Judging by all the heavy criticism hitting the interwebs each day one would rightfully assume that Microsoft is on the wrong path with Windows 8. The operating system is often blamed for declining PC shipments, an user interface designed only for touchscreen devices or a scarce Modern UI app ecosystem filled with knockoffs. So, therefore, Windows 8 must be a clear sales miss, right?
Today, Tami Reller, Windows & Windows Live CFO, boasts about 100 million Windows 8 licenses, a figure which does not fall in line with what every naysayer leads you to believe. "This number includes Windows licenses that ship on a new tablet or PC, as well as upgrades to Windows 8. This is up from the 60 million license number we provided in January. We've also seen the number of certified devices for Windows 8 and Window RT grow to 2,400 devices, and we're seeing more and more touch devices in the mix".
US mobile operator AT&T has officially announced that starting tomorrow, May 3, the Optimus G Pro is available for pre-order from its online store. The smartphone, which was unveiled in mid-February, will go on sale a week after, from May 10, exclusively from AT&T.
The price of the Optimus G Pro falls in line with that of its fierce competition. On a two-year contract LG's Android smartphone flagship runs for $199.99, on par with Apple's iPhone 5, BlackBerry's Z10, HTC's One and Samsung's Galaxy S4. By contrast, the similarly-sized Galaxy Note II is available for $299.99 on a two-year contract.
Last month Google altered the method of collecting data for its Android distribution charts, now measuring the popularity of the operating system iterations by visits to the app store instead of check-ins to the company's servers as before. The move significantly changed the results compared to the previous month, but is there a noticeable difference that is felt in the Android distribution charts for May?
Based on the number of devices visiting Google Play during the 14 days ending May 1, Jelly Bean now ranks as the most popular Android sweet, after Gingerbread. With a combined distribution level of 29.4 percent, for Android 4.1 and Android 4.2, Jelly Bean surpassed Ice Cream Sandwich, which now runs on 27.5 percent of all droids.
With the purpose of further improving the user experience on Lumia smartphones, Nokia adds its own apps atop of Windows Phone 8. Most of the extra software is available to download directly from the Nokia collection inside the app store, but the remaining few are hidden from prying eyes.
When an update arrives, Lumia users can only wait for the Store app to display a counter and afterwards allow them to install the latest update. And, as Windows Phone users know, that can take some time -- a day or even longer sometimes. So what are your options? Well, you can look up QR codes and scan them or just use the LUMIA pusher app, which allows you to update every single extra right from your Lumia smartphone.
Microsoft is on an update streak with Windows Azure, introducing significant new features at a steady pace. For the past couple of months we have witnessed an overwhelming number of changes meant to improve the company's cloud platform, including the Iaas (Infrastructure as a Service) support announced two weeks ago.
Microsoft's latest move in this never-ending chess game with its rivals is the Windows Azure SDK (Software Development Kit) 2.0 for .NET which now features improvements for websites, cloud services, storage, service bus and PowerShell automation. Let's take a look at what's new.
After using the Android and iOS counterparts, Facebook app for Windows Phone 8 feels rudimentary and out of place by comparison. Even though the interface takes some design cues from the operating system, it is not very intuitive, wastes too much screen estate and displays content in a visually unappealing way. The app would be rather nice, except 2010 has long passed.
Now Microsoft wants you to love the Facebook experience on Windows Phone 8, releasing a beta app that stands up against the Android and iOS alternatives. Gone is the infinite horizontal scrolling, now replaced by tabs that you might actually find useful. Swiping to the right reveals a tab to the left of the screen, containing a link to your profile, favorites, groups, friends, apps, settings, the usual policy information and a log-out button.
Unlike many other Android devices, Google's Nexus smartphones and tablets do little to spoil the fun for avid modders. The bootloaders are unlockable and root is just a few steps away. It's no wonder then that the Nexus threads on forums are crawling with custom kernels and green droid distributions and all sorts of apps meant to provide even more functionality than what Google throws in out-of-the-box.
As a result, the fact that Google Glass comes with modder-friendly software shouldn't come as a surprise to any Android enthusiast. The idea is fairly simple -- get developers involved in the process of improving the pair of smart glasses. Why? If Android 4.2 is of any indication, the software giant can take some good custom bits and add them into what will be the next Android iteration available for Google Glass.
Four days after the smartphone surfaced at UK retailer Selfridges, the BlackBerry Q10 is now also available through UK mobile operator Vodafone. Die-hard QWERTY fans in Canada are able to purchase the handset starting tomorrow.
At Vodafone UK, the BlackBerry Q10 is available with no upfront costs alongside two-year contracts, starting at £37 per month. Customers who are willing to shell out £129 upfront can get the smartphone on a two-year plan with less costly £33 monthly payments.
If you want to buy a Galaxy S4 and are a clumsy person then you might want to invest in an aftermarket case (or rethink your decision). According to SquareTrade, a company that provides protection plans, Samsung's latest Android flagship smartphone is easy to break, more so than the Galaxy S3 and the Apple iPhone 5.
SquareTrade pits the three smartphones against each other in eight key areas including front panel protection, grip, water resistance and drops. The Galaxy S4 scored badly in the slide and drop tests, grip-ability and size, giving it the highest breakability mark of seven out of 10 (lowest scores are best).
On Monday, South Korean manufacturer LG announced a new Android flagship smartphone called the Optimus GK. The handset shares its underpinnings with the previously-introduced Optimus G Pro that is designed for the Japanese market.
The Optimus GK comes with a 5-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1080 by 1920 and a 440 ppi (pixels per inch) density, similar to other devices like the Sony Xperia Z. There is a 1.7 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor inside, backed by 2GB of RAM and a large 3,100 mAh battery. So far, so good, but what about the rest of the specs?
Little more than a month after the company released significant updates for three of its major Windows 8/RT apps, Microsoft unveiled a new set of features for the Weather app. The latest update is aimed at "meteorologists", but the enhancements are likely to be felt by casual users as well.
The weather app now introduces "interactive and dynamically" moving maps, a feature which shows cloud cover, precipitations, radar, satellite views and temperatures for the city or region in which the user resides. The functionality should be familiar to people watching the weather forecast on TV.
Even though BlackBerry unveiled the BlackBerry Q10 smartphone in late-January, prospective customers around the world are still waiting to get their hands on the device. But if you live in the UK the handset is available today from Selfridges. The BlackBerry Q10 will also arrive next week, starting May 1, in Canada.
At Selfridges, the BlackBerry Q10 is available to purchase outright for GBP579.99 which is quite expensive for any smartphone, let alone one with a QWERTY keyboard. For the money you get a 3.1-inch display with a resolution of 720 by 720 and a 330 ppi (pixels per inch) density, 8 MP back-facing camera with 1080p video recording, 16 GB of internal storage and 4G LTE cellular connectivity as the main features.
This is a question that I never thought I'd ask -- Is the hardware leaving Windows Phone 8 behind its fierce competition? In September last year, I asserted that "Windows Phone 8 is the best idea Microsoft has had in phone tech" after analyzing the new hardware requirements imposed by the software giant for its smartphone operating system. But as we all know eight months is a long time in the tech world.
This is a tough question to answer. After all, in January, BlackBerry unveiled the BlackBerry Z10 with pretty much the same hardware that was available for Windows Phone 8 at launch. Apple's iPhone 5 is also not far away in terms of specifications. So should Microsoft rest on its laurels and send the engineers on vacation? Well, no. As a smart man once said, "You can never have enough power". And even Windows Phone needs better hardware, although some die-hard fanboys would beg to differ.
For road warriors looking to catch up on the latest events, reply to important business emails, or perform some crucial tasks while traveling, a cellular data connection is a must-have feature for a tablet. The best case scenario -- if Wi-Fi is not available or a safe option -- is to rely on a smartphone in order to tether, which drains its battery in a couple of hours (at best). Definitely not an option for a lot of people.
Luckily, Dell finally gets it. The American company introduces a new cellular data option for the XPS 10 which gives the Windows RT-based tablet the ability to connect to 4G LTE networks. Considering that the device was launched around the same time as Windows 8 and Windows RT, it took Dell quite some time to make cellular data a priority, at least for the XPS 10.
If you don't mind overpaying for a cup of coffee then you must read this story. Charitybuzz lists an auction which gives the highest bidder the opportunity to have coffee with Apple CEO Tim Cook at the fruit-logo company's headquarters in Cuppertino, California. The proceeds of the auction will be donated by the man himself to the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights.
The only thing that's stopping you from grabbing that cup of coffee with one of the most influential men in tech history is, at least at the moment, a $180,000 bid. Truth be told you have to pay at least $185,000, according to Charitybuzz, in order to outbid the current leader. That's a lot by most people's standards (well, unless you're a billionaire who has a thing for charity). Well at least the terms of the auction are in your favor.