Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A peep into Windows 8!

A lot of technology news has been piping out of the All Things Digital D9 conference in California recently and today is no exception. First, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo confirmed photo-sharing coming to Twitter. Now, we are all getting the very first glimpse of Windows 8. The photo above is the brand new Start menu in the next iteration of Windows. As you can see, it is completely different from ever before — yet it somehow looks familiar. It is heavily inspired by Windows Phone 7, Microsoft’s latest smart phone operating system. The mobile OS is notable for its unique live tiles UI, which updates with content from the internet personalized by the user

Windows 8 features those same live tiles in the Start menu. It even starts with a lock screen and the ability to quickly glance at notifications. By the way, see that Store tile? Consider the Windows app store confirmed. Never before has the operating system been integrated with the web in such a way. Plus, the screenshot makes clear that they each tile is very large. Could Microsoft be making a major switch to touch control in Windows 8 as opposed to a mouse or track pad?

There'll be two kinds of applications for Windows 8, one that runs in a traditional desktop, and the other pseudo-mobile apps based on HTML5 and Javascript, but both environments -- rather, the entire OS -- have been designed from the ground up for touchscreen use. Keyboard and mouse will still be options for both sets of programs, but there are multiple virtual sets of keys for different form factors, including a split keyboard for vertical slate use. Multitasking is simply a matter of swiping running apps into the center of the screen, and you can pull windows partway to "snap" them in place alongside other windows -- even mixing and matching traditional desktop programs with web apps simultaneously (like Twitter alongside your spreadsheet). There's a new version of Internet Explorer 10 (which runs Silverlight) and an app store built into the touchscreen interface, along with integrated services like Office 365. Microsoft says the new OS will run on laptops, tablets and desktops when it appears -- whenever that might be.

All Things D didn't have any details on when we'll get pricing or availability, We should note that "Windows 8" is just a codename for what we're seeing here -- "we'll figure out the real name in due time," Sinofsky told the crowd -- but we don't see much harm in calling it Windows 8 for now.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Google Launches Music Beta!!!

Google has finally rolled out its own music locker and streaming service at the ongoing I/O developer conference in San Francisco.

Music Beta by Google, like Amazon’s recently launched Cloud Drive service, will let users store their entire music collection on the cloud. However, the service will offer more memory than what is being offered by Amazon.

Users will be able to access and stream their music files on any desktop or laptop via web. The company has also released an Android app for smartphones and tablet devices based on the popular platform.

Google, however, won’t allow its users to share music with their friends and purchase music as it failed to ink a deal with record labels. The company had been negotiating with record companies for a long time but then decided to launch the service without licenses, just like Amazon.

The company said that users will be able to listen music even when they are offline as the service automatically stores recently player music on their device.

“With the new service, your music and playlists are automatically kept in sync, so if you create a new playlist on your phone, it’s instantly available on your computer or tablet. You can use a feature called Instant Mix to create a playlist of songs that go well together,” the company explained, Smart Company reports.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Google Chromebooks: The Chrome OS!!

The first laptops running on a Google-designed software system will go on sale in the US and six other countries next month.

The June 15 release date announced Wednesday means the lightweight laptops will hit the market nearly two years after Google Inc. began working on an operating system based on its Chrome Web browser.

Since then, Apple Inc.'s iPad and other tablet computers have become hot sellers. The growing popularity of tablets has raised questions about how interested consumers will be interested in buying Google-powered laptops specifically tailored for Web surfing.

Samsung Electronics Co. and Acer Inc. are making the first Chromebooks. They will sell for $349 to $499 at Best Buy and Inc. in the US. The cheapest IPad sells for $499.

Acer's Chromebook, at $349, will have an 11.6-inch screen display and up to six hours of battery life. Samsung's version, selling for $429 to $499, will have a 12.1-inch screen and up to 8.5 hours of battery life. Both models will have keyboards, but no hard drives for storage. The machines will be like computer terminals dependent on a connection to the Internet. The laptops come with 16 gigabytes of flash memory - the kind found in smartphones, tablet computers and some iPods. They have slots to plug in other storages device you buy separately.

The Chromebooks also will be sold in Britain, France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy and Spain.

In an effort to get people to use Chromebooks, Google is offering three-year subscription plans to businesses and schools similar to how the mobile phone industry subsidizes devices up front and make the money back over the life of a service contract. For a monthly cost of $28 per user in businesses and government agencies and $20 per user in schools, Google provides the laptop, tech support and a warranty for the duration. Google will replace the Chromebooks at the end of the three years.

Chromebook's long-awaited debut will intensify Google's competition with Microsoft Corp., whose Windows operating system remains the foundation of most personal computers.

Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have long felt that Windows computers took too long to power up and were too clunky to operate. They believed that Windows' drawbacks were discouraging people from spending even more time online, where they could click on ads sold by Google.

To address the perceived problem, Google announced its plans in July 2009 for a Chrome-based operating system that would enable computers to turn on in a matter of seconds and encourage more Web surfing.

"The complexity of managing computers is really frustrating for users out there," Brin told reporters Wednesday at Google's conference for software developers. "It's a flawed model."

Brin, who began focusing on special projects earlier this year, said he didn't have enough information to comment on a Justice Department investigation into the online ad system that generates most of Google's revenue. The company disclosed Tuesday that it has set aside $500 million to settle the probe. It provided few details.

Besides attacking Microsoft's Windows franchise, Google's Chromebook also will represent another challenge to Apple, which makes Mac computers as well as iPads. Google and Apple have been engaged in a fierce competition in the smartphone market for the past two years.

Google itself has joined the tablet computer craze by creating a special version of its Android software for mobile devices. Apple sold nearly 20 million iPads during the tablet's first year on the market. and analysts expect people to buy tens of millions more tablets from Apple and other manufacturers during the next few years.

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