Archive for the ‘windows phone 8’ Category

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The current rumor going around is that Microsoft is going to rename their Surface tablets as Lumia’s.

I don’t know if this is indeed going to happen and if so, when and for what reasons, but this is what I could see happening going forward.

First, it is very difficult to trademark a name or brand in one country, let alone trademark one on a worldwide basis.  Look no further way than last year when Microsoft was forced to rename their cloud storage service, SkyDrive to OneDrive because Sky TV fought in court that the name SkyDrive belonged to them, and or it would confuse their customer base.

We can also go back to Microsoft naming their new tablet PC products as “Surface.”  Surface is a trademark held by Microsoft and used for their tabletop computers with 4 foot touch screens.  But that all changed when Microsoft surprised the world with their Surface and Surface Pro tablet PCs.

It was easier for Microsoft to use an existing trademark they already owned and enforced worldwide than create a new name for their first personal computers.   While the Surface computer was well known by news executives and weather-persons at top market news stations and a handful of geeks, the name or word Surface wasn’t used by the every day person on the street.

So, this brings me to 2014 and Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia.  With Nokia, came the Lumia brand/trademark.  Other than people, it is the one thing we understand that Microsoft got with the purchase of the mobile division. 

As stated above, it is much easier to take an existing brand name you already have trademarked around the globe and reuse it, rather than start again from scratch — that takes time, and Microsoft is nearly out of time.

So loosely, Lumia is already used by Nokia to represent their Windows Phones and ARM based tablet running Windows RT — both platforms use the ARM architecture to power the Lumia devices.

Microsoft’s Surface however, is used for both Windows 8.x tablet PCs running on the Intel x86-64 architecture, such as the initial Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2 and the new Surface Pro 3.  However, Microsoft’s ARM based Surface and Surface 2 run the Windows on ARM variation of Windows 8.x and can run the new Windows 8 apps, but not the Windows “desktop” programs so many expect a Windows PC to run.

To cut out some of the confusion, Microsoft would be smart to leverage the Lumia brand they just acquired from Nokia and apply that brand to all ARM based Windows phones, tablets and personal computers (should the future bring such a PC).

So, could the future of Windows Phone and ARM based Windows be branded as Lumia, while the Surface brand is reserved for x86?  That certainly makes more sense then continuing a loosing battle to market both or Microsoft’s tablet as Pro and “non-Pro.”

ed: look at Samsung, they have “Galaxy” for Android and “ATIV”, a word I still don’t know how to pronounce, still haven’t heard anyone speak in a television commercial and I can’t remember; and they use it as their “brand” all of their Windows Phones, tablets and laptops — no wonder thieir PC sales are down and Lenovo’s PC sales are up (hint: ThinkPad and Yoga)

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Patrick Moorhead from Tech.pinions recently wrote an editorial with the title, Leaving the iPhone- How Windows Phone 8 Stacks Up and he brings up many if not all the misgivings many users have when they switch from an iPhone or Android phone to Windows Phone.

I could tell from reading Patrick’s editorial that he didn’t spend much time with the Lumia 920 phone and also didn’t seem to have anyone to get answers to his questions.

Here is the prolog to his editorial, followed by my wordy response (you can read his entire article which is well written and obviously has good intentions at the link above)

“Approximately six weeks ago, I made the decision to stop using my iPhone 4s and immerse myself in Android, which I lumia 920did for about a month. I wrote about that here. After Android, I wanted to try out Windows Phone 8 for an extended period of time and I want to share my experiences with you. My goal here is provide some insights into how an American, technically astute Apple iPhone user would feel about using Windows Phone 8. I don’t represent the masses, but do represent the demographics of a an influential block of analysts, press, pundits, etc. I will talk about the pros, cons, and things that just didn’t matter one way or the other when comparing my iPhone 4s to the Windows Phone 8 powered Nokia Lumia 920. The 920 is considered by most as the flagship Windows Phone 8 phone and a good representation of the state of the art.

Let’s start out with the Windows Phone 8 (WP8) plusses.”

Here is the email with a few typos corrected and nonsense turned into sense. 😉

I’ve been a fanatic Windows Phone user since day 1 and know the ins and outs of Windows Phone 8 as well as Nokia’s apps.

While you did write a very balanced article for your seemingly short time spent with the 920, there are few things I think need clarification or explanation.

Navigation with Nokia Drive+ Beta

First off, yes it is beta software, but what you may not have known is this is the nearly 9 month old version 2 of Nokia Drive app which was released on Nokia’s first Windows Phone 7.5 devices. The most current version of Nokia Drive is version 3.x and is available on both Symbian and Nokia Lumia smartphones powered by Windows Phone 7.x.

Windows Phone 8 will receive the updated version of the Drive app as well as new features including better traffic data points. It will take time for Nokia to weave this updated Drive+ 3.x software into the new APIs for Windows Phone 8, the current and future version of Drive+ is not a standalone product, but is fully integrated into the OS and therefor meets and exceeds the features and performance of it’s predecessor (I am speculating on the performance here).

Turn-by-turn with street names.
This is in fact is 100% available in the software you reviewed, but for some nutty reason isn’t the default voice which auto downloads when you first run the Nokia Drive+ software – I truly hope that this is changed when the updated non-beta version ships because everyone I talk to with a Lumia has this same experience.

To have the street names announced you simply open Drive, Settings, Voice and select “English US announce Street names” or something to that effect. Street names are available for nearly every language and more are being updated as we speak.

Microsoft Office
Yes, you did mention how flawless the opening and editing of Office apps is and how ridiculous it is that Excel is included, but you neglected some additional usability features that Office on Windows Phone offers which, in my opinion, tips the scales in Windows Phone’s favor.

OS level SkyDrive integration!
Office defaults to opening and saving files to SkyDrive! So 100% of the files you keep on your PC or Mac are always accessible to you no matter where you are. In addition, the files you most recently opened on your phone are cached for quick access and if changes have been made since you lasted opened your cached file, you are notified of the changes and offered to download the current file. This all happens nearly instantly on your phone and takes the worry out of having multiple versions of your documents or presentations, etc scattered around the drives of all the computers you use on a daily basis.

Additionally, you can also easily and quickly access files saved to your phone or files that you recently opened in your email.

Did I mention that 100% of what I just mentioned is accomplished without ever installing a SkyDrive client app on your phone!? Yep, SkyDrive is baked into every Windows Phone 8 device sold and gives you easy access to any folder on your computer. Your Word, Excel, Power Point, PDF, files etc all appear like they are on your phone.

Most people synch their Libraries to SkyDrive. Not only is it a simple way to keep an off premises backup of all your data, but you are also making them accessible to you everywhere you go.

SkyDrive app
On Windows Phones you do not need to install a SkyDrive app to access the files on the cloud. But if you want to add and remove folders, files or move them from one folder to another, then you will want to download the SkyDrive app, most people will never need or use it, but it’s there for the more advanced user. SkyDrive client software for Windows Phone operates much the same way as its counterparts for Microsoft Windows 8, RT, Phone, Xbox 360, iPhone, iPad and Android.

You can synch entire folders/directories on your PC or your Mac.

Photo Tile
The Photo hub by default has two folders; Camera Roll and Saved Pictures. In addition to these two folders, a 3rd folder is created the first time you take a “snapshot” of your Windows Phone screen. All of those folders have your files stored locally in your phones available storage.

Then there are all the photos that you have stored on your computer and synched with SkyDrive and all the photos you have uploaded to Facebook.

The Photo hub also features the following screens you can easily swipe left or right to reveal: Favorites, which places all the photos from any of your online or offline folders at your fingertips. What’s New which shows new photos that were posted on your Facebook or Twitter accounts – not just the photos you posted, but also the photos which your friends posted to your Facebook wall and lastly the reveals the camera related apps you have installed on your phone.

Photos are also synched from your SkyDrive, Facebook, even Dropbox via a 3rd party called Cloudy Box. The API are there for any vendor to use and unlike Apple, these features are royalty free and are open to every developer.

Camera
One of my favorite camera features has to be the dedicated physical camera button and how that single “universally understood” camera button can wake the phone with a long-press, open the camera app even a phone which is password locked and not compromise security.

Windows Phones are the only phones you can hand to your aunt or grandparent and you don’t have to give a lesson on how to “take a photo” – priceless….

Camera Lens
Camera Lenses are unique to Windows Phone as well. This is a new feature in Windows Phone 8 which keeps all of your camera mini-apps or apps which use the camera of the phone in one easy to access location or hub from inside the Camera app.

These new Lens apps, as well as former apps that have been updated to support Lenses do not have to replicate the Windows Phone Camera app, etc. because they operate from inside the camera app. This not only makes things easier from a user’s perspective, but it also is easier for the developer as well because it gives their camera app the ability to save photos and videos to the sandboxed Windows Photos Tile which would normally be off limits to most developers.

While every Lens compatible app you install is can be set as a Tile on your Start Screen or opened from your App List like any other app, but every installed Lens can be easily access with one touch of a button from inside the phone app.

Example, take your phone from your pocket, press the camera button for a couple seconds, the camera turns on and you can either instantly take a photo or open any one of your Lenses to take a panorama or translate a sign in a foreign language to English, scan to a PDF, the options are limited only by the developer.

Application List, no endless Screens
I am not surprised that you didn’t know about being able to jump alphabetically through your apps with a ‘tap’ not press of the letter. This feature is not turned on by default, but only appears after you have loaded or installed 40 or 45 apps – I can’t recall what the current “magic number” is at the moment.

When I show how the Alpha jump feature works to an iPhone or Android user they go crazy! They love it and prefer it the endless screen after screen of apps which never seem to be organized properly. (see the heading below called Alpha Jump for more)

Having your apps listed alphabetically isn’t new and is used on other smartphones. The difference is, is that Windows Phone lines all your apps up in a single easy to read column which displays a thumbnail of their Tile and their applications name. Simple, clean straightforward. No clutter or distractions. The thumbnails are small and square in shape while their associated app name is in large clear type. Other platforms seem to emphasize the each apps unique and zany icon and their names are small and secondary.

Another benefit to a standard and consistent way to display lists, such as your list of installed apps, is that it behind every Start Screen displaying your most frequently viewed or favorite app Tiles and Live Tiles you are only one swipe or click away from a simple alphabetical list of every app you have installed. This is true for all Windows Phones as well as every computer running Windows 8 or RT – not only do users love and appreciate this, but IT departments do too since they can quickly move beyond your personalized Start Screen and find what they need in seconds.

One thing I do know for sure is that if you know how to use Windows 8 Modern UI, RT UI or Windows Phone UI, you can pick up a friend or spouses phone and be able to find any app easily and quickly. IT departments can ignore the Start Screen and custom tiles and Alpha Jump quicker than looming through screens or swiping endlessly to S for Settings, etc.

Alpha Jump
Being able to quickly jump through long lists in Windows Phone by tapping on a block with a letter from the alphabet in it is a root and basic feature of Windows Phone. Any built-in feature in Windows Phone as well as nearly every app in the Windows Phone Store also implements this feature.

Let me offer a quick description of how this universal feature works. First, you are presented with a list of the names of your contacts all sorted alphanumerically in a single column. If you have a contact or business which begins with a number or symbol the top of your list will feature a solid box with a “#” inside it. Immediately below this box is your contact’s name, followed by boxes with the letter “a” more contacts and so on.

If you do not have a friend or contact for every letter in the alphabet that letter’s box is not present.

To quickly access your contact Steve, you would tap any of the boxes described above which are visible, such as the “#” or “a” and immediately your screen changes from a list view displaying a list of names, to a screen filled with square tiles of each letter of the alphabet. If the list you are viewing does not have a contact which begins with a letter or symbol, that letter’s box is left blank – only the letters representing your list are in view.

This method of jumping to a quickly to a letter in the alphabet is much quicker than pressing Search and typing in the typing in the first few letters of their name on the keyboard. Unlike other areas of the Windows Phone OS which is more forgiving of typos, this is one area of the OS that has all typing assistance turned off.

A good use for the Search function in People, is when you want to find all your contacts who work for XYZ Corp. Type xyz into the People Search and all your contacts with xyz in their name or business name pops up.

Once you master jumping to specific a specific letter in your People hub, then you can use the same feature throughout Windows Phone and Windows Apps such as Facebook.

Jumping using the letter tiles/blocks is now second nature to me, it’s like pressing “Accept” when installing a new app on your pc – you do it without even thinking.

Sharing Contacts
Sharing contacts as well as sharing webpages, photos, videos, etc. is indeed possible on Windows Phone and unlike the other phone platforms, search is fully part of the core of Windows Phone.

Nearly everything you create, discover or produce on Windows Phone is easily sharable in a consistent way from every app that allows sharing. Just press the three periods at the bottom of nearly every app (. . .) which will expose the lesser used functions of your app.

If I could include a post-it note in the box of every Windows Phone Sold, it would say “if you can’t find what you are looking for, tap the . . .”

Simply put, the new Modern interface is designed for simplicity hides everything but the most common functions from view.

To share a contract with someone, you open the contact, touch the . . . to expose the additional functions that are relevant, select Share Contact, confirm by selecting the checkmark, and a new screen pops up titled, Send From; choose from Tap+Send to share the contact wirelessly via NFC, Bluetooth, Messaging or optionally select from any of your email account which are also listed.

Want to share a photograph? It’s done the same way. Microsoft took care to add many of these every day functions into the operating system itself. Every app works the same way, although you may see more or less locations you can share with depending on what you want to share.

For example, Internet Explorer 10 adds the option of sharing the webpage you are viewing with your Xbox 360 running Internet Explorer. Find a great video on YouTube and want to share it with your friends, watch it on your TV. The best part, is that once the webpage opens on your Xbox/TV, your phones screen becomes a touchpad for your Xbox so you can browse the web on your 50” HDTV as easily as you can on your laptop’s 15” screen.

Simple and consistent wins every time.

Having these menus or functions hidden is maybe one of the reasons that makes Windows Phone so easy for beginners to use and easier for them to access features in Windows Phone than on other platforms which lay everything out in front of the user, all the time and distracts from getting your task(s) accomplished.

A great example of this is how my Mother, who was 78 years old at the time, got her first smartphone about 5 months before her trip to Tanzania. It was a hand-me-down which I had passed along to her in hopes of being able to use the phone for email, etc while traveling. I should mention that my Mother was never able to figure out how to use voicemail on her mobile phone and only received calls or placed calls with it either by memory, or by looking up the phone number.

She started off with a Samsung Focus which she gradually began to use more and more than her dumb flip-phone until one day she called me and told me that she decided she liked having a smartphone and would switch to it full time.

When Nokia released the Lumia 900 on AT&T, my Mother spent actual money on her first phone (all her previous phones were all free phones on contract) and get the latest and greatest for her upcoming trip.

She wasn’t going to Tanzania alone, she was going as part of a group. She knew a few people before she went, but for the most part, she didn’t know the other members. She was the only person who had a Windows Phone and she was nervous that she would forget how to access a feature and wouldn’t be able to get help.

Well, she surprised everyone when she returned home and told everyone how much she used her phone! She used it for simple things like photographs and emails, but she also used it for navigation, translation, finding restaurants and boutiques and markets too.

While everyone else had iPhones and one person had an Android phone everyone was asking my mother who never had a smartphone before for information. She became the go-to person for everything. Even though everyone else had smartphone, none of the other people could figure out how to get their “smart” phones to give them the information they each wanted to make their trip more enjoyable or productive.

Yet, my mother who happened to be 20 years plus their senior was able to accomplish nearly every task quickly enough soon enough, the questions were going to my Mom and not the one of the several tour guides.

I realize that a 78 year old women being able to use so many features on her smartphone isn’t a ringing endorsement to the 20-something generation, but it does say a lot that My Mother who is now 79 and I, the geek do use the same phone. 

Mail/Outlook
The mail client is pretty darn good and I think much better than what you find on iPhone and I think you agreed with me on this one, but I would also say that it’s better than the latest Jellybean version of Android too.

Mail fully supports synching folders, you can merge multiple email accounts into one Inbox, you can pin a specific folder to your Start Screen as a Tile too. This is great if there are email you receive that are urgent and you need to take action right away. Here is a good example of how Live Tiles work and how pinning a Tile to your Start Screen representing different folders can be helpful.

You have a Tile representing your work folder or work email address, you have another one for your Inbox and maybe a 3rd Tile for emails come from eBay, craigslist, etc.

It’s 10pm and you that your Work Tile shows that new email(s) have arrived and since you are not on call you can ignore that notice until the following day.

By the same account, you are at work or on a business trip and you see that the Tile you have designated as your Inbox has new mail and you can safely ignore it until you have a break or at the end of the day. There countless practical uses for Live Tiles and they are only limited by your imagination.

And just maybe you will want to excuse yourself from a meeting to read the email from eBay.

Full Search
You did mention how the Mail client’s search is more limited than iOS, and I haven’t used an iPhone in quite some time, but I find that the Mail search does more than you mention. I’m not list them off, but trust me, they are there and depending on your mail service/host there are several queries you can use.

Multitasking
First let me start with a feature you didn’t mention but many people consider a bug or failing of Windows Phone.

Apps always open at their home page and not where you last left it.

This is by design, most people are not power users or are cutting and pasting from one app to the next, etc. They are not actively working with 4 or 5 apps let alone 3. They open their app for News, read the headlines and maybe an article or two and then put down their phone.

When they come back their phone and are at the Start Screen, they open their News app again and instead of being presented with the latest headlines, they see the last article they opened. If they don’t get around to opening the News app for several days, seeing an old article has gone from annoying to confusing.

So by default, if you open an app from its Tile or the App list, it will always open from the same home screen.

There are valid reasons why people want to switch apps and be on the page where they last were, and I’ll get to that now…..

Power Users eat their cake too
Yes, as you not in your editorial, holding down the Back button is a pretty elegant and convenient way to see what apps you have open in the background – I say ‘open’ because while Android may have apps ‘running’ in the background sipping at the phones limited battery reserves, Windows Phone uses a pause and quick resume feature to conserve resources but keep many of the benefits of having an app running in the background.

By holding down the dedicated back button on your Windows Phone you can horizontally scroll to your open apps and return exactly at the point you were at when you last left it.

Users who come from Android or iOS love to close apps they are not using because many of the apps on those platforms do drain the battery and the more you have running in the background, the sooner your phone will run out of power.

So while it usually isn’t as necessary to close apps on Windows Phone, there is a simple way to close apps and you don’t need to download and install another program to do it.

To close any app you are no longer using, all you need to is tap the Back Button until you are no longer in the app. On occasion it may take tapping the back button several times, but a trick is to re-launch the open app and the previous copy of the app you had open is replaced by this new instance and can be closed with one tap of the Back button.

To verify that the app(s) is closed, long press the Back button and verify that it is no longer displayed in the multitask view.

Running in the background
So, yes, most WP apps suspend when in the background not because Microsoft doesn’t allow apps to run in the background, but I think it’s that MS discourages this practice and have put some great alternatives in place that developers can alterably use, such as quick resuming, etc.

When a Tile is a Live Tile
Unlike apps which are suspended in the background, Apps which support Live Tiles, Tiles that display content downloaded periodically form the internet like email, weather app, news apps, etc. can drain the battery and if you allow enough apps access to update, especially the apps you don’t have on your Start Screen, they can lead to draining your phones battery faster than you would expect – and I am pretty sure that many users new to Windows Phone install a lot of these apps and are not aware that even if they do not open the apps or pin the app to their Start Screen, they are all working in the background none the less.

Turning off Background Apps
Apps which are set to operate or update in the background notify the operating system of this when they are first installed and a list of those apps is provided in the Settings section of the phone. Many of these apps are enabled by default and you can manually “block” these apps from working in the background without opening the offending app. Simply select “blocked” under any app name that currently lists itself as “allowed” – voila!

You can also easily re-enable those same apps by opening the app you want to re-allow to update in the background and turn the feature back on.

Battery Saver
First and foremost your smartphone is a phone. Yes, it’s great at game playing, listening to your favorite music or podcast and checking your email. But if it comes down to saving some battery power to make or receive a phone call or having the current temperature or new emails displayed on your phone most people will choose phone calls over the weather (we can look out our windows if we have to).

By default when a Windows Phone is running low on battery it automatically turns off all apps and Live Tiles operating in the background – this is called Battery Saver mode.

You can still check the weather, check for new email, etc, but they will only be refreshed or updated when you request it.

Battery Level Indicator
When the Battery Saver mode is activated heart shape is placed over the battery/power indicator.

As an aside, another complaint by iPhone and Android users is that while the current time is always displayed on the top right of your Home Screen and many apps, it does not display the following status icons unless they need attention.

Signal Strength Indicator
When you are traveling in an area or are in an office building or department store and your phone can not access your phone carrier’s cell towers or the signal is very weak, then Windows Phone will show the status.

If you are curious or OCD about things like battery life or signal strength, you can easily lightly swipe down from the top of the screen to reveal the status bar where all the status indicators you expect will be shown and then disappear after a few seconds.

The thing to remember, is that the information that you desire is there for you to access and you don’t have to open 2 folders and then tunnel down several menus to access it.

YouTube
Yes, not having an official YouTube app and being provided with a YouTube tile that open the mobile YouTube website on IE sucks. Windows Phone was designed for multimedia content!

Why does Windows Phone not have an official YouTube app as full-featured as the iPhone and Android phones? It was recently leaked via Microsoft that while they have a YouTube app already developed and have apparently had one since the dawn of Windows Phone. Google refuses to give Microsoft permission or a license to distribute it.

Windows Phone did initially launch with a YouTube app, but was later replaced with a link to the m.youtube website
Thankfully, there are several 3rd party apps which provide access to YouTube’s complete library of videos from some very cool and creative Modern UI based apps. The downside is, that they are ever playing a game of cat and mouse as Google keeps changing the tools needed for these apps to work. Interestingly, the changes Google makes do not interfere with either Android products or Apple products. :/

While these 3rd party apps are great at delivering content, they are not as friendly when it comes to uploading either videos taken with your phone or are stored in your Xbox Music + Video hub. Many of the YouTube-like apps can upload videos, but only if you record the video from inside their app, since these apps are not authorized to access the video files stored on your phone.

I am hopeful that these vendors will soon be able to use the phones new Lenses and be able to access the phones videos that way. (This may not even be possible, it’s just wishful thinking on my part)

Phone Search
Yes, I too wish that a universal Search was present in Windows Phone. There are many occasions I would like to search my calendar for past or future events or appointments. There was an app I used for a while for Windows Phone 7.5, but I don’t recall the developer or the apps name, but while it did make searching the calendar possible, it wasn’t as good or seamless as I would have liked.

I know Microsoft is expanding the search capabilities on Windows Phone 8. I met a young women who introduced herself to me as an intern who works for Microsoft and she personally designed the backend of a future search for the Messaging portion of the phone. She mentioned that is was modeled after the search that is integrated into the Mail client.

Lack of Windows Phone Apps?
Yes, the apps you mention you use daily are either not present or sometimes inferior to their iOS and Android counterparts. I have held the hands of several friends and work associates who found that this is one area of Windows Phone which was not as robust as the smartphones they had switched from.

Is every app available for Windows Phone which is currently available for iPhone or Android? No, Windows Phone does need more apps for a small fraction of users before they feel they can switch platforms – I get it. But don’t forget, none of these features even existed several years ago and we all survived for without them.

Part of what I do, is listen and ask questions. After hearing their complainants and asking them what they were using these apps for, I reminded them (several times) that that those features are built-in to Windows Phone and that they should relearn to use Local Scout and Nokia City Lens or OneNote.

When is Bing more than Bing?
When you press the dedicated search button on a Windows Phone, it opens up a window to search the web/internet, but this isn’t just a quick way for Microsoft to get you to use their search engine over Google, no, this is much more.

At the bottom of the Bing Search screen are three buttons you won’t find on your computer’s Bing page: Scout, Music and Vision, here is a summary of what each function does:

Bing Local Scout
Think of Scout as in an army scout. A scout was sent ahead of the troops to food, water, shelter, roads, etc. Scout on Windows phone is similar in that this Scout shows you all every restaurant from the closest one to you the next 20 ones from your location. You can even search by cuisine, star rating, whether the establishment is open or not, or if they are currently offering deals. You can even opt-in and allow Microsoft to study your searches and make recommendations for you.

Bing Music
Music in Bing doesn’t play music, it uses the phones mic to listen to the music playing and tells you what the song playing. If you have ever used Shazam, you know what Bing Music does, but how Bing accomplishes this is quite different and can provide you with a match in as little as 4 seconds when connected to wifi, if it can’t get it in the first few seconds, it keeps attempting to match the song or comes back asking to try again.

Assuming you have Shazam on your home screen of your iPhone or Android phone, and you open Shazam it still takes several seconds to load, then takes and other tap to begin the mandatory 10 second recording from the phone’s mic before it even uploads the sample to their server.

What Bing can do in as little as 5 seconds, Shazam takes a minimum of 15 seconds. In side by side tests with identical phones, Bing was able to find the track before Shazam each and every time before Shazam even finished recoding the sample.

Bing Vision
Simply put, Bing Vision uses your phone’s camera to quickly translate signs or menu’s from a foreign language and give you a fast literal word-for-word translation without using an app. You don’t need to be traveling in a foreign country to use this feature either, if you are a student taking a foreign language you can quickly translate a word or series of words you are having difficulty with.

Translation is not limited to just English there is direct translation available to and from 30 languages without downloading or opening any app – although this feature does use your internet connection.

Does Bing Vision replace a dedicated translation app? NO, this is quick and dirty and what most people need when they are presented with something they cannot read. Microsoft and others have full apps which translate voice to voice, to text etc. Why download and install a translation app when you may never need to use it?

Barcodes, QR codes, book covers, CD and DVD covers

You can also use Bing Vision to look up prices, reviews, ratings, etc of book, CD and DVDs – all without taking the time to find and run the app. Want to look up a barcode when you are shopping? Maybe you need to see reviews, find the right edition or see what other colors the product comes in.

Use Bing Vision, I have never used any other device or app which locks in to a bar code faster than a Bing Vision. Another time saving feature is you don’t have to have several barcode apps for electronics, groceries, home furnishings, etc. Bing find the items and then presents you with fast results on all the things you expect to find from a barcode app without the fuss.

Every feature in Bing Music and Bing Vision are instantly stored for you to access in the future, possibly when you have more free to time to read the reviews and ratings.

Bing finds and organizes Information
In addition to these three integrated features, you can also swipe left and right and discover what’s playing in your local theaters, local deals aggregated from several discount sites, the most active videos being played on the internet, the top new stories and lastly, current local events. This is all without opening an app. No switching screens to locate the app, no waiting for the app to load, no waiting for the app to connect to the internet to download the current data, etc. All this and more is at your fingertip and can be accessed in less than a second.

Is Windows Phone 8 right for you?
Is Windows Phone right for your friends?

Granted, Windows Phone is not for everyone and Microsoft needs to put a lot more effort into educating all users on how Windows Phone operates and how it’s intentionally designed differently than the other phone on the market.

Windows Phone is not an immature platform like many like to claim, It’s actually quite advanced and in many time saving and tangible ways we use everyday it is vastly superior to anything that Apple or Google has to offer.

I hope you took the time to read this message as it took me quite a while to respond thoughtfully and in a way that wouldn’t put you off. I hope I succeeded and I look forward to your future article on whether you will switch to Windows Phone 8.5.

John Freiman
San Francisco

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 920 powered by Windows Phone 8

Windows 8 is a download, no disks, that means no booting from CD, no going to Best Buy, no extra trips or added expenses to upgrade your computer with more memory, no new video card required, etc. Windows 8 works on the computer you have today – only faster, longer and easier.

Windows 8 has a record number of firsts for the industry

Yes, Windows 8 has been totally redesigned and while many people are talking about how it was designed for touch screens that’s only HALF correct. Windows 8’s new Modern design was also designed to be used with your Mouse, trackpad and keyboard. Those who claim that Windows 8 only is needed for touch devices are cheating themselves of some of the wonderful new features in Windows 8 which are designed for everyone.
Yes you’ve already heard that it’s the first Windows to be redesigned to support touch screens, and it’s the first to support low per ARM chips, but here are some firsts you may not know.

1. Windows 8 updates are delivered from the web, download and install windows 8 without ever putting in a disk! Sit back and relax because for anyone upgrading from Windows 7, you don’t need to do a thing.

2. Windows 8 is actually faster than previous versions of Window. That means your 4 year old computer will not only start up faster than the day you first plugged it in, but your programs will load faster too – this is nothing short of a miracle for those people who do not feel the need to upgrade their PC every couple of years.

3. Windows 8 was redesigned to extended battery life – yes, install it on your laptop and you can spend less time charging your battery and more time untethered and less time worrying about where the closest power outlet is. Newer laptops will see better battery life than older ones, but something is better than nothing.

Do you own a license Microsoft Office? Well, if you upgrade to Office 2013 or Office 365 you will see even better battery life because the new Office allows your computer to rest more between keystrokes so if you use Microsoft Word all day, you can see as much as a 30% reduction in battery usage!

4. Manage your Windows account(s) from the cloud. Log-in to any Windows 8 computer or tablet running Windows RT with your Microsoft Account and your color preferences, your files on SkyDrive and all the files on your PC will be instantly available to you! – yes, even those files not stored on SkyDrive. You can now access the files on your computer’s hard drive from any PC in the world. Of course, all of this is password protected.

5. Family Safety: This too is managed from the cloud and you can create and edit what not only what your children have access to on your home computer, but these safety settings also follow your children to their grandparents computer(s), the computers at the library as well as the family Xbox 360 and their Windows Phone 8.

The main advantages with this type of system is that you do not have to set 15 or 20 restrictions on your child’s iPhone and again on their iPad. No, you set them in a friendly web browser with your mouse and full sized keyboard. Since you are using your computer to set these limits, you get full descriptions about each setting or restriction on screen and you do not have to look each setting up as you do with Apple’s solution.

You can begin by selecting Child, Teen or Adult and keep the default settings, or you can customize them to suite your family’s beliefs.
Using Apple’s parental controls, you can turn broad features off or on and restrict all access to certain features.

On Microsoft’s platform, you can do that too, but it is recommended that you set other types of limits. For example, your child can play 4 hours of games a week, or 4 hours M-F and 8 hours on the weekends. Instead of not allowing your child to use the web/internet, you can set limits based on age. Like I said, many of these settings follow them to other computers not at your home as well as to their own phone(s) when they are old enough to have one.

6. Windows 8 and RT are the first operating system parent’s weekly reports of their activity. Microsoft’s parental settings don’t just block your children from broad features of their phones and computer experience, no, it’s about letting them have more freedom to learn and explore and if their grades go up or go down, you can see if it’s because they played too many games or surfed the internet for hours on end following Justin Bieber.

No, Apple doesn’t give you or your children this type of freedom, it just allows a tech-savvy parent to prevent them from accessing features and programs and making purchased from the App/iTunes Store. Archaic especially since Apple prides itself for being family friendly.

7. Windows 8 is also the first Windows that brings the store to you. All new Winnows 8 apps are now purchased from the Windows Store, No more ordering software from Newegg or going to your local computer store to buy your programs. Now you can do it from your own computer at any time in the day or night. Need to research an app before you purchase it, or need to compare several? No problem, get sneak peeks at sample screens from the apps you are considering, read customer comments and many apps even have trial periods where you can try the app for free.

This is not like the way you currently purchase software over the internet, no, this is from a Store which is organized and searchable using Windows new universal search. All these apps have been tested for malware and go through certification from Microsoft before they are released into the Store. Safe, secure and easy.

Yes, you can still buy apps for Windows 8 on disks which you buy online or pick up at your store. Those apps will be around for some time to come, but are now called “legacy” or “desktop” apps. Windows 8/RT Modern apps can only be purchased from the new online Store.

8. Windows 8 and RT are also the first operating systems that defaults to saving and retrieving your files to/from the Cloud – more specifically, SkyDrive. This is where signing into your computer with your Microsoft Account really starts to make sense.

Once you log into a computer in a coffee shop or cruise ship, from your smartphone (Windows, iPhone or Android) or from your laptop, you will have access to all your files and photos. If you use SkyDrive as it’s meant to be used, you will never again be looking at two documents side by side – one on your PC and one on your laptop and wonder which file is newer? Which one has the latest updates? Which one can be deleted? Or worse yet, not know how to merge the two documents together to make one complete and up to date document.

No, you always have the most current version of your document because you are always accessing the one file on SkyDrive which is always kept in sync by SkyDrive and Windows 8’s apps.
Just a little more about SkyDrive

8a. The SkyDrive desktop app available for Windows and Mac OSX both keep all of your files that you designate on your computer up to date and provide all your devices with these always current files.
Here are devices that have SkyDrive client apps available for them and allow you to access your files when away from home/work. Windows 8 (laptop), Windows RT (tablet), Windows Phone, iPhone, iPad, Android and not to be forgotten, the Xbox 360 also has a SkyDrive app.

With all of the above devices with client apps, you can create and edit Word and Excel files with a basic free web edition of Office which is integrated in SkyDrive.com. That means that even if the computer you are using doesn’t have a copy of Microsoft Office, you can still open, edit and create those office files stored on SkyDrive – even on a Mac or iPhone.

So while most people on the web are talking about how they wish Windows 8 was more like Windows 7 or Windows 95, I am focusing on how the changes Microsoft made to Windows 8 and all the new Windows versions were done to make your life easier and bring these many features to all their users, not just the ones who work in Silicon Valley or the ones who don’t mind tinkering and tinkering, and tinkering.

Upgrade to the first Operating System which was designed from the ground up to be faster, easier to use, easier to share around your home, easier to work as teams and easier to work with your existing keyboard and mouse as well as the computer or tablet you may be buying in the next few years.

120923_Kicking_the_Can_t618</aWINDOWS 8 & PHONE 8 MODERN INTERFACE
You may not realize this, but the new Windows Modern interface with Tiles and Live Tiles is the future and for once Microsoft is not playing follow the leader, they are the leader

Microsoft has created a new user interface not solely because touch isn’t ideally suited for Windows Classic/Desktop mode, but also because 25 years after the first Windows computers were shipped, we are now using computers differently and no longer benefit from the Windows of the past.

Microsoft has developed the Modern user interface to start over again, start over with new simpler way of using computers and simpler doesn’t mean limited

In the past 3 years, Microsoft has migrated this new and still developing user interface across all the screens you use every day.

Modern can now be found on your phone, your television via the Xbox 360, Windows RT for their low power tablets and hybrids as well as Windows 8 for all the existing computers powered by Intel and AMD based computers and laptops.

So consider the bandage “torn off” and now it’s time to adopt this new user interface on your computers with mice, your laptops with touch pads, your tablets and smartphones with touch, or via several hybrid methods – Microsoft has given its users plenty of flexibility and freedom for us to choose and hardware manufacturers introduce product types we have never seen before.

For me and a few million others who adopted Windows Phone 7 – which first introduced the Metro/Modern interface to the public, well, we “get it” as some people would say and we not only “get it” we are crazy in love with it!

APPLE OSX & IOS
For people using the Apple ecosystem they are using two interfaces, one for the desktop which uses a mouse or track pad and a second interface for mp3 players, phones and tablets.

Mac computers as well as MacBooks are both based on the user interface released over 25 years ago. It works great with a mouse or track pad, but they don’t work well with touch – and we know this not just because Steve Jobs has said so, but also because reviews of computers upgraded with 3rd party touch surfaces have been terrible.

Apple’s iOS platforms work great with touch, but don’t work vey well with a mouse pointer.

So you see, Apple is facing what Microsoft faced, two operating systems, two separate platforms and neither can be the basis for a future user interface for both of their quickly colliding platforms.

Google Android & Chrome
I propose we don’t have to worry about Google and their plans at this time. Why do I say this? Google hasn’t really developed anything new and will likely follow what ever Apple does, or they will adopt a similar approach to Microsoft.

Either way Google will be Google and I would be surprised if they make any changes to their platforms before Apple does.

KICKING THE CAN
So, are you going to kick the can until you run out of sidewalk and avoid Windows 8 Modern interface for as long as you can, or are you going to recycle that can start using Windows 8 and it’s new and improved Start Screen and as many new Modern apps as appropriate, or are you going to be the last to adopt and be left behind?

What about people who use Apple’s iPhone, iPad and Macs? Well, all of those users will be learning a new interface in the future – every single one of them, because whether Apple’s touch and mouse friendly interface is 1 year away or 4 years away, it is coming and no will have any say about it and believe me, Apple will not be as supportive and flexible as Microsoft is being with Windows 8, no, the past dictates that Apple will quickly abandon their users and push you all to new computers, phones and tablets running their new operating system.

You don’t believe me? It’s in Apple’s DNA to cut the rope of their customers: Apple III, Apple Lisa, Mac System 7 hardware, Mac OS 9 and again in 2006 with OS X and abandoning all their PowerPC Macs all became obsolete overnight and lost all support from Apple and software developers within 18 months. Only the new Macs would have updated apps and peripherals.

So, would you rather buy into and invest in Windows 8 and Modern and know you are already using the operating system and platform for the next 20-30 years, or buy an iPhone, iPad and Mac only to wake up in 2014 with huge paper weights?!

Not only that, but when Apple makes this change, and it’s going to be a big change, you are going to have to use this new platform, and it will not have benefitted by being used and changed over 3 years like Microsoft was able to do.

Buying a Mac or iPad in 2013 is like buying bellbottoms in 1979 when the “cool people” were burning their disco records.

kids-share-content

So, have you been reading the reviews for the HTC 8X, Lumia 920 any of the several other Windows Phone 8 devices?  Maybe you stopped reading them because you don’t believe that Windows phone is a mature platform and trails iPhone and Android? There are no apps for Windows Phone – hogwash! Are there apps which are “missing” from the Windows Phone Store, yes. But are these the apps you will be installing? Hardly. Perhaps the only app missing from the Windows Phone Store that the average user will be wanting to use is Instagram, and not that Instagram has been acquired by Facebook, it shouldn’t be long before Microsoft makes arrangements to bring Instagram to Windows Phone. You will be able to find many, many apps of all sorts on Windows Phone.

Well, then you haven’t heard the entire story and you might be interested in some very real ways where Windows Phone 8 can school the iPhone and Android phones on some very real ways.

1. Child Safety:

IPhone:  The Apple  iPhone allows you to block users from running certain programs, using the phone’s camera, iOS can even limit iTunes purchases to those without parental advisories.
But all these “restrictions” have to be set on the phone and each restriction must be set individually.

Android: Google’s efforts to protect children is nearly nonexistent and if you want to set anything other than restrict the purchasing of apps in the Play Store you are out of luck because Google doesn’t have any way to protect your children and leaves that up to app developers.

Windows Phone 8: Microsoft’s latest Windows Phone 8 operating system has a cloud based approach to child safety and is fully integrated into the Windows Phone 8 and the settings you create on the cloud permeate to their Windows 8/RT user profiles as well as Xbox 360.
Microsoft also makes it super simple, select from Child, Teen, Adult or Custom.  The settings you choose for the Xbox 360 overlap to the settings your choose for Windows Phone 8, Windows 8/RT.
As a parent, it always seems like our children learn how to bypass every measure we put in place so that they can be free from restrictions.  One of the benefits of this cloud based parental controls system is that you, as their parent, can always check the settings of your child’s account online and not have to go through each setting on their phone to see if they are all set appropriately,

2.  Share your phone with your children, or protect your personal data from others

iPhone: n/a

Android: n/a

Windows Phone 8: Windows Phone 8 has a special mode which creates a “phone within a phone” on your Windows Phone 8 device.  This mode is called, Kid’s Corner.  Kid’s Corner can be used with your toddler or pre-teen who doesn’t yet possess their own phone.  Kids corner lets you select the apps which can be used in Kid’s Corner, the music they can play, the games you deem appropriate as well as the videos they can watch.   All this protected by your phones password.
No longer can your kids pick up your phone and drain the battery when your not watching it. This same Kid’s Corner prevents expensive app and music purchases as well as the embarrassing emails and phone calls made to your boss or co-workers or a costly international call.

Do not confuse Kid’s Corner with Parental Controls.  Parental controls are set on a phone which you give to your child as their phone.  Kid’s Corner is a secondary user account created on your personal phone and it limited to running only the apps you allow.

3. Camera – Simple to use and Keeps your Phone Secure!

Each Windows Phone has a dedicated camera button. that’s why when you look at a Windows Phone device you will likely never see the camera app set as a Live Tile.  Whether the phone is off, on, password protected or in Kid’s Corner mode, all you have to do is press the dedicated camera button on the phone an the camera activates.
When your phone is unlocked, any photo you take can be instantly tagged and shared on Facebook, sent via mms/text message email, etc.  When your phone is locked, the camera still functions as above, but with one important difference.  The camera operates, but you can only view the photos you just took.  You can’t share them, go into other menu’s on the phone and the only photos you can view are the ones you just took.  To gain access to the other features again, enter your phone’s password.

Another thing you may read about in a basic review of Windows Phone is that photos taken with the phone are taken just like a ‘real camera’ press the camera button on the top right of the phone – viola, no teaching Aunt Mary or your Mother on how to take a picture with your phone.  No taking 3 minutes to teach someone to us your phone as a camera in stead of taking your photo.

These are some of the things you will not hear much about because they cant be compared to the competition, because the competitions offerings aren’t as sound, as mature or as easy to use.  It may not be because the reviewer is trying to hide these features from you, it’s more likely that they don’t have children and don’t care about those things.

Why does this happen, why don’t these reviewers talk about these features which will make any parent’s job a little easier and children a lot safer?  Because they know how to use iPhone, or they know how to use Android, both of those operating system operate very similarly to one another.  Windows Phone and Windows Phone 8 doesn’t work like the others.  this is by design.

Microsoft could not place these child modes or child and teen safety features in their phones if they did not create a new platform.  A new platform which puts emphasis into safety; Safety from intruders, from thief’s, hackers as well as keeping your children safe.

So, as a parent, you should be looking for a phone which you and your family can use and one in which the phone manufacture puts as much emphasis on designing a fresh and easy to use phone as well as a company which has designed their platform for every user in the home, even if they are too young to have there own phone.

Keep a lookout for the next edition of Features you wont hear about on Windows Phone soon.

By now, many of you have read why Windows 8 sucks or how the Surface RT is a failure and how everyone should skip the Surface RT and purchase the Surface Pro running Windows 8. Or maybe you have heard that sales of the Surface RT are way below expectations?  Or maybe you have even heard, as I have, that the new Windows 8 user interface, Modern UI (metro) can’t do many of the things Windows 7 could do?

Hog wash!

Microsoft Windows 8 and Windows RT 

Touch vs. Mouse

This is the biggest area of confusion for even the most technical of Windows users.  Windows 8 supports both touch and mouse controls, the gestures you use for touch are not the same as the gestures you use for the mouse – why would they?   You don’t poke a mouse with your finger as you would a touch screen, you cradle a mouse with the palm of your hand and move the pointer with movements of your entire arm.

With that said, the controls on Windows 8 appear the same on screen, but are accessed differently based on whether you have a touchscreen, mouse or trackpad – as you would on a laptop.  For the sake of this writing I will refer to mouse and touchpad as mouse since they are used by Window nearly identically.

The methods of accessing the menus in Windows 8/RT are dictated by your choice of pointing device: Finger or mouse. No matter your pointing device, the menus are the same.  For example, the Charms Bar on the right of the screen always reveals, the Search, Share, Start, Devices and Settings.  The menu on the left of your screen always displays thumbnails of programs running in the background.  Then their are other menus revealed in other programs. These two are consistent in use, but are tailored to the program you are running at the time.

How to Reveal the Charms Bar

Mouse: bump your mouse pointer to and then past the bottom right hand corner of your screen, then move your mouse pointer up along the right side of your screen.  The Charms Bar is revealed.

Touch: Take your pointer finger and place it on the outside of your computer screen. With a light touch, move your pointer finger left and onto the screen towards the middle. After your finger moves slightly past the edge onto the screen the Charms Bar is revealed.

The 5 menus on the Charms Bar are always revealed whether the action applies to the program you running or not.  However, the context behind the menus changes based on the program you are running.

Example, Open the Devices tool when you are viewing an email and it will reveal printers available on your network so that you can print the email.  Open the Devices tool when you are viewing a video and you wont see a printer listed, you will instead see any DLNA devices on your network such as a smart TV, blueray player, Xbox or even a PS3.  Selecting one of these devices, if available, will send your video from your Winnows 8/RT device to your TV – simple!

** Yes, a Window tablet running Windows RT can print to most printers and scan from scanners out of the box, no drivers to download or special devices to purchase! (try this on an iPad or Android tablet)

Beautiful, smart and aware of what each app is capable 0f, Windows is shedding the endless cascading menus used in “legacy” or “desktop” apps and moving to an all-new future with a clean design.

Desktop (legacy) Programs vs. Windows 8 Modern Apps (native, metro apps)

The programs you are running today and have been using on Windows for years are now referred to as “desktop apps.” These desktop apps do not use the new Windows 8 Modern Interface or menus like the new Charms Bar and are run on “the desktop,” they continue to work as they always have.

Desktop apps do not, and never have been required to go through any testing by Microsoft to verify they contain bugs, virus’, malware, etc.  Programs and drivers, not Windows is the main cause your computer crashes.

These desktop apps will not run on the new low power computers and tablets running Windows RT.   They require Intel or AMD x86/x64 processors which power most of todays computers are built upon.  Whether run on Windows Vista, Windows 7 or 8 these programs behave and operate just as they always have.  There are some power saving and improvements in speed and performance brought by Windows 8, but generally behave as they always have.

Windows RT based computers, whether they look like tablets or laptops are all based upon the ARM SoC platform – much like your smartphone, Android or iPad tablets.

Then there are the new Windows 8 apps which have been written or rewritten to take advantage of Windows 8, it’s friendly touch interface, are finger and mouse friendly and with little modification also run on Windows RT and even can be ported to Windows Phone 8.  Another benefit is that all Windows 8 apps are purchased and installed from the online Microsoft Store. No more searching via Google, Bing or going to your local computer store to buy an app.  You now search, find, purchase and install the app from the internet.  There is another benefit to this method of purchase as well; no longer will you have to worry about ill-behaving programs crashing your computer or possibly installing malicious software since Microsoft tests and certifies each app available in their Store.

Where is the Start Menu!? Start Screen and Taskbar

The Start Menu we have been accustomed to using on Windows for decades has now adapted to a Start SCREEN.  No longer do you have to drill down through your All Programs menu/folder to find the app you want to use.  Nor do you have to sort through all the files, documents, etc which most programs install only to get to the one your want to use.

Now you “pin” the apps to your Start Screen and leave the useless and unused links and programs where they belong – hidden and out of the way, yet easily accessible if you wish with one finger flick or right-mouse click and then selecting “all programs.”

The new Start Screen is not to dissimilar to the way people put links to their most frequently used programs to their desktop; except that these links are now inside a square “tile” and can be organized into groups along with your new Windows 8 apps which use the new “Live Tiles.”

Live Tiles are live and while seem like icons or widgets on Android are neither.  Live Tiles are part of the program they represent and continually update the status of their associated program.  For example, if you are waiting for an important email (aren’t they all important?) you no longer have to keep your entire email program open, nor do you have stop what you are working on and open y0ur email program every 10 minutes to see if it arrived. No, you watch out for your email’s Live Tile to show you a new email has arrived.

The Start Screen is more efficient and makes it faster to access the programs, files, webpages you access most frequently.  The ones you don’t use as frequently are still be placed on the Start Screen, but can be placed away from view, on the side where you can scroll to the far right of your the Start Screen to access them when needed.

Simple, easy, and frankly, not that new of an idea.  Many people have been bypassing the Start Menu for years and placing their frequently used programs, files and webpages on their desktop.

Since Windows 8 is still new and at this writing is still only about 2 months old, the reality is we will be using both Desktop apps and Windows 8 apps for a year or more.  Microsoft knows this and has made placing links to your frequently used legacy apps just as easy to pin them to Start Screen, as it is to pin them to your Taskbar (the Taskbar is part of your desktop.) Simple, uncomplicated and the best of both worlds.

“All Programs”

Where did my “all programs” folder go to?  Simply right-click anywhere on your Start Screen (not on a tile) and an “all programs” button will appear and lead you to all the programs installed on your computer.

I’m a geek/nerd and need the Start Menu!

Do you really need a Start Menu supplement or hack to access the Control Panel, Power Options, Disk Management etc – used by power users and geeks like myself.  The answer is Windows 8 has a hidden menu where the Start Menu used to be and to access it you only need to right click in the bottom left corner of your screen to have it appear.

Why don’t these techie Windows users know about many of these things I am sharing with you – because they are not taking the time to learn and discover Windows 8 and it’s Windows RT counterpart on their own.  They are getting their information from bloggers who favor other platforms, or from forums with others who are not taking the time to learn what is Windows 8/RT fact or fiction- Sad, really sad.  The same people we rely on to keep our computers running properly or fix things when they break are ignorant when it comes to Windows 8.

It doesn’t matter what these people think, or what they write in the pages of their magazines, newspapers or blogs. What matters is that there is a new generation of operating system out today which is easy to use, works equally as well on a server, desktop PC, laptop, tablet and smartphone and YOU are not going to be afraid of it.

For a limited time you can upgrade your PC running Windows to Windows 8 for $40. It works equally well with your keyboard and mouse as it does on new touchscreen model – again, neither is better, only different.

If you need a laptop for school or for work, look at the Microsoft Surface RT. It comes with the latest version of Microsoft Office 2013, Home & Student edition with desktop versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint.  No, it can’t run the apps you are running on your desktop computer, but it can run all the newly designed apps from the Windows Store.  It will would be even more of a no-brainer for business’ if it had Outlook for email.

While your friends or colleagues are spending their day watching for an available public power outlet, you can relax and leave your charger behind because your RT computer will last all day and likely into the evening too.

Microsoft has already shown that they mean business and are ready to rebrand Zune as Xbox Music and Xbox Video so that every Xbox, Windows 8 PC, Windows 8 Pro tablet/slate, Windows RT and Windows Phone device can use and share music and movies between Microsoft devices, but is this enough for Microsoft to become a leader or a contender in the online music service space?

I think Microsoft should extend their Xbox SmartGlass for iPhone, iPod, iPod Video to include access to Microsoft’s Xbox Music Pass.

This service by distributed by Microsoft and has been available on Every Zune, Windows Phone and Windows PC running Zune software has allowed users to either pay a small monthly free or a reduced rate for pre-purchasing an entire year of service with the ability to download, not just stream high quality music.

For under $100 a year (or between 7-10 full CDs, or up to 100 tracks on iTunes) you can download nearly any CD, compilation, track or tracks of your favorite artists, or even download full CDS from artists and bands you never heard of, but want to give a try. If you don’t like it, delete it from your phone or PC, it’s that simple!

So, would Microsoft ask Apple to plug into their FairPlay technology for a Xbox service? Could Microsoft bypass the DRM in iOS6 and iTunes and apply their PlaysForSure technology there?

Time will tell, but i can already see that Microsoft is keeping not only their sites and future open, but they are also embracing companies that have the lions share of users and are taking a play from Apple; sending out a baited fishing rod and reeling them in one user at a time.