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With Windows 10 Microsoft Is Turning Its Operating System Into A Service, Not A Product

With Windows 10 Microsoft Is Turning Its Operating System Into A Service, Not A Product

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Microsoft’s Windows is possibly the last commonly used piece of software (albeit a crucial one at that) still sold as a product. A single major version is released every few years, maintained, then superceded by another version that you buy again as an upgrade. This, however, seems to be coming to an end with Windows 10.

Microsoft is now planning on turning Windows 10 into a service, not a product. There will be no Windows 11, or 12, but Windows 10 will receive updates that are both major and minor as the company releases them, putting everyone on the same platform.

How?

When it came to developing Windows 10 from Windows 8 Microsoft took a different tack, breaking the operating system up into a series of smaller, independent modules. The Start Menu, for instance, is a separate module of its own so it can be easily updated independently of the rest of the operating system. Windows 10 is definitely far more complex than previous versions, but then again it’s also meant to be used for much more. Microsoft envisions Xbox Ones and its Holo Lens, as well as phones, tablets, laptops, and PCs.

This method works. Google’s massive fragmentation problem (yes, it’s a massive problem) has caused major headaches in the past, and Google did the same thing Microsoft is doing with the Windows 10. A lot of functionality was moved to Google Play Services, as were all stock apps. You might not have Android 5.1, but you still have a lot of Android 5.1’s security updates and all apps are updated with extra functionality.

What about the money?

This, for me, is the real question. How does Microsoft plan on making money? With no major product launches they can no longer sell Windows to users looking to upgrade, and the only time a user actually registers a version of Windows is when they purchase a Windows device – never again after that. Microsoft will still sell licenses to OEMs of course. But how do you charge for a service?

I envision a more interesting business model based on this service model. Microsoft already sells Office subscriptions – why not expand that to Windows? Without payment you’ve got basic Windows features and updates limited solely to important updates, but a yearly fee  for Windows 10, Office 365, and OneDrive storage unlock all features and enables tight integration of the services across all devices.

What do you guys think? Yay or nay?

Source: The Verge

Microsoft’s Sway Commercial Brings It Into The Post-Windows World

Microsoft’s Sway Commercial Brings It Into The Post-Windows World

SwayAdwatch

Microsoft, right now, is both incredibly successful and very in trouble. Google’s Chromebooks are slowly eating away at Microsoft’s Windows licence sales, and Google’s apps and services are cradles snatching startups before Microsoft can lock them into their ecosystem.

But these issues are mere scratches compared to the gangrenous limb that is mobile. Microsoft has sucked at mobile from the day Apple launched the iPhone. 5 years later the markets sealed up tight by Android and iOS, with Windows Phone a very distant second.

The problems have gotten to the point where new leadership was required, with Steve Ballmer standing down and Satya Nadella chosen in his stead. Nadella’s vision is in stark contrast with Ballmer’s, pushing Microsoft further into services and moving past Windows – for better or worse. And this, their first commercial for Sway, a productivity app and platform is just that. On a whole it’s your bog standard system commercial showing people doing different stuff in pleasing shots and to the tune of calm tunes.

But the first device you see is an iPhone 5/S, and the an iPad features prominently in the same space as a Surface Pro 3 and Windows notebook, while one can also argue building on Apple’s market push for the iPad as the creator and creative’s tool.

If this is the new Microsoft we are living in very exciting times. Very exciting times indeed.

Ad Watch: When Two Fandoms Collide – A Lumia Commercial

Ad Watch: When Two Fandoms Collide – A Lumia Commercial

Lumia 920 commerciak

I can call it that, right? A Fandom? Whatevs.

It’s fun, funny, and does away with all that Scroogled nonsense Microsoft insists on pushing down people’s throats. Seriously, Apple and Google didn’t get to the top of their respective games by trashing the others in the New York Times*.

The commercial features a wedding with a half iOS and half Samsung (Android only) congregation, that tear each other to pieces after one of the Galaxy-toting men obstructs an iPhone guy from taking clear photos of the happy couple.  Two waiters watch the melee unfold and one of them records everything on her Lumia 920, while the other guy flips through apps. He asks if they’d stop fighting if they had the 920, and the woman shooting the video says that maybe they like fighting.

There’s something good and something bad about this commercial. The good stuff? It’s good, it grabs your attention, and its memorable. You won’t be forgetting this one any time soon.

The bad stuff? It grabs your attention then….does nothing with it. Seriously. It gives you, the audience, absolutely no reason to buy a Lumia 920. And the two killer features shown are Siri and S Beam, of the iPhone and Samsung crowd respectively. Windows Phone doesn’t have a voice assistant anywhere near Siri’s caliber, and while it can send photos over NFC Windows Phone’s service is nowhere near as versatile**. In turn, Siri’s bested by Google Now on Any Android 4.1+ device, but that’s not shown in the commercial so I’ll just mention it and nothing more. Hell, they’re making their competitors look better than they are!

Microsoft, here’s how you’re going to fix this ad: add more Lumia!

*This is something Microsoft does with Outlook, it just doesn’t use the info to target commercials at you. So, moot point please meet expensive ad.

**I might be wrong, correct me if I am.

Microsoft Surface RT Available At Scan Malta

Microsoft Surface RT Available At Scan Malta

Surface RT

Living up to their claim of offering the largest selection of tablets on the island, Scan has now added the Surface RT to their line up.

The Surface RT is Microsoft’s flagship Windows RT flagship running a watered down version of Windows 8 that is limited to running Metro apps only and having an extremely limited Desktop mode – used only for Office. With a Terra 3 chip inside and an HD screen the Surface RT can compete with most of the Android flagship tablets on sake at the moment with the exception of the ultra high-res Nexus 10.

Prices are as follows:

  • Screen Protector for Microsoft Surface 10.6″ – €4.95
  • Black Flip Case/Stand for Microsoft Surface RT – €27.95
  • Microsoft Surface 10.6″ 32GB Windows RT Black WiFi Tablet – €595.00
  • Microsoft Surface 10.6″ 32GB Windows RT WiFi Tablet w/Touch Keyboard – €675.00
  • Microsoft Surface 10.6″ 64GB Windows RT Black WiFi Tablet – €675.00

  • Microsoft Surface 10.6″ 64GB Windows RT WiFi Tablet w/Touch Keyboard – €755.00

Check out the Surface RT page at Scan.com.mt here.

HTC’s Windows Phone Plans Revealed – A One Series By Another Name

HTC’s Windows Phone Plans Revealed – A One Series By Another Name

 

After the Windows Phone 8 announcement, HTC seems to be the talk of the town with rumours of its 2012 line up.  The specs will not wow any current Android user but if these rumours are true HTC is making great strides in the hardware game, from a Windows Phone perspective.

The strategy is identical to HTC’s One line, hence the title.  An entry level device, a mid-range device, and a high-end device.  The names, obviously, are not final and are  the Rio, Accord, and Zenith – in ascending order.

Rio

The low end of the bunch, the Rio has specs that are comparable to any current Windows Phone device on the market. The display’s pegged to be of WVGA resolution and at 4″, with technology yet to be revealed. A 5MP camera can be found round the back, capable of 720p video capture, and a Qualcomm MSM8227 processor coupled with 512MB of RAM powers the device.  In terms of network, maximum speeds on 3G are 14.4Mbps HSPA, though I wouldn’t put it past AT&T or T-Mobile to release an LTE version in the US.

Accord

The Accord seems to be the mid-range device of the bunch with a standout 720p screen at 4.3″, giving it immense clarity and making it not only a rarity in the smartphone world but also an envy of Android users that lust after this screen size but have to make do with antiquated software (looking at you, Sony) or qHD resolution with PenTile.   Screen technology’s supposed to be SuperLCD 2, the same tech in the HTC One X, and it’s listed as having 1GB of RAM coupled with a dual core processor, NFC, 1080p video and HSPA+ radios.  Here’s to hoping the camera’s at 8MP or greater, eh?

Zenith

If the Accord is Windows Phone’s One S, then the Zenith has got to be its One X.  The screen’s an identical 4.7″ SuperLCD 2 unit with 720p resolution.  The camera’s likely to be the same too as it’s rumoured to be an 8MP unit with 1080p video recording.  Where it trumps the One X, however, is in terms of CPU.  The current dual core Krait rivals the Tegra 3 in many benchmarks, and the Zenith is rumoured to have the quad core Krait version. Wow.

 

All I can say is, wow.  Microsoft’s relaunching Windows Phone with a bang, and I can’t wait for Christmas ’12!

My XBOX Live App Released For Android

My XBOX Live App Released For Android

That’s right folks, Microsoft’s finally released an official Xbox companion app to the Google Play Store. It’s called My Xbox Live, and works well, for the most part.

The feature list is brief and concise:

  • Spotlight:  A pane dedicated to upcoming Xbox titles, announcements, and offers.
  • Social:  Here, one can see his avatar, Live status (Gold or Silver), Gamerscore, and a small messaging indicator.  From this pane, one can access his or her friend list to see who’s online and not, messages, and beacons.
  • The ability to send messages to Xbox Live friends, online or not
  • The ability of view beacons set by yourself or your friends
  • An option to edit your Xbox Live profile and privacy settings
  • Access to the user’s avatar, with the option to change outfits and style
  • See the games listed on your Xbox Live profile, their Gamerscore, and their achievements.

Navigation is nice and smooth, but I’ll reserve judgement till I’ve had the opportunity to use it more often.  While handy, the app is far from perfect, as you’ll read in my upcoming review.

Still, if you have an Xbox, it’s a sweet companion app to have.  Get it from the market here.

HTC’s Latest Crop Of Windows Phones Announced

HTC’s Latest Crop Of Windows Phones Announced

This very evening, in multiple locations all over Europe, HTC announced the newest additions to their Windows Phone family, both of which are running Windows Phone 7.5, better known as Mango.

The two phones in question are the HTC Titan and Radar, the latter of which we covered in rumour form here.

HTC Titan

The Titan is definitely the most interesting of the two.  Sporting a massive 4.7″ SLCD display, the Titan is the largest Windows Phone handset out there at the moment.  Accompanying that massive screen is a 1.4GHz CPU coupled with Adreno 205 graphics, an 8MP camera with a backlit sensor, 28mm lens, F2.2 aperture, and HD camcorder and a dual LED flash.  It also sports dual noise cancelling microphones, DLNA and a 1.3MP front facing camera.

The metal unibody makes it a handsome phone indeed, deviating from the Sensation’s sleek curves into the EVO 3D’s industrial ethic. Engadget remarked that the unibody is painted black, and one of the phones they tried was already scuffed and shiny aluminium could be seen underneath.  Seeing as this is final hardware the Titan might be a little more prone to wear and tear than one would like.

HTC Radar

The Radar, also known as the Omega in the wilderness prior to launch, is a 3.8″ device with decidedly mid-range specs.  The chipset is similar to that in the Titan but the CPU runs at 1GHz, whereas the other’s runs at 1.4GHz.  The screen is SLCD with WVGA resolution which is quite last year in tech terms, but being a mid-range device it’s excused.  It has the Titan’s same 8MP, back-illuminated F2.2 camera with a 2.8mm aperture, single LED flash and 720p video recording.  The Radar lacks the Titan’s second noise cancelling microphone and secondary camera, as well as no HDMI port.

The design of the Radar is nice, with a unibody design that follows the Legend’s example – meaning the battery can’t be removed.  The design makes this a sort of Trophy II, indeed they share the same basic shape and curves, as well as an identical spot in HTC’s range.  It comes in two colours, silver and black, and the back is reminiscent of HTC’s Flyer.

Both phones should be on our shelves in October, but no pricing has yet been announced.  Another interesting feature is a dedicated dock that HTC is selling for the Radar and Titan, as seen below.  Feel free to click through the gallery to get a better idea of what these phones look like and let us know what you think in the comments section.