Microsoft Holiday Stores to open on October 26th

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Oct 022012

Last month, Microsoft announced plans to open a number of Holiday Stores in a number of Canadian and U.S. cities in time for the holiday season. In Canada, four such stores were announced: In Burnaby (Metropolis at Metrotown), Edmonton (West Edmonton Mall), Toronto (Eaton Centre), and Vancouver (Oakridge Centre). Microsoft has now confirmed that these pop-up stores will open on October 26th, the day that Windows 8 and the Surface RT tablets launch. Not surprisingly, they will carry both: “We can’t wait for you to take home Surface. You’ll find it and a curated selection of the latest Microsoft products at any of our Holiday Stores.”

Toronto Microsoft Holiday Store
Click for a larger version

Canada’s first permanent Microsoft store will open just a bit later on November 16th at the Yorkdale Mall in Toronto.

A total of 28 Microsoft Holiday Stores are also planned for the U.S.

Read more: Microsoft Stores

Microsoft to hold Windows 8 launch event on October 25th

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Sep 172012

Microsoft has already confirmed that Windows 8 will launch on October 26th. It has now sent out press invitations for a press event to take place the day before. It will take place in New York City.

Microsoft Windows 8 launch event

No additional details are provided.

The next day, Windows 8 will be available on both new computers as well as an upgrade. Among the new devices will be Microsoft’s Surface tablet.

Read more: BGR

Retina Display coming to new 13.3-inch Apple MacBook Pro?

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Sep 102012

AppleApple brought its Retina Display to the 15.4-inch MacBook Pro earlier this summer. It is now gearing up to offer it on the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro as well as iMac All-in-One desktop models. Digitimes reports that Apple’s partners have already begun shipping new MacBook Pro and iMac models in preparation for a launch later this month or in October.

Display supply challenges have forced Apple to delay a high-end iMac model but mid- and entry-level models will be available.

Rumours have suggested that Apple could unveil new Macs at its September 12th event. It might quickly announce them before the expected main event, the new iPhone. There are also rumours of a second event in October so Apple certainly has options.

Any takers for a 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with a display offering a resolution of 2880 by 1800 pixels

Read more: Digitimes

Microsoft: Windows 8 to launch on October 26th

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Jul 182012

MicrosoftEarlier this month, Microsoft announced that Windows 8 would launch in October. It has now narrowed that down to a specific day. Window 8 (not to be confused with Windows Phone 8) will hit the street on October 26th. It will be available to customers either on new PCs or as an upgrade.

Aside from the slew of new desktops and notebooks you can expect to see announced, we will also be able to get our hands on tablets running either Windows 8 with Intel processors or Windows RT with ARM-based processors.

Microsoft has yet to provide a specific release date for Windows Phone 8. A fall release is as specific as Microsoft has gotten to date. Could it happen at the same time as the Windows 8 launch?

Read more: Microsoft

E3: Microsoft announces Xbox SmartGlass

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Jun 042012

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 platform got a whole more integrated with other household devices today as Microsoft today announced Xbox SmartGlass at E3. The application will allow users to connect phones, PCs and tablets to their Xbox 360. With it, devices become remote controls and controllers as well as additional displays. Content can also be pushed two ways to and from the Xbox.

“Xbox is on a mission to make the entertainment that you love even more amazing,” said Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “With Xbox SmartGlass, we are lighting up entertainment across your phone, tablet, PC and TV in a completely new way. If you love to play games, watch TV and movies, surf the Web, or listen to music, there has never been a better time to be on Xbox.”

A demonstration during the E3 event had Game of Thrones being played on a TV via Xbox 360. A SmartGlass-enabled tablet showed a map of Westeros at the same time. The map zoomed in on the relevant part of the map during the episode. Other demos showed how connected devices could be used in games. For example, players will be able to create plays on their tablet and watch them get executed on their TV in Madden NFL.

Microsoft Xbox SmartGlass demonstration

SmartGlass will be available for Windows, Android, and iOS devices. It will launch later this year.

Microsoft will also launch Internet Explorer for Xbox this fall in countries where Xbox and Xbox LIVE are available.

Read more: Microsoft

Computex 2012: ASUS announces 18.4-inch Transformer AiO

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Jun 042012

After a number of teasers, ASUS today announced the Transformer AiO. As the name implies, it is an all-in-one computer that transforms into a tablet. It also supports both Windows 8 and Android.

ASUS Transformer AiO

In terms of specifications, ASUSC has only announced a few key details. The Transformer AiO comes with a large 18.4-inch 10-point multi-touch LED-backlit display that can be detached from its base station to become a wireless display, extending the range of the PC and allowing users to continue with their work anywhere in the home. It typically boots into Windows 8 but can switch to Android at the touch of a button, transforming it into a quite large Android tablet.

While the Transformer AiO is certainly innovative, it remains to be seen how customers will respond to it. Its 18.4-inch display could make it too unwieldy and will likely put a crimp in battery life.

ASUS did not reveal availability and pricing details today.

Samsung launches second generation Chromebook and new Chromebox

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Jun 032012

Google’s Chrome OS has been languishing since its launch. Samsung last week launched new devices powered by Samsung’s struggling Chrome operating system. The new devices are a second-generation Chrome OS powered notebook, the Samsung Chromebook Series 5 550, and a new small form-factor desktop, the Samsung Chromebox.

Samsung Chromebook Series 5 550 and Chromebox

Both devices are powered by Intel Core processors and the latest version of Chrome OS. They both come with 4GB RAM, dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, an Ethernet port, USB ports, and a DisplayPort. The Chromebook also comes with 12.1-inch WXGA (1280×800) display and a 3G modem (with 100MB of free data per month through Verizon).

According to Digitimes, both ASUS and HTC have decided to pass on Chrome OS devices due to low sales of first generation devices. HTC had been rumoured to be working on devices running both Android and Chrome OS. Acer, which produced the first generation AC700 Chromebook, is said to be “still evaluating the project,” suggesting it has yet to decide whether to continue with Chrome OS.

Samsung is offering the Chromebook starting at US$449 and the Chromebox starting at US$329. Both will available in the U.S. and in a number of European countries starting on June 15th. There is no word on whether they will also be available in Canada but more countries are promised in “the coming months.”

Read more: Samsung Series 5 550, Samsung Chromebox and Digitimes

Apple releases Flashback malware removal tools

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Apr 152012

AppleAn estimated 600,000 Macs were infected by the Flashback trojan earlier this month. The botnet apparently collected personal information and web browsing logs. It exploited a Java security hole that, while patched by Oracle some time ago, had not been fixed by Apple.

Apple has now released a removal tool that will deal with “most common variants” and has patched the exploit in its Java package. It is available via Software Update.

While it is likely that most infections were due to the Java vulnerability, a number of Flashback versions also use social engineering tricks to fool users into installing it. As a result, Apple has also released a standalone Flashback removal tool for Mac OS X Lion installations that don’t have Java.

Read more: Java version and Non-Java version

Rumour: Retina Display coming to MacBooks

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Mar 242012

AppleBuried in the latest developer release of OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) are hints that Apple could bring its Retina Displays to its desktops and MacBooks. An Ars Technica source with access to the upcoming OS has found double-sized graphics in “some unexpected places,” suggesting that high pixel-density screens could be in the works.

One example give shows the double-sized graphics in Messages, the successor to Apple’s iChat. The image below shows such an icon incorrectly showing instead of a normally sized one.

iMessage with double-sized graphic

The source adds that they expect a Retina Display MacBook (likely with Intel’s upcomingIvy Bridge chipset) to be announced alongside the release of OS X 10.8.

A Retina Display would likely require more battery power to run. As Apple just demonstrated with the new iPad, it could make future MacBooks slightly thicker and heavier to add larger batteries and not compromise battery life.

Read more: Ars Technica