Posts with tag windows blue
The merger has begun
Microsoft has been largely silent regarding their upcoming Windows Phone update, originally dubbed “Windows Phone Blue” – now predictably called Windows Phone 8.1 – but their silence has been broken, if not by choice. Major new leaks coming from a variety of sources have not only confirmed that Windows Phone 8.1 is real and coming, but has also revealed a partial feature set, a plethora of new screenshots, updated applications, and – perhaps most notably – a sign that Microsoft is actively going ahead with their long rumored plans to merge Windows Phone and Windows RT.
Read more to find out what Microsoft has in store for the future of Windows Phone.
Microsoft's next tablet is stuck in the past
First, an admission; I’m typing this on an original Surface RT. It was a moment of weakness – I had the opportunity to snag one for cheap just a couple of days ago, and the technophile in me just had to jump at the opportunity. Much digital ink has been spilled defending or damning the original Surface, so I won’t add to that too terribly much but to say that, as well built a device that this is, it is absolutely not a machine without its flaws.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is where the true problem of the Surface lies. As many positives that the tablet may have, there are just as many negatives about it as there are positives, if not more. And while Microsoft may have gone a long way towards fixing some common issues people had with the Surface at their Surface 2 event this week – the poor battery life, the abysmal performance, and the relative heft, they also managed to leave the most disappointing aspect of the device unchanged – its usability.
Read more on what’s amiss with the Surface 2 after the break.
Perfect for your cyan Nokia
Good news, Windows Phone lovers – today we’ve been treated to yet another look at Microsoft’s upcoming update to their Windows Phone platform, Windows Phone 8.1 (the artist previously known as “Blue”.) According to these and the previously leaked screenshots, Windows Phone 8.1 appears to be a relatively minor update that focuses mostly on playing catchup with iOS and Android more than anything else.
Getting particular love this upgrade cycle are Notifications. Microsoft has finally realized it’s 2013 and that a mobile platform without a sophisticated way of viewing and managing Notifications is literally inexcusable. The screenshots portray a new “Notifications” tile that, if rumors are to be expected, will open up a Notification center not all that different from either Android or iOS’s implementation – both of which are excellent.
There are a couple more little niceties that have been apparently been added, like multi-tile selection, however on the whole what we’re seeing looks a whole lot like what most Windows Phone users should already be very, very used to.
Courtesy of famous release group
Just the other day we let you know that the RTM (release to manufacturing, or “final” build) of Windows 8.1 had leaked into the wild, but in unfortunately in Chinese, making it nigh useless for most of the western world. Well, good news for those who were waiting for a leak in a language with a bit of a wider scope of appeal – WZOR, a famous release group who has leaked various other builds of past versions of Windows, has just officially leaked the RTM build of Windows 8.1 once again, but this time in English.
Both the 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64) versions of Windows 8.1 have been leaked for those with just a little bit of Google-know-how. For those interested in these sorts of things, the leaks come in the following flavours:
SIZE: 2,915,131,392 byte
SIZE: 3,899,295,744 byte
A leak of the final version of Windows 8.1 has been big news after Microsoft officially confirmed that they would not be releasing Windows 8.1 early to developers and IT professionals prior to the public release on October 18th. Microsoft had traditionally released a new version of Windows on TechNet and MSDN months prior to a pubic release.
Surprise, surprise – not long after announcing an October 18th release date for their next major version of Windows, Windows 8.1, sources from within Microsoft are confirming that the company has indeed completed development on Windows 8.1. The final build has been dubbed, perhaps predictably, build 9600 (continuing a longstanding tradition set my XP’s build 2600, and 7’s build 7600).
Mary Jo Foley, one of the most trusted names in the Microsoft blogosphere, has independently confirmed the news and also has a couple of new fun tidbits about development as well. According to her, Microsoft sought to improve the level of acceptable RTM quality for Windows 8.1, reducing the number of issues acceptable for a build to be declared final back down to Windows 7’s quality control level. Windows 8 was infamously “completed” development with a number of large issues lingering, causing significant crashes, slowdowns, and general issues with quality.
While Microsoft has traditionally released the final Windows build to TechNet and MSDNN users far earlier than the general release date in the past, there appears to be some confusion as to whether Microsoft will continue this tradition in Windows 8.1. Independently speaking, we can not confirm nor deny either side of the argument; we’ve seen few signs that Microsoft is planning on deviating from an early release, however it is also highly possible that Microsoft may chose to take another couple of weeks to develop a couple of day-one Windows Updates before letting the outside world play with their newest baby.
We’ll have a full review of Windows 8.1 as soon as we can, and will certainly keep you updated on the latest news coming out of Redmond. If you’re at all interested in Microsoft’s successor to Windows 8, feel free to check out Sean’s excellent first-look at the Windows 8.1 Public Preview build, which was released in June.
It’s of limited interest, but for completeness’s sake it’s worth noting – yet another internal build of Windows 8.1 has leaked onto the web, this time one identifying itself as Windows 8.1 build 9477. We’re not quite sure what’s new here over the latest leak – probably not a whole lot, given their close proximity to each other.
Making this even less of a big deal to a large part of the community, this build has only leaked in Chinese with little to no chance of an English translation. We’re sure this’ll be a big hit for the CBCC (Chinese Beta Collector’s Community), but everyone else might be better off sticking with the Public Preview or the last leak (if you’re adventurous).
Windows Blue is almost complete
Good news, Microsoft fans and users of Windows 8 alike. Infamous Microsoft blogger Mary Jo Foley has just confirmed (with an additional confirmation coming in from The Verge) that Microsoft will be releasing Windows 8.1, the eagerly anticipated next major release of Windows, this October. Windows 8.1 will come as a free update for all Windows 8 users and will be distributed through Microsoft’s Windows Store, making this the first major Windows release to be distributed online through the operating system itself.
Additionally, Microsoft is planning on completing development of Windows 8.1 by the end of August and will release final images to partners, MSDN customers, and TechNet customers not long after development ends. A near-final build of Windows 8.1 was distributed to partners just this last weekend, with a different, but similar build leaking just days later.
Build 9477, RTM escrow
Microsoft has reportedly seeded partners with an updated build of their upcoming Windows 8.1 operating system, officially bringing the release closer to finalization. The build, reportedly dubbed Build 9477, appears to be a RTM escrow build – also known as an internal release candidate – indicating that Microsoft is close to wrapping up development barring the appearance of any significant bugs that would impede releases.
Microsoft will not be seeding the build to public preview users, however the company will continue to update the only officially released build – Build 9431, which was released to testers at BUILD 2013 earlier this summer – with bug fixes, security fixes, and improvements. However we are hearing that an unofficial, unsanctioned leak of the build is possible, and we’ll be sure to let you guys know if we hear anything more about that.
Microsoft is gearing up to release the final build of Windows 8.1 to partners, TechNet users, and MSDN users with a public release coming at the end of the year. Windows 8.1 will be a free update to all existing Windows 8 users and provides major fixes and improvements to the Windows 8 operating system, which has seen its fair share of criticism since its release last year.
There are also no more official preview or test releases of Windows 8.1 coming; considering the RTM is coming next month it makes sense.
Clean install, upgrade
Good news if you’re one of the few people having issues with yesterday’s Windows Store update version of the Windows 8.1 Preview build – Microsoft has today released the official Windows 8.1 Preview disc images in ISO format to the general public. This gives users the ability to download a full honest to goodness 3.5 GB (the 64-bit image’s size) installer of Windows 8.1, capable of performing both a clean install and an upgrade after mounting the image. These disc images require a product key in order to be used, but never fear – like other Windows preview builds of the past few Windows releases, Microsoft is providing free product keys for all Windows 8.1 installations for the foreseeable future.
This also gives non-Windows 8 users their first opportunity to check out the new operating system, and see if Windows 8.1’s improvements won’t convince them of a now worthwhile upgrade. Because these disc images allow for a clean install, an existing installation of Windows 8 is no longer required to use the Windows 8.1 Preview.
We’ve published our full hands-on first impressions of the Windows 8.1 Preview yesterday, and encourage everyone to check that out if you’re at all interesting in hearing about Windows 8.1 has to offer. It’s definitely a worthwhile read.
Fresh from //BUILD/
We’ve been following the leaked Windows 8.1 builds for some time now, but now we finally have a chance to play with the official Windows 8.1 Preview. It was released at Microsoft’s //BUILD/ conference today, and is available as an update to Windows 8 or Windows RT owners through the Windows Store. Of course, a couple days ago the Windows Server 2012 R2 images were posted to MSDN and TechNet ahead of //BUILD/, so we got a sneak preview of what’s coming to Windows 8.1 through that route too.
Anyway, we’ve played with both. Now it’s time to see what all is coming to Windows 8.1, so check after the break.
Get the future of Windows today
Microsoft has just released their first official Preview release of Windows 8.1 (previously known as Windows Blue) to the general public, following a release of Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview two days ago and Windows 8.1 Preview to TechNet users earlier today. The new Windows 8.1 update offers several important improvements to the Windows 8 operating system, including the return of an actual Start Button, improved dual-monitor support while running Windows Store (“Metro”) apps, user wallpapers on the Start Screen, and the ability to launch your computer directly into the “classic” Desktop environment.
Windows 8.1 Preview is available to the public as a Windows Store update free today. The final version of Windows 8.1, due out by the end of this year, will be available to all Windows 8 users free of charge.
We’ll be posting first impressions of the Windows 8.1 Preview today, and will deliver a formal review sometime soon.