Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Processors, Shows and Expos | March 20, 2013 - 06:26 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows rt, nvidia, GTC 2013
NVIDIA develops processors, but without an x86 license they are only able to power ARM-based operating systems. When it comes to Windows, that means Windows Phone or Windows RT. The latter segment of the market has disappointing sales according to multiple OEMs, which Microsoft blames them for, but the jolly green GPU company is not crying doomsday.
NVIDIA just skimming the Surface RT, they hope.
As reported by The Verge, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang was optimistic that Microsoft would eventually let Windows RT blossom. He noted how Microsoft very often "gets it right" at some point when they push an initiative. And it is true, Microsoft has a history of turning around perceived disasters across a variety of devices.
They also have a history of, as they call it, "knifing the baby."
I think there is a very real fear for some that Microsoft could consider Intel's latest offerings as good enough to stop pursuing ARM. Of course, the more the pursue ARM, the more their business model will rely upon the-interface-formerly-known-as-Metro and likely all of its certification politics. As such, I think it is safe to say that I am watching the industry teeter on a fence with a bear on one side and a pack of rabid dogs on the other. On the one hand, Microsoft jumping back to Intel would allow them to perpetuate the desktop and all of the openness it provides. On the other hand, even if they stick with Intel they likely will just kill the desktop anyway, for the sake of user confusion and the security benefits of cert. We might just have less processor manufacturers when they do that.
So it could be that NVIDIA is confident that Microsoft will push Windows RT, or it could be that NVIDIA is pushing Microsoft to continue to develop Windows RT. Frankly, I do not know which would be better... or more accurately, worse.
Subject: General Tech | January 15, 2013 - 09:55 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows rt, microsoft, arm
One of the downsides to Microsoft’s ARM-powered Windows RT operating system is the lack of desktop applications. While Windows RT devices to retain the traditional Windows desktop, only Microsoft applications that come pre-packaged with Windows are allowed to run. Instead, Microsoft wants users to stick to Modern UI applications and the Windows Store to get new apps. (Granted, the ARM hardware powering these devices necessitates porting x86 desktop applications in order to run in the first place, but Windows RT locks out even recompiled apps).
Enthusiasts are working on changing that, however. A XDA Developers forum member known as Netham45 recently released a tool that allows users to run unsigned desktop applications on Windows RT. The new RT Jailbreak tool is a batch file that automates a hack discovered by another hacker known as clrokr.
The hack is currently only temporary, and needs to be redone after every computer restart. It does, however, allow Windows RT to run unsigned code on the desktop. After downloading the batch file, you run the runExploit.bat and follow the prompts. After it completes, you users can run recompiled desktop apps such as PuTTY, 7-zip, TightVNC, DOSBox, Quake 2, and more.
While it is not a permaent solution, it is a step in the right direction, and makes ARM-powered Windows RT devices a lot more interesting and useful to power users. For more information on the RT Jailbreak hack, and to grab the batch file to unlock your WinRT tablet, check out this forum thread on the XDA Developers website.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 7, 2013 - 12:42 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, nvidia, windows rt
It is the day after the NVIDIA keynote and the Tegra 4 floodgates are open. Sure, the rumors were fairly accurate, but I guess speculation waits for a solid basis to be believable.
The Tegra 4 marries 72 of the expected GPU cores with four… “plus one” as the bonus core is present although 4+1 branding does not seem to be… ARM Cortex-A15 cores. This push to an A15-based design provides a significant performance increase over Tegra 3. Another interesting feature is the ability to transmit 4K video should you have a suitable source or the rendered application can support 4K at a suitable framerate. You can then add in Icera’s LTE modem which is interesting in its own right to see a compelling product.
Jen-Hsun spent about as much time justifying the need for speed as he did hyping its performance. Photographers, particularly those who wish to dabble with HDR, are able to use the Tegra 4 to vastly increase the speed of image processing at the time of taking the shot. Tonal mapping for an HDR image will take just 200ms of processing which allows HDR to be used along with burst mode and a flash.
Paul Thurrott over at the Supersite for Windows ponders whether this was Microsoft’s vision for Windows RT. He wonders whether Microsoft will try to take a mulligan on the first generation similar to Windows Phone 7-based devices led us to Windows Phone 8. At the same point, the weight which the Surface was designed to bare is pretty immense if it was just designed to buckle to Tegra 4. I would not put it past Microsoft although the Surface does not strike me as a product designed to have a doughy half-baked middle -- despite what actually shipped.
PC World also notes how Qualcomm continues to improve their products and have just recently transitioned to a 28nm process for the Snapdragon S4. Qualcomm is a giant and even then there is also Samsung to contend with in the ARM space -- then you consider x86 brings at least Intel to the game with its massive advantage in legacy software that are usually not abstracted by a platform-independent runtime layer.
PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems, Mobile | November 12, 2012 - 10:02 PM | Scott Michaud
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.
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.
Subject: Mobile | October 28, 2012 - 03:59 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows rt, tablet, nec lavie y, nec, ideapad yoga
NEC, a Japanese IT services and products company, is launching a convertible laptop similar to the Yoga 11 from Lenovo that we covered previously. The NEC LaVie Y is an 11” laptop that incorporates Lenovo’s 360” hinge to allow it to transform into slat mode when folded down or operate as a traditional laptop. The device measures 298 x 204 x 15.6 mm when it the screen is folded down over the keyboard. Further, it weighs in at 1.24 kg, or approximately 2.7 pounds.
Similarly to the Lenovo Yoga 11, the LaVie Y will run Microsoft’s Windows RT operating system. The convertible notebook will be powered by an Nvidia Tegra 3 system on a chip (SoC) along with 2GB of RAM, and a 64GB SSD. NEC has reportedly packed a decent-sized batttery as well, as the company is claiming up to 8 hours of use.
Wireless connectivity options include 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. External I/O ports include USB 2.0, a 5-in-1 card reader, and HDMI output. Other specifications include an 11.6” touchscreen display with a resolution of 1366x768, a full QWERTY keyboard, and a touchpad. A 1.3 megapixel webcam is nestled above the display as well. The device comes in a two-tone color scheme: black for the keyboard and display bezel, and a silver color for the hinge and bottom of the tablet.
According to Engadget, the LaVie Y will be available for purchase on November 22nd, and the US pricing would be close to $1,136 should you import it. Needless to say, many Americans will want to wait it out for the Lenovo Yoga 11 which should be cheaper in the United States. For readers in Japan however, this might be worth checking out if you are into the Yoga-like form factor!
Read more about Windows RT tablets at PC Perspective
Subject: General Tech | October 25, 2012 - 02:26 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: windows rt, windows 8, vivotab rt, vishera, tegra, podcast, nvidia, n668, linus, fx 8350, fx 6300, asus, amd
PC Perspective Podcast #224 - 10/25/2012
Join us this week as we talk about the ASUS N66U Router, AMD FX 8350 and 6300 CPU, our Windows RT hands on, and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, and Linus Sebastian
Program length: 1:30:18
Podcast topics of discussion:
- 0:00:50 Welcome our Guest: Linus Sebastian of Linus Tech Tips!
- Week in Reviews:
- 0:36:20 This podcast is brought to you by MSI
- News items of interest:
- 1:06:15 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
- 1-888-38-PCPER or firstname.lastname@example.org
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
Windows RT: Runtime? Or Get Up and Run Time?
Update #1, 10/26/2012: Apparently it does not take long to see the first tremors of certification woes. A Windows developer by the name of Jeffrey Harmon allegedly wrestled with Microsoft certification support 6 times over 2 months because his app did not meet minimum standards. He was not given clear and specific reasons why -- apparently little more than copy/paste of the regulations he failed to achieve. Kind-of what to expect from a closed platform... right? Imagine if some nonsensical terms become mandated or other problems crop up?
Also, Microsoft has just said they will allow PEGI 18 games which would have received an ESRB M rating. Of course their regulations can and will change further over time... the point is the difference between a store refusing to carry versus banishing from the whole platform even for limited sharing. The necessity of uproars, especially so early on and so frequently, should be red flags for censorship to come. Could be for artistically-intentioned nudity or sexual themes. Could even be not about sex, language, and violence at all.
Last month, I suggested that the transition to Windows RT bares the same hurdles as transitioning to Linux. Many obstacles blocking our path, like Adobe and PC gaming, are considering Linux; the rest have good reason to follow.
This month we receive Windows RT and Microsoft’s attempt to shackle us to it: Windows 8.
To be clear: Microsoft has large incentives to banish the legacy of Windows. The way Windows 8 is structured reduces it to a benign tumorous growth atop Windows RT. The applications we love and the openness we adore are contained to an app.
I will explain how you should hate this -- after I explain why and support it with evidence.
Microsoft is currently in the rare state of sharp and aggressive focus to a vision. Do not misrepresent this as greed: it is not. Microsoft must face countless jokes about security and stability. Microsoft designed Windows with strong slants towards convenience over security.
That ideology faded early into the life of Windows XP. How Windows operates is fundamentally different. Windows machines are quite secure, architecturally. Con-artists are getting desperate. Recent attacks are almost exclusively based on fear and deception of the user. Common examples are fake anti-virus software or fraudulent call center phone calls. We all win when attackers get innovative: survival of the fittest implies death of the weakest.
Subject: Mobile | October 23, 2012 - 02:54 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: windows rt, vivotab rt, tegra 3, asus
Let the onslaught of new Windows devices continue, this time with the announcement of the ASUS VivoTab RT, a Windows RT-based tablet powered by NVIDIA's Tegra 3 SoC. We have seen the VivoTab RT leaks and pictures for several months including a price listing just last month, all of which seem to have been spot on.
One of the flagship Windows RT devices, the ASUS tablet utilizes an NVIDIA Tegra 3 SoC running at up to 1.3 GHz in either dual or quad-core mode. You can see more background information on the processor itself in our story from September of last year when the product was first announced.
The tablet has a sleek design with a 8.3mm profile (0.32 in), 525g weight (1.15 lb) and 10.1-in Super IPS+ screen with a 1366x768 resolution behind scratch-resistant Corning Fit Glass. It will be available with either 32GB or 64GB of internal storage and will start at $599 with an included keyboard dock.
As we saw with ASUS Transformer series of tablets, the VivoTab RT will have an optional keyboard dock that includes a trackpad and nearly doubles the battery life of the machine. Below is the full spec sheet as provided by ASUS:
When docked, ASUS is claiming a total of 16 hours of usable battery life and with the inclusion of the Office Home and Student version of Microsoft Office 2013 RT, you should actually be able to use this tablet for content creation and business purposes - something we haven't been fond of claiming on Android or iOS based tablets.
If you are curious to learn more about the VivoTab RT we'll be doing a live streaming run through on the device on our PC Perspective Live! page at 4pm EDT / 1pm PDT, so be sure to join us!!
Missed the live stream? Here is a replay so you can enjoy seeing our experiences for a solid hour of usage including SmartGlass! Also, make sure you pay attention to the first few minutes as we explain the pricing.
Subject: Mobile | October 10, 2012 - 10:26 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: yoga 11, windows rt, tegra 3, tablet, nvidia, notebook, microsoft, Lenovo
At an event in New York earlier this week Lenovo announced a new Windows RT tablet called the Yoga 11. It will be joining the company’s lineup alongside the larger x86-powered Yoga 13.
The Lenovo Yoga 11 follows in the footsteps of the Yoga 13 but steps down the hardware specifications. The 11.6” tablet is 15.6mm thick and 2.8 pounds. On a simple level, the Yoga 11 is a notebook that doubles as a tablet thanks to the five point multitouch screen that can swivel 360 degrees to lay flat like a tablet.
The notebook will come pre-loaded with Microsoft’s upcoming Windows RT operating system as well as Office 2013 RT. It is powered by a NVIDIA Tegra 3 ARM System on a Chip (SoC) and 64GB of internal storage. What we don’t know yet is the amount of RAM, radio support (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LTE, et al) if any, and the specific display resolution and panel type. Lenovo has announced that the Yoga 11 will be able to get up to 13 hours of usage on a single charge.
The Yoga 11 is a traditional notebook at first glance, and it even includes a full Qwerty keyboard and trackpad. Where the Yoga differentiates itself is in the screen hinge. The hinge allows you to swing the display all the way around to lie flat against the bottom of the computer, which amounts to tablet mode, and every position in between. One use for this feature would be to show off presentation to a small group or prop it up on an airplane to watch a movie. It is essentially a convertible tablet without the center-mounted swivel hinge.
It certainly looks like an interesting device, and the Tegra 3 should provide enough GPU horsepower to allow you to watch HD videos with ease. Unfortunately, pricing and availability are still unknown, which makes this a hard product to place or predict the success of.
Read more about Windows RT tablets at PC Perspective.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | September 19, 2012 - 07:30 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows rt, vivo tab rt, vivo tab, taichi, tablet, pricing, asus
Earlier this month we detailed two ASUS tablets that were on display at IFA 2012. The important specification that was unknown at the time was pricing, however. Specifically, pricing information has been leaked on not only the two ASUS Vivo tablets, but a third tablet that we reported on in June: the ASUS Taichi convertible tablet.
ZDNet claims to have gotten a hold of the final pricing for the three tablets, by means of a leaked slide(s) that represent the company's holiday roadmap. The leaked slide can be seen below.
The two upcoming Vivo-series tablets are the Vivo Tab and Vivo Tab RT, which will run the x86 and ARM versions of Windows 8 respectively.
The Vivo Tab will run an Atom CPU, 2GB RAM, 64GB internal storage, front/rear cameras (8MP/2MP), and sport a 10.1" Super IPS+ display (1366x768 resolution). It is rated at 8.7mm thick and weighing 675 grams. According to the leaked slide, the Vivo Tab will be priced at $799 for the base model, and the accompanying keyboard dock will cost an additional $199.
On the other hand, specifications for the Vivo Tab RT include a NVIDIA Tegra 3 SoC, 2GB of RAM, 32GB internal storage, 11.6" Super IPS+ display (1366x768), 8MP/2MP front and rear camera. It weighs 520 grams and is 8.3mm thick. This tablet has a starting price of $599 for the tablet itself, and the keyboard dock costs $199 extra.
Note that this ARM-powered tablet will come with the preview/RTM version of Microsoft Office 2013 at launch (which I have been using since the Customer Preview came out, and generally like it). Once office goes gold, Windows RT tablets will receive a free update to the final version. However, with the Windows RT version, you do not have access to features like macro support in excel (which kind of defeats the purpose of using this a business machine, but at least it's 'free').
|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)|
A comparison of the Vivo Tab and Vivo RT compared to ASUS' Android-powered alternatives.
Further, the ASUS Taichi is not only a tablet, but one with dual screens that is actually billed as an ultrabook -- and with a (rumored) price to match! For $1299, you get an ultrabook with two 1920x1080 multi-touch displays on the front and bad "lid" of the laptop. Specifications include an Intel Ivy Bridge processor, 4GB of RAM, SSD, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, dual cameras, and USB 3.0 support. Even better, both displays on the Taichi can be used at the same time to share the computer with a friend sitting across from you (unclear how the software handles this though I don't think both users get individual desktops).
What that means is that if you want a Windows 8 tablet from ASUS with a keyboard dock, you are looking at a minimum of $798 for the ARM-powered Vivo Tab RT, $998 for the Vivo Tab, and $1299 for the ASUS Taichi. Now, the Taichi's pricing I can forgive, because it is marketed and positioned as an ultrabook. The two Vivo Tabs do seem overpriced for what you are getting once you factor in the additional cost fo the keyboard dock. If the dock was included in the $599 and $799 (base tablet) prices, I think those prices would be fair – but they do not. Even comparing to the company's Android tablets, it is difficult for me to justify the 'x86 and Microsoft taxes' that are likely responsible for the increased cost. As an example, you can find the 32GB Transformer Prime and keyboard dock for a total of $616.94 on Amazon right now. Is the (approx.) additional $180 really worth it just to run Windows 8 – and the ARM version at that (so no traditional desktop apps). For many people, I think not and I think Microsoft and the many tablet OEMs that are going to try to push Windows 8 tablets/notebooks this holiday season are going to need to re-evaluate the market if they want these devices to sell well.
After using Windows 8 RTM on my main desktop, I'm not sold on metro but it's not terrible and it's actually a decent UI when navigating around with a touchscreen (I've also tried it on a convertible tablet). I do think that Windows 8 tablets are a good thing, and if positioned at the right price, Microsoft and the OEMs could sell a lot of these just on the merits of being able to say that this computer/tablet/notebook/et al is running 'Microsoft' and/or 'Windows' on the box and displays (at retail) which consumers are familiar with and comfortable paying for (the brand name).
The crux of it is pricing though, because if there is a 10" tablet for $800 next to a 10" for $600, and the only discernable difference is what is on the screen (the OS, and especially since Win 8 isn't all that reminiscent of Windows' desktop), I have to believe that the majority of consumers are going to go for the cheaper model (likely running Android).
[And that's not really touching on the $1000 Vivo Tab+dock that is running an Atom processor of all things... that is most definitely ultrabook territory and for that price you should be getting at least a Sandy Bridge CPU, and better chassis. If I was in that situation of choosing just between ASUS' devices (with a touchscreen), I would probably just save up the extra cash for the Taichi and get a 'real' ultrabook (internal specs-wise), or go for something like the Transformer Pad Infinity which wouldn't run Windows but would at least have a much better display and be a bit more portable.]
But what do you think? Are the rumored prices reasonable? Would you buy a Windows 8 tablet over an Android tablet even if the Microsoft-powered device is significantly more expensive?