Internet Explorer’s tight integration into Windows 8, coupled with the fact that IE10 is actually pretty good, means the veteran browser is enjoying something of a resurgence these days. Humorous advertising poking fun at the browser’s past (while distancing itself from it) has also encouraged many ex-users to take a fresh look.
I chatted with Internet Explorer’s Marketing Manager Rebecca Wolff about the "Browser you loved to hate" campaign, asked her what major changes we can expect to see in IE11, and found out why embracing web standards is now a major priority for Microsoft.
I recently wrote about some strange but awesome Windows 8 ads geared towards the Japanese market. It appeared that people across the internet were pretty down on them as the ads didn’t say anything about the OS. My point in the article was to show that there are different types of advertising and sometimes companies need to get our attention in some pretty unusual ways.
I’ve been very critical of Microsoft’s advertising approach with Windows 8 and especially Surface. Although the company has increased the frequency of its advertising and is advertising more of its products, there was one area in particular where it was lacking: a strong focus on features against competitor products. None of this was more apparent than its approach with Windows 8 and Windows tablets. I previously wrote,
I’m not a fan of the "Scroogled" campaign, because Microsoft is just attacking Google rather than focusing on selling its own products. It’s a negative campaign dressed up as consumer championing, and I don’t think it does the software giant any favours.
However, I do like the new Windows 8 commercial which is a clever attack on the Apple iPad (a device I own and love).
Microsoft certainly seems to be ramping up the help for its new operating system at the moment. First it uploaded a "Get to know Windows 8" video to YouTube, and late yesterday it published a "Windows 8 End User Training Brochure" in its Download Center.
Unlike the video, the 36-page PDF guide is definitely new (there’s a screenshot from April 2013) and will prove a godsend for anyone struggling to get to grips with Windows 8 or Surface. Each of the multi-colored pages clearly and concisely explains how to use a particular element of the operating system, with the aid of large, friendly illustrations.
When I was young, and I dare not discuss when that was, I owned a Fiat X1/9. The relationship with that car ended badly, but I shall always remember it as the car I was driving when I met my wife. Fast-forward a few (okay, more than a few) years and the car company is regaining popularity, but no longer as the little sports car I referred to as the "poor man's Ferrari". Today the company announces a new partnership with Microsoft to bring Windows EmbeddedAutootive to its vehicles.
Despite the polarized reactions to Windows 8, Microsoft continues to see success with the Embedded version of the operating system, with Home Depot announcing adoption of Embedded 8, and now the Italian car maker.
Desktop themes are so often catered for by third party tools that it’s easy to forget that Windows has built in support for theme packs. If you’re short of inspiration, don’t trust your own photography skill, or just can’t be bothered to browse Flickr for a new image, a new batch of themes direct from Microsoft could be what you need to breathe new life into your desktop.
There are five new themes in total, four of which have a travel connection. The Alaskan Landscape theme features photography from Kyle Waters -- a total of fifteen images. There is more of a seasonal feel to two New Zealand Landscapes themes.
Little over four weeks ago, during an earnings conference call, departing Microsoft CFO Peter Klein revealed the software giant is working with OEMs on smaller and cheaper Windows tablets. The new fondleslabs are expected to be available in the coming months, but Acer decided to give itself a head start.
On its Finnish website, Acer unveiled the new Iconia W3 which is touted by the company as the first 8-inch Windows 8-based tablet. The device is powered by Intel's Atom Z2760 processor (codenamed "Clover Trail") and Graphics Media Accelerator 3650 GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). The Iconia W3 sports an 8-inch multitouch WXGA display and runs Windows 8 Pro.
Speaking to the New York Times a couple of weeks ago, Tami Reller, Windows division CFO, admitted that the Windows 8 "learning curve is real" and said that Microsoft will be addressing the issue in Windows 8.1.
Perhaps in response to that public admission, Microsoft has released a video showing how to use the polarizing operating system. Called "Get To Know Windows 8" it’s aimed at anyone who might be thinking of upgrading, or who needs a little guidance.
Not content with free versions of its cut-down photo editing software for iOS and Android, Adobe has released Photoshop Express for Windows 8 and RT. As this is available free of charge, it should come as little surprise that the app does not afford users access to an unfettered range of professional level image editing tools, but for quick and dirty tweaks and fixes, there are plenty of options.
Taken a wonky photo? Getting things straightened up takes just a couple of taps and swipes. There are also tools for removing red eye, adjusting color levels and tweaking shadows and highlights. If you don’t feel like doing the hard work yourself, you can always turn to the auto-fix option to help take care of common issues in an instant.
Twenty-ninth in a series. The US Windows 8 apps store crossed the 50,000 apps mark for the first time today; a total of 50,156 apps are listed in the store, with the majority of them free to download and use.
That's an increase of 1,639 apps in the past seven days, a sharp drop over last week's increase of nearly 2400 apps.
This is how you sell a tablet. Tuesday evening of May 14, Microsoft debuted a new commercial for the Surface RT that finally explained the benefits of the tablet. No dancers. No super cool music. Just Microsoft talking about why the Surface RT is the next device you should own. The company emphasized the included USB port, kickstand, keyboard, and the single biggest sell of Surface RT, the included Office 2013 install. It sold the Surface as the power of a computer in the package of a tablet.
Is this not precisely what I called on Microsoft to do in my previous article about those odd (but awesome) Windows 8 ads? In that article I told the story about a guy who was working in a coffee shop on his Surface when someone walked up to him and said, “Is that the tablet that clicks?” He recognized the product from the commercials, but seemed to be unaware of anything other than its clicking. I wrote,
Microsoft is working on an update to Windows 8 and RT and will be releasing a preview version of it in June (in time for the Build developer conference), with the full release expected before the year’s end. The software giant has confirmed three things for definite about the update: its name (Windows 8.1), its price (free), and where you’ll be able to get it from (the Windows Store).
But thanks to early build leaks and statements from Microsoft, we also know quite a bit about the many changes the new release will bring to the polarizing operating system. Here’s a rundown of what to expect.
We already knew that Surface Pro was coming to Europe, but what we didn't know was exactly when. The company today announces the dates for availability, and the rollout begins in France on May 17, continuing to the United Kingdom on May 23. It wraps up with a broad May 30 release in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland, and one more big day in Germany on May 31.
There's more to come, but Brian Hall, General Manager of the Microsoft Surface team concedes that "some markets are still confirming timing so aren’t included here".
Microsoft’s decision to drop the Start menu in Windows 8 has caused plenty of controversy, but fortunately it’s made little difference to the end user. Developers quickly realized that many people really don’t like the new interface at all, and they’ve produced a host of free tools to help make Windows 8 look and feel as much like Windows 7 as possible.
Start Menu Reviver, though, has a different aim. Instead of ignoring Microsoft’s Modern UI, it adapts it, with configurable tiles rather than text links. There’s good integration with Windows 8, including the ability to launch Start Screen apps from your desktop. But at the same time, it’s not tied to Windows 8 systems: if you like the look, you can install and run the program on Windows 7, too.
On Wednesday, US manufacturer HP unveiled a new Windows 8-based hybrid dubbed the Split x2. The company touts the device as being able to deliver the best of both worlds -- works as a tablet and doubles as an ultraportable with the keyboard dock.
The Split x2 packs a 13.3-inch HD display and is powered by a third generation Intel Core processor (known under the "Ivy Bridge" codename). The device comes with 128 GB of internal storage. Users can also choose to add a 500 GB HDD inside the keyboard dock, which brings the tally up to 628 GB.