Microsoft products fit into two different life cycle stages — mainstream support and extended support. With mainstream support, users receive free security updates, stability improvements, bug fixes and occasional new features. In the extended support phase, security updates are available for free but other fixes require paid support. Microsoft reminded Windows XP users earlier this week that XP is now in the extended phase, and it said support for the operating system and Office 2003 will be officially discontinued by April 2014. Mainstream support for Windows Vista has also officially ended as of Tuesday, along with support for Office 2007. Both Windows Vista and Office 2007 will be in the extended support phase from now until April 2017. Microsoft recommends that users with PCs running Windows XP and Office 2003 should migrate to Windows 7 and Office 2010 before support is completely cut off and systems are left vulnerable to new forms of malware. More →
Apple is reportedly planning to refresh its iMac family of computers with Intel’s 22nm-based Core i5 and Core i7 Ivy Bridge processors in June or July, How To Arena reported on Wednesday, citing a “reliable tipster” in Apple’s supply chain. The Cupertino-based company is also reportedly ramping up production in preparation for thinner 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro models, which will use the same Ivy Bridge processors. Previous rumors have suggested that Apple’s redesigned iMac would feature an anti-reflective glass display, and it should be slimmer and lighter than the current units. Apple’s iMac lineup was last updated in May 2011 with Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors, a high-speed Thunderbolt port and a high-definition FaceTime camera. More →
On April 4th, 1975, two young programmers named Bill Gates and Paul Allen formed a partnership called “Micro-soft.” Gates was 22 years old at the time and Allen was just 19. The two young men had been friends since attending high school together in Seattle and after Allen took a job with MITS in Albuquerque, New Mexico in January 1975, Gates dropped out of his sophomore year at Harvard and moved to Albuquerque to form what would later become Microsoft. The pair moved from New Mexico to Bellevue, Washington in January 1979, and Microsoft would go on to incorporate on June 25th, 1981. The first Microsoft-powered IBM PC was unveiled later that year running Microsoft’s 16-bit MS-DOS 1.0 operating system, and the rest as they say, is history. Gates and Allen’s Microsoft went on to drive the personal computing boom that has taken place over the past three decades, and the firm’s upcoming Windows 8 OS looks to continue what the company’s founders started through the post-PC era and beyond. Happy birthday, Microsoft.
Android users who are looking to sell their old devices should be wary of the possible consequences. McAfee identity theft researcher Robert Siciliano warned that personal data from Android devices is not completely removed after a user activates the built-in wipe option, The Los Angeles Times reported on Friday. “What’s really scary is even if you follow protocol, the data is still there,” Siciliano said. If you have a BlackBerry or Apple device, Siciliano said your data can be fully deleted by following the manufacturer’s directions. As for smartphones running the Android operating system and computers running Windows XP, Siciliano recommends that people don’t bother with selling them at all. “Put it in the back of a closet, or put it in a vise and drill holes in the hard drive, or if you live in Texas take it out into a field and shoot it,” he said. “You don’t want to sell your identity for 50 bucks.” To test the security of various platforms, Siciliano purchased 30 smartphones and computers from Craigslist. The researcher was able to access personal data from 15 of the 30 devices through his own hacking efforts and the help of a forensic expert. The data obtained included bank account information, Social Security numbers, child support documents and credit card account log-ins. More →
Best Buy on Thursday reported results for the fourth fiscal quarter of 2012. The nationwide retail giant had missed Wall Street’s estimates in both the second and third fiscal quarters, and it posted mixed results in the fourth quarter. Revenue came in at $16.6 billion compared to analysts’ consensus of $17.15 billion, and non-GAAP earnings of $2.47 per share, up 25% from the same quarter in fiscal 2011, beating the Street’s $2.15 EPS consensus. “In order to help make technology work for every one of our customers and transform our business as the consumer electronics industry continues to evolve, we are taking major actions to improve our operating performance,” said Best Buy CEO Brian J. Dunn. “As part of our multi-channel strategy, we intend to strengthen our portfolio of store formats and footprints — closing some big box stores, modifying others to our enhanced Connected Store format, and adding Best Buy Mobile stand-alone locations — all to provide a better shopping environment for our customers across multiple channels while increasing points of presence, and to improve performance and profitability.” After jumping more than 3% in pre-market trading, shares of Best Buy stock were down 7% shortly after the market opened on Thursday. The company’s full press release follows below. More →
Some believe a future full of massive, gesture-controlled computer displays like the ones seen in Twentieth Century Fox’s Minority Report are an inevitability, and a prototype PC designed by an intern with the Microsoft Applied Sciences Group may be among the first steps in making that future a reality. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Ph.D student and MIT Media Lab research assistant Jinha Lee recently set out to change the way we interact with desktop computers. While progress has been made with 3D display technology, 3D has not yet proliferated in the personal computing space and Lee wants to change that. The end result of his work is a fascinating desktop computer with a transparent 3D display and a unique gesture-based interface that could change the way we use computers. More →
Users who are interested in a Google-powered Chromebook only have two options, Acer’s AC700 or Samsung’s Series 5 Chromebook. Both laptops are powered by an Intel Atom processor, the only chip the platform currently supports. Recent rumors have suggest that Chrome OS may soon support ARM-based processors, however, opening up a number of new doors for the platform. According to the Chromium OS issue tracker, a new product code-named “Daisy” is mentioned numerous times, equipped a Samsung Exynos 5250 chip. Samsung’s 32nm chip will feature an ARM Cortex-A15 design and will be capable of running at speeds up to 2GHz — all while using less power than ARM Cortex-A9 chips and Intel Atom processors. The Chromium project is open-source, with user contributions playing a large roll in development. As such, the “Daisy” appearances do not necessarily mean Google is directly involved with the development.
Apple is reportedly planning to launch a new 15-inch MacBook Air notebook PC in April. The report from Electricpig cites a “premium Mac accessory maker,” who claims a new 15-inch model will feature ports on both sides, with no optical drive or Ethernet port. A 15-inch Air model has been rumored before — DigiTimes previously reported that a 15-inch model was slated to launch in the first quarter of 2012 alongside a new 11-inch and 13-inch model. The Taiwanese publication, however, has also reported that an ultra-thin 15-inch MacBook with Air-like features would launch in the second quarter this year. More →
Mobile World Congress has been a roller coaster ride so far this year. The week kicked off with a bang on Sunday with both Sony and HTC unveiling their latest and greatest smartphones, and the HTC One X was definitely the star of the show. Things were up and down on Monday and Tuesday however, and the show actually got pretty slow for a while there. Our time in Barcelona isn’t up just yet, however, and Microsoft chose today to unveil the latest version of its next-generation operating system, Windows 8. The technology giant released a preview version of Windows 8 last September, but we’re sure plenty has changed over the past five months. And beyond checking out all the new features Microsoft has undoubtedly baked into its new OS, we might finally get a better idea of when devices carrying the platform will finally launch. Microsoft’s Windows 8 press conference is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. Eastern / 6:00 a.m. Pacific (3:00 p.m. local time in Barcelona), so hit the break for our live coverage of the event!
UPDATE: Don’t forget to check out our full review of Microsoft’s Windows 8 Consumer Preview, which is now live! More →
Intel recently notified partners of its plans to postpone mass shipments of the company’s Ivy Bridge processors, reports DigiTimes. The company still plans to announce new products that will ship in small volume in April according to the report, although mass shipments are not expect to occur until after June. The supposed delay comes as a number of notebook vendors are seeing weakening sales from the diminishing global economy and other factors. Both vendors and Intel are said to have large inventories of Sandy Bridge processors, so the delay could be seen as a way to minimize the impact of leftover CPUs. More →
Microsoft’s upcoming next-generation operating system will be the driving force behind the company’s triumphant “re-rise” according to Acer chairman and CEO, J.T. Wang. While Microsoft maintained a 91.86% share of the global operating system market in October according to Net Applications — Apple’s OS X was No. 2 with just 6.94% of the market — the company’s mind share is still in decline along with its mobile business. In an interview with DigiTimes, Wang said Windows 8 will reverse this trend while also greatly improving the Windows user experience on PCs. Microsoft is directly addressing consumer demands with Windows 8, Wang said, rather than adding “unnecessary functions” that users openly objected to. The Acer chairman sees Windows 8 as not only a big boost for Microsoft, but also for the PC industry in Taiwan and abroad, which has seen slowed growth in recent quarters. Microsoft said it will release its new PC operating system some time in the second half of 2012. More →
After announcing this past August that it was considering a spin off of its PC business, HP confirmed on Thursday that it would keep its PC division. “HP objectively evaluated the strategic, financial and operational impact of spinning off PSG. It’s clear after our analysis that keeping PSG within HP is right for customers and partners, right for shareholders, and right for employees,” said HP CEO Meg Whitman in a statement. “HP is committed to PSG, and together we are stronger.” The initial announcement, which was delivered alongside news that HP was discontinuing its two-moth-old TouchPad tablet and putting an end to its webOS hardware efforts, caused the company’s stock to tumble. Shares of HP are up 1% in after-hours trading following today’s announcement.
Acer founder Stan Shih on Friday said that tablets like Apple’s iPad and ultrabooks like those in the works from numerous Intel partners — including Acer — are a “short-term phenomena.” Speaking with DigiTimes, Shih urged companies to continue focusing on notebook computers and innovative value-added products. Shih commended Apple for thinking outside the box when bringing the iPad to market, but said personal computers will continue to be requisites for businesses and consumers. When asked if Shih believed Acer’s upcoming low-cost 7-inch tablet would be a success, he noted that consumers indeed want low-cost options. Shih founded Acer, then called Multitech, in 1976 along with his wife. He ran the company until his retirement in 2004. More →