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3/30/2013
08:23 AM
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Windows Blue: What We Know

Will Windows Blue, Windows 8's successor, be a nail in the coffin of traditional PCs? Here are 5 key facts that have emerged.

4. Windows Blue devices will come in a variety of sizes.

Judging from mounting evidence, Microsoft is very keen to make a splash with smaller tablets, a market that, as the iPad Mini's success attests, has become quite popular.

A March 12 Windows Certification Newsletter delivered the latest indication that Microsoft is eyeing the iPad Mini and Nexus 7's turf. With the posting, Redmond lowered Windows 8's minimum resolution standards; whereas certification has previously required 1366x768-pixel resolution, Microsoft will now approve devices equipped with only 1024-768-pixel screens.

Typically, larger, 10-inch tablets utilize high-definition screens. But as the iPad Mini's 1024x768-pixel resolution has demonstrated, buyers are willing to trade display density for smaller form factors and lower prices.

Combined with reports that Microsoft is incentivizing OEMs to focus on small-screened Windows 8 devices, the newest development strongly suggest Windows Blue will be well represented by 7-inch tablet models. Indeed, some have already predicted a Surface-branded "Reader" that leverages Microsoft's Barnes & Noble investment. If nothing else, those who found the Surface RT intriguing but too expensive could see many more appealingly-priced RT models hit the market.

Windows Blue involves more than just diminutive tablets, of course--and given that a Retina-equipped iPad Mini might appear later this year, Redmond's interest in other form factors is wise.

According to the leaked build, Windows Blue includes increased support for particularly high-resolution screens, and Microsoft executives have repeatedly mentioned that Windows 8 is engineered to scale to different screen sizes. If lightweight tablets aren't your thing, Windows Blue should debut in many other shapes and sizes.

5. Apps remain a key factor.

Even with Windows Blue's enhancements, the Modern UI's app store continues to trail those of its major competitors. Redmond has been proactive on this front, launching upgrades to several Windows 8 core apps and, in a somewhat more questionable move, offering programmers $100 bonuses for each new app. But Redmond still needs to do more; no matter what improvements Blue brings, Microsoft will need inspired efforts from developers if it is to threaten Apple and Google's tablet dominance.

Office president DelBene's remarks about touch functions are an encouraging sign that Microsoft is exploring user experiences that its competitors have yet to bring to market. A report that Microsoft has assembled a secret team to build "risky" apps is more encouraging still. But until these indications translate to results, Windows 8 will be fighting an uphill battle, with or without Blue's enhancements.

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obiwan103
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obiwan103,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/31/2013 | 7:36:00 AM
re: Windows Blue: What We Know
Microsoft Windows 8 designers are ignoring what their *PAYING* customers are asking for - and that's a catastrophic mistake. If I'm going to have to learn a new OS from the ground up, I'm going to learn a free one. My next new computer will be Chrome, Droid, or Linux (most likely Linux). I will always prefer a well-organized drill-down menu or filestructure to the nonintuitive chaos of the windows 8 start screen.
stretcherbearer
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stretcherbearer,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/30/2013 | 11:34:07 PM
re: Windows Blue: What We Know
I'm Not even a tech person, But from the point of view of an Indie Musician and artist, the whole win 8 shroud of whatever is extremely frustrating. I tried the pre-release versions, and was completely unimpressed. I have no interest in touch interfaces, until they improve the accuracy or something. I'll stick to analog or even a mouse for operating faders in DAWs. I'm stuck though, I need a new computer. I can't even begin to afford any Apple anything, and Although I like the Linux ethos, environment etc. Hardware support and music production apps are sorely lacking, for a non-coder, the inherent flexibility though is very cool. the customization is also another factor.. But for me I'm used to using a PC with a desktop, because all of the major Production apps, are oriented toward that setup, they wok even better when you have 2+desktops, it's the old analog console layout style. My point to Misanthroposoft is that You've gained a massive market share, from indie producers, and hobbyists. XP (which I'm Using right now) was the catalyst. iPad and touch to me seems a bit hokey for serious stuff for now, A recent console maker designed a digital console from the ground up, designing their own touch surface interfaces because the major producers couldn't produce one with accuracy that is necessary. I wonder if the trend in music studios and home based studios, being a hybrid of Analog and digital isn't a result of some of this stuff. The Manufacturers of Vacuum tubes, solid State components, germanium transistors are having a field day. and Us Musicians are loving it as well, being able to afford the equipment that The Beatles recorded on, now within reach. But The emphasis on touch and You're gonna use it or else,could be a detriment. I already see it as an obsticle in upgrading my studio and my fast aging equipment. Thank god that the manufacturers of Magnetic tape, have quadrupled their output and opened more factories, now we need to get the Open reel machine manufacturers back on board.
rsotol028
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rsotol028,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/30/2013 | 7:24:55 PM
re: Windows Blue: What We Know
Modern UI is the future, some say that GUI is like a toy, not mature etc. but if you think so, then stay with xp, vista or 7.
the whole os someday is going to be all Modern UI replacing the traditional desktop. of course microsoft needs more time to polish, finish it, and complete it.
and please, microsoft make it one or 2 os's only, with 64 bit only (with 32 bit capability). ie Modern UI needs a zoom button.
make a version for america with the most common languages in the continent: spanish, english, portuguese. thats my recomendations for them.
im a windows user since 3.1.
rpasea
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rpasea,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/30/2013 | 6:54:00 PM
re: Windows Blue: What We Know
This only reinforces once again how arrogant MSFT is. Why care what users want?? We are hanging on to XP and Win7 as long as we can. If MSFT refuses to keep the "modern" (fisher price) interface optional, we will be looking for alternatives.
Terabyte Net
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Terabyte Net,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/30/2013 | 3:39:59 PM
re: Windows Blue: What We Know
All the hoopla around the traditional desktop is moot. Just hop over and download Classic Shell and bingo, no more Metro garbage, fully functional Start button, and a nice :P stuck out to MS over their garbage GUI. As long as Classic Shell works who cares what MS does to the GUI. As a stockholder if they don't start selling a boat load more copies of Windows I'm betting there are going to be changes at MS whether Balmer and Co. like it or not.
GBARRINGTON196
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GBARRINGTON196,
User Rank: Strategist
3/30/2013 | 2:26:41 PM
re: Windows Blue: What We Know
I've already loaded Linux as a dual boot. It is clear Microsoft and I are headed down different paths. Once I find acceptable replacements for my photo applications (Adobe Lightroom, mostly), I'm done.

Even so, Microsoft COULD try to explain why my concerns are irrelevant. Their assumption that I will do whatever they want is kind of demeaning and irritating.
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