It's not often that I wish to find out what "Qorwagh" or "ghaH*" mean, but when curiosity strikes I can always power up Bing Translator on my Windows Phone. Sadly, Microsoft does not provide a similar app on Windows 8, leaving folks to look up the meaning of those Klingon words using a web browser. Until today, that is.
On Thursday, the software giant released its excellent Bing Translator on Windows 8 and, yes, I can assure you that Klingon is among the supported languages. The app is similar to its Windows Phone 8 counterpart in terms of functionality and includes options like camera translation and more mundane ones like text-to-speech.
On Wednesday, Microsoft revealed that Outlook 2013 finally arrives on Windows RT later this year, alongside the free Windows 8.1 upgrade. The application, known for offering advanced contacts, calendar and email functionality, joins Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, part of Office Home and Student 2013, on the tablet operating system.
"Windows on ARM is a core part of our strategy today and moving forward, and the addition of Outlook further enriches this world of new on-the-go opportunities for partners and customers", says Microsoft's Tami Reller. According to the software giant, Outlook is one of the most sought-after applications on Windows RT, being a "popular request from consumers and businesses alike".
There is a lot of hype about Windows 8.1, but we haven’t heard all that much about Windows RT as of late. The operating system is derived from Windows 8 and designed for mobile devices that utilize the ARM architecture.
Today at Computex 2013, Qualcomm announces that its high end processor, the Snapdragon 800, will power at least some of the next generation of Windows RT 8.1 devices.
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.
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.
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".
Yes, that's right, there is no typo. The Dell XPS 10, which runs Windows RT and came to market sporting a $499 price-tag, is now available for purchase at a very affordable $299.99. Clearly, the US computer manufacturer no longer has its eyes set on Apple's fourth-generation iPad, one of the most popular fondleslabs available today.
So what do you get for $299.99? For the money, the XPS 10 packs a 10.1-inch multitouch display with a resolution of 1366 by 768, a 1.5 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor and 32 GB of internal storage. And, for just $50 more you can up the internal storage capacity to 64 GB.
If you live in the UK and are thinking of purchasing Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet, now is the time. Pick up one through the Microsoft Store or a participating retailer (which in terms of brick and mortar sellers means John Lewis) and you’ll get a Touch or Type Cover thrown in for free.
It’s a very good deal, as you’d be looking to pay around £100 if you were to buy a cover separately. You can pick up the 32GB tablet-only version of Surface for £399 at the moment.
Colleagues Mihaita Bamburic and Larry Seltzer both have stories today about Microsoft's newest sales milestone. They make valid points in "Windows 8 is such a failure Microsoft sells 100M licenses" and "You wish you could fail like Microsoft". However, 100 million is less than you might think and represents Windows 8's failure.
Meanwhile, the announcement is Microsoft's attempt to use seemingly good news to admit failure, by softballing step-backwards changes coming with Windows Blue.
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".
So much for Apple's tablet reign that analysts stoutly stood by even just months ago. Android kicks ass, crushing iOS shipments during first quarter, according to IDC. Among the top four, the fruit-logo company posted the lowest year-over-year growth (65.3 percent), and considerably less than the overall market (142.4 percent). Meanwhile, the company's market share fell by 18.5 points to 39.6 percent.
Among tablet manufacturers, Apple is market leader, with the question being for how much longer. Samsung share rose 282.6 percent -- ASUS even more (350 percent). Strong Nexus 7 shipments pushed ASUS past Amazon to take third place. ASUS' challenge and opportunity could be Google I/O, where the tablet launched last year and new model is rumored for the event starting May 15. Challenge is maintaining shipments during product transition; opportunity is capitalizing on new sales.
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.
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.