Microsoft and Blackberry cuts down

… prices that is. I don’t know, perhaps writing such articles is like biting the hand that’s feeding you, but I’ve never owned a Blackberry so whatever. It appears, that Microsoft and Blackberry both cut down the price tag for their main products – Surface and Z10. It doesn’t require an Einstein to understand that the price has been cut down in hopes to boost up the sales of these products, but now I wonder whether that would really help.3286.Surface_Pro_original

Naturally, the way I see it, Microsoft and Blackberry need to fight off the zealous competition by Apple, Google and Samsung, but I think that’s not the only problem in this situation. If you take a look around you – everyone and your mother has a smart phone or a tablet (I almost got a shock when my mother go Samsung Galaxy S III). And by everyone and your mother, I mean everyone who can afford to buy it, or actually need it, because let’s be honest here – how many of us really NEED a smart phone or a tablet? I personally, cannot imagine my life without a smart phone, but I would never buy a tablet, because I really simply… do not need it.BlackBerry_Z10_front_and_back

People who buy these devices will continue buying them, but the market is so saturated that the slowdown is unavoidable. I guess we just have to wait an see whether this move by the two companies pays off (works out?), but I sometimes get the impression that production and economics are no different from the horoscopes – predictions do not count.

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Start Button is Back

I don’t know whether you had a chance to work with Windows 8 yet, because even though I still use Windows 7 on my laptop, I need to work with Windows 8 alstart buttonmost daily, and the thing that annoys me to no end, is the lack of the Start button. I know you can easily access stuff via Charms bar of the Start metro menu. But come on! So much hassle! Thankfully, according to BBC News technology reporter Dave Lee, Microsoft is bringing Start button back on Windows 8. Yay!

The problem though is that it will not have the same functions as Start button on Windows 7 or any other previous version of the operating system. The revived Start button will only take us to the Metro Start screen. Well, bummer. You can actually read more of the updates on this Start button article I’ve mentioned previously, but here I’m left wondering – is Start button really necessary then, considering that it will only lead me to the Metro interface. I mean, I can access Metro start screen by moving my mouse cursor to the left corner of my screen and then poof~ it appears, all I need is to click it. Now I will have to click a Start menu button instead?

I don’t know Microsoft, I’m still not convinced I want a copy of Windows 8 for myself. Perhaps I’ll just skip this operating system for a time being.

Microsoft and Skype privacy reports

I sometimes still find it hard to believe that Skype is owned by Microsoft, but here we are, and I am constantly reminded of it, whenever I try to log in to my MSN account and it screeches back “CHANGE TO SKYPE MSN WILL BE GONE SOON!”. In my personal opinion, it is SAD, because I will definitely miss my custom emoticons. But if we look forward, we see that Microsoft is already pressured about the way it manages Skype. This time, a number of campaign groups is requesting Microsoft to reveal various details about how it stores confidential information. Considering that Google and Twitter had provided such transparency reports already, it’s only natural that Microsoft does that as well, right?built-in-androidIf you are wondering whether Microsoft can access the video or audio data of your Skype conversations, then, according to the company, Skype-to-Skype calls are not directed through its data centers, and they are also encrypted. So, if someone else taps into your conversation, it would not be possible make sense of the data. Nevertheless, things change when you are using the group chat function, then the data go through Microsoft’s servers, so that it would be possible to “aggregate the media streams”.

Aside from the official Microsoft policies, it also depends on which country you reside in, and what the governmental policies towards Skype are. They might want to access Skype data, and let Microsoft know about it. So, naturally, the more we know of where our Skype conversations go to, the better.

New Facebook search feature

Ask anyone, and they will tell that Facebook’s search is very far from the search engines that were are used to, but now Facebook is set to incorporate Microsoft’s Bing search engine to launch a new search feature called graph search. According to the founder of Facebook and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg stated that the new smart search by no means can be classified as web search, and so it does not pose a direct challenge to Google. The graph search allows to use “natural” search terms and phrases such as, for example “friends who like Start Trek and the Lord of the Rings”.facebook-is-building-a-search-engine-report--f94f9e2d50

“Graph” in graph search stands for the collective pool of information that is shared between friends on Facebook. This is exactly the part of the site that is going to be indexed. Facebook does not have an intention to index the web (or so they say), they simply want to make something of the huge database that they have, especially as the Facebook search has been criticized multiple times for being ineffective and limited. Also, the new search system still has reigns of its own – the users can search and find only that information that has been shared. Continue reading

Rough start for Windows 8

When I first saw the preview for Windows 8, I admit, my reaction was: What.In.The.World…? But then again, I know I am a person who does not like sudden changes, and Windows 8 comes with an interface that looks confusing. I thought that perhaps it is just me, and you know, we can get used to it over time. Now when I check the technology news, I see that various analysts also are not too hopeful about Windows 8 prospects.

The culprit behind such evaluations is actually the thing that “caught” my eyes as well, so to speak. Confusing interface is being cited as the main reason why Windows 8 could influence a tepid PC growth. According to computer analysts, when a new operating system is released, if it is successful, the release is followed by a relative growth of computers personal households and especially business enterprises. However, checking the patterns Windows 8 usage after its release, analysts present numbers that are a lot smaller compared the number of people who ran Windows 7 right after its debut.

The PC demand might also not be increasing, because the Enterprise is not interested in Windows 8. Also, iPads and tablets are said to continue substituting PCs. Therefore, only time will show whether Windows 8 will be a successful operating system, or it will be surpassed by the next Microsoft’s release. Let’s hope it won’t follow the steps of Windows Vista.

Microsoft goes HARD

Although we are used to Microsoft that produces mainly software applications, the company has officially announced its plane to venture into hardware production as well. This decision coincides with the oncoming launch of Windows 8. Right after the new operating system will be released, Microsoft’s new tablet Surface tablet will go on sale as well. Although a new device on the market should excite the potential customers, it is said that some of the Microsoft partners are worried.

Such hardware manufactures as Acer have expressed that Surface tablet would have “a huge negative impact for the [PC] ecosystem and other brands”. Naturally, Acer sees its as Microsoft’s try to get back it’s share in the market, because before the advance of smartphones Microsoft powered around 95% of personal computing devices, but smartphones and their operating systems shrank that share to 30%. Continue reading

Nokia fights back

Remember Nokia 3310? It was probably the most popular phone in the world. I had it. I bet you all had it too. My most favorite feature was that you could throw it into the wall and it would still work. Sweet! However, with all the buzz about iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxies Nokia’s been struggling to survive lately. The Finnish company used to be the biggest mobile phone manufacturer in world, and it will try to get back at least a bit of the market share it has lost by launching a new Windows phone.

 

Nokia Lumia 920 is going to be released today and it will be running on Windows 8. The reason why the first joint Windows phone did not take off as expected was because a lot of customers where waiting for Windows 8, so with Lumia 920 Nokia hopes to get its fortunes back. To be honest, judging from photos and demos Lumia 920 seems to be pretty sleek and I would like to try out the phone, but personally it is Windows 8 that freaks me out. Perhaps I’m too used to Android already?

Continue reading