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Entries in Windows 8 (15)

Monday
Nov122012

Less Than a Month After Launch, Windows 8 Head Steve Sinofsky Departs Microsoft

Microsoft(REDMOND, Wash.) -- Less than a month after Microsoft launched its Windows 8 operating system, Steven Sinofsky, the president of Microsoft’s Windows division, is departing after 23 years with the company.

“It is impossible to count the blessings I have received over my years at Microsoft,” Sinofsky said in a statement Monday evening. “I am humbled by the professionalism and generosity of everyone I have had the good fortune to work with at this awesome company.”

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer returned the gratitude in his own statement.

“I am grateful for the many years of work that Steven has contributed to the company,” Ballmer said.

From Windows 8 to Outlook.com to Windows Phone 8, Sinofsky has been credited with a lot of the recent change at Microsoft. In 2009, he joined the Windows team after the Vista operating system debuted and headed up the development of Windows 7 and then Windows 8, which marks the biggest change to Windows since Windows 95.

“We started to look back and we said, ‘Wow, the user interface, the experience, the form factors, the kinds of PCs were all developed in the mid 1990s,’” Sinofsky said last month in an exclusive interview with ABC News at Microsoft’s campus in Redmond, Wash. “We looked and we said, ‘Things are so different. We need to envision a new kind of software for those scenarios, because the world is a different place.’”

Many even anticipated that Sinofsky would be the next CEO of the company. Microsoft did not explain why Sinofsky was leaving so soon after the Windows 8 launch, but, according to technology website All Things D, Sinofsky “was viewed at the top levels as not the kind of team player that the company was looking for.”

The technology site compared the exit to the recent exit of Apple’s Scott Forstall.

Julie Larson-Green will step in for Sinofsky and lead the Windows software and hardware teams. She was responsible for Windows 8 interface and experience.

“Her unique product and innovation perspective and proven ability to effectively collaborate and drive a cross company agenda will serve us well as she takes on this new leadership role. All of the current Windows engineering teams will report into Julie, and Julie will report to me,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer wrote in a company-wide email.

Ballmer highlighted Larson-Green’s ability to work with other teams, which is becoming increasingly important as Microsoft continues to integrate its services, including Xbox, Windows, Windows Phone and more.

ABC News interviewed both Larson-Green and Sinofsky last month. The video clip is below.

 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct292012

Microsoft Windows Phone 8: New Features and Apps Announced

Microsoft(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Even as Hurricane Sandy pounded the Eastern Seaboard, drowning out a lot of other news, Microsoft took the stage Monday afternoon in San Francisco to show off its Windows Phone 8 operating system, which the company will release on new phones this month and next.

While Microsoft had previously detailed some of the new features in the software -- and Nokia, HTC and Samsung have announced new phones --Joe Belfiore, the manager of the Windows Phone Program, announced some unseen features, and took shots at the competition, during the hour-long presentation.

"Apple did announce a fifth row of icons, but we wanted to come at it from a different point of view. We decided not to use the tired old metaphor," Belfiore said. "We put people at the center of the experience. Not icons for apps, not focus on speeds and feeds like Android and the iPhone do, respectively."

Microsoft Windows Phone operating system has always been built on the idea of "live tiles." The tiles or apps on the home screen refresh with new information on their own; you don't have to tap the app to see if the temperature outside has changed. You can also customize it with tiles of your favorite people and contacts.

Now, with Windows Phone 8, you can see some of that information on your Lock Screen. "It will automatically surface photos and notifications and content from your favorite apps," Belfiore said.

Microsoft has worked with Facebook to create a new app for Windows Phone 8 to surface Facebook updates on the lock screen. There will also be a new Twitter app that will function similarly.

Another new feature is focused on saving you money and data. It's called Data Sense, and Microsoft says it will compress data sent over the wireless network, so that you pay for fewer megabytes. The feature provides a snapshot of your data usage and also helps you find nearby Wi-Fi hotspots so you can switch off of the mobile network. Because of the feature, Belfiore said that you can get 40 percent more web browsing than other phones.

Then there's the Kids Corner, which lets you lock down parts of the phone when you hand the device over to a young one dying to play "Angry Birds" or "Fruit Ninja." You can determine what apps you'd like your child to have access to and configure it so they can't get into your email or Twitter account. Actress and model Jessica Alba, who also has a one-year-old daughter, spoke at the event about being a recent Windows Phone convert.

"I really like the Kids Corner. I can go right to the curated apps and videos that I want my daughter to have. That's really key. Prior to this phone, if my daughter was going to go on my phone, there was a strong chance she was going to be able to go on my Facebook or Twitter and post whatever she wanted," Alba told ABC News in a phone interview. Alba says she gave up her iPhone for Windows Phone two months ago.

But all the new features won't solve the major issue that's been facing Microsoft's phone platform: application selection. Many application developers first build for iPhone and the iPad, then Android and then Windows Phone.

Belfiore spent a good amount of time talking about the new and major apps coming to the platform, including UrbanSpoon and Temple Run. There are also new Facebook, Skype, and Twitter apps.

Even industry analysts were impressed by the showing. "Microsoft made a good case about how Windows Phone is different, a case they've made for two years but today is the first time they've articulated why different might be better," Michael Gartenberg, Gartner Research Director, told ABC News. "The lack of overall applications will still remain an issue but with many of the popular apps now or soon available Windows Phone 8 will appeal to many consumers if Microsoft can effectively tell them the story."

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who made an appearance at the end of the presentation, said that the momentum for the platform is at its strongest point ever.

"Our hardware partners are all in. Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are all in, plus hundreds of mobile operators around the world are all in. Developers are all in, filling the Windows Phone Store with applications."

The first Windows 8 phones will go on sale as early as this coming weekend. Verizon will carry the HTC 8X, Lumia 922 and Samsung ATIV Odyssey phone. AT&T will carry the Lumia 920. T-Mobile will get the HTC 8X ($149.99) and Lumia 820 ($99.99) on Nov. 14. All the phones will be available at Microsoft's stores as well; there are 65 stores nationwide now.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct262012

Apple CEO Tim Cook: Microsoft’s Surface Tablet ‘Confusing’ and ‘Compromised’

Joanna Stern/ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The Apple vs. Microsoft post-PC war is just getting started. Microsoft has argued why its new software and Surface tablet are better than the iPad, but Apple’s not staying quiet.

“I haven’t played with a Surface yet, but what we are reading about it is that it is a compromised and confusing product,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said on the company’s earnings call late Thursday afternoon, which took place just hours after Microsoft’s Windows 8 launch event. “One of the toughest things you do is make hard tradeoffs and decide what a product should be, and we’ve done that with the iPad.”

Cook didn’t stop there.

“You could design a car that flies and floats, but I don’t think it would do all those things very well,” he said. “I think when people look at the iPad versus competitive offerings, they will continue to want an iPad.”

Apple and Microsoft are taking different routes when it comes to tablet software. While Apple offers its iOS mobile software on its family of iPads, Microsoft has decided to revamp Windows by bringing in elements from its smartphone operating system. Previously, Cook had compared what Microsoft was doing to combining a refrigerator and a microwave.

Microsoft, on the other hand, claims Windows 8 doesn’t have any of the compromises that the iPad has.

“We have a different perspective, a different reason why we would want to make a tablet computer and that is really rooted in PCs being a general-purpose device that works within a broad ecosystem, that connects to a lot of peripherals, and represents an open platform,” Steve Sinofsky, head of the Windows division, told ABC News in an interview.

Apple announced the iPad Mini earlier this week.

On the Apple earnings call, Cook defended the $329 starting price, which is higher than the $199 Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7.

“We try to create a product that people will love for months and years after they’ve purchased it. That’s what iPad Mini is designed to do,” Cook said.

Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer also noted the premium parts in the tablet, including the aluminum build, the faster processor and the iSight camera.

Apple announced that it sold 14 million iPads in the fourth quarter.

Find a full recap of the earnings HERE.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct162012

Microsoft Launches Surface Tablet for $499 with Ad Blitz

Microsoft's own Surface tablet and its magnetic Touch Cover. (Microsoft)(REDMOND, Wash.) -- While companies from HP to Acer to Lenovo have announced information about their forthcoming Windows 8 tablets and computers, Microsoft itself has stayed relatively quiet about its own hardware -- its Surface tablet. That is, until Tuesday.

Tuesday morning the company revealed that its first tablet computer will be available for pre-order starting at 9 a.m. Pacific Time Monday from Surface.com. It will start shipping and be on sale at Microsoft stores on Oct. 26, the same date that Windows 8 is officially available.

The Surface, which has a 10.6-inch screen and a pop-out kickstand, will start at $499 for the 32GB version. The base model doesn't include the company's new and innovative Touch Cover, which clips to the bottom of the tablet and doubles as a keyboard and a protective cover.

The 32GB tablet with the Touch Cover will cost $599. A 64GB version with the Touch Cover will start at $699. The Touch Cover separately will cost $119.99 and comes in a rainbow of colors, including red, blue, magenta, and white.

The price is competitive with Apple's iPad, which starts at $499 with 16GB of storage space. But the Surface is more expensive than many had predicted.

"We wanted a base package that would let people enter the tablet market. It's highly competitive," Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft's Windows and Windows Live division, said when speaking to a group of journalists on Microsoft's campus Monday. "We know the prices of our competitor and we know this is a better deal, plus it is a bigger screen and holds more stuff."

While a number of Android tablets have fallen below the $300 price level and a few below $200, all of the Windows 8 tablets and computers introduced so far are priced at $499 or more.

And that's intentional. Microsoft is marketing the Surface and other still-to-come Windows 8 devices as more than just tablets -- they are computers. They are the Windows experience completely "reimagined."

"We think of PCs as a generic device that can work across a number of different scenarios and form factors. They have peripherals and ecosystems and we wanted to bring all of that goodness to a kind of device that you carry along with you all the time, that has all-day battery life with its roots in the ecosystem and in the notion of productivity," Sinofsky said. "That's where we start with Surface. That's the perspective we bring to market."

The Surface is, however, just as much about hardware as it is about software for Microsoft. After years of letting other companies make hardware, the company decided to create the best hardware, it says, to set the best stage for Windows 8.

The tablet is crafted from a new "VaporMg" metal Microsoft says it developed to make the Surface extra-durable, able to withstand drops and bruises. The kickstand mechanism has been specially developed, even down to the very sound it makes when you snap it back. The Touch Cover keyboard doesn't have physical keys, but touch sensors built into the cover. And the 10.6-inch, ClearType HD screen was also specially made so it could accommodate a wider keyboard.

"We had to use every ounce of space smartly," said Panos Panay, the general manager of the Microsoft Surface project. Panos and his team went through over 250 mock-ups of the design for the tablet.

The tablet has a lower-powered Nvidia ARM processor, which unlike Intel processors is built on totally different underlying architecture. The new architecture doesn't let you run older apps on the tablet (you can still run those older apps on Windows Pro tablets or computers), but it does come with Microsoft Office 2013.

Microsoft's investment in the production of the Surface was clearly no small undertaking, and neither are its marketing efforts. Over the next couple of weeks Microsoft's advertising will be hard to avoid. It has begun running Windows 8 countdown ads on TV and just released a brand new ad for the Surface itself, heavy on dancing and choreography.

Additionally, Microsoft will open more of its own stores. Over the holiday season, it will put up an additional 34 holiday shops, making for 65 stores nationwide for the heavy buying season. On Oct. 26 it will launch a pop-up store in New York's Times Square, which will feature Surface front and center.

"I have used a lot of tablets and this is not a tablet, but this is the best tablet I have ever used. I've used a lot of laptops and this is not a laptop, but it is also the very best laptop I have ever used," Sinofsky said. "It's a new kind of device."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct092012

October Tech Bonanza: iPad Mini, Windows 8 and More Coming

Microsoft(NEW YORK) -- While President Obama and Mitt Romney may be racing against each other on the campaign trail and fighting it out behind podiums this month, the tech giants are up to something very similar.

This month, the major technology companies are all racing to get their new products on store shelves and one-up each other with better feature sets and price tags.  Before the month is out, Apple, Microsoft and Google are expected to make significant product announcements.

Of course, all the companies are preparing for the big holiday gadget buying season.

"All of these consumer technology announcements are about getting people excited for the holiday selling cycle, which constitutes up to 40 percent of all consumer technology sales," Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, told ABC News.

Moorhead explained the end-of-October rush: "Manufacturers have to announce, ship and educate the retail channels on all new products by mid to late October to make it for mid-November sales."

Here is what you can expect in the next couple of weeks:

Apple iPad Mini
Launch Date: Mid-to-end October


After months of rumors, Apple is expected to release a smaller version of its iPad -- dubbed the iPad Mini -- later this month.  According to reports, it will have a 7.85-inch screen, the same Lightning charging port as the iPhone 5, and an aluminum body.  There's no word on the pricing, but it is expected to be competitive with other smaller tablets.

Microsoft Windows 8 and Surface
Launch date: Oct. 26


After showing off the software for almost a year, Microsoft is ready with the next version of its operating system for tablets, laptops and desktops.  Windows 8 will begin shipping on new tablets and computers from Lenovo, Asus, Acer, Dell, HP and more on Oct. 26.  You will also be able to buy the software and upgrade on that day.

But there's another major launch coming around the 26th -- Microsoft's own tablet, called Surface.  Microsoft hasn't confirmed the exact date of release or the price.

Microsoft Windows Phone 8
Launch date: Oct. 29


After releasing Windows 8, Microsoft is planning to release Windows Phone 8 on Oct. 29 at an event in San Francisco.  The phone operating system has been previewed and has some new features, including new homescreen features.  Nokia, HTC and Samsung have already announced plans to release phones running Windows Phone 8 and those are supposed to be out shortly after the launch.

Google Nexus by LG
Launch date: Late October


Google has been rumored to be releasing the next version of its Nexus phone at the end of the month.  CNET has reported that Google is working with LG and will together launch a phone similar to LG's current Optimus G, which has an HD 4.7-inch screen.  But instead of Android 4.0, it will run the new Android 4.2, which will have new features.  Other sites have also reported that there will be other Nexus phones launched by Google around the same time.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug082012

ThinkPad Celebrates 20 Years, Announces Windows 8 ThinkPad Tablet 2

Lenovo(NEW YORK) -- The year was 1992. Bill Clinton was elected president. Charles and Diana had separated. And the first ThinkPad laptop was released by IBM.

Twenty years have passed now and a lot has changed. But in the world of technology, the ThinkPad brand is still kicking. And to celebrate its birthday Lenovo, which acquired the ThinkPad brand in 2005 from IBM, is releasing some new products.

"This is the tablet everyone is waiting for," Dilip Bhatia, vice president and general manager of the ThinkPad business unit, said as he showed the ThinkPad Tablet 2. The ThinkPad Tablet 2 runs Windows 8 and will be coming out at the end of October when Windows 8 is finally out.

The tablet is aimed, like most ThinkPads, at the professional set. It has a 10.1-inch screen and while it's only 9.8 mm thick it still has room for a full USB port on its edge. Inside it has a brand new Intel Atom processor and runs Windows 8 Pro, so it will be able to run all older Windows applications. (Windows 8 tablets based on ARM processors will only run new apps made for Windows 8).

But while the tablet has a lot of new features, it has one that has been a staple of ThinkPad tablets for years: a stylus. Hidden along the left edge is a digital pen with a red top. You will be able to take notes on the tablet using the pen but also then dock the tablet into a keyboard that will be available separately.

It seems like a strong entry, but there will be lots of Windows 8 tablets in October, including two from Microsoft itself. Bhatia says is he is nevertheless confident in the second-generation tablet (there was an Android version released last year) and not worried about Microsoft's Surface.

"Microsoft is a strategic partner for us. The Surface has brought more excitement to the marketplace. The ThinkPad tablet is focused after the business individual; the Surface is more geared towards the consumer offering," he said.

In addition to the ThinkPad Tablet 2, Lenovo just started stocking shelves with a new ultrabook -- the ThinkPad Carbon X1. The thin, light laptop has the traditional Thinkpad look and feel but has some firsts.

"It's built of carbon fiber, the same material you find in a Dreamliner airplane that allows it to get better fuel efficiency savings. It's very tough," Bhatia said.

On top of that it has a new keyboard and trackpad that's coated in a rubberlike material. It's also the lightest 14-inch laptop on the market. It starts at $1,299 and while it runs Windows 7 now, it is Windows 8 ready and will only cost $14.99 to upgrade at the end of October.

Lenovo isn't commenting on the price of the ThinkPad Tablet 2, but one can guess it will be a lot less than the first ThinkPad, which cost $4,350.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug012012

Windows 8 Released to Manufacturers, Available Oct. 26

Microsoft(NEW YORK) -- Continuing its series of summer announcements, Microsoft confirmed Wednesday that Windows 8 is ready to go -- well, almost. It has released the final software code to its original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), like Lenovo, Acer, HP, and Asus, which will now build tablets and PCs running the next version of Windows.

“Today marks an important milestone in the Windows 8 project,” Steven Sinofsky, Windows 8 head, wrote on the Building Windows blog. “The Windows 8 team is proud to share with you that a short while ago we started releasing Windows 8 to PC OEM and manufacturing partners. This means our next milestone will be the availability of exciting new models of PCs loaded with Windows 8 and online availability of Windows 8 on October 26, 2012.”

Microsoft also announced that it was beginning to accept paid apps at the Windows Store. “We’re opening the Store up for company registrations and are now accepting paid apps,” Antoine Leblond, Corporate Vice President of Windows Web Services, said in a separate post. The Windows Store will include apps for Windows 8 computers, including Office 2013.

Microsoft’s Surface tablets will hit shelves on Oct. 26 along with a number of other Windows 8 devices, including tablets, tablet/laptop hybrids and regular laptop and desktop computers.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul092012

Windows 8 Tablets and Computers Coming in Late October

Microsoft(TORONTO) -- Windows 8 devices will hit store shelves “in late October,” Microsoft’s CFO of Windows and Windows Live, Tami Reller, said at the company’s Worldwide Partner Conference today. Windows 8 software will be released to manufacturers the first week in August, Reller said, and software and devices will be in stores in late October.

Reller didn’t specify when Microsoft’s own Surface tablet would hit the market. The late October timing would put Windows 8 devices on shelves by the holiday season.

Microsoft announced the Surface tablets in June; the tablets will run Windows 8 and will be available with unique keyboard docks. Microsoft’s partners, including Lenovo, Asus, and Acer, are expected to release a number of Windows 8 computers this year with interesting form factors.

Amazon is expected to release a new Kindle Fire tablet in the next couple of months and Apple has been rumored to be planning to release a 7-inch iPad in September.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun182012

Microsoft Unveils New Surface Tablet

Microsoft (LOS ANGELES) -- After a long build up about Microsoft's mystery announcement, CEO Steve Ballmer showed off the company's new Windows 8 tablet, called "Microsoft Surface," Monday night in Los Angeles.

The Surface is just 9.3mm thick, has a scratch-resistant magnesium exterior, weighs less than 1.5 pounds and has a 10.6 inch screen, which is slightly larger than that of the iPad. With a built-in USB port, a kickstand and cover that doubles as a physical keyboard, the Surface is more than just a tablet -- it's a PC, the tech giant says. Microsoft says the device is "designed to seamlessly transition between consumption and creation" and will function as a full PC that will run programs like Photoshop and Office.

The Surface is clearly meant to compete with Apple's iPad and other tablets already on the market, and Microsoft demonstrated several features existing tablets only have as accessories, if at all.  Engadget's Tim Stevens says other developers working on their own Windows 8 tablets should be worried.

"Microsoft has set the bar very high for Windows 8 tablets with these Surface devices.  They look great, they're very thin, they look to be very well-engineered," Stevens says. "And for companies like Aesus and Lenovo, people who are working on their own Windows 8 tablets … they've just had to rethink some things, I imagine."

Some critical specifications were not mentioned at Monday's unveiling such as price, screen resolution, battery life or the specific release date.

There are currently two models -- a basic Surface and a higher-end "Surface Pro."  The basic version will be available with 32 or 64 GB of memory. The more powerful Pro will be configured with 64 or 128 GB. Stevens says the Pro version could be priced similar to their UltraBook range of laptops, which cost anywhere from $700 all the way up to $1,400 or $1,500.  The basic Surface will likely be cost comparable to other Android tablet in the $400 to $600 range, he says.

So when will gadget lovers be able to purchase Microsoft's new tablets? Stevens says the lower-end Surface will be available around October and will launch at the same time as Windows 8.  The Pro version, he adds, won't be released for another three months after the initial Surface release -- which could be in early 2013.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May312012

Skype to Be Integrated Into Windows 8

Skype(RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif.)  -- A year ago Microsoft bought Skype, the video chat and calling software company, for $8.5 billion. But the first real integration between the companies looks like it will come with Windows 8.

“We are going to double down on Windows 8,” Skype’s CEO, Tony Bates, said at the All Things D conference. While he wouldn’t reveal much more and told interviewer Kara Swisher she would have to “wait and see,” he did add that there are “great integration points in terms of the product.”

Bates said that there are now 250 million Skype users, up from 170 million since Microsoft’s acquisition.

Microsoft on Thursday announced the Release Preview of Windows 8, a version computer-savvy people can download into existing devices. It doesn’t have any deeper Skype integration than older Windows versions, but there’s plenty of time for it to be added before the expected release of the full Windows 8 later this year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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