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When I blogged recently about Microsoft's plans on the operating-systems front following Windows 8.1, I mentioned a couple of "spring 2015" releases.
It turns out the Microsoft codename for that wave of deliverables is Threshold.
A couple of my contacts have confirmed that Microsoft Executive Vice President Terry Myerson recently mentioned the Threshold codename in an internal email about plans for his unified operating-system engineering group. If all goes according to early plans, Threshold will include updates to all three OS platforms (Xbox One, Windows and Windows Phone) that will advance them in a way to share even more common elements.
(The codename Threshold, for those wondering, derives from the planet around which the first halo ring orbited in the original Halo game launched back in 2001. Threshold joins "Cortana," Microsoft's answer to Siri, as yet another codename with its origins in the Xbox franchise.)
From what I've heard, Threshold doesn't refer to a single Windows OS -- not even the expected, converged hybrid comprised of the Windows Phone OS and Windows RT. Instead, the codename refers to the wave of operating systems across Windows-based phones, devices and gaming consoles. The Xbox One OS, Windows 8.x OS and Windows Phone 8 OS already share a common Windows NT core. As we've heard before, Microsoft is working to deliver a single app store across its myriad Windows platforms. Company officials also are laboring to make the developer toolset for all three of these platforms more similar.
But Threshold will add another level of commonality across Microsoft's various Windows-based platforms, sources said.
With the Threshold wave, Microsoft plans to support the same core set of "high value activities" across platforms. These high-value activities include expression/documents (Office, and the coming "Remix" digital storytelling app, I'd think); decision making/task completion (Bing, I'd assume); IT management (Intune and Workplace Join, perhaps?) and "serious fun."
CEO Steve Ballmer mentioned this concept of high-value activities at back in July when he announced Microsoft's cross-company reorg to make the company more focused around its new "One Microsoft" mission.
Before Microsoft gets to Threshold, the company is on track to deliver an update to Windows 8.1 (known as Windows 8.1 Update 1) around the same time that it delivers Windows Phone "Blue" (Windows Phone 8.1). That's supposedly happening in the spring 2014/Q2 2014 timeframe, from what my sources have said. I've asked Microsoft officials if they'd confirm any of this information about Threshold. No word back so far.
via Zdnet - http://www.zdnet.com...ape-7000023832/
170 Views · 1 Replies ( Last reply by kingbuzzo )
Less than a year ago we were preparing to launch Windows 8, which introduced our vision of highly personalized mobile computing. And here we are today announcing the global availability of Windows 8.1. Windows 8.1 demonstrates our commitment to continuously improving the product to create a richer customer experience. We are excited to have customers start updating their devices today and getting to experience new Windows devices this holiday season.
Windows 8.1 brings a variety of new features and improvements to Windows 8 that we think people will really enjoy. We listened to your feedback and are delivering many of the improvements you asked for.
If you are a consumer with a Windows 8 device, you can now download the free update to Windows 8.1 online through the Windows Store*. Please visit Windows.com for everything you need to know including how to get the update for your Windows 8 device. If you are a consumer on a device running Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, or the Windows 8.1 Preview – this page on Windows.com will detect your OS and provide you with all the information you need in order to get Windows 8.1 on your device. I also highly recommend reading our FAQwhich answers many of the most common questions about getting Windows 8.1.
Starting tomorrow October 18th, Windows 8.1 will also be available on new devices and as packaged DVD product at retail locations around the world. You can also click here to learn about the wide variety of new Windows devices available now and coming throughout the holiday season to find the one that best fits their needs, and their budget. To celebrate the new Windows, starting today for the next 8 days – we will pick 810 (see what we did there?) random winners per day who tweet and share their new Start screen after updating their Windows 8 device to Windows 8.1 with the #MyStart hashtag.
You’ve heard us (and me) talk a lot about the new features in Windows 8.1 since the Build conference last June but I think it’s worth reiterating the awesomeness that Windows 8.1 brings to your device.
Start the way you want. The Start screen in Windows 8.1 is more customizable than ever with new tile sizes, new background designs and colors – allowing you to make the Start screen on your device unique and personal to you (you should see some of the color combinations I’ve come up with for my Start screen!). You can also choose how you start your Windows experience – at the Start screen or the desktop. The Start button is back. And there is an improved Apps view that allows you to see all your apps the way you want.
Multi-tasking is even better in Windows 8.1 – you can now have up to four apps side by side with flexible windows sizing for each app on the screen. At a minimum, I usually have 3 apps snapped side by side on my devices doing various things like email, listening to music and browsing the web. We have also improved multi-monitor support in Windows 8.1 allowing users to view their desktop or apps from the Windows Store on any or all their monitors.
Bing Smart Search is the easiest way to find what you are looking for and to get things done. Built for touch, swipe or type from the Start screen and Smart Search will find what you need – whether it’s a document on your PC, a photo album in the cloud, your favorite app, or a website.
Windows 8.1 comes with new and improved Microsoft apps and services – available right out of the box and right from your Start screen. Skype is there for instant messaging and catching up with friends and family. We’ve updated the Mail app (well, more like over-hauled) to make email easier – for both personal and email and work email. Two new Bing apps are introduced in Windows 8.1 called Food & Drink and Health & Fitness along with updates to the News, Weather, Finance, Travel and Sports apps. Xbox Music has received a big update for Windows 8.1, and you can watch TV and movies with Xbox Video. And Windows 8.1 comes with Internet Explorer 11which is optimized for touch and brings speed boosts and synchronized browsing history, favorites, and settings across all of your Windows 8.1 devices.
Speaking of synchronizing – Windows 8.1 also comes with deep and improved cloud integration with SkyDrive. Your files are always accessible across all your devices. With SkyDrive smart files, you can create, edit, save and share files anywhere, anytime and your files are always with you, both on and offline.
And the Windows Store has been redesigned in Windows 8.1. With the “New & Rising” section it is now easier to stay on top of the hottest and newest apps to hit the Windows Store. Plus, the Windows Store has a live tile too! The Windows Store will also now provide you with personalized recommendations – powered by Bing. And apps are now updated from the Windows Store automatically by default so you will always have the best and newest versions of your apps. Look for new and updated apps including Adobe Photoshop Express, Box, Evernote, Facebook, Hulu Plus, Netflix, and NOOK, for Windows 8.1. And more to come!
Windows 8.1 will also bring some very innovative new devices for both consumers and businesses from tablets and 2-in-1s with a perfect mix of mobility and productivity, to new laptops, All-in-Ones and specialized industry devices.Windows 8.1 brings the widest selection of designs at every price point. I’ll be blogging more about many of these devices over the next few weeks as they become available, so you can find and experience a device that is truly an extension of you.
Windows 8.1 represents collaboration across the entire company. Over the last three days, we’ve featured guest blog posts from our friends at Skype, Xbox, Bing, SkyDrive, and Internet Explorer that discusses in the connected experience that Windows 8.1 brings together.
And now you can enjoy the results of this work today. So get your device updated! And be sure to share those Start screens.
*Internet access required; fees may apply.
538 Views · 1 Replies ( Last reply by rob1951 )
Microsoft is making Windows 8.1 commercially available over the next day-plus (depending on your time zone).
Unsurprisingly, this milestone leads many Microsoft watchers, partners and customers to wonder what will be coming next. Again, unsurprisingly, Microsoft officials aren't talking about what will be the follow-on to Windows 8.1, codenamed "Blue." But that doesn't mean things are at a standstill.
Here's what I'm hearing from my sources.
As I've blogged before, I've heard the Windows team will be releasing a Spring 2014 update to Windows 8.1 that will coincide with the release of Windows Phone Blue. (Yes, I am still hearing Windows Phone Blue, which may be called Windows Phone 8.1, is still a Spring 2014 thing.)
Some believe Microsoft will also be releasing a bigger new version of Windows in the Fall of 2014, about a year after Windows 8.1. I'm hearing from one of my trusted sources who has a good accuracy rate on Windows rumors that this is looking less and less likely.
There's a lot in flux inside the new, unified Operating System Group at Microsoft, headed by Terry Myerson. Supposedly, from what I'm hearing, the OSG team is rethinking priorities, workflow and just about everything else when it comes to Windows, Windows Phone and the Xbox operating systems, going forward.
Right now — and this may change — the idea is to deliver a "major" release of "Windows" in the Spring of 2015. My aforementioned source says this major release will be a kind of hybrid that will bring the current Windows and Windows Phone OSes closer together. This is most likely when the rumored unified Windows and Windows Phone Store will debut. (There could be a unified developer portal, allowing developers to submit apps for both platforms before the actual store materializes, I'm hearing.)
Right now, Microsoft has two ARM-based Windows operating systems: The Windows Phone OS and the Windows RT OS. The thinking is these will be one by Spring 2015. Because it tends to be easier to take a "smaller" OS and add to it than to take a larger one and remove features from it, it's likely that the Windows Phone OS is the one on top of which the new operating systems group will build. The recent rumor (courtesy of Windows SuperSite's Paul Thurrott) about the Windows Phone OS being modified to support 7 to 10-inch screen sizes makes sense in this context.
It wouldn't surprise me if by 2015 Microsoft calls whatever is powering smartphones, phablets and tablets plain-old Windows, given the interfaces, the development platforms and the core operating systems will continue to align further.
If my tipster is correct, Spring — which means calendar Q2 or so for those not in our hemisphere — is looking like the new preferred time for bigger OS releases from Microsoft, at least in the near term.
Again, to be clear, this is all rumor (though a well-sourced one) at this point. Lots of things may change between now and Spring 2015.
via Zdnet > http://www.zdnet.com...8-1-7000022034/
Today Microsoft took the wraps off its holiday hardware lineup, unveiling two new tablets, and a number of new and updated accessories. It’s a lot of information to process, so let’s go through each piece in order.
I spent time in Redmond last week with the new hardware, and the team behind the Surface project itself. Hands on notes regarding the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 will be published following this piece, along with an extensive interview with Brian Hall, current general manager of the Surface effort, and Panos Panay, corporate vice president at Microsoft and chief of Surface.
For now, you need an overview of what’s new. We’ll get granular shortly. Here’s the once-over.
The Surface 2 is the second generation of the Surface RT, though its name doesn’t take after its ancestor. In its most basic formulation, the Surface 2 is quite similar to its predecessor: It is an ARM-based tablet that supports attachable keyboards, and is built to make Windows 8(.1) sing.
That aside, Microsoft has made across-the-board improvements to the product itself. Battery life has been bettered by 25%. A new processor (the NVIDIA Tegra 4 chip) has improved speed and graphical performance. The kickstand now includes a second, deeper angle that makes using the device on your lap far simpler. It has a new look, with a silver magnesium case that resists fingerprints, and is sturdier. It has improved cameras to better support low light settings, helping you Skype with folks in darker rooms. And, it’s cheaper, starting off at $449 – Surface RT headed into the market for $499.
If you think that Windows 8.1 matures the Windows 8 platform sufficiently for daily use, and that the Windows Store has become populated enough with applications in its year of life, the Surface 2 could be a device that you enjoy. Certainly, the hardware has has improved greatly since its first generation. The question becomes how well Windows 8.1 can take advantage of those upgrades.
Frankly, the Surface 2 is a very good-looking device, and one that I would feel great using at a cafe if I ever worked in such desultory locales.
In that vein, its success is quite tied to that of Windows 8.1: The better Windows 8.1, the more the Surface 2′s upgrades can shine through. The Surface 2 (again, in my very limited hands-on time) proved a capable device. I can see students loving it, for example.
Surface Pro 2
If the upgrades to the Surface 2 were broad and various, the changes to the Surface Pro 2 are targeted and vertical: It’s all about battery life, baby. According to Microsoft – and more on this later – it received constant feedback that business customers were interested in the Surface Pro, but could not bear its underperforming battery life. The company is frank that its first generation Pro lacked in that department.
So, instead of changing the device externally a single mote, Microsoft rejiggered the guts of the unit into what it calls the Surface Pro 2, which will have around 60% better battery life, a figure that it claims can skew higher in certain use cases.
The Surface Pro 2 has been bumped up to the Haswell generation of Intel chips, can contain up to 8 gigabytes of low-power DDR RAM, and a SSD that can reach the half-terabyte mark. It also receives the new kickstand position, which Microsoft is proud of, mostly because it works.
The Surface Pro 2 looks like its predecessor, is the same size and weight, but lasts longer, and goes harder and faster if you kit it properly. It starts at the same price point as its forefather: $899.
read the rest via > http://techcrunch.co...overs-and-more/
THE WINDOWS 8.1 release to manufacturers (RTM) build has seen over two million downloads since Microsoft distributed it to Technet and MSDN subscribers on Tuesday, the firm's EVP of marketing Tami Reller has claimed.
Announcing the news in a keynote at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) on Wednesday, Microsoft's Reller claimed that the firm had seen an "incredible uptake" of the Windows 8.1 build since its release.
"It's a big week this week for [Windows] 8.1; we've seen incredible uptakes already. So far on Windows 8.1 we've seen more than two million downloads, so it's definitely getting a bit of chatter out there in the marketplace."
On 27 August, Microsoft announced that its RTM build of Windows 8.1 was complete, but that it would not make it available to developers on Technet and MSDN until the general availability (GA) launch on 18 October. The firm's excuse for withholding the code was that it was still making a few changes in cooperation with hardware OEM partners, so the operating system release wasn't final. However, then Microsoft released the RTM build to MSDN and Technet users on Tuesday, due to strong demand and a lot of moaning from developers.
The two million download figure suggests two things: that Windows 8 developers see the Windows 8.1 release as a much needed update, and that Microsoft did right to reverse its earlier decision to withhold the RTM build until its general availability later this year. On stage, Reller said that the Windows 8.1 release shows that the software house will "respond and listen" to suggested improvements to Windows 8, promising that Windows 8.1 is "a good example of [Microsoft] doing both of those things".
Microsoft hopes that the updates in Windows 8.1 will help those customers who dislike how different the operating system feels in relation to earlier releases to like it again. "It gives the audience a chance for Windows 8 to be familiar again, whether it's the Start button, whether it's the ability to boot to desktop, whether it's the old apps view or just the ability to turn off charms if you're in a keyboard type of environment," Reller added.
"We've made third party apps even easier to use with the mouse and keyboard so there's a lot of innovation coming in 8.1."
While on stage, Reller also took the opportunity to discuss Windows XP end of support, revealing that the firm has "now seen about three quarters of Windows enterprises moving to modern desktops" from Windows XP, with the last leg of Windows XP migrations being helped by Windows 8.1.
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