The Start button and accompanying menu are iconic parts of Windows first introduced in Windows 95 over a decade and a half ago, and it looks as though the run will end with Windows 7. Leaked photos of Microsoft's Windows 8 "Consumer Preview" build show a Super Bar without a Start button, whereas in previous versions it showed up with a flat Metro-style makeover.
There's a sort of perfect storm brewing in the PC market that will greatly benefit notebook manufacturers and vendors. If the prevailing theory pans out, notebook shipments in the second half of 2012 could see a huge rise in demand, potentially jumping in proportion from 45 percent in the first half to 55 percent in 2H, or as wide as 40 percent and 60 percent, respectively.
With the Windows 8 Developer Preview having been available for more than four months now, all eyes are on the beta or, as it could end up being called this time, the “consumer preview”. Even though no specific release date has been announced, the beta/consumer preview is scheduled to arrive sometime during February. But what about Windows 8 on ARM? Well, there finally seems to be some good news on that front as well. Hit the jump for more.
The thinking heads at Redmond envision laptop users shaking their rumps and gyrating in front of their notebooks in the not-too-distant future. Imagine being able to raise your hand and manipulate tiles in Windows 8 or moving around documents (insert inevitable comparison to Minority Report). That's the path we're on as Microsoft flirts with the idea of integrating Kinect motion sensors into laptops.
Nokia may have just announced a massive quarterly loss due to a precipitous decline in handset sales, but it remains confident of “establishing a beachhead in this war of ecosystems.” The Finnish company is now banking on its Windows Phone lineup to turn things around. But are its plans only limited to the smartphone market, or is it also considering venturing into the increasingly crowded media tablet market?
While more of a steady smolder than a spectacular blaze when compared to the iPad, the Kindle Fire has shown that consumers are not averse to buying a non-iPad tablet as long as the price is right and the specs not too shabby. Amazon has literally lit up the tablet market, with a number of vendors now taking its lead in releasing affordable Android tablets. All the combustion metaphors aside, this surge in the ranks of decent budget tablets is only going to make the task that much harder for Wintel tablets, especially given Microsoft and Intel’s reluctance to subsidize their products. Everyone wants to know just how the duo would respond. Will the two giants try and enter into a price war with their rivals?
Much of the focus on Windows 8 has been centered on the Metro UI and whether or not it will translate well to non-touch devices, like your typical desktop PC or notebook computer. Dig a little underneath the hood, however, and you'll find a nifty nugget in the form of a next generation file system. It's called ReFS (Resilient File System), a newly engineered file system built on the foundations of NTFS.
Way back in September, a tech geek brouhaha flared up when Linux fans pointed out that if Microsoft required Windows 8 to ship with UEFI Secure Boot enabled, that could mean Linux distros might not be able to run on the hardware. Don’t worry, Microsoft said at the time; OEMs had the option to include an option that disabled Secure Boot. Things calmed down after that, but now, the debate has resurfaced: new guidelines require x86-based Windows 8 systems to include the ability to disable Secure Boot, but ARM-based systems specifically CANNOT be able to turn Secure Boot off.
Are Ultrabooks tablet killers? We pose that very question on the cover of this month’s print issue. The debate rages on, but Lenovo is looking to skirt the issue with a newly unveiled offering. Rather than going the Eee Pad Transformer/Slider route and sticking a keyboard on a tablet, Lenovo instead got all bendy and twisty with the IdeaPad YOGA, a touchscreen Ultrabook with a 360 degree hinge on its lid. That little design tweak lets you use the YOGA as a tablet or a notebook. Heck, you can even give it a V-shape, stand it on its end and treat it like an all-in-one.
When Microsoft announced that drive extender was being stripped out of the final version of its new Windows Home Server line, the full wrath of the Internet literally fell upon them. The comments on the on the announcement were less than kind, and even though they had a workaround of sorts to keep your data duplicated, nothing really matched the allure of a single protected pool of storage.
For those unfamiliar with it the concept, drive extender is fairly simple to understand. Take any number of disks, add them to a storage pool, and files copied to it can optionally be duplicated across multiple disks to safe guard against individual failure and are presented as one large volume to the user. Fast forward to 2012 and they are ready to make amends by bringing the feature back, however this time they are going to reach a much wider audience by packing it in with Windows 8.