Not much has happened in the Windows space this summer, though what little movement there's been indicates that users are still trending more towards Windows 7 than Windows 8/8.1. The combined share of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 in July was 12.48 percent, down a sliver from 12.54 percent in June and 12.64 percent in May. All of those figures are up slightly from the 12.24 percent share Window 8/8.1 held in April when support for XP ended, but nothing to brag about.
The Chinese government decided to delist security firms Symantec and Kaspersky from its list of approved vendors, thereby blacklisting each company's antivirus products. It's the latest in what appears to be an ongoing effort to lessen the reliance on foreign technology. Only five AV products are now on the list, all of which are from China -- Qihoo 360 Technology, Venustech, CAJinchen, Beijing Jiangmin, and Rising.
Lots of bandwidth tweaks await Titanfall in the latest update
Respawn has put the finishing touches on its fifth title update for Titanfall, and with it comes a ton of optimizations intended to improve online play. The update applies to all platforms and also includes numerous bug fixes, as well as more robust multi-GPU support specific to the PC. Respawn said it worked with Nvidia so that the second GPU would no longer sit idle.
Here's a bit of good news if you've been wanting to experiment with Google's Chrome browser in 64-bit form but weren't so keen on installing an ultra-early build that might be riddled with buggy code. Google just added the Chrome 64-bit Beta Channel for Windows 7 and 8 users, giving curious users and early adopters a more stable release to play with. It's probably not a good idea to use it for mission critical applications, but it should be in pretty good shape at this point.
Latest GeForce drivers add a bunch of SLI profiles
Attention GeForce graphics card owners -- you can now download new GeForce 340.52 WHQL drivers from Nvidia's website, or update automatically through GeForce Experience. Either way, new drivers are available, and with them, you can take advantage of GameStream technology to stream PC games to the new Shield tablet, which launches today to e-tailers and retailers, Nvidia says.
The cat is out of the bag -- Microsoft will soon release its first update for Windows Phone 8.1, and with it will come support for folders, the company revealed in a post intended for developers. As you can already do on the latest versions of Android and iOS, you'll soon be able to drag Tiles on top of each other on your Windows Phone handset to create a folder for organizing your applications.
How to save lots of money without sacrificing quality, performance, or features
Our Cheapskate’s Guide has become an annual installment in the magazine, because for most of us working stiffs, the ability to stretch a dollar and get more for less is always relevant. For some of us, it means that our love of technology and all its amazing uses won’t get in the way of us paying the rent or putting new Crocs on our kids’ feet. For others, saving money is more a matter of personal pride—the result of knowing the ins and outs of getting a good deal. Only suckers pay the sticker price! Whatever motivates your cheapskate tendencies, we say embrace them, and this year we offer our support in the form of tips for savvy shopping, guidance on making wise hardware purchases, pointers to killer deals in digital entertainment, and a whole lot more. Just don’t spend your savings foolishly!
Note: This review was originally featured in the March 2014 issue of the magazine.
Visceral Games will use its extra time to make stability and feature improvements to Battlefield Hardline
Electronic Arts originally planned to release Battlefield Hardline on October 21, 2014 for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC, but as any gamer knows, release dates are kind of like rules -- they're meant to be broken or ignored. In this case, EA announced it's delaying Battlefield Hardline until "early 2015" so that Visceral Games has more time to implement features born out of feedback from beta players.
Microsoft chief Satya Nadella caused a whirlwind of headlines and speculation with a comment he made during his company's fiscal fourth quarter earnings call. The way he worded some early rhetoric made it sound like the next version of Windows -- codenamed Threshold and likely to be called Windows 9 -- will ship with but a single SKU rather than multiple versions for smartphones, desktops, gaming consoles, and so forth. However, Nadella wasn't talking about a single OS to rule them all.
The final major update for Windows 8.1 is said to arrive on Patch Tuesday in August
Mark your calenders, folks, and be sure to use pencil instead of ink (unless it's erasable ink) -- a Russian website is reporting that Microsoft will release Windows 8.1 Update 2 on August 12, which is also next month's Patch Tuesday date. This is expected to be the last major update for Windows 8.1 before Microsoft switches gears to Windows 9, or Threshold as it's also been referred to.