4000 GPU driving a 10.6” 1080p display. You will be able to attach an external monitor via mini display port. Windows 8 will be the driving operating system behind this device and bring support for x86 applications to the Surface platform.

Neither Surface Pro SKU will include a keyboard-cover in the price but both will include a stylus. You still have the option of augmenting your device with their magnetically attached keyboards. I can only assume that Microsoft did not include them solely for pricing.

The Surface family will complete in January 2013.

Microsoft Rumored to Release Subscription-based Windows Blue Update in 2013

Subject: General Tech | November 28, 2012 - 02:37 PM |
Tagged: Windows Store, windows blue, windows 8, update, subscription, OS, microsoft

In other Microsoft news, the company is rumored to be working on its next generation operating system. Codenamed Windows Blue, it will be a low cost upgrade for existing Windows users that will be based on a subscription service for updates.

Details are extremely scarce at this point but it does seem like a probable move from Microsoft. It does seem like Microsoft has been moving in that direction for some time now. According to The Verge in reporting on sources in the know, Windows Blue will keep the Windows 8 name for branding purposes but the OS will receive a new SDK, UI changes, and performance tweaks during yearly updates. The updates are due in mid-2013, and the Windows Blue update service will span from Windows 8 to Windows Phone (Windows Server was not mentioned). Oddly enough, with the Windows Blue update Microsoft will stop accepting new Windows Store applications built to run on Windows 8. The Windows Store will continue to allow existing Windows 8 applications, but will require developers to rewrite their applications using the new SDK in order to get them on the Store for users running Windows Blue subscription service.

win8_retail_box_lg.jpg

It is a lot to take in, and there are many unknowns at this point. Do you think Microsoft has a good idea with the yearly subscription model, or will it cause backlash from users used to the way Windows has worked for years. Especially those that buy an OEM system with a pre-installed OS and use it until something breaks. Will they be receptive to yet another subscription service for an OS that traditionally has been a one-time purchase?

Assuming it is a good idea, how much would you pay for yearly updates? Will the Windows Store be enough of a success to essentially subsidize the development cost and allow for cheap pricing on the subscriptions?

Find more details on the rumored Windows Blue subscription over at The Verge.

Source: The Verge

Microsoft Sells 40 Million Windows 8 Licenses in First Month

Subject: General Tech | November 28, 2012 - 12:33 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, windows, upgrades, microsoft

Analysts and computer enthusiasts have been predicting the success (or demise) of Microsoft’s latest Windows 8 operating system for some time now. Fortunately, we finally have some rough sales numbers from the Redmond-based software company to go off of. In short, despite the controversial nature of the operating system Microsoft has a winner on its hands.

Microsoft Windows 8 Modern UI Desktop.jpg

As the first month of Windows 8’s retail availability came to a close, Microsoft’s Tami Reller announced that the company has sold 40 million licenses so far. The company did not specify how those licenses broke down as far as the SKU and how many were OEM/Upgrade/Retail copies. It is also unclear whether the free Windows 8 Pro keys the company accidentally gave out were included in the number (hehe).

One other interesting tidbit that Microsoft did share was that the Windows Store has seen several apps that have made more than $25,000 with the developer and Microsoft doing an 80/20-percent split of the revenue.

As a point of comparison, Windows 7 sold 60 million copes over a two month period, so it will be interesting to see if Windows 8 will surpass that 60 million mark at the end of next month or not. Right now, it is looking promising.There are quite a few things to be wary of in the new operating system, but there is also a lot of under-the-hood performance tweaks that are worth putting up with the other changes for. It will be interesting to see where the OS goes from here and how it is received on the enterprise side of things.

Source: Microsoft
Author:
Subject: Systems
Manufacturer: Dell

The Dell All-in-One

 

Reviewers, at times, can be somewhat myopic.  I speak for myself in this particular instance.  My job as a writer is to test hardware on a daily basis, and as such I have a very keen understanding (or so I hope) of the intricacies of computer design.  If I need to build a machine, whether for test purposes or something that my wife can play Song Pop on, I have a near infinite variety of components that I can choose from to fit the needs of the project.  As such, we often forget that not everyone has that level of expertise.  Most people, in fact, just want to be able to buy something that not only fits their needs, but also simply just has to work.

xps_pack01.jpg

Dog is unimpressed with packaging.  UPS complained profusely though.

This is the reason why we have the Dells, HPs, and Lenovos of the world.  The vast majority of people out there are unwilling to build their own machine and support it themselves.  They neither have the time nor patience to dive in and learn the ins and outs of a modern PC and the software that runs them.  This is not a bad thing.  Just as I do not have the patience to learn how to sew, I still like wearing clothes.  At least during our podcasts.  For the most part.

We must also admit that we are moving well away from the typical beige box that dominated the 90s and early 2000s.  Manufacturers have a much better eye for not only functionality, but also aesthetics.  No longer do we have the hulking CRTs of yesteryear, and neither do we have the large boxes that are nearly indistinguishable from one or another.  Multiple form factors abound and these large manufacturers have design teams that pay very close attention to things like compatibility, power consumption, and thermal dissipation.  With these things in mind, they are able to create unique devices that not just serve the needs of consumers, but also just simply work.

Apple has been at the forefront of this type of design for quite some time.  This is a company that has prized fit, finish, and functionality far more than they have pursued cost cutting and homogenization.  This has lead to much higher margins for the company, and a nearly rabid following by the people buying their platforms.  We certainly can argue that they probably perfected the “all-in-one” machine back in the Macintosh days, and since that time they have not stood still.  The iMac was a further advancement in that field, but the introduction of relatively inexpensive and large LCD panels allowed them to further shrink the all-in-one.  It also allowed them to further sculpt the design into what we see today.

xps_pack02.jpg

Everything is nicely supported in the box.

Obviously people around the industry have noticed this trend, and noticed the devoted following of the Apple consumers.  It is hard to miss.  The world is a big place though, and surely there are people who crave the type of design that Apple pushes, but do not necessarily want to jump on that particular bandwagon.  Dell has recognized this and created their XPS One lineup of products.  Not everyone wants to run OSX and pay the Apple tax.  If this is the case for a reader, then this might be the product that catches their attention.

Continue reading our review of the new Dell XPS One 27-in PC!!

Breaking News: Steven Sinofsky Leaves Microsoft Immediately

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems, Mobile | November 12, 2012 - 10:02 PM |
Tagged: windows rt, windows 8, microsoft

Our regular viewers know that I am not too fond of Microsoft’s recent vision; I will get that out of the way right at the start. I am a major proponent of open platforms for uncensored art with perpetual support and Windows 8 shows all the signs of Microsoft turning its back on that ideology.

And Steven Sinofsky, the one who allegedly came up with that vision, is no longer with Microsoft: effective immediately.

surface-cover.jpg

Not much in the line of reasoning is known about why Steven Sinofsky parted ways with his long-term career as head of Windows division. He had a clear and concise vision for his products and it was evident both in Windows 7 and in Windows RT.

Rumors exist that his fellow executives were not on pleasant terms with him. All Things D claims to have sources which suggest that his colleagues were unhappy with his conduct in terms of collaboration.

But that is all hearsay.

What it means for Microsoft is that the face that set sail is no longer at the helm. Microsoft could revert back to their twitchy attempts to appease everyone and abandon their vision. On the other hand it is entirely possible that the company could continue off on the last bearing set by Sinofsky.

No-one knows, but I stand behind my previous assertions that the PC industry will get messy in the next few years as things boil over at Microsoft.

Source: All Things D

Microsoft Giving Away Free Media Center Keys For Windows 8

Subject: General Tech | October 28, 2012 - 04:55 AM |
Tagged: wmc, windows media center, Windows 8 Pro, windows 8, microsoft, free

Microsoft has decided to separate Windows Media Center from its latest operating system, making it a paid add-on to Windows 8 Pro. This has the consequence of making users wanting to upgrade their home theater PCs to Windows 8 have to pay not only for the more expensive Pro version but the add-on pack with WMC as well. Needless to say, I was less than pleased to hear that news. Especially, since CableCard users are stuck with WMC if they want to watch or record any shows flagged with anything more restrictive than copy freely (copy once, copy never).

Fortunately, Microsoft has backed away ever so slightly from that position by giving away free WMC keys to users until January 31, 2013. You will still need to pony up for the Pro version of Windows 8, but at least you will not have to pay for the add-on pack to get what is essentially the same media center that is available in Windows 7.

WMC_Windows 7_Program Guide_Most Viewed Channels.png

You can obtain a key by heading over to this Microsoft web page and entering your email address. The company is offering up a single key per email address. Even if you do not currently have Windows 8, it might be prudent to grab a key just in case. Note that you will need to activate the key by January 2013 or it will expire, however.

Once you have Windows 8 Pro installed, to add Windows Media Center, open up the Start Screen and search for “add features.” Click on “Settings” and then “Add features to Windows 8.” You will then be prompted for a product key, and once you input the key Microsoft emailed to you, follow the remaining prompts to install it. A restart will be required (and is automatic, so save any open documents!), and then you can get your WMC fix.

The promotion will end on January 2013 so grab the free keys while they last!

Read more about Windows 8 at PC Perspective.

Source: Microsoft