Windows

It was just this weekend that Microsoft unified pricing tiers to help make universal apps easier, and today they've opened the floodgates to developers and are now accepting Windows Phone 8.1 and universal apps for review. As a refresher, universal apps take advantage of new frameworks in Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 to allow developers to build apps once and deploy them across both platforms.

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Mary Jo Foley recently talked with Terry Myerson about the future of Windows, transparency and more. Terry, as you know, is the executive vice president of Microsoft’s operating system group. This division is responsible for the all operating systems at Microsoft.

She sat down with Terry a few days after Build and now has two great posts up on her site detailing the exchange. We’ll highlight a few interesting tidbits and then send you her way to get the whole scoop on the future of Windows and Microsoft.

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Update: Microsoft has now pulled the page and videos

While there's a lot to love about live tiles in Windows and Windows Phone, there's one element that's been missing: interactivity. Sure, they'll refresh with your latest notifications, but all you can do is tap on them to open the respective app. Microsoft Research is aware of this limitation, and is working actively to supercharge live tiles with interactive elements.

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Enterprise rollouts of Windows 8.1 updates through the Windows Server Update Service is hitting a bit of a roadbump. Apparently servers running SSL but without Travel Layer Security 1.2 enabled won’t be able to push out the update, and Microsoft is pausing the distribution of the update until this is fixed. This doesn’t stop you from updating if you haven’t already, since you can pick it up from the Windows Update Catalog, but Microsoft still suggests you wait until a fix is in place.

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If you believe paying anything around $150 is too much for a Windows 8 tablet, you may be in luck with Chinese manufacturer Emdoor. According to PadNews, the company has revealed its product roadmap, which includes affordable 7-, 8- and 10-inch tablets. Pricing for these new devices could reach as low as $60, depending on which configuration you opt for.

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Unreal Engine 4 is coming to Windows RT and Windows Phone. Someday. That's the word from Epic Games co-founder and CEO Tim Sweeney. The new game engine saw its initial release just last week for PC, and while iOS and Android are up next for Unreal Engine 4 development, they're also keeping their eyes on the mobile operating systems out of Redmond.

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Today, Microsoft has kicked off the release of Windows 8.1 Update 1, the highly anticipated release for the desktop operating system and RT devices like the Surface 2. What makes this update special to consumers is the vast array of improvements implemented for mouse and keyboard users.

Windows 8 was a major step forward for touch, introducing numerous Windows-based tablets, but it’s time the classic peripheral setup received some much needed attention. If you're rocking Windows 8 and/or Windows 8.1, be sure to check the store and/or system updates to see if it’s available in your region.

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Lenovo has announced their new ultra-portable - the IdeaPad Flex 10 – in India. The Flex 10 flips 300° from laptop to stand mode, making it an interesting convertible device for work and entertainment while on the go.

Unlike most convertibles in the market, the Flex 10 does not convert into a tablet, but into a stand mode which is quite useful for media consumption or casual browsing. The 2-in-1 features 10-point multitouch display optimized for Windows 8.

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Plex coming to Xbox One

One of the cooler announcements from BUILD this year was the support for universal applications — software that can run on more than one Windows-powered device. It appears that Plex, the popular fork of the XBMC project, is going to take advantage of this and is coming to the Xbox One. Want to hear even better news? Since the Xbone can't yet run these apps, a stand-alone version is also coming as soon as it is ready!

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One of the bigger announcements to come out of Build 2014 is that Microsoft is dropping the manufacturer royalty fee on Windows and Windows Phone for devices under 9 inches in size. This is a big deal for partners, and ultimately good news for consumers since costs won’t have to be passed down. This will also be applied to devices that tie into the internet of things, like wearables or home automation devices.

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Most likely, if you are working online with office documents, you and your friends are using Google’s Docs service. While the web-based office suite from Google has served a good purpose since February 2006, when the service was integrated into the major suite of Google Apps, it might be time to move over in 2014 and let Microsoft's Office Online suite (officeonline.com) truly shine.

The main complaint from users of Google Docs that you often hear is that it feels like a stripped down or light version of Microsoft Office. While Microsoft has had an online Office suite for a while now, it was buried within their OneDrive web interface. Now though, the company has launched its own site and revamped the service.

Here are the top five reasons you should be using Office Online instead of Google Docs to accompany your other devices.

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Sometimes we get so involved with Windows 8, Surface, and other products from Microsoft that we forget about their humble beginnings. Microsoft itself has not forgotten where it came from though and has released the source code for early versions of MS-DOS and Word for Windows. If you wish to step into a time machine and travel backwards to the 1980s where the adventure began, read on after the break.

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While the release of Windows Vista was plagued with burden and its legacy was remembered as such, one excellent feature to rise out of the wreckage has served its way through Windows 7 up to current day Windows 8 operating systems. The feature that we are referring to is, of course, Microsoft’s BitLocker Drive Encryption – full disk encryption at the click of a button.

WARNING: Disk Encryption is a delicate process, please be sure to backup your data before beginning. WPCentral, Mobile Nations, Smartphone Experts are not responsible for any data loss caused by a failure to read instructions carefully or ignoring our recommendation to backup ALL of your data before beginning. Please be sure to read the entire article before beginning your encryption journey. If you have doubts about anything, please ask in the comments below before proceeding.

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We have been announcing the end days of Windows XP for some time now, and if you are not planning on upgrading your poor sad operating system to a nice new shiny one, then we are a bit of a loss what more to say. Microsoft on the other hand, has one more trick up their sleeves; they are willing to shell out a $100 instant savings credit if you trade up your existing Windows XP machine.

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