As announced last week, Microsoft has released the updates for the built-in Windows 8 apps in Windows Store. The core apps such as SkyDrive, News, Finance, Travel, Sports, Mail, Games, Music, Videos, Photos, Bing, Maps, Weather, Mail, Calendar, People, and Messaging will get performance and reliability improvements and some great new capabilities as well. Check out the fill features list below. 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 ...

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Reviews are rolling in of the Acer Iconia W510 hybrid Windows 8 laptop, and the Intel Atom Z2760 Clovertrail processor appears to be managing to run Windows 8 pretty well. Engadget reviewed the device, and found their biggest complaint to be the build quality of the hinge in the dock stand, which they found wobbly, and issue shared by the Verge, who found it wobbly and stiff at the same time. The found the gorilla-glass ensconced 1,366 x 768 display to be pretty good, with good viewing angles, and though they would not commit to commenting on battery life and performance, due to the pre-production drivers, still found the device in general fast and responsive, despite only having 2GB of RAM. Engadget concludes: Having met with Acer’s product team in person (and having read its executives quoted in the press), it’s obvious the company is eager to shed its reputation ...

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Microsoft has expressed a somewhat irrational confidence in the prospects of Windows 8 and its new UI environment. Microsoft Vice President Keith Lorizio told Beet.tv that Microsoft expected to have 400 million Windows 8 PCs in the market by July 1st. “When Windows 8 goes live on October 26, the [size of the market] is [over] 1 billion consumers. Our goal … is conservatively over 400 million units in the marketplace by July 1.” This would be even faster than Windows 7, a very successful desktop OS, sold. He also this explosive growth in the new platform to also boost developer interest. “We’re expecting to aggressively pursue [delivering] 100,000+ apps [to Windows 8’s online marketplace] over the first three months,” he said. The Windows Store just crossed 3600 apps recently, with around 5000 apps expected at the launch of Windows  8 on October 26th. Microsoft expected this rapid growth due ...

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The Verge reports that in the RTM version of Windows 8, users are currently not only able to pay for music and videos using credit cards, but also that this is now the default option, in preference to the much hated Microsoft Points. Microsoft Points have long had a home on the Xbox 360, but has made it unnecessarily complicated to know how much you are spending, and also required one to keep a balance in Microsoft’s system.  The move to credit cards makes the system much more user friendly, and as payment via Points remain available, will still allow users without credit cards to purchase Points at retail locations. The changes are part of the last minute polish Microsoft is applying to Windows 8 in the run up to its general availability on the 26th October, which has also included the updating of many of the built-in apps in ...

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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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Microsoft recently promised a range of updates for the built-in and bundled apps in Windows 8. The SkyDrive app has been one of the first to be updated, and is now available in the Windows 8 store. The update to version 16.4.4388.928 brings: Search within SkyDrive from the Windows 8 Sidebar Rename and move folders and files using a new Manage control available in the taskbar within the app New first-run experience video Custom sort order Recycle bin Support for sharing to the SkyDrive via the Share Charm The update can be found in the Windows 8 Store. See the full list of coming updates here. Via LiveSide.net ...

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The biggest cause of antipathy towards Windows 8 by Windows 7 users is the removal of the start menu in preference to the Modern style Start screen. Now StarDock, long known for their Windows Shell replacement and enhancement software, has taken up the cause with Start8, a Start Menu replacement. The app features: Windows 7-style Start menu with Windows 8 enhancements Search for Windows 8-style (Modern UI) apps Pin desktop and Metro apps Boot directly to the Windows 8 desktop Windows 8 Start screen accessible from the Start menu StarDock is selling it For $4.99 from their website here. Are our readers ready to embrace the future, or will you be relying on crutches like this? Let us know below. Via Windows8hacks.com ...

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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 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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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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Microsoft’s co-founder Paul Allen -who left Microsoft in 1983 due to illness- has revealed his thoughts on Windows 8 on his website: PaulAllen.com. ‘The new tablet features in Windows 8 are particularly bold and innovative. A few minor issues aside, I’m impressed with its clever integration of a bimodal interface to simultaneously support both desktop and tablet use in the same operating system. I found the gesture navigation on the tablet to be quite satisfying and responsive. And in general, I find Windows 8 to be snappier and more responsive than Windows 7’. Because the new operating system is designed to work on traditional desktop PC’s as well as laptops, he felt however some users may experience confusion when switching between the new tile-based, touch-friendly user interface and the classic ‘desktop’ mode.  ‘I did encounter some puzzling aspects of Windows 8. The bimodal user experience can introduce confusion, especially when ...

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