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WinAppUpdate.com, which has been tracking the growth of the Windows 8 Store, reports that the market has now reached around 3,610 apps, increasing by about 118 apps per day. The store crossed the 1000 app milestone in early September. The growth puts the market on track to about 5,000 apps on launch day, a rather small number compared to the 250,000 claimed iPad apps, but much more than the 2000 iPad apps the tablet launched with 2 years ago. The majority of the apps, at around 88%, are free, with Microsoft recently talking about new advertising initiatives for developers to monetize these apps. There are more than 1,837 developers represented, with big names such as Asus, AT&T, Amazon, BMW, eBay, NBC Universal, Toshiba, and Viacom among them, but also a large number of individual developers. The majority of the apps are games (18%) and 94% of the apps work on ...

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Microsoft is still to officially launch Windows 8 on the 26th October, but it seems the first Windows 8 laptops are already on sale, and from an unexpected source. The Home Shopping Network is offering two Gateway Windows 8 laptops, a 15.6 inch version for $649.95 and a 17.3 inch version for $699.95. The offer is set to expire soon and no delivery date was announced. Both laptops have Core i5 processors, 4 GB RAM and a 500 GB hard drive, and neither have a touch screen. This is likely the form factor the vast majority of Windows 8 hardware will be sold, at least in the first few years, but it is of course interesting to see it arrive so soon. Via WPC. ...

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As part of a Microsoft’s MyAchievements program Microsoft is sending gamers 20 free Microsoft Points on their birthday. The free gift is however not being well received, due to the paltry amount (20 Microsoft points is only worth around $0.25) and due to the numerous conditions attached. Only gamers with Gamerscore over 3000 qualify for the gift, and users will have to wait till the 15th of the month to actually receive the Points. Users with a Gamerscore above 10,000 get a rebate of one percent for every Xbox LIVE purchase and gamers with a Gamerscore above 25,000 will be a two percent rebate credited to their Xbox account. To add insult to injury, there is nothing in the Xbox store which can be purchased for only 20 Microsoft Points. This may be a promotion Microsoft may want to rethink. Maybe an “It’s my Birthday!” Avatar Prop would be a ...

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As part of Advertising Week in New York Microsoft has talked about the opportunities for in-app advertising on Windows 8, which is moving from the traditional complex program model to the often free and ad-supported app model more common in mobile devices. Microsoft brought advertising agencies on board right from the start to help create their advertising format, noting that “the connected user interface and unique, fluid design of Windows 8 will encourage people to explore and discover ads without disrupting their experience.” In the video above one can see 5 advertising concepts, including tiles that expand into a full screen ads, ones which are panoramic from the start, ones with animated backgrounds and ones where the actual app is an ad. Read in more detail what is likely to be coming our way with Windows 8, which is providing not just a larger canvas for applications, but also advertisers, ...

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MSNerd, long time Microsoft leaker,has passed on a little tip about the next version of Windows on ARM. Currently Windows on ARM runs on NVidia, Qualcomm and TI processors, which leaves OEMs like Samsung unable to use processors from their own supply chain. According to MSNerd, in the next update to Windows Nokia and Samsung will be able to use processors from their favourite providers – in Nokia’s case ST-Ericsson’s Novathor processor, and in Samsung’s case its own Exynos processor and SOC. Blue is said to be an interim update to Windows, much like a service pack, and may be the start of a regular, more phone-like pattern of yearly updates to Windows which add features, as we have come to expect from Windows Phone and the iOS. So far we do not know much else about the update, but one can hope the update removes the reliance of the ...

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Windows 8 launch day is rapidly approaching, and it seems a good time to get acquainted with the variety of mobility choices we will soon have. Ukranian  Microsoft evangelist Igor "Walker" Shastitko posted a pretty detailed walk-through of two devices, the Samsung ATIV SmartPC Pro and the Acer Iconia Tab (W510) on Youtube, unfortunately not in English, which gives us a good idea of the look, feel and performance of each device. What is striking about the Samsung ATIV SmartPC Pro especially is how laptop-like it was when docked, which will hopefully also secure PC-like sales of tends of millions of devices over the next year, firmly establishing the ecosystem. Via WPC ...

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Part of moving to the app model in Windows 8 is that components should continue to improve even after the OS has shipped. This is the case currently, with Microsoft announcing a number of improvements coming to the built-in apps in Windows 8. The list include: SkyDrive Search within SkyDrive Rename and move folders and files New first-run experience Custom sort order Mail, Calendar, People, and Messaging Conversation view of your inbox Complete IMAP account support Accepting and declining invitations in email Capturing and updating your account picture Improved search Search for a contact within the Messaging app Photos Crop and rotate photos New auto-curated collage slideshows View photos and videos on network locations in your Pictures Library such as Windows Home Server, network shares, and HomeGroups Move through photos in your Pictures Library even when you open them from the desktop Maps Bird’s eye view 3,000+ indoor venue maps ...

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Asus VivoTab RT Samsung ATIV Smart PC AT&T today announced that they will be carrying a Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets in their stores for the holiday season. AT&T will be offering the Asus VivoTab RT, a Nvidia Tegra® 3 TE quad-core processor powered tablet with 32 GB storage, a 10.1 inch Super IPS display with ASUS TruVivid technology and LTE, with an ultra-slim form-factor. AT&T will also be offering the Windows 8 Samsung ATIV Smart PC, with a 11.6" HD PLS display, Intel Clover Trail 1.5 GHz dual core processor and 64GB internal storage. "AT&T is a leader in connected devices, and we are thrilled the Windows 8 tablets will be available on the nation’s largest 4G network," said Chris Penrose, senior vice president, AT&T Emerging Devices. "With Windows 8, both tablets give customers an optimized touch interface, instant live tile updates and PC capabilities. For as low ...

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Microsoft and Barnes and Noble’s joint venture has received regulatory blessing, and with that also finally a name. No longer NewCo, the company has now been named Nook Media LLC. “As demand for digital content continues to increase, we are focused on bringing ground-breaking reading and learning content and technologies to more people in more formats than ever before, including the imminent launch of our exceptional NOOK reading application for Windows 8,” said William Lynch, CEO of Barnes & Noble. “We look forward to working closely with our new partner Microsoft to add value to their innovative new platform by bringing great reading experiences and one of the world’s preeminent digital bookstores to millions of Windows 8 users.” “NOOK Media is a leader in developing the next generation of digital reading and we look forward to the company bringing one of the world’s largest digital libraries to Windows 8 devices ...

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Acer has announced that their 11.6 inch Windows 8 will be hitting the market on the 26th of October with a pretty reasonable price. The device, with a full HD 1080p screen and 1.8 ghz Core i3 Ivybridge  processor will cost $799, and will come bundled with a desktop dock and Bluetooth wireless keyboard. Acer will also be offering the device with a Core i5 processor and 8 GB of RAM for $999. The 64 GB device also has 4 GB RAM, a one megapixel front and 5 megapixel rear camera, a USB 3.0 port which is tripled when docked and a microHDMI port, and only weights 2.3 pounds. The dock and keyboard is designed to remain at your home base for serious desktop use, allowing the unencumbered tablet to be taken away easily for on the road use. The price for the bundle is very competitive with the iPad, ...

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TNW reports that unnamed European sources are claiming Microsoft is working on a deal to buy Rdio, the cross-platform music streaming service based in San Francisco. The streaming service, which has clients for Windows, MacOS,  iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone and which is available in US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Brazil, Australia, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway and New Zealand, was founded by Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom, who also happen to have started Skype, acquired by Microsoft for $8.5 billion in 2011. The service is ad-supported, which would be a good fit for recent rumours of an Xbox branded ad-supported streaming music service. Rdio CEO Drew Larner said here “is nothing to talk about” and that he will not “comment on rumors”. Read more at TNW here. ...

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Bloomberg recently ran a story where they claimed Intel’s CEO Paul Otellini told employees in Taiwan that  Windows 8  is being released before it’s fully ready. Intel, who will be showcasing Windows 8 PCs tomorrow, has released a statement calling the rumour unsubstantiated. The company has released the statement below: SANTA CLARA, Calif., Sept. 26, 2012 – Today Intel Corporation issued a statement in response to unsubstantiated news reports about comments made by Intel CEO Paul Otellini in a meeting with employees. Intel has a long and successful heritage working with Microsoft on the release of Windows platforms, delivering devices that provide exciting experiences, stunning performance, and superior compatibility. Intel fully expects this to continue with Windows 8. Intel, Microsoft and our partners have been working closely together on testing and validation to ensure delivery of a high-quality experience across the nearly 200 Intel-based designs that will start launching in ...

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In a study of website and browser performance Strangeloop, a provider of web acceleration solutions to companies like eBay and Visa, has found that Microsoft’s latest greatest browser has finally taken the crown over their main rival, Google’s Chrome. In a test of loading the Alexa Retail 2000, the 2000 biggest commercial websites, they found IE10 loaded webpages fractionally faster than Firefox on first view, and 8% faster than Google Chrome 20. The result was also apparent when it came to re-visiting a page, when IE10 also edged out Google Chrome and Firefox. The study is good news for Windows 8 tablet users, where the browser will likely remain the default Metro browser, and for Windows Phone 8 users, where users do not have a choice regarding the default browser.  The study can be downloaded at Strangeloop here. ...

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The Verge reports from their sources that the final pricing of Windows 8 has been revealed. It is somewhat complex, so I will lay it out as clearly as possible. Existing Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 users will be able to upgrade via a download at $39.99 to Windows 8 Pro. Buying the upgrade at retail on DVD will cost $69.99 Clean install  Windows 8 Pro will cost $69.99 until the 31st January 2013. The software will then revert to $199. Stores will also sell a Windows 8 to Windows 8 Pro upgrade for $69.99 for until January 31st. After January 31st the same upgrade will cost $99.00 Both the Windows 8 to Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 Pro copies will be made available from retailers on October 26th. Clear as mud? Let us know below. ...

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WPDownunder reports on a tip from “an impeccable source” that Microsoft will not be sticking to their Microsoft Store-only policy for distributing the Microsoft Surface in Australia. Apparently Microsoft is in negotiations with a major Australian retail partner to distribute the Windows 8 tablets in stores nationwide,  which should suite a country as big as Australia very well. Also apparently the devices will hit Australian stores on October 26th, the same date as USA, and given Australia’s position this means they will be getting their hands on the tablets before anyone else in the world. Unfortunately no pricing has been released, but WPDownunder expects it to be competitive with the iPad rather than with the Google Nexus. Read more at WPDownUnder here. Thanks gh8421 for the tip. ...

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Asus’s Windows 8 and Windows RT roadmap has leaked and it contains a mixture of both good and bad news. The good news is that the Asus headliner, the Asus Taichi, with two full-HD touch screen panels will only come in at $1,299, which is pretty far from luxury laptop pricing for what is a very interesting device. The bad news is that the pure tablets, both Windows 8 and Windows RT, are pretty expensive, and not looking very competitive. The Windows 8 Asus Vivo tab will come in at $799 for a Atom processor, plus an extra $199 for the docking station, bringing the combination up to Macbook Air pricing. Similarly the less functional Asus Vivo Tab RT with an Nvidia processor will cost $599 for a device with a 1366 x 768 resolution screen, not making it very competitive with an iPad. What do our readers think of ...

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