Microsoft has prepared a video first-look at Windows 8.1, the upcoming update to its major desktop operating system, due out later this year. Using a Surface Pro to demo the software, Jensen Harris of the Windows User Experience team walks us through some of the improvements, including the new cloud-powered lockscreen, new Start screen tile sizes, app sorting, Start screen arranging, new personalization options, motion accents for wallpapers, and more. Two pretty big items not touched upon are the return of the Start button, and that Outlook 2013 is coming to Windows RT 8.1. Check out the full video after the break to see what awaits you in Windows 8.1, the preview of which will be available on June 26.
Windows super-fan Paul Thurrott, who has a good track record for internal Microsoft rumors, is sharing information that he has heard as it pertains to the launch window and pricing of the new Xbox (which we are assuming will be called Xbox Reveal or Infinity, but is codenamed Durango.) First, the next Xbox will launch in early November 2013, and will cost $499 out of the gate. Alternatively, you'll be able to pay $299 for the console if you also pay a $10 monthly subscription fee.
If this is true, then we imagine that this is where all of the hoopla over an "always-on" console is coming from. If you choose to go the subscription route, then your Xbox will likely need to be connected to the Internet in order to make sure the subscription is active. Piggybacking on that thought, maybe if you stop paying (or if you can't get the Xbox online,) then the Xbox will simply not let you play games until you are paid up or reconnect it to Xbox Live.
Other information shared include that the new console will ship with a Blu-ray drive, and will run on a modified version of Windows 8. We will have all the news as it happens when Microsoft unveils the next Xbox on May 21.
Read More | Windows IT Pro
It looks like Microsoft is set to bring back the Start button in Windows 8.1, a mainstay of the Windows OS that was removed in Windows 8. According to a report from The Verge, the new Windows 8.1 Start button will not include the traditional Start button functionality, but will rather be a method of taking you back to the Start screen. In addition to the Start button making a reappearance (in name, at least,) Microsoft is also said to be including a feature that will allow users to boot directly to the desktop, bypassing the Start screen altogether.
Read More | The Verge
Samsung has released its new Series 9 Premium Ultrabook, which you can now purchase. This is a 13.3-inch Ultrabook running a 2 GHz Intel Core i7 chip with 4 GB RAM and 128 GB storage on the SSD. You get a 1080p display, and Intel HD Graphics 4000 embedded, along with a 1.3 megapixel webcam thrown in as well. Naturally, the Series 9 Ultrabook runs Windows 8 (but doesn't sport a touchscreen.)
The notebook itself weighs 2.56 pounds, and starts at $1,399.99. You can pick up the Series 9 Premium Ultrabook now.
Read More | Samsung Series 9 Premium Ultrabook
The future of search, according to Microsoft, is outside of the white search bar. "Now the way for human beings to express their interest or needs goes way beyond a browser search typing in keywords," said Microsoft's Bing chief, Qi Lu. "You can use voice to have a conversation, you can use gestures to express yourself."
Moving forward, Bing will fit into all of Microsoft's products, providing information access from physical objects to expand the context of its search.
"The battle between us and Google is going to be over who can build understanding more quickly to serve people in a much more anticipatory way," says Microsoft's Adam Sohn. "Google's going to understand every entity on the planet, we're gonna understand every entity on the planet, but the question will be what do you do with that information?"
Read More | The Verge
After a super long beta period, Apple has finally released OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.3, making it the longest period between updates in OS X history, leapfrogging the 10.4.8 to 10.4.9 update. Apple has included a bunch of new functionality in this release, including Boot Camp support for 3TB hard drives and Windows 8, updated Safari, and more. Here is the rundown.
- The ability to redeem iTunes gift cards in the Mac App Store using your Mac's built-in camera
- Boot Camp support for installing Windows 8
- Boot Camp support for Macs with a 3TB hard drive
- A fix for an issue that may cause Logic Pro to become unresponsive when using certain plug-ins
- A fix for an issue that may cause audio to stutter on 2011 iMacs
- Includes Safari 6.0.3
Launch the Mac App Store to grab the update now!
Read More | Microsoft
Today Google announced the Chromebook Pixel, an often-leaked touchscreen notebook computer that runs Chrome OS and is optimized for web browsing and cloud storage. The problem is that there is nothing that really sets the Chromebook Pixel apart from just about any other notebook computer to make it a compelling buy. In fact, it looks like a pretty stupid buy.
Let's talk about the price of the Pixel for a moment. You can buy a fantastic Windows 8 PC or MacBook Air for the same price, both of which would blow away the Pixel in terms of usability. The Chromebook requires you to be connected to the Internet to be useful in any way, since it relies on cloud-based apps. A Mac or PC allows you to actually install apps on them, which you can launch when you are away from Wi-Fi, and get work done in.
When it comes to using a PC, most users prefer to complete their tasks as quickly and easily as possible. Although most computers are designed to handle multiple tasks, there are still options available for users to allow them to work more efficiently. Here are five easy steps that you can take to add extra productivity when using a PC.
Microsoft has finally announced a launch date for its Surface Pro tablet: you'll be able to pick one up on February 9th. Yes, the device missed the promised January release timeframe, but we're talking 9 days here. That date, by the way, only pertains to the US and Canada, with international markets to follow in "the coming weeks and months" according to the company.
Surface Pro will be the first Microsoft tablet to run the full version of Windows 8, as opposed to the stripped down Windows RT. This means that you'll be able to install and run regular desktop applications on the tablet. It's a half pound heavier than Surface with Windows RT, but also brings a 1080p display and digitizer pen support. Oh, and a much higher price tag. Surface Pro will start at $899 for the 64GB model, and $999 for the 128GB version.
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