Forgive us for being a bit cynical about this one, but it’s kind of hard not to be. After demonstrating a commitment to the PC platform about assolid as that of a friend who’s only hanging around with you because he wants to “get acquainted with” your attractive sister, we’re having some trouble accepting Microsoft’s latest “Hey, wanna hang out?” at face value. In an internal Q&A document leaked by Kotaku, Microsoft was asked about Fable 3 and whether or not the formerly Xbox-exclusive fantasy jaunt signaled “a larger reinvestment by Microsoft in PC gaming.”
“In terms of revenue, Windows is far and away the largest gaming platform in the world, so it's an incredibly important part of Microsoft's business. From core games like Fable III to casual, social and Facebook titles, more gaming happens on Windows than anywhere else,” the software giant said in response.
“Windows 7 is a world-class gaming platform, and you can bet Microsoft has a vested interest in using it as a platform for amazing first party content. Fable III on Windows as well as Xbox 360 this holiday is a great first step, and we'll have more news for you later this summer.”
Our best guess? After backing off because it got burned, Microsoft’s testing the PC gaming waters yet again -- and Fable III’s the thermometer, basically. Obviously, the PC’s way too big for Microsoft to continue to neglect, and with its recent Kinection to casual gaming, you can bet those “casual, social, and Facebook titles” are a major area of interest for the sadly console-centric behemoth. The long and short of it? Thar’s gold in them thar hills, and Microsoft wants a few nuggets for itself. Here’s hoping us not-so-casual gamers continue to benefit from the gold rush as well.
Microsoft plans to release the public beta of Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 by the end of next month. But it has already begun sending email invites to potential testers to join the technical beta, which is set to begin by end of June. Invites are being sent “based on the quality of feedback you have provided on previous Windows programs.” According to tech site Neowin, the email confirms that the beta will be available in English, German, Japanese, French and Spanish.
If you prefer your netbooks in the Windows XP flavor, you might want to plan ahead and buy a six pack. Starting this coming October, Microsoft will no longer allow manufacturers to install XP on netbooks. Microsoft has previously alerted OEMs to this, but took the opportunity this week to remind everyone.
Microsoft went out of its way to optimize Windows 7 for netbooks, and most users seem to be fine with the newer OS. The number of Windows 7 netbooks has been increasing steadily, while XP machines are declining, Though, there are still a number of XP netbooks being sold.
OEMs are rumored to be paying about $50 per Windows 7 license, as opposed to a mere $15 for XP. We can see why they'd want to continue offering XP on some machines, given the famously low profit margins on netbooks. Do you still want XP on your netbooks?
Come late July, Microsoft will release the first Service Pack for Windows 7, the Redmond outfit announced in a blog post on Monday. However, don't expect any major performance enhancements, as was the case when the first Service Pack for Vista significantly improved the overall OS experience.
"While the new features for Windows Server 2008 R2 benefit Windows 7 by providing a richer VDI experience, SP1 will not contain any new features that are specific to Windows 7 itself," Microsoft wrote. "For Windows 7, SP1 will simply be the combination of updates already available through Windows Update and additional hotfixes based on feedback by our customers and partners. In other words, customers can feel confident about deploying Windows 7 now!"
Microsoft said that it has already sold over 100 million license of Windows 7, which is in line with most analysts' figures. And following SP1, Microsoft will likely see a spike in sales, as some businesses often wait for the first Service Pack to debut before migrating to a new OS.
While Microsoft's dominance in desktop computing is indubitable, its software has found few takers in the increasingly lucrative mobile and embedded device market. Just as it is planning to turn over a new leaf with its all new Windows Phone 7 operating system, it needs an embedded operating system that can wipe out whatever little recollection people might have of its Windows Embedded CE operating system.
Microsoft does have a successor to Windows CE, and it is called Windows Embedded Compact 7. The Redmond-based company is showcasing many tablets and slates running its latest embedded OS at Computex 2010 in Taipei. It has also released the public community technology preview (CTP) for Windows Embedded Compact 7, which is available online as a trial download.
Many companies are showcasing their upcoming tablets at Computex 2010. The event has shown that tablet makers are not adverse to their tablets or slates running a full featured version of Windows 7, with the recently announced MSI WindPad and ASUS Eee Pad being the most prominent examples. However, Windows 7 is only compatible with x86-based tablets and tablet makers have no choice but to opt for some other operating system – in most cases Android - for such devices.
On the other hand, Windows Embedded Compact 7 can also run on ARM-based devices. So a stellar embedded OS will only enhance Microsoft's chances of success in the tablet market.
It's no longer a question of whether or not tablets are the next big thing in mobile computing, but which OS will consumers flock to? Rather than take a gamble on Windows 7 or Android, MSI has gone and unveiled a pair of Wind Pad tablets, one each built around both OSes.
On the Windows 7 front, the Wind Pad 100 sports a 10-inch multi-touch screen, Intel Z530 processor (1.66GHz), 2GB of RAM, and a 32GB solid-state drive (SSD). Android users get the Wind Pad 110, which trades the Atom chip for a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 250 setup.
There are some other differences between the two as well. According to reports, the Wind Pad 100 will feature a customized, touch-friendly layer on top of Windows and share some netbook-esque DNA, like HDMI out, a webcam, and two USB ports. The Wind Pad 110, meanwhile, will come with just a single USB port and will include swappable back plates so users can change up the looks.
Look for the Wind Pad 100 to ship by the end of the year for $500. MSI is less clear on when it will ship the Wind Pad 110, which will sell for $400.
Rumors of an ASUS tablet first surfaced during December last year and the Taiwan-based company wasted little time in confirming them. But the internal organs of the Eee Pad still remained a subject of speculation. Today, ASUS put all that speculation to rest when it unveiled the Eee Pad at Computex 2010.
“The ASUS Eee Pad EP121 offers two convenient modes of character input-an embedded virtual keyboard or an innovative hybrid keyboard/docking station design. All of this power is available in a personal computing device that delivers up to 10 hours of usage,” the company announced in a press release.
As for the 10-inch EP101TC, ASUS has opted for Windows Embedded Compact 7 and the Nvidia Tegra 2 platform. Not a lot is known about the EP101TC at this point in time. According to Engadget, ASUS expects the Eee Pad tablets to fit into the $399 to $499 price band. The company also told the popular tech blog that it will only begin shipping the tablet during the first quarter of 2011.
According to market research firm Gartner, about 80 percent of IT organizations turned a blind eye to Vista, opting instead to stick with Windows XP, an eight-and-a-half-year-old operating system. Is it time to make the jump to Windows 7?
In a word, "yes." In a recent survey of 285 IT professionals, Computerworld found that 72 percent of the respondents have plans to migrate to Windows 7, with 70 percent saying they will do so within a year, or are already running Microsoft's latest OS.
Out of all the new features in Windows 7, respondents were most interested in faster bootups and overall performance gains (69 percent). Better device management also ranked high on the list (52 percent), as did compatibility with Windows XP (47 percent).
I have Windows 7 Home Edition 64-bit. When I download pictures from the Internet, I want to save them to a specific folder—let’s call it ABC. I right-click the picture and select Save Picture As. Then Windows Explorer sends me to Libraries\Picture Library. I then navigate to ABC folder and click it, then click Save. I right-click the second picture, but I’m sent back to the pictures library! The save dialog in Windows XP would open right at the last directory I saved photos to, so I didn’t have to click back to the ABC folder every time. Why won’t Windows 7 do the same?
Read the Doctor's answer for Glenn after the jump.
There’s a lot to like in Windows 7. I like the new taskbar best, I like the jump lists, I like that I can set up my own theme with changing wallpapers. I like the Devices and Printers page for its ease of use. I like the Readyboost cache. I like the Monitor Calibration utility. And I really like Microsoft Security Essentials.
But no operating system is perfect. There are things that I would like to see included in the next iteration of Windows. Most of them are easy. Some of them are obvious and it’s puzzling to me why they aren’t already a part of Windows. (And one is probably an impossible pipe dream.)