One of the things which makes the Microsoft Surface a real productivity machine is the presence and support of the full-sized USB port. ChannelMetro decided to put this to a test, and plugged a total of 8 USB devices into their Microsoft Surface. The list included a 7-Port USB Hub, to which was linked: 1 XBOX 360 USB controller 1 Nokia X3-02 Smartphone 1 Apple IPod 1 USB Flash Drive 2 GB 1 Mouse Logitech receiver 1 HP Multifunction printer 1 Hard Disk of 2 TB Capacity While the video is really little more than a tech demo, if does show the range and breadth of devices supported. Have any of our Surface-owning readers ever used this feature in anger? Let us know below. Via Softpedia.com ...

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Steve Ballmer spoke to a group of developers at Microsoft’s new collaboration space in Shoreditch, East London, to share his views on the opportunity for developers with the Windows platform across Windows 8 and Windows Phone. The event showcased some of the best examples of the Windows 8 design and user interface, including demonstrations of the Music Info app, the British Airways Inspiration app and others. The app store has now grown to more than 20,000 apps a month after the general release, with multiple developers having downloads of more than 100,000. While the adoption of Windows 8 appears to be slower than Windows 7, it still seems pretty clear by January there will be tens of millions Windows 8 PCs and tablets in the market for developers to exploit. Via Ubelly.com ...

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It seems the fashion these days is to test expensive gadgets to destruction. CNET posted the above video of the Microsoft Surface running the gauntlet, which included putting it in a freezer, using it as a skate board, baking it a 250 degrees and frying an egg on it. The brave device was eventually killed by a glass of wine, having taken much more than can really be expected of any non-military gadget. Do our readers think the tablet proved itself? Let us know below. Via Neowin.net ...

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Lenovo has finally brought the IdeaPad Yoga to UK retail, with the device being sold for £999 (around $1600) by electronics chain Currys. The device was launched with the above ad on national TV. Despite the steep price the convertible laptop has promptly sold out online. In fact it seems UK does have a taste for new form factors, with the HP Envy X2 for £799 also selling out, as did the HP Spectre XT According to rumours Microsoft blamed tepid early sales of Windows 8 on disappointing products by OEMs.  It is nice to see the market responding to the more innovative form factors. Hopefully the same OEMs can address the unnecessary premium which will also work against better sales. ...

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Besides improvements in Skype for Windows 8, the Microsoft subsidiary also announced  version 3.0 of Skype for Android. The latest version is optimized to scale to Android tablet’s bigger screen, so you can experience Skype at its best on both larger and smaller displays. Supported tablets include the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, the Google Nexus 7, Acer Iconia, Asus Transformer Prime, Motorola Xoom and Sony S. Skype also announced  a boost in audio quality. Skype for Android 3.0 adds support for  Skype’s wideband audio codec, SILK, which was designed to capture the richness of human speech. It copes well with the often varying speeds of Internet connections, ensuring that the audio quality is always the best it can be. That way, Skype will deliver the best possible audio on your tablet, even with a shaky connection. To hear the improvements in audio quality for yourself, see the video below. You ...

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There is a belief that a higher PPI display is always better, but in the above video review of the screens of the Google Nexus vs the Microsoft Surface Armando shows that increasing the PPI without improving the resolution of the assets simply results in a fuzzy, pixelated mess in many occasions. See part 1 of his review here, and keep an eye on his channel for the next episode. ...

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Armando posted part 1 of his comparative review of the Microsoft Surface RT vs the Google Nexus 10 tablet. His video interestingly shows that the super-high res screen on the Nexus 10 is in fact a disadvantage due to image upscaling, and that IE10 is generally a better browser than Chrome on Android. Keep an eye on his channel for the next 5 videos in the series. ...

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The above rather cool video is the creation of Microsoft Spain, and shows how the Metro design language originated on Windows Phone in 2010, and morphed into Windows 8 in 2012. The video ends by touting the new Microsoft ecosystem of phones, tablets, PCs and the Xbox, and reminds one of Microsoft’s new imperative to integrate and collaborate, to strengthen their position against Google and Apple. What do our readers think of the video? Let us know below. Via TNW ...

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Andy Bryant posted this hands-on review of the Logitech T650 Wireless Touch pad, which brings support for Windows 8 gestures to desktops and laptops which lack multi-touch touchpads. The device appears to work very well, and is very responsive, but has a few issues, including some ergonomics issues and flaws in multi-monitor support. Andy concludes: If you’re used to using a touchpad on a laptop, and are migrating to Windows 8 on a single-screen non-touch PC, then I’d say unreservedly yes. The benefits you get from gestures under Win8 outweigh the complexity of right-click drag on the desktop. If you’re using a multiple-monitor setup, it does work, but you just won’t gain quite as much primarily because Microsoft hasn’t quite optimized the interaction between the Win8 mode,  and desktop mode across both screens. That said, it is quite usable – and I’m going to continue using mine on my home ...

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In the above video Microsoft’s Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie discusses part of the vision of the company’s future, which consists of machines and technology getting out of your way and becoming a lot more helpful. In the video Craig briefly demonstrates  the  82” interactive Perceptive Pixel display, and how varied computing surfaces can allow us to move easily between all sizes of displays and devices. He shows how you might use Microsoft OneNote 2013 to work on a large display and then, moments later, pull up your annotations on your personal Surface. He also showed off the capabilities of Xbox SmartGlass, illustrating how you can seamlessly shift content across your tablet, phone, and Xbox. Craig also illustrated how we might remotely collaborate and incorporate telepresence in the future via Microsoft Research’s research project Illumishare , a low-cost peripheral device that looks like a desk lamp, lighting up ...

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We are pretty used to Kinect being used in motion capture of gross motions like that of limbs, but EPFL Computer Graphics and Geometry Laboratory has now also managed to extract fine facial motions from the camera data. The technology called Faceshift pulls data from the camera and uses a predictive model to match the stream with facial expressions.  The company has already released an SDK targeted at animators and game creators and the company is already awaiting the next version of the Kinect, which will allow even finer and more accurate expressions to be captured. Read more about the technology at Faceshift.com here. Via The Verge.com ...

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With Apple is set to move away from skeuomorphism, it is interesting to see a Windows 8 app embracing the old Apple model enthusiastically. Diigo has released Quick Note to the Windows 8 market, which allows one to quickly take notes and if necessary pin them to the start screen individually. The app also supports snapped view mode and web clipping from IE.  The  review above was posted by Technologyiinfo.com The free app does not do much more, and does not offer any cloud synching capabilities. The app does however have a Mac Store version, which will be offering synching to the Diigo bookmarking and note storage service at a later point, so this is likely to arrive eventually on the Windows app also. If however your needs are limited, and you prefer speed over options, and are not turned off by some wood panelling, the app appears to be ...

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There has been some talk of a dedicated 7 inch Xbox Surface tablet. Aaron Toulmin has proven that that would just be wasteful, hooking up his Surface RT via HDMI to a 100” projector and playing Riptide using a wireless 360 controller. The setup worked beautifully, which does raise a question of why Microsoft needs to create another platform, ecosystem and device when the current Surface has all the bits already? Via MobilityDigest.com ...

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In a new ad Microsoft has targeted the browser on the iPad specifically as a bad experience and promoted IE10 on a tablet as built for touch and being “pretty amazing”, offering a “fast and fluid experience”. Safari is in fact one of the worse parts of the iPad, crashing constantly, and I think it is a pretty valid attack target, which should resonate with those looking for a new tablet. Do our readers agree? Let us know below. Via Neowin.net ...

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Toshiba has uploaded a product tour of their Toshiba Satellite U920t Windows 8 hybrid. The device promises to combine the performance and form factor of an Ultrabook with the ease-of-use of a tablet. The hybrid is less than 0.8 inches thick and weighs only 3.2 pounds. It has a vivid 12.5-inch diagonal HD touchscreen display with IPS technology provides with Corning® Gorilla® Glass to resists scratches. The device is equipped with up to a 256GB solid state drive and a 3rd generation Intel® Core™ i5 processor with Intel Rapid Start technology. In addition, the Satellite U920t also features a full range of sensors, including an ambient light sensor, 3D accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, a 3-axis magnetometer, GPS and near-field communication (NFC) capable of a range of wireless data transfer applications. The device is available from £855 on Amazon UK and is expected to hit the market on November 21, 2012. ...

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ReadWriteWeb posted the above review of the Microsoft Surface looking at features such as multi-tasking, performance, flash support, printing and sharing and other elements. The Surface did relatively well in the tests, except for not supporting some online video codecs, and in the end it came down to which ecosystem the user lived in, with the Windows tablet doing best in an enterprise setting, as expected. ...

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