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The Klikk Blog -> Previews<< Back
February 29, 2012
Download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview
 
 

BARCELONA, Spain — Feb. 29, 2012 —Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview — the next milestone of the Windows operating system. This latest preview will be made available for download starting today at http://preview.windows.com. The Windows 8 Consumer Preview offers a more robust experience for testing the world’s most popular operating system and is available to the widest range of people yet following the initial release of the Windows 8 Developer Preview late last year. The Developer Preview received more than 3 million downloads.

“With Windows 8, we reimagined the different ways people interact with their PC and how to make everything feel like a natural extension of the device, whether using a Windows 8 tablet, laptop or all-in-one,” said Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft. “The Windows 8 Consumer Preview brings a no-compromises approach to using your PC.”

At a Windows 8 Consumer Preview event in Barcelona that was attended by partners from Europe and around the world, the company shared some key new updates in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview:

Broad range of product changes and improvements. Since the Developer Preview in September, designed to preview the programming platform, Windows 8 has progressed across every dimension. From completing the user experience for touch, keyboard and mouse to refining the development platform, the Consumer Preview improves performance, quality and reliability across all subsystems. With the added features, it represents a more complete view of the capabilities of Windows 8.

Windows Store with new apps. The Windows 8 Consumer Preview marks the beta opening of the Windows Store, which is filled with a variety of new Metro style apps from both third-party developers and Microsoft. During the Consumer Preview, these apps are available to try and experience at no cost to users. The Windows Store will offer personalized recommendations, and Windows 8 gives users the ability to take their apps and settings with them across multiple PCs, making it easy to discover and try new apps while offering developers the greatest opportunity of any platform.

Connecting to the cloud across Windows-based PCs and Windows Phone. The Windows 8 Consumer Preview offers seamless integration with the content people care about across their devices. An optional additional sign-on with a Microsoft account provides access to a host of features, including the ability to roam all settings, use cloud storage, communicate with email, calendar and contacts, and connect to a broad range of services. Your connection to the cloud works across your Windows-based PCs and your Windows Phones.

Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview 5. The best way to experience the Web on Windows is with Internet Explorer 10. The browser has been re-imagined to create a new experience designed specifically for Windows 8 devices. It provides an edge-to-edge user interface that is all about less browser and more Web. Fast and fluid, Internet Explorer is hardware-accelerated to enable Web performance.

Preview of new hardware capabilities. At the event, Microsoft also showcased Windows 8 running on a wide range of new x86- and ARM-based reference hardware. This hardware will be available to select developers for trial and testing as previously announced.

 

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview will be available worldwide for download in English, French, German, Japanese and simplified Chinese languages. More information about Windows 8 and how to download the Consumer Preview is available at http://preview.windows.com or http://windowsteamblog.com.

November 29, 2010

Grilli3D claims to have developed a protective film for iPad screens that will allow users to view certain types of 3D content without requiring special glasses. The film is said to achieve a high level of signal separation between the left and right signals, which are "column interlaced" as alternating vertical lines that are spread in radial rays around the screen.

Although users should be able to find an optimum viewing angle, the company admits that a particular position and viewing distance must be maintained to properly view the 3D effect. The "pools" of signal separation are presented in a number of particular spots, however, which allows multiple users to simultaneously view 3D content.

Unfortunately, the current range of content that can be viewed using the Grilli film is limited to a few sample images and videos available from the manufacturer. The company does provide instructions for processing stereoscopic content via Photoshop or Final Cut Pro to be viewed in 3D on the iPad.

Grilli3D will release the iPad film in the near future for $30, while an iPhone and iPod touch variant is also on the way.

November 23, 2010

Shocker of shockers, folks -- Acer's getting into the tablet game, too. With the holidays too close for comfort, the outfit's giving everyone pause that was considering that janky Android tablet on sale for Black Friday. All jesting aside, the flagship 10.1-incher looks quite interesting, boasting a dual-core 1GHz processor, an HDMI output and a native 1280x800 screen resolution. You'll also get a 5 megapixel rear camera, an HD front-facing camera for video calling and full multitouch support. Hard to say how many clams it'll cost ya, but at least there's an April 2011 ship date to mark down. Moving on, the 7-inch tablet (also unnamed as of now) packs the same screen resolution, a dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm CPU and the same Flash 10.1 support -- so far as we can tell, the "Android Tablet OS" Acer speaks of is Froyo, or Android 2.2. That one's also coming in April of next year.

March 17, 2010

 

What do you get if you rip out the guts of an Acer Aspire Timeline 1810 laptop and replace the CULV processor with a newer, faster, Core i5 chip? Apparently what you get is the Acer Aspire TimelineX 1830T.

It will reprotedly have an 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display and an Intel Core i5-520UM processor with a clock speed that ranges from 1.06GHz to 1.86Hz depending on use. The graphics core has a clock speed of 166MHz to 500MHz and should be able to handle HD video playback, although it may not be powerful enough for some games with 3D graphics.

The rest of the specs are pretty much the same as you’d find from Acer’s existing thin and light notebooks: 802.11b/gn WiFi, HDMI, SPDIF, 3 USB ports, and optional Bluetooth and 3G modems. The battery should be good for about 8 hours.

The only thing that we don’t know yet is the price. Acer will make an official announcement in late March. If Acer can manage to upgrade the processor without dramatically boosting the price of the Aspire Timeline 1810 series, this will be a real winner. 

January 31, 2010

steve_jobs_630x.jpg

Steve Jobs held a town hall meeting with Apple employees late last week following the iPad launch. Wired reports on what was said at the meeting by Steve Jobs. Two of the biggest topics included Google and Adobe.

On Google, Jobs confirms the much-reported competition between the two companies.

On Google: We did not enter the search business, Jobs said. They entered the phone business. Make no mistake they want to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them, he says. Someone else asks something on a different topic, but there’s no getting Jobs off this rant. I want to go back to that other question first and say one more thing, he says. This don’t be evil mantra: “It’s bullshit.” Audience roars.

As for Adobe, Jobs said they are lazy and Jobs blames Adobe for a buggy implementation of Flash on the Mac as one of the reasons they won't support it.

About Adobe: They are lazy, Jobs says. They have all this potential to do interesting things but they just refuse to do it. They don’t do anything with the approaches that Apple is taking, like Carbon. Apple does not support Flash because it is so buggy, he says. Whenever a Mac crashes more often than not it’s because of Flash. No one will be using Flash, he says. The world is moving to HTML5.

Those are the main points covered by Wired's article. Many of the details of the Wired report line up, so we believe it likely to be accurate. Some additional key points that we learned:

- Apple will deliver aggressive updates to iPhone that Android/Google won't be able to keep up with
- iPad is up there with the iPhone and Mac as the most important products Jobs has been a part of
- Regarding the Lala acquisition, Apple was interested in bringing those people into the iTunes team
- Next iPhone coming is an A+ update
- New Macs for 2010 are going to take Apple to the next level
- Blu-Ray software is a mess, and Apple will wait until sales really start to take off before implementing it.

 

January 30, 2010

We don’t know how to build a $500 computer that’s not a piece of junk.”

Netbooks aren’t better at anything.”

Those two quotes are both from Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The first was during an earnings call in late 2008 when Jobs fielded a question about why Apple wasn’t cutting prices amid the rising success of netbooks. The second came on Wednesday as Jobs was unveiling the iPad.

Apple has made it clear all along that they had no plans to build a netbook. And true to their word, they haven’t. But that doesn’t mean that Apple didn’t feel there was a need for a device that resided in between a full laptop and a mobile phone — in fact, that’s squarely where Apple is positioning the iPad. With it, they feel that they’ve created a $500 (for the baseline version) device that is superior to every netbook out there.

Meanwhile, Google has decided to target the market in between the laptop and the mobile phone as well. But whereas Apple is anti-netbook, Google is very pro-netbook — they just want to make them better. That’s the reason behind Google’s Chrome OS, as Google clearly laid out during its unveiling event late last year.

And so yes, we once again have Google and Apple on a collision course.

Now, it remains to be seen if people who buy an iPad will do so instead of buying a netbook. At first, I’m not so sure that will be the case. But it stands to reason that eventually, this will happen. And as Jobs’ comments on stage on Wednesday made abundantly clear, that’s Apple’s idea too. In their eyes, you shouldn’t buy a cheap, underpowered PC, you should buy an iPad, their anti-netbook.

Google, which plans to release its first Chrome OS-based netbooks in time for the holiday season next year, can’t like that plan too much. They have promised that netbooks that run Chrome OS will be better than current netbooks because they’re dictating certain minimum requirements (such as big keyboards) to manufacturing partners. But Chrome OS netbooks won’t be able to match the sex appeal of the iPad’s multi-touch screen. However, what they can offer is a familiar experience (much more like a traditional laptop then an iPad), and that will be appealing to a lot of people.

And what’s interesting is that for either of the two to be massive hits, they both will need consumers to continue to feel comfortable moving away from traditional software applications such as Microsoft Office. But their plans to get consumers to do that are very different. Google wants everyone to move towards doing everything on their apps in the cloud. Apple, as they made clear with their overly-long iWork for iPad demo on Wednesday, wants everyone to move towards using iPhone OS-based apps.

And that’s why this battle coming at the end of this year will be interesting to watch. Both Apple and Google are very popular with consumers, but their offerings are very different — while aiming for the same market. And as two companies that were once as close as could be, it’s also fascinating to watch the tension and awkwardness as they now compete in an ever-growing number of areas.

If this market between laptops and smartphones proves big enough, perhaps the two frenemies can once again find a common ground and band together to defeat their common enemy: Microsoft. But the obvious strategy for this used to be that Google would attack Microsoft from the bottom with its Chrome OS netbooks, while Apple attacked from the top with their premium computers, leaving Microsoft squeezed in the middle. With the iPad now clearly aimed at netbooks thanks to its pricing and Apple’s positioning, everything is different.

 

October 30, 2009

The Wii has been lauded for getting gamers in better shape, as its motion-sensing controls and exercise-themed games typically involve a lot of movement.

Now a new Wii accessory -- the Cyberbike -- may be helping users to further burn off those unwanted calories.  Big Ben Interactive is taking its license to produce Wii controllers quite liberally and has unveiled the new "controller", an interactive exercise bike that will immerse Wii fans in an interactive riding game.

The idea of a bike controller has been floating around for some time now.  In 1994 the Life Fitness Exertainment System hit the market, but it failed to win over many customers, thanks to its lofty price of about €2,400.  No price on the new Wii accessory has been announced yet, but it's safe to say that it will be far less than the Exertainment System and the cheapest interactive biking simulator to date.

One major concern that many potential customers have raised is the durability of the peripheral, a reasonable concern given that you'll be pounding out miles on thing.  

The unveiled box art shows a slender exerciser peddling away in front of a TV.  According to the box art, the controller will be compatible both with the titular Cyberbike game, and with Wii Mario Kart.

No release date has been set yet for the device.

Wii CyberbikeWii Cyberbike Box SetWii Cyberbike Screenshot
October 29, 2009

Nintendo quickly confirmed rumors by unveiling the DSi LL. Its screens have increased by more than an inch to 4.2 inches each and are seen as better for Internet access as well as for gameplay. It also gets a larger, more comfortable second stylus and a battery life that increases from 2.5 hours to three during active gameplay.

The handheld also now has the DSi's web browser already installed and also comes with a dictionary and two Brain Age games. Nintendo will start shipping the LL to Japan on November 21st in dark brown, white and wine red colors. Plans haven't been detailed for an international launch.

Wine Red DSI LLDark Brown DSI LLWhite DSI LL

 

October 23, 2009

Five nice touches in Outlook 2010

 

KLIKK picks out five highlights from the technical preview of Office 2010

Here are some of the small improvements that Microsoft isn't trumpeting, but which definitely make the day easier in Outlook 2010.

1. The To-Do bar shows All-Day Events and timed appointments. We have always thought its strange that Outlook 2007 would tell you about a 10:30 meeting in the boardroom, but would neglect to show the big conference you were meant to be at tomorrow.

2. The status bar shows how many reminders you have, and lets you click to see the Reminders window for full details. This is great if you keep snoozing reminders for tasks or appointments, as you can get the reminders back once you find you have a spare two minutes to deal with them, not just when Outlook decides to remind you (which is typically in the middle of an important phone call).

3. Scheduling meetings is even smoother. Type the names of the people you need at the meeting and the Meeting Suggestions pane will show you a calendar of dates when you have a good, fair or poor chance of getting all those people together for the required time. Pick a day and it will show you the possible timeslots when all or most can attend.

4. Accepting meetings is smoother too. The buttons in the Appointment Request message to accept, decline or propose a new time now have dropdown menus to send or not send a response, which cuts out the annoying modal dialog that used to ask the same thing.

5. Also on the status bar is a zoom control to enlarge the text and images in the Preview pane - great for hard-to-read emails - and two buttons called Normal and Reading. The Reading button makes both the Navigator and To-Do panes roll away to give you more space to read your emails. The Normal button brings these side panes back again. This is another example of the Office apps converging to give a more unified experience.

 

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