Improves FaceTime compatibility with Boot Camp-based installs
In a seeming coincidence to being the day Microsoft has launched its latest version of Windows, on Wednesday Apple released a driver update for those running Windows 7 and Windows 8 on their 2015 series MacBook computers, including the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and the latest Retina MacBook. The update is a FaceTime Camera driver update that improves compatibility with Windows when using Boot Camp-based installations.
New Pro, Air, MacBook now require Windows 8 or later; VMs still support Win7 for now
Apple's traditional zeal to push users forward extends even to its support for a rival platform, as the latest MacBook refreshes -- the new 13-inch MacBook Pro, 13-inch MacBook Air, and the forthcoming MacBook -- now require Windows 8 or later to work with Boot Camp, Apple's tool to create a dedicated Windows partition for users who need the compatibility. The company first dropped Windows 7 with the latest Mac Pro in 2013.
Free upgrade to Windows 10 offered to previous versions for one year after launch
The next iteration of Windows will be a free upgrade to a large number of existing Windows users, Microsoft revealed today at its media event. Owners of computers running Windows 7 or later will receive an upgrade to Windows 10 at no charge, in a move that is highly likely to bolster user numbers for the operating system shortly after launch.
Security patches for Windows 7 will continue until January 2020
Microsoft is ending its "mainstream support" for Windows 7 today. The January 13 end date for the support, across all versions of Windows 7, means that from tomorrow onwards Microsoft will not be offering free support for issues with the operating system, though the company will be offering chargeable "extended support" until January 14, 2020.
Chrome 64-bit said to be more secure, faster, more stable
Google has started to publicly test a 64-bit version of Chrome, the company has announced, in an attempt to improve the speed and security of the browser. Two versions of the 64-bit Chrome for Windows, Dev and Canary, are available to download by default on Windows 7 and Windows 8, though it will still offer the 32-bit version in both channels as an alternative option.
Change could upset some Mac users
Apple has formally dropped Windows 7 support in Boot Camp for users of the 2013 Mac Pro, an updated support document reveals. It's not clear why the change was made, but it can also be seen in Boot Camp Assistant, which insists on "Windows 8 or later" during the Windows installation process. The omission could upset some Pro users who don't like the touchscreen-oriented interface additions made in Windows 8.
Mid- and late-2013 models get slightly different revision
On Tuesday, Apple released updated versions of its Boot Camp support software, which allows users to install Windows operating systems on a separate partition to run natively on Intel-based Macs. Two versions of the update were released: version 5.1.5640 for certain mid- and late-2013 model iMacs and MacBooks, and version 5.1.5621 for other machines. The updates bring Windows drivers for supporting 64-bit Windows 7 and Windows 8 installations.
Increase in Windows 8.1 usage still not enough to beat Windows 7 on Steam
The adoption of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 by gamers has broken 21 percent for the first time, up from 20.06 percent for December, according to the latest figures from the Steam Hardware & Software Survey. Last month, Windows 8.1 systems made up 10.75 percent, with Windows 8 existing on 10.56 percent of reporting systems, though this is still far behind the older Windows 7.
17-inch Alienware Haswell notebook, only $1,449 and more
At Dell.com this week, save $50 on the Alienware 17-inch aluminum notebook computer which carries a list price of $1,499, but is cut to $1,449 when coupon code "2M66J?BPVPP$F3" is used at checkout. That's about $150 less than the lowest price offered anywhere else. This computer features a 2.4GHz Intel quad-core Haswell processor, 8GB of RAM and a 750GB hard drive with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M 2GB video card. It also comes with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit pre-installed. A one-year warranty on parts and labor is included from Dell.
Second update for Air in less than a month
Apple has issued a new EFI firmware update for the MacBook Air, v2.7. The patch is aimed explicitly at 2013-model Airs, and copes with a bug that caused black screens to appear when trying to install Windows 7 or 8 using Boot Camp Assistant. The problem was triggered if both an external optical drive and a USB stick were connected at the same time. Simultaneously, Apple has tweaked the firmware to ensure a Mac will boot into OS X by default after Windows 8 is installed.
Microsoft has identified problem, posted an OS repair procedure
Microsoft declared that it has revised the "patch Tuesday" package from April 9, removing a fix that was causing some PCs to fail to blue screen, and not boot thereafter. The problem is being blamed on incompatibility with some third-party security software, and Microsoft is recommending that affected users uninstall the patch. All editions of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 are affected.
Fine for lack of browser choice screen in Windows 7 Service Pack
The European Commission has handed Microsoft a hefty fine for not complying with a Commission order. The fine of 561 million euros ($730 million) stems from Microsoft failing to offer customers using Windows 7 Service Pack 1 the choice of default browser between May 2011 until July 2012, as part of commitments from a previous EC decision.
Game API requires major changes to work with previous OS
DirectX 11.1 will work only with Windows 8 and not Windows 7, Microsoft has revealed. While DirectX 11 is usable on Windows 7 and needed some modifications to work with Windows Vista, the changes will not be added to DirectX 11.1 to make it compatible, instead forcing gamers to upgrade to the newer operating system.
Velocity Micro introduces customizable Vector Holiday Edition PC
Custom PC maker Velocity Micro just introduced its latest desktop, the Vector Holiday Edition. Named so because of its release in time for the Christmas holidays, the PC's pricing starts at $599. It uses an aluminum chassis, 3.6GHz AMD A6-5400K dual-core processor, and 8GB of RAM.
Yuma 2 gets more storage space, newer Atom processor, more changes
Trimble has followed up its rugged Yuma tablet with the Yuma 2. It is also powered by Windows 7, like the past device, and is powered by a 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU, and there is 4GB of RAM onboard. It uses a 7-inch capacitive multitouch screen with 1,024x600 resolution and an anti-reflective coating.
Punishment remains unclear
European Union regulators are preparing to formally charge Microsoft for violating a 2009 commitment, according to EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia. Comments from the antitrust head suggest Microsoft is nearing punishment, potentially a sizable a fine, for failing to provide a browser-choice screen in its first Windows 7 service pack.
Removes Windows SP downgrade option
Microsoft will let users of Windows 8 Pro downgrade if they wish. A change to the operating system licensing agreement allows users that don't like the way Windows 8 works to replace it with Windows 7 or Windows Vista at no extra charge, however this will not be possible for the basic Windows 8 and Windows RT versions.
NAV9i tablet starts at $550 with Windows 7 license and 1.5GHz Intel Atom CPU
The latest Windows 7 Home Premium tablet from Netbook Navigator is the NAV9i. It runs on a dual-core, 1.5GHz Atom N550 processor paired with 2GB of RAM and can be had in 16-, 32-, or 64GB flash drive capacities or with a 128GB, 1.8-inch SSD. The touchscreen gets 1024x768 resolution, which is on the low side compared to similarly-sized competition that runs on Android on iOS.
Solo 21 is revamped with new look and features, lower starting price
Maingear has now revealed a revamped version of its Solo 21 all-in-one PC introduced back in March. As before, it remains fully upgradeable, but there are new features and a refreshed design. In an unusual change, it also starts at less than before, with base pricing now $900 instead of the previous starting point of $1,000.
Motion Computing tablets get SSDs, Ivy Bridge, steep price tags for professionals
Motion Computing has introduced two new Windows-powered rugged tablets this week with the C5t and F5t. Either weighs about 3lbs and sports a 10.4-inch touchscreen display with 1024x768 resolution. The C5t is meant for work indoors, as only the F5t has an optional View Anywhere display for viewing in direct sunlight.
The portable PCs aren't cheap, with prices starting at $2,236. Three year warranties are included in the price tags, however.
Expands on Windows Upgrade Offer details
Microsoft has sold over 600 million Windows 7 licenses. Steven Guggenheimer, corporate vice president of the OEM division at Microsoft, claimed the milestone during his speech at Computex 2012, while demonstrating new Windows 7-based devices and explaining the Windows Upgrade Offer for Windows 8, due later this year.
Microsoft gives OEM partners option to preload SKype onto new Windows 7 PCs
Microsoft is allowing some of its OEM PC maker and system builder partners to download the OEM Preinstallation Kit (OPK) that will preload Skype on new Windows 7 PCs. Included in the kit is Skype 5.8 for Windows code, which is slightly older than the currently available Skype 5.9 for anyone to access. The kit makes it easy to silently pre-install the software for OEMs, who need to be registered with Microsoft before accessing such OPKs, ZDNet reported.
VIA ARTiGO A1200 uses 1GHz dual-core processor, requires RAM and storage
VIA, maker of small computer boards and mini PCs, has showed off its latest product, the fanless ARTiGO A1200 mini PC. It uses a dual-core 1GHz VIA Eden X2 processor and is a successor to the ARTiGO A1100 from 2010. The new mini PC is just under 1.2 inches tall.
Five year support costs 70 percent more than first year
A Microsoft-sponsored IDC report released yesterday claims that annual support costs for Windows XP systems are five times higher than a Windows 7 system, as part of the software maker's latest effort to push users to move to its most recent Windows version. Last month, Microsoft (with uncharacteristic frankness) issued a statement that told organizations that if they have not started "the migration to a modern PC, you are late." Windows XP will finally be completely orphaned by Microsoft with no further support or patches in April 2014, nearly 13 years after it launched.
Windows 8 Pro upgrade to be $15 option on Windows 7 PCs
Microsoft will soon begin offering a promotion to buyers of Windows 7 PCs that will allow them to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for just $15, WinSuperSite reported. The special offering will kick off on June 2, with the idea being to 'future-proof' computers and motivate buyers who may otherwise hold off on a new purchase as they await the latest software to come out. In previous, similar promotions, however, Microsoft offered equivalent versions of the software to the one they've purchased, but this time it seems to be upgrading them to the Pro version.
LG Cloud kicks off in Korea
LG has formally launched into the cloud space on Monday with a beta of LG Cloud. The service is intended as a non-exclusive way to quickly shuttle music, photos, and videos between the various devices in LG"s ecosystem, including PCs, smartphones, and TVs. By including the TV, it carries the uncommon advantage of exporting 3D content: a 3D video recorded on an Optimus 3D Max can be remotely shared to a TV that can play it back.
Lenovo to include EE3 in Win 7 PCs starting now
Lenovo will begin shipping Think- and Idea-branded PCs with its Enhanced Experience 3 (EE3) software and hardware optimizations for Windows 7 before the end of April. Among other features, EE3's RapidBoot is said to speed up the boot times of hard disk drive-equipped Lenovo computers by 40 percent, on average, compared to typical Windows 7 PCs from others. The average boot time of an EE3-certified Lenovo PC is 24 seconds, while typical Windows 7 PCs with the same kinds of chips boot in an average of 41 seconds, Lenovo stated.
Firefox 12 final ready to go
Mozilla has posted the finished release of Firefox 12. The browser has a key update each for Mac and Windows users. Windows' update is most conspicuous and doesn't need the user to confirm the update in a User Account Control prompt on Vista or 7. Mac users see a lift, as Mozilla has fixed slow WebGL graphics performance on some hardware.
Ruggedized design intended for education
As part of the Intel Learning Series initiative, CTL introduced the 2go Studybook L7 tablet on April 23rd. The Windows 7 version is available for preorder now, with the Android version orders starting in June. Low end configurations will ultimately start at less than $300, but initial preorder configurations begin at $469.
Microsoft intros SkyDrive preview desktop apps
Microsoft quickly confirmed rumors and has posted preview versions of both Windows Vista/7/8 and OS X Lion desktop apps while curbing the reach of its cloud service. The software now lets users more directly organize their cloud storage, automatically syncing anything loaded into a SkyDrive folder and sorting its contents as though it were offline. The iOS app has also been updated (App Store to get native iPad support, including for the higher-resolution visuals of the new iPad along with deleting renaming, and moving files in the cloud.
SkyDrive desktop app said close
Microsoft's SkyDrive desktop app could imminent. A new tip from sources for The Verge had the app coming to Windows 7 users, preceding the Windows 8 version (pictured), in a matter of a few weeks. The web version would get small interface changes to adapt to the Windows 7 app, and would have an option to add a computer by using the software as a hook.
Microsoft bounces back in fiscal Q3 2012
Microsoft saw its Windows unit partly return to form on Thursday as it once again reported gains. Following Windows division losses in the fall, the group has seen its revenue go up four percent to just over $4.6 billion. The segment succeeded mostly on the back of business desktops and infrastructure, Microsoft said, suggesting that home users and pro notebooks were still struggling.
Upcoming Lenovo notebooks leaked in partner doc
A newly spotted partner listing (PDF) from Lenovo has shown off some upcoming models from the computer-maker. It includes new ThinkPad and IdeaPad models that weren't leaked earlier, including the ThinkPad T430s. This should be a replacement for the T420s and be a thin and light 14-inch notebook that doesn't quite meet the ultrabook criteria, unlike the T430u.
Aims to improve sound in personal media libraries
The forthcoming Ceton Echo will incorporate DTS audio enhancements to help users experience immersive sound through all kinds of digital media, from TV to web streaming to their own media libraries. The product essentially works like a bare-bones Apple TV, allowing Windows 7 computers and Ceton Q gateways to stream media from local machines. For PCs equipped with an InfiniTV digital cable tuner, it adds remote DVR and TV capabilities.
Microsoft gets reprieve from Motorola ban in US
Microsoft scored an important win in a Seattle courtroom by successfully getting a temporary block on any Motorola bans of its products. The temporary restraining order prevents Motorola from securing a ban on Windows or the Xbox 360 until the court believes it has made a sincere effort to license its H.264 video patents under FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) terms. Microsoft's maneuver both stops anything in the immediate trial and in other lawsuits or trade disputes.
Intel reveals specs of tablet for schoolchildren
Intel just officially announced its Studybook tablet for students. Part of the company's Learing Series, the device sports a rugged design and is preloaded with tailored educational software. The seven-inch tablet sports a 1024x600-resolution touchscreen and a 1.2GHz Atom Z650 processor. In a unique touch, it can be made to run on either Android or Windows 7, depending on the wishes of the school district that buys it.
OnLive cleared to go on iPad
OnLive has quietly settled the OnLive Desktop licensing dispute with Microsoft. A check at OnLiveFans found that the streaming software company has switched over to Windows Server 2008 R2 instead of Windows 7 for the OS users see. The switch gives it all the functionality OnLive was already promising, but avoids the concerns of needing a license for virtually every user.
EU antitrust investigations start over Motorola
The European Commission quickly acted on earlier hints on Tuesday and formally started two antitrust investigations versus Motorola. The two pursuits will look into whether Motorola was abusing its standards-based patents against Apple and Microsoft. The claims would check whether Motorola was trying to squeeze Apple over 2G and 3G licenses for iPads and iPhones, as well as similar tactics over H.264 video in Windows 7 and the Xbox 360.
Microsoft ends deal with Arvato over Motorola suit
Microsoft in a retaliatory move against Motorola ended teamwork with Germany company Arvato for software distribution. The move reported by Germany's Deutsche Presse-Agentur would see about 50 people lose their jobs as Microsoft relocated distribution to the Netherlands. The Windows developer argued that Motorola's H.264 video patent demands made staying in Germany untenable.
BlueStacks beta supports Angry Birds and more
BlueStacks' App Player was posted as a beta on Tuesday with significant expansion over the earlier alpha. The Android-on-Windows emulator's compatibility is now much wider and will recognize games like Angry Birds Space that would normally talk directly to an ARM chip. OS support is wider as well, expanding from just Windows 7 to either as far back as Windows XP or as recent as the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.
ChangeWave shows iPad consolidating in work world
A follow-up study through ChangeWave has shown that corporate uptake of iPads was only climbing higher in February despite more concerted attempts from Android makers. Of those hoping to buy tablets in the spring, he number of companies looking to buy the iPad shot from 77 percent in November to a new high of 84 percent just last month. Without exception, every Android tablet designer's share of tablet interest declined, with none crossing into double digits.
Warns other partners about proper licensing
Microsoft has warned its partners and outsourcers that certain forms of Windows 7 in cloud services might be out of bounds. In most cases, the partner's customers themselves must hold valid Microsoft license agreements. The advisory has come in the wake of allegations that software-as-a-service provider OnLive may be using Windows and Office illegally in the way it streams from servers to users.
ITC says Barnes and Noble can't talk antitrust
The International Trade Commission finished the week by denying Barnes & Noble its attempt to renew antitrust claims against Microsoft. A judge had taken belated evidence from the Nook designer into account but still decided that the original decision, that there wasn't enough evidence to suggest Microsoft was abusing patents, would stand. The verdict didn't necessarily side with Microsoft, but left Barnes & Noble withe option only of challenging Microsoft's claims that it violates patents.
OnLive launches Android-compatible Desktop app
Users of Android tablets can now install the OnLive Desktop app (free, Android Market) to access Windows apps. The new version mirrors the iPad edition with cloud access to a virtual machine with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, as well as Adobe Reader for non-web PDFs. There is also 2GB of cloud storage included to save the resulting work.
French tablet ships PadPro with PixelQi option
French tablet maker EviGroup has just unveiled its latest device, the 10-inch PadPro. It uses an optional PixelQi ultra-bright display that is viewable in sunlight and is pressure-sensitive. This last feature makes it suitable for graphics artists who draw images free-hand, using the included stylus.
HP FTP shows no gap in home editoins
HP may have inadvertently spoiled Microsoft's plans for a simpler Windows 8 lineup after it posted a document for OS support with the future OS inside. The sheet lists just a basic Windows 8 as well as Professional and Enterprise editions. Apart from the necessary 32- and 64-bit splits, no mention was made of Home Basic, Home Premium, Starter, or other separate home versions that previous Windows versions have had in the past.
Bith OSes will be supported for full 10 years
Microsoft has extended its support window for its legacy Windows operating systems. In the past, the software giant provided five years of support for the consumer releases of the OS, while the business versions got extended coverage for a total of ten years. Microsoft has now quietly extended support of the retail versions of Windows Vista and 7 to ten years as well.
Apple to make Mountain Lion truly download only
Apple stated Friday that the launch of OS X Mountain Lion would be truly download-only. The Mac maker briefed Pocket-lint that it wouldn't stock versions preloaded on USB drives like it has with the current Lion release. Offering a physical option was an "interesting test," but the Mac App Store was "just fine" in practice for getting a copy, Apple said.
Logitech M600 takes Magic Mouse cues
Logitech chose Wednesday to unveil its own alternative to the Magic Mouse. The Touch Mouse M600 uses the same concept of an all-touch surface as Apple but with the technology behind its Cube mobile mouse. Having the larger surface solves some of the issues of the Cube, letting users left- and right-click more naturally while opening the door to horizontal scrolling along with the vertical.
Microsoft revenues mask Windows PCs trouble
(Update on PC decline reasons) Microsoft on Thursday revealed record results that masked underlying problems with its core Windows business. It generated $20.5 billion in revenue in the fall, a five percent increase from the same season a year earlier. Most of the increases came from its server business and the Xbox-related Entertainment & Devices group, each of which grew their own revenue by 11 percent and 15 percent.