Straight to the point, Microsoft is bringing back the Start menu to Windows via an upcoming update to Windows 8.1. Along with everything else that will be introduced, we feel like Brennan from Step Brothers after he and Dale received pirate hats, dirty magazines, and crossbows - "You guys finally came to your sense and got us something cool!" And yes, despite all the criticism up to this point, Windows 8.1 finally has a shot at being a cool OS.
Cheaper Windows 8, smaller PCs, SSDs of the future, reader questions, and a rant
We've assembled once again in the podcasting dungeon to argue about Windows 8 and the latest hardware; also known as the No BS Podcast episode #220. We begin by discussing Microsoft's strategy to give Bing a shot in the arm by packaging the search engine with a more-affordable version of Windows 8.1, and then we chat a bit about Nvidia's 800M mobile GPU series and its ability to conserve battery life. Next Gordon gives us his thoughts on wee PCs and finally Josh talks about his recent visit to Intel's SSD testing facility. We finish by answering reader questions, giving you our Editor's Picks, and letting Gordon pontificate in his trademark manner.
Until Microsoft makes a formal announcement, we're still filing the possible release of Windows 8.1 with Bing under "R" for "Rumor," though it's looking more and more likely it's a real product. Following up on various sources claiming last week that Microsoft might offer a free version of Windows 8.1 bundled with Bing, new documentation leaked to the web offers some insight on what to expect from the upcoming OS.
Microsoft had been reportedly waiting until April to officially unveil Windows 8.1 Update 1, and now the latest rumors dictate April 8 as what could be the concrete date for consumers to download the upgrade. Coincidentally, that's also the same day that Microsoft will be pulling support for Windows XP. This date comes from Paul Thurrott, Supersite for Windows editor and co-host of Windows Weekly and What the Tech podcasts.
Would you upgraded to Windows 8.1 if Microsoft gave the OS away for free?
There are some interesting things happening in Microsoft's world right now. The company has a new CEO in Satya Nadella, co-founder Bill Gates figures to devote more time as Nadella settles into his new role, and there's an update to Windows 8.1 on the horizon. Depending on what impact that update has on Windows 8.1, some big changes could be in store, including a free version of Windows 8.1 with Bing. Here's the scoop.
AMD looks to increase its presence in the tablet market
It's not just Intel that wants to twist some tablet market share out of ARM's grip. AMD sees an opportunity to generate additional revenue as well. The Sunnyvale chip designer is currently showing off a reference tablet built around its 28nm Mullins chip, which is a quad-core part clocked at 1.2GHz. It's also running a 64-bit operating system -- Windows 8.1 with performance described as being "quite good."
It worked for netbooks, can it also work for entry-level laptops?
Regardless of how power users feel about Chromebooks, they're selling, and they're selling well. In fact, a Samsung Chromebook model is the best selling laptop on Amazon, and out of the top 10 most popular notebooks (in terms of sales), Chromebooks account for half. That's certainly not the landscape Microsoft envisioned when it released Windows 8, and to counter the Chromebook movement, the company is reportedly planning to slash Windows 8.1 licensing fees by 70 percent.
Big Changes at Microsoft, AMD unleashes Mantle, and more.
On this episode of the No BS Podcast #218, the staff spends a lot of time discussing Microsoft because we just can't quit them. First up we discuss its new CEO, Satya Nadella before moving on to upcoming changes to Windows 8.1, and finally the recent news of the company asking advanced users to help their friends get off Windows XP. Next we chat about AMD's Mantle API before closing by answering listener questions and delivering our picks of the week. Gordon then brings the podcast to a thundering conclusion with one of his signature rants.
One of the items Asus unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last month was its upcoming VivoTab Note 8 tablet. Apparently there were a fair number of buyers waiting for this slate -- Microsoft began offering the VivoTab Note 8 online for $329 over the weekend and it now shows as being out of stock. That's pretty impressive, assuming Microsoft didn't start off with just a small quantity.
An update to Windows 8.1 may roll out in April instead of March
Microsoft is planning to issue an update to Windows 8.1 that will introduce a number of new features and enhancements, such as possibly bypassing the Start screen and booting straight to the desktop environment by default (this hasn't been confirmed), but when it will arrive is still up in the air. Initially planned for a March release, world on the web is that Microsoft is now planning to roll out the Windows 8.1 Update 1 in April.