The second day of the ongoing Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) trade show in Berlin once again belonged to Windows 8. Among the Windows 8 devices showcased on Thursday was a disparate trio of Dell XPS PCs: the Dell XPS 10 Windows RT tablet, the XPS Duo 12 convertible Ultrabook, and the XPS One 27 all-in-one PC.
Regardless of how you feel about Windows 8 and its tile-based user interface, you have to hand it to Microsoft for ensuring its launch partners are on board with the new operating system. Hewlett-Packard certainly is, as it's one of several companies announcing new products ahead of Windows 8's debut in October. HP today unveiled three new Windows 8 devices, including two Ultrabook models (Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 and Spectre XT TouchSmart) and a hybrid PC (Envy x2) that follows a growing trend of combining a tablet PC and Ultrabook into a single device.
IFA Berlin is in full swing and we're starting to see a number of Windows 8 product announcements emerge. One of them is Toshiba's Satellite U925t convertible tablet, or "tablet meets Ultrabook," as the company describes it. Sleek and slim, the Satellite U925t looks every bit a tablet, but a slide out QWERTY keyboard quickly transforms it into a makeshift Ultrabook with some pretty impressive hardware inside.
Samsung isn't letting a little thing like losing a billion dollar verdict to rival Apple disrupt its mojo. Rather than sit around and feel sorry for itself, Samsung today surprised everyone by announcing the Ativ S, the world's first Windows 8 smartphone, edging in front of Nokia and every other Microsoft partner that's planning to launch devices of their own. Ativ S is one of a handful of devices in Samsung's newly branded Ativ Windows 8 product line.
We don't know if Acer is still sulking in the corner over having to compete with Microsoft in the Windows 8 tablet arena, but one company that isn't is Asus. Instead, Asus today unveiled its Viva Tab and Viva Tab RT tablets (formerly known as as Asus Tablet 810 and 600, respectively). Both models are dual-purpose tablets built to run Windows 8/RT with a detachable QWERTY keyboard dock.
Here's what we know so far about Windows 8 pricing. If you want to upgrade from XP, Vista, or Windows 7 to Windows Pro, it will cost $40 up through January 31, 2013, after which time the price will go up. We also know that if you buy (or already purchased) a qualifying Windows 7 PC between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013, a Windows 8 Pro upgrade will run $15. Other than those two promotions, Microsoft hasn't released any official pricing info. What gives?
Windows 8, for those of you who don’t know, relies on something called SmartScreen Application Reputation to identify and warn users of potentially dangerous desktop apps. According to Microsoft, the operating system uses SmartScreen, which was previously restricted to Internet Explorer, to conduct “an application reputation check the first time you launch applications that come from the Internet.” With SmartScreen providing an additional layer of security to Windows 8 users, they will have a lot less to worry about, right? Wrong, according to Canadian security researcher Nadim Kobeissi, who has a serious issue with the way the feature works.
With Microsoft getting ready to launch its next generation operating system (OS), buyers and vendors appear stuck in a holding pattern staring at soon-to-be dated inventory. As a result, analysts at International Data Corporation (IDC) lowered their outlook on the market and now predict the PC shipments will grow just 0.9 percent in 2012. That's actually up slightly compared to one year ago, though it's the second consecutive year of sub-2 percent growth, IDC says.
Samsung has uploaded a video to YouTube showing brief glimpses of a new notebook model the company describes as its "newest Windows-8 ready innovation." The title is "Something Smart is Coming," and other than that, there aren't a whole lot of clues to decipher. Considering that Samsung is hyping this machine as a Windows 8 device, it's probably a safe bet it will ship with a touchscreen to take advantage of Microsoft's next generation operating system.
After 25 years sporting the same logo, Microsoft today decided "now is the perfect time for a change." That's hard to argue with Windows 8 right around the corner, representing one of several major product launches in store for the Redmond outfit. Windows Phone 8, new Xbox services, and another version of Office are also on tap for Microsoft, and for end users, you'll notice a "common look and feel across these products," Microsoft says.