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Mozilla Complains Publicly About Windows 10 Default Browser Setting

August 4, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Mozilla has gone public with its complaint about Windows 10 resetting the default browser, calling it “disturbing” and demanding that it “undo its aggressive move to override user choice.”

Microsoft defended the practice of making its Edge browser the default in Windows 10, but left open the possibility of a future change. “As with all aspects of the product, we have designed Windows 10 as a service; if we learn from user experience that there are ways to make improvements, we will do so,” a company spokeswoman said in an email reply to a request for comment.

In a letter from Mozilla CEO Chris Beard to Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella, Beard slammed the way Windows 10 setup changed the default browser on a Windows 7 or 8.1 PC upgraded to Windows 10.

“I am writing to you about a very disturbing aspect of Windows 10,” Beard said in the letter, which Mozilla posted publicly. “Specifically, that the update experience appears to have been designed to throw away the choice your customers have made about the Internet experience they want, and replace it with the Internet experience Microsoft wants them to have.”

Beard was referring to the Windows 10 upgrade setup process, which in “Express Settings” assigns the new Microsoft browser, Edge, as the default, even if users had previously specified a rival like Mozilla’s Firefox or Google’s Chrome. Most users will simply click “Next” in the Express Setup without diving into the details.

Users who accept that setting for Edge must later — the first time they click on a link — confirm Edge as the default.

Windows 10 users can later re-assign Firefox or another browser as the default, but doing so requires work on the part of the user, many of whom will be unlikely to bother.

In a blog post, Beard elaborated on Mozilla’s displeasure with Windows 10′s upgrade behavior, and resurrected antitrust actions Microsoft’s faced, perhaps hinting at new complaints to regulators, if not in the U.S., then in the European Union (EU). “It is bewildering to see, after almost 15 years of progress bolstered by significant government intervention, that with Windows 10 user choice has now been all but removed,” Beard alleged.

 

 

 

Is Samsung Starting To Focus On Tizen?

August 4, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Samsung might be gearing up to push its home grown operating system which sounds like a sneeze.

Tizen was launched in 2012 and appears to be slower than an asthmatic ant with a heavy load of shopping at starting off.

The Samsung Z1 Tizen-powered smartphone has also sold over 1 million units which is not bad but it seems that Samsung has bigger plans for Tizen.

The Linux-based operating system also powers smartwatches, cars, TVs, and refrigerators, among other devices and it might be part of Samsung’s push into these markets.

At its first Tizen Developer Summit in Bengaluru, India, the company shared the advancements it has made to the operating system and also the roadmap of things to come and appealed for developers to support it.

The company unveiled new Tizen SDKs for phones, smartwatches, and smart TVs. It has now brought in the capability to have floating buttons on its mobile operating system, and also added support for DALi (Dynamic Animation Library), a 3D engine that improves the animation capability of a phone.

Samsung is providing TV developers with the ability to use HTML5, JS, CSS technologies to make new apps.

The company wants to improve the built-in integration for apps to use system features. The new SDK also has an improved TV simulator, which developers can use to code apps and test them out for different screen sizes.

Samsung also revealed that all 17 smart TVs it launched this year are powered by Tizen.

It could be that Samsung really is planning to walk away from Android and put some weight behind Tizen.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Did Microsoft Intentionally Delay The Surface Pro 4?

August 3, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The dark satanic rumor mill has suggested a good reason Microsoft delayed the launch of its flagship tablet-laptop, Surface Pro 4.

The latest rumors suggest that Microsoft was waiting to jack the latest Intel Skylake processor under its bonnet.

Redmond seemingly wants the new Surface Pro to be state of the art and be a tablet which is useful. Skylake will give it better battery life and performance with current industry standards like Bluetooth 4.1, Cat6 LTE, WiDi 6.0, and A4WP wireless charging weaved into it.

Intel will support the tablets through compatibility with 3D cameras and audio processing software plus better stylus interaction.

There is no sign of confirmation of the rumors. Microsoft has been quiet so far about the Surface Pro 4. We had been expecting it to highlight some of the better features of Windows 10.

However if the rumors are true it will be a hell of a lot better than the MacBook Air 2015 because it will feature innovation, rather than just being thin.

Latest news about its release date suggests a 2016 launch.

Courtesy-Fud

Microsoft Unveils ‘Send’ Mobile App

July 24, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Microsoft unveiled a mobile-minded alternative to email that’s focused primarily on short, quick messages.

Named Send, the new tool aims to deliver a simple experience much like that offered by text messaging or instant messaging software but without the need to know a co-worker’s mobile number or username. Instead, Send lets users quickly fire off a message to any co-worker using just their email address; no subject line, salutations or signatures are required.

“On my way,” might be one example, or “Are you in the office today?”

The app connects to Office 365 business and school email accounts to find frequent and recent contacts; users need only tap on one to start a conversation. A “Quick Reply” option allows for speedy responses.

That Office 365 connection, meanwhile, also means conversations are synced with Outlook, letting users continue them from anywhere. Messages sent using Send are treated internally like any other work email and comply with an organization’s email compliance policies, Microsoft said.

Send is now available free for iPhone through the Microsoft Garage in the U.S. and Canada. Versions for Windows Phone and Android are coming soon, as are additional IT controls. Currently the app works with Office 365 business and school email accounts, but Microsoft plans to make it more broadly available in the coming months, it said.

 

 

 

AMD Misses Again

July 20, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Fabless chipmaker AMD has come up with a mixed set of results for the second quarter. The company managed to make as much cash as the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street expected, but missed revenue expectations.

In fact its revenues were below the psychologically important billion figure at $942 million.

We knew it was going to be bad. Last week we were warned that the results would be flat. The actual figure was $942m, an 8.5 per cent sequential decline and a 34.6 per cent drop from the same period a year ago.

As you might expect, there are some measures of this not being AMD’s fault. The company is almost entirely dependent on PC sales. Not only have these fallen but don’t look like they are going to pick up for a while.

AMD’s Computing and Graphics division reported revenue of $379m, which was down 54.2 per cent, year-on-year. Its operating loss was $147m, compared to a $6m operating loss for last year’s quarter.

Lisa Su, AMD president and CEO, in a statement said that strong sequential revenue growth in AMD’s enterprise, embedded, and semi-custom segment and channel business was not enough to offset near-term problems in its PC processor business.  This was  due to lower than expected consumer demand that impacted sales to OEMs, she said.

“We continue to execute our long-term strategy while we navigate the current market environment. Our focus is on developing leadership computing and graphics products capable of driving profitable share growth across our target markets,” she added.

In the semi-custom segment, AMD makes chips for video game consoles such as the Nintendo Wii U, Microsoft Xbox One, and Sony PlayStation 4 consoles. That segment did reasonably well, up 13 percent from the previous quarter but down 8 percent from a year ago.

But AMD’s core business of processors and graphics chips fell 29 percent from the previous quarter and 54 percent from a year ago. AMD said it had decreased sales to manufacturers of laptop computers.

Figures like this strap a large target on AMD’s back with a sign saying “take me over” but AMD is not predicting total doom yet.

For the third quarter, AMD expects revenue to increase 6 percent, plus or minus 3 percent, sequentially, which is a fairly conservative outlook given the fact that Windows 10 is expected to push a few sales its way.

AMD supplies chips to the Nintendo Wii U, Microsoft Xbox One, and Sony PlayStation 4 consoles and these seem to be going rather well.

Courtesy-Fud

Did Microsoft Drop DVD Support In Windows 10?

July 20, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft has decided that there is no point putting Windows 10 on a DVD and insisting that people install from a Flash drive.

Windows 10 will be shipped on USB drives rather than traditional DVDs, although you might be able to find one on DVD if you ask Microsoft very nicely.

USB versions of Windows 10 Home and 10 Pro are listed for pre-order on Amazon already, running $120 and $200 respectively.

It is all fairly obvious. Most cheap PCs ship without a drive these days which has made home-made USB installation drives the only option. We can still remember the outcry when people complained about the number of floppy disks it took to install Windows 95.

Windows 98 came out on a CD drive to cut down the numbers. Now it seems that DVDs are now going the way of the dodo too.

Courtesy-Fud

Intel’s 2nd Quarter Profits Up

July 17, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The maker of chips and bits, Intel is doing better than the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street expected.

Intel issued its quarterly results today and saw growth in its data centers and Internet-of-Things businesses offset weak demand for personal computers that use the company’s chips.

Intel said that it was expanding its line-up of higher-margin chips used in data centers to counter slowing demand from the PC industry. Its cunning plan to buy Altera for $16.7 billion in April was all about trying to do this.

Revenue from the data centres grew 9.7 percent to $3.85 billion in the second quarter from a year earlier, helped by cloud services companies and demand for data analytics.

Chief Financial Officer Stacy Smith was predicting robust growth rates of the data center group, Internet of Things group and NAND businesses.

Revenue from the PC business, which is still Intel’s largest, fell 13.5 percent to $7.54 billion in the quarter ended June 27.

However there was more doom about the PC market which Smith said was going to be weaker than previously expected.

Research firm Gartner thinks global PC shipments will fall 4.5 percent to 300 million units in 2015, and life is going to be pretty pants until 2016.

Intel forecast current-quarter revenue of $14.3 billion, plus or minus $500 million. Wall Street predicted a revenue of $14.08 billion.

The company’s net income fell to $2.71 billion from $2.80 billion a year earlier.

Net revenue fell 4.6 percent to $13.19 billion, but edged past the average analyst estimate of $13.04 billion. Intel’s stock fell about 18 percent this year.

Courtesy-Fud

Microsoft Ends Windows 10 Previews As Launch Date Nears

July 16, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft has halted delivery of new preview builds of Windows 10, saying that it was “very close” to wrapping up the operating system.

“We’re suspending the availability of Windows 10 builds briefly while we prepare for [using the official roll-out process], and the next build that we flight to you will be delivered using the production channels,” said Gabriel Aul, engineering general manager for Microsoft’s OS group, in a revised blog yesterday. “We’re very close to our public release and we’re working very hard to get everything just right.”

Aul promised that the suspension would be short, but that disk images — large files in .iso format that testers can use to do a “clean” install of the OS — would also be deferred. “We really need Insiders to be using, stressing, and validating our distribution and upgrade processes,” Aul said in explaining the .iso pause.

Pre-release activation keys will no longer validate the previous preview builds shipped as .iso files, Aul added. He did not say whether activation codes would be provided at some future point for those who wanted to test Windows 10 after the official launch, and do a fresh install rather than an in-place upgrade from Windows 7 or 8.1.

If new activation keys are not offered down the line, people who wanted to dive through a loophole — one acknowledged and apparently approved by the Redmond, Wash. company — to obtain a free copy of Windows 10, even if they didn’t qualify for the free upgrade, may be out of luck.

The build and .iso suspensions signal that Microsoft will soon declare Windows 10 at the “release to manufacturing” (RTM) milestone, an important waypoint because that code will be handed to device makers for pre-loading on new hardware. Earlier rumors had pegged RTM for last week, but that didn’t happen.

 

 

SanDisk Debuts New Wireless Streaming Thumb Drive

July 16, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

SanDisk has released the newest addition to its wireless storage line – the SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick.

The Connect Wireless Stick ranges in capacity from 16GB to 128GB and in price from $30 to $100.

SanDisk’s first Wireless Stick, the Connect Wireless Flash Drive, was released two years ago and it came in 16GB and 32GB capacities and was priced at $49.99 and $59.99, respectively.

As its predecessor did, the new wireless thumb drive also uses a USB 2.0 (480Mbps) connection to upload content before being able to stream it over Wi-Fi. SanDisk claims the Connect Wireless Stick has enough bandwidth to stream high-definition movies and music to up to three devices at the same time.

The drive is capable of supporting a single video stream for up to 4.5 hours on a single charge, SanDisk said.

The new flash drive is controlled via the SanDisk Connect app, which is free and downloadable from SanDisk’s or or Amazon.com’s website.

The Connect Wireless Stick is compatible with iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire, Android devices, Windows PCs and Apple computers. It works with iOS version 8.0 or higher, Android 4.2 or higher, Windows Vista/7/8, Mac OS 10.6 or higher, and via web browser for other Wi-Fi enabled devices, according to SanDisk.

The thumb drive is 3.03-in x 0.75-in x 0.43 in. in size and comes with a one-year warranty.

 

 

Enterprise Customers May Save Faltering Tablet Market

July 15, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

With global tablet sales waning, there is a bright spot for hardware manufacturers: Business purchases of tablets for workers in jobs such as retail sales or field work.

Forrester predicted that tablets used for enterprises will grow to 20% of the entire market by 2018, up from 6% in 2010. These include Apple iPads as well as Windows and Android tablets that are generally purchased and managed by a company on behalf of workers, either for solo use or shared with others.

That level of growth is impressive compared to the recent sales dip for the iPad, which sold 12.62 million iPads in the second quarter, a drop of 23% compared to the same period a year ago, Forrester analyst JP Gownder noted in a blog.

“Clearly, all is not well in tablet-land,” Gownder said.

In a separate report, Gownder noted a nose-dive in Android tablet prices, which recently went from below $200, then to less than $100 and even under $50 — “stripping away profit margins.”

Forrester and other analyst firms have noted the general tablet decline, attributed mainly to consumers keeping older tablets and to the growth of bigger smartphones with displays that are larger than 5-in., sometimes called “phablets,” that reduce the need for smaller tablets. The Galaxy Note 4 and iPhone 6 Plus are examples of such smartphones.

IDC noted the tablet slowdown last October, and predicted slowing growthfrom 2016 through 2018.

The bright spot — tablets purchased by companies — is being driven by various factors, Gownder said, including a vendor focus on enterprise services and apps. Microsoft and Dell, among other partners, will benefit with Windows 10 on tablets, while the Android for Work initiative will help address Android security concerns with tablets, he said. And Apple has partnered with IBM to provide iOS apps for tablets that matter in workplaces.

The desire by workers to use tablets and bring their own devices to work has helped push company purchases, he said. The tablets are being used in various ways by different workers, including package delivery drivers, sales associates and field technicians and even by restaurant customers to review menus at their tables.

 

 

Microsoft’s Windows Phone Given One More Chance

July 15, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Microsoft will continue making smartphones for its Windows 10 Mobile operating system, but the company has squashed the device strategy pursued by its former CEO and will probably give up entirely unless Windows 10 reverses years of missteps in mobile, analysts said.

After Microsoft wrote down $7.6 billion of its investment in Nokia and again reorganized, it will turn to a revamped, two-part strategy, one piece older, the other relatively new, the experts argued.

Microsoft’s smartphones will follow the trailblazing of the more successful Surface tablet line, which after two years with little return hit its stride in 2014 with the debut of the Surface Pro 3. “We are moving from a strategy to grow a standalone phone business to a strategy to grow and create a vibrant Windows ecosystem that includes our first-party device family,” CEO Satya Nadella told employees in an all-hands email recently.

In plain English, the Lumia line will be relegated to a peripheral position — the spot the Surface Pro 3 now occupies in comparison to the broader personal computing device market and best exemplified in smartphones by Google’s “hero” Nexus handsets.

“Microsoft will have something very similar to where the Surface line is now,” said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, in a Friday interview. “The idea will be to create inspiring hardware that motivates their ecosystem. They’ll go after the ‘halo’ effect.”

Windows phones will not disappear. Not yet. “I am committed to our first-party devices including phones,” asserted Nadella, showing that, at least for now, Microsoft won’t scrub Windows smartphones from its portfolio.

The reality, however, is stark: Even with billions poured into mobile, Windows powered just 2.7% of the handsets shipped worldwide last year, down from 3.3% in 2013, according to IDC. And because Microsoft was responsible for more than 95% of all Windows smartphones in 2014, a pull-back by the firm means there’s little chance of changing the OS’s fortunes.

 

 

 

 

Is BlackBerry Getting Closer To Building Android Devices?

July 13, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

BlackBerry Ltd , which has been tight-lipped about its plans to make a mainstream Android smartphone, fueled more speculation about its plans this week when it scooped up two Android-related domain names.

Several blog posts in the last two days have noted that the Canadian handset maker bought the domain names “AndroidSecured.com” and “AndroidSecured.net” this week. That spurred more chatter that it intends to build a device powered by Google Inc’s  Android platform, which powers the vast majority of smartphones sold across the globe.

The purchase of the domain names is particularly interesting since BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen has declined to confirm a June Reuters report that said the company was planning an Android phone.

Speculation that BlackBerry will embrace Android was also spurred this week by a Digitimes report that said the company plans to roll out several models of Android-based phones.

In the past three weeks, however, Chen has said at least twice that he would only build an Android phone if he can “secure Android”.

BlackBerry downplayed the significance of its domain name purchases in an email on Friday, saying: “BlackBerry frequently registers domain names to support the breadth of our cross-platform portfolio. Android is an important part of our cross-platform enterprise software strategy.”

Indeed, one of the domains, “AndroidSecured.com”, currently redirects users to a BlackBerry enterprise-focused site.

But that has not stopped a barrage of chatter on tech blogs about the purchases being part of BlackBerry’s plan to build its own secure Android, going beyond supporting existing Android phones on its BES12 device-management system. BES12 allows corporate and government clients to secure Android-, iOS-, Windows- and BlackBerry-powered devices on their networks.

Under the leadership of Chen, the Waterloo, Ontario-based company has been pivoting toward software and device management as its recent devices, powered by its BlackBerry 10 software, have failed to win mass appeal. Analysts and tech gurus believe a move to Android could give BlackBerry’s device arm a new lease on life.

 

 

PC Sales Continue The Downward Trend

July 13, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Gartner is reporting the biggest slump in PC sales for almost two years. The second quarter report saw 68.4 million units shifted in the three-month period, a year-on-year reduction of 9.4 percent, and the steepest drop in seven quarters.

What’s more, the prediction is that the next quarter will see a further reduction of 4.4 percent.

It seems that the dislike of Windows 8, coupled with the impending arrival of Windows 10, has battered the sales of new PCs.

The fact that most PC users will be entitled to a free upgrade, coupled with the fact that chip and RAM technology haven’t moved on at a spectacular pace this year, has created a perfect storm among consumers who are waiting it out for their machines to be born again on 29 July (or 30, or 31, or possibly 1 August).

If you’re reading this and thinking ‘It’s just a dying market’ you’re not wrong, but you have only to look at today’s IDC figures to see that this really is made of Microsoft.

IDC is even more pessimistic than Gartner, quoting 66.1 million units, down 11.8 percent year on year.

But more importantly, when drilled down to the OEMs, you can see where the real problem lies. Apple is the only company in the top five not rooted in the Windows ecosystem.

It is also the only manufacturer to see a rise in its market share, and is now the fourth biggest vendor in the world, up 16.1 percent. Acer at number five has seen its share plummet by 25.9 percent.

Things were a bit rosier this time last year, because businesses were migrating away from Windows XP (not all of them, mind). This year, there’s no ballast and a lot of hesitation to see exactly how Windows 10 does before big orders start being deployed in enterprises.

“The price hike of PCs became more apparent in some regions due to a sharp appreciation of the US dollar against local currencies,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner.

“The worldwide PC market experienced unusually positive desk-based growth last year due to the end of Windows XP support. After the XP impact was phased out, there have not been any major growth drivers to stimulate a PC refresh.”

IDC’s Loren Loverde, VP of worldwide PC trackers and forecasting, said: “We’re expecting the Windows 10 launch to go relatively well, though many users will opt for a free OS upgrade rather than buying a new PC.

“Competition from 2-in-1 devices and phones remains an issue, but the economic environment has had a larger impact lately, and that should stabilize or improve going forward.”

Meanwhile, Apple, despite having a tiny market share for its OS X operating system at just 7.5 percent, according to this month’s Netmarketshare figures, has managed to avoid being the winner or loser OEM by being the referee, which is a nice trick if you can do it.

Both analyst firms see the top three remaining as Lenovo, HP and Dell. Nothing to see there.

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Microsoft Will Provide Windows 10 Updates For 2-4 Years

July 10, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft has provided more information about how long it will provide updates for Windows 10, saying in a PowerPoint presentation that free refreshes will last between two and four years.

The Redmond, Wash. company revealed the timeline in a slide deck it posted on its investors website June 26. The presentation offered up additional information about Microsoft’s planned revenue deferrals for Windows 10, which the company first talked about in May.

“Revenue allocated is deferred and recognized on a straight-line basis over the estimated period the software upgrades are expected to be provided by estimated device life,” the most pertinent slide stated. “[The estimated device life] can range from two to four years.”

Microsoft will determine the device lifetime — and thus the support stretch — by “customer type.”

Although details remain skimpy on the upgrade lifetimes Microsoft plans for Windows 10, the two-to-four-year span was the first time the firm named their lengths.

Microsoft has repeatedly said that the free updates and upgrades for Windows 10 would be tied to what it has called the “supported lifetime of the device.” It debuted that phrase in January, when it announced Windows 10′s name and afree upgrade for consumers and some businesses from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 for one year following the new OS’s official release.

The free post-launch updates and upgrades, which will include new features and changes to the user interface (UI), are key to Microsoft’s strategy to transform the operating system into a service.

“With the launch of Windows 10, Microsoft will provide new features and functionality over time,” another slide in the short PowerPoint presentation said. “We will continue to keep it current for the supported lifetime of the device. We think of Windows as a Service – continuous updates over time.”

 

 

Mozilla To Quicken The Pace Of Firefox Releases

July 9, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Mozilla will speed up the release of new features for its Firefox browser, tossing out its current 18-week development schedule for something nimbler, a company manager said.

The firm will also deliver a browser for Windows 10, a reversal of a 2014 decision to stop work on a touch-based version of Firefox for Microsoft’s OS.

In a pair of messages that Dave Camp, director of Firefox engineering, posted to a mail list, as well as a blog post, Mozilla summarized some of the decisions it reached at an all-hands meeting in Whistler, a Canadian ski resort town north of Vancouver, BC, last week.

“Since Firefox began, the industry has continually evolved how it deploys code to users, and today it isn’t done on an 18-week cycle,” Camp wrote, referring to the current development cycle, which runs new features through three six-week stretches and a trio of browser builds. “We think there are big wins to be had in shortening the time that new features reach users. As Laura Thomson put it in her Whistler presentation — ‘The trains have served us well, but it’s time to build a hyperloop.’”

Camp offered few details about the schedule plans, in large part because they haven’t yet been worked out. Unlike other browser makers, Mozilla relies not only on paid developers but also on a community of volunteers, and typically holds public discussions with that community before it decides how to proceed.

“Some of these questions are going to take a while to answer, and will involve a bunch of concurrent discussions,” Camp said.

Camp also touted a new concept for Firefox development he labeled “Great or Dead.” The idea, he said, was that “every feature in the browser should be polished, functional and a joy to use.” In instances where engineers can’t meet that bar, the feature should be canned or instead passed to a partner.