Visit tied to investigation, Microsoft states that it will cooperate with officials
Officials from the China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce (AIC) showed up at four Microsoft offices in the country unannounced earlier today. Offices in Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Shanghai received the sudden visits, that could be tied to the start of an antitrust investigation for a presently-unknown reason. The visits come at a time when Microsoft faces scrutiny in the country, over spying allegations and government refusal of Windows 8.
Publisher activates anti-piracy measures after thousands of plays turn up online
It turns out that winning an early access to game isn't enough to satisfy every fan, as mobile developer Gameloft recently learned. In a contest that gave fans access to Modern Combat 5: Blackout before its expected July 24 release date, one of the lucky winners decided to crack the game and upload it for illegal distribution. Afterward, thousands of players turned up in the game before its release on Android, iOS and Windows 8 devices.
Previously released for iOS in August, turns tablets into notebook, sketchpad
Those looking for a note-taking solution or a sketchbook for Windows 8 and Android-based tablets have a new option to look at today. Wacom has expanded the availability of Bamboo Paper, adding tablets beyond the iPad, including the Kindle Fire, Surface 2 and Galaxy Tab 4, to the mix. Bamboo Paper was originally launched for iOS devices in August.
Image shows potential Start Menu with Tile column, icon list
Microsoft's Start Menu may appear in the next major update for Windows, an alleged leaked screenshot suggests. The image believed to depict an early internal build of the update shows the Start Menu as having two main columns, similar to an image which surfaced a few months ago, taking the old style of Start Menu from Windows 7 and earlier iterations, and combining it with Windows 8's Live Tiles.
Microsoft gets very close to perfectly executing the Surface Pro vision
Electronista recently had the opportunity to go hands-on with Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 ahead of its June 20 North America launch. Although the device carries the '3' moniker, it is the first full redesign of the Surface Pro since its debut in January 2013. As has been well documented, the Surface product line has not been the runaway success that Microsoft had hoped. Of all the products on the market shipping with Windows 8, the Surface is the device where Microsoft's controversial Modern UI makes the most sense. So is the Surface Pro 3 likely to change people's perceptions towards what is one of the most innovative products to come out of Microsoft recently?
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.
New version of Windows uses Bing as the default search engine
As previously rumored, Microsoft has released Windows 8.1 with Bing. Aimed primarily at original equipment manufacturers like Dell and other similar companies, the offering brings lower-cost Windows 8.1 to devices with the search engine defaulting to Bing. The end-user can choose a different search engine default, but the OEM is prevented from doing so.
End of Windows XP support pushes China to avoid Windows 8
China has banned the use of Windows 8 on new computers used by the government, citing security issues. The limited lifetime of support for Microsoft operating systems, as evidenced recently with Windows XP, is said to have forced the government to decree all desktops, notebooks, and tablet PCs to run any other operating system than Windows 8.
Insteon app brings exclusive use to Windows OS, items available in Microsoft stores
In a deal with Insteon, Microsoft has announced that it will be taking its first steps into the home automation market. The agreement between the two companies will begin June 1, with an enhanced version of the Insteon app with exclusive features for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8. Insteon products will also make their way into Microsoft stores under the deal.
All platforms to open up in near future
Group video calls on Skype are now free for users on Windows desktops, OS X, and the Xbox One, according an announcement by the Microsoft-owned service. The company in fact says it intends to make group calls free across all platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and the Windows 8 "Metro" interface. A precise timetable hasn't been revealed.
Build-promoted 'Start' menu changes not implemented yet
Microsoft has started making the latest major update to Windows 8.1 available to end users. The mandatory update for Windows 8.1 users comes in a series of patches, and requires that the user have a fully-patched existing 8.1 system before the update commences. Failure to properly install the patch has dire consequences, according to Microsoft -- engineers claim that "failure to install this Update will prevent Windows Update from patching your system with any future updates starting with Updates released in May 2014."
New update makes more concessions to keyboard, mouse users
At Microsoft's annual Build conference, Microsoft also announced that it has developed a major update to Windows 8.1. The update, available to users April 8, will improve the experience for keyboard and mouse users, as well as bring substantive changes to the Microsoft application store.
Alex Kibkalo accused of stealing, leaking Windows code to unnamed French blogger
A former employee of Microsoft has been arrested for allegedly stealing trade secrets and software relating to Windows. Alex Kibkalo, a Russian national based in Lebanon that formerly worked as a senior architect at the company, stands accused of passing pre-release software and Windows 8 trade secrets to an unnamed French technology blogger.
Browser version peaking at 1,000 daily active users since adoption
Vice President of Firefox Jonathan Nightingale has announced that Mozilla will be taking the Windows 8 version of Firefox out of development. According to Nightingale, the release has never seen a peak of "more than 1,000 active daily users in the Metro environment" making it a risk for Mozilla to continue supporting it through its end of life.
PonoPlayer to be available for pre-order via Kickstarter campaign beginning next week
Musician Neil Young has founded a high-fidelity digital music service, and with it an accompanying playback device soon to be available for pre-order. Entitled PonoMusic, the company encompasses both an online music store and a playback device (PonoPlayer), which is set to be available for pre-ordering through Kickstarter starting next week. The PonoPlayer offers the ability to play high-resolution digital music from both major labels and prominent independent labels, curated and archived for purchasing on PonoMusic.com. The aim is to deliver audio quality that is far superior to other audio file formats, such as the standard MP3.
Initiative may seek to increase Bing penetration, grow Windows adoption
According to sources familiar with the matter, Microsoft is allegedly working on a subsidized version of "Windows 8.1 with Bing." With Microsoft solutions included -- such as the eponymous Bing search engine as default -- Microsoft appears to be readying a free or inexpensive version of Windows, perhaps to combat Apple's offering of OS X 10.9 "Mavericks" for free.
Sales took 16 months to reach on tablets and PCs
Sales of Windows 8 have reached an important milestone, with 200 million licenses sold of Microsoft's latest offering. Executive Vice President of Marketing Tami Reller let the sales numbers slip during a talk at Goldman Sachs Technology & Internet Conference, but was later confirmed by Microsoft. The news comes about eight months after the 100 million sales mark had been reached for the operating system in May, a disappointing result. At the same point in its development history, Windows 7 had sold significantly more copies..
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.
Pinch to zoom, swiping navigation added to beta Firefox version
Mozilla has released a beta version of its Firefox browser, for use with touch-enabled Windows 8 systems. Teased by the company in early 2012, Firefox for Windows 8 Touch Beta is said in a company blog post to be optimized for the operating system's Metro user interface style, with the main focus of the release being its usefulness for owners of touchscreen computers, notebooks, and tablets.
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.
Icons in Chrome update warn of tabs playing sound, using webcam
The latest update to Google Chrome allows Windows 8 users to try out the Chrome operating system from within the browser itself. The addition to Chrome 32, seen earlier in a developer version of the browser, is accompanied by a new set of icons that are designed to help the user monitor which tabs are creating noise, among other functions.
Windows Threshold could drop in just over a year
Microsoft will reportedly look to release Windows 9 in April of next year, according to a new report. The Windows SuperSite pointed out on Saturday that the project currently known as Windows "Threshold" will ship in April of 2015 under the name Windows 9. Microsoft is reportedly hoping that the update will reverse the fortunes of its most recent version, Windows 8, which has struggled due to consumer confusion and the overall slumping PC market.
RealSense will use embedded 3D cameras to allow for NII interface
Intel's CES press conference on Tuesday focused on the interaction between man and machine, thanks to an embedded 3D camera the company has developed in conjunction with a number of hardware partners. The devices Intel will integrate the technology into include 2-in-1 tablets, ultrabooks, touch-enabled all-in-one PCs, and other mobile devices.
Lenovo maintains competition with Surface
Among the first of Lenovo's CES announcements, the new ThinkPad 8 represents the company's latest midsize tablet powered by Windows 8. Powered by Intel's Bay Trail hardware, it aims to compete with Microsoft's own Surface lineup and other players in the segment. We met with Lenovo in Las Vegas for a quick hands-on preview ahead of the ThinkPad's public debut.
Microsoft may rename Windows interface
Microsoft may be preparing to rename the "Modern" interface that defines its Windows 8 operating system, or at least to shorten the title. As ZDNet pointed out this week, the software giant filed last month for a trademark on the term "Mod." The report notes that, while it seems almost certainly related to the Windows interface, the filing could indicate either a renaming of the whole tile system or a special, touch-centric build of Microsoft's Office productivity suite.
Microsoft Surface Tablet for $330 and more
Currently on sale at BestBuy.com is the Microsoft Surface tablet with 64GB of storage, which has been reduced from $380 down to $330, making it the best price we've seen by $50. Free shipping is included, but sales tax applies for residents of most states. This tablet features 64GB of storage space, Bluetooth 4.0 compatibility, built-in Wi-Fi, an integrated kick stand, and has Windows 8 pre-installed. Included is a one-year warranty and 90 days tech support from Microsoft.
Microsoft offering one month of NYT for Windows users
Microsoft is rolling out a new perk for users of devices running a number of its Windows builds. TechNet on Friday pointed out that the software giant is now offering a free 30-day trial subscription for The New York Times app. The offer is available to all Windows users that can download apps through either the Windows Store or the Windows Phone Store.
Microsoft may expand Surface line with Surface mini
Microsoft will reportedly roll out a new addition to its line of Surface devices, one with a form factor closer to that of Apple's iPad mini. This according to WPDang, which claims that the device may launch in the first half of next year. The move would be the latest in a series that has seen Microsoft attempting to combat the growth of iOS and Android in the mobile computing market, a segment that appears on track to replace traditional personal computers as the dominant computing paradigm.
Metro apps could be used in floating desktop windows in next version
The next major Windows update could include the return of the Start Menu, according to new reports. "Threshold," the apparent codename for the Windows 8.1 follow-up, may include the smaller Start Button user interface last seen in Windows 7, as well as the ability to run Metro-style apps from within the desktop itself.
Microsoft belittles cheap Google notebooks
Microsoft has released yet another ad targeting Google's low-cost Chromebook computers, as the nascent OS competition between the two tech giants continues to grow. Running nearly two minutes, the ad features a Microsoft spokesperson interviewing passersby on the street in Venice Beach, comparing the alleged failings of Google's low-cost netbook-like devices to the capabilities of low-cost Windows 8 devices. The ad is the latest salvo in a long campaign by Microsoft to disparage the search giant, which it says provides inferior services and "steals" users' data.
New Eminem album free, others discounted
Microsoft is giving hip-hop loving users of its Xbox Music service the chance to download a free copy of Eminem's Marshal Mathers LP2. The company's Major Nelson announced the giveaway on Monday, saying that it is open to Windows 8, Windows RT, and Windows Phone users. Downloading the album on any one Windows device will grant access to it across all of one's Windows 8, Windows RT, and Windows Phone 8 devices, as well as on one's Xbox console.
Microsoft continues rapid update strategy with Windows 'Threshold'
Microsoft's follow-up to Windows 8.1 will is said to be codenamed "Threshold." This according to ZDNet, which cites sources within the company as saying that the next major Windows update will come in the year 2015. The "Threshold" update is said to cover not only Windows and Windows Phone devices, but also Microsoft's recently released Xox One console.
Microsoft says three Windows platforms not ideal long term
Microsoft is working to bring the number of Windows platforms on the market down to at most two in over the next few years. This according to Microsoft executive Julie Larson-Green, who spoke at the UBS Global Technology Summit recently, saying that the company definitely plans to winnow the number of platforms it has, but that that process will likely take some time. Larson-Green neglected to specify exactly how Microsoft will accomplish the task.
Dell delivers a surprisingly suitable tablet so far
We've made no secret of the fact that we're fans of mobile devices with styluses, as evidenced by our raves about Samsung's Galaxy Note series. So it should come as no surprise that we were interested in checking out Dell's new Venue 8 Pro device and its active stylus. The 8-inch tablet runs Windows 8.1 – the full Windows – so we're also interested to see how well Microsoft's struggling platform works on an 8-inch slate form factor. Dell sent us a review unit, and you can check out our initial impressions by clicking on through.
Windows daily downloads increase 38.56 percent since June
Microsoft's Windows 8 platform continues to see slow improvement, though it still lags far behind Android and iOS in terms of the new computing paradigm. The software giant revealed to developers this week that Windows and Windows 8.1 see roughly 1.7 million daily application downloads, according to TechCrunch. During the month of October, roughly 51.2 million paid and free applications were downloaded from the Windows Store.
Problem with processors, motherboards supporting one instruction blocks update
Windows 8.1 brought with it a host of improvements to its core version, but a specific class of hardware is blocked from upgrading to the service pack from vanilla Windows 8. Adding to the problem is Microsoft's declaration that it will no longer provide security updates or other patches for the original Windows 8 release after 2015.
Microsoft restores Windows 8.1 update after fixing problem
Microsoft has reenabled the Windows 8.1 update for Windows RT, following the update having been pulled temporarily due to its crashing some users' computers. Microsoft announced the return of the 8.1 update in a tweet on Tuesday. The update is available in the Windows Store as a free download.
Xbox One page mentions possible cross-platform apps
Microsoft may allow apps made for Windows 8 to run on the Xbox One after launch, according to one manufacturer. Dell's online store makes the claim that the upcoming Microsoft game console will be able to run the apps created for the desktop operating system, something that Microsoft has yet to publicly confirm itself.
Microsoft pulls Windows RT 8.1 update due to issue
Citing an unspecified issue, Microsoft has pulled the Windows 8.1 update for Windows RT from the Windows Store. Microsoft confirmed the update's removal in a post to the Microsoft Community support boards. The software giant assures Windows RT users that the removal is only temporary, and that it will provide updates as they become available.
Free, paid downloads of Microsoft operating system upgrade commence
Windows 8.1, Microsoft's upgrade for Windows 8, is now available to download and buy. The update, which reintroduces the Start Button to the desktop among other changes, can be downloaded from Microsoft directly or bought as an installable DVD, with current Windows 8 users able to download it via the Windows Store at no charge.
Eight-inch WXGA tablet runs full Windows 8.1
Lenovo today announced the Lenovo Miix2 eight-inch tablet, a Windows 8.1 multi-mode device that packs an Intel quad- core processor and an IPS wide-angle, high-definition display into a small tablet form factor. Paired with an optional stylus and detachable cover, the Lenovo Miix2 eight-inch joins its predecessor, the Lenovo Miix in the company's tablet line.
Acer all-in-one for $649, 16GB iPad 2 for $349, more
This week, the Microsoft Store is offering a steep price break on the Acer Aspire touchscreen all-in-one computer, which has been cut from $1,149 down to $649. That $500 discount makes this the lowest price we've seen on this computer by about $200. Free US shipping is included, but sales tax applies for residents of most states. This computer features a 2.5GHz Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB of RAM and 1TB hard drive, along with a 23-inch touchscreen with 1920x1080 resolution. Windows 8 is pre-installed, and will be automatically updated to Windows 8.1 for free after October 17.
Logitech M560 mouse incorporates quick access button for Win 8
Logitech has rolled out the M560 wireless mouse for Windows 8. The new mouse is one of the first to incorporate a Windows 8 menu button that sits behind the scroll wheel. When activated, the button gives users one-touch access to the App Bar, Charms Bar, Desktop and Start Screen.
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.
Browser mode mimics Chrome OS within Windows 8 Metro app
Google is working on allowing Windows 8 users to run the Chrome operating system on their machines without requiring a separate OS installation, via the search engine's browser. The latest version of the Chrome browser released for developers has a mode that allows it to mimic the Chrome OS experience, while running full-screen as a Windows 8 Metro-style app.
New software under Gemeni codename
Microsoft is reportedly working on a new series of Office utilities for Windows 8 and the Windows Phone mobile platform. Office division VP Kirk Koenigsbauer reportedly demonstrated one of the new apps, Office Reader for Windows 8, at an internal meeting yesterday, unnamed sources have told The Verge. The software is said to serve as a universal reader with support for Office documents, PDFs, e-books, textbooks and web pages.
Take makes second push into tablet market
After struggling to gain traction in the tablet market with the XPS 10, Dell is making a fresh push with its upcoming Venue 8 Pro. The eight-inch tablet promises to deliver a full Windows 8.1 experience and competitive battery life, thanks to Intel's new Bay Trail platform. Electronista met with the company this week at IDF to check out the upcoming tablet in person.
Budget Bay Trail convertible
Asus introduced several new devices last week at IFA, however the company saved one gem for Intel's Developer Forum: the Transformer Book T100. The convertible tablet is one of the first devices to be powered by Intel's quad-core Bay Trail chip, promising impressive battery life and a budget price tag. Electronista had a chance to try out the T100 today at its unveiling event in San Francisco.
Tablet integrates Bay Trail processor
Asus has introduced the Transformer Book T100, a convertible ultraportable powered by Intel's new Bay Trail system-on-chip (SoC). Notably, the new 10.1-inch tablet and detachable keyboard are powered by Windows 8.1 and carry a $349 entry price for the 32GB model.
Ultra HD tablet shipping in November, optional pen input
Panasonic will be shipping a large Ultra HD-resolution Windows 8 tablet to Europe in the coming months, according to an IFA announcement. The Toughpad 4K tablet, initially shown at CES earlier this year, has a 20-inch IPS display with a resolution of 3840x2560, aimed at artists and architects rather than the usual Toughpad and Toughbook target audience.