Microsoft announced it’s not much awaited update to Windows 8.1. Microsoft have been on a bumpy ride since some time. They brought Windows vista, which was much criticized, they learned from it and gave windows 7, which was much appreciated and got great response, then created Windows 8 hoping to take on the challenge given by the likes of Apple and android. Windows 8 came to PCs, laptops, tablets, and phones as well. But it failed to impress the users as well as the critics. While the windows 8 worked great on touch screen devices like cell phones and tablets, it was not quite user friendly for the PC’s.
Windows 8.1 is more like a minor update and a major service pack! Microsoft has added a few features that make it a bit more user friendly to keyboard-and-mouse Windows desktop users.
• Start menu Returns!
As mentioned above, the lack of start button which was located on the lower left corner in the previous operating systems, was not very much appreciated. So Microsoft brought the Start button in this update. But unlike the previous start button, which when clicked gave a pop up menu for the applications which are used most, this start button when clicked, brings up the start screen where you can type a the names of the applications you want to open. It also gives the option to shutdown or restart. A feature which was accessed by mousing to the top-right corner of the screen, dragging downward, clicking Settings, clicking Power, then clicking Shutdown or Restart(phew!). Its not a major change, but this would be appreciated by the users who wanted to shut down their pc’s in a few clicks!
• Booting back to desktop
The ability to jump back to desktop was missing in the previous windows 8, which was quite frustrating for the users(I use it all the time on my XP). Microsoft probably understood that windows 8 was not so ideal for the mouse and keyboard setups because in this update they also included the feature of booting back to the desktop.
• New and better lock screen
If you are jealous of your friends who have beautiful lock screens on their android tabs, then windows 8.1 update might be the one. Users now can add slide show of pictures they would like to have on their lock screens, or you can add new live background. You can also use the camera straight away without unlocking their devices(reminds of android!)
• Search gets an update
Now the search can not only look in your computer for what you are searching but it could also look for global results from the web, the xbox music or the skydrive. Say I want to search for Emma Watson, the search will display a “Hero Screen”, where you’ll get the movies, songs and other related results not only from the your PC, laptop or tab, but also from the web.
Multitasking was already possible in Windows 8. But now the user can use up to 4 applications running, with the option to change the size of applications. Now if you want to search from something from Wikipedia, you can do it while being on facebook. Need to focus on the article you’re reading? Increase the size of wiki and decrease the size of facebook. Pretty good update for the students who wants to use facebook whilst searching for their homework at the same time.
• Fingerprint Security
Do you have friends or younger cousins or just some mighty curious person, who peek every time into your tab when left alone? If yes, then 8.1 has a feature which you’ll probably need. Windows 8.1 has biometric authentication available. So you and only you will be able to access your device(unless someone cuts your finger!)
All said and done, are these features enough? According to me these features should have been given to the users on the first place. Yes, they will improve the user experience but to call it a major update, I am not sure. Let’s call it a service pack which gets rid of bugs and glitches and adds some new much needed features.
You can download the official preview of windows 8.1 from http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/preview-download
Here are all system requirements for Windows 8.1 Preview, as they have been provided by Microsoft:
Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
Free hard disk space: 16 GB (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
Graphics card: MicrosoftDirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver
As far as Windows RT is concerned, the Windows 8.1 Preview update requires 10 GB of free storage space.
Sony along with the mighty phablet Xperia Z Ultra, also unveiled what should be called the future of watches “The Smartwatch 2”. It’s predecessor the Smartwatch 1, which was for a whopping $79.99 or around 6500 Rs. was not a huge seller, but Sony thinks otherwise. Now not many people will be willing to pay their hard-earned money for this watch but this sure is what could be the future of watches.
This smartwatch has a 1.6-inch LCD touchscreen display with a resolution of 220*176p(not that it matters!). This smartwatch can connect with any android phone with OS 4.0 or higher and has Bluetooth 3.0. This smartwatch promises to give you the whole android experience on your wrist. The users can read their incoming emails, facebook notifications, twitter feeds, control presentations along with the basic and yet the most important – handle text messages and missed calls alerts. With NFC, this watch can be connected with most of the flagship cell phones. As for the battery life Sony claims that with an average use, the smart watch can stay alive for 3 or 4 days. The smartwatch also is dust-resistant and water-resistant like the Xperia line up.
“Sony is the proud leader in the smartwatch market since introducing our first Bluetooth watch in 2007,” said Stefan K Persson, Head of Companion Products at Sony Mobile.
This may not be the best selling product and won’t be seen on many wrists, but it surely will win the hearts of the technology enthusiasts. And yes it could also show time!
Look, It’s a phone! No It’s a tablet! Hold your breath, it’s a phablet!
Sony today announced its much rumored and almost leaked flagship device, the Xperia Z Ultra. Now, what screen size is large enough for phone? This question has been debated thousand times and no one has been able to quite get the perfect answer.
Sony which has been creating the most beautiful looking devices came today with a bang unveiling the Xperia Z Ultra. Ultra has a HUGE 6.4-inch, full HD-display. This screen is the first one with Sony’s new “Triluminos Display” which claims to be better then Apple’s retina display and other Super AMOLEDs.
Sony boasts that this is world’s slimmest(6.5mm, and we thought iPhone 5 was ridiculously light and slim) fastest smartphone(and we were thinking that HTC One was the fastest) with the world’s largest Full HD display. That’s a huge claim you’ve made Sony. Moving on, this beauty has the same design plane, flat design like the Xperia Z. Under the hood, the ultra has a the most powerful mobile processor, a 2.44 GHz quad core snapdragon 800, with 2GB of ram. The Ultra comes with all the connectivity features yet known like Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi, 3G, LTE & NFC. As for the snappers, unlike the Xperia Z’s 13 megapixel camera, the ultra has a 8 megapixel camera on the back and a 2 megapixel camera on the front, both being able to take full HD videos. Sony has provided us a 3000 mAh battery which I think isn’t enough to provide this powerful device enough charge. Not to mention it runs on the latest android 4.2.2(Jelly Bean). Like it’s younger brother Z, Z ultra also is dust-resistant and water-resistant.
Another amazing feature of this phone is that it uses the built-in handwriting recognition tool. So the user can create a masterpiece by using pencils or metal point pens.
After all said and done, this phone will be of cource compared to the recently released Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3. But rest assured Sony, because the Ultra is miles ahead of the Mega. And maybe it could also crush Samsung Galaxy Note 3, coming later this year.
Like all the xperia phones, the Z Ultra is all beauty outside and powerful beast inside. The Sony Xperia Z is to be officially sold from the 3rd quarter. No pricing detail was revealed. But if you’re in love with this phablet, maybe you have to sell one of you’re kidneys! 🙂
Rumor is that HTC the Taiwanese handset vendor has signed Robert Downey Jr. to promote their brand and it’s products. This deal reported by bloomberg is of a mediocre $12 million dollar for the next two years. We should not be surprised by this deal as once one of the top cell phone manufacturers has now dropped to it’s knees due to competitions given by likes of Samsung, Apple and Nokia. HTC has been reported dropping to ninth place in global smartphone shipments in the first quarter. The reason we don’t see many HTCs in people’s hands is their quite reckless marketing strategies. “Our marketing hasn’t been good enough,” HTC Chief Executive Officer Peter Chou told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting, pointing out that competitors outspend the Taiwanese company on promotion. “If you don’t invest in marketing, you can’t get a good result” seems about right Mr. Chou. HTC’s marketing budget which was about $1 billion was literally crushed by Samsung’s budget of $10 billion to promote their cellphones and range of LCD’s and LED’s. Robert Downey Junior who played ‘Iron Man’ in marvel’s superhero franchise and Sherlock Holmes could infact manage to save HTC’s sinking ship. In the past celebrities have always come to rescue to cellphone manufacturers. Be it English footballer David Beckham for Samsung , Pamela Anderson for Nokia, singer and song-writer Alicia keys for blackberry or even indian actress Katrina Kaif for Sony Xperia. If this rumor is true and Downey does promote HTC, then this celebrity game would reach a whole new level.
So Samsung had a new event yesterday named “Premier” where they introduced some pretty cool devices including a camera, some tabs, an all in one PC, and a hybrid of tablet and laptop(which I call a laplet or tabtop, laplet sounds better!!). So lets get moving.
After not so good response of the galaxy camera, Samsung unveiled another camera which supposedly takes it to another level. Enter “Galaxy NX”, a android camera. It’s got some good stuff if you’re into photography. A 20.3MP camera with APS-C sensor on board, interchangeable lenses and running on Android 4.2.2(jelly bean). It sports a rather huge 4.8 HD LCD display on rear, and is powered by 1.6 Ghz quad core processor. For connectivity it comes with 3G/4G LTE, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. It comes with whopping 30 smart modes to get the perfect snap. Samsung has made some huge changes to galaxy camera, and this should be a perfect camera for those who wants the best picture as well as staying connected all the time. This is hands down the best android camera. Be it the Nikon Coolpix S800C or the previous galaxy camera, nothing is closed to this bad boy.
Next up, two new ultrabooks. Samsung announced the ATIV Book 9 plus, and ATIV book 9 LITE. Both of them have the same 13-inch display (which is pretty good for ultrabooks). Ativ book 9 plus has the new haswell intel core i5 chip, whereas Ativ book 9 lite has an AMD A6 quad-core processor. Both of them have 4GB ram on board as well as solid-state drives. They both are pretty good and have the specs which could declare the winner. The crucial point is that Samsung has not unveiled its pricing. If it’s somewhere close to 750-800 $, then the macbook airwill get some serious competition. If you look at similar ultrabooks every other fails to inspire except Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 and ToshibaKirabook.
Lets get to the product which I really loved. Samsung introduced ATIV Q as a hybrid of tablet and laptop(which I preferably call laplet). The Ativ q has a large 13.3-inch display with an amazing resolution greater then apple’s retina display which is of 3200*1800. Inside it has a intel core i5 processor, along with Intel HD Graphics 4400, 4 Gb of ram and 128 gb of solid state drive storage. It’s a hybrid device, transforming from a Windows 8 slate into a full-fledged laptop in one quick motion. That’s not all, though — at the tap of an icon it’ll boot into Android Jelly Bean, letting you swipe around all of your favorite apps from the Google Play store It’s the same converting technique we saw on Sony’s Vaio Duo, but Samsung has taken it a step further. Rather than converting just between laptop and slate, the screen can lie flat, lifted above and parallel to the keyboard. Like gadgets shown in Mission Impossible, the Ativ q has a trick up it’s sleeve. It can run on both Android Jelly bean and windows 8. The user can switch between the operating systems without a reboot. You can use the Q as a full fledged laptop using the office and other windows 8 tools, and when you’re done switch-over to the Android OS to play wonderfull applications and have fun. Samsung just needs to price this thing well. If it prices it around 1200-1500 $ Samsung will win this battle.
Another tablet revealed was ATIV tab 3. Samsung claims it to be the world’s thinnest Windows 8 tab(0.32 inches). It has a nice 10-inches display with a 1366*768 resolution. Inside it sports a Intel Atom processor with 2GB of ram and 64Gb of internal storage with option of micro SD expansion. Samsung claims that despite the thin body this tab can last to 8.5 hours, which I think could be a bit over estimated.
Now for the all in one PC. Samsung you really need some new creative design team. Samsung introduced ATIV One 5 style. You shall see that it surely looks like a larger galaxy mobile with a stand. This all in one PC has a 21.5 inch touch screen with a common now a days 1080p resolution. Under the hood it has a usual AMD A6-quad core processor complimented by 4GB of ram. But I don’t think ATIV One 5 style is as close as the greatness of the Apple’s iMac released last year or the Dell XPS One 27.
As for the small talk, Samsung talked about Galaxy S4 Zoom, Galaxy S4 mini and Galaxy S4 active.
By this event Samsung once again proved that it as very much aggressive and wants the best possible consumer share. And Samsung stole the show with the hybrid Ativ Q. Last week at WWDC 2013 Apple gave us a sneak peek of the next generation of Macbook pro which they will be announcing later this year. And by this product event I think it has a huge mountain to climb.