For too long it was the metaphorical unwanted litter of kittens tied in a sack just waiting for someone to ditch it in the river. Windows RT is dead, having enjoyed a cancer-ridden 'life' for longer than many people expected. Microsoft announced that it is no longer going to manufacture Surface devices, all but signing the death warrant for Windows RT.
Hear that sound? No? That's the sound of everyone caring about it. To be fair, the writing has been on the wall for quite some time. Windows RT was always the sickly twin sibling of Windows 8 and now Microsoft has done the decent thing. It might not quite have delivered the lethal shot to the brain yet, but the gun has been cocked. And not before time.
Windows 10-powered Surface Hub brings interactive whiteboards kicking and screaming into the 21st century
Surface got off to something of a stuttering start, but Microsoft's sort-of-tablet/sort-of-laptop has gained quite a following as it hit the third generation. With the launch of Windows 10 on the cards, the company is now thinking about not just software, but also new hardware formats. We've seen HoloLens, but the device that could transform both work and education is the Surface Hub.
Announced as an 84-inch Surface, it would be easy to dismiss this as a headline-grabbing gimmick, but it's more than that. Much more than that. It's a tool for the office, a tool for enterprise, and a tool for schools and colleges. This is Microsoft showing how Windows 10 can be used for collaborative work, bringing the interactive whiteboard kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
Last year, I was visiting Jacksonville, FL -- an up-and-coming city -- and needed lunch. Rather than being littered with fast food restaurants, food trucks were all the rage there. Now, these are not "roach coaches", as we call them in New York, but high-end gourmet offerings that just happen to be served from a truck. When it came time to pay, I panicked; I did not have cash! Luckily, the owner told me they take credit cards. I swiped my card on an iPad, signed on-screen with my finger, and had the receipt sent to me by SMS text message. Very cool.
While an iPad may meet the needs of a food truck, many businesses will have greater needs. You see, a computer like the Surface Pro 3 has a true desktop operating system -- the venerable Windows -- and can run the best-in-class full version of Microsoft Office. A business-owner would be smart to trust their company to a Windows machine. Well today, Microsoft and PayPal announce a partnership to bring PayPal Here to both the Surface and Lumia devices using software and a credit card reader. Yes, even Microsoft's laptop/tablet hybrid, the Surface Pro 3, will be a super-cool point-of-sale terminal!
If you're thinking of starting afresh with your Surface or Surface Pro in the New Year, Microsoft just made your life a little easier. The company has just released a series of recovery images for Surface devices that can be downloaded and used to restore the Windows tablet to the state it was in when you first bought it.
As this restore feature is something that's built in by default, you might be wondering what the value of these recovery images is. Well, there's always the possibility that your existing recovery image is corrupt, or you may even have freed up some space by wiping it out. Now you can get it back.
Everybody deserves the opportunity to compete and feel good about themselves. The Special Olympics is a great example of this; people with intellectual disabilities compete against each other in sports to build confidence, and most importantly, have fun. The non-profit organization is essential for many people the world over.
Today, Microsoft announces that it is partnering with the organization to modernize its technology with a big focus on the cloud. The Special Olympics will be getting all kinds of cool stuff, like Lumia smartphones and Surface tablets.
In a post on the Surface blog, Microsoft has moved to assure businesses that the Surface line is here to stay. We've already heard that the Surface Pro 3 is a success -- although there are no figures to back up this claim -- but Microsoft's failure to launch a third generation RT-based version of the Surface, as well as the disappearance of the long-rumored Surface Mini, raised fears that the line of tablets may not be long for this world. Microsoft is keen to allay these concerns, pointing out not only that Surface is here to stay, but also that it is particularly suitable for businesses.
The post points out that the Surface Pro 3 is a device that's "great for getting things done". There's almost an air of desperation to the blog post in which Microsoft extols the virtue Surface and confirms its commitment to the brand. The selling point is still that the device is a laptop and tablet in one, and post author Brian Hall, General Manager for Surface, is quick to mention a number of big names who have adopted Surface Pro 3.
So… we now know that Windows 9 is by far the least successful version of Windows ever, grossing Microsoft a total of $0. But Microsoft is as keen as ever to look to the future, and it's pinning its hopes on the newly revealed Windows 10. At the unveiling in San Francisco we learned quite a lot about the upcoming version of the successor to Windows 8.1 (yep... it's going to sound weird for a long time), but there were also a lot of unanswered questions. It was interesting to see that the demonstration used build 9841 which we have already seen in leak, and in this regard there were few surprises. Between the release of Windows 10 Technical Preview Microsoft still has a lot of work to do, and a lot of people to convince to upgrade.
What do we not yet know? We don’t have a release date, at least nothing that has been pinned down. We know it will be some time in the second half of 2015 -- if everything goes to plan -- but that's quite a big Window. We also don’t know what costs, if any, might be associated with the operating system. It has been suggested that Microsoft would make Windows 10 available free of charge, but nothing official has been said on this front. We have no idea what sort of upgrade path may be available -- would this be Microsoft's opportunity to usher everyone away from Windows XP once and for all? Simply offer a free upgrade to an operating system that addresses the issues users have raised and the security problems associated with an ancient version of Windows should diminish.
When I was a kid, generic foods were a staple in our home. Rather than have Lucky Charms or Froot Loops, my mom would buy whatever knock-off brand that Pathmark or Waldbaums was selling. An easy way to know if you are getting off-brand cereal, is that it comes in a bag rather than a box. While not as tasty, it at least provided nutrients and calories. It's not like there were rocks or sawdust in the package.
Unfortunately, the Windows Store has been full of knock-off apps that equates to buying a product and getting an empty box. You see, devious "developers" have been filling the store with phony apps that resemble legitimate ones. This means people were spending their hard-earned money on deceptive garbage, and these low-life developers have been getting paid. Today, Microsoft says enough is enough and removes 1,500 of the offending apps. If you were deceived by one of them, you can even get a refund.
Ninth in a series. User experience is an ongoing series of surprises -- discovery of something unexpected and useful when positive and discovery of annoying glitches when negative. Both evoke emotional responses. The latter is devastating as little frustrations build to crescendo. That's the state I near with my "Microsoft All-In" experiment. Dissatisfaction grows.
I started this journey on July 1, after buying Surface Pro 3. The tablet-hybrid promised so much, and my overall experience with the hardware is excellent. I can't say the same about the operating system, web browser, or supporting services. Clunky is good word. Think old car that runs well on the highway but sometimes stutters and stalls at stoplights. The overall UX is nowhere as smooth as Chrome OS or OS X.
I understand that it's the dog days of summer, when news is light, readers vacation, and writers struggle to produce current content. So I'll forgive colleague Mihaita Bamburic, for his misguided attack against Surface Pro 3. He asserts that Microsoft markets the computer to the "wrong crowd". If that would be tech writers, he gets a nod. Otherwise, I shake my head and point a finger.
I've read this misguided diatribe before, from tech reviewers switching to the Microsoft PC from an Apple, but never expected it from him. As someone who has bought and paid for MacBook Air and Surface Pro 3, I say that Microsoft's marketing is spot on target. The problem isn't the potential consumer buyer but geek writers, particularly those already using Macs.
Microsoft’s Surface range of tablets has posted its worst single quarter loss since its launch leaving analysts to question whether the fledgling slate is still a viable option for the company.
Two separate sets of figures show that the Surface line of slates ended up posting negative gross margins for the final quarter of FY2014 and the experiment has ended up costing Microsoft $1.73 billion since it first launched.
It stopped short of actually naming the device, however Microsoft has admitted it was planning to add a second new Surface to its line-up.
Although leaks and rumors are usually best viewed with a heavy dose of skepticism, when they are as insistent as the talk regarding Surface Mini was, it’s safe to assume there’s at least some fire under all that smoke. We were fully expecting to see a seven inch version of the tech giant’s slate rolled out alongside Surface Pro 3, but there was no sign at all of it at the New York launch event two months ago. So what happened?
Microsoft is the master of product placement. Watch almost any American-made TV show and at some point it’s likely one of the characters will whip out their Windows Phone, fire up their Surface, or use Windows 8.x. No one in those shows ever seems to own an iPad or an Android phone, which is odd considering that in the real world, most people do.
I caught up with the latest episode of CBS show Under the Dome last night, and for a brief moment thought I was watching an advert for Surface, so prevalent was Microsoft’s slate. The problem was… [spoilers ahead]
My colleague Joe Wilcox is currently entrenched in an all-Microsoft lifestyle and I am enjoying reading about it. I too have been using Microsoft's products lately, including the wonderful Surface Pro 3 and Nokia Lumia Icon. The combination of that tablet and smartphone create quite the awesome experience.
One of my favorite things about Microsoft's desktop and mobile operating systems is Bing Apps. It keeps me in touch with things like news, weather and sports to name a few. While that is nothing unique, it is the overall fluid design that makes it a treat to use. Today, Microsoft announces that it is updating Bing Apps for Windows Phone, but there is a catch -- it is an 8.1 affair only.
Boneheaded. That’s the first word that comes to mind when I think about Microsoft abandoning its Surface branding in favor of Nokia Lumia.
You see, successful branding is a tricky business. Getting people to internalize your brand or product name as part of their everyday vocabulary is a herculean task. Coke did it. So did Xerox and Kleenex. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve gone to "Xerox" something, or asked the person next to me to pass me the box of "Kleenex".