In developing Windows 8, Microsoft made a big bet that adding touch capabilities to personal computers would help revive an industry that was getting eaten away by smartphones and tablets. But Creative Strategies president Tim Bajarin, writing over at Time, says his research has found that making touch such an important part of personal computers was a serious strategic error on Microsoft’s part. The reason, he says, is that PC users are so used to using mice and keyboards that they see no advantage to touching their screens to get work done. So while touch interfaces make perfect sense for smaller, portable devices such as smartphones and tablets, they make little sense for personal computers that have larger displays and that already come with trackpads or mice. More →
Microsoft wasn’t a big fan of Apple’s “I’m a Mac” campaign a few years ago, but the world’s largest software company seems to enjoy putting the shoe on the other foot. Following three other ads that pitted Apple’s iPad against tablets running its Windows 8 and Windows RT software, Microsoft has now issued a new ad along the same lines. In this fourth spot, two baseball scouts compete to sign a young pitcher. The scout with the Window 8 tablet video conferences with his boss while launching and navigating other apps on the same screen, while the scout with an iPad struggles to switch back and forth between apps to answer questions from his boss. Guess which scout nabs the promising young prospect? The ad concludes with an apropos pun: “Do two things at once without dropping the ball.” The full video is embedded below. More →
Slowly but surely, Windows 8 is making its mark. The latest numbers from Net Applications show that Windows 8 is now being used on 5.1% of all desktop computers, making it the third-most used desktop OS in the world behind Windows 7 (44.4%) and Windows XP (37.2%). More importantly, Net Applications says that Windows 8 has at last surpassed Vista, which now has a market share of just 4.6%. Given that Microsoft plans to end support for Windows XP next year, we’ll likely see Windows 8 adoption skyrocket in 2014 when companies move to upgrade their machines to newer operating systems.
When it comes to computing, Android smartphones and tablets are Samsung’s bread and butter. Samsung is the only company other than Apple that consistently earns a profit from its smart devices business, and that profit just so happens to register in the billions each quarter. Despite the fact that PC sales are expected to continue their slow but steady decline, Samsung says it is still committed to building and selling personal computers as the company on Tuesday denied rumors that it plans to shutter its desktop computer business. More →
Yes, Samsung is launching even more tablets with different screen sizes, but this time they aren’t Galaxy-branded devices. The new ATIV Q and ATIV Tab 3 are Windows 8 tablets that deliver very different capabilities and add some real diversity to Samsung’s tablet lineup. The ATIV Q is the most intriguing of the pair because it actually comes preloaded with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean that gives users the option to use popular Android apps that aren’t yet available on Windows 8. Samsung also says that ATIV Q users will “also be able to transfer files to share folders and files from Windows 8 to Android, truly marrying the mobile and PC experiences.” The device features a 13.3-inch display with a resolution of 3200 x 1800 pixels, an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage and up to 9 hours of battery life. More →
We saw plenty of promise in Windows 8 when we first previewed it back in 2012, but consumers and businesses weren’t blown away and PC sales began suffering as a result. Now that Windows 8 is seven months old, has anything changed? According to new market share data from Net Applications, which determines software market share by monitoring traffic across 40,000 difference websites, Windows 8′s share of the PC market grew to 4.27% in May from 3.82% in April. While things are certainly moving in the right direction, Windows 7′s share grew in May as well, from 44.72% in April to 44.85% last month. Worst of all, Vista’s market share of 4.51% is still greater than Windows 8′s share seven months after the new OS debuted. More →
The Xbox has long been Microsoft’s MVP in the consumer electronics market but Microsoft blogger Paul Thurrott has started sounding the alarm that the new Xbox One might prove to be as polarizing as Windows 8 has been. Thurrott’s reasoning is that Microsoft is trying to make the Xbox One more than just a gaming console that also has access to key apps such as Netflix, Hulu and Internet Explorer. Rather, it’s an all-purpose entertainment console that serves as the main interface for live television, that delivers Skype connectivity on your television and that basically aims to take over your entire living room. More →
Samsung on Monday said it plans to hold a press conference in London on June 20th to debut several new devices. The company issued invitations under the heading “Samsung Premiere 2013 Galaxy & Ativ,” confirming that both Android and Windows devices will be unveiled during the event. It is unclear what models Samsung plans to showcase — “Galaxy” covers Android phones, tablets and even cameras, and the “Ativ” brand includes laptops, tablets and Windows Phone devices, so narrowing it down that way is impossible. Samsung did include a few teaser pictures on its invitation though, and two of the images appear to show close-ups of a notebook computer. The teaser images follow below.
Windows 8 hasn’t done much to entice people to upgrade their laptop and desktop computers, and PC makers are hurting as a result. While Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 update might make the new platform a bit more enticing when it launches later this year, consumers and enterprise users may soon have an even better reason to upgrade. According to Rani Borkar, vice president of Intel’s Architecture group, the firm’s next-generation Haswell processors will help laptops get 50% better battery life during usage and they will last 20 times longer on standby, Computerworld reports. Those numbers already sound too good to be true, but to drop a cherry on top, Borkar says Haswell’s efficiency improvements will come at no cost to performance. Intel is expected to debut its Haswell chips next month at the annual Computex trade show.
Despite racking up respectable license sales, Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system has done little to help struggling PC makers regain their footing. Microsoft will look to reverse the souring user sentiment later this year when it launches Windows 8.1, codenamed “Windows Blue,” which will reportedly see Microsoft’s Start button return along with an option to boot and log in directly to desktop mode. In the meantime, however, the damage has been done. According to this year’s American customer satisfaction index report, Microsoft’s customer satisfaction rating has now fallen to its lowest level since Windows Vista launched in 2007. More →
Samsung’s smartphone commercials didn’t really begin to generate any buzz until the company took aim at Apple and started to mock its products and users. Now, it appears Microsoft is going to try to take the same road to riches with Windows 8 and Windows RT. Alongside a new campaign that compares Windows RT tablets like the ASUS VivoTab Smart to the competition, Microsoft has debuted a clever ad that pits Apple’s iPad against Windows RT. As the commercial shows off various features of Microsoft’s tablet OS, Siri on Apple’s iPad continuously complains that it cannot perform all of the functions being demoed on the Windows slate. The full video follows below. More →
BGR took an in-depth look at Leap Motion’s revolutionary motion-control PC accessory last year, and we loved the accuracy and shocking reliability of Leap’s technology. The controller was only demoed on a Mac computer in our preview, however. In a recent post on the company’s blog, Leap showed off Windows 7 and Windows 8 integration for the controller, which it plans to finally launch on July 22nd. An accompanying video shows how well Leap’s controller works with Windows for swiping, scrolling, zooming in and out, flipping through photos, drawing and more. It’s not quite Minority Report, but we’re getting there. Leap Motion’s full video follows below. More →
Microsoft’s Windows 8 platform hasn’t exactly been the catalyst PC makers were looking for as sales continue to slide, but the new operating system does seem to be making some progress. IHS-owned market research firm Displaybank says that of the 46 million notebook computers that shipped during the first quarter this year, 4.57 million of them included touchscreens, Digitimes reported. That figure is good for a 10% share of the global market and is up a healthy 51.8% from the fourth quarter last year. Displaybank is impressed by touchscreen laptops’ relatively quick penetration considering how young the market is, but it remains to be seen whether or not Microsoft’s new platform and the touchscreens that come along with it will help struggling PC makers rebound.