I was sold on Windows 10 before I could even try the first Technical Preview. Now, after seeing the latest slew of changes unveiled at Build 2015, it is clearer than ever that Microsoft is on the right path and that Windows 10 will be the most impressive release yet. There is no doubt in my mind about it.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Microsoft expects Windows 10 to attract one billion users within the first two to three years of its release. The timer starts this summer. It may sound like an empty claim, but when you look at everything that has been done so far to make Windows 10 so exciting, and consider the huge unlocked potential, it certainly sounds plausible. While I am no fortune-teller, I can’t see Microsoft getting anything important wrong. And that’s something I haven’t felt in ages in regards to the software giant.
If there be ghosts, Tim Cook should expect sleepless nights ahead. Surely Steve Jobs can't stand to be so overshadowed by his successor, who takes Apple where the cofounder couldn't: Massive earnings and margins. Today, after the closing bell, the company reported yet another ridiculously blow-out quarter, largely lifted by iPhone. If the smartphone market ever collapses, Apple Armageddon will follow. In the present, momentum is unstoppable.
Some perspective: Apple's net income was more than two-and-half times Microsoft's during the same time period (calendar Q1 2015) -- and 3.8 times that of Google. To reiterate, those comparisons are put-in-the-bank profits, not revenues. By the numbers: $58 billion in sales, $13.6 billion net income, and $2.33 earnings per share. Wall Street consensus was $56 billion revenue and $2.16 EPS. Year over year, revenue rose 26.6 percent and net sales by 33 percent.
Avoiding online ads can be fairly easily achieved by installing a tool such as AdBlockPlus, but it's a different matter when it comes to ads in mobile apps. Security researchers at Doctor Web have discovered that a number of Android apps found in Google Play are plagued with aggressive ad modules.
Advertising is considered aggressive if it appears on top of other windows, interferes with the use of applications, and makes normal use of a smartphone or tablet difficult.
When I was a young man, I loved video games more than anything. Not only did I play the games, but I bought magazines about them and had fun discussing them with friends. Back then -- in the 80s' and 90's -- things were much simpler. You put in your cartridge, started the system and were playing in seconds. Nowadays, however, games take forever to load, are super complicated and offer in-game purchases. It can feel like a huge money-grab. Hell, sometimes you spend more time installing updates than playing the actual games!
When Microsoft Studios and 343 Industries released Halo: Spartan Assault last year, I was in heaven. The game was a throw-back to the glory days of gaming -- pick up and play. You shot stuff and tried not to die; a wonderful concept! Today, the follow-up to that game, Halo: Spartan Strike, sees release. You can download the game now for Windows, Windows Phone, iPad and iPhone. The best part? A paltry $5.99 price tag (and no in-game purchases)!
Google says that it is keen for Android to be a secure platform for developers and end users alike. It's not a unique claim; Apple would likely say much the same about iOS, and Microsoft about Windows Phone/Windows 10 for Phones.
To demonstrate how fervently it has been working away at improving security and introducing new security-focused features, Google today published a report looking back on Android security in 2014. Dubbed the Android Security State of the Union 2014, it makes for interesting reading. It includes the revelation that nearly 10 million Android devices have potentially harmful apps installed.
Microsoft's Surface Pro took many people by surprise. It was a bit of a late entry to the tablet game, but it showed how to do things properly. This was full caffeine, full sugar, full alcohol Windows in tablet form. For those who need a little more flexibility, there's the option of adding a keyboard. With Surface Pro, Microsoft carved out a niche for itself.
It tried to do the same with Surface, and Surface 2, but there was one problem. Windows RT. With the Windows 10 wheels now in full motion, Surface 3 has been pulled out of the bag. Microsoft has made the sensible decision to ditch Windows RT and provide a cut-price tablet with full-blown Windows 8 -- and ultimately Windows 10. This is Microsoft's chance to take on the iPad head to head.
Before Microsoft announced Surface 3, choosing a Surface tablet was ultimately a matter of deciding which Surface Pro 3 model fits you best, depending on your budget and needs. But now that there's a new kid on the block, which is offered in four, very distinct trims, finding the right Surface just got trickier.
Just like its older brother, the new Surface 3 features a high-resolution display, promises great battery life, offers a decent amount of storage, packs an x86 processor and runs Windows 8.1. The optional Type Cover keyboard makes an appearance as well, and so does Surface Pen. But there are some differences, of course. So which one should you buy?
You've probably heard that size matters, and Microsoft agrees. If you're carrying about a mobile device that measures 10.1 inches or less, the chances are you're not using a "professional" device -- at least this is what Microsoft believes.
10.1 inches, 256.54 millimetres, 25.654 centimetres; this is the new dividing line between what is classed as a personal device, and which is professional. This is interesting to know, but what does it actually mean? For starters, if you fall into the "personal" category, you're entitled to a free copy of Office.
Microsoft is now a services and devices company, meaning it is delivering its services and apps to all platforms -- not only its own. Heck, I bought the Microsoft Band over the weekend, and not only does it work with Windows Phone, but iOS and Android. In other words, the company is delivering on its services and devices mantra.
Having cross-platform apps is great, but you have to convince consumers to install them. With that said, it is much more preferable to have apps pre-installed on devices, which can make the consumer more likely to use them. Microsoft convinced Samsung to install some of its apps on the upcoming Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge; a major score for the company. Today, it announces that the partnership is expanding to even more of Samsung's Android devices.
Microsoft has announced that Windows 10 will officially launch this summer. Once it is given the green light, the new operating system will be made available as a free upgrade to Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 users. And to really get the market share ball rolling immediately after the release, Microsoft welcomes even those who are running pirated copies to join the pack.
Given Microsoft's ambitions, Windows 10 is obviously being designed so that it will run on as many configurations as possible. The minimum hardware requirements, which were just revealed by the company, paint a clear picture regarding the hardware we can expect to see in upcoming Windows 10 devices (ranging from low-end to high-end offerings) as well as the level of compatibility with existing systems, the latter of which users eligible for upgrade will have to pay close attention to. So, let's take a close look at the Windows 10 system requirements.
In addition to the Redmi 2 smartphone, Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi also launched its Android tablet Mi Pad in India today. The highlight of the Mi Pad is its top-of-the-line specifications that includes an iPad mini Retina Display-alike screen, and Nvidia Tegra K1 processor (same as used in the Nexus 9) at the enticing Rs 12,999 ($200) price tag.
As for the specifications, the Mi Pad sports a 7.9-inch display with 2048×1536 screen resolution, flaunting 326PPI and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection over it. Inside the device sits a 2.2GHz Nvidia Tegra K1 processor and 192-core Kepler GPU paired with 2GB of RAM, and 16GB internal storage with support for microSD that can add up to 128 gigs storage to the device.
Not to be outdone by Microsoft and Apple, Google has opened its first ever store. Located within Currys PC World on Tottenham Court Road in London, this is not a standalone store but a "shop in shop". Going under the predictable moniker of the Google shop, shoppers can expect to find a range of hardware from the search giant.
The stores will give people the opportunity to browse and try out numerous Android smartphones and tablets. Other hardware such as Chromecasts and Chromebooks will also be available. But the Google shop is about more than just hardware, it also gives people the chance to get hands-on with Google software, and attend events and classes -- forget Google Glass, this is Google Class.
The latest Lollipop incarnation may been have around for more than a month now, first arriving on Android One smartphones slated for Indonesia, but Google only yesterday made the official announcement, and revealed the much-awaited changelog. The good news doesn't end there, as the search giant also released a number of Android 5.1 factory images.
Android 5.1 Lollipop packs some pretty major changes. Among them are support for multiple SIMs, a feature that lots of Android vendors have offered for years now, and Device Protection, a feature designed to deter smartphone theft.
As expected, at its Spring Forward press event, Apple today revealed more details about Apple Watch (be warned, it goes all the way up to $10k), and announced a new, lighter MacBook. But Apple also introduced iOS 8.2, which is needed to make use of the new wearable. Here is what the latest version brings to the table, starting with the Apple Watch connectivity.
After installing iOS 8.2, iPhone users will be able to pair, sync and configure Apple Watch from their smartphone, using the new Apple Watch app that is on the homescreen. Also, there's a new Activity app which shows up after pairing an Apple Watch, showing achievements and fitness data on iPhones. It should be said that Apple Watch only works with iPhone 5 and later models.
Let’s face it, you’ve picked the mobile operating system you like. Whether you’ve opted for an iPhone, a Lumia handset or a device running Android, the chances are you’re not going to switch allegiances no matter what others may do or say to try to convince you otherwise. At the same time, few people would argue that their handset of choice is perfect.
You’ve picked your side when it comes to OS, but what about the handset itself? Apple, Samsung, HTC et al keep releasing slightly tweaked versions of last year’s handset, perhaps adding a faster processor, a larger screen and more memory. One thing is constantly overlooked, however -- battery life. And it’s time for things to change.