Some More Windows 8 Information: App Store, Attention Tracking and More

Making a mockery of Microsoft’s non-disclosure agreements, leaked documents pertaining to Windows 8 are showing up left, right and center. Now, Neowin has managed to get their hands on some of the leaked goodness.

The new leaked documents reveal that Microsoft is planning to launch a full-fledged app store for Windows 8. The objective of this store will be to provide a safe venue to users for discovering and installing new applications.

Windows-8-App-Store

Quite obviously, this will be a strictly optional feature and users will still be able to install 3rd party software without having to go through the online store. According to Neowin’s Tom Warren, “The ‘Windows Store’ will be a software service Microsoft provides and hosts fully in the cloud. The company will likely build the distribution model on Windows Azure to lure application developers”.

Windows-8-Application-Store

Of course, unknown to most, Microsoft has already dabbled with an app store for Windows before. However, the Windows Marketplace failed to gain much traction. It was shut down and replaced with the Microsoft Store in 2009.

In related news, Manan Kakkar has released some more documents concerning Windows 8. It appears that Microsoft is also focusing on Tablets in a big way.

Windows-8-Tablets

One of the more interesting features described by Microsoft is something called “Attention Tracking”. Microsoft has a horrible reputation when it comes to naming new technologies and concepts. Thankfully, with Windows 8, they have chosen to go down the obvious and sensible route. Attention Tracking does just what its name suggests.

Now that your interest is piqued, imagine a situation where you are playing a game when someone knocks on the door. Interrupted, you leave your tablet device on the couch and attend to the person at the door. Microsoft wants the tablet to be capable of detecting that the subject of your attention has changed, and automagically pausing the game.

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If Microsoft indeed succeeds in implementing everything described so far in the leaked documents, then (at the very least) Windows 8 would turn out to be an interesting operating system.

More Windows 8 Details: Get Ready For Kinect Like Facial Recognition

Just a few hours back, we reported that confidential Windows 8 documents have been leaked. The leaked documents gave us an early glimpse of Microsoft’s plans for the successor to the highly successful Windows 7. Among the discussed features was facial recognition.

Now, Manan Kakkar has revealed some more specifics. As it turns out, Microsoft is planning to provide a very Kinect like experience on Windows systems. The idea is that your PC should be able to automatically recognize you and log you into the correct account, when you approach the system. Similarly, when you leave your PC, Windows should be able to detect this and automatically go to sleep. Microsoft is aptly calling this concept My PC Knows Me.

Here are the concept diagrams shared by Manan.

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Before you get too excited, remember that Windows 8 is still a long way off. And if the Longhorn fiasco has taught us anything, it is that Windows’ feature list can be extremely flexible.

Confidential Windows 8 Details Leaked

Windows 8 is still a long way off, but Microsoft has already started communicating with OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturer) regarding the general direction they wish to take with Windows 8. Microsoft enthusiast, Francisco Martin, managed to get his hands on some of the confidential documents sent under non-disclosure agreement to select partners.

Windows-8-Boot-Performance

One of the areas, Microsoft is putting a lot of emphasis on is the system startup time. Microsoft wants Windows 8 enabled systems to focus on POST performance, S3 resume support and general performance optimizations for each of the Off states.

Windows 8 will also be better adapted to take advantage of modern trends like facial recognition for user authentication, automatic display adjustment through ambient light sensors and premium media experiences such as stereoscopic 3D and Wireless TVs. All this will be complemented by cutting edge graphics, which can be leveraged by developers to provide a rich user experience.

Windows-8-Improvements-Summary

As expected, Windows 8 will support high speed connectivity options like USB 3.0 and Bluetooth 3.0. Microsoft is also working on improving Bitlocker (hard disk encryption tool) and System Restore to make them more functional and easier to use. Windows 8 will feature a new factory reset option, to restore your system to the original condition.

I am sure that this is only the beginning. In the coming weeks and months, we will be learning more about Windows 8. Stay tuned to Techie Buzz for more.

First Release Candidate for Opera 10.60 Is Here

The developers at Opera seem to be really keen to polish up and release Opera 10.60 as soon as possible. In a span of less than two weeks (since the beta), Opera Software has released as many as seven builds. Of course, this is a good thing. I am taking the urgency on Opera’s part to be an indication that they are itching to start working full throttle on Opera 11.

Anyway, the veteran browser developer has just released the first release candidate (RC) for Opera 10.60. If you are already using the beta, then there aren’t any major surprises in store for you. This build is essentially a bug fix release. However, the list of bugs squashed is fairly large. If you are experiencing inconsistent behavior with your current Opera 10.60 build, then the release candidate is a highly recommended update for you.

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If you are still on the Opera 10.5x trunk, then Opera 10.60 has quite a few nice changes for you. Check out our previous coverage to learn about the improved standard support and the miscellaneous visual and performance enhancements introduced in Opera 10.60.

This time around, Opera will be releasing the final build for all platforms simultaneously. This is especially good news for UNIX users, who didn’t receive a stable Opera 10.5x build.

[ Download Opera 10.60 RC 1 for Windows/Mac/UNIX ]

Nokia C7 Confirmed Through an Obscure XML File

Earlier this month, we shared with you some of the delicious looking leaked pictures of the Nokia C7. The C7 is the only one amongst the seven C-series handsets that is yet to be officially announced. However, Nokia just sort of confirmed it by referencing it in an obscure XML file, buried deep within the official website.

Nokia-C7-Front

The C7 will house an ARM chip and will run on Symbian^3. The smooth and well-rounded handset is expected to have a 3.5 inch nHD display with a resolution of 360×640 pixels. Other known features include an 8 megapixel camera with dual LED flash and a front facing camera for video calls.

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Of course, none of this is new information. However, it’s always nice to get an official confirmation. Feel free to dig through the XML file, if you are so inclined.

(Image via DigiTech)

LG Cookie Fresh and LG Cookie Plus Launched in India

Back in April, we reported that LG Cookie Fresh had been launched in the UK. If you are amongst those waiting for the brand new Cookie handset to hit the India shores, then I have good news for you. Your wait is over. Not only has LG launched Cookie Fresh (GS 290) in India, but has also introduced the Cookie Plus (GS 500v).

LG-Cookie-Plus-Fresh

Both the handsets feature a 7.6 cm WVGA full touchscreen and have mostly have the same feature set. The highlight of the specially crafted operating system is the three way UI, which provides quick access to your contact widgets as well as avatars. If you are not satisfied with the bundled widgets, you can always download more from the online LG Widget Gallery.

LG Cookie provides one touch social networking and features dedicated social networking clients. With LG Cookie you can enjoy Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Flickr and more on the go.

When it comes to multimedia, LG has covered all the bases. There is a FM player as well as recorder along with a MPEG video player and MP3 audio player.

The 3G enabled Cookie Plus features a 3 megapixel camera and costs Rs.7999, while the 2G only Cookie Fresh has a 2 megapixel camera and costs Rs. 6199.

BSNL Introduces New SMS Packs For Gujarat

BSNLBharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has announced two new SMS packs for prepaid GSM subscribers in the Gujarat telecom circle.

For Rs. 55, BSNL subscribers will be able to send 3000 local and national SMSs to any network across India. In addition, they will also receive talk time worth Rs. 20.

If your messaging needs are really heavy duty, then you can opt for the bulkier message pack worth Rs. 110. This package bundles 7,500 local and national SMSs, along with Rs. 40 worth of talk time.

These message packs will be available only through paper vouchers i.e. you can’t avail these special packages through easy recharge. Additionally, you must utilize your free message quota within 30 days. Any leftover talk time will be carried forward; however, the free SMS quota isn’t transferable.

128 GB Quad Layer Blue-ray Discs Are Coming

Blue-Ray-BDXL One can never have too much of storage space. 32 GBs might have seemed to be a monstrous amount a decade back, but it has become a standard fare in this day and age of HD content. Now, the Blu-ray Disc Association has published the final specifications for the new BDXL standard.

The new BDXL standard will support re-writable or write-once triple layer Blue-ray discs (100 GB) and write-once quadruple layer Blue-ray discs (128 GB). “The BDA worked diligently to create an extension of the Blu-ray Disc format that leverages the physical structure of the design of the disc to create even more storage capacity,” said Victor Matsuda, Blu-ray Disc Association Global Promotions Committee chair. “By using the existing Blu-ray technologies, we have created a long-term and stable solution for archiving large amounts of sensitive data, video and graphic images. We expect further growth of the Blu-ray Disc market as the introduction of 100GB/128GB discs will expand the application of Blu-ray Disc technologies.”

Of course, as you might have already guessed, the BDXL discs won’t work with existing hardware. So, if you want to be among the early adapters, you better start saving now, as bleeding edge technology is never cheap.

Is Apple Readying a Fix For the iPhone 4 Signal Problem?

Much has been said and written about the iPhone 4’s death grip. Much to the chagrin of left-handed iPhone users, if you grip a particular spot on the bottom left corner of the iPhone, there is a considerable loss in signal quality, which may even lead to calls being dropped.

Until now, Apple and Steve Job’s stance was that simply don’t hold the phone in that way. Here is the official statement issued by Apple:

Gripping any phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas. This is a fact of life for every wireless phone. If you ever experience this on your iPhone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases.

Steve-Jobs-iPhone-4-Signal

Now, MacRumors is reporting that when a reader e-mailed Jobs about the antenna issue, Steve Jobs replied, “There are no reception issues. Stay Tuned”. As always, it’s not really clear as to what Steve Jobs is really trying to say. However, a fair interpretation might be that the signal problem is a software issue, which will be fixed soon. In fact, AppleInsider believes that an update will released as early as Monday to remedy the situation.

Microsoft Hits Back Against Critics by Flaunting Big Numbers

MicrosoftOf late, Microsoft has been having somewhat of a rough time. On the Mobile space, Apple rocked the world this year with the iPad and the iPhone 4 and Google is making steady inroads with Android, while Microsoft is yet to release Windows Phone 7. Even on the web, Microsoft is struggling to make a breakthrough. In fact, the Redmond based giant’s online division has been bleeding money, even as it continues to try and play catch up. Microsoft remains restricted to its traditional stronghold thanks to the dominance of Windows and Office.

Stung by the criticism, Frank Shaw, Microsoft’s Corporate VP of Corporate Communications, hit back by flaunting the numbers. Amidst all the iPhone and iPad frenzy, it’s quite easy to forget that Microsoft still remains a behemoth that is still doing an incredible job at raking in money.

Here’s a synopsis of the numbers touted by Shaw.

  • Windows 7: It is the fastest growing OS in the history with 150,000,000 copies sold so far.
  • PC: While people are busy forecasting the death of the PC, they are still forgetting that the projected PC sales (for 2010) dwarf the iPad and Netbook sales. 355 million PCs are expected to be sold this year, compared to 7.1 million iPads and 58 million Netbooks.
  • Netbooks: Speaking of Netbooks, this is another market Microsoft dominates. 96% of Netbooks sold in the US run on Microsoft Windows.
  • Server Market: While the Server market is not amongst Microsoft’s strong points, Linux hasn’t been doing too well either. Its current market share is 21.2%, down from 24% in 2005 and significantly less than the 33% market share it was predicted to achieve by 2007.
  • Office: 9,000,000 is the total number of customer downloads of the Office 2010 beta.
  • Xbox Live: With 23 million Xbox Live subscribers, Microsoft outnumbers both Netflix and the largest 25 US daily newspapers combined.
  • Bing: Bing has also been slowly making progress and gained 21.4 million new users in one year.
  • Windows Live Hotmail: Hotmail is an oft ignored and frequently derided online property, but it is still a market leader. Hotmail has 360 million users compared to 173 million and 284 million Gmail and Yahoo! users respectively. In fact, with 299 million active Windows Live Messenger accounts, WLM is the most popular instant messaging service in the world.
  • Net Income: Apple may have passed Microsoft in the market caps, but Microsoft’s net income of $14.5 Billion is still a lot more than Apple’s ($5.7 Billion) or Google’s ($6.5 Billion) net income. Microsoft’s total revenue has also grown from $23.0 billion in 2000 to $58.4 billion in 2009.