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.
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
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.
Consumer Reports thinks that, for the time being, you're better off sticking with Windows 7 and waiting on Windows 8. The consumer ratings publication provides pros and (mostly) cons of Windows operating systems, and ultimately comes to the conclusion that updating to Windows 8 is not worth the upgrade at its current state. Windows 8 has received mostly lackluster reviews from technology internet sites. Most of them being flummoxed as to what went into the decision-making at Microsoft. Still, according to Microsoft, Windows 8 is selling faster than when Windows 7 launched; but there's a question as to where these numbers came from. Here's an excerpt:
"A quick look at our newest computer Ratings tells an interesting story: Despite the release of the new Windows 8 OS, many Windows 7 computers are still available from a variety of retailers, and several top our Ratings. If you're shopping for a new computer right now, there are some good reasons to opt for Windows 7." - Consumer Reports
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Microsoft has announced that it has sold 40 million Windows 8 licenses since the release of the operating system on October 26th. Although reviews of the operating system suggest it has not been well received, it seems that consumers are excited about Microsoft's new hotness. Also, sales figures revealed by Microsoft state it sold just 4 million copies in the first week of launch, so it's obviously ramped up a bit.
Read More | ZDnet
The release of the Microsoft Surface is a much bigger deal that the average consumer might perceive it to be. You see, Surface marks Microsoft's entry into the PC market. That might sound odd, but it's true--Microsoft may be the maker of Windows, but it's always been Microsoft partners who build the PCs. I'm talking about companies like Samsung, Toshiba, Dell, Lenovo, and others. Now, Microsoft is competing directly with its partners, hoping that consumers will flock to its Surface in a major way.
Similar to Apple's approach, Surface is the marriage of first-party software with first-party hardware. Microsoft controls the whole platform. If devices like the Mac, iPhone, iPad, and even Microsoft's own Xbox 360 have shown us anything, it's that when you have the ability to control the whole device as it pertains to software and hardware functionality, you can generally make a better product than you could using third-party ingredients. It's never a guarantee, but we think it puts you in a better spot to shine. That is the hope that Surface brings. Does Surface succeed in carving out its own niche, and filling a need that consumers are willing to pay to remedy? That's what we are here to discuss, so following along with us for our Microsoft Surface RT review.
Microsoft's Windows 8 has arrived, and alongside it, the Microsoft Surface tablet with Windows RT has been released! Surface is Microsoft's first first-party tablet PC device that it has ever released, and we were able to get our hands on it a little early to give you a look at what you'll find in the box. While we prepare our full Surface review, check out our unboxing video above where we give you a look at the tablet, the Touch Cover, and the setup process!
When Microsoft announced Surface pre-orders, many consumers were puzzled by the lack of a 16GB option for the tablet. We got a lot of emails from readers wondering what was up, and it looks like we've got our answer. The Surface starts at 32GB of storage, and as it turns out, the user is left with 20GB of usable storage space on that model. That means that Windows RT and the pre-installed Office RT apps use up 12GB of space. In other words, if there were a 16GB model, the user would be left with just 4GB of space for their own documents, apps, and anything else. That would just make for a bad user experience, so Microsoft decided to start with 32GB of storage so that Surface users would still have a substantial amount of free space to use as they see fit. By comparison, a 32GB iPad leaves the user with about 31GB of free space, since iOS and built-in apps take up just 1GB of storage.
Have you pre-ordered a Surface tablet? Let us know in the comments!
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Microsoft's Surface RT tablet is set to go on sale in just 10 days, and the company is finally ready to reveal price details and tech specs. It's official: Surface RT will sell for $499 for the 32 GB model, $599 for 32 GB with black Touch Cover, and $699 for 64 GB with black touch cover. Pre-orders begin today at 9:00am PT.
What about all those colorful Touch Covers that the company showed off at the Surface unveiling? Those will be sold separately for $120 each. If you prefer the Type Cover, which features mechanical keys, you're looking at $130. Many were speculating that Microsoft would bring Surface to market at an incredibly low $199, but obviously, that extremem measure of cost-cutting just isn't possible. Wanna pre-order one now? Head on over to the Surface page to do so.
Read More | Microsoft