Windows 8 is a highly controversial operating system and a big gamble for Microsoft that can largely be attributed to the new Start screen interface that the company introduces in it. The Start screen is not just a program launcher like the Windows Start menu was, as it is also the location where apps are run in. Apps, of which some come pre-installed with Windows 8 and others can be installed from the Windows Store, run in full screen on the interface. However, you can add your own shortcuts to the Start screen page, to open documents or desktop programs quickly from here.
If you like Windows 8's start screen but want to keep on using a previous version of the Windows operating system instead, you may be interested in a new beta program that IOBit just released. WinMetro basically adds a Start screen-like interface to versions of Windows that do not ship with it. The program is compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.
Microsoft revealed pricing for its long awaited Surface RT yesterday. Starting at $499 with 32GB of storage and going up to $699 for the 64GB model with Touch cover included, the devices are priced in about the same price range as Apple's new iPad. It feels natural to compare Microsoft's entry into the tablet market with the leading product that is already there, and many have done so. Joe Wilcox, for instance, believes that Microsoft prices Surface RT to go head to head against Apple.
There is certainly some truth to that, but it may be a different truth than what seems obvious.
Windows 8 won't be as successful as its predecessor Windows 7, if pre-launch market share is an indicator of how well an operating system performs during its lifetime. Gregg Keizer's comparison of pre-launch adoption rates of Windows 7 and Windows 8 shows the latter is only one-fifth of its predecessor. Windows 7's market share was 1.6 percent of the overall market one month before launch, while Windows 8's market share at the same time is only 0.3 percent.
Is that an indicator that Windows 8 will become the new Vista or merely caused by different pre-launch conditions? Windows 7's predecessor is Windows Vista, an unsuccessful operating system if you look at its market penetration. Windows 8, on the other hand, follows on the much acclaimed Windows 7 operating system, which many users flocked to when it became clear that Microsoft did everything right that time.
A store inside a store, that was my first impression of Intel's AppUp app that the company recently launched on Windows Store. It's one of two such sub-shop apps currently available on Windows 8, and they work outside and around the larger Windows Store concept. Is this what Microsoft really wants for users?
I get the whole Windows Store concept, really, and think it is great even though it could be improved here and there. The store has to offer a lot from a user perspective: apps are verified and tested, payments are handled in the store, and software updates are handled automatically. That's great as it takes away many of the issues that current Windows users are left alone with as they have to find, download, install and update software programs on their own. Failure to update programs on the system as soon as updates become available for instance can lead to all kinds of security and stability issues. Windows Store solves the problem.
Asus' Windows 8 tablet roadmap leaked a few days ago, revealing the company's intention to launch three tablets powered by Microsoft's soon to be released Windows 8 operating system. Bloggers and journalists have used the roadmap to argue that the pricing is too high to compete effectively against Apple iPads and Android tablets. Taken aside that the pricing may not be final, it seems like they are right, if you only compare price and nothing else.
Asus' entry model, the Vivo Tab RT, for instance, lists with a starting price of $599. That's $100 more than Apple's cheapest new iPad model, and $300 more than Google's Nexus 7 tablet. But can you really make that comparison?
Last year Venkat Panchapakesan, Google Vice President of Engineering announced the company's plan to limit support to modern browsers across Google Apps. To support modern web apps, support for browsers not supporting technologies like HTML5 had to be discontinued. Examples given at that time included desktop notifications or drag-and-drop file uploading, which both require browsers supporting HTML5.
For that reason, Google made the decision to support only the current and previous major version of a web browser. When a new major version of a browser gets released, support for the third oldest version gets discontinued automatically.
Windows 8, or more precisely Windows RT, marks a re-entry into the tablet market. Since Spring 2010, the Redmond, Wash.-based company watched Apple become the dominant segment player with iPad. In October, Windows-based tablets will push into a category Microsoft pioneered a decade ago but ceded to an upstart. Price will mean everything.
Two years ago, Windows didn't support low-cost but efficient ARM hardware, which put Microsoft and its hardware partners at a disadvantage price-wise. Since, Microsoft worked diligently to change this in Windows 8, and early development snapshots, previews and information showed touch support and other features usually only found in tablet devices. The changes come at the cost of Windows' traditional user base, which criticizes Microsoft for integrating features that desktop users did not feel comfortable with. All versions of Windows 8 come with improved touch and tablet features, but devices running Windows RT will compete head to head with Apple and Google in the tablet market. That is, if the price is right.
When you look at the app offerings from Microsoft's Windows Store, the bulk is made up of programs targeting a casual audience. Games seem to be popular, for instance, making up a fifth of all apps currently listed in the store. While there is nothing wrong with playing a game of solitaire during a break or wait period, it doesn't help Microsoft sell the operating system to a professional audience.
Digging deeper, however, you will find decent apps that IT workers will come to love if they take the plunge and decide to work with apps under Windows 8. There is certainly no need for that unless the system is running Windows RT, as desktop programs provide you with a similar, and often even a better, feature set than store apps at the moment.
If you had to name your favorite three search engines, which would they be? It is almost certain that Google would make the list, and that some Internet users may have trouble naming more than one or two as they rely solely on a single search engine for all of their searches.
Bing may be on that list, although it is less likely that people from outside the United States will name the search engine, as its localized results are not really on pair with its English results. Tech savvy users may name DuckDuckGo or Ixquick, two niche search engines that promise better privacy and unfiltered results that do not put users into a filter bubble. Regional search engines, Chinese Baidu for instance, may also be added to the list by people from those regions.
Java is one of those technologies that you find installed on the majority of computer systems despite the fact that average users do not come across many Java-powered websites or desktop applications. Sure, some may use desktop applications like JDownloader or the game Minecraft (which both require Java), but on the Internet? Seriously, when was the last time you went to a website that required the Java Runtime Environment to be installed for core functionality?
Statistics can be misleading, but according to Statowl, Java is installed on roughly 70 percent of Web browsers, which makes it the second most popular plugin behind Adobe Flash, and places it before heavyweights such as Quicktime, Windows Media Player, or Silverlight.
I have followed the development process of Microsoft's upcoming operating system closely, ever since first tidbits of information leaked on the Internet. But instead of just reading about it, I also installed all public versions of Windows 8 on one of my desktop PCs to get a first-hand experience of what the OS is all about.
Like many of my fellow BetaNews authors, I was torn apart by the operating system. Chris Williams, for instance, believes that Windows 8 is pointless for the Enterprise while Mihaita Bamburic imagines what Metro could have been. It becomes even more apparent when you read Windows 8 will be the new Vista and Windows 8 deserves a chance.
Microsoft's Internet Explorer was the uncrowned king back in 2008 with Mozilla's Firefox snagging away half a percent or so from IE's market share each month. Mozilla in that year released Firefox 3.0, a controversial version of the browser that divided the browser's user base into the Firefox 2.x and 3.x camp. Microsoft released Internet Explorer 8, a version of the browser that still fell short in many areas even though it was seen by many as a huge improvement over the company's previously released Internet browsers.
And in that year came the first public release of Google Chrome for Windows, and with it fundamental changes to the web browser landscape. Chrome's impact in the browser's first year of existence was limited, and while Google managed to increase the market share over the important 1 percent mark in 2008, it took the company another year to surpass Opera and Safari to take the coveted number three spot for the first time near the end of 2009.
If you want to keep your online accounts safe on the Internet from all those hacking threats, phishing and malicious software, one of the best options to do so comes in the form of 2-step verification. This system adds a second layer of authentication to the sign-in or connection process to effectively protect accounts against many forms of attacks. An attacker would not only need to have access to the account username and password, but also to the security code that is generated after username and password have been entered on the sign in page.
Companies use a variety of 2-step authentication methods. PayPal for instance uses a hardware device that displays a code when you activate. Other companies like Google or Facebook may send verification codes to a registered email address, or provide you with an authentication app that you run on your mobile phone.
When you first heard about Windows 8, what were your expectations of the operating system? I always have a set of features in mind that I hope will make their way into Microsoft's next operating system, some dating back as far as Windows 95.
Windows 8 is special to a certain degree as it is the first Windows operating system that brings touch to the center of focus. The reason for that is the lucrative tablet market currently dominated by iPad and to a lesser degree Android. Windows 8 will be Microsoft's entry into the market, not only as a maker of operating systems, but also tablets like the Microsoft Surface. Some say that Microsoft sacrifices the experience of desktop users for that, and while I would not go as far, it is noteworthy that the company promotes more touch and tablet related features of the operating system than features improved or added to the desktop part of it.
Windows 8 will make its public debut on October 26 and has been controversial ever since Microsoft first released information about the operating system to the public. What most can agree on is that Windows 8 is a shift away from the traditional desktop-orientated operating system towards a system that can be deployed on a wider variety of devices.
The 10 features listed here are but some of the benefits coming with Windows 8.