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Office Web Apps integrate touch support on iPad and Windows 8, brace us for an Office 2013 world

August 22nd, 2012

Office Web Apps integrate touch support on iPad and Windows 8, brace us for an Office 2013 world

Touch-friendliness is a centerpiece for the upcoming Office 2013, but don’t fret if you prefer to live in the world of Office Web Apps ahead of time. As of new preview versions of both OWA and Office 365, those using at least an iPad or Windows 8 will see larger, more finger-ready controls by default. The switch also tweaks the text selection, contextual menus and numerous other elements to work properly with the fleshier input, even going so far as to support multi-touch gestures like pinching to zoom. Windows users get a Touch Mode toggle if they’d rather flip back to traditional control methods. While the web support is still experimental and doesn’t have a completion date on the horizon, those willing to live ever so slightly on the edge can stay hooked on Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Word without having to use anything so archaic as a mouse and keyboard.

SOURCE via Microsoft

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Microsoft earns patent for claimed wireless charging improvement, pad with info screen

August 22nd, 2012

Microsoft earns patent for claimed wireless charging improvement, pad with info screen

Device makers are bent on bringing us inductive charging, and Redmond has joined the fray with a recently allotted patent that describes all kinds of tech that could make it work better. For the charging itself, a trick is proposed that’s similar to one we’ve seen before — careful matching of the resonant frequency of charger and device. That would amplify efficiency and allow more than one device to be charged at a time. To make it easier to use, a pressure sensor could detect if a device was on the pad, with different parts of the pad allocated for smartphones or tablets, for instance. The patent also proposes a display placed opposite the charger to give it another use when it’s not juicing, which would be determined by a gyro to sense which side was facing up. Of course, a lot of patents are whimsical things, which never amount to anything — but judging by the detail in this one, Microsoft may have something more concrete in mind.

SOURCE via USPTO

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Windows 8 RT tablets to sell for $300 less then Intel-based counterparts, says Lenovo exec

August 17th, 2012

Windows 8 RT tablets to sell for $300 less then Intel-based counterparts, says Lenovo exec

Microsoft and its OEM partners haven’t been particularly forthcoming on how much the first round of Windows 8 tablets are going to cost, but one Lenovo executive just gave us a hint. In a recent interview with Bloomberg, David Schmoock, Senior VP of Lenovo’s North American division, said that full-on Windows 8 tablets would ring up between $600 and $700, noting that ARM-based Windows RT slates would sell for $200 to $300 less. “RT will play in consumer and retail at very aggressive price points,” he said. This echoes previous reports that suggested Microsoft would introduce the Surface with a competitive $200 price tag. The Lenovo VP didn’t reveal any specific prices, of course, but his estimates would put the ThinkPad Tablet 2 somewhere between $300 and $500. Schmoock also commented on Ultrabook sales, stating that he didn’t think Intel would meet its lofty saturation goals: 40 percent of the market by the end of 2012. “They’ll be a lot bigger than they are now,” he admitted, “but I don’t know if it will get all the way up to 40 percent.”

SOURCE via Bloomberg

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Microsoft may ban the use of Metro name in Windows Store apps

August 16th, 2012

Microsoft may ban the use of Metro name in Windows Store apps

If Microsoft can’t use the Metro name, no one else can. Not in its company-owned Windows Store, at least. An update to the Windows 8 app criteria guide explicitly tells developers that any submitted Windows Store app with Metro in the title will “fail certification” — effectively, it’s banned. There’s a certain irony to the aggressive stance on naming when Microsoft itself still mentions Metro prominently across many of its pages, but the restriction isn’t a laughing matter for developers already trying to support an OS that doesn’t ship for another two months. One of the most popular apps in the pre-release Windows Store, MetroTwit, likely faces imminent exile without a name change; there’s also worries that mass transit apps might get the boot for entirely innocuous uses of the word. We’ve reached out to Microsoft for comment on its legal rights in the area. In the meantime, it’s safe to say that “metro” is only to be spoken in hushed tones anywhere near Microsoft’s official content portals.

SOURCE via Microsoft

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Microsoft trumpets Windows RT OEM partners, lists ASUS, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung

August 16th, 2012

Microsoft trumpets Windows RT OEM partners, lists ASUS, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung

Following sharp comments from Acer’s JT Wang surrounding Microsoft’s decision to compete with vital OEM partners in the tablet space, Mike Angiulo — the vice president of Microsoft’s Ecosystem and Planning team — has stepped to the plate with a resounding “thank you” to those very associates. Aside from praising those who will be helping to make Windows RT more than a passing fad, the company affirmed that ASUS, Dell, Samsung and Lenovo will all be shipping ARM-based products with the aforementioned operating system onboard. This pretty much confirms that the Yoga will indeed ship as a WinRT variant, and it also makes clear that Dell’s hard work for a spot in the lineup paid off. Exact model details aren’t being disclosed, nor are ship dates, but it’s becoming abundantly clear that Microsoft is working overtime behind the scenes to give its allies equal footing come October 26th.

SOURCE via Microsoft

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Microsoft debuts revised SkyDrive website and desktop apps, Android app coming soon

August 15th, 2012

Microsoft debuts revised SkyDrive website and desktop apps, Android app coming soon

Microsoft just recently gave its web-based email offering a sweeping overhaul, and it’s now also done the same for its cloud-based storage service. As detailed in a typically extensive blog post, the company has today launched an all new as SkyDrive.com (rolling out over the next 24 hours), one that now defaults to a tile-based layout and boasts new features like instant search and a contextual toolbar. As the company notes, it’s also designed with tablets in mind, in addition to desktop web browser. What’s more, Microsoft has also rolled out updated SkyDrive apps for Windows and OS X, which promises faster upload time and other performance improvements, and it says it’ll finally have an Android app in “just a few weeks.” Hit the source link below for a look at it and all the other changes.

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Toshiba backs out of Windows RT devices on launch, pins it on part delays

August 15th, 2012

Toshiba backs out of Windows RT devices on launch, pins it on part delays

Microsoft was quick to champion its new Windows RT partners, but it’ll have to count one out. Toshiba has opted not to join the ARM crowd at first and will limit itself to Intel-based Windows 8 systems, at least in the early days. The abstinence isn’t coming from any misgivings about the platform — there are unnamed “delayed components” that would make it “impossible” to put out a Windows RT system on time, Toshiba’s Eric Paulsen says. There’s no mention of when the company might dip its toe in the pool later on, and we’re not getting any reassuring signs that it’s anytime soon given that the firm is only “monitoring market conditions” rather than committing to a plan. Although Toshiba isn’t hurting for tablets given an abundance of Excite devices, the absence narrows an ecosystem that Microsoft was no doubt hoping would grow wider.

SOURCE via Slashgear

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Lenovo reportedly prepping Intel and ARM versions of IdeaPad Yoga transforming tablet

August 13th, 2012

Lenovo reportedly prepping Intel and ARM versions of IdeaPad Yoga transforming tablet

We’ve known for a while that NVIDIA is working with Lenovo (and ASUS) on a Windows RT Tablet, but ABC News believes that we might already have seen the mystery device in action. Its sources have let slip that alongside the Intel-powered IdeaPad Yoga laptop / tablet hybrid (LapLet? TabTop?), the company will release a Tegra-powered version running Windows RT, combining the same sexy hardware with ARM’s power-sipping technology. If true, then we might have a very tough purchasing decision on our hands when the gear arrives — with the launch date still expected to be on October 26th.

SOURCE via ABC News

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Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 official: Windows 8, NFC and a fingerprint reader, arrives in October

August 9th, 2012

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 official: Windows 8, NFC and a fingerprint reader, arrives in October

If you’ve been paying attention, you not only knew Lenovo was readying a ThinkPad-branded Windows 8 tablet, but you probably already noticed all the leaked specs, too. Indeed, we first saw this thing all the way back at Computex, where Lenovo gave us a fairly hands-off peek, taking care to conceal most of the device’s specs. Later, it turned up in the FCC and in official documents, letting us know the slate would actually be arriving quite soon.

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 official: Windows 8, NFC and a fingerprint reader, arrives in October

And here it is! As we previously reported, this is a 10-inch slate running Windows 8 and an Intel Atom processor. And yes, it will replace the current ThinkPad Tablet, which runs Android. Other key specs include a 1,366 x 768 IPS display, a 10-hour battery, optional 3G / 4G, micro-HDMI output and a pair of 2MP / 8MP cameras. For the most part, that cellular connection will take the form of HSPA+ but in the US, at least, the tablet will be available on AT&T’s LTE network. And, as we learned in more recent leaks, this 9.8mm-thick tablet makes room for an NFC radio, along with a fingerprint reader and a pen, which can be stowed in a slot on the tablet. Additionally, it will be sold alongside an optional keyboard, as well as a dock with three USB ports, HDMI-out and an Ethernet jack.

The one thing we don’t know? The price. So far, Lenovo is only saying the tablet will be available in October, when Windows 8 starts shipping.

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Windows Photo Gallery and Movie Maker refresh: Vimeo integration, camera stabilization

August 9th, 2012

Windows Photo Gallery and Movie Maker refresh: Vimeo integration, camera stabilization

Microsoft’s stalwart Photo Gallery and Movie Maker won’t be hitting high-end studios anytime soon, but a new refresh for Windows 7 and 8 adds useful features that the teeming masses might appreciate. Topping the list for Movie Maker is video stabilization, which fixes camera jitter and “wobble” or rolling shutter — a desperately needed feature for free software chockablock with shaky soccer mom and skater videos. Redmond has also added audio waveforms and an extra narration track, simple audio cleanup tools and text effects to the video editor.

As for Photo Gallery, the only new tool of note is “auto collage” which should let you create spectacularly cheesy montages using seven or more photos, regardless of artistic talent or effort. Finally, the software giant announced Vimeo as its new “publish partner,” letting you upload your Gadget Cribs rip-offs from either program directly to the site. Let’s see if the video hoster figures out a way to cordon off the onslaught of new freeware riff-raff from its regular hipster / film school crowd.

SOURCE via Microsoft

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