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Windows XP users to lose Google Apps support in Internet Explorer

Per its year-old policy on supporting browsers, Google will discontinue support for IE8 when version 10 ships in November.

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Millions of Internet Explorer users who work with Google Apps are about to need an upgraded browser — but if they’re using Windows XP or earlier, they may be out of luck.

Google said today that it would end Google Apps support for Internet Explorer 8, the most widely used version of the venerable browser. But Microsoft blocks Windows XP users from installing more recent versions of IE, owing to the way device drivers are handled inside Vista and Windows 7.

Users facing that dilemma have at least one easy way around that dilemma — install Chrome! — but plenty of IT managers frown on that sort of thing, particularly in government and education settings.

Google’s support for IE 8 will end November 15, shortly after the introduction of Internet Explorer 10 on October 26.

“Each time a new version of one of these browsers is released, we begin supporting the update and stop supporting the third-oldest version,” the company explained in a blog post.

More Internet Explorer users are on IE 8 than any other version, according to NetMarketShare.

Windows XP users to lose Google Apps support in Internet Explorer

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This Is Why Your Windows 8 Computer Will Be Unlike Anything You’ve Ever Used Before

by Steve Kovach

samsung windows 8 slate

We’re less than two months away from Microsoft’s Windows 8 launch.

Love it or hate it, it’s going to be huge, likely the biggest operating system launch since XP.

So as the clock ticks down, Microsoft’s hardware partners like ToshibaLenovoHPSamsungDell, and pretty much everyone else are announcing their Windows 8 hardware this week. (That’s because there’s a big conference called IFA going on in Berlin.)

In fact, there are so many product announcements this week, that I don’t even have time to write about them all individually.

But they are important! Seriously. Windows is still the most popular PC operating system on the planet. Chances are you’ll be using it at work or at home within the next year or so.

I’ve been checking out a bunch of Windows 8 devices from various manufacturers in press briefings over the last few weeks. Because of the nature of Windows 8 – its default user interface is designed for touchscreen tablets instead of traditional laptops and desktops – you’re going to see a lot of funky hybrid devices hit the market this fall.

Based on what I’ve seen so far, it’s pretty clear PC manufacturers are still trying to figure out what to do with Windows 8.

There are a lot of cool ideas. But it does seem like most companies are sticking to a handful of common themes. Here’s what you can expect:

Tablet/laptop Hybrids

hp envy windows 8 slate combo

Samsung, HP, and a few others will release Windows 8 tablets that come with a keyboard dock. They’re similar in form and function to the Asus Transformer Prime Android tablet. These devices act as a “normal” laptop when you dock the tablet to the keyboard, meaning you can easily get around Windows 8’s classic “Desktop” mode.

Touchscreen Ultrabooks

I’ve also see a bunch of Ultrabooks that have touchscreens instead of normal displays. At first glance, these Ultrabooks look nearly identical to the Windows 7 machines that have launched throughout the last year or so. But the touchscreens make it easier to get around Windows 8’s new tile-based Start menu. The downside: I find it a bit awkward to reach out and touch a screen that’s sitting at a ~90 degree angle from my desk. However, it’s still a lot better than using your keyboard and mouse to navigate around.

All-In-One PCs With Touchscreens

All-in-one (AIO) PCs are nothing new. The concept was popularized by the Apple’s iMac, but now most PCs are available in that form. This year you’ll see more of the same, but with the added benefit of touchscreens for navigating the Windows 8 Start menu.

Regular Laptops And Ultrabooks

For the budget-conscious, most PC manufacturers will still continue to offer traditional laptops and Ultrabooks running Windows 8. That means no touchscreens. Of course, that’s going to be a bummer for users since Windows 8 can be pretty frustrating to use without a touchscreen until you learn all of Microsoft’s keyboard shortcuts.

Then There Are Some Really Strange Devices

toshiba windows 8 slider

So above you have all the “normal” types of Windows 8 hardware coming this fall. But it doesn’t stop there. Some companies are getting creative – perhaps even a little too creative – with their designs.

Toshiba has a tablet that converts to an Ultrabook by sliding the screen up and over. Dell has this interesting Ultrabook/tablet combo where the screen flips over. Lenovo has a device that lets you fold the screen over backwards, but you still feel the keyboard on the back. (It’s awkward!)

The list goes on and on…

So What Does This All Mean?

It’s pretty clear PC makers haven’t quite figured out what to do with Windows 8 yet. It’ll take some time. Meanwhile, we’re going to see a lot of experimentation with hardware designs.

So far, I think the tablet/keyboard dock combination is the best solution. It gives you the best of both worlds: a thin, light tablet you can take on the go, and a full-fledged Ultrabook PC.

And yes, I’m excited.

This Is Why Your Windows 8 Computer Will Be Unlike Anything You’ve Ever Used Before  

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Microsoft makes its own hardware and software rules, and that’s a good thing

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Acer CEO JT Wang has been quoted as saying Microsoft’s Surface could have a negative impact on the Windows ecosystem, frustrate OEMs, and potentially have far-flung negative consequences. Why is there a problem when Microsoft wants to set a standard in both hardware and software? Windows Phone, Surface, and Signature represent a generational shift in Microsoft’s thinking related to operating systems, hardware, and the intended software experience. This is the Microsoft that should surface (no pun intended) from every interaction with one of their products, and who’s to say that’s not a good thing?

When Microsoft announced Surface, I immediately saw great potential for people like me who need advanced software to perform real tasks that require an intensive use of resources. But at the same time, Microsoft Surface gave a glimpse of what’s to come: Microsoft can actually make hardware to its own specifications and design. It is an approach that has been slowly coming to the front with Microsoft which began three years ago, before the debut of the first Windows Phone. Working closely with HTC, Microsoft could make sure the hardware performed in such a way that its software looked better.

Windows Phone paved the way

The first attempt at serious mobile hardware standards, however, wasn’t ideal. Windows Phone 7+ wasn’t designed for modern hardware like 720p displays, or quad- or even dual-core CPUs, not to mention 1GB of RAM. So by Windows Phone 7.5, the hardware wasn’t up to 2012 levels, with quad-core smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S III or HTC One X. The battle was lost at the hardware level, but at leastWindows Phone 8 wants to correct that mistake.

An example of good execution in the hardware space is Google, which through its Nexus line (manufactured by Samsung and ASUS at the moment) sets a standard on how the Android software and hardware should work together. More important is the fact these devices act as a benchmark for all other Android smartphone and tablet manufacturers. To be honest, I respect that position. People have a choice when they want to buy a tablet or smartphone and want an authentic experience as intended by the people behind the software…even though hiccups have been known to happen.

Microsoft dictates that OEMs like Nokia, Samsung or HTC don’t “customize” Windows Phone, which is where they got it right from my point of view. Any OS customization is a step back in the way of updates first of all, and it also sends a mixed message to the user through an inconsistent software experience. Every Windows Phone device should offer the same user experience, and it should be good all across the board.

By choosing not to let Windows Phone device manufacturers customize the operating system, Microsoft is doing all the heavy lifting as they’re the only ones to blame in case the software isn’t as good as the user wants it to be. At the same time, if it’s good it will benefit Microsoft in the short and long run alike. Not only they could have a better image, but their products will gain more credibility and in the end all parties involved benefit from it. You can add exclusive applications to Windows Phone 7.5 like Nokia does, but you can’t change its functionality for the worse, which again can be viewed as a good thing from this perspective. Is it ideal? No, but it eliminates OEM interference which hasn’t always benefited Microsoft.

A “genuine” Windows Experience

It is no secret that new laptops and desktops running Windows that come from major OEM partners like Hewlett Packard, Dell, ASUS, Acer or Lenovo come with preinstalled software that Microsoft doesn’t include in a standard Windows installation. This was the whole reason Microsoft Signature came to be, Microsoft wanted to mitigate the negative OEM experience by stripping out bloatware and providing an experience as Microsoft intended.

Of course, only a partner feeling insecure of its capabilities would assume that Microsoft wants to take away its profits. The idea behind Signature and Surface have a far greater meaning than simply blocking cash from Windows OEMs. Microsoft gets to set a standard to which other manufacturers can adhere if they want to sell a Windows-based product, and that’s not bad for competition.

Microsoft wants to make sure that the Surface hardware is good enough, and that the experience exudes quality and is a proper one to carry the Microsoft and Windows badges. Greater intervention from Microsoft could benefit all parties in the long run, as it ensures the software is good on its own, the hardware is good on its own, and they are good together.

Apple does it all –both hardware and software– and it only means that there’s an obvious closed environment, and Microsoft can uphold stricter standards for Surface without having things turn fruity.

If limiting the possibility of underpowered hardware, and shrinking bloat become hallmarks that users expect of new Windows devices moving forward, why would an OEM disagree?

Microsoft makes its own hardware and software rules, and that’s a good thing

Melinda Gates leads contraception battle

By Joanna Moorhead

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Melinda Gates takes aim at the Catholic Church in her fight to improve access to contraception worldwide.

BILLIONAIRE Melinda Gates has thrown down the gauntlet to the Vatican with a vow to dedicate the rest of her life to improving access to contraception around the globe.

Mrs Gates – who with her husband, Bill, the founder of Microsoft, is one of the world’s leading philanthropic figures in development issues – predicted that women in Africa and Asia would soon be ”voting with their feet”, as women in the West had done, and would ignore the church’s ban on artificial birth control.

Mrs Gates, a Catholic, was a speaker at the London Summit on Family Planning organised by her foundation in conjunction with the British government and the United Nations Population Fund.

She said she had been inundated with messages of support from Catholic women, including nuns.

”A church is made up of its members, and one of the things this campaign might do is help women speak out,” she said.

Mrs Gates said that in the West the bishops said one thing but ordinary Catholics did another. ”In my country 82 per cent of Catholics say contraception is morally acceptable. So let the women in Africa decide. The choice is up to them.”

She admitted she had agonised over whether to speak out in defiance of the church hierarchy.

”As a Catholic I believe in this religion … But I also have to think about how we keep women alive.

”I believe in not letting women die, I believe in not letting babies die, and to me that’s more important than arguing about what method of contraception [is right].”

Being a woman and a mother were at the heart of her decision to focus on family planning, said Mrs Gates, who has three children, aged 16, 13 and 10.

”It would have been nice to stay as a private citizen but part of the reason why I’m so public is that it does take a woman to speak out about these issues.

”Why have women not been at the heart of the global health agenda? It’s because we’ve not had enough women speaking out. We need to give a voice to women all over the planet. This will be my life’s work.”

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Windows 7 hits 630 million licenses sold, now running on 50 percent of enterprise desktops

By Tom Warren

Microsoft’s Windows 7 momentum shows no sign of slowing down despite the upcoming Windows 8 release in late October. The company revealed today that it has now sold over 630 million licenses of Windows 7, up 30 million from the previous figures released a month ago. Microsoft’s Tami Reller revealed the stats during a keynote appearance at the company’s Worldwide Partner Conference today in Canada.

Reller also revealed that 50 percent of enterprise desktops are now running Windows 7, admitting that most upgrades are from the aging Windows XP operating system. In comparison, Apple announced last month at it had shipped 26 million copies of OS X Lion, 40 percent of the total Mac install base of 66 million. As Microsoft looks to Windows 8 for its tablet plans, CEO Steve Ballmer revealed that the upgrade will cap an “epic year” for Microsoft. “Windows 8 is the biggest deal for our company in at least 17 years,” he said during a keynote appearance today. “It’s a very very big deal for Microsoft.”

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Windows 7 hits 630 million licenses sold, now running on 50 percent of enterprise desktops

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My life as a cyborg

Google is pushing its Project Glass. But one CNET writer spends time with a bevy of cutting edge wearable computers, seeing what it’s like to live a computerized life.

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Zeal Optics Z3 googles sport a tiny monitor inside to let skiers track their speed, see vertical distance covered, and even map their location when they connect to a computer later.

It was an unseasonably warm June evening, the kind of day locals rave about because they come so rarely. At 6 p.m., I hopped on my bike for an evening spin.

My heart-rate quickly raced up to 157 beats per minute as I picked up my pace to 14 miles per hour up a gradual rise in the road. At the same time, my blood-glucose level dropped to 62 milligrams per deciliter, low, but not dangerously so for a non-diabetic. All in all, pretty solid data, given that the night before I slept six hours and 21 minutes, waking for brief periods 21 times during the night.

Welcome to my cyborg life. Google has generated tons of press in recent days with its Project Glass, computerized glasses that lets users take pictures and find information. But it’s hardly the only company pursuing wearable computing. And while Project Glass won’t be commercially available for another two years at the earliest, there are plenty of companies selling devices that consumers can slip into and strap on to collect reams of data about their daily lives.

To get a glimpse of that future, I strapped on a bunch of those gadgets. Here’s what I learned.

I wore Suunto’s Ambit watch, a device that keeps tabs on my altitude, location, speed, and heart rate. I jabbed a Dexcom’s Seven Plus wirelesstransmitter into my belly to track my blood-glucose levels around the clock for a week. I slept with Lark’s sleep monitor wristband on and learned how often I wake up during the night and how quickly I drop back into slumber.

In all, the gadgets I tested collectively ran into the thousands of dollars. I was decked out from head –with Zeal Optics Z3 ski googles that track speed and map locations — to my feet — with Adidas Resolution running shoes with the company’s miCoach Speed_Cell sensor that keeps tabs on speed and distance run. I gathered a ton of information about health and fitness, though it wasn’t my most fashion-forward moment. There were times, when wearing everything, I looked like a high school science experiment run am

   Suunto’s Ambit watch, which tracks altitude, location, speed, and heart rate.

Wearable gadgets have been around for some time. Heart-rate monitors have been standardtraining devices for athletes for more than a decade. Pods that runners slip into their shoes have been around for years as well. And a new batch of gizmos have emerged that let users keep tabs on the number of steps they’ve taken, a popular new category that I also sampled.

The business of wearable computing is on the cusp of becoming mainstream. That’s because the cost and size of the sensors the devices use has dropped significantly over the years. And the ability to transmit the data those gadgets collect and receive has become seamless as many connect with the mobile smartphones that folks slip into their pockets or purses everyday.

The opportunity is so vast that Google isn’t the only big computer company circling the waters. Microsoft has a group of researchers focused on wearable technology, hoping to help the company come up with a breakthrough that could emerge into a new computing goldmine. And Apple, with its iPhone and iPod gadgets, has one of the most pervasive platforms that makers of wearable gadgets want to connect.

“There are a lot of players trying to figure this out,” said Jennifer Darmour, a user experience designer for Seattle’s Artefact and the author of the Electric Foxy blog that focuses on wearable computing.

Dexcom’s Seven Plus sensor, which diabetics can wear for seven days to continuously monitor their blood-glucose levels.

As more people slip into or slide on computers, the data they collect will grow by terabytes at a time. And the implications of that offer opportunities for individuals to monitor their health, improve their athletic performance, and track their daily lives. There is the potential to sift through all of the data from vast numbers of users to find trends in healthcare, for example, that might help researchers better understand diseases. And there’s the potential for abuse as private information about a person’s fitness level or location at a specific time pools on computer servers run by companies that might not have the best data protection policies in place, or might not have consumers’ best interests in mind.

But those deeper questions weren’t top of mind during my bike ride. I was trying to figure out if I should be concerned about my blood-glucose levels. I’m not a diabetic, so I don’t regularly keep track of that metric. Actually, I never keep track of it. So 62 milligrams per deciliter seemed pretty low to me, even though I felt fine. It had been a few hours since I had eaten, and I wondered if I need to grab a bite of an energy bar.

Turns out, I didn’t need to. Within a few minutes, my blood-glucose level climbed back up to 79 milligrams per deciliter. My body did what it was supposed to do. It regulated itself, producing more sugar, which turned into energy that I needed for my effort. The Clif Bar stayed in my cycling jersey pocket.

The ability to find that data at a glance is, in many ways, the promise of wearable computing. Athletes who are a whole lot more fit and far more dedicated than I are beginning to be able to monitor critical performance metrics that used to be the domain of medical professionals. And they can do it with glance in real time.

While users can see all sorts of data quickly, they still need to look at an array of devices that collect the information. At one point during my cyborg adventure, I had four different devices attached to me in one way or another. Each had their own way of displaying the information they gathered, either on the face of the device itself, or by connecting to my iPhone. And some, like the Nike+ FuelBand, had its own proprietary metric to measure my performance for the day.

It’s a hodgepodge that’s common as technologies emerge and companies push their own standards in the absence of broader industry ones. But it also makes using each device a bit more complicated because they don’t work together.

“Consumers don’t want to manage six disparate siloed devices,” said Desney Tan, a principal researcher in the computational user experiences at Microsoft Research. “They want them to seamlessly plug together. In fact, you want it to talk to your phone, which then talks to your PC, which then talks to your Xbox or whatever other machines you have.”

If Microsoft’s original vision was putting a computer in every home, Tan’s vision might be described as putting a computer in every eye or on every tongue. Tan has worked on a project baking computing into contact lenses to both create augmented reality displays as well as

 Nike+ FuelBand tracks users steps and calories burned using a three-axis accelerometer.

perform continuous healthcare monitoring on the wearer’s tears. He’s been part of a team that’s embedded infrared optical sensors in dental retainers to sense tongue gestures to help people with paralysis.

Those projects may seem esoteric. But to Microsoft, they are on the evolutionary path of technology. Over time, the various devices will almost disappear. They will become seamless parts of the way we live our lives. And that changes the way companies such as Microsoft need to think about innovating.

“We don’t want to think about computers anymore, we want to think about computing,” Tan said.

To get there, though, wearable computers need to blend into our lives much better than they do now. The Dexcom Seven Plus is a nifty device for diabetics, giving them the ability to constantly track their blood-glucose levels. It’s not a consumer device, though. I had to insert the sensor into my belly using a syringe-like gadget that jabbed a tiny probe into me that sat in the fluid-filled tissue under my skin. Then I needed to keep a cell phone-sized receiver within five feet of the sensor at all times to collect the data.

But even devices that are meant for consumer use are still challenging. I’m not much of a runner, but I gave Adidas’ miCoach Speed_Cell a try. It’s a little pod that slips into the sole of a sneaker to measure the speed and distance of each run and transfer that data wirelessly to a computer. At least, that’s what’s supposed to happen. But after weeks of back and forth with Adidas customer support, I was unable to make it work with my PC or my Mac.

There are plenty of happy Speed_Cell users. But the problems I had, and a quick Web search show others have dealt with as well, suggest a product with shortcomings.

Those inconveniences are sure signs of an immature industry. And until the experience of using the devices improves, wearable computing will remain on the fringes.

“The ease of use is necessary for it to become successful,” said Sabine Seymour, assistant professor of fashionable technology and the director of Fashionable Technology Lab at Parsons The New School for Design in New York.
Moreover, wearable technology has to have some style. It turns out people care about what they put on their bodies. We want to look good. And gadgets that scream “Geek!” or are cumbersome won’t fly with masses.
“If we’re asking consumers to wear these, they’ve got to look cool,” said Electric Foxy’s Darmour. “You need to consider lifestyle and fashion. Don’t make me look like a dork.”

That’s why Seymour also created Moondial, a company that develops fashionable wearable technology. She’s something of a translator, connecting the disparate universes of technology and fashion.

Adidas miCoach Speed_Cell is a pod that runners can wear on the shoes to track speed and distance run, and then transmit that data to a computer or mobile phone.

“We’re dealing with two different industries,” Seymour said. “They don’t understand each other.”

Perhaps the best marriage of fashion and technology yet is the Nike+ FuelBand. It’s a wristband that shows the number of steps and calories burned by the wearer, calculated using a three-axis accelerometer to measure movement. But the real success of the FuelBand is that it’s attractive and functional. I didn’t feel the least bit geeky slipping on the sleek wristband with its stylish LED display that also doubles as a watch. In fact, a friend went out a bought one for himself after checking out the FuelBand on my wrist.

Wearable computing will become more mainstream as businesses see the financial benefit from the data collection push to drive adoption as well. Right now, Progressive Casualty Insurance Co. offers drivers a discount on their auto insurance of up to 30 percent for putting a device in the car that tracks their driving habits. It’s not hard to imagine health or life insurers offering users discounts for self-surveillance using wearable gadgets.

“Why wouldn’t Group Health or name your insurance company of choice hand you a thing, and say ‘I’m going to give this thing to you for free, and if you wear it for at least 50 percent of the day, your rates are likely going to drop,'” Microsoft’s Tan said.

That’s how many new technologies emerge. They find a niche where they can prove their worth.

“You start at the fringes, at places that you can present high value to a user,” Tan said. “You have to sneak into culture.”

My life as a cyborg

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Microsoft Just Shafted Its Most Important Smartphone Partner, Nokia

by Matt Rosoff

deepwater horizon

Nokia has gone from the world’s leading smartphone manufacturer to a company on the edge of disaster.

Earlier this month, the company announced a major restructuring, including layoffs of 10,000 employees and a bunch of executive replacements, and lowered its guidance for the second quarter.

This Wednesday, Microsoft made Nokia’s problems much worse.

Microsoft unveiled Windows Phone 8, the next version of its mobile platform. As part of the announcement, Microsoft admitted that no current Windows Phones will be upgradeable to the new platform.

Recent Windows Phone customers will get the new start screen. But most of the major new features, like NFC support and NFC-based wireless sharing, new maps (provided by Nokia, which is faint consolation), the digital wallet for storing coupons and credits, and Internet Explorer 10, will not be available to any current Windows Phone customer.

Windows Phone 8 also supports a lot of new technology for developers — for instance, they can write apps in C and C++, and can create voice-over-Internet apps that work like regular cell phone calls. Those technologies aren’t supported on Windows Phone 7, which means many new Windows Phone 8 apps won’t work on the current platform.

Microsoft had to announce the break eventually — developers need time to create apps for the new platform, and rumors of a platform break had been circulating since February anyway.

But in doing so, Microsoft just killed the market for Windows Phones for the next three to six months. No customer will buy one today knowing that it will be outdated and not upgradeable in months.

So Nokia’s smartphone sales, already small, will probably grind to a halt until Windows Phone 8 is out.

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop — who joined from Microsoft in 2010 and made the fateful decision to choose Windows Phone rather than Android (or stick with Symbian) — must have known this was coming. But the company probably understated the case on its last earnings warning when it said that it didn’t expect sales to pick up in Q3.

In all likelihood, Nokia smartphone sales in Q3 will approach zero. The only question is if Nokia’s other products will generate enough cash to keep the company afloat.

Microsoft Just Shafted Its Most Important Smartphone Partner, Nokia 

Microsoft’s Surface tablet said to come with only Wi-Fi

While the software giant has yet to release full specs on its forthcoming tablet, rumors are circulating that it may be Wi-Fi only and without a mobile network connection.

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Microsoft unveils iPad rival

This product rendering released by Microsoft shows Surface, a 9.3 millimeter thick tablet with a kickstand to hold it upright and keyboard that is part of the device’s cover. It weighs under 1.5 pounds.

Microsoft’s much talked about Surface tablet may be Wi-Fi only, according toBloomberg.

The news agency reports that people familiar with the tablet‘s specs say the device will go on sale without any mobile-phone network connection, but will come with a short-range Wi-Fi connection. This could change in later models.

A brief history of failed Windows tablets
Microsoft’s Surface tablet vs. the iPad: Seven challenges
Google exec: “Surface is a very complicated strategy to pull off”

Surface will be running Microsoft’s next-generation Windows operating system and marks the company’s first foray into the ever-expanding tablet market. Though the software giant has unveiled Surface, it has yet to release all the details on the specifications.

Apparently, the tablet is thought to be a direct competitor to Apple’s iPad. Network accessibility could hinder this goal, however. The new iPad, which went on sale in March, comes equipped with LTE and has the option of a mobile-phone chip, according to Bloomberg. Users can also buy the iPad‘s Wi-Fi-only model if they prefer.

According to Bloomberg, Microsoft plans to start selling the Surface later this year and will be working with Apple’s iPhone-maker, Pegatron, to manufacture the tablet.
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Microsoft introduces Windows Phone 8 for fall release, incompatible with current devices

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Microsoft introduces Windows Phone 8 for fall release, incompatible with current devices

Microsoft has finally and officially removed the wraps from the OS formerly known as Apollo. It’s now just Windows Phone 8 and, at their “sneak peek” event we’re learning a good bit about that OS, and some of the great new hardware support that it offers. But, there’s one thing we want to make clear right away: if you’re currently holding a Windows Phone device you won’t be getting a taste of this action. Well, not unless you buy a new phone, that is. That back and forth about upgrade paths has been proven to be incorrect, as the hardware requirements for WP8 preclude its running on any current WP device — even that hot blue Lumia 900 you got for a steal.

    

And what are those hardware requirements? As detailed here, multi-core processors (up to 64) are now allowable, displays up to WXVGA (1280 x 768) and external storage on SD. This better, faster hardware will enable new, faster games and other demanding apps which, for the first time, can be written in native code. (Well, it’s C/C++, which at least lets developers get out of CLR land.) All this will run on a kernel shared with Windows 8 and Windows RT. In other words: yes, Microsoft has managed to get one platform running on desktops, laptops, tablets and phones, the idea being that apps can be more easily ported from one to the next, promising “games we’ve never seen before” running on your phones.

   

There’s also a new wallet functionality thanks to the NFC support, as detailed here, but reliant on an augmented SIM, not hardware on the phone itself. This means carriers won’t have to remove apps (as we’ve seen with Google Wallet in the past) but they can block support altogether. Nokia maps is nowbuilt into the OS, including offline map support.

This is a big step forward on many levels, but Microsoft is naturally sticking to its roots, promisingenterprise-ready security and support, enabling admins to deploy and restrict apps on corporate-provided phones and manage them remotely. There’s also encryption and secure booting integrated.

It’s all set to arrive this fall, which just so happens to be when Windows 8 (and those fancy new Surface tablets) will start shipping, too.

Follow the liveblog of the event here!

    

Microsoft introduces Windows Phone 8 for fall release, incompatible with current devices

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