Windows 8 has officially launched, and from 12:01am local time, consumers will be able to get their hands on the official version of the Metro-fied OS . The Steve Ballmer-led company has placed many thousands of man-hours into developing … Continue reading →
Last week Microsoft detailed the Windows Phone 8 along with its new and improved features and specifications like multicore processor support,NFC support 1080P video support and the new Start Screen which offers re-sizable Live Tiles.It was also announced that there … Continue reading →
This will likely be the last small update before full review of the next-gen MacBook Pro with Retina Display. Many of us have asked for information about the behavior of Windows running on the next-gen Pro. After getting both Windows … Continue reading →
The top 15 Windows 8 Metro style apps to date ! After the final customer release of windows 8 many more are expected to be out which will support Cross-platforms ( iOS, Android , Windows 8) To see the top … Continue reading →
When Windows 8 ships this fall, it will represent both the next iteration of Windows on the desktop and Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s dominance of the tablet market. As the Metro interface replaces much of what we’re used to in Windows, the Windows Store will be the place where users go to install Metro apps both on the desktop and tablet. Basically, it’s important for Microsoft to get it right.
We can already access the store in both the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 that came out several months ago and the more advanced Release Preview that came out yesterday. There aren’t many apps in it just yet, and there’s little sense in harping on that point as the number and quality will surely increase dramatically when Windows 8 hits final form.
But the interface in which users discover and search for apps is far enough along to compare to the store’s big rivals: the Mac App Store and the iOS App Store. While using the Windows Store is easy enough, its current state doesn’t match the usability and discoverability of Apple’s App Stores.
The Windows Store’s front page is pretty spartan, showing a few featured apps and categories like “new releases” and “top free” apps:
The Mac App Store crams a lot more information and options into its front page, including links to category listings and a user’s account information, as you can see:
The iPad App Store is a bit less busy, but still provides more options on its front page than Microsoft’s store for both tablets and PCs. Both the Mac and iPad App Stores feature a visible search box on their front pages, and a link to your installed and purchased applications. These tools are also present in the Microsoft store, but only after performing the right gestures or clicks.
As in earlier versions of Windows 8, you search by hovering over the top-right corner to bring up a list of options, one of which is a search box. A new feature in the Release Preview is a section titled “Your apps,” which you get to on a touch screen by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, or by right-clicking on a mouse to bring up a green bar on the top with the “Your apps” option.
This feature was added because users of the Consumer Preview “struggled to find the list of apps they had acquired, for the purposes of installing those apps to additional PCs,” Microsoft said in a new blog post on the Windows Store updates. The Release Preview also adds the ability to cancel a download while it is occurring. You could already pause downloads in the Consumer Preview.
The Windows Store is not without bugs and design flaws, which will hopefully be fixed before final release.
The “Your apps” section does have some useful organizational tools, like the options to view all of the apps you’ve purchased as opposed to the apps you’ve installed, which can be important as purchases carry over across Windows 8 devices.
Updating and uninstalling
The Windows 8 Consumer preview notified users of the availability of app updates with a little number on the Store icon, and with another notification on the top right corner of the Store’s home screen
Uninstalling Metro apps is also simple. You don’t do it in the Store—you get the uninstall option by tapping and holding an app icon on the Metro Start Screen or by right clicking an app with a mouse. While it’s simple enough, it’s an attribute that highlights the wall Microsoft has built between Metro applications and traditional “desktop” applications. If you were to go into the Control Panel section for adding and removing programs, as you’ve done in Windows 7 and other previous versions of Windows, you won’t see any of the Metro apps you’ve installed.
You will see purchasable “desktop” applications in the Windows Store. But, since the Store is only for installing Metro apps, you can’t actually install them.
“Desktop app listings will show up in the Store for the first time tomorrow, June 1st,” Microsoft said in its blog post. “Customers will be able to search for them or find them within categories, just as they do listings for Metro style apps. These are just listings—the desktop apps themselves are distributed by the developer or by a reseller, as they have been all along. The listing pages provide a link, supplied by the developer, to the distribution location. Servicing of desktop apps remains between the developer and the customer and is not handled via the Store.”
As noted i at the Windows 8 Store in the Consumer Preview, Microsoft could do a better job presenting the various categories of apps. Instead of presenting a list of categories (games, entertainment, music, business, etc.), each category was displayed individually with a large graphic containing some of the more popular apps in the category. You could see all the categories if you kept scrolling to the right, or zoom out from the Store home screen to get a single-screen view.
A new option for zooming out has appeared in the Release Preview, as clicking a minus sign on the bottom right of the screen condenses the view and gives you more stuff to look at without having to scroll to the right.
Since the store has very few apps at the moment, the limited discoverability isn’t a huge problem yet. But Microsoft wants developers building many, many Metro apps for Windows 8, and a richer interface and navigational options will go a long way toward helping customers find the great Metro apps we hope will be released once Windows 8 hits retail.
Microsoft has warned against drawing too many conclusions about Windows 8 from its pre-release versions. The Store already provides an easier installation process than the one in Windows 7—but only for Metro applications, not traditional desktop ones. With a few months left until the Windows Store becomes the default method for users to get Metro apps, Microsoft can and should do better.
June is turning into Developer’s Month. Along with Microsoft’s TechEd, there’s Apple’s WWDC, Google I/O, and a two-day Windows Phone developer conference in San Francisco that will be the coming out party for Windows Phone 8, otherwise known as “Apollo.”
Little has been disclosed on Apollo, but thanks to leaks, we have a pretty good idea of what Microsoft has in store. Last February, a leak gave some insight into what Microsoft was planning.
Most significant is that Windows Phone 8 will share components with Windows 8, allowing developers to reuse most of their code when porting an app from desktop to phone. It’s believed the kernel, networking stacks, security, and multimedia support will all have heavy overlap between desktop, tablet and phone.
Apollo will also support Near Field Communication (NFC) radios for contactless payments, full Skydrive integration and full integration with Skype and support for multicore processors.
Microsoft has said, and reiterated in an April 5 blog post, that current Windows Phone applications and games will run on the next major version of Windows Phone. How much recoding you’ll have to do to accomplish this will probably be discussed at the San Francisco show.
Another question that hopefully will be answered next month is what will change under the hood. Other Microsoft watchers with better connections than me have said they believe Microsoft will change the kernel from Windows CE to Windows 8 RT.
The potential is tremendous. If Microsoft does pull this off, you will have portability between desktop PCs, tablets and phones with relatively minor modification.
Google, which spent $12.5 billion to acquire Motorola and its patents in a deal that closed Tuesday, suffered a major legal defeat at the hands of Microsoft, which successfully argued to a German court that Motorola had violated a patent related to text messaging.
The ruling means Microsoft can enforce a ban on Android products in Germany. But more importantly, it could signal an end to at least one long-running dispute between Microsoft and Android players. In the increasingly popular game of technology legal warfare, the side that gets to a significant ban first typically had the upper hand in negotiating a settlement.
“Google-Motorola will have to take a license, leave the German market, or face serious issues that affect app developers and users,” Florian Mueller, a legal consultant who runs the blog Foss Patents, tweeted today.
Mueller has done legal consulting work for Microsoft.
A Motorola representative said in a statement that the company wants to review the written decision, which is expected to be released on June 1, and will review options afterwards. That includes a possible appeal.
“This is one element of a global dispute initiated by Microsoft,” the representative said.
Microsoft, meanwhile, was pleased with the result.
“We hope Motorola will be willing to join other Android device makers by taking a license to our patents,” said David Howard, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel for Microsoft, in a statement.
While Apple may grab the headlines for its ongoing legal dispute with nearly all of the major Android vendors, Microsoft has slowly been suing or striking licensing deals. It already has a deal with companies such as HTC and Samsung Electronics.
A deal with Motorola and Google could be next. This win is more significant for Microsoft because it’s a blow to Google itself, which authors the Android platform for all partners, even if the lawsuit is specifically targeting Motorola.
Microsoft has won a similar ban on Android devices in the U.S., but Motorola won a ban againstXbox 360s here as well. Given the complicated web of potential product bans, a settlement has to be something both sides are weighing heavily.
Windows 8 is the “dawning of the rebirth of Microsoft Windows ” according to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
He calls it the ”deepest, broadest, and most impactful” version of Windows ever.
“We’ve just passed the 500 million licenses sold mark for Windows 7, which represents half a billion PCs that could be upgraded to Windows 8 on the day it ships. That represents the single biggest platform opportunity available to developers,” said Ballmer.
Referring to Windows 8, he added: “It’s certainly the most important piece of work we’ve done.”
Ballmer was speaking at the Seoul Digital Forum.
He also threw in his thoughts on cloud computing, saying it would come to be dominated by a few big players.
”The number of core [cloud] platforms, around which software developers will do their innovation, is not ever-broadening,” he said.
“It’s really a quite smaller and focused number – Windows, various forms of Linux, the Apple ecosystem.”
In three to five years, “there will be just a few ecosystems that really can get the critical mass,” he added.
Windows 8 will work on tablets and PCs. It’s expected to boost sales of ultrabooks and other laptops when it goes on sale around October. Microsoft should finish working on the operating system sometime next month.
Windows 8 is a major OS overhaul, but some of the most important additions might be the ones you can’t see. Here’s a look at Windows 8′s new security tools and features.
When Windows 8 comes out later this year, the new Start screen and Metro-style apps will likely be the first changes you’ll notice, but those aren’t the only things that are new. Microsoft is also making some serious security enhancements to help keep your system safer and to improve Windows’ ability to combat viruses and malware. It just may be the biggest improvement to Windows security yet.
Better Download Screening
When Microsoft released Internet Explorer 9, it updated the browser’s SmartScreen Filter to help detect and block unknown and potentially malicious programs that you download; the function complements IE’s website filtering, which works to block phishing and malicious sites. Starting with Windows 8, the program-monitoring portion of the SmartScreen Filter is built into Windows itself, and it will work whether you’re using IE, Firefox, Chrome, or any other browser.
In Windows 8, the first time you run a program that you downloaded from the Internet, the SmartScreen Filter checks it against a list of known safe applications, and alerts you if it’s unknown and therefore has the potential to be malware. If the alert does pop up, you could then further investigate the program (and the source where you downloaded it) before running it.
SmartScreen produces an alert if you run an unknown program
Since Microsoft is adding the SmartScreen feature, the company is removing the previous Security Warning alerts that appeared when you first opened a downloaded program (the old alert would show the verification status of the program publisher and warn you about running programs downloaded from the Internet).
This is a welcome change, as it cuts down on the number of alerts you have to click through–with Windows 8, you’ll see an alert only when something’s amiss.
Antivirus Comes Preinstalled
For the first time in the history of Windows, you’ll enjoy protection from viruses, spyware, Trojan horses, rootkits, and other malware from the very first day you turn on your Windows PC–without spending a cent. Windows 8 comes with an updated version of Windows Defender that includes traditional antivirus functions in addition to the spyware protection and other security features that it has offered since Windows Vista. Windows Defender now provides similar protection–and a similar look and feel–to that of the free Microsoft Security Essentials antivirus program, which Microsoft has offered to users as an optional download since 2009.
The updated Windows Defender resembles Microsoft Security Essentials.
Since Windows Defender will provide at least basic virus and malware protection, purchasing yearly antivirus subscriptions (such as from McAfee or Norton) or downloading a free antivirus package(like AVG or Avast) is optional, whereas before it was pretty much required if you wanted to stay virus-free. Of course, you may disable Windows Defender and use another antivirus utility that promises better protection and more features, but at least everyone will have basic protection by default.
Faster, More Secure Startup
Starting with Windows 8, Microsoft will begin to promote a new type of boot method, UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface), which improves upon and replaces the archaic BIOS boot system that most PCs have been using for decades
Two New Password Types
Windows 8 introduces two new password types that you can use when logging in to your Windows account: a four-digit PIN and a “picture password.”
For the picture password, you choose a photo or image and draw three gestures (a combination of circles, straight lines, or taps/clicks) in different places to create your “password.”
Even if you decide to use these new password types, you still must set up a regular password. A PIN offers a faster way to log in, and a picture password gives you a more creative and fun way to do so. Sometimes you’ll have to enter the regular password, such as when you need administrative approval for changing system settings as a standard user, but you can log in to your account using the PIN, the picture, or your regular password.
Other Noteworthy Defense Measures
The enhanced Windows Defender, SmartScreen, boot system, and password protection are the most noticeable security improvements in Windows 8. But the new OS has even more system enhancements that you won’t see at all. A few core Windows components (such as the Windows kernel, ASLR, and heap) have been updated to help reduce common attacks and exploits even further.
A collection of sketches of the upcoming Windows Phone 8 has been leaked, revealing numerous changes to the user interface. These “improvements” mainly affect the way the user will perceive multitasking, tile grouping, the lockscreen and other elements of the OS.
First of all, some pictures suggest that multitasking will bring the currently used application to the forefront of the screen, but will not occupy the entire display.
Unlike what Microsoft demonstrated with Metro, this style implies that quick access to some applications is going to be featured by showing smaller titles below the main panel, while toggles of the Wi-Fi, lockscreen and others will be shown above it.
Tile grouping was also captured, alongside a “Close” button for all multitasking apps and the ability to customise live tiles by using a button found in the upper-corner of each icon on the Start screen.
Group tiles have also been modified and, supposedly, they now look pretty much the same as Android folders, where an additional window is displayed whenever the group icon is selected.
Take all the information with a pinch of salt, as apparently, the lockscreen even features Google’s map service instead of Microsoft’s own creation: Bing – a move which is without a doubt, false.
Other features have also been modified, such as the People Hub, how tiles are shown on the Start screen, how applications are sorted as well as many more.
However, not everyone is convinced by the leak, with many sceptical in that it could just be completely fan made.