Posts with tag windows 8.1
The year of the budget Windows tablet
Microsoft hasn’t had the best of luck with tablets running Windows 8.1 just yet, but that isn’t stopping some manufacturers from trying. Budget manufacturer eFun has come to CES with not one, not two, but three low-spec tablets running Windows 8.1, all of which will run you under $300, thanks in part to Microsoft’s still relatively new Windows 8.1 with Bing version of Windows.
The main differentiator between all of these devices would be, of course, screen size – all three models feature a quad-core Intel Atom processor, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB to 64GB of internal storage. The cheapest model will run you $229 and features a 10.1 inch display, while one ring up gets you a 11.6 inch display for just $279.
The real deal, however, is the 12.5 inch model at $279. Not only is that on the upper end of tablet display sizes, eFun’s tablet also comes with a full year’s subscription of Microsoft Office 365. That comes with the full suite of Microsoft Office programs, something that many other tablets can’t boast.
But if Windows 8.1 isn’t your thing – and if sales are any indication, it might not be – eFun also has three Android tablets they want to offer you. A slightly smaller 8-inch device ships with bundled LTE support and a Snapdragon processor starting at $129 in a 16GB configuration, or you can upgrade to 32GB of internal storage if you need a little more room for activities. There’s also a 10.1 inch model for $229 with similar specifications, and an 11.6 model for $249 with a boosted 64GB of internal storage. All of the Android tablets feature 1GB of RAM.
Calling it Windows 7.5 isn't that far off
Using the Windows 10 Technical Previews feels a little bit like going home. It’s as if I had just spent the last three years in some sort of bizzare-o world filled with buggy, nearly useless full screen applications; like I’m enjoying a swim in a refreshing, crisp, blue pool after spending an eternity in the fiery depths of Hell.In this scenario, Hell is, of course, a stand in for Windows 8 – and I think the sooner we admit the similarities, the sooner we can all recover from its abuses.
The Windows 10 Technical Preview is kind of like the anti-Windows 8 – indeed, some have taken to calling it Windows 7.5, and I don’t think that’s too far off. If you’ve not seen it in action yet, picture this – all the Desktop improvements that shipped with Windows 8 minus all of the horrible Start Screen garbage. Oh, and the Start Menu is back, so that’s pretty nice.
Microsoft is saying that this represents only a tiny fraction of the features, design, and functionality we’ll find in the final version of Windows 10 – due sometime late 2015 – and I believe it. Essentially, there’s only a couple of things worth getting really excited about here thus far, if you appreciate the fact that Microsoft is reverting back to the “classic” Windows 7 way of doing things.
Read more to hear our early impressions of the Windows 10 Technical Preview build.
A Windows machine for under $100? Madness!
Microsoft has been looking to readjust their Windows strategy to better combat the influx of ultra low-cost, low end machines flooding the market these days, and today we’re seeing another step in that process. HP has just announced a bunch of new machines, but the stars of the show really are the new HP Stream tablets and two new HP Stream laptops. Both are (presumably) low end, both have Intel processors, but perhaps most impressively, both are full blown Windows PCs with some truly unbelievable price tags.
Starting off with the HP Stream, we’re looking at a 7-inch tablet with a starting price of just $99 – that’s a buck under $100, crossing something of a mythical line in the sand when it comes to pricing. It runs the full version of the latest version of Windows 8.1 and even comes with a free year’s worth of Office 365 subscription. There’s also an 8-inch tablet that’ll cost you an extra $50. Unfortunately, we’ve yet to learn what exactly is powering this bargain basement deal or how much memory it’ll ship with, but all in due time.
Meanwhile, the HP Stream laptop features a bunch of, erm, “interesting” bold color options, like the purple one above. Starting at $199, it features an 11-inch display, an Intel processor, a front facing camera, and also runs a full version of Windows 8.1. There’s also a 13-inch version, if you’re the type of person who needs a bit more screen real estate. No specifics on exact processor or memory configurations here either.
But is it enough?
As PC sales keep shrinking, Microsoft’s flagship software – Windows 8 – has failed to see much love from customers or OEMs. The industry is increasingly switching over to tablets running competitor’s software; not to mention low powered – and low priced – notebooks running Google’s Chrome OS operating system (“Chromebooks”), which have been best sellers on Amazon for months now. Microsoft is keenly aware of the situation, of course, and has been fighting against the Apple iPad for some time now with the company’s Surface lineup, and now they’re tackling the Chromebook problem with a line of new low powered, low priced notebooks of their own, running – of course – Windows 8.1 rather than Chrome OS. The first of this new initiative is the HP Stream 14, a 14-inch notebook revealed today by a leak published by MobileGeeks.
According to the leak, the HP Stream 14 has an unspecified AMD processor, a midrange 1366 x 768 pixel display, 2GB of RAM, and either 32GB or 64GB of internal storage depending on the model you’re looking at. No word yet as to when the HP Stream 14 will be hitting your local Best Buy, but I’d bet it’ll be sooner rather than later and when it comes, it should cost you just around $199. Microsoft must be keen to pick up sales of their Windows 8 devices, and if there’s one thing we know, there’s certainly a market for low priced, but quality devices.
Start building the internet of things
When Microsoft announced Windows for the Internet of Things at the company’s annual Build conference this year, people were excited. A little bit confused, considering how nebulous the term “Internet of Things” has actually become, but excited nonetheless – this is a totally new vision of Windows designed to run on small, ultra-low power devices. The company had remained tight lipped on their plans for the launch of the program right up until a couple of weeks ago, when they announced that they’d be shipping free Intel’s x86 based low power Galileo boards – the same ones that usually run around $80 – totally free of charge to any interested developer alongside the IoT SDK as Windows for the Internet of Things development kits.
Registration for these free boards have been closed for some time, and it appears Microsoft has finally gotten around to actually shipping the kits to at least some interested developers. We’ve heard reports from at least one developer who received the above email this morning, claiming his free Galileo board has been shipped over FedEx, tracking number and all. It appears not all developers have received their emails just yet, but if you’re one of the lucky few who got into Microsoft’s IoT developer program before it closed, keep your eyes fixed on your inbox.
Well its about time
If your computer is one of the many affected by the bug that blocks its copy of Windows 8 from being upgraded to Windows 8.1, there’s good news on the horizon. Microsoft is finally taking pity on your computer’s soul and has decided to fix that, allowing previously (and randomly) un-upgradeable copies of Windows 8 from being upgraded to Windows 8.1.
The bug, which affected computers and tablets running both Windows 8 as well as the original version of Windows RT, affects only a small number of computers – so chances are, if you haven’t upgraded yet, you’ll be able to do that now just fine. But if not, keep an eye out for the fix due any day now.
Some weird naming going on
According to popular Microsoft beta scene group WZOR, which has accurately delivered copious amounts of news, screenshots, and leaks regarding the development of various versions of Microsoft Windows all the way from the Windows Vista days to today, Microsoft is planning on releasing the next update to Windows 8, which was announced at BUILD 2014 and brings windowed “Modern” Windows Store applications and the return of the Start Menu, before the end of the year. What’s more, according to the group, Microsoft is planning on releasing the update not as Windows 8.1 Update 2, as you might expect, but as Windows 8.2.
This reinforces the notion that development of Windows “Threshold”, which many expect will be called Windows 9, is too early in development to be a serious contender for release any time soon. Microsoft’s latest update to Windows 8, Windows 8.1 Update 1, brought significant changes to the operating system, including usability improvements for keyboard and mouse users and the ability to pin “Modern” applications to the desktop taskbar. Considering Windows 8.1 Update 1 could have easily been called Windows 8.2, there seems to be little rhyme or reason to Microsoft’s marketing of Windows 8 updates. But no matter what they’re called, a significant update is a significant update, and Windows 8 needs all the improvements it can get.
Now on Windows Update
Microsoft’s next big update to their desktop Windows platform, Windows 8.1 Update 1, has just been released onto Windows Update. The update, which Microsoft officially announced at Build last week, significantly improves the Windows 8.1 experience for keyboard and mouse users, bringing new features such as “Modern” Windows Store application docking into the desktop taskbar, traditional Windows control buttons (such as close and minimize) on “Modern” applications, classic style Context Menus in the Start Screen, and more.
While Windows 8.1 Update 1 has only just been made official and released, we took a look at a pre-release build of Windows 8.1 a little while ago before the Build conference. Be sure to take a more in depth look at whats new in Windows 8.1 Update 1 by navigating here, and head on over to Windows Update to get updating – it’s worth it, trust me.
The hero Microsoft needs
It’s back. Microsoft has, after years of dodging and fighting it, finally announced that they will be returning Windows 8.1 back to its roots – that’s right, in a future update coming free to all Windows 8.1 users, the Start Menu will be arriving on Windows 8.1. But is this the Start Menu you’ve been longing for all these years, or is this something different entirely?
While nobody outside of Microsoft has yet to use this new Windows 8.1 version, we can conclusively say that this is not the Start Menu that you remember using back in Windows’s golden days. Instead, this is a redesigned concept specifically made to bridge the gap between Windows 7’s Start Menu and the Start Screen in Windows 8.
As such, it features both an old school list of recent applications as well as direct integration of Windows 8’s Live Tiles – Microsoft really is trying to make this the best of both worlds, making a statement right away that they haven’t ditched the Start Screen concept, but that they’re evolving it to work better with the ways people want to work.
The Start Menu will be returning to Windows in a future update of Windows 8.1 that should launch sometime after the upcoming Windows 8.1 Update 1. The update will also allow WinRT “Windows Store” applications to run in a window alongside classic Win32 programs. Stay tuned for more on this.
Microsoft at BUILD today showed off an early demo of they’re upcoming version of Microsoft Office specifically designed for Windows 8.1, the new “Modern” version of Office built for WinRT. Next-generation Office apps will run in Microsoft’s “Modern” mode on Windows 8.1 and Windows RT, allowing Microsoft to enable a touch-first user experience for Windows 8.1 customers for the first time.
In the demo, Microsoft showed off an early pre-beta version of Microsoft PowerPoint. The UI was immediately familiar to anybody who’s ever used PowerPoint in the past, greatly resembling both PowerPoint 2013 and the newly released PowerPoint for iOS.
While no new features or functionality was shown during the demonstration, PowerPoint for WinRT did appear to work just about as well as PowerPoint for iOS, meaning Microsoft’s upcoming Office suite for Windows devices should be at least as impressive as the version they released on Apple’s tablet OS.
This old series is back
The What’s New series is back from the dead and we’re now going to take a look at the upcoming Windows 8.1 Update 1 we’ve been covering for some time now. A pre-release copy of the build leaked last night and it’s been installed, screenshots taken and other fun things explored.
So since we’ve had time to play with this build and seen what’s new, we’re ready to share these findings with you in lossless, un-watermarked PNG format. Ready to get started? Check it all out after the break.
Slowly becoming a competent OS once again
It’s no surprise that nobody likes Metro in Windows. That’s why I’m happy to bring you a report on another rumor about Windows 8.1 Update 1. WZOR has once again shared some details about the upcoming update and it’s nothing but good news: Amongst other changes, Windows 8.1 Update 1 will boot directly to the desktop from the get-go. The Verge reports that these changes are coming because there are very few PC users who use touch; they mostly use a traditional keyboard-and-mouse setup. I’ll offer some of my own speculation that these changes won’t be finding their way to Windows RT 8.1 Update 1, but one can certainly hope.
Other changes in Windows 8.1 Update 1 include ways to make Metro-style apps more accessible to Windows users. Like real desktop applications, the Metro-style apps now sport a title bar, right-click program icon, a minimize and a close button. This arrangement of buttons, especially how they’re arranged in Update 1 makes me feel like I’m using Windows 3.1, but I’ll let you be the judge of that:
In any event, the new titlebar seems to mostly be for show as it doesn’t seem possible to run the Metro-style apps in a window. Such a feature is rumored to be added in Windows “Threshold” and what we see here is probably the introduction to it. And speaking of Windows 9, with all the backing up Microsoft is doing in Windows 8.1 Update 1, maybe Windows will once again be a competent OS.