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.
We’ve all seen the laptop hunters in action over the past several weeks and though you may not have noticed it at first, these ads represent a significant shift in tactics. The new marketing campaign by Microsoft takes a much less passive aggressive stance than in the past, and for the first time, charges head on into their primary competitor. In the previous campaign which featured a diverse group of actors claiming to be PC’s, Apple is never specifically mentioned, but clearly if you’re not a Mac you’re a PC right?
Microsoft’s strategy up to this point has been to ignore Apple completely, and to never give them the satisfaction of being acknowledged publically as a valid alternative to Windows. This new campaign is much less subtle about the value of a PC when compared to a Mac, and it is not surprising that they have invoked a response from Apple as a result.
According to an Apple spokesman “The one thing that both Apple and Microsoft can agree on is that everyone thinks the Mac is cool. With its great designs and advanced software, nothing matches it at any price." So close, yet so far”. Certain publications such as BusinessWeek would also have us believe that Anti Virus software and Geek Squad visits will make up the price difference between a $699 HP & a $2,800 Mac, but we don’t buy that argument either. One thing is certain however; we can likely expect Apple’s next ad campaign to respond in kind, making this the start of a very interesting and public war between the two rivals.
Google this week released an 'early-look' version of the SDK for Android 1.5 with a smorgasbord of features to keep developers busy for quite some time. Google crammed so many goodies into its latest release that it would probably be easier to list what's not included, like no Microsoft Exchange sync, but where's the fun in that? Here's just a sampling of what's new:
On-screen soft keyboard
Works in both portrait and landscape orientation
Support for user installation of 3rd party keyboards
Video playback (MPEG4 and 3GP formats)
And the list goes on and on. But it's not just new features that find their way into Android, but several existing ones have been polished. Even the SDK itself has been tweaked and "introduces several new capabilities that enable you to develop applications more efficiently for multiple platform versions and locales."
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.
For some time now Intel has been working on a Linux-based operating system (now in its alpha stage of testing), named Moblin. The goal of Moblin is to provide the Atom CPU a light and fast OS that is far less demanding than a full version of Windows.
According to those in the alpha test, Moblin can offer two second boot times (with some optimization). If all this were true, then it would give us the fastest booting OS available. Intel’s Open Source Technology Center director Imhad Sousou is very much on board as well, stating, “We think that two second boot is possible.”
A two second boot would provide an ideal platform for mobile systems (such as netbooks and MIDs) to operate on. For many, having a system in sleep mode (which drains the battery) is preferable to booting the system each and every time they want to use it. The concept of a two second boot would eliminate the need for this.
So, given the concept of a two second boot, would you be willing to ditch Windows and give Moblin a try? Let us know in the comments!
If you've been worrying about computer security for awhile, you might remember when macro viruses in Microsoft Word and Excel files were at the top of the exploit list. These file formats, along with the omnipresent Adobe Reader PDF format, are once again among the biggest threat vectors being exploited by today's malware, according to a new report from the Microsoft Malware Protection Center. Fittingly, the full report and a condensed key findings version are available in either PDF or Microsoft's own XPS formats. These reports cover the July-December 2008 period.
Some key findings include:
Scareware (which Microsoft calls "rogue security software") is on the rise, including the latest versions of our old friend Antivirus XP.
A slight reduction in unique vulnerability disclosures from 2007, but the High (most serious) category was larger in the second half of 2008 than in the first half of the year or the second half of 2007.
Applications continue to be the biggest target (86.7%, with browsers at 8.8%, and operating systems at only 4.5%)
Redmond's ad writers drew blood with their first Laptop Hunters ad: "Congrats, Lauren. It's a PC," last month. They've wasted little time in following it up. This time, it's the guys' turn, and a little higher budget's in the offing: Giampaolo goes shopping for a powerful laptop under $1500. We watch him check out the stats, the keyboards, and hear him dismiss the Mac platform: "Macs, to me, are more about the esthetics, not the computing power." In the end, Giampaolo snags a Windows Vista-based laptop for about $1100. The tag line this time? "It's a PC because I'm really picky."
You can check out (Silverlight required) the continuing Laptop Hunters series at Microsoft's TV commercials website (including last year's painful "Mojave Experiment" and unbearable Gates & Seinfeld misfires). We like the Laptop Hunters commercials, but how about you? If you're on the Mac versus PC fence, do they push you off the fence? If you have Mac-loving friends or family members, what do they think? Join us after the jump for your chance to spill.
Convincing Acer -- who, at last count, was selling more netbooks than Asus and claims 38.3 percent of the market -- that your OS is a suitable alternative to XP or Linux for use on netbooks is no easy task. At a press event earlier this week, Chief Executive Gianfranco Lanci and Jim Wong head of Acer's IT products business line, told reporters that while Acer plans on using Google's open-source Android OS in its upcoming smartphone, it doesn't feel the OS is ready for netbooks.
"For a netbook, you really need to be able to view a full web for the total internet experience," Wong said. "And Android is not that yet."
Lanci echoed Wong's sentiments, adding that Android is better suited for communication, whereas Windows comes at the market from the computing side. According to Lanci, an ideal solution would be to offer both. However Lanci did admit that Acer is currently testing Android on its netbooks, adding "I think everybody in the industry is testing Android on netbooks."
And he's right. HP said last week that it was considering Android for future netbooks, and so too has Asus.
Would you be interested in an Android-powered netbook, or is XP the way to go? Hit the jump and sound off.
That's the message that Microsoft announced today on its Engineering Windows 7 blog, Cnet's Ina Fried reports.
While Microsoft says you can upgrade from Win7 Beta to RC when it becomes available, it prefers that you upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7 RC. Why? As the E7 blog entry points out:
The RC...is about getting breadth coverage to validate the product in real-world scenarios. As a result, we want to encourage you to revert to a Vista image and upgrade or to do a clean install, rather than upgrade the existing Beta. We know that means reinstalling, recustomizing, reconfiguring, and so on. That is a real pain. The reality is that upgrading from one pre-release build to another is not a scenario we want to focus on because it is not something real-world customers will experience.
This reasoning makes sense from Redmond's standpoint, but since the same blog post acknowledges that millions of users (including, I bet, a lot of Maximumpc.com fans) are using Windows 7 Beta as their "full time" operating system, Microsoft has outlined a way to bypass the usual installer checks. Join us after the jump for the details.
While Windows XP has proven itself to be the biggest contender to Microsoft’s (almost) flagship OS, Windows Vista, it could very well outlive it and perhaps come to compete with Windows 7.
According to recent reports, Microsoft recently granted HP and exclusive OEM license extension for XP all the way into the depths of 2010. This would line it up to go side by side with Windows 7 on netbooks, and provide healthy competition in that sector. With this number in mind, it will make Windows XP almost nine years old before it finally stops shipping.
It’s not expected that HP will ship PCs with Windows XP on them other than netooks. A massive 96 percent of the netbook market is running off of Windows, and an overwhelming majority of this is XP.
Still, netbooks aside, Windows XP is still the global majority leader with a market share of 62.85 percent. Windows Vista rolls in at second place with a 23.42 percent share.