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Microsoft’s attempt to introduce consumers to the wonders of touch with Windows 8 amounted to a rough shove. The operating system’s poor reception has prompted a rethink and details of an updated version were unveiled on Thursday.
Windows 8.1, available as a preview from June 26, will bring back features familiar to and missed by Windows 7 users, including a Start button – but no Start menu – and the choice of not beginning their bootup experience with the touch-optimised “Modern” tile interface. Read more
But for hundreds of millions of PC users, the start button in the bottom left corner of the Windows screen has been an invaluable navigation tool – which is why Microsoft looks to be on the verge of reversing course over Windows 8 and bringing it back. Read more
A mere two weeks after the release of Windows 8, Microsoft surprised many when it announced the departure of Steven Sinofsky, head of Windows. While many tech observers noted a parallel between Sinofsky’s exit and Apple’s recent management shakeup, others pointed out that chief executive Steve Ballmer could be the next target. Read more
And that’s just the Microsoft end of the operation. The hardware makers have responded with their own Whirligig 8 – sorry, Windows 8 – of swivelling, swinging, sliding and snapping hybrid devices that veer from tablets to notebooks. Everyone is trying to cover everything while they wait to see what we consumers will go for.
Will Windows 8 turn out to be Microsoft’s “New Coke”?
Messing around with one of the world’s most familiar everyday products is hardly something to be undertaken lightly – and with the new version of Windows, which goes on sale on Friday, there has been a lot of messing around. That almost guarantees some degree of user backlash. But it would be wrong to judge the outcome of what amounts to a bet-the-farm gamble by Microsoft on its initial reception.
The initial Surface tablets will have Windows RT installed – a version of Windows 8 designed for Arm-based processors – and will come in three versions. Read more
The Vaio Tap 20 PC (pictured left) and the slider hybrid – the Vaio Duo 11 Ultrabook - were first unveiled at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin six weeks ago and have also been shown to the press with the rest of Sony’s lineup at briefings here in San Francisco. Read more
But the Swiss peripherals maker has come up with some much needed accessories for those times when touchscreens are clumsy to use or missing, and built-in controls are just not adequate for the new ways of navigating. Read more
Widescreen TVs may be the norm these days, but not so much widescreen PCs. That may be about to change thanks to Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system, which encourages users to scroll across the screen rather than up and down.
The way in which a new product is unveiled can sometimes be just as important as the product itself. However, in Microsoft’s case this week, a few hiccups didn’t appear to distract some tech commentators from writing glowing reviews of the company’s tablet computer, Surface, announced on Monday. Read more
Just in time for the big computer show of the year – Computex in Taiwan next week – Microsoft is announcing a new version of Windows 8 and its longtime partner Intel has launched new versions of its latest Ivy Bridge-codenamed Core processors.
Both seem certain to be featured in new Ultrabooks later this year, although models unveiled at Computex will still feature Windows 7 and be Windows 8-ready, judging by briefings by PC manufacturers ahead of the show. Read more
Not this post (which comes in at a mere 300 words) – this one, from Steven Sinofsky, which lays out Microsoft’s plans for bringing Windows to ARM-based mobile devices. But don’t worry: there’s no reason to read the whole thing to see why it’s got Microsoft-watchers buzzing. Read more
Google’s Chrome web browser overtook Mozilla Firefox in terms of global usage for the first time in November, research company StatCounter reports. Chrome’s browser market share hit 25.69% in November, beating Firefox’s 25.23% share with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer continuing to dominate, holding a 40.63% share. Read more
Things are heating up again in the world of tablets. While talk of a tablet war is buzzing, with the latest player soon to be Microsoft, existing tablet makers are struggling to catch up with the iPad.
Here is some unexpected news from the frontline of the tablet computing revolution: the screens full of “apps” that have achieved an almost iconic status thanks to the success of the iPad, may not be the be-all and end-all of touchscreen computing.
The unlikely prompt for this thought is none other than Microsoft. The PC software leviathan has hardly been known for its pioneering ways with computer interfaces, let alone for design flair. Nevertheless, it looks set to add an interesting new twist to tablets.
Club Penguin, the Disney-owned social network for children, is to make its debut on mobile devices with the release of Puffle Launch for iOS, Mashable reports. Puffle Launch for iOS is a replica of an existing Club Penguin web game which is played by 150,000 children each day. Read more
Music publishers have settled their part of a class action suit brought against YouTube, according to PaidContent. The suit, brought by them and other leading content providers such as the Premier League, alleged that the video site’s inattention to controlling copyright material violated the law. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Read more