Windows Store, a centralized repository of applications for Windows 8, was launched a year ago. According to official figures, last month Store has recorded a daily average of 1.7 million downloads of applications.
Futuremark according to earlier announcements continues to expand the availability of 3DMark benchmark tools on other platforms. Following versions for Windows, Android and iOS, the company presented the issue of 3DMark for Windows RT and tablets powered by these operating systems.
After nVidia launched their own gaming product (SHIELD) rumors that nVidia will be making their own branded tablet started popping up. Most of these were centered on some very interesting improvements in the graphical power of their SoCs. For more than a few years the industry wondered why nVidia was not the hands down leader in the tablet graphics market. There was no direct competition from AMD and most of the other companies in the game did not have the same level of experience that nVidia had. Somehow their products, though good, were not the game leaders that nVidia and others felt they should be. Of course all of that is changing as nVidia showed us with Project Logon.
When Microsoft first announced their Surface tablet and their intention to become a “devices and services” company the market had a moment of clarity. Here was a situation where a huge partner in the PC business looked to be turning their backs on all of the companies that once supported them. We heard from multiple vendors and all agreed that the move by Microsoft to be secretly developing their own product after viewing all of their submissions was seriously underhanded. What made things even more disappointing for OEM partners was that Microsoft was also pushing them to sell their cloud services on top of directly competing with them. It was not a happy time for most OEMs, but the majority of them decided to give it a chance and see if Steve Ballmer’s vision would pay off in the end.
Last week it was announced that Microsoft has plans to lower the prices of their tablet Surface RT. Information have now become official, and tablet in the cheapest version now costs $150 less than before.
Microsoft as a corporate entity has had an interesting life cycle. When Bill Gates was in charge the goal was to build systems and software that would interconnect and build the back bone for corporate and home networks. Interoperability was the key and the folks at Microsoft insisted on creating their products to work now and also support older programs (and in some cases hardware). This was vital for their target market; the enterprise. Bill Gates knew that if he build a solid back ground in companies, universities, schools etc then it would spread to the consumer market. The plan worked and continued to work simply because most people want a similar experience across their computing platforms (remember this point). The move was brilliant and Microsoft managed to get themselves very firmly entrenched in the market.
Dell at the fair Computex introduced the XPS 11, to be precise the prototype version of it. It is a computer with a screen diagonal of 11.6-inch in ultra-high resolution which is 2560x1440 pixels.
Microsoft has put up an interesting new video spot where they attack the iPad on its in ability to truly multi-task, the static display and Office. The spot is sort of clever and uses Siri to highlight the points at each step. The goal of the ad is to show Windows 8 on a tablet as a true productivity device. As you might expect truth in advertising is a little limited in the ads, but we could be seeing a change in the way that Microsoft is approaching marketing. This is a good thing considering the dreadful sales that Windows 8 and Windows RT are showing right now.
Despite there being no clear reason to do so it looks like Microsoft is going to go ahead and push out a smaller version of their Windows 8/RT tablets. The information was leaked accidentally today by Acer Finland. The new product is going to be called the Iconia W3-810. When the rumor about an 8-inch Windows RT device first hit opinions varied as to if this was going help or hurt Microsoft and Windows RT. After a lukewarm launch sales of Windows RT and then Windows 8 devices immediately started to decline. Some blamed the radical redesign of the UI while other felt it was the locked down OS that kept people away. No matter what the cause Window 8 and RT sales were and are continuing to fall which is worrisome for Microsoft.
Touch as a form of input for a computer system is rather old although most people regard it as a new technology. It was even around long before the move to flat display panels happened. These touch input methods were often very rudimentary, but they got the job done. If all you needed was to hit a button on a screen for a point of sale system then making a matrix that could detect this was not that complicated. As the technology developed it split into different facets. One of them, the touch screen, is what you most often hear about when someone talks about touch. It is this that Microsoft and others are talking about when they say touch is the future. I say they are wrong.