Microsoft is prepping to release a Windows 8 preview build during its Worldwide Partner Conference on July 11th, according WinRumors. Reportedly, the Redmond-based firm will “detail Windows 8 substantially,” during the conference, and it could present a second preview “building Windows 8″ video, which we hope will show off several of the OS’s new features. Microsoft first took the wraps off of its Windows 8 demo during the D9 conference in June, when Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky discussed the Metro UI and other features that will apply to both PCs and tablets. So far we know that Windows 8 will include Internet Explorer 10, and will be able to run both desktop applications as well as HTML 5 and Java apps that are designed for tablet-sized devices. Microsoft’s current demo devices run on Intel processors, but there are reports the company is running tests on ARM chips as well. The Consumer Electronics Association also announced on Thursday that Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer will give the opening keynote during the annual Consumer Electronics Show in January 2012 — and we suspect we’ll hear a lot more about the new OS at that time. More →
Google announced and launched its Music Beta service on Tuesday, and record execs aren’t too pleased with its decision to move ahead before reaching a deal. “People are pissed,” one record label exec told Hollywood Reporter, which explained in one article why it took so long for Google and the music industry to reach an agreement. Reportedly, Google offered some labels larger advances than others, which resulted in some firms holding out for more money. Similarly, the music industry is concerned that Music Beta users will upload music stolen from P2P sites — that the industry already wants removed from Google’s search results — to Google’s music storage locker. Lastly, the recording industry was concerned that Google’s music service could weaken the revenue stream from other sources, such as Apple’s iTunes. Ultimately, driven by competition from Amazon’s Cloud Drive, Google decided to pull the trigger and launch anyway. More →
A preliminary build of Microsoft’s Windows 8 desktop operating system has made its way onto the web. Available via illegal download, the software does not seem to have a look and feel all that different from its predecessor — Windows 7. The software bears the build number 7850 and is, in all likelihood, far from what we’ll see when officially released. Regardless: if you’re curious, and would like to have a look for yourself, hit the jump. There are several additional images waiting for you. More →
Fring, the makers of the self-titled, cross-platform, mobile voice and video chat client, are beginning to dabble in group video chat. In a recent YouTube video, the company showcased its latest software build — currently in beta — running a group video chat session on iOS. The feature will allow up to four users to simultaneously connect, face-to-face in a Brady Bunch-like mosaic as seen above. The beta is currently accepting applicants, so if you think you’re worthy — or just love playing with new software — hit the jump, watch the video, and follow the read link to apply.
Motorola on Wednesday announced the pre-release of a software update that will ultimately find its way to ATRIX 4G devices across the country in the near future. In a call for beta testers on the company’s support forum, Motorola announced that it is seeking 1,000 ATRIX 4G users to test a pre-release version of the device’s first software update. The big question on users’ minds, of course, was weather or not the update would enable HSUPA. Many ATRIX 4G users have openly complained of slow upload speeds, and over 1,100 people have signed a digital petition in protest of AT&T’s disabling of HSUPA on the device. AT&T would later confirm that HSUPA had been disabled on the ATRIX, though the carrier did note that full 4G upload speeds would be enabled on the smartphone in the future. Responding to questions in the call for beta testers, a Motorola rep identified as Mark (Forums Manager) confirmed that this first software update for the ATRIX will not enable HSUPA. “HSUPA is not included in this update though a future update will enable it,” the rep wrote on the forum. “More details to come from AT&T.” Registration for the software trial is open until 12:00 p.m. EDT on Friday. More →
In a recent blog post, Google announced two new features it would be adding to the beta builds of its Chrome 11 Web browser: speech-to-text and hardware accelerated 3D CSS. With the newly included HTML speech-to-input API, developers can enable Web applications to translate voice input into text. “When a web page uses this feature, you simply click on an icon and then speak into your computer’s microphone,” writes Google. “The recorded audio is sent to speech servers for transcription, after which the text is typed out for you.” The company has also added a GPU-accelerated CSS engine. And if you’re looking for a more superficial change, the icon has been updated to look more contemporary, too. More →
One of our Apple connects just installed the unreleased and unseen iOS 4.3.1 build on one of our iPhones, and we’ve been playing around with it for a couple days. We reported the changes from iOS 4.3 a few days back, and it really does look as if iOS 4.3.1 will simply fix bugs, hence the version numbering. Battery life seems a tad bit better, though that’s not scientific at all. Our source says we should continue to expect iOS 4.3.1 in the next 1-2 weeks, just as we previously reported.
Adobe Flash support was noticeably absent from the Motorola XOOM at launch, though it was because Adobe wanted to ship Flash 10.2 as opposed to 10.1, and that’s all finally in the past. Starting today, Adobe Flash 10.2 will be available in the Android market for most Android devices — Froyo, Gingerbread and Honeycomb. It supports dual-core CPU smartphones, increased battery life performance, and will even support full 720p Flash playback in the general availability release due “within weeks.” We have been playing with Adobe Flash 10.2 on our XOOM for about a day and we have to say, performance has been pretty stellar. That also is without full hardware acceleration including hardware rendering and compositing, which Adobe told us will come soon. Keep checking the Android Market for the latest version of Flash and let us know what kind of performance increases you’re seeing, alright?
RIM has made Facebook for BlackBerry, version 2.0, available via its BlackBerry Beta World portal. The latest update includes support for Facebook Chat and messages — which will now automatically land in your unified mailbox. Provided that you leave yourself signed in, the app will automatically notify you of new chat messages, even if you don’t have the app open. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve accidentally “Liked” a random friend’s status while scrolling through our Facebook News Feed, so a revamped layout that prevents this from occurring is certainly welcome. It’s also now possible to check-in, update your status, or post photos, directly from the top of your News Feed. Facebook for BlackBerry 2.0 offers revamped navigation controls, and a new notifications bar that looks a lot like the “Today View” in BlackBerry 6. Lastly, the profile view has been tweaked, and now allows users to toggle between wall, info, and photo tabs on a friend’s page. More →
Nokia on Wednesday released an update to its Nokia Software Updater client for the Macintosh platform via its Nokia Beta Labs portal. The new bits will allow Mac users to update their Nokia phones’ firmware directly from their computers — as opposed to over-the-air. Nokia warns that the software is still in the development phase and that it will keep the trial going until further notice. The company hopes that users will provide feedback as they use the software, paving the way for future optimizations and updates. Other details on the software are slim, but hit the jump if you’re a Mac user looking to get the latest software goodness on your Nokia phone. More →
Apple’s FaceTime video chat service for Mac exited beta on Thursday to coincide with the release of the company’s refreshed MacBook Pro line. It also comes bearing a new price tag: 99¢. FaceTime is Apple’s branded video calling service that allows Mac, iPhone, iPod touch and soon, iPad users to make video calls for free over land-based Internet connections. The service is free to use and the associated app is free on Apple’s iOS-powered devices, but now it carries a small, one-time fee on existing Mac computers. The app is free and pre-installed on Apple’s new MacBook Pro models, however. More →
Right on schedule, Apple has released iOS 4.3 beta 3, build number 8F5166b, to developers through its online developer’s portal. The code is available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. We’re in the throes of downloading the new bits as we speak. You do the same and be sure to let us know what you find.
One of our Apple sources has just let us know that the company’s iOS 4.3 rampage isn’t slowing down. We have been told there will be yet another beta build posted for developers, wearing the build number 8F5166b, at some point today. This would be the third build of iOS 4.3 in just three weeks… perhaps signaling how quick the company is moving to get point-upgrade finalized.