Microsoft announced today via its Windows Blog that it has released the final version Windows XP Mode to manufacturing, and it should be available for download on October 22nd, the day of the Windows 7 launch. Presumably the new version of Virtual PC is included in this RTM, curiously however, no mention of this was made. Microsoft has also not indicated if this would be available early for MSDN or TechNet subscribers, but let’s face it, October 22nd isn’t as far away as it used to be.
For those who haven’t yet hard about Windows XP mode, it’s a way for Windows 7 users to run applications within a virtualized Windows XP shell for compatibility reasons. Windows 7 RC users who want to give the beta version a test drive can still download the technical preview at the Microsoft Download Center up until the new version is released on launch day.
Want to learn more about Windows XP Mode? Check out our feature focus series which helps you make sense of all the new features.
Out with the old and in with the new appears to be the theme for September. It doesn't even matter that Windows 7 hasn't been officially released yet, the Release Candidate has been solid enough for Vista users to leave their old OS behind and rock out with Microsoft's newest darling, according to market share data by web metrics firm Net Applications.
Vista's market share dipped by 0.18 percent in September, which isn't earth shattering, but it is the first time the OS has back tracked since January 2008. Windows 7, on the other hand, climbed 0.34 percent and now claims 1.52 percent of the market. Not bad for a pre-release OS.
On the browser front, Internet Explorer fared a little worse, losing 1.26 percent of its market share. The continued backwards slide has to be troubling for Microsoft, especially considering IE's market share set a new low of 65.7 percent. That's good news for Firefox and Chrome, whose market share jumped by 0.77 percent and 0.33 percent, respectively.
According to market research firm iSuppli, Microsoft's Windows Mobile OS for smartphones will outflank most of the competition, nearly triple its userbase, and take the No. 2 spot in the global market, all by the year 2013.
As it stands, Windows Mobile can be found on 27.7 million smartphones, but if iSuppli's prediction proves accurate, that number will balloon to 67.9 million in just a few years, giving Windows Mobile a 15.3 percent share of the global market. Should that happen, only Symbian would claim more users, who iSuppli says will control 47.5 percent of the market.
So what's the catch? Put simply, Windows Mobile 7 will have to succeed and kick ass. As competition heats up, Microsoft can't afford to "screw up" again and fall further behind its competitors.
"Microsoft in 2010 will introduce an updated version of its operating system, Windows Mobile 7, which is expected to sport an enhanced user interface and browser as well as multi-touch control," Tina Teng, senior wireless communications analyst for iSuppli, said in a report. "This will make it much more competitive with the alternatives on the market."
Let's first see if WIndows Mobile 6.5 -- slated for an October 6 release -- is enough to keep WinMo users from jumping ship before Microsoft sets sail with version 7.
Industry sources presumably in the know say that Acer, who is still developing Windows Mobile-based smartphones, has decided to shift its attention to the Android platform. The sources say that half, if not more, of Acer's new handsets launched in 2010 will be built around the open-source OS.
This won't have much effect on Acer's production partners, the sources added, saying the company will continue to outsource both Windows Mobile and Android smartphones to Compal Communications and Inventec Appliances.
Not wasting any time, Acer is expected to release its first Android-based smartphone, the A1, sometime next month. According to pre-order info at eXpansys (France and Germany), the A1 will sport a 3.5-inch touchscreen display, Qualcomm 8250 processor clocked at 768MHz, an internal GPS antenna, a 5MP color camera with auto-focus, and a 1350mAh battery.
Citing "sources in China," Shanzai.com is reporting that devices powered by the Chinese-designed Loongson CPU could come with Google's Chrome OS pre-installed as early as this month. If true, that would put the OS on the market well before Google said it would be ready.
Google won't release a full version of Chrome OS until next year, but they do intend to roll out a preview version sometime this year, which at least makes the rumor plausible. The devices would run a MIPS-based processor (Loongson), which currently powers a custom version of Linux called Loonux. Loonson isn't a x86 processor, so it can't run Windows. And since Loonux hasn't been particularly well received, Google's Chrome OS suddenly becomes an attractive option, even if only in a preview state.
Palm on Monday announced the availability of webOS 1.2, the latest operating system for its Palm Pre smartphones, and with it a whole bunch of new features.
"For starters, we've beefed up Palm Synergy to include LinkedIn contact syncing," Jon Zilber, Palm's director of online communications, wrote in a blog post. "Info from LinkedIn profiles (like job titles) will now appear in your Palm Pre contacts. The new update also facilitates links across more different flavors of IM contacts. Business-oriented webOS 1.2 customers will also appreciate support for heterogeneous EAS policies (for workplaces with a mix of end-users in which some accounts support EAS policies and others don’t)."
In addition to the above, Zilber said the updated OS also includes the ability to filter emails in a current folder just by typing a search term, users can download files in the browser, music buffs can download songs from the Amazon MP3 Store via either WiFi or WAN, you can now tap a phone number in a calendar note to dial it, the ability to pause a podcast and pick up where you left off when you unpause, and cut/paste functionality in webpages and emails.
Palm Pre owners have already started receiving the update via over-the-over download.
Even heavily discounted promotional pricing hasn't been enough to convince some would-be consumers to pick up an Upgrade copy of Windows 7, which requires a validated OS already be installed. You could suck it up and pay retail, or wait for OEM copies to emerge and save a bit of scratch, but until now, nobody knew exactly how much you could expect to pocket.
Compare those prices to $200 for the retail version of Home Premium, $300 for Professional, and $320 for Ultimate. And if you pre-order before October 20, Newegg's offering a further discount on OEM copies, with Home Premium priced at $100, Professional at $135, and Ultimate at $175.
Some caveats apply. Keep in mind that OEM copies are technically tied to the PC they were originally installed on, and while we've had some luck porting OEM installs from one machine (or mobo) to another with a quick call to Microsoft, nobody knows how this will shake out with Windows 7.
OEM copies also ship sans support, you won't get the shiny retail packaging, and you can only perform a clean install.
Thoughs on the price points? Hit the jump and sound off.
If this were the Old West, Lenovo would be the gritty cowboy boasting the fastest draw in town. Challengers, both new and old, would step up and challenge the gunslinger to a shoot out, and at some point, Lenovo would likely fall.
In the modern era, Lenovo doesn't have to worry about catching a bullet between its eyes, but it will have to back up its claim of having the fastest Windows 7 boot-up and shutdown times. According to Lenovo, its ThinkPad notebooks and ThinkCentre desktop PCs for businesses load Windows 7 up to 56 percent faster compared to booting XP or Vista.
The company also said its IdeaPad and IdeaCentre consumer PCs certified for "Windows 7 Lenovo Enhanced Experience" will load 33 percent faster and shutdown 50 percent faster than hardware that's not certified, even if using identical components. How is this possible? Through BIOS tweaks, Windows 7optimizations, special onboard hardware drives, and a rewritten power manager, Lenovo says.
Earlier this month, we posted a step-by-step guide showing Android G1 owners how to root their phones and install a third party ROM. There are several upshots to doing so, including the ability to overcome the G1's meager amount of memory by installing apps directly to a SD card. Wtih the Android Market now sitting at roughly 10,000 apps strong and third party ROM developers churning out mature firmware, we felt the time was right.
Unfortunately, Google's timing couldn't be any worse. The search giant last week issued a cease and desist order to ROM developer Cyanogen, maker of CyanogenMod, arguably the most popular Android ROM out there.The problem, says Google, isn't that Cyanogen is hacking away at the open-source OS, but that he's also including (and distributing) a handful of closed-source apps, including Market, Gmail, YouTube, and Google Maps.
Hit the jump to find out what the future holds for Android modders.
Blame your OEM vendor -- not Intel or Microsoft -- if your next netbook sports a cut down version of Windows 7, because no such restrictions are being put in place, Microsoft confirmed. Nor will the three application limit for Windows 7 Starter be a part of the deal.
"OEMs and ODMs have the choice to install any version of Windows on a netbook," said a Microsoft U.K. spokesperson. "[But] Starter is an entry version and doesn't have many of the consumer or business features. The three application limit isn't there anymore."
It will be interesting to see how OEMs respond and how future netbook pricing shakes out. Windows 7 Starter only comes in 32-bit form, which isn't a big deal for netbooks that typically sport just 1GB of RAM anyway, but other missing features include Aero Glass, Taskbar Previews, and Aero Peek, among others.