windows 8

There is speculation that with the Windows 8.1 update users will have the option to boot up directly to the traditional desktop view. The 8.1 update, code named Blue (that will also impact Windows Phones), will still have the hot corner functionality for access to the Charms and Start Screen.  The option will simply launch the desktop view on the computer at boot up.

No word on whether or not the Start Button will be making a comeback (wouldn't hold your breath) but it will be nice to have the option to go straight to the desktop view. Especially for those who prefer the more traditional Windows view.

Source: The Verge

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Many have been (and continue to do so) predicting the end of personal computing as we know it today. But it's a bit like global warming - a controversial topic. Windows 8 has been available on the market for a number of months and while sales haven't been as strong as one hoped, it's not the sole reason the PC being in a potential situation. A new article on the Forrester blog really goes into some detail about why such thoughts should stop.

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There’s a report going around the web from the IDC about PC shipments from the first quarter of 2013. The overall outlook is rather gloomy – PC shipments were down 13.9% from the same period a year ago. A bit worse than the forecast of a negative 7.7% decline. What’s this mean for Windows 8 and the PC market going forward?

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Whether you like it or not, Instagram is here to stay as a social network. Whatever plans Facebook has in the future are irrelevant, today it’s a huge platform for a lot of users. Its presence (or absence) makes or breaks potential smartphone purchases by the active 90 million users. Windows Phone still doesn’t have an official app, but Instagraph is a good workaround for right now. From the forums, here’s another slightly more involved way to get pictures up to Instagram without using an iPhone or Android device.

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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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Of all the offsite meetings we engaged in during GDC, the most pleasant place to visit was probably Electronic Arts’ suite at the St. Regis Hotel. Within that cozy location, Android Central’s Simon Sage and I met with Dan Tausney, PR Manager of Chillingo. As you might remember from our article about their most recent Windows Phone releases, Chillingo is the arm of EA responsible for publishing indie games from all over the world. They’ve been a major Windows Phone supporter and will soon be doing the same for Windows 8 as well.

Check out our hands-on footage with Contre Jour for Windows 8, see your favorite mobile Games Editor in action on video, and learn about Chillingo’s future Windows 8 plans after the break!

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Skulls of the Shogun has been an incredibly important game for Windows Phone and the Microsoft ecosystem as a whole. It’s the first Xbox Live game to cross platforms between the Xbox 360, Windows Phone, and Windows 8. It was also the Xbox Windows Phone game that ended the game drought we faced earlier this year. After so many weeks without a new game, Skulls quenched many a Windows Phone gamer’s thirst.

We had the opportunity to speak with Skulls of the Shogun developer 17-BIT twice last year, first at E3 and later Casual Connect. Of course, that was all before the game launched. Now that Skulls of the Shogun is live and in players’ hands, Windows Phone Central jumped at the opportunity to ask 17-BIT’s lead programmer Borut Pfeifer about how the game performed and what players can expect in the future.

Head past the break for the full video interview!

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Looking for more ways to enjoy Nokia Music? Well you'll be pleased to hear that the service is now available on the Windows 8 / RT store for consumers to download and enjoy. Nokia has launched the apps with a number of great features for those who use Windows on a desktop or laptop, as well as a tablet. So what's included in Nokia Music for Windows 8?

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HTC has always been a big partner of Microsoft. They’ve been onboard with Windows Phone since the beginning in 2010, but the history goes back deeper than that. They started out making devices for other companies (running Windows Mobile) and took off when they started to produce devices under their own name. With the upcoming ‘Blue’ update across a variety of Microsoft platforms it’s becoming harder and harder for OEMs to build a Windows Phone and not have a corresponding tablet running Windows 8 to complement it.

NPD DisplaySearch, a market research and consulting firm, believes that HTC is working on a tablet running Windows 8.

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Songza (www.songza.com) has revealed that the company is working on a Windows app, but more importantly a Windows Phone app thereafter. But what is Songza exactly? It's a free music streaming and recommendation service for the US. Playlists are claimed to be created by music experts and the service recommends various playlists based on time of day and mood or activity. 

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A couple of days ago, Microsoft announced a slew of Windows 8 games that would be launching over the weekend. Today several of those games are readily available to download: Shuffle Party, Samurai vs. Zombies Defense, Bejeweled Live, and Delicious – Emily’s True Love. The only one that hasn’t shown up yet is Temple Run Brave (based on that movie I dislike), but I’m sure it will be along sometime soon.

Head past the break to check out our hands-on demonstration of Shuffle Party from GDC, plus quick impressions and download links for the games that appeared alongside it.

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iOS screenshots

Bejeweled Live isn’t the only Xbox game coming to Windows 8 and RT this week. As another GDC celebration, Microsoft has just announced a horde of Windows 8 tablet and PC games that should start becoming available this weekend, plus six more that are planned for the future. Most of these will be Xbox-enabled, but we’re not sure about a few of them. The biggest news is that Windows 8 will have its own Temple Run game to brag about!

Head past the break for the full list!

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Back in February, PopCap surprised us by suddenly releasing Bejeweled Live+ exclusively for Nokia Windows Phones. Confusing name aside, that game is basically a mobile version of the phenomenal Bejeweled 3.

Well, it turns out that Windows 8 and RT were sorely in need of some Bejeweled love as well. Or should I say Bejeweled Live? Today at GDC 2013, we had the chance to talk with Jeff Green, Director of Editorial and Social Media at PopCap Games, who kindly demonstrated the Xbox-enabled Bejeweled Live for Windows 8 and RT.

Full video and more details after the break!

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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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There are always providers looking to capitalise on a single party's choice on withdrawing a popular service. It's known across the Internet that the search giant is closing down Google Reader, the company's RSS service later this year. Competing services have taken this as a golden chance to expand business and attract those who will be surely looking for an alternative and migrate away from Google. Cue Feedly.

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Update: A lot of you are reporting they're available (me too). Go download them in the Windows Store. 

The built-in Mail, Calendar, and People app have received nearly universal criticism from both tech reviewers and users since their inception. While they aren’t getting a huge graphical user interface overhaul, there is a nice update coming in tomorrow that should help alleviate some, but not all, concerns.

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