Microsoft announced today that it has updated its Skype Modern app for Windows 8.1/RT 8.1 to fix the endless ringing bug that also dogged its Outlook.com plug-in until recently. Additionally, the update syncs your chat history and read messages across devices much more quickly than before.
A month ago, Nokia announced its new Windows Phone handset for Verizon Wireless, the Lumia Icon. Originally called the Lumia 929, the Icon doesn't otherwise break with Lumia tradition. This is a solid, wedge-shaped smart phone handset with unique styling, a superior camera and a gorgeous 5-inch 1080p screen.
Continuing its frenetic media blitz for single game title that it hopes will reverse the fortunes of its Xbox One video game and entertainment console, Microsoft this week confirmed that it has a lot riding on the success of "Titanfall." Should this game not succeed, and the Xbox One continue to fall further and further behind the PS4, it could face an awkward failure in devices at a crucial time.
Another big week for the book, with lots of copy-editing and general cleaning up, plus a some thoughts about what the cover design for Windows 8.1 Field Guide—and a related series of books—might look like.
In the strange bouillabaisse that is Windows 8.1 Update 1, nothing is stranger, perhaps, that accessing desktop user interfaces from within Modern apps and experiences. In the RTM version of this update, I've been experimenting with how these cross-experience UIs work. And one of the weirder ones is the ability to access the taskbar from inside Modern apps.
The ability to pin Modern apps to the desktop taskbar is an interesting piece of cross-environment integration in Windows 8.1 Update 1. But in experimenting with the RTM version of this update, I've noticed a few additional features I'd not seen before. Here's an interesting example.
As expected, Lenovo's ThinkPad 8 is the best Windows mini-tablet yet, with a gorgeous 1080p screen and a thin and high-quality form factor. But these advances will cost you, and the ThinkPad 8 is much more expensive than its mainstream competition. Whether it's worth the extra cost will depend on your priorities.
An often irreverent look at this week's other news, including a Windows 8.1 Update 1 leak, a better name for Update 1, some internal division over the Nokia purchase by Microsoft, the pending success of Windows 2-in-1 PCs, Microsoft pushes DirectX 12, and a key Sony executive mysteriously steps down in the midst of a PlayStation 4 victory lap. Plus, introducing the Windows 8.1 Field Guide.
When rumors of a new Windows version called Windows 8.1 with Bing emerged, many Microsoft watchers speculated about what was happening. But I can report now that Windows 8.1 with Bing is nothing more than the low-cost version of Windows that Microsoft will offer to hardware makers that sell PCs for less than $250. And it comes with no restrictions for users at all.
In the latest episode of Windows Weekly, Leo Laporte, Mary Jo Foley and I discuss a major shakeup in Microsoft's star chamber with Tami Reller and Tony Bates on the outs, Windows 8.1 Update 1 RTM and other Windows news, new Office 365 experiences coming this year, the possibility of dual-boot Windows Phones, Skype for Outlook.com improves and goes live worldwide, and the Xbox One March 2014 System Update.
With the announcement earlier this week that Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo will ship new vehicles utilizing Apple's CarPlay system this calendar year, it's not hard to stack up the various in-dash entertainment and communications options and come to an obvious conclusion: Microsoft's Windows-based solutions, despite being in market the longest, are being quickly eclipsed by newer alternatives.
Roku announced today that it will soon release a $50 streaming stick device that closely resembles the Google Chromecast but comes with two key advantages: It includes an actual remote control and it of course features Roku's much wider array of supported services. While I feel that today's Roku devices are already superior to the Chromecast, this inexpensive device should settle the argument for most others.
This morning, I used the OneDrive app on my iPad mini to open a Word document in Apple Pages to reacquaint myself with productivity workflow, such as it is, on competing mobile platforms. Let's just say I found the experience lacking.
If recent reports are accurate, Windows users may have a new Frankenstein-like platform to consider: A new generation of handsets that can dual-boot between Windows Phone and Android. While it's unlike that these phones would offer this ability on the fly—instead, they might be sold to users in only one of the two configurations—their appearance could offer more and better choices to users.
Lots of changes since July, including the return of my desktop PC tower, a new keyboard and mouse set, many new tablets, new phones, Windows 8.1, new noise- cancelling headphones, the Xbox One and much more....More
Every so often, I publish an updated version of my “What I Use” document, which details the technology products and services I actually use day-to-day. Since I’m currently on my third business trip in five weeks, this is perhaps an ideal time to discuss the technology products I rely on when I travel and a few related points....More