In case you haven't been paying attention, the Windows Phone Store is growing and expanding into a legitimate contender right before our very eyes. By Microsoft's count, the Windows Phone Store now boasts over 300,000 apps and games, with over 2 billion app downloads to date. Sure, that's only a fraction of the available apps on Android and iOS, but it's a big fraction.
As Kenny Rogers famously advised a legion of country music fans, "You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, known when to run." Microsoft isn't quite to the point of running away from Windows 8, though it is ready to walk away from putting time and resources into major updates. There will be no Windows 8.1 Update 2, which seemingly suggests Microsoft is now looking ahead to Windows 9.
Have you heard both good and bad things about Battlefield 4 and now can't decide if you want to grab a copy? Don't sweat it -- Electronic Arts just made BF4 its newest "Game Time" title, meaning you can play the full version for free for a limited time (up to 7 days in this case). Yes, that entails going through Origin, EA's digital distribution platform, but if you're okay with that, you can download the title and hop right into the action.
It's only a matter of time before we see how much Microsoft learned fom Windows 8/8.1 and the feedback it received from users. Windows 9, otherwise known as Threshold, will usher in a new era of Windows, and early indications point to a different design philosophy than the one that drew criticism in the current version of Windows. For example, one of the rumors floating around is that Windows 9 will get rid of the Charms Bar.
When your images aren’t up to snuff, there’s always photo-editing software
Photography can be impenetrable from the gear to actually shooting and then the image editing software is a whole other uphill battle. Even with Adobe introducing Lightroom as a lightweight Photoshop alternative, it can be daunting to see a screen full of sliders as a complete novice. To help get you from serial Instagramer to amateur photographer, here’s a crash course to making your images look great with just a few steps in Lightroom.
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.