Anyone holding out for lower-cost Windows tablets may not have that much longer to wait. PCWorld reports that an image and product description for the world’s first small Windows-based tablet, called the Acer Iconia W3-810-1600, leaked onto Amazon over the weekend before being quickly taken down. From a specs perspective, the new tablet features an 8.1-inch display and 32GB of storage and was selling on Amazon for $380 before it was removed. Microsoft recently made some changes to its Windows 8 hardware certification guidelines that gave OEMs more freedom to make smaller tablets by knocking down the display resolution requirements to 1024 x 768 pixels at a depth of 32 bits for smaller devices.
Here’s something that should embarrass Microsoft’s OEM partners: The most reliable Windows PC in the world wasn’t even designed to run on Windows. ZDNet reports that a new study from PC efficiency software vendor Soluto has used “data from its massive online database of PC crashes, hangs, and performance metrics to identify the 10 most reliable Windows PCs you can buy today.” The study found that the 13-inch Retina-equipped MacBook Pro with Boot Camp installed is “at the top of the list.” Other reliable PCs include the Acer Aspire E1-571, the Dell XPS 13, the Dell Vostro 3560, the Acer Aspire V3-771 and Apple’s 15-inch Retina-equipped MacBook Pro. Taken all together, then, Apple computers account for 33% of the six most reliable Windows PCs in the world while no PCs produced by the world’s leading vendor HP even crack the top 10.
Despite PC sales recently experiencing their steepest decline ever in a single quarter, Microsoft managed to increase overall revenues from its Windows division. The company reported Windows revenue of $5.7 billion for the first three months of 2013, up 24% from the $4.633 billion it reported in the same time period from last year. The Windows division is still extremely important to Microsoft and as a whole generated 27% of the company’s total revenue and 45% of its profits. The question remains, however: How did Windows do so well when the PC industry tumbled to all-time lows? More →
Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets have long been considered the future of computing and a new projection from market research firm Gartner shows just how important the mobile market has become. According to the firm’s estimates for 2013, Apple (AAPL) devices will outsell Windows devices for the first time this year. The estimate takes into account sales of Apple’s iPhones, iPads and Mac computers as well as desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones powered by Microsoft’s (MSFT) various Windows operating systems. In 2012, Windows device sales totalled 175 million units while combined sales of iOS devices and Mac PCs reached 159 million. As The Financial Times noted, Gartner also projected that tablet sales will overtake traditional PC sales by 2015.
Microsoft’s (MSFT) chief technical strategy officer, Eric Rudder, revealed new details about the next version of Windows at the company’s TechFest earlier this month. The executive hinted that Microsoft is considering across-the-board improvements to Windows’ touch capabilities. According to MSFTKitchen, Rudder said the company is looking to “extend touch in even more dramatic fashion” in its upcoming operating system, code-named Windows Blue. Earlier reports have suggested that the latest version of Windows will launch in mid-2013 and include various UI changes to the platform. Microsoft is also said to be considering offering Windows Blue at a low cost or even free to ensure users upgrade.
It’s a pretty safe bet that Samsung (005930) CEO J.K. Shin doesn’t see Microsoft (MSFT) as Samsung’s top partner. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Shin said bluntly that “smartphones and tablets based on Microsoft’s Windows operating system aren’t selling very well” and that his company has seen “lackluster demand for Windows-based products.” More →
San Francisco-based startup Leap Motion has finally announced availability of its small motion control sensor. The company revealed on Wednesday that it will ship its $80 motion tracking device to customers who placed preorders during the week of May 13th, and it will arrive at Best Buy (BBY) stores in the U.S. on May 19th. The Leap controller was supposed to debut ahead of the holidays last year. BGR had a chance to test Leap’s motion control sensor last July and we were impressed. We called the technology “a total game-changer” and said it was “one of the coolest pieces of technology we’ve seen in a while.” The Leap Motion sensor is compatible with desktops and laptops running Windows 7, Windows 8, OS X 10.7 and OS X 10.8.
Just because the Surface has largely flopped so far, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a bright future for Windows tablets. Nokia (NOK) CEO Stephen Elop has told the Australian Financial Review that his company plans to move beyond selling smartphones and start developing different form factors such as tablets in the coming years. While this isn’t the first time Elop has hinted that a Windows-based tablet is in the works, he did suggest that plans for a Nokia tablet are more advanced now that the company has had time to observe how consumers have reacted to Microsoft’s initial Surface offering. More →
Microsoft (MSFT) was once the king of the computing world. When the company released a new operating system its stock would typically flourish in the years following the launch. Times have changed, however, and it isn’t the 1990s anymore. A graph that put together by Thomas Reuters paints a troubling picture for the once-dominant software giant. A year after the release of Windows 3.0, Windows 95 and Windows 98, shares of Microsoft were up 45.4%, 27.9% and 79.5%, respectively. But then Bill Gates handed over leadership of the company to current CEO Steve Ballmer in January of 2000 and Microsoft hasn’t been the same since. More →
Early adopters of Apple’s (AAPL) new iMac computers who chose the 3TB Fusion Drive model have been unable to use Boot Camp Assistant. The program, which allows OS X users to install a Windows partition on their computers, is limited to drives of up to 2.2TB. Apple has hinted that the software may be updated in the future to support larger drives, however no set time frame has been given. Despite the set back, it has been discovered that it is still possible to create a working Boot Camp partition on new iMacs. More →
Microsoft (MSFT) is rumored to be switching to an annual release for its operating system starting with “Windows Blue” in mid-2013. According to a PCBeta forum user who goes by the pseudonym “maxy” and has been unofficially identified as a Microsoft official, “Windows Blue” or “Windows 9 Dev” as some call it, will get customization options in the form of Windows Phone 8’s resizable app tiles. Microsoft will also reportedly still keep the legacy “desktop view” around, but remove the gloss on elements including the taskbar, “flattening” it to mesh better with the Metro UI. Maxy also says a new kernel (6.3) will be used, which should give the entire OS more polish. It’s still too early to deem whether the rumor is legitimate or not, but refining Windows 8 with small nips and tucks while overhauling the underlying framework does sound highly plausible.
In yet another move that shows it wants to be more like Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT) will reportedly move towards yearly Windows release according to sources from The Verge and ZDNet. Microsoft’s next Windows update codenamed “Windows Blue” will supposedly launch in mid-2013 and will “include UI changes and alterations to the entire platform.” Where things get interesting is pricing, with The Verge’s report suggesting Windows Blue will be released at “a low cost or even free to ensure users upgrade.” Of course, there will reportedly be a caveat: a genuine copy of Windows will be required to in order to upgrade from Windows 8.
Microsoft (MSFT) announced on Monday evening that Steven Sinofsky, president of its Windows and Windows Live division, will be leaving the company. The executive’s departure comes only weeks after Microsoft launched its Windows 8 operating system and Surface tablet. The decision to leave the company is said to be mutual, however AllThingsD reported that Sinofsky left due to growing tensions with other Microsoft executives. Sinofsky took control of the Windows unit after the launch of Windows Vista and led development on Windows 7 and Windows 8, both of which received praise from consumers. Julie Larson-Green will now head the Windows hardware and software division, while Tami Reller, the company’s chief financial officer and chief marketing officer, will be responsible for the business end of Windows. All changes are effective immediately and Microsoft’s press release follows below. More →