RunTime in Windows RT – Another approach

What is really RT in Windows RT? Hal Berenson shares his thoughts with us and they are really interesting:

The name Windows RT wasn’t chosen to convey a message about Windows moving to ARM processors.  Nor was it chosen to convey that it was a Tablet OS.  The name appears to have been chosen primarily for one reason, it is an operating system devoted to running Windows RunTime apps.  It splits the mainstream Windows product into two families.  Windows for running Win32 “desktop” and Windows RunTime applications and Windows RT that drops the legacy Win32 application support.  Windows RT is Microsoft’s go forward client operating system, while Windows is the operating system Microsoft will need to keep selling and enhancing for a transition that will last a decade or more, but it will eventually be considered a legacy.

Read the whole article here: There is no ARM in Windows RT | Hal\’s (Im)Perfect Vision.


Canonical unveils Ubuntu phone OS that doubles as a “full PC”

Canonical just unveiled a version of Ubuntu that has a smartphone “skin” converting it to an Android-like OS. When the device is connected to a monitor, keyboard and mouse, it works as a normal PC (with Linux). I wonder how it works with the touch-enabled screens and how it handles interrupts from voice calls and text messages. Battery management is another big concern…

Read more here: Canonical unveils Ubuntu phone OS that doubles as a “full PC” | Ars Technica.

Free textbooks for everybody: piracy or disruption?

Is copying Wikipedia articles and assembling a textbook legal? If you sell it, there are issues. But what happens, if you just give it away? Boundless has created a system (with real people behind it) that creates textbooks for specific subjects with content collected from Wikipedia and other free online sources. It then provides you with an almost perfect textbook with the best price in the world: $0.00!

Educational publishers like Pearson and Cengage have already started the fight but venture capitalists are funding Boundless because they see a disruptive trend. A huge discruption actually when you consider that some of these books cost a couple of hundred dollars. A $6 billion industry in the United States alone…

Publishers today operate using what Mark Perry, a professor at the University of Michigan, calls a “cartel-style” model: students are required to buy specific texts at high prices. Perry has calculated that prices for textbooks have been rising at three times the rate of inflation since the 1980s.

Read the full article at MIT Technology Review: Free Textbooks Spell Disruption for College Publishers

Nokia Lumia 920: Detailed specifications (with highlights)

Nokia Lumia 920

A lot of people ask me about the new Nokia flagship with Windows Phone 8. So, I highlighted and underlined all the specs and features that I believe are worth pointing out. Lumia 920 is not an ordinary smartphone. It carries a number of innovations that will be available in the future on other smartphones like the super sensitive screen that can be “touched” even with gloves or the optical image stabilization (you don’t even have this on most of the dedicated cameras…).

There are also many things that can not be described with technical terms but give you the experience of using this device like the fluidness and responsiveness of the Windows Phone software. So don’t get this as a review, it’s a copy of the device specifications from Nokia’s website.

Ah, it also comes in 5 colours…

  • Design
    • Dimensions
      • Height: 130.3 mm
      • Width: 70.8 mm
      • Thickness1: 10.7 mm
      • Weight: 185 g
      • Volume: 99 cm³
    • Display and User Interface
      • Display size: 4.5 ”
      • Touch screen technology: Capacitive Multipoint-Touch
      • Screen height: 1280 pixels
      • Screen width: 768 pixels
      • Display features: Polarization filter, Light time-out, Ambient light detector, Brightness control, Corning® Gorilla® Glass, Orientation sensor, Proximity sensor, High Brightness mode, RGB Stripe, Sunlight readability enhancements, Pixel density 332 ppi, Luminance 600 nits, Aspect ratio 15:9, Super sensitive touch, Color boosting, IPS, Refresh rate 60 Hz, Sculpted 2.5D glass
      • Display height: 97.0 mm
      • Display width: 58.0 mm
      • Display colors: 16.7 million
      • Display technology: PureMotion HD+
    • Keys and Input Methods
      • User Input: Touch
      • Dedicated hardware key: Camera, Power, Volume, Search, Back, Windows Start key
    • Form factor
      • Phone form factor: Monoblock
  • Hardware
    • Connectivity
      • Dual SIM: No
      • Connectors: Micro-USB Charging Connector, Micro-USB Data Connector, Micro-USB 2.0, 3.5 mm audio connector
      • Wireless connectivity: Bluetooth 3.0, Near Field Communication, Wi-Fi Channel bonding, WLAN IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n, Qi Wireless charging
      • Syncronization: Windows computer companion application, Mac computer companion application, Exchange ActiveSync
    • Data Network
      • Data bearer2: HSPA+ (3G), EDGE/EGPRS (2G), FD-LTE (4G), HSUPA (3G), GSM (2G), HSDPA (3G), WCDMA (3G)
    • Operating Frequency
      • Operating band3: GSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA Band V (850), WCDMA Band VIII (900), WCDMA Band II (1900), WCDMA Band I (2100), LTE 800, LTE 900, LTE 1800, LTE 2100, LTE 2600
      • Data speed – Upload: LTE Cat 3 – 50 Mbit/s, HSUPA Cat 6 – 5.76 Mbit/s
      • Data speed – Download: EGPRS MSC 12 – 236.8 kbit/s, HSDPA Cat 24 – 42.2 Mbit/s, LTE Cat 3 – 100 Mbit/s
    • WLAN features
    • Power Management4
      • Battery: BP-4GW
      • Battery capacity: 2000 mAh
      • Battery voltage: 3.7 V
      • Removable battery: No
      • Maximum 2G standby time: 460 h
      • Maximum 2G talk time: 18.6 h
      • Maximum 3G standby time: 460 h
      • Maximum 3G talk time: 10.8 h
      • Music playback time: 74 h
    • Processor
      • Processor name5: Snapdragon™ S4
      • Processor type: Dual-core 1.5GHz
    • Memory
      • Internal memory: 1000 MB
      • Mass memory: 32GB and 7GB in SkyDrive
  • Snapdragon™ S4 Processor
    • Performance
      • Do more. Wait less: Tap into faster performance. The Snapdragon™ processor CPU cores enable extra performance when you need it and puts you in charge of running the most demanding applications, including gaming, photography, as well as business and personal productivity.
    • Power consumption
      • Less charging. More doing: The Snapdragon™ processor’s unique asynchronous technology enables each core to power up and power down independently, resulting in maximizing core performance level without wasting battery power.
    • Technology
      • Beyond mobile. And beyond all expectations: Snapdragon™ S4 processor is a highly integrated, mobile-optimized system on a chip that delivers dynamic, immersive experiences and powerful, battery-friendly performance that can put new possibilities in your hands.
  • Software and applications
    • Personal Information Management (PIM)
      • Features (Personal information Management): Calculator, Clock, Calendar, Phonebook, Notes, Reminders, To-do list, Phonebook with integrated social networks, OneNote, Wallet
    • Other Applications
      • Gaming features: DirectX 11, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Touch UI, XBox-Live Hub
    • Software platform & User Interface
      • Supported amount of phonebooks: One integrated Phonebook
      • Developer platform: Windows Phone 8
      • Software release: Windows Phone 8
      • Development technology: Silverlight, XNA, Visual Basic, DirectX, Java Script, XAML, C++
  • Communications
    • Email and Messaging6
      • Email solution: Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail, Outlook Mobile, Windows Live / Hotmail /, Gmail, Mail for Exchange, Office 365, Nokia Mail
      • Email protocol: SMTP, IMAP4, POP3
      • Email features: Viewing and editing of email attachments, Email with filtering, Always up to date, Multiple simultaneous email accounts, HTML email, Text-to-speech message reader, Email attachments, Conversational view on email
      • Instant messaging: Twitter, Facebook chat, LinkedIn, Windows Live Messenger
      • Messaging features: Integrated text messaging and chat, Instant messaging, Concatenated SMS for long messages, Multiple SMS deletion, List of recently used numbers, Audio messaging, Text-to-speech message reader, Conversational SMS for chat-style SMS, Text messaging, Common inbox for SMS and MMS messages, Unified MMS/SMS editor, Automatic resizing of images for MMS, Distribution lists for messaging, Multimedia messaging
    • Call management
      • Features (Call Management): Voice dialling, Voice Commands, Conference calling, Video calling, Call waiting, Voice mail, Call diverts, Video sharing, Integrated hands-free speaker, Call forwarding, HD audio, Call history
      • Contacts: Unlimited
  • Device security
    • Security
      • Enterprise security features: Remote security policy enforcement
      • General Security features: Remote device locking via Internet, Application sandboxing and integr check, Secure NFC, Track and Protect via internet, Firmware update, Remote wipe of user data via Internet, Application integrity check, Device lock
      • Device startup security: Device passcode, Secure device start-up, PIN code, Firmware and OS integrity check
      • Advance security features: Lost device tracking, Anti-phishing protection
      • Data encryption: User data encryption for device
  • Sharing and Internet
    • Browsing and Internet
      • Internet sharing: Use as a Wi-Fi Hotspot for up to 5 Wi-Fi-enabled devices
      • Supported web technologies: XML, CSS 3, HTML 5, HTML 4.1, CSS
      • Browser: Internet Explorer 10
  • Navigation
  • Photography
    • Main camera
      • Primary camera sensor size: 8.7 megapixels
      • Camera Flash Type: Short pulse high power dual LED
      • Carl Zeiss Tessar lens: Yes
      • Camera resolution: 3552 x 2448 pixels
      • Camera Focus Type: Auto focus with two-stage capture key
      • Camera F number/aperture: 2.0
      • Camera digital zoom: 4 x
      • Camera focal length: 26.0 mm
      • Flash operating range: 3.0 m
    • Main camera features
      • Camera feature: Nokia PureView camera, Touch to Focus and capture in a single tap, Landscape orientation, Geo-tagging, Auto and Manual White Balance settings, Still image Editor, Optical Image Stabilization, Lenses applications, Sensor type: BSI, True 16:9 sensor, Pixel size 1.4 µm, Sensor size 1/3″
      • Camera image format: JPEG/Exif
    • Image capturing
      • Flash modes: Off, Automatic, On
      • Scene modes: Automatic, Night portrait, Sports, Night, Close-up, Backlight
      • Capture modes: Video, Still
      • White balance modes: Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Daylight, Automatic
      • Photos viewed by: Camera Roll, Timeline, Photo editor, Favorites, Album, Photos from Social networks
    • Secondary camera
      • Secondary camera resolution: 1280 x 960 pixels
      • Secondary camera minimum focus range: 35.0 cm
    • Graphics
      • Graphics format: JPEG
  • Music and Audio
    • Music
      • Music package: Nokia Music Store, Nokia Mix Radio
      • Noise cancellation: Multimicrophone noise cancellation
      • Music features: Music player, Media Player, Audio Streaming, Dolby Headphone
      • Other Features (Music and Audio): Selection by artist, album and genre, Cloud music playback, Podcasts, Cloud music offline playback, Playlists, Album graphics display, Music recommender
      • DRM support: PlayReady
    • Music format
      • Codecs: MP3, AMR-WB, AMR-NB, WMA 10 Pro, WMA 9, AAC LC, AAC+/HEAAC, eAAC+/HEAACv2
      • Audio format: ASF, Wav, MP4, AAC, AMR, MP3, M4A, WMA, 3GP, 3G2
    • Voice and audio recording
      • Recording: Voice Commands
      • Audio recording file formats: Wav, 3GP, 3G2
      • Audio recording codecs: AMR-NB
      • Speech codecs: AMR-WB, GSM FR, AMR-NB, GSM HR, EFR
      • Audio recording features: Mono with high dynamics
  • Video
    • Main video camera
      • Video playback frame rate: 30 fps
      • Video camera resolution: 1080p (Full HD, 1920×1080)
      • Video recording features: Video Light, Video zoom, Optical Image Stabilization
      • Camera video frame rate: 30 fps
      • Camera video zoom: 4 x
      • Video white balance modes: Cloudy, Fluorescent, Incandescent, Automatic, Daylight
    • Main video camera features
      • Video streaming: YouTube browsing and video streaming
      • Video feature: Video recorder, Video call, Video sharing, Video player
    • Other features (video)
      • Video sharing and playback: Video sharing to social network, Video sharing to Facebook, Video sharing to Skydrive
    • Secondary video camera
      • Secondary video camera resolution: 1280 x 720 pixels
  • Environment
    • Environmental features
      • Eco content and services: Available at Store, Nokia Maps: pedestrian navigation
      • Energy efficiency: Automatic screen brightness adjustment, Battery Saver feature
      • Materials: Free of BFR, rFR as in Nokia Subst. List, Free of PVC, Contains recycled metals, Free of nickel on the product surface
      • Product is recyclable (up to): 100% recoverable as materials and energy
      • User guide: Small printed guide, full on, In-device user guide

Surface with Windows 8 Pro is coming…

Microsoft announced that Surface with Windows 8 Pro will available in January 2013 in two versions: 64GB at $899 and 128GB at $999. It’s obvious that we will need the more expensive one…

The good news now:

  • The new Surface Pro will include a Surface pen with Palm Block technology that prevents your handwriting from getting interrupted if you accidently place your palm on the screen as you write.
  • As with the RT version Touch Covers and Type Covers will be sold separately.
  • Dark Titanium VaporMg casing.
  • Dual 2×2 MIMO antennas.
  • Intel’s third generation Core i5 processor.
  • 10.6” 16:9 ClearType display at 1920×1080 full HD resolution.
  • A full-size USB 3.0 port.
  • A mini DisplayPort can drive an external display up to 2560X1440 resolution.
  • Surface Pro will run all current Windows 7 desktop applications plus the metro Modern UI apps.
  • Less than two pounds and less than 14 millimeters thick.

The only drawback till now seems to be the battery life which, according to a twitter post and some calculations based on Surface RT, will be about 4 hours. We have to wait until January to find out if this is true. If it is so, then its usability is less than expected. We want it thin, but we also want it to run for a day…

Windows Phone 8: the new features

Μετά την ανακοίνωση του Microsoft Surface, του νέου tablet που ανέπτυξε η ίδια η Microsoft και θα είναι διαθέσιμο με τα Windows 8, ήρθε και η σειρά του Windows Phone 8. Για την ακρίβεια τουWindows Phone8 ή Apollo και του Windows Phone 7.8, της αναβάθμισης των παλιότερων συσκευών που δεν μπορούν να υποστηρίξουν λόγω hardware τα νέα χαρακτηριστικά.

Το Windows Phone8 θα υποστηρίζει πλέον dual-core CPU (και προφανώς και quad-core) υψηλότερες αναλύσεις οθόνης (1280×768 και1280×720), κάρτες μνήμης microSD (για αρχεία ή εφαρμογές) και NFC(Microsoft Wallet payments κλπ). Ενσωμάτωση του Skype (είναι δικό τους πια, το θυμάστε;) με κλήση ή chat απευθείας από τα contacts και αντικατάσταση των Bing Maps μεNokia Maps (πολύ καλύτερα από πολλές απόψεις, ειδικά για εμάς εδώ στην Ευρώπη, με navigation και offline χρήση). Φυσικά ΙΕ10, πιο γρήγορο και πιο συμβατό με phishing filter και SmartScreen.  Θα έχουμε το νέο Data Smart που θα μετρά την «κατανάλωση» bandwidth (όπως έχει εμφανιστεί και στα W8) και ένα browser proxy service για τον ΙΕ10 που θα μειώνει με συμπίεση τα δεδομένα που κατεβάζουμε (μιλάνε για 30%κέρδος). Παράλληλα και ένα νέο feature του local scout για κοντινά wifi hotspots(αρκεί να έχει στοιχεία και για τις δικές μας μικρές χώρες).

Η πιο σημαντική (και εμφανής) αλλαγή είναι η νέα Start Screen που πλέον γεμίζει όλη την οθόνη, μας δίνει την δυνατότητα για περισσότερα tiles και πολύ μικρά και μεγάλα. Αυτή είναι και η βασική αλλαγή στο Windows Phone 7.8 (ευτυχώς γιατί βελτιώνεται σημαντικά η ευχρηστία). Για αυτούς που θέλουν να «μετρούν»την συσκευή τους κόντρα στους «αντιπάλους» έρχεται και speech recognition μέσω API.

Στα ενδότερα, η μεγάλη αλλαγή είναι ότι πλέον η καρδιά του Windows Phone 8 είναι ίδια με τα Windows 8 RT που σημαίνει ότι οι προγραμματιστές θα μπορούν εύκολα να μεταφέρουν εφαρμογές από το ένα σύστημα στο άλλο (και σε native C και C++κώδικα πλέον – έρχονται ports από παιχνίδια…) και να παίξουν με πραγματικό multitasking. Έτσι είναι εφικτές και εφαρμογές τύπου SmartGlass (δείτε σχετικό video όσοι δεν γνωρίζετε). Βέβαια αυτό σημαίνει ότι οι περισσότεροι θα αναπτύσσουν εφαρμογές διαθέσιμες για WP8και W8 και όχι για τα «παλιότερα»WP7. Α, είναι διαθέσιμη και η SQLite…

Σημαντικές αλλαγές έχουν γίνει για την υποστήριξη της κάμερας με νέο API (πως αλλιώς θα υποστήριζαν το απίστευτο PureView που έρχεται σύντομα) και για enterprise computing: always-on device encryption βασισμένο στο bitlocker (on by default και για την κάρτα μνήμης), secure boot όπως στα Windows8 (μυρίζομαι UEFI), Office 2013 apps και υποστήριξη, νέες λειτουργίες διαχείρισης  πέρα από το EAS και side-loadinf εταιρικών εφαρμογών (κυρίως μέσω του Windows Intune PC).

Για το Windows Phone 7.8, αυτό που ξέρουμε είναι ότι στην πράξη είναι ένα νέο skin χωρίς αλλαγές σε βάθος λόγω μη υποστήριξης από το hardware. Το update μάλλον θα γίνει παρακάμπτοντας τους operators. Να δούμε… Στην πράξη το Windows Phone 7 θα «πεθάνει» αργά με την σταδιακή αντικατάσταση όλων των συσκευών αυτών από νέες (αν βρούμε χρήματα).

Χρονικά όλα αυτά μάλλον έρχονται το τρίτο τρίμηνο του 2012αλλά δεν έχει γίνει επίσημη ανακοίνωση. Θεωρώ σίγουρο ότι θα έχουμε συσκευές για την Χριστουγεννιάτικη αγορά. Από Nokia, HTC, Samsung και Huawei τουλάχιστον.

Μην περιμένετε να τα έχετε μάθει όλα για το Apollo –είναι σίγουρο ότι πολλά (και μάλλον τα πιο τρανταχτά) θα τα μάθουμε όταν θα εμφανιστούν στην αγορά οι νέες συσκευές με Windows Phone 8. Σιγά σιγά σχηματίζεται η συνολική εικόνα της «πλατφόρμας» που περιλαμβάνει Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 και Xbox 360 (σύντομα720 από τις διαρροές…) με χρήση όλων των νέων online services τηςMicrosoft (με αιχμή το νέο καταπληκτικό Skydrive).Περιμένουμε…

Windows Phone Blog –  Image GalleryEvent Video

Lenovo ThinkPad tablet ready for pre-order


Το θέλω, το θέλω τρελλά! Το χρώμα του πάει με το T420s μου… Θα βγει και με Windows 8 άραγε;  Lenovo ThinkPad Honeycomb tablet ready for pre-order | ZDNet.

Τα highlights πολύ γρήγορα: 10.1″ 1,280×800 Gorilla Glass, 1GB RAM, NVIDIA Tegra 2, Dual camera, SD card slot, 8-hour battery life, Mini HDMI, USB 2.0 host with micro-USB slot, built-in encryption and security (including SD card), anti-theft and remote disable, 2GB cloud storage, Optional digitizer pen. Αν έχετε δουλέψει σε ipad2 landscape φωτογραφία, πρέπει να δείτε που έχει την κάμερα… Οι άνθρωποι ξέρουν από πραγματικό design. To lifestyle το αφήνουμε σ’αυτούς που το χρειάζονται. Μπράβο David!




Building Windows 8 …and blogging about it

Θυμάστε το καταπληκτικό blog Engineering Windows 7; Ο Sinofsky είχε πετύχει ακριβώς αυτό που ήθελαν πολλοί από εμάς: εξηγήσεις για διάφορες τεχνικές αποφάσεις στον σχεδιασμό των Windows και τρελλό feedback σε διάφορα θέματα από τον “απλό” χρήστη. Αρκετά σημεία “σώθηκαν” και υλοποιήθηκαν τελικά όπως τα ήθελε η πλειοψηφία. Τώρα ο Sinofsky επιστρέφει πάλι με το αντίστοιχο blog για τα Windows 8: Building Windows 8 – MSDN Blogs. Η συμμετοχή βοηθάει…

Reimagining Windows from chips to experience

Windows 8 reimagines Windows. That’s a big statement and one that we will return to throughout this blog. It is also important to know that we’re 100% committed to running the software and supporting the hardware that is compatible with over 400 million Windows 7 licenses already sold and all the Windows 7 yet to be sold.