Samsung unifies its PC line under the ATIV brand, rolls out two new Book models and SideSync software
Samsung has announced it will be expanding its ATIV brand name to cover all of its Windows PCs, not just its convertible PC devices. The aim is to create a single cohesive brand for all its Windows 8 products, in a similar way to how the Galaxy brand unifies all of its Android smartphones.
In addition to the rebranding, Samsung has rolled out two new ATIV Book models -- the ATIV Book 5 and ATIV Book 6.
Stardock Software has released ModernMix 1.05, the first major update to its paid-for Windows 8 tool for running full-screen apps in their own window within the confines of the Windows 8 desktop.
Version 1.05 adds background sound support for apps such as Netflix that don’t explicitly support it, meaning users don’t need to focus on the window in order to hear that app’s audio output. The new feature is joined by a preference that allows this support to be switched off if it’s not wanted.
Back in December, I explained: "Surface RT sales are quite good, you just don't know about it". The Internet Idiocracy called the tablet a failure, while based on sales per store I saw success. Surface Pro shipped the following month. Now there are real numbers, and they're quite good -- for all Windows tablets -- validating touch-focused Modern UI.
During first quarter, Windows captured 7.5 percent global branded tablet market share, according to Strategy Analytics. That's up from zero a year earlier. Unit shipments: 3 million. Right now, Microsoft is the major seller of branded Windows tablets. Granted there are others, like Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP and Samsung.
My Why I love Windows 8 piece last week generated a lot of comments and a good balance of pro and anti opinion. Thanks for taking the time to air your views. I received one particular comment concerning choice and that got me thinking that it was a subject which deserved a closer look.
In the past Windows has imposed relatively few restrictions on its users. You want to launch a program? You can click the desktop icon, select it from the start menu, select an icon from the task bar, use a gadget or track down the folder where it's stored and run it from there. You can even call up a command line if you want. It's your choice. As is installing a third-party menu system or an Apple-style widget bar, the permutations are endless.
Audible, a leading choice in the audio book market and a company that was purchased by Amazon back in 2008, is now working with Microsoft to drum up new business for both entities with offers to both the PC and mobile platform. The Amazon subsidiary has long offered free book deals in a number of forms, including the many podcasts sponsored with its advertising.
Today Microsoft announces that customers of both Windows 8 and Windows Phone can grab a free audio book with no subscription or credit card required. "Audible has apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone that let you download and listen to books on the go. With over 135,000 titles from classics to New York Times bestsellers, you can enjoy endless hours of entertainment" says Microsoft's Kristina Libby.
If you live outside of the US and Canada, you might have been wondering when -- or indeed if -- Microsoft's flagship Surface Pro tablet was going to appear in your part of the world.
It’s been all quiet on the Surface front for a while. Microsoft announced back in February that it would be broadening the availability of the RT version of its tablet, introducing it into 13 more European countries, but since then we haven’t had any other real news. That’s all about to change though, as Microsoft has finally delivered an update regarding worldwide availability for its Windows 8 Pro powered device.
The time has come to move on to a new PC, but before jettisoning your old computer, you need to make sure you’re ready for the big move. That means two key things: getting your data, programs and settings migrated across to your new computer, and making sure there’s nothing sensitive or incriminating left on your old PC before you dispose of it.
Thankfully, both tasks can be made simple with the help of two or three superb tools, all of which are heavily discounted in the Downloadcrew Software Store this month. Step forward Laplink PCmover Professional 8, O&O SafeErase Professional 6 and for those looking to migrate to Windows 8, O&O Migration Kit for Windows 8.
During yesterday's earnings conference call, departing CFO Peter Klein says that Microsoft is "working closely with OEMs on a new suite of small touch devices powered by Windows. These devices will have competitive price points, partly enabled by our latest OEM offerings designed specifically for these smaller devices, and will be available in the coming months".
The rumors are true, and, presumably, because of the context Klein makes the statement, these devices will run Windows 8 -- rather than RT or Embedded. For example, he refers to support for new Intel processors, Haswell and Bay Trail Atom. The former is expected to ship with back-to-school ultrabooks and convertibles. The latter is designed for smaller touch devices, including tablets. During Intel's earnings call this week, CEO Paul Otellini predicted that for touch-screen notebooks running the new Atom processor, "prices are going to be down to as low as $200". Merry Christmas!
Twenty-fifth in a series. The increase of new apps slowed down a little bit, falling under the 2,000 apps per week mark that was passed in the last three weeks. A total of 1,928 new apps found their way into the store this week. The total number of apps in the U.S. store is now 42,478, made up of 33,430 free apps and 9,048 paid ones. Free apps increased by 1,447 this week and paid ones by 481.
The core Bing apps received updates a couple of days ago. I won't rehash all that we previously reporting, only this much: Bing News supports custom RSS feeds now that you can add to the app so that you can add your own news sources to it. News also supports keyword-based news that you can add easily to the application.
The "Microsoft's dead" meme is one of the most popular among tech bloggers and arm-chair pundit commenters. Posts are everywhere the last 30 days or so, fed this month by reports of record-weak PC shipments. After market close yesterday, with fiscal Q3 results, Microsoft proved critics wrong and showed just how much strength remains in the Windows franchise. More significantly, a dramatic change is underway, regarding which buyers generate more revenues.
IDC says that PC shipments fell 13.9 percent during calendar first quarter (Microsoft's fiscal third), and there was reasonable expectation Windows license sales would see similar fall off. Instead, when removing a one-time $1.085 billion deferral, Windows & Windows Live division revenue was flat ($4.62 billion) year over year. Given the sorry state of the PC market, flat isn't just good but great.
I own an iPad, which I love dearly. I use it for lots of things -- games, email, browsing the web, social networking, writing, viewing photos and video, and remote accessing my PC. The iPad, like all tablets, is a true jack of all trades and a master of some too.
But, try as I might, I can’t use it for "real" tasks. While it’s fine for writing small-ish articles on, I could never write a novel on it -- and I’ve tried. For some reason, I just can’t connect with typing on a touchscreen in the same way I do when typing on a proper full-size keyboard. And I could never imagine attempting detailed Photoshop work on a touchscreen either (well, not without a fine stylus at least).
Today, after the closing bell, Microsoft revealed what might be the closest-watched quarterly results in 11 years. Fiscal third quarter, like the one in 2002, marks a time of record-low PC shipments, with blame falling on the newest operating system. In recent weeks, every idiot arm-chair pundit imaginable has taken to the web to proclaim Windows 8 a failure and prophesying Microsoft's doom. Not so fast. This company is still a money machine.
For fiscal Q3, ended March 31, Microsoft revenue reached $20.49 billion. Operating income: $7.61 billion and net income was $6.06 billion, or 72 cents a share.
What were they thinking?
It made sense when Microsoft decided to update Windows to be an operating system not just for PCs, but for tablets. In fact, it was a rather clever strategy: Declare tablets to be PCs, and then show that Windows tablets do more than Android or iOS, including running all those existing Windows programs. So far, makes sense.
"The era of PC dominance with Windows as the single platform will be replaced with a post-PC era where Windows is one of a variety of environments that IT will need to support", Van Baker, Gartner research vice president, says. The days of Windows as the applications and device hub are over.
The implications are huge for businesses, which must adapt to something else, too. While native mobile apps are all the rage today, their future is uncertain. Gartner forecasts that by 2016, more than half of those deployed will be hybrid, and that's good for any platform favoring HTML5, including Windows.
Fourth in a series. It seems to be fashionable at the moment to be negative about Windows 8. People like to whine about how the Modern UI gets in the way and how the rest of it is just Windows 7 with some of the furniture rearranged. Some analysts are even blaming Windows 8 for poor PC sales.
Well, I’m sorry Windows 8 deniers, you’re wrong. I’ve used every major version of Windows since 3.1, I’ve been using Windows 8 since the Developer Preview versions and I think it’s Microsoft’s best effort yet.