Here’s the Rundown of the New Windows 8 Tablets

Ever since Microsoft announced its Windows 8 platform, the industry has gone abuzz about the touchscreen capabilities of its new OS. Even now there is a huge consumer electronics show going on in Berlin, Germany called IFA 2012. All of the big industry names are rolling out Windows 8 devices faster than I can honestly wrap my mind around. I will say this Christmas season is going to be tough for the average consumer as there are so many variations of hybrid tablets coming out from all of these manufacturers. We in the tech industry are going to have our work cut out for us trying to muddle through all the specs and separating the good from the bad. So without further ado, here is a list of Windows 8 tablets that have recently been announced.

HP Tablets

HP announced today, its lineup of hybrid PC and tablets. Pictured below, you can see what they look like.

HP Lineup

The HP Envy x2 is a hybrid PC. It is basically a laptop and a tablet built into one. The 11.6 screen attaches seamlessly to a magnetic base on the keyboard. Slide it off and you have a tablet. The tablet weighs 1.5 pounds and runs on Windows 8. It has a front-facing HD webcam and an 8 megapixel camera on the back. HP expects to have the Envy x2 available around the holiday season and has yet to announce the price. HP also announced two ultrabooks, the HP Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook, and the HP ENVY TouchSmart Ultrabook 4. 

Samsung Tablets

SamsungThe Samsung Ativ Tab seems to be getting a lot of attention and looking at the specs, probably rightly so. Pictured below, you can see it has a beautiful design. They put a Windows 8 button at the bottom of the screen so you can switch between Start screen mode and Desktop mode in Windows 8. It has built-in USB and HDMI ports so you can connect a mouse or printer without the hassle of special software. It also comes preloaded with Microsoft Office. Battery life seems to be incredible.

Samsung Ativ

They claim 13 hours battery time watching movies. It has a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 2GB of RAM. It also has a front facing 1.9 megapixel camera and a 5 megapixel rear camera with LED flash. Currently it is unknown when the tablet will be available or what the price point will be.

Dell Tablets

Dell announced today, its new lineup of tablets, touchscreens, and ultrabooks. The XPS 10, pictured below, is Dell’s new 10 inch tablet running on the Window RT OS and ARM processors. If you’re not familiar with that jargon, I will try to simplify it for you. The RT version of Windows 8 is basically a souped smartphone OS made for a tablet. You don’t get the full blown desktop experience like you do with Windows 8 however, you do get a lot of apps. So it is more like an iPad than a desktop. The ARM processor is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 processor, which is a mobile processor. This isn’t a bad thing, because these mobile manufacturers have learned how to make these mobile processors powerful but easy on the battery life. The XPS 10 comes with a dockable keyboard. When docked it can get up to 20 hours battery life. They expect to release this tablet in late October.

Dell XPS 10

Dell also announced a hybrid pc called the XPS Duo 12. Picture below, the ultrabook transforms into a tablet by rotating the screen and folding it down over the keyboard. The specs on this model are a little bit sketchy at this time. It too is expected to be available at the end of October.

Dell XPS Duo 12

Sony Tablets

Sony unveiled its new line of tablets at the IFA show in Berlin as well. Specs on this particular tablet are a little sketchy. It appears that it is intended to be a full blown laptop that transforms into a tablet. It comes with a stylus and the keyboard slides out instead of detaching like some of our previous contenders. The model they showed in Berlin sported an i7 processor and 8GB of RAM. That is some serious horsepower. They do plan to offer i5 and i3 processors as well. This is good because it is doubtful most consumers are going to want to spend the money for an i7.

Sony VAIO Duo 11



ASUS Tablets

ASUS unveiled the ASUS Tablet 810 and the ASUS Tablet 600 to the world. The 810 model is the full Windows 8 tablet. Here are the specs listed on their website:

Display11.6“ Super IPS+ Panel with 1366×768 resolution,
Touch panel: 10 fingers multi-touch
Operating SystemWindows® 8 Release Preview
CPUNext Generation Intel® Atom™ processor
MemoryRAM: 2GB
Storage64GB eMMC
Connectivity802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
DigitizerWacom digitizer stylus
CameraRear: 8MP Auto focus with LED Flash / Front: 2MP
SensorG-Sensor, Light Sensor, Gyroscope, E-compass, NFC ,GPS

Asus 810

The Tablet 600 is the RT version of their tablet. It too has a removable docking keyboard. Below are the specs per Asus’ website:

Display10.1“ Super IPS+ Panel with 1366×768 resolution,
Touch panel: 10 fingers multi-touch
Operating SystemWindows® RT
CPUNVIDIA® Tegra® 3 Quad-core
Memory / StorageRAM: 2GB / Storage: 32GB eMMC
Connectivity802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0C
CameraRear: 8MP Auto focus with LED Flash / Front: 2MP
SensorG-Sensor, Light Sensor, Gyroscope, E-compass, NFC ,GPS

Pictured below, you can see the ASUS Tablet 600.
Asus 600

As you can see, the selection is going to be pretty incredible this fall. The big question is how much are these things going to cost? Everyone seems to have their eyes on Microsoft as they are set to announce pricing for their Surface tablet in late October. I doubt we’ll get any ideas about these other tablets until Microsoft announces their pricing. Keep checking back with us as I am sure this list will increase with time. We’ll be sure to keep our eyes open for the latest and greatest as it comes out.

Tutorial: Navigating Windows 8

Windows 8 has been released to TechNet and MSDN subscribers. Microsoft has a lot riding on this newest operating system and it is certainly not the Windows you are used to. Today, I would like to show you around the new Windows 8, and point out some of the differences you should expect when this becomes the standard starting this fall.

start screen

Pictured above, is the “Start” screen in Windows 8. As you can tell it is a radical departure from the typical Windows you are accustomed to. Windows 8 is designed with the tablet in mind. That is why you see the brightly colored tiles on the main screen. The screen is designed to be easily usable on a tablet or touch screen computer. On the “Start” screen, Microsoft made some assumptions about the type of apps people commonly use.  Your not stuck with these “Tiles” as the start screen is fully customizable. In the upper right corner there is an icon where you can customize it to show your picture. Each corner of the screen has a purpose to help you navigate around. If you put your mouse in any corner it will show you a different menu. You may be accustomed to Windows having a little “Start” button in the lower left corner of the screen. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you can kiss that little guy goodbye. Instead of a “Start’ button, you get a start screen. That is the first and fundamental thing you need to grasp when dealing with Window 8.

Below, you can see where I zoomed in a little on the “Start” screen. One of the “Tiles” is labeled “Desktop”. If you click this tile it will put the computer in desktop mode. This is good news for those of you who are used to Windows XP.

Desktop Mode

In the image below, you can see what it looks like when you go into desktop mode. Notice what I I have highlighted. You’ll probably notice more what is missing. The old start menu button is gone!

No Start Menu

So how do you get around? Well, there are lots of ways to get around. I will try to show you a few of them. Microsoft introduced a new menu bar called the “Charm Bar” with Windows 8. You can see this pictured below. To get the “Charm Bar”, you position your mouse in the upper right corner of the screen and the bar will appear. There are several options on the “Charm Bar”. To answer a really big question I know you’re gonna have, if you want to see all your programs, click the “Search” charm on the “Charm Bar”. From the “Search” charm you will see a list of all your “apps” (programs are so 90’s). The “Share” charm can only be used in the “Start” screen mode. For instance, if you’re viewing a web page from the start screen, you can share it using the “Share” charm. The “Start” charm will take you to the “Start Screen” when you click it. The “Devices” charm is also not to be used in “Desktop” mode. It is supposed to be an easy way to send files to a printer or other device. The “Settings” charm is basically the control panel for the computer.

Charm Bar

If you position your mouse in the bottom left corner of the screen, you will get the “Start Screen” button, pictured below. This lets you toggle back and forth between the desktop and the “Start Screen”.

Start Button

Remember the old key combination of Alt + Tab? Well, that works for Windows 8 too, see picture below. It is actually a pretty easy way to go between things you have open.

Alt + Tab

Trying not to overload you here, I will let this be my last explanation for this tutorial. If you position your mouse in the upper left corner of the screen, you will see a small window representing an app window that you have open. If you leave your mouse hugging the left side of the screen and begin to move down, you will see a black bar with all the active apps listed. You can click the active app to go to it. You can right-click the active app and you can close it from there. A picture of what I describe can be seen below.

active app

This is just one of many tutorials to come. I hope you have enjoyed it and please feel free to ask any questions you have. As you can see, Windows 8 is radically different. I feel for all the IT organizations who are facing any kind of large scale deployment of Windows 8 because it is so different. Keep checking back with us as we continue to inform you of all the latest tips and tricks.

Windows 8 Now Available for MSDN/Technet Subscribers

Earlier this month when Microsoft made Windows 8 available to hardware partners they announced 15th August would be when some end users can get their hands on the final version of Microsoft’s latest & greatest. MSDN and TechNet are two subscriptions offered by Microsoft with TechNet focused towards the IT crowd and MSDN targeted at developers. The subscriptions give enthusiasts and people vested in the Microsoft ecosystem early access to Microsoft at huge discounts.

Over the years TechNet & MSDN have become economical means of getting legal copies of Windows, (at one point subscribers had 10 keys with 5 activations). Unfortunately, Microsoft wasn’t too pleased since these keys could be resold. The ToS for MSDN/TechNet say the builds/keys can’t be used in a production environment legally and they have drastically reduced the number of keys available for a user. Anyhow, for enthusiasts, TechNet/MSDN are still the best bet to get early access to Microsoft products, legally.

Starting today, MSDN/TechNet subscribers can download Windows 8 and Windows 8 Enterprise:

We will share a first look in the coming days.

The RTM Windows Store is Now Accepting Paid Apps, Company Accounts

On the heels of the announcement that Windows 8 has officially RTM’d, Microsoft has announced that the Windows Store is now fully open for business. From today onwards, any qualifying business in a supported market will be able to submit Metro apps for Windows 8 to the store.

Microsoft has also announced that today, 54 new markets have been added to the list of distinct catalog offerings, providing developers more opportunities that are specific to their respective markets. 24 new app certification languages have been added, bringing the total up to 38 and more than doubling the amount that was supported with the Release Preview build, which, released 8 weeks ago, was the last public pre-release of Windows 8 before we reached RTM.

The developer dashboard is also now available in an additional 11 languages, meaning that you will be able to select from an even larger plethora of languages for the backend area where you can submit apps, view analytics, and check the certification process.

Transaction support is also now enabled, and the Application Developer Agreement (ADA) has been updated to reflect this. The base Store fee is 30% of revenue for any transactions occurring through the platform, with that fee being reduced to 20% for the lifetime of the app if sales hit $25,000 USD. Microsoft also notes that they’re working hard to continually improve their certification policy, and that they are committed to “provide a level of transparency, consistency, and specificity that helps developers make more informed choices and take best advantage of the Windows platform…”

In conclusion, it’s worth noting that, in order to upload apps to the Store, you will need to have the RTM build of Windows 8 installed. Of course, you won’t have to wait until general availability; the RTM build will be released on MSDN and in trial form on Technet come August 15. Microsoft recommends that, until then, you keep working on your app on the Release Preview and register your company account now, as it takes a bit of time to get a company account verified and registering now ensures that you can “hit the ground running” once the RTM build is released.