Xbox Music set to arrive this month

Microsoft music streaming service set to launch this month

Microsoft fans may not wait long for the coming of the company’s Xbox Music, as reports say that the latter will be launched this month.

According to the Verge, a number of sources that have close ties with the company said that the launch of their new music streaming service will be this October 26.

The launch of Xbox Music will coincide with the launch of the company’s Surface tablet and Windows 8 operating system.

The company’s streaming service was first revealed during the E3 conference a few months ago. The service is rumored to offer music download and streaming to Xbox 360 owners, Windows Phone and Windows 8 and cloud storage as well.

The service is subscription based but they will also offer free streaming songs that are supported by ads.

Xbox Music is also said to be available to Android and iOS users but this might come at a later time.

The Verge also said that the company will be rolling out update to Xbox’s dashboard to support Xbox Music and they will also be updating Video and Music apps for W8 to support the coming music streaming service.

Microsoft failed to comment on the leak but they said that they will have a dedicated music service for their fans.

Image Source: allindstrom.com

Bill Gates upbeat on Windows 8

Microsoft top honcho and one of the world’s wealthiest individuals, Bill Gates, said that their still unreleased Windows 8 is “a very exciting new product” and “a very big deal” for the company.

According to the Associated Press, Gates is very pleased with what the developers at Microsoft have done for their next operating system.

This is the biggest endeavor that Microsoft has done in more than a decade placing all their money, time and dedication to the mobile market.

Gates added, “Hardware partners are doing great things to take advantage of the features. It’ll be a big deal.”

The Windows 8 platform will be released next month together with a new version of the Internet Explorer.

The Windows 8 is set to be the first ever operating system that can run smartphones, desktops and tablets.

This latest operating system is set to change the way how individuals interact with their computers.

Microsoft has seen a huge rise in their business. Though they have been delving in computer services business for big corporations and gaming consoles, their biggest business is the operating system business which started their climb to the top.

Are you excited with the impending release of the Windows 8 platform?

Image Source: solarfeeds.com

Nokia Lumia 920 vs HTC 8X – a bright and colorful battle

I have to say, when I heard about the HTC “What’s next” event, I had that tingling feeling that HTC will go back to its Windows Mobile roots. Sure enough, they did, and now they are officially part of the Windows 8 rise to power.

Much like the current trend of launching a full powered and more expensive device alongside a lower end version for the budget conscious, HTC launched two devices. The higher end HTC 8X makes use of all HTC has to offer, while the HTC 8S is smaller and devoid of some features like the dedicated amplifier in the 8X.

Why am I comparing it to the recently released Lumia 920? Simply because if Nokia was Apple, they would have dragged Judge Lucy Koh to see what HTC cooked up. Quite simply, the HTC 8X looks stunningly similar to a Lumia 920.

The 8X is “dipped in color” similar to how the Nokia Lumia 920 is one of the most colorful bunch of phones we have ever seen. Nokia went for a more edgy design, while HTC made use of rounded corners. Both of them are brightly colored, reflecting the colorful live tiles of the Windows 8 operating system inside these devices.

So they look similar, but will they deliver similarly as well? Let’s take a closer look at these upcoming phones.

Display

One cannot argue that this holiday season has a lot to do with displays. Samsung launched the larger than ever Galaxy Note 2, Apple came out with a taller iPhone 5, while other manufacturers like Nokia took Retina to a whole new level.

Apple, the first to launch a Retina class display still has a 326 ppi pixel density. Nokia took that further to a 332 ppi display, but HTC thought it wasn’t enough, and pushed it further to a 342 pixels per inch. Judging from the numbers, HTC’s phone is set to have the sharpest display of the bunch.

Compared to the Lumia 920’s 4.5 inch display, HTC only has a smaller 4.3 inch display. The smaller display is probably how they afforded the extra sharp resolution. The main difference now is how good the devices will be against the power of the sun. Nokia is pretty confident, while HTC has made no mention of it.

Power

For both devices, you are assured in terms of performance power. They both run on the same Snapdragon processor, both clocked at 1.5 GHz. The only question now is if the sharper display on the 8X with more pixels will hinder the processor’s capabilities or not. Both of them sport a familiar 1 GB of RAM, which is sufficient for Windows 8 apparently.

 Juice

All that power doesn’t do it much good if it runs out of juice quickly. The 8X disappoints with just 1800 mAh, compared to the Nokia Lumia 920 with a good 2000 mAh. Unfortunately, both of them are embedded into the device, so your only solution for longer life on the road is to carry a power bank.

Sound

As expected, Beats Audio makes its debut on the 8X, the first Beats certified device for Windows 8. The Nokia Lumia 920 on the other hand makes use of Dolby’s digital audio. It’s a matter of who you trust in terms of audio. My bet is with Dolby, but Beats Audio is certainly a very competitive feature.

Connectivity

Both devices make use of the standard connectivity options found in today’s smartphones, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC. You may want to know that the HTC 8X backtracks with Bluetooth 2.1 while the Nokia Lumia 920 makes use of Bluetooth 3.1. For the record, the latest would be Bluetooth 4.0.

Camera Quality

This is an area where the Lumia 920 is expected to shine once they get the PureView technology to actually work. HTC makes use of the same camera found on their HTC One X, which was known for being better than the Galaxy S3’s camera. There is not much to say here since both are mostly untested, but in terms of potential, the Lumia 920 certainly has a head start.

One thing I am quite happy about in the 8X is the better front facing camera, rated at 2.1 megapixels. It is capable of recording 1080p videos which is perfect for video blogging and simply taking a good picture of yourself with your friends.

Special Features

From what we gather about the Windows 8 operating system, there is not much you can do in terms of “skinning” the operating system as much as OEMs did on Android. Everything will look pretty much the same save for some add on applications that the manufacturers have at their disposal.

Nokia is certainly on a huge advantage here, with their Nokia Maps, City Lens, Wireless Charging, Free Music streaming, and Nokia Drive. The HTC 8X may have Beats Audio, but that is certainly not enough to make a case against Nokia in this department.

Availability

Let’s give a good round of applause for HTC’s connections. At the very least, they are not as vague in terms of availability and pricing. The device is set to appear in November, to about 150 carriers in 50 different countries. They are certainly ready for a worldwide approach. Nokia has yet to announce their plans regarding the matter.

Conclusion

Since Windows 8 will generally be the same on all devices, added features are really the only way to make a device the “better choice” between OEMs. It doesn’t help that both of them roughly have the same internal specifications, with Nokia being a step up above HTC in many cases. Right now, my bet is on Nokia. They are more desperate, hungrier, and definitely more aggressive at trying to aim for the top. HTC still lacks the core appeal and features that are necessary to enter a market that will soon grow saturated.

Image sources: htc.com, nokia.com, theverge.com

Apple’s best vs the rest – Flagship wars

I don’t want to start up another flame war. We have enough of those already. Since my coverage of the Apple iPhone 5’s hardware, people started asking me which one is better, and which one they should get?

 I will not push anyone to go get an Android, or go get a Windows 8 phone just to spite Apple. They seriously have a quality phone in their hands. Android has one, and Nokia, despite the bad press, also have a quality Windows 8 phone in the works.

2 of the devices I am about to talk about today have yet to be released, but they are considered to be the best in their operating system. I will use Samsung’s Galaxy S3 as a comparison model for Android simply because it is the current leader in the Android market.

Operating system

First, let’s get the operating system out of the way. If you want to get the highest quality in terms of apps, as well as fluidity and ease of use, then go with Apple’s iOS. Right now, the ecosystem in iOS is still the best in the league. Android is catching up, but it battles fragmentation daily, which degrades the overall quality of their apps ecosystem.

If you are looking for powers of customization, then Android is where you might want to go. It offers the best in customization of the look of the operating system. You can even make it look like an iOS or a Windows 8! It is also fairly good with productivity, something that will eventually tie or get beaten by Windows 8.

Windows 8 is a wildcard. There is still so much we don’t know, and while you can customize it to a certain degree, it is not a free as Android. It does have a lot of potential in terms of productivity value as it is based on Windows, which is known for productivity. Also, if you are the type who wants your pc and phone to look alike, then go ahead and pick up a Windows 8 device.

With the operating system out of the way, we want to tear the devices down to the hardware details. The operating system can only be as good as the hardware allows it. You can also argue that software dictates what hardware does, we know pretty much by now that the mobile operating systems make pretty good use of the hardware.

Display Size

Let’s start with something Apple is really proud of – the increased display size. They finally gave in to the pressure of some users asking for a bigger phone, so they made one taller. That’s bigger, right? With 4 inches across the screen, it displays a good 16:9 aspect ratio, which is great for movies. It still pales in comparison to the Nokia Lumia 920 with a 4.7 inch display and Samsung’s Galaxy S3 with a large 4.7 inch display.

I wouldn’t say that larger is always better. Apple’s design is still the best for single handed use. The problem is, despite the fact that it was built for just one hand, most people really use two hands to use it.

QWERTY keyboards are faster and easier to use with more than just one finger moving across the screen, and it is not really that comfortable to use a phone that expensive with just one hand’s grip out on the open road. Eventually, you still hold it with two hands. If that is the case, then a larger display does not really cause a problem with daily use. If you must use two hands, let them play with more space, right?

Display Quality

Apple loves the Retina display, and we love it too. It just so happens that the Windows 8 bet – the Lumia 920, has created an even sharper display. They have a higher pixel density. I wouldn’t say it is an automatic win for the Lumia 920. I mean if you can’t see the pixels already with a 326 ppi, then what is a 332 ppi going to do? Make something that looks real look better than real?

I am not trying to bash them in this area. I am just stating that they both win this round. I can still see the little dots on the Galaxy S3, which makes it look less beautiful than nature despite their “Nature UI”.

Sharpness aside, all three displays show beautiful colors. The Super AMOLED HD display still shows better color disparity and saturation. Sure, Apple improved their display to afford 44% better saturation but without real world side by side comparisons, I will just say that you can’t go wrong with the Super AMOLED HD display at this point.

Processing Power

Ok, down to the gritty part. In the US, all three phones have dual core processors. Apple sticks to their own A6, while the rest relies on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor because of LTE compatibility issues. Worldwide, the Android powered Samsung Galaxy S3 was built with a quad core Exynos processor, Samsung’s own make. In sheer processing power, Android wins in the world view.

When it comes to graphics, spectators claim that the Apple iPhone 5 was able to display console-like graphics. I say that Android has been well capable of such a feat for a while now. It’s just the lack of Apps developed with high resolution graphics that are missing.

The game they demonstrated during the presentation was built with the highest graphical power they can muster at the time. If they port that to Android, I am sure there would be no problem. We will see if the Lumia 920 will be able to prove itself, but right now, it doesn’t hold many high graphic games either.

Storage

Let’s go over this quickly. Storage is always a problem for those who keep plenty of content. The general idea is that more storage is always a plus. You can choose between 16 GB, 32 GB or 64 GB all you want, but when it comes to expanding that built in storage capacity that you have bought, you are out of luck with the iPhone 5 and the Lumia 920.

Of the three, only Android devices are generally equipped with a slot to expand storage. The Galaxy S3 has that option ready for you when you purchase it.

Sure, many would argue that you have the cloud, which you can take anywhere. You can take SD memory anywhere too, it is less expensive, and won’t require you to use up your data limit. For me, more is better when it comes to storage. When you have built in memory, cloud storage and expandable storage, you are set.

Battery Capacity

Whenever people ask me about battery life, I always say your mileage may vary. For the sake of today’s face off, let’s stick to what’s on paper. The iPhone 5 is rated at 225 hours standby and 8 hours talk time with 3G on. The Galaxy S3 is rated at 790 hours standby and [11:40] hours talk time with 3G. The Lumia 920 is rated at 300 hours standby and 10 hours talk time with 3G.

The numbers are pretty solid, and this round goes to Android in an ideal world. Too bad the world is not ideal, and there is always something that will affect your battery consumption. Generally, Android’s take on multitasking is a battery drainer.

 Connectivity and Sensors

These days, connectivity options are mostly the same, with speed and range being the only difference. They all have Wi-Fi, they all have Bluetooth, and they all have cellular network connectivity. The new iPhone 5 excels in this area because they have incorporated a new technology that combines different radios in just one chip. The iPhone 5 is capable of working with so many networks around the world by default.

Magnetometer, Proximity, Ambient light, Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Barometer sensors are present across all three. Apple decided against NFC this year, which is a bummer. This leaves them closed to any advancement and possibilities in NFC technology until the next hardware update. The other two decided to embrace the tech and make it available. It doesn’t have to be on all the time. You can turn it off if you don’t want it. What matters is that it is there, and you can use it when the time comes.

I also want to point out that while the new “Lightning” dock connector looks great, the Micro USB is still a lot easier to find compatibility for and a lot smaller on the device. I have to admit though, the Lightning dock looks great and is apparently faster too, and so that is always a plus.

Camera capabilities

All three devices support 720p for the front facing camera, but the Galaxy S3 clearly wins in quality and size. Samsung put in a 1.9 megapixel camera at the front, with the other two at a low 1.2 megapixels. I guess the reason why they made the front camera so goon on the S3 was because of the added face/eye tracking features like smart stay and face unlock.

The back camera is a battle that leaves the Galaxy S3 out. The Lumia 920 has an 8.7 megapixel camera while the other two have an 8 megapixel camera built in. The sensor quality is definitely a battle between the Lumia 920 PureView and the iPhone 5 iSight since it was already proven that the iPhone 4S beats the Galaxy S3 in camera quality.

According to the Apple presentation, the new camera is mostly the same with the iPhone 4S camera but it is lighter, and takes in a bit more light. It is also apparently 40% faster than the old model.

The PureView technology is still in an unfinished form, but even in that state, it takes much better images in low light conditions compared to the iPhone 4S. They have developed a better imaging technology compared to what was on the iPhone 4S, so if the iPhone 5 had mostly the same performance, then we have a clear winner.

I think there is very little to worry about in this department, so if you are looking for the best camera between the three, you are looking at a PureView in your future.

Wireless Charging

Ok, I am just putting this here for comparison purposes, but personally, I feel this is actually a useless gimmick. Wireless charging allows you to charge slower but without a cable. You just put this on top of the wireless charging station. The iPhone 5 does not support this, while the Samsung Galaxy S3 can with an additional accessory. The Lumia 920 has wireless charging built into the device.

Overall

So in the end, today’s smartphones have caught up with each other. Hardware and default non-OS based features are now kind of standard with the flagship phones. They top one another in one or two places, but no one is a clear winner. From here on out, it feels like the iPhone 5 is no longer the benchmark. It no longer feels like a device to beat. It is just like everyone else now, trying to catch up to the latest trend in technology’s incremental developments.

Like I said in the previous article, the most disappointing of the three is the iPhone 5 which is supposed to be the newest device of the three and what people normally look at as a benchmark. All it does is stay on par with what the rest have already pulled out into the public, while keeping the Apple proprietary details such as their own dock connector.

The Lumia 920 does this too, but that is probably because they are still experimenting on what to do with their phones on Windows 8. They are still in the dark with the new OS, and they don’t want to pull off any big moves at this point, so staying with the minimum specifications is probably all they can afford to do right now, while showcasing a revolution of their own with the PureView OIS camera. Once they have a better grasp of the OS, Windows 8 devices may start pushing the envelope to its limits.

With everything I have laid out before you, the choice is yours and yours alone. Everyone’s circumstances are different, and everyone’s needs are different. What matters is that you get what you need, and what works for you. I hope that this little guide will help you with that financial decision.

Image sources: Nokia.com, Samsung.com, Apple.com, androidauthority.com, theverge.com

Microsoft Windows Store opening its doors to new markets

As of yesterday, Microsoft’s Windows Store opened its app store for Windows 8 and Windows RT to all developers in 120 markets across the globe.

According to post in the Windows Store for Developers blog, of these 120 markets, 82 of them are new.

Microsoft from their part will reward developers by giving them a one-year Windows Store developer account, as a benefit for their support to Microsoft.

As of August of this year, there were about 450 WinRT-based apps in the Windows Store.

Directions on Microsoft analyst Wes Miller said that 1,033 apps are already available in the Windows Store internationally.

Most of these apps that are now available in the Windows app store are games and consumer-focused applications. The latter is due to the fact that Microsoft is placing importance in their Windows 8 operating system to consumers more than businesses.

The company has been trying to recruit developers in many ways. They have conducted workshops, bootcamps and proof-of-concept development programs these past months.

Microsoft is even planning to hold their second Build developer conference this October to help developers and guide them on how to write apps for Windows 8.

Windows RT and Windows 8 will be launched this October.

Image Source: ubergizmo.com

Nokia pulls out all the stops in the launch of the Lumia 920

Yesterday we saw the launch of the new Windows 8 capable handsets from Nokia. For most people, it feels like just a slight upgrade from the Lumia series, but when there is nothing wrong with the way it looks, it doesn’t need to change completely.

As you may have guessed the higher end of the two devices is the Lumia 920. It will feature all the best that Nokia and Microsoft had in its pipeline. Some may wow you, but some may just feel like another one of those “meh” announcements. Certainly the event could have used a bit more flair, but who are we to judge? Nokia is already on a low budget here, and Microsoft is feeling secure from other manufacturer’s announcements already.

The power to run

Qualcomm must be very rich these days. Their processors are everywhere. Nokia found it fit to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 processor as the phone’s heart. We know how good these processors are, and it will have plenty of raw power to dish out for the Lumia 920. The 1 GB of RAM is a decent addition, but if it were up to us, they should have gone with 2 GB to give some sort of wow factor.

The power to show

The Lumia 920 gives you a pretty good 4.5 inch window to view your mobile world. Armed with WXGA resolution (1280×768), the view is pretty sharp. The display is protected by reinforced curved glass. It blends pretty well with the build of the device.

The power to capture

We all heard the announcement before that Nokia is strictly going to keep the PureView technology in Symbian for a while. They seemed adamant that they don’t want to include it in Windows 8 yet. Seems like they finally decided that their pockets won’t be lined well enough if they held something back, so they went ahead and added PureView on Nokia’s latest brainchild.

The Lumia 920 has a 41 megapixel resolution capacity thanks to the PureView technology. Thanks to the developments in PureView technology, the camera is able to take in more light than the average mobile camera, providing a better night shot, and a clearer day image. It also incorporates “floating lens” technology, allowing very stable shots to be taken on its camera.

Screen capture was also highlighted to be easier thanks to the lens button.

The power to see

The highlight of the teaser for Microsoft and Nokia’s event involved augmented reality. Nokia Maps, in conjunction with the amazing PureView camera onboard the device powers the Nokia City Lens app. This allows the user to view the world in augmented reality. With the Nokia City Lens app, you can see virtual signboards and information for certain stores in Nokia’s database.

The power of choice

You may not have multiple devices to choose from, but Nokia has you covered with plenty of colors to match the colorful tiles of the Windows 8 operating system. It comes in yellow, red, grey, white and black.

The power of no wires

An interesting addition to the lineup of features is the incorporation of wireless charging into the device. I don’t really see all the fuss with wireless charging, but a lot of people want this on their devices, even going so far as to purchase bulk enhancing accessories just to get that feature.

Nokia did present a rather powerful device right here. The specs and a lot of brand specific features make their device more appealing than others. It now depends on Microsoft and their Windows 8 on how well it will perform in the real world. The expectations are already raised on Windows 8 anyway and Microsoft is aware of it.

With all these features, will you finally switch back to Nokia?

Image sources: unwiredview.com, techcrunch.com, itwriting.com

Windows 7 finally overtakes Windows XP market share lead

Microsoft’s desktop operating system has been considered as the most popular OS with regards to desktop computing. Majority of the users around the globe uses Windows in their homes and offices.

The previous iteration of Microsoft’s OS, the Windows XP, has been known to be one of the most used operating systems. Thus, it is considered to be the most popular OS around.

Now, Windows 7, the latest Microsoft OS, has overtaken the Windows XP as the most used operating systems, this according to Net Applications who surveyed Microsoft users and their August report.

According to Net Applications, Windows 7 had a 42.76% market share, slightly higher than the 42.52% that the Windows XP has. Windows Vista, which Microsoft thought they could replace Windows XP, has only a 6.15% share.

Mac operating systems like the Mac OS X 107 has a 2.45% market share while the MAC OS X 10.6 had a 2.38% share.

It is surprising to note that Microsoft has 92% of the market in the operating systems race when it comes to desktop computing. This includes operating systems installed on laptops and netbooks.

Windows 7 had to work 3 years to finally overtake the lead that Windows XP had on them.

Do you think Windows 8 can achieve this faster than Windows 7?

Image Source:techaddas.blogspot.com

Windows 8 devices to be unveiled prior to OS release?

According to ZDNet, the devices that will run on Microsoft’s much anticipated Windows 8 OS are going to be introduced to the public even before the OS is set to be available in public.

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ZDNet says that a set of sponsored events will usher these devices prior to the October 26 launch of the Windows 8 OS.

Microsoft has already confirmed October 26 as the date of launch for their latest entry to the operating system foray.

The report also added that three days after the official launch of the new OS, Microsoft’s own Windows Phone 8 will be launched in the US.

According to the article, devices that will carry the OS will be made available in stores a few weeks after its launch.

But devices that are running on Windows 8 OS have already been previewed to the public during the IFA conference currently being staged in Berlin.

Among these are Samsung’s Ativ S smartphone and the Ativ Tab. The former is a Windows 8 smartphone while the latter runs on Windows RT.

At any rate, Microsoft has made a bold move in upping up the hype behind their OS. The question is, can the Windows 8 OS deliver?

Image Source: techhive.com

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Samsung wants to be all over Windows 8 too

Following a very recent defeat in the hands of Apple’s patents, Samsung remains to be very active in business. As they foresee, the loss should affect business as much as Apple would hope, and if anything, the case has brought a spotlight upon Samsung, who is now being considered as a company “big enough” to make Apple shake in its boots.

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Samsung is all over Android. They have created a distinction for themselves in the market, being hailed as the largest and most successful Android OEM around the world, making both smartphones and tablets that rival Apple’s own products. The success of their Galaxy line of products is unparalleled against fellow Android OEMs as well.

Lest you forget, Samsung does not only deal in Android smartphones. As a tech giant, work on TVs, cameras, home appliances, as well as computers. Yes, they have released their fair share of Windows powered devices as well. Now that Microsoft is aiming to release Windows 8, Samsung wants to be on top of that action as well.

We’re not simply talking about smartphones here, which will eventually come to pass. If anything, we may see Windows powered versions of our favorite Android devices, similar to how they re-purposed several Galaxy phones to run Windows Mobile 7. No, it is certain that Samsung will apply the same business principle for Windows 8 that they have applied for Android. The more, the merrier!

The IFA is expected to be the first to finally witness a whole new lineup of Smartphones, Tablets, Laptops and PCs that will soon be running Windows 8, along with the continuation of their Android devices.

In fact, Samsung just couldn’t resist and already launched ahead of time their plans to release 3 new All-in-one PCs which will be focused on making full use of the upcoming Windows 8 desktop platform.

The new Samsung Series 5 and Series 7 devices will all feature 3rd generation Ivy Bridge processor powered CPUs, with wireless keyboards and mice. The CPU will be integrated on the Monitor itself which gets larger as you go to higher level processor.

The highlight of Samsung’s new all-in-one PCs is the fact that the monitor will be a 10-point multitouch monitor. Samsung is certainly promoting touch new way of controlling your PC, while still maintaining support for keyboards and mice. The integrated camera also supports gesture controls, which will certainly come handy. This makes sure that you will use your new Windows 8 powered computer to its full potential.

Apart from desktop PCs, Samsung intends to blur, if not to completely remove, the difference between a tablet and a laptop by teasing a tablet-laptop hybrid computing device running Windows 8. All will be revealed in the IFA, so stay tuned!

Samsung is already at the top of the Android smartphones and tablets arena. Do you think they have what it takes to take over Windows 8 too?

Image sources: samsung.com, pocket-lint.com, tmcnet.com

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Office 2013: Everything you need to know

Call it Office 13, Office 15, Office 2013, The New Office, Office 365, or just plain Office. I know many are confused as to what they will call the latest version of this popular productivity software. Many people who are still stuck to Microsoft Office 2007 or 2010 may wonder what is in store for them once they make the leap to the new service.

Enough with the Clicks! Just touch me!

The first thing you would need to know about the new software is that this is optimized for Windows 8. The Metro style ribbons and large touch friendly interface will work well on a device that will no longer rely solely on the input of a mouse. That said, the mouse input is still there and operates just like the previous versions. While there have been touch screen PCs before, there was no touch based gestures then, unlike what we will experience from now on.

Hop on and ride the Cloud!

The online features that have been introduced since Microsoft Office 2010 are back on the new Office 2013. It seems the tech world is intent at making cloud computing the future of everything. Microsoft Office can now sync and link with popular social networks, such as Facebook and Google+. SkyDrive will be your dear friend on the road if you plan to run on Microsoft’s integrated systems of PC, Tablet and Phone using the unified Windows 8.

A marketplace built for the Office

The new Microsoft Office involves new “App store”. Many meet these news with raised eyebrows wondering why productivity software like Office would need an app store. The first impression to that Office 2013 will not have everything you used to have in it, and would require you to pay more to get more services. This may or may not be the case, but as Microsoft explains it, they plan to add more features and add-ons to the already full powered Office 13. It still does not answer the fear, but rest assured that we will keep an eye out for it.

Can you write the letter W?

It would seem that actual writing will make a comeback, as the new Office provides the ability called “Inking” which allows the user to write using a stylus in their creation of documents and presentations. Those of us who simply hate to write manually will find this feature rather useless, although there might be people who might use it simply for the novelty of the idea. In my honest opinion, there is still no substitute for the trusty Keyboard when making large presentations and documents. Still, this will be a handy feature for presentations that require illustrations directly made from Microsoft Office.

Lync up with me

Microsoft added a new feature called Lync which, along with the new version of One note, will be the touch-centric apps focused on Windows 8 touch system. Lync allows you to link up with your friends, family and office mates to collaborate on projects or simply communicate. The integration of Skype is an indication that they want to replace the need for instant messenger clients and keep everything work related focused on the new Office.

Did you change your hair?

Many of the changes to the Microsoft Office programs are mainly aesthetic. They simply optimized existing options and links to work well with tablet sized screens and touch input with the exception of Lync and One Note, which look like they were designed for Windows 8. While there are still plenty of things that they added, the familiarity experienced on first usage is the main selling point of their products which businesses all over the world prefer. The functional changes include optimizations as well as internet based functions such as the weather widget available on Outlook as well as an all new reading mode for quick review of you documents. It is certain that you will not get lost in this version of Microsoft Office as most of the stuff you know and love is here to stay for now.

When will my XP get it?

I know that people like saying never say never, but this really is a NEVER moment. Microsoft plans to retire the XP operating system soon and just maintain Windows 7 and Windows 8 support. Yes, there is also no Vista support. I bet that if they could, they would only support Windows 8 and nothing more. Microsoft has been keen about moving everyone to Windows 8 to be able to complete their grand plan of full integration between Windows powered devices.

So now what?

It is entirely up to you whether you are planning to move on to the new Microsoft Office 2013. Unless you plan to move on to a touch PC or tablet, there is not much sense in jumping the gun right now. Some would argue that the design does not look well for Windows 7, so it would only be necessary to update to the new one if you are planning to move on to Windows 8. This makes sense, as the overall aesthetic changes matches more with the Windows 8 Metro style compared to the Windows 7 Aero.

Image sources: geeky-gadgets.com, pcmag.com, news.cnet.com, cultofmac.com, slashgear.com