Windows

After having revealed its intentions at the Build conference earlier this year to resuscitate the Start menu, a feature that was ditched since introducing the Metro-inspired Start screen on Windows 8, it looks like Microsoft is ready to bring back the Start menu on a forthcoming version of Windows, but with a Metro twist. As it is leaked, in concept, the Start menu appears similar to the one that Windows 7 users have seen, but will be meshed together with Tiles like on Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.

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Update 7/18/14 - Lenovo has issued a statement regarding the original comments and have since clarified their position, which can be found below:

"We will continue to bring new Windows devices to market across different screen sizes, including a new 8-inch tablet and 10-inch tablet coming this holiday. Our model mix changes as per customer demand, and although we are no longer selling ThinkPad 8 in the U.S., and we have sold out of Miix 8-inch, we are not getting out of the small-screen Windows tablet business as was reported by the media. In short, we will continue to sell both 8 and 10 inch Windows tablets in both the U.S. and non-U.S markets." – Ray Gorman, Executive Director, External Communications, Lenovo

Microsoft and Lenovo evidently cannot catch a break as the PC manufacturer is reportedly halting sales of its small-screen Windows tablets. ITWorld has confirmed that Lenovo is pulling their 8-inch tablet line, including the high-end ThinkPad 8 and Miix2 here in the States, redirecting the stock to other countries.

According to a Lenovo spokesperson "In North America, we're seeing stronger interest in the larger screen sizes for Windows tablets and are pleased with initial customer demand for the ThinkPad 10…In other markets, particularly Brazil, China, and Japan, the demand for ThinkPad 8 has been much stronger, so we are adjusting our ThinkPad 8 inventories to meet increasing demand in those markets. If market demand for ThinkPad 8 changes, we will re-evaluate our strategy."

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Microsoft has announced it will collaborate with Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group (mandarinoriental.com) to provide guests with a new premium digital experience. There's an initial target installation of 1,000 tablets, including the Surface Pro 3, in four of their award-winning properties in London, Washington D.C., Las Vegas and Tokyo. The Windows 8.1 tablets feature a custom start screen and five apps that allow guests to quickly and easily request hotel services, such as in-room dining, concierge and housekeeping requests.

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At the HP APJ Summit 2014 in Mumbai, India last week, HP unveiled a colorful new lineup of consumer notebooks. The new HP notebook series - HP Pavilion 14 and Pavilion 15, HP Pavilion x360, and the HP ENVY 15 – features unique designs in eye-catching colors, combining style and function.

I spent some time with the HP Pavilion x360, the touch convertible PC designed for productivity and entertainment. The x360 features a 360-degree hinge that enables users to easily convert the notebook into a stand, tent, or tablet mode.

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Microsoft's Surface tablets have multiple great first-party keyboards to choose from. Several other Windows 8 and RT tablets have fine official keyboards as well, such as the Nokia Lumia 2520 with its Power Keyboard. These keyboards have a couple of things in common. They're typically a bit expensive, and probably can't be used with other tablets. Universal keyboards, on the other hand, don't suffer from either of those issues…

A few months ago we reviewed one such keyboard for tablets, the MiniSuit BluBoard. Now we're back with a look at the Lumsing Ultrathin Wireless Keyboard, which works with Windows 8 and RT, Android, and iOS devices. Lumsing's peripheral doesn't come with its own case and tablet stand, but it makes up for that by being more portable and offering better Windows support. It's also really affordable! We'll walk you through its ins and outs as well as the unwieldy Windows 8 Bluetooth setup process.

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Microsoft is making it easier for Windows RT users, like those who own the original Surface RT, to upgrade to Windows RT 8.1 through a new automatic update process handled by Windows Update. This is dramatically different from how the upgrade from Windows RT to Windows RT 8.1 was handled in the past as that was done through the Windows Store rather than through Windows Update.

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VAIO was the popular line of computers by Sony, which was sold earlier this year. The brand has returned as an independent PC manufacturer, launching two 'new' Windows 8 laptops today. While touted as new, the debut range offered by the newly formed VAIO are actually identical to the old Sony Prop and Fit models. What's more is you'll not be able to purchase one unless you reside in Japan. VAIO will be focusing on the Japanese market prior to rolling out units worldwide.

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A few days ago I did a primer on InstantGo aka Connected Standby on the Surface Pro 3 and other Windows tablets. To refresh, InstantGo is a new low-power battery state the lets the system update email, Skype and other Modern apps while the device is in standby mode. But what if you think something is abnormally draining your battery?

Over on the Windows Experience Blog, Kevin Chin introduces readers to a new tool built into Windows 8.1 christened 'Sleep Study.' In short, Sleep Study is a diagnostic tool that reveals in high detail what is draining the battery on your Windows 8.1 devices with InstantGo enabled.

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