About the author  ⁄ Atiya

As part of its CES 2013 announcements, Lenovo has revealed a wide range of Windows 8 touchscreen-based laptops, such as the IdeaPad U310 and U410 Ultrabooks, which both have Intel Core processors and have a thickness of 18mm.  These Ultrabooks prices start at $799 and will be released around March-April this year.   The IdeaPad Z400 and Z500 notebooks that cost around $699 have 10-point touchscreens and Dolby Home Theatre v4 sound support as well as backlit keyboards will also be released by Lenovo.  Lenovo will also be releasing the IdeaCentre A730 in June, that has a 27 inch screen which comes in a 1920×1080 resolution or an optional 2560×1440 screen.  This will be priced at a reasonable $1,499.  In addition, shortly before the IdeaCentre A730, the IdeaCentre C540 will be released in February as a non-touchscreen 23-inch all-in-one PC and in June as a touchscreen version.  Finally, the ThinkVision ...

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It is due to the fact that supplies of touch panels are limited that notebooks with touchscreen control features tend to be around $100-$200 more expensive than those without; therefore as a result customers are more inclined to purchase Windows 7 based notebook models in which touchscreen control features are not necessary. Currently –according to Digitimes Research- touchscreen-based notebooks contributed to 0.5% of total notebook shipments at the end of 2012, however once touch panel supplies increase and become cheaper, the percentage is expected to increase to 10% in 2013. While Windows 8 works perfectly fine using just a keyboard and a mouse, it does not deliver the new type of experience users expect from our touch-screen driven lifestyle these days.  It is expected that the wide availability of affordable touch screen laptops and tablets will provide the significant boost in sales which have eluded Windows 8 so far. Via: ...

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The most popular podcast application for Windows Phone, ‘PODCASTS!’, has recently been released in the Windows 8 store, where it can be downloaded free of charge.  ‘PODCASTS!’ allows you to stream audio and video podcasts, subscribe to podcasts, download episodes for playback when you’re not on the app and search for podcasts efficiently and easily.  Furthermore, the app fully supports rotation and snapped modes and background audio playback is fully integrated with the Windows 8 system audio controls.  Best of all, it doesn’t cost a  penny.  With Xbox Music not really offering support for podcasts, either on Windows 8 or Windows Phone, this app is essential, and all it needs really is to find a way of synchronizing play position with Windows Phones also. Find the app in the Windows 8 Store here. ...

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Major updates for Windows 8 apps were released last month, including updates for the Finance app via the Windows Store which include enhancements and improvements in network connectivity and navigation improvements as well as new stock exchanges and news content partners.  An update for the News app has also occurred, showing improvements in mouse and keyboard navigation for Windows 8 users as well as more support for regional news sources and additional news outlets and various performance improvements.  However, the News and Finance apps remain unavailable in some areas, something which will hopefully be addressed in the next major update.   Via: Neowin.net ...

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In case you have been living under a rock, Windows 8 was released on 26th October 2012, boasting 40,000,000 sales in the first 30 days of release. The initial cost of Windows 8 Pro was £50, however order to increase the affordability of the software for UK customers, Microsoft has sliced the cost in half to £25. What this means is Windows 8 Pro can now be bought for less money than Windows 8 home premium whilst including extra features: Thank you Oliver for the tip. read more at: intowindows.com ...

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Microsoft and Google -as well as Dell, HP, Phillips and Intel- have expressed an interest in using ‘white spaces’ in their devices in order to provide their users with the convenience of widespread broadband access.  The white-space spectrum used by Microsoft is between 512-698 megahertz, offering a longer range than the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi networks we use currently, thus allowing people in rural areas to have better signal. The rumour is that Microsoft is planning to offer free WIFI as a value-added feature on Nokia’s handsets, with Senior government sources telling The Sunday Telegraph that Microsoft and Google have expressed “extreme interest” in unused sections of airwaves known as white spaces The two companies are rumored to looking to offer nation-wide WIFI to their smartphone users in UK using White Spaces spectrum. To clarify, white spaces are gaps between airwaves used for television, radio and mobile services, which are also used to prevent interference between ...

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In addition to their series of ads for Microsoft’s new tablet- the Surface, Microsoft has released the extended version of their first surface advert on YouTube as a treat to their fans.  The surface tablet was officially released on the 26th, and the 32 GB version is currently sold out in the United States.  While Microsoft has not yet released official figures it appears early sales are going well.  Early projections has Microsoft selling between 3 and 5 million Surface this holiday season. The Surface Pro Windows 8-based tablet will hit the market in January 2013. Check out the school children breakdancing alongside their Surface tablets in the video below. Watch more Surface ads on the official Microsoft Surface YouTube channel. ...

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Following the release of Internet Explorer 10, Mozilla has finally sent Microsoft a celebratory cake, following on from the ‘one-way tradition’ of sending a cake to the one-another when a new version of a browser is released- which of course Microsoft only seemed to follow.  It even got to a point where Mozilla started updating their browser more frequently, resulting in Microsoft sending cupcakes rather than full cakes presumably from an excess of care for the Mozilla team’s health.  Both Mozilla and Internet Explorer are currently fighting a battle for market share against Google’s Chrome, with the Google browser recently claimed to have overtaken Internet Explorer’s recent market share.  With Google silently upgrading its browser in the background, we assume neither party will be sending them any confectionary soon.  Below you can see a sample of the many cakes made by the bakers at Microsoft: Read more at: pcmag.com ...

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It seems like Apple has been a victim of their own success as their crowded stores turn away some potential customers. After being bitterly turned down by a seemingly ‘far too busy’ Apple store, customer Tonicia Abdur-Salaam turned to Microsoft to provide her school –Richfield’s Partnership Academy K-5 charter school- with the 24 desktop PC’s and a few laptops she was in urgent need of. Not only did Microsoft staff provide her with technical assistance and set up of the computers, but the friendly team threw in a couple Xbox 360’s free of charge. So far, 15 million people have experienced the friendly, insightful service the Microsoft stores have to offer.  In fact, twincities.com reports that 97% of surveyed customers said they preferred Microsoft products to Apple products.  Maybe this could have something to do with the fact that Apple stores are far too ‘packed’ according to Tim Nelson, president ...

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Just like ‘Cut the Rope’ -a game by Zeptolab- Microsoft has chosen another popular game to showcase the hardware acceleration in the latest web browsers.  Microsoft has helped Mokus port ‘Contre Jour’ to html 5.  While the first 10 levels can be played on any browser, the remaining 20 levels require multi-touch, which would only work on Internet Explorer 10.  ‘Hauntingly beautiful, pleasantly challenging and strangely addicting – Contre Jour is now on the web! Swing, shoot, drop or fling Petit through 30 free challenging levels right in your browser. Optimized for touch, Contre Jour is at its best using the new Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8 devices. The game also works well in Internet Explorer 9 and other modern browsers. Find out if you have what it takes to help Petit reach his goal.’ For a quick tutorial of the game, check out the video below: Read more ...

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Although rumours of the integration of finger tracking in the Original Xbox 360 Kinect were seemingly just rumours, Kinect users expect the feature to be included in future Windows devices. Microsoft researchers are attending the User Interface Software and Technology symposium to advertise their new invention- Digits, which is a wrist-worn sensor which accurately tracks finger movements- meaning there is little to no lag, which also requires no gloves.  However, the motion capture device is not being used for games. The inspiration for Digits stemmed form the Kinect, because Microsoft desired to create ‘natural 3D interactions with bare hands’, although the Kinect was slightly too limited to do this in the way in that it is not mobile and does not have the precise detail required to track the motion of individual fingers.  To realize their plans, Microsoft created a wrist-mounted device which includes an infrared camera and laser to ...

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Microsoft has revealed plans for an updated version of the Kinect for Windows runtime and software development kit, which includes support for Windows 8 as well as virtual-machine environments that run Windows. Arguably, the most impressive feature of the Kinect for Windows is the updated SDK, which enables colour camera settings and extended depth of the technology’s 3-D skeletal tracking capabilities to distances of greater than 4 metres, and objects as close as 40cm in front of the sensor, without any loss of accuracy or precision.  The sensor’s infrared stream is exposed in the API, therefore developers would be able to use IR when calibrating other colour cameras to the depth sensor or capturing grey-scale images in dim-lighting.  Moreover, the Kinect for Windows sensor now works when running in VM environments, available from: Microsoft, VMWare and Parallels. "Running inside of a VM will mean potentially the ability to be used ...

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Mozilla has continued with their efforts to develop for Windows 8 by releasing the first version of Firefox Metro.  This version of Firefox runs on x86 Windows 8 in both the classic Windows environment and the new ‘Metro’ environment.  Users running the 64-bit RTM release of Windows 8 can download a nightly build of Mozilla Firefox from the Elm development branch, which is the experimental repository in which most of the ‘Metro’ development work has occurred.  Similarly to the Firefox Nightly channel, this repository produces nightly builds.  These builds self-update, allowing you to track Metro Firefox development.  The preview of the browser includes a new Metro-style Firefox Start page, Metro touch and swipe gestures, support for Firefox sync, integration with Windows 8 ‘charms’ and Australis interface.  Mozilla promises extra features over upcoming weeks and months, including: tightened up Windows integration, improved performance and responsiveness and tying together any loose ends ...

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Microsoft seems to have gained support from an unexpected source: Home Shopping Network.  Laced in with their clothes, skincare and food advertisements is a small variety of Windows 8 tutorial videos, as you can see in their You-Tube channel and the video above.  HSN is a leading interactive multichannel retailer, offering a curated assortment of exclusive products and top brand names to its customers as well as exceptional selections in health & beauty, jewellery, home/lifestyle, fashion/accessories, and electronics.  With a total revenue of $3.1 billion in 2011 , this could be the reason why Microsoft chose HSN to sell Windows 8 laptops before the official release date on the 26th October.  If you choose to wait until the official release of Windows 8 on 26th October, keep your eyes open for the floods of new laptops, desktops and tablets to be released as advertised by Microsoft- including the Microsoft Surface, ...

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It seems like some people are having difficulty accepting the that IE9 is one of the fastest and safest browsers available. College Humour made a parody video that I think more accurately represents the public perception of the Microsoft browser; something I think that will take more than their very cool ad to change. Hopefully the deep integration of the even faster and smoother IE 10 browser in Windows 8 will prove more convincing. Via Gizmodo.com ...

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Microsoft has recently published a series of ads for their Surface tablet in cities in California, Texas, Massachusetts, Washington and Chicago. With the ads being painted on street walls and car wash buildings, Microsoft appears to have taken a different approach to advertising.   Some may argue that the Surface ads are cheaper in comparison to other Microsoft products and services, whereas others argue they are integrating street art with advertising, thus creating an innovative way of publicising their tablet.  One thing is for sure, their quirky idea has caught the attention of not only Microsoft users, but also the general public. The Microsoft Surface tablet will be introduced later this month, where it will undoubtedly compete with other tablet computers that run Android, such as the: Kindle Fire of Amazon and Google’s Nexus 7 in addition to the Apple iPad.  The Microsoft surface will be available through 20 Microsoft stores ...

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