The Christmas shopping season is a great time to find some impressive deals on lots of electronic devices and gadgets. An impressive deal has turned up that is good for today only on one of the newer Windows 8 tablets on the market. The device is the Dell Venue 8 Pro.
Microsoft has released Bing Maps Preview for Windows 8.1, its Google Maps-rivaling navigation app with over seventy high-res 3D cities, Skype and OpenTable integration, street-level photography, and Live Tile support. The new app, hitting the Windows Store today, introduces a new 3D graphics engine which Microsoft says delivers more realistic visuals across a wide range of angles.
There's a new 8-inch tablet well on its way to market with Acer's name on it, bringing with it Intel Baytrail technology to boot. This is the Acer Iconia W4, sporting an Intel Baytrail Z3740 processor, Intel HD graphics (Generation 7, Baytrail), and Windows 8. This device works with an 8-inch display with 1280 x 800 pixel resolution.
In the Samsung ATIV Book series, the company comes to a point in their history with notebooks that they're ready to go to battle with the highest-quality units in the industry. In the ATIV Book 9 Plus with 13.3-inch LED QHD+ (3200 x 1800 pixel) touchscreen display and Intel Core processor under the hood, there's scarcely a Windows 8 laptop on the market that we can recommend against it. Not one constructed of pure aluminum, at least.
Ramping up to the release of the second Hobbit movie in theaters, the folks at Microsoft have let it be known that they'll be sending out a file for 3D-printer users that'll have them creating the mythical Key to Erebor. This oddity means that Microsoft and Warner Bros. UK will be the first in history to be making use of 3D printing in an advertising campaign.
This week the Windows 8.1 (formerly known as "Blue") software update continues to roll out as it has for the past several weeks, making way for the same sort of push for Windows Phone devices this spring. What's just appearing this week for news on the generation after this one is the likes of "Threshold", a system that'll further combine the powers of the Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and Xbox One software environments. This update series, as it were, will be delivered in the spring of 2015.
Microsoft has launched Xbox Video online, expanding the streaming media service from Windows 8.1 PCs and Xbox One to the web, ahead of its expected arrival on Windows Phone. The new site supports consumption of both previously purchased content - once you've logged into your account - and buying new media through the webstore, which can then be played back on a PC, Windows tablet, or Xbox. However, there are a few drawbacks to the new web version, which Microsoft has confirmed will also impact the smartphone release.
Microsoft is aiming to cut Windows confusion by trimming its three-strong OS line-up for mobile devices to tow, streamlining some combination of Windows Phone, Windows RT, and full Windows. Windows RT, the little-loved version of Windows 8 that Microsoft cooked up for ARM-based tablets, was insufficiently differentiated from full Windows, Julie Larson-Green, Executive Vice President of Devices and Studios at Microsoft, said last week, ZDNet reports. While Microsoft's exact plans weren't detailed, long-standing rumors indicate the company may integrate Windows Phone and Windows RT in future.
Microsoft's OneNote for Windows 8.1 has seen a considerable update, adding the ability to "scan" a document or image using a tablet's camera, apply optical character recognition to search through text, and make better use of digital ink. The new app, available today, takes on Evernote with its new Camera Scan feature, which automatically crops, rotates, straightens, de-shadows, and sharpens images so that they look more like scans than quick snaps with the Windows device's camera.
The popularity of tablets have posed a solid threat to the PC industry, and in response many 2-in-1 so-called "hybrid" laptops have popped up in increasing numbers that are able to function as both -- as a laptop when some serious work needs to be done, and as a tablet for activities best suited to a hands-on approach: mobile games, artwork, and Web browsing, among others. The Sony VAIO Duo 13 is one such hybrid featuring a collapsible design that toggles the machine between a slate and a laptop without effort, but does it provide the best of both worlds? Read our full SlashGear review to find out.