surface

WPDownUnder has managed to confirm just how much the Surface Pro tablet will cost consumers in Australia. Sourcing two participating retailers (Harvey Norman and JB Hifi) who have the Windows 8 tablet on their systems, the RRP (recommended retail price) of Microsoft's high-end product is now publicly available, so be sure to start saving those coins. 

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According to data released by research firm Strategy Analytics, Microsoft has managed to obtain 7.5 percent of the tablet market with Windows 8 and Windows RT. Tablet shipping in general reached an all-time high of 40.6 million units in Q1 2013, a huge climb from 18.7 million reported in Q1 2012. Apple still dominates the market with 48 percent, but Android is close behind with 43 percent of the pie. So what's hindering Microsoft's advance?

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We have covered this story before: Microsoft made a special SKU of Surface (Intel processor powered) for China, replacing Windows 8 Pro with Windows 8, but pre-loaded with permanently licensed Office 2013 Home & Student. To many, not necessarily Chinese, this version is even more desirable than the stock Surface Pro. However, according Panos Panay, the leader of the Surface team at Microsoft, such region-specific SKU won't happen anywhere else, unless strong enough consumer interest is shown.

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Since first being captivated by the beauty and excellence of Nokia's Lumia family of Windows Phone devices, people having been wondering if Nokia would follow Microsoft's lead by creating a Windows-based tablet, like the Surface. While we're nowhere closer to learning the answer to that question, what we do know is that Nokia had their sights on building a tablet back in 2011.

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Let’s not beat around the bush. When the touch-centric iPhone came out in 2007 it changed mobile gaming – for the better. It helped to push mobile gaming to the masses and cement touch as a viable input option for games. Since then Android and Windows Phone have had their share of awesome games – beautiful and fun games stuff like Tentacles and Contre Jour are examples of games that couldn’t exist without touch. One thing that’s lacked in the tablet and smartphone space is a unified input system. A recent patent filing shows that Microsoft is positioning to change that.

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It’s “Patch Tuesday”, the traditional day where Microsoft tends to push out some major OS fixes and updates and while it used to be a big Windows day, it’s increasingly more important for Surface owners. That’s because the Surface, a work in progress, is constantly getting tweaked for performance and usability. Today is no different.

Both the Surface RT and Surface Pro have numerous updates queued up for installing, including a few for Office 2013. The bigger deal though is the included firmware, which once again will hopefully fix a few lingering issues some of you may still be having.

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Microsoft China posted an update on popular social network Sina weibo earlier today that Surface Pro, the Surface tablet/ultrabook that's built on Intel's desktop processor, will be available on 9:00pm, April 2nd (Beijing time). Microsoft announced on its official blog that Surface computers will be available in more markets in 2013, and China will be the first new market for Surface Pro.

The Chinese version of Surface Pro will be sold through Suning, the partner who was partly responsible for the lackluster sales of Surface RT in that region. But this time Microsoft isn't giving anyone "exclusive dealership" any more, for it has established its own Microsoft Store (online only) in China, and built an official store on Tmall.com, China's largest B2C e-commerce platform ever.

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We’ve got quite the variety when you look at the sea of tablets, slates, ultrabooks, and convertibles we have now in the Windows 8 landscape. Crazy designs like the ThinkPad Yoga and Dell XPS 12 spring to mind when thinking of the different ways manufactures have differentiated themselves.

Microsoft threw a wrench into the traditional PC world last June when it announced the Surface family of devices. The Surface is also unique in its design and has recently been awarded a design patent for it's Touch keyboard cover and magnetic coupling.

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Sure, props for your Xbox LIVE avatar are gimmicky and they can be quite absurd, but we still love ‘em. We also love our Surface, so when the two collide, we can’t help but get a little gitty.

If you head over to the Xbox site and follow this link, you’ll be able to add the “Windows 8 Tablet Avatar Prop” to your collection. Yes, that’s right.

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Any fans of DC Comic superhero Green Arrow watching the TV series Arrow? It started up last October on the CW here in the United States and later went to international broadcasting in late 2012. It’s getting favorable reviews with critics and fans alike. Either way, they’ve recently had some in-show advertisement from Microsoft, highlight a few products from the Redmond company.

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Microsoft has been incredibly coy with numbers the past few years. Especially when it comes to actual numbers for Windows Phone and more recently its new Surface line of tablets. You can’t blame them for not wanting to disclose numbers from the top of the mountain if they aren’t anything to boast about to begin with. Numbers we do get either come from inside sources or website analytics that we all piece together. That said, here are some numbers from inside Microsoft about the number of Surface tablets sold.

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One of the advantages the touchscreen on our Microsoft Surface or other Windows 8 device is the artist uses it presents. You can basically turn your Windows 8 touchscreen into an art canvass.

The Sensu Brush is a tool that can help you draw with not only a stylus point but also mimic brush strokes. It's not your run of the mill Windows 8 accessory but it can come in handy if you like dabbling with art/sketch apps.

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It’s Patch Tuesday, Microsoft’s semi-regular time to push out OS and software updates to our computers. Today is no different, and if you’re on Windows 8 you’ll get at least 13 important updates (83MB) and if you’re on Surface, you’re looking at 14 patches (38-118MB) and a firmware update. (Some of that will vary for you as different Office 2010 and Office 2013 updates are included.)

So what’s new? Well, the biggest news is that Microsoft has enabled Flash to work now in Internet Explorer 10 for RT. If you recall, Microsoft only allowed a few, specific websites with Flash to work on Internet Explorer 10 citing performance and battery life reasons. There was even a neat little work around that you could do yourself to bypass this. Now, Microsoft have reversed that decision, which they say is due to more sites becoming IE10 compatible.

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Staples has an interesting Windows 8 Trade up to Touch program running where you can earn you a little cash back and have the opportunity to recycle your old computer in the process.

When you buy a qualifying touch screen laptop or tablet at Staples, just fill in the online claim form within fourteen days and you'll receive a prepaid shipping label to turn in your older, qualifying device. Just pack up the old computer, drop it off at UPS and within thirty days you'll receive a pre-paid VISA card for up to $400.

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