One of the great things about the days of the doorstop salesperson is that you could slam the door in their face if you weren't in a buying mood. It's not a hint that Microsoft was willing to take, constantly harassing Windows 7 and 8 users to make t…
Kicking off this week’s CEATEC show in Japan, Sharp has played to its strengths with its new Windows 8 tablet, the Mebius Pad, factoring in a 2,560 x 1,600 resolution display. That puts it pretty far ahead of the current crowd of 1080p Windows 8 tablets, including Microsoft’s incoming Surface 2, although we admit, we’d have loved to have seen another incredible 4K tablet. Alongside the company’s 10.1-inch IGZO panel (known for their low-power credentials), the Mebius Pad runs on a slightly less-exciting Intel quad-core Atom processor (the Z3370), which we’ve had mixed feelings on when it comes to the Windows tablets its powered in the past. The basic Windows 8.1 model will arrive with Office for free, although you’ll have to pay extra if you want it for the Pro edition. Also, following Japanese trends for practically any device, the slab is both water and dust-proof (it’s in the midst of being certified for IPX5, IPX7, IP5X), while you’ll be able to buy it with LTE radios on board, at least for Nippon, as the device is unlikely to leave Japanese shores once it launches in early 2014.
Unsurprisingly, in the flesh the screen looked good — Sharp even provided a magnifying glass so we could get up close to those pixels. The 10.1-inch display is also satisfyingly bright — if we’re honest, it’s unusual to see such a capable screen powered by an Atom processor. The tablet is headed towards business use (which explains the optional stylus) and the extra resolution found on Sharp’s first Windows 8 tablet means there’s more space for your spreadsheets and documents. The hardware itself is suitably thin and light, with the rear of the device bearing a passing resemblance to recent Sony hardware — possibly due to the understated camera lens in the corner. We’ll let you know if Sharp has plans to offer the tablet to global business types. %Gallery-slideshow99502%
Filed under: Tablets
There have been persistent rumors of an upgraded Acer Iconia W3 tablet with an IPS display and, quite possibly, a faster Bay Trail-based processor. Those rumors are now reality, as Bouweenpc.nl has just tried an unannounced Iconia W4 at an Intel event. True to expectations, the 8-inch device was carrying both the new 1.33GHz Atom Z3740 processor and a much improved “wide view angle” (read: IPS) screen. Not much else may change, however — the pre-release slate still carried the W3’s 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. Given that the W4 is running Windows 8.1, we wouldn’t be surprised if it reaches the market sometime around the Windows update’s launch in October. Check out Bouweenpc.nl‘s hands-on video after the break.
Source: Bouweenpc.nl (translated)
Windows users rejoice: the days of only being able to install apps on five different devices will soon be over. Starting October 9th, apps purchased with a single Windows Store account will be sharable among up to 81 devices. If you recall, we learned back at Build that Microsoft would be increasing the app roaming limit, but today’s announcement clarifies some key details nonetheless. Says the company in a blog post: “The change we’re introducing will reduce the friction that most active customers have in being able to access their favorite apps from any device, and will give developers additional opportunities to monetize.” This of course means one other thing: you’re going to need a bigger backpack.
Source: Windows App Builder Blog
Microsoft is apparently far closer to bringing together its disparate stores than many thought. The company has reportedly already demoed a single app portal for both Windows and Windows Phone behind closed doors at its annual company meeting in Seattle, according to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley. One of her sources tells her that the new unified store will likely launch alongside the next iteration of Windows, version 8.1, although other sources were less certain on this. In any case, the gossip tallies with comments by Microsoft’s Terry Myerson last week, who said that he sees the unification of Microsoft’s platforms and APIs as a priority.
The new Surface Pro, with its prodigious computing capabilities, has been built as a computing productivity machine for just about anyone. Spreadsheets, editing video, and mixing music are all in the Pros wheelhouse, and that last task is why Microsoft is also revealing the Surface remix project and the Music Cover to go along with its new hardware. The Music Cover, as you might expect, comes with pressure-sensitive pads that allow budding DJ’s to craft and fine tune their next remix. It has 16 programmable pads for easy access to instruments and sounds, while there are pause/play and slider controls to adjust the volume and tailor transitions to your liking. And, just like the regular typing cover, it’s backlit, so you’ll be able to mix on the fly at any late night sonic soiree.
The Surface RT’s full-fledged Pro counterpart just got an update. Today, Microsoft unveiled the follow-up to that x86 / Windows 8-compatible tablet: the Surface Pro 2 and it still comes with a stylus. According to Microsoft’s claims, this new tablet boasts 50 percent more color accuracy, better graphics performance, an improved speaker setup and some speed gains — it’s purportedly 20 percent faster than the original.
For those wondering, the Pro 2’s display has been kept consistent with the original, which means it remains a 10.6-inch 1080p panel, and it’s even been ported to the new Surface 2. Battery life has gotten a significant 75 percent boost as well thanks to the Haswell processor inside and now runs much quieter. The Surface Pro 2 can also be paired with Microsoft’s new Power Cover to give the tablet 2.5x its standalone battery life or the Type Cover 2, which is now 1mm thinner and backlit.
The kickstand has also been revised for the refresh, as it’s now a two-stage affair, addressing the issues many users had with the old Pro’s awkward angle. As for ports, Microsoft says the Surface Pro 2 is loaded up with support for three USB 2.0, one USB 3.0, mini DisplayPort, Ethernet, audio in/out and, of course, charging. The Surface Pro 2, when docked, can also output up to a 3,840 x 2,160 resolution on an external display and is capable of editing 6K video, backing up the company’s assertion that this tablet is actually a “full power PC.”
Pre-orders for both of Microsoft’s next-gen Surface tablets go live tomorrow, the 24th, at 8AM EST with units set to ship to 21 markets on October 22nd. Pricing for the base Surface Pro 2 (i.e., 64GB / 4GB RAM) starts at $899 (the same as the original Pro), although that retail shock will climb depending on the model — it’ll be available in configurations of up to 512GB / 8GB RAM.
Last week’s Switched On discussed the initial confusion and rough ride for Windows RT, which became a dealbreaker for inventive PC designs that used the operating system. Despite ASUS dropping out of making Windows RT devices and joining such abstainers as HP, Acer and Toshiba, the operating system is due to be updated to include improvements in Windows 8.1, creating what will apparently be Windows RT 8.1.
While Windows RT may have survived the chopping block, Microsoft faces some tough decisions regarding its future. Here are a few scenarios on how its future may play out.