Tired of using the same operating system for years? Microsoft certainly hopes so. The Redmond-based software maker is hoping "Windows Blue" will change how consumers perceive Windows by introducing frequent, periodic upgrades (e.g. annual releases), akin to Apple's aggressive Mac OS X release schedule.
Perhaps most surprisingly though -- and get your salt shakers ready -- rumor has it that Windows Blue is poised for a summer 2013 launch. It's not necessarily known if Blue will be a stand-alone Windows release, a service pack or simply Microsoft's latest Windows platform strategy, but one thing's for sure: the company hopes to lure users into rapid-fire Windows releases.
While annual Windows upgrades are likely to offend some customers, Microsoft is aiming to provide some incentive. First, new releases will be greatly discounted or possibly even free -- presumably a feat made possible by revenue generated by the Windows Store. It's fair to say that if the price is right (i.e. free) and the changes between versions subtle, Microsoft may actually be able to make this transition without consumers rioting in the streets.
However, the second incentive could be slightly more devious: planned obsolescence. When Windows Blue hits, Microsoft is expected to introduce a new Windows SDK and stop accepting apps created specifically for Windows 8. That's according to The Verge. With so much emphasis on the Windows Store, Microsoft could wield rapidly-changing platforms as a weapon, influencing users to upgrade or lose access to the latest apps.
A plan like this could be utilized to force users into yearly Windows upgrades in perpetuity, but we'll have to wait and see. I suspect Microsoft will stick its Windows lifecycle policy which promises users around 5 years of mainstream support -- I believe the "spirit" of this policy extends to compatibility with the Windows Store too. Incidentally, the company recently committed to over four years of mainstream hardware and software support for Surface RT -- a tablet which runs Windows 8 RT.
Speaking of SDKs, with the introduction of Windows Blue, the Windows SDK will be "standardized". There is some speculation that this could be the Windows singularity: the point which Windows 8 and Windows 8 Phone begin to merge. Windows 8 and WP8 both share the same kernel, after all.
The Microsoft Surface features a 10.6-inch Gorilla Glass display and a vapor-deposited magnesium chassis, the Surface runs a Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor and the latter packing an ARM-based Nvidia chip. The Touch Cover measures 3mm thick and has a multitouch keyboard as well as a trackpad, with a Touch Cover, the Surface measures just shy of half an inch.
The Apple iPad (3rd-gen) includes a Retina Display operating at a resolution of 2,048 x 1,536. Powering the new iPad is a dual-core A5X processor with quad-core graphics, it also gets upgraded optics in the form of a 5MP backside illuminated sensor that features a 5-element lens, IR filter and ISP built into the A5X chip. Apple claims The new iPad is good for 10 hours of battery life and nine hours when using 4G LTE.
The Google Nexus 7 has the distinction of being the first device to run the Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" operating system. It measures 198.5mm x 120mm x 10.45mm in size, weighs 340g, and features a 7-inch IPS display that is protected by scratch-resistant glass. The Nexus sports a 1280 x 800 pixel display. It runs a quad-core Tegra 3 processor and 1GB of RAM, it also comes in 2 versions: 8GB and 16GB capacities.
Amazon sent a wave crashing through the mobile industry when it announced its Kindle Fire would land with a price of $199. This is likely the best value in a tablet on the market, and will make tablet computing accessible to many people that either couldn't afford an iPad or couldn't tolerate Honeycomb tablets.
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