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понеділок, 4 квітня 2011 р.

Windows 8 May Feature Tablet-Friendly UI

Screen shots depicting features that may be part of the next version of Windows have leaked onto the Web and show that the new operating system may borrow some features from other Microsoft products, such as Office.

The screen shots, which were posted over the weekend by Neowin and other tech blogs, reveal that the main user interface for Windows 8, at least in its current build, uses an Office-style ribbon that gives users one-click access to a number of features and commands, such as "Share," "View," and "Copy To Folder.


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Pundits are suggesting the design may reflect Microsoft's desire to make Windows 8 a tablet-friendly OS that can compete with Apple's iPad and Google's Android. Earlier this year, Microsoft confirmed that it would build a version of Windows 8 for ARM chips, which have become the processor of choice for most tablet makers due to their light footprint and low power requirements.

Microsoft has not commented on the authenticity of the screen shots. Reaction to the purported redesign was mixed.

"Looks too messy, and needs to be made smaller and fit more," wrote Neowin reader "Ely", in the blog's comments section. "If they make it smaller, and fine tune it then it will be fine. If not, hopefully you can turn it off," the reader said.

Another reader, "Joshie", said the changes are appealing: "Office with ribbon on auto-hide is one of the most pleasant software UIs I've ever come across, and I think it's a great way to bring menus and toolbars together in an ultimately space-saving style."

Microsoft has not provided a firm release date for Windows 8, and estimates by market watchers range from late 2011 to the 2012 back-to-school season. Most observers agree, however, that the company needs to ship a tablet-capable OS as soon as possible before it falls too far behind Apple and Google in one of the tech sector's hottest markets.

Even longtime Microsoft partner Hewlett-Packard, apparently frustrated by Redmond's failure to produce a tablet OS, recently said it planned to build slates around its own WebOS, which it gained through its acquisition of Palm, instead of Windows.

Microsoft shares were up .37%, to $25.58, in early trading Monday.

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Defiant Time Warner adds 19 channels to iPad app

Time Warner Cable Friday added 19 TV channels to its iPad app offerings just a day after Fox Cable, Viacom, and Discovery Networks forced the cable company to pull from its iPad app the channels MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon. New channels include CNN, Bravo, ESPNnews, A&E, to name few.

The moves underscore tensions between cable companies and broadcasters as they move into the digital era of making content available to their customers on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. Does Time Warner Cable (TWC) have the rights to beam the TV shows it buys from Fox, Viacom, and Discover over the Internet to its customers? There is no clear answer to that question.


TWCable TV for iPad

Analyst Rob Enderle, with the Enderle Group, called this fight a collision of old technology and new. “While this battle rages, the consumer is caught in the middle,” he said.

In the interim, companies such as TWC, are boldly testing the limits of broadcasting and offering consumers new choices they have never had before from their cable company. TWC is unique in that it allows you to watch live feeds of television shows letting you to watch live CNN programming, for example, on your iPad the same way you would watch on your TV.

Friday’s move is an impressive rebound for TWC from Thursday’s retreat. It also solidifies the TWC app as the one to watch in live-TV-on-the-iPad race.

It should be noted the service has its limits. It only works if you’re a TWC cable customer as well as have TWC for your Internet connection. It then only streams when you’re on your home network. In other words, if you are at your friend’s house who uses Comcast, your TWC app won’t work.

There are other limitations: TWC doesn’t appear to have any on-demand content (as its cable provider competitors do on their iPad apps), so it really isn’t any different than plugging a TV into the wall. This is the argument TWC is using when it says the contracts it has with Fox, Viacom, and Discover allow it to deliver the content to all screens in a customer’s home.

I’m hoping that TWC pushes this and gets some sort of concession from the networks or has this go to court, as it will set a precedent for other companies. If TWC can get the networks on board to allow it to stream all its channels, that could be a must-have app—even if limited to your home.

How will things shake out? Enderle says:

“In a few years we’ll likely look back and wonder what all the fuss is. But until then we’ll live with a lot of drama as all of these entities fight to see who is the most redundant and the Internet content providers move to producing content, making both the cable providers and (broadcast) networks increasingly obsolete.”
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