Gartner Predicts Windows Will Command 4% Of The Tablet Market In 2012

With Windows 8 set to hit the shelves sometime this October, it should come as no surprise that tech analysts are already making predictions about how well the highly tablet-optimized OS will sell. Gartner Group made a bleak prediction, stating that they predict that Microsoft will only command four percent of the tablet market in 2012.

“Despite PC vendors and phone manufacturers wanting a piece of the pie and launching themselves into the media tablet market, so far, we have seen very limited success outside of Apple with its iPad,” Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said.

The slow growth estimated by Gartner Group in 2012 doesn’t just have to do with the fact that Windows 8 is touching down towards the end of the year, however. They note that by 2016, Microsoft will only have 11.8% of the consumer tablet market as they feel that Windows 8 lacks consumer appeal. They do, however, feel that Windows 8 will be aided by enterprise interest in the product.

“Many vendors will wait for Windows 8 to be ready and will try to enter the market with a dual-platform approach, hoping that the Microsoft brand could help them in both the business and consumer markets,” Milanesi said.

Gartner released a slightly brighter forecast for Android and iOS tablets, however, expecting that 31.9% of tablet sales in 2012 will comprise of Android, with that number rising to 37% by 2016. The iPad will maintain the lead, with a share of 45% forecasted for 2016.

Microsoft Building $112 Million Datacenter In Wyoming

Wyoming: There’s a place that we don’t hear about much. Nevertheless, the state with the smallest population of any U.S. state is making headlines in the tech blogosphere today as, according to Datacenterknowledge, Microsoft will be erecting a $112 million data center in the area. The blog received comment from the state’s governor, who is quite enthusiastic about the tech giant’s project in the region:

“Microsoft’s decision recognizes that Wyoming is a hand and glove fit as a leading site for data centers and technology-related companies,” said Gov. Matt Mead. “Wyoming is a perfect fit for data centers. We have abundant, affordable energy. Our naturally cool climate decreases costs for data centers and we have redundant fiber optics.”

However, Microsoft didn’t just choose Wyoming for nothing. $10.75 million in incentives offered by the state — which includes $5 million in funds approved by the Wyoming legislature to boost data center recruitment, interestingly enough — may have certainly swayed them to use the cowboy state as their location. “Microsoft said we would not be having this conversation without the data center incentives,” said Mead.

Microsoft seems to be really taking the cloud seriously lately. The company just announced a few days ago that it has launched two additional U.S. Azure data centers, one in the west coast and one in the east coast. Specific locations weren’t announced, but MJF did speculate that the east coast location is in Virginia, and the west coast location is in Iowa.

To the cloud!

Microsoft Office Apps Released On Symbian

One of the key features in Windows Phone that Microsoft often brags about are the Office apps — or rather, the Office hub — which provides a pretty solid mobile Office experience. There has been much discussion (and rumor) lately about how Microsoft needs to bring the Office suite to iOS, and while they are yet to do so, they are introducing it to a slightly less major player in the mobile ecosystem: Symbian.

Yes, Nokia’s mobile OS which really should be retired in lieu of Windows Phone will be receiving the full Office Mobile app. Starting today, the Nokia 701, Nokia 700, Nokia 603, Nokia E7, Nokia X7, Nokia C7, Nokia Oro, and Nokia C6-01 will receive the Office suite, which can be obtained via the Nokia Software Update tool on your phone, or the Nokia Suite on the PC.

While you probably won’t be typing up entire essays, or creating complete presentations from scratch on your Symbian device, it’s always good to have Office in your pocket for quick adjustments on the go. And, Microsoft touts that, as they developed the apps, the experience and functionality is as close as it can be to the PC. For example, in Word, you can save or send documents while preserving tables, SmartArt and charts, and you can use pinch/zoom to easily navigate through your document.

And in PowerPoint, you can edit presentation text and speaker notes, and use the Outline view to browse slides. Finally, in Excel, you can create charts, insert formulas, and view charts on your device. Through Office Mobile, you’ll also get a single view to documents, whether stored locally, as email attachments, or on a SharePoint server.

So, if you are still using Symbian, this is pretty good news for you.

AT&T Might Not Have Spent $150 Million On The Lumia 900

I had just penned a post covering a report from AdAge which stated that AT&T will be spending around $150 million over the next few months to promote the Lumia 900, which, according to a few sources, is AT&T’s next “hero” flagship device which it will heavily promote. However, The Verge reports that the $150 million number is a bit off the mark, and that the carrier is actually spending less on the Lumia 900 (and by less, they mean the amount that AT&T would normally spend for a major flagship device release anyway.)

The Verge is also reporting that the internal attitude towards the Lumia 900 is a bit different than initially reported; they’re claiming that it isn’t being heavily promoted due to the threat of the loss of iPhone exclusivity to rival carriers Verizon and Sprint. Alex Wilhelm suggests something that could possibly be true: The $150 million may be the collective amount being invested in Lumia 900 advertising by Nokia, Microsoft, and AT&T. If I remember correctly, there was some speculation that all three companies are investing a total of 150 to 200 million in promoting the device.

Nevertheless, both this and the initial AdAge report should be taken with a grain of salt. No advertising costs have been released by AT&T — or Microsoft and Nokia — on the record. However, we do have two conflicting reports from two very credible publications. Neat.

Windows Vista Leaves Mainstream Support Period

As of today, Windows Vista has left the mainstream support phase and entered the extended support phase of its lifecycle. Office 2007 is also in the extended support phase, entering this stage of its life on Monday.

The support lifecycle for Microsoft products is essentially categorized into two periods: Mainstream support, during which software receives the works — bug patches, security updates, etc. — and extended support, during which only security updates are available, and you will need to be a company with a paid contract with Microsoft to receive security updates.

Windows XP and Office 2003 will be in extended support until 2014, after which users will no longer receive any new support updates, bug fixes, or anything of that nature. Long overdue, considering that the OS launched back in 2001. Incredibly, its marketshare peaked at 76.1% back in January of 2007, and is at 30% as of February of 2012 according to w3schools. Astounding numbers for a nearly 11 year old operating system.

So, for those of you who are still on Vista, or worse, XP, should you upgrade? Microsoft certainly thinks so. To quote Stella Chernyak, who blogged about the lifecycle milestones:

 We don’t recommend waiting. Not only is it important for companies to complete deployment before support runs out, but they should also be aware that by upgrading to Windows 7 and Office 2010 today they can gain substantial results today while laying the foundation for future versions of these products. And with over 525 million Windows 7 licenses sold since its release, many customers are already taking advantage of everything Windows 7 has to offer.

This message is tailored towards business and enterprise of users, but the principle applies to the average consumer. For the best (and most secure) Windows experience, you’re better off updating to Windows 7 (or 8, when it is released.)

AT&T Is Spending $150 Million To Advertise The Lumia 900

We knew that the Lumia 900 was going to be a big launch advertising-wise, with it essentially becoming the flagship AT&T device. Internally referred to by the carrier as a “hero” phone, it ‘s expected to be more heavily marketed and promoted than Apple’s iPhone was from 2007 onwards by the company. So, with that being said, just how much is being spent on promoting the Lumia 900?

According to a report from AdAge, AT&T will be spending around $150 million over the next few months to spread the word about the Lumia 900. This is quite a lot, though it’s coming from a company which, according to AdAge spent $3 billion in advertising back in 2010.One of the main perks of being an AT&T subscriber over the past few years has been, well, the iPhone. And now that AT&T no longer has iPhone exclusivity with it now being sold by Verizon and Sprint as well, the company seems to be looking for a fresh, new device to be its main selling point.

But, what I wonder is, if AT&T alone will be spending $150 million on promoting the Lumia 900, how much will Microsoft and Nokia be spending? How much will they all be spending collectively? There were reports of Nokia paying AT&T up to $25 million to get the Lumia 900 in the hands of its employees. Nevertheless, there’s surely a crazy amount being spent on this phone by all three companies; definitely has to be over $200 million.

Users Reporting Nokia Lumia 900 Data Connectivity Bug

The Nokia Lumia 900 is a pretty beautiful device which is set to become the most heavily advertised phone since the iPhone. However, there’s one annoying bug that some users are reporting on Nokia’s forums and WPCentral’s forums which impacts the device’s 3G/4G connectivity. While we aren’t entirely sure about what’s causing this issue, it seems that it may be triggered by cutting off the data connection at any point (such as by triggering airplane mode.)

Nokia and WPCentral forum participant goeman said that following these steps fixed his issue:

  1. Remove the SIM card and leave the SIM card out for the next three steps.
  2. Perform a Master Reset (Settings > About).
  3. Let the product boot up without a SIM card.
  4. Turn off the device.
  5. Verify that the SIM card is LTE enabled.
  6. Insert SIM card and boot up.
It worked for some, but most were still left with the issue. Neither Nokia or AT&T have publicly addressed this issue just yet, so it’s hard to say what exactly is causing it or how widespread the issue is. There certainly seems to be a fair amount of people reporting the issue on the forums though, which is slightly concerning. Let’s hope that AT&T and Nokia address this ASAP, or, depending on how widespread/severe of an error it is, it may rain on the Lumia 900 advertising parade.

Microsoft Offers Free Windows Phones To U.S. Students Who Make Apps

Microsoft are currently running a promotion which all students who go to College in the United States can participate in, specifically those who are making apps for the Windows Phone platform, as den by default reports. To quote, here are the requirements to participate in the promotion:

  • You are a student in an accredited university/college in the United States
  • You have developed two Windows Phone applications that are (or will be) published between March 26th and May 31st, 2012.
  • Those apps are targeting Windows Phone 7.5
  • Apps support Fast App Switching
  • The apps are of high-quality and are not created with one of the “do-it-fast” tools, like AppMakr or FollowMyFeed
  • You have not received a Windows Phone device in previous student promotions from Microsoft
So, to enter, you need to create and publish two Windows Phone apps to the Marketplace anytime between March 26th and May 31st, and sign up on the Facebook page. So, if you’re a student who has been interested in getting your feet wet in Windows Phone development, this seems like a great time and incentive to get started!

Microsoft Hosts Free-Time Machine Campaign

Last week, Microsoft set up a teaser website dubbed the “Free-Time Machine”, with a tagline that suggested that all will be revealed on April 9th, the day that the Lumia 900 went live. And, as expected, Microsoft conducted the promotional event on Monday.

To commemorate the launch of two major Windows Phone devices — the Nokia Lumia 900, and the HTC Titan II — Microsoft set up “Free-Time Machine” booths in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago, in which you could win time-saving prizes such as free grocery deliveries, cleaning and dog-walking services, and personal concierges. Or a Windows Phone, which Microsoft touts as “the ultimate time-saving tool”.

On top of these prizes, a celebrity made an appearance in each city as well. Stephanie Izard, a celebrity chef showed up at the Chicago event, 49ers player Vernon Davis showed up at the San Francisco booth, and Kourtney Kardashian took New York and even subtly promoted the phone during an appearance on Fox News. On top of this physical promotion, you can also participate in the fun on the Free-Time Machine website, where you can win a trip to Hawaii, among other prizes.

Nevertheless, here are a few videos which provide a recap of each event in each city:

HBO Go On Xbox 360 Finally Available for Comcast Subscribers

Late last month, HBO Go, MLB.TV, and Comcast Xfinity apps were launched on Xbox LIVE, making a wide array of additional TV content available on the platform to those with the appropriate subscriptions. However, on launch day, Comcast (and Time Warner) subscribers were unable to access the HBO Go content. While there’s no word on whether or not Time Warner users will ever be able to use HBO Go, the @Xbox account did tweet today that HBO Go is now available for Comcast Xfinity subscribers.

Now, one unfortunate thing about using the HBO Go app instead of the Xfinity app to view HBO content is that doing so will count towards your monthly broadband usage. The Xfinity app on the other hand is treated as another set-top box (without any accompanying fees, of course), and thus does not count towards data usage.

Both the Xfinity TV and HBO Go apps offer Kinect integrations. In the Xfinity app, you can use either voice control or your arms to navigate through the app. And in the HBO Go app, you can use your voicew to search through the catalogue of shows.

So, what are you waiting for? You can now watch Game of Thrones using either the Xfinity app or the HBO Go app, so get to watching!