In what is either masterful spin or material information which suggests the Surface tablets are selling much better than expected, Microsoft has said it has increased their Surface tablet production and will be expanding the retail locations the tablet will be available. “The public reaction to Surface has been exciting to see. We’ve increased production and are expanding the ways in which customers can interact with, experience and purchase Surface,” said Panos Panay, general manager, Microsoft Surface. Microsoft said it would make some of their pop-up stores permanent, and would make the tablets available via retailers in Australia and USA. Additional availability will be added in a number of countries in the coming months. “Our plan has been to expand the retail presence for Surface after the first of the year. Based on interest from retailers, we are giving them the option to carry Surface with Windows RT even earlier,” ...

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SAAlecComputing have posted this brief overview of the Plex Media Center app for Windows 8 Metro. With Plex, you can stream your music, videos and photos from your home computers running Plex Media Server and access content from a wide range of channels. Channels are available for iTunes, and for online services like YouTube, Vimeo and Revision3. Additionally, you can sign up for the myPlex service, which lets you connect to servers shared with you by your friends, queue videos from your web browser to watch later, and connect to your Plex Media Server at home wherever you are in the world via Wi-Fi or a cellular connection, with no configuration necessary. Plex Media Server streams your media directly from your computer, so there’s no need to manually convert before viewing. Plex is smart, too: if your media isn’t already in a format your device can play, it’ll convert it ...

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VideoLan is looking to raise £40,000 to port their popular VLC Media Player to Windows 8 Metro. The money is to help deliver a polished product that will work both on Windows 8 and the ARM-based Windows RT. As expected the team are aiming for wide codec support, DVD playback where applicable and the ability to play network streams. Ultimately all the code will be made open-source if possible. The kickstarter has already raised £12,588, and has 21 days to run. Contributors will have their name listed somewhere in the app. Read more at the KickStarter page here. Thanks Kristian for the tip. ...

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No-one except Microsoft really knows how well the Surface is selling, but speculation is rife. Detwiler Fenton, a Boston-based brokerage firm, said in a research note today that Microsoft is likely to sell just 500,000 to 600,000 Surface RTs in the December quarter. The analyst, a bit like Steve Ballmer, blamed it on poor distribution of the tablet. “Lack of distribution is killing the product,” Detwiler Fenton explained. “Mixed reviews and a [$499] starting price tag certainly don’t help, but lack of retail exposure at Best Buy and others is severely depressing sales.” Potential buyers are not able to get a hands-on with the device themselves, which can be a deal breaker with a new product like the Microsoft Surface. Currently, there are just 31 Microsoft stores and 34 smaller holiday kiosks in the U.S. Given that paucity of stores, the average consumer’s is pretty likely to see the device ...

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While we recently had an indication that Facebook is not in fact in the process of building a Facebook app for Windows RT, the above Surface ad certainly suggests such an app is in the offing. While the large Facebook live tile in the top left is suggestive, we must recall that on at least one occasion Microsoft used the logo of an app without any app being in development, that being when they used the Angry Birds logo without Rovio’s permission in a WP7 promotion. We do think in the end Facebook will have make an app for the Windows Metro environment, and they might as well come around sooner rather than later, but the tile in the ad is likely not evidence enough. Via Neowin.net ...

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Facebook has been slow in their support of the Windows 8 Metro environment, with the company not currently planning an app for the user interface. "We are constantly evaluating our strategy for supporting new platforms … as the market and consumer adoption evolves," a company official has told AdAge. While this wait and see approach could hamper early growth of the Windows RT platform, which are unable to use legacy Windows applications, it should be borne in mind that Facebook was also very slow in releasing an iPad app, and likely sees apps as a hindrance to their revenue growth due to reduce advertising opportunities on mobile interfaces. Of course there are plenty of third-party Facebook apps in the Windows 8 Store, such as Facebook Touch above, and Facebook’s reticence may simply be those developer’s windfall. Via Softpedia.com ...

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BlueStacks, who make an Android environment for desktops which allows Windows 8 tablets to run Android apps, has suggested that they are considering bringing that environment to Windows RT. The news was in response a question asked on the Bluestacks support forum. While the Windows 8 store has tens of thousands of apps, this is little compared to the 700,000 Android apps, especially the more useful ones such as BBC iPlayer and other apps which companies have not been motivated enough to bring to the new Windows OS. Hopefully this development will happen sooner rather and later, and allow Windows tablets to access the full range of resources available to other tablets and smartphones. Via Surface-Evangelist ...

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Windows RT, the new version of Windows that runs on ARM processors has started shipping to consumers via new tablets such as Microsoft Surface, Asus VivoTab RT, etc,. So far, Nvidia Tegra is the only ARM processor that Windows RT ships on. Some reviews of the devices like Microsoft Surface pointed out to the performance hiccups in Windows RT. This may be because of Windows RT is not yet fully optimized for Nvidia Tegra 3 processor. Microsoft is still working on fully taking advantage of Tegra 3 processor in Windows RT. It is evident from the Nvdia’s own page that Windows RT is not taking advantage of Tegra 3′s key innovation 4-PLUS-1™ Quad-Core with a 5th Battery Saver Core. 4-PLUS-1™ Quad-Core with a 5th Battery Saver Core** – Four plus one refers to Tegra 3’s four CPU cores, plus the fifth, battery-saver CPU core. This Variable SMP architecture enables four performance ...

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Lenovo has quietly put the Ideapad Yoga 11 available for sale on their website, with a 32GB going for $679 and a 64GB for $759. This comes a few short days from their initial announced availability of December, making the launch of it early. Pricing on the Yoga 11 is a little steep considering the specs are very similar to other Windows RT-based tablets such as the Surface, Asus Vivo Tab and Samsung Ativ Tab. All have Nvidia Tegra 3 processors and 2GB of RAM, though the Yoga does have the biggest screen of the four (11.6 inches), as well as the only one with a full-size HDMI port and SD card slot. Time will only tell whether that will be enough to differentiate it from the other devices and justify the premium price, though you could always get its higher-specced Yoga 13 sibling (just not in orange). ...

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Solitaire and Minesweeper are some of the most played games ever, having been included in Windows since version 3.1. Unfortunately Windows RT shipped without such niceties, but Microsoft has now corrected the issue. A Windows 8 version did exist, but did not support RT. An update to the app has now added the ability, which is sure to boost Surface sales. The game is Xbox Live enabled and will offer players daily challenges to complete and offers online leaderboards to compare scores with those from Xbox Live friends. Find the game in the Windows Store here. Via Neowin.net ...

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Regular readers will know we are quite concerned by the lack of support for 3G Dongles in the Microsoft Surface and by extension other Windows RT tablets. While 3G/WI-Fi dongles provide somewhat of a solution, it seems unnecessary to waste battery life on running two WIFI radios when communication could as easily happen via USB. The big issue with using existing 3G dongles is that they need drivers and management software installed, which makes all of the current crop incompatible. Now it seems, from a twitter conversation with O2 support, that O2 may be working on a Connection Manager for Windows RT, which would solve the problem and fulfil one of the major expandability promises of the Surface- the ability to overcome any issues by simply plugging in an accessory into the USB port. See the twitter conversation here. ...

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The Microsoft Life Cycle Support page has revealed Microsoft intends to look after Surface RT buyers for a very long time into the future. The listing for Surface with Windows RT shows that mainstream support will continue until at least April 11, 2017. A separate post on Microsoft’s support website shows the various SKU builds of Windows 8 will have their mainstream support end on January 9, 2018, with extended support ending on January 10, 2023. Support in this case likely means the provision of service packs and patches, not necessarily new features, but it still sounds like a much better deal that Windows Phone users can expect, where even for Windows Phone 8 Microsoft is only promising updates for 18 months after release. Windows RT itself, when not ensconced in a Microsoft Surface, is still to have its sunset date revealed, but in a in an FAQ post, Microsoft ...

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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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RIZING : one of the craziest free shooters on WP7 Marketplace finally lands also on your Windows 8 RT tablet with more enemies, more bullets and a bigger arena! If available, this version can also take advantage of your keyboard and mouse making it even easier to dodge the hellish bullets patterns! Some of the other features include : Glow style acid graphics Loads of enemies with different attacks and patterns Random waves generated level by level Power up you weapon to devastating levels Improve your shields and heal up during fights! Time your nukes to get extra bonuses Random bosses created and assembled from different parts 3 Different difficulty levels Online leaderboard Follow the links below to download the game for free on Windows Phone or Windows 8: Windows 8 Download Windows Phone Download ...

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Patch Tuesday, the second Tuesday of the month, and the time when Microsoft pushes out software updates for their products. On this occasion this includes includes Microsoft’s first ARM computer, the Surface, and the update  is  a “Cumulative Update for performance/compatibility” and another is a firmware update which hopefully addresses the same issue. To check for an update: 1. Go to the charms menu and select Settings 2.  Select Change PC settings 3. Scroll to the bottom and select Windows Update. 4. Check for Updates and install. We noticed definite performance improvements, including in multi-tasking, text input, quicker loading times and improvements in IE, including in tab switching and closing. Have our readers noticed any other changes or improvements? Let us know below. Thanks Tishawn for the tip. ...

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Digitimes’s somewhat less than impeccable upstream supply sources are claiming that Surface sales will only hit 60% of Microsoft’s forecast in 2012. Unfortunately Digitimes did not exactly reveal what these forecasts were, leaving us to guess exactly how many millions of units this would represent. Their sources claim buyers are not seeing the value proposition of Windows RT tablets, and that Asus’s own Windows RT tablet is similarly affected. On the other hand they expect full Windows 8 tablets to benefit, as users wait for these more powerful devices. Are any of our readers waiting also opting for Windows 8 tablets over Windows RT ones, despite the bulk and battery life advantages of RT devices? Let us know below. ...

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