It looks like Microsoft’s Surface won’t be the only computer in the interactive touch-sensitive table market; Epson has recently announced their very own offering, the xDesk.
Aside from having an extremely cheesy name, the xDesk offers some pretty solid features for a machine of this caliber including a 52-inch, 1024x768 touch screen that can communicate with gadgets such as phones and cameras placed onto its surface, and the ability to recognize gesture recognition, allowing multiple users to drag around photos or draw. It’ll also transfer audio and video wirelessly though Bluetooth 2.1, but if you’d rather go the wired route and use FireWire or one of the five USB 2.0 ports, that works fine too.
Underneath the hood you’ll find a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 1GB of DDR2 memory, a 250GB HDD and an ATI HD 4850 GPU. Though, as for pricing and availability, there’s still no word.
Also, if you’d like to see a video if it in action, be sure to click here.
The final version of Windows 7 is still several months away from being released, but don't expect Microsoft to stand idle. The software giant has already begun assembling a development team for the next-next version of Windows.
"For the upcoming version of Windows, new critical features are being worked on including cluster support and support for one way replication," Microsoft wrote in a job posting on its site. "The core engine is also being reworked to provide dramatic performance improvements. We will also soon be starting major improvements for Windows 8 where we will be including innovative features which will revolutionize file access in branch offices."
The general consensus on Windows 7 is that it runs and feels much more snappy than Vista, so it will be interesting to see what a reworked core engine with performance in mind can deliver in Windows 8. Don't fell like waiting to find out? Details on how you can apply to be part of the development are right here.
As it turns out, the rumors were true; Microsoft does plan on releasing its Office 2010 software suite in both 32-bit and 64-bit flavors, says ArsTechnica, who received confirmation from a Microsoft spokesperson via an email exchange.
"Yes, Office will have two separate 32-bit and 64-bit versions," the spokesperson wrote. "Office 2010 will be the first to do this."
While the benefits of running Office natively in a 64-bit environment might not be particularly exciting, making the popular software suite available as such could help expedite 64-bit adoption among other vendors. Love it or hate it, this also means a certain debt of gratitude is owed to Vista, the first mainstream Windows OS to really push 64-bit onto the masses.
Appropriately enough, look for Office 2010 to be released sometime next year.
After Yahoo turned down Microsoft’s proposal to roll in the hay and have an offspring that could take on Google’s might in the online search market, it appeared the two would maintain a distance from each other. However, a luncheon meeting between Ballmer and Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock earlier this year again revived hopes of a deal.
The New York Times reports that the two companies have returned to the negotiation table, though for a slightly different purpose. A source close to the discussions told the NYT that the two companies are discussing an advertising deal. The source revealed that Microsoft could assume control of Yahoo’s search ads and leave Yahoo in control of display ads under one arrangement being deliberated. Steve Ballmer is also said to have met with Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz last week. There is no official word on the matter as yet.
$11.8 million, to be exact! Microsoft’s shenanigans have gotten them into a legal squeeze with Bundeskartellamt, an independent federal authority assigned to the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology in Germany.
According to a report filed by Bundeskartellamt, “The product in question was heavily advertised in the autumn of 2008 in stationary retail outlets. Amongst others, a nationwide active retailer advertised the product with financial support from Microsoft. Even before the launch of the advertising campaign in mid-October 2008, employees of Microsoft and the retailer in question had agreed on at least two occasions on the resale price of the software package 'Office Home & Student 2007’.”
Sadly, price fixing has become common amongst larger companies as a way for them to show off their financial prowess (most notably amongst memory companies, who have been known to set industry-wide price points).
According to Microsoft spokesman Jack Evans, “We will use this case as an opportunity to review our internal commercial processes and ensure that we are in full compliance with German law.”
If you haven't been impressed with Microsoft's latest browser -- or just haven't felt compelled to give IE8 a spin and kick its tires -- you're not alone. Despite a significant speed increase, better web compliance, and a handful of new features, IE8 hasn't been attracting the kind of response Microsoft had probably hoped for, at least not if market share data from Net Applications is any indication. At last count, IE8 made up for a little over 4 percent of the browser market share, taking away from IE7 at a conservative pace. The solution? Throw IE8 into the Automatic Update queue as a 'High Priority' update.
"Last week, we released IE8 via Automatic Update to users still running pre-release versions of IE8 (Beta 2 or Release Candidate 1). The goal was to make sure users who chose to install IE8 have the latest up-to-date version," Microsoft wrote in a blog post. "Starting on or about the third week of April, users still running IE6 or IE7 on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Server 2008 will get will get a notification through Automatic Update about IE8."
Microsoft went on to say that the rollout will start with a narrow audience and expand over time to include its entire userbase. IE8 will be labeled as an 'Important' update for those running Vista and Server 2008, and 'High Priority' for XP users. However, IE8 won't automatically install; users will still have to opt-in.
Keeping the likes of Razer and OCZ on their respective toes, Microsoft today added to its gaming mouse lineup with the addition of the Sidewinder X3, an entry-level rodent that won't chew through your wallet. Sporting an ambidextrous design, Microsoft's latest Sidewinder looks to sway budget gamers with a respectable feature-set, including a 2,000 DPI laser with on-the-fly sensitivity switching.
"Our research shows that in-game comfort continues to be the main consideration for PC gamers," said Bill Jukes, product marketing manager for Microsoft Hardware. "We designed this mouse to be ambidextrous and small in size, providing comfort to a wider variety of people and making it ideal for gaming as well as everyday use."
The Sidewinder X3 also comes with five programmable buttons (eight buttons in all), a wide, detented scroll wheel, and wide-glide feet "for smooth handling and a light, balanced feel."
Microsoft says the Sidewinder X3 will ship in May for about $40.
No one has been more critical of Microsoft's first attempts at responding to Apple's "I'm a Mac" ads than myself, and I still contend that those quirky commercials featuring Jerry Seinfeld missed the mark wider than Brett Favre in a critical game (you Jets fans still steaming over a 3-interception, 24-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins know what I'm talking about). Judging by the comments in those earlier blogs (see here and here), either expectations were disparingly low, or other PC users really did find a certain charm in talking about chewy computers or watching Bill Gates do a geriatric robot.
This time around I'm more than willing to give credit where credit is due, and it belongs to Microsoft for its latest offensive against Apple. Microsoft has finally zeroed in on the high price tags that accompany Macs, and it isn't letting up. The first ad featured a woman named Lauren on the hunt for a 17-inch laptop under $1,000, and not surprisingly, she wasn't able to find one in an Apple store. "I'm just not cool enough to be a Mac person," she concluded. Not long after, a second ad emerged, this time upping the ante to $1,500 and featuring a member of the opposite sex who surmised that "Macs, to me, are about the aesthetics more than they are the computing power. I don't want to pay for the rent, I want to pay for the computer."
See what happens when a mother-and-son duo take on Microsoft's "Laptop Hunters" challenge after the jump.
As if the 5,000 laid off at Microsoft weren’t enough of a warning signal that times are tough, the Redmond based software giant is also being forced to close down its on campus bar just a few days before its official opening. The pub was set to debut alongside several other retail outlets offering everything from cell phones, to haircuts, but apparently it didn’t make the final cut.
You would think with all the layoffs that were recently announced, they would want somewhere employees could go and drown their sorrows, but according to Microsoft Spokesman Lou Gellows, "We had to take another look at this. We are sensitive to the business environment and that meant not having a pub."
This cut is but one of many in a larger initiative designed to deal with non essential expenses. Employees are encouraged to look for ways to save on everything from external vendors, to travel expenses. The pub which was scheduled to launch on Monday had already hired staff, and had installed beer taps. Not exactly the long weekend they were hoping for I would imagine.
Times are tough, but even if people aren’t buying Vista, they’re still buying beer aren’t they?
Most users who have tried Windows 7 like it - a lot, but if you (or your company) are worried about what happens if old hardware or software you rely on won't play nice with the latest Windows version, stop worrying. According to Cnet's Ina Fried and ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, Windows 7 users will have the option to downgrade from 7 to either Windows Vista or even "the operating system that will not die," Windows XP.
Volume-licensing (aka "Software Assurance") customers have been able to do this for some time, but Microsoft has confirmed that downgrades from 7 to either Vista or XP will be available for at least a while after Windows 7 ships.
If you're on the fence about Windows 7, does the availability of downgrade rights make a difference? Join us after the jump for your chance to sound off.