Microsoft practices regarding default browsers the real issue
A former engineer for Mozilla points the blame for the company's recent decision to shelve the Metro version of the Firefox browser squarely at Microsoft -- rather than on poor adoption numbers initially laid out by the company. Rather, the true issue lies with Microsoft's browser rules, says Brian Bondy.
Browser version peaking at 1,000 daily active users since adoption
Vice President of Firefox Jonathan Nightingale has announced that Mozilla will be taking the Windows 8 version of Firefox out of development. According to Nightingale, the release has never seen a peak of "more than 1,000 active daily users in the Metro environment" making it a risk for Mozilla to continue supporting it through its end of life.
Pinch to zoom, swiping navigation added to beta Firefox version
Mozilla has released a beta version of its Firefox browser, for use with touch-enabled Windows 8 systems. Teased by the company in early 2012, Firefox for Windows 8 Touch Beta is said in a company blog post to be optimized for the operating system's Metro user interface style, with the main focus of the release being its usefulness for owners of touchscreen computers, notebooks, and tablets.
Change to booting will minimize visibility of Metro Start Screen
The incoming update to Windows 8.1 could see the operating system load to desktop by default, according to a report. Though Windows 8.1 gives the user the option to boot to the desktop instead of the Start Screen, by making the desktop the initial view, it appears to be a far greater attempt at appeasing users who dislike the Metro user interface style by minimizing the amount of time it is visible.
Option to add Metro apps to taskbar spotted in leaked screenshots
Microsoft's first major update to Windows 8.1 could bring more integration between Metro-style apps and the Windows desktop, according to leaked images. Icons for Metro apps, typically running separate from the desktop itself, have been spotted on the taskbar in some screenshots, suggesting that users will be able to switch quickly from desktop mode to the app through an alternative means to what is currently offered.
Metro apps could be used in floating desktop windows in next version
The next major Windows update could include the return of the Start Menu, according to new reports. "Threshold," the apparent codename for the Windows 8.1 follow-up, may include the smaller Start Button user interface last seen in Windows 7, as well as the ability to run Metro-style apps from within the desktop itself.
Facebook, Flipboard, NFL Fantasy Football apps for Windows 8 in future
Microsoft revealed a number of details relating to the Windows Store and Metro apps at its Build 2013 developer conference, at the same time as showing off the Windows 8.1 update. New apps heading to the store were mentioned in the keynote presentation, along with the adoption of the app store by developers and users, and the future addition of Metro-style Office applications to the store in the future.
Apps will 'fail certification' if Metro name used
Microsoft has effectively banned the use of the word "Metro" from its Windows Store. Developers that submit a Windows 8 app to the store using the word will "fail certification," in a move that follows the company's efforts to eradicate its own use of the name. A recent change to the "Naming your app" instructions appears despite prominent use by Microsoft of the term elsewhere.
Transition to shipping product heralds new branding
Despite inclusion of the phrase in Windows 8 and Windows Phone marketing, Microsoft is notifying developers that use of the word "Metro" as part of an application name or in documentation of its forthcoming new Windows user interface should be avoided. Microsoft is encouraging the use of the phrase "New User Interface" to describe the new unified tiled design seen across the Microsoft product line.
Saw reduced Start menu, higher taskbar usage
Microsoft has explained why it has dropped the Start button from Windows. In an interview with PC Pro, Microsoft principal program manager Chaitanya Sareen explained why the button was removed from view for Windows 8, after it has graced the Windows desktop for the last 17 years, in favor of the Metro Start screen.
Microsoft shows evolution from Windows 1 to Metro
Microsoft has blogged about the history of Windows user interface changes in preparation for the expected Windows 8 release later this year. The post explains how Windows has morphed from the original release in 1985 through to present day, and the jump from "Aero" UI elements in Windows Vista and 7 to "Metro" in Windows 8.
Forrester sees Amazon undermining Google
A new long-term estimate by Forrester Research has painted a strong picture for Apple in the tablet space. It saw Apple keeping its lead even up to 2016, when it saw the iPad having 53 percent of the space. A total of 760 million tablets would ship that year.
Metro app 'suspension' allows RAM to be reclaimed
A new paper and accompanying video on Microsoft's developer network has laid out the new system of memory management for Metro-style apps on Windows 8 which closely mimics Apple's iOS "app suspension" model, allowing inactive apps to surrender most of their RAM in favor of running apps to avoid "memory pressure." While Windows 8 will attempt to regulate physical memory allocation for all apps, Metro-style apps will use the iOS-like suspension technique to free up RAM.
$25 Splashtop app brings Win 8 Metro UI to iPad
Splashtop has launched a remote deskop app ($25, App Store) for the iPad that lets users experience Windows 8's Metro UI. Meant for developers, Win8 Metro Testbed supports gestures and swipes with low latency, as demonstrated in the demonstration video, below. It does require a wireless connection to a host computer, however.
Previews looks for webpages and blogs
Mozilla developers have posted their latest progress update for their efforts to create a working prototype for Firefox running on Windows 8. In it, for the first time, they have hinted at what the app could ultimately look like under the new Microsoft operating system. The team acknowledges that there is still a lot of work to do, but has said nothing altering their schedule to develop the proof of concept.
Developer brings Metro UI look to Android tablets
Owners of the Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 got a unique take on the interface this week with a new modification from BroBot175 for a look inspired by Windows 8's Metro UI. The Android tablet needs to be rooted using the ClockworkMod recovery, and the project is in a beta stage. It will also work on the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer.
Microsoft tries to show how iPad devs can hop over
Microsoft has shown early signs that it's hoping to lure iPad developers to Windows 8 with a new design guide. The Windows Dev Center example shows the common differences in layout between an iOS app and Windows' new Metro interface, including not just the look but also how certain commands would unfold and how either would respond to gestures. Its most advanced element is an explanation of "contracts," or agreements between apps and Windows 8 that give them permission to share files or search between each other, play out to other audio sources, or toggle settings.
Win 8-optimized business concept apps shown
Microsoft has shared its vision of what it thinks its Dynamics business apps would look like when optimized for Windows 8 and its Metro-style interface. The concepts will be shown at the Convergence conference that kicked off on Monday. Sent to ZDNet, the images represent HTML5 clients that connect to Dynamics ERP and CRM back-end services.
Office 15 to support web extensions dubbed Agaves
The Office 15 program suite coming alongside Windows 8 will support web extensions dubbed Agaves from third-party developers, The Verge found. Developers will have the ability to make a section in an Office app to let websites interact with documents in order to bring extra features. Users will get the Agaves from Microsoft's Office Marketplace as well as the developer sites themselves.
Developers will be posting weekly updates
Last month, Mozilla announced that it would be developing a version of its browser software that had the look and feel of Microsoft's Windows 8 Metro user interface. This week, the browser's developers provided a status update. Work has begun on the project, and some details of the institution's efforts have emerged.
Office 15 Technical Preview shows with screens
Microsoft is close to releasing the final version of Windows 8 Consumer Preview, as it has stopped compiling beta builds of the software, The Verge learned. The final build is said to be officially signed off on this Friday and carry the 8250 designation. Windows 8 Consumer Preview will have a dedicated event at Mobile World Congress on Wednesday, with a public release likely at or near the same time. Build 8250 will have pre-installed games and apps.
Microsoft confirms SkyDrive app plans
Microsoft partly confirmed recent rumors with an extensive breakdown of plans for SkyDrive in Windows 8. The service will have a fully Metro-native, touch-aware app in the new OS and will be integrated into the OS, letting any app load and save files to cloud storage. Sharing "charms" in the OS will let users share SkyDrive material directly instead of having to download and attach them first.
Windows 8 to be much more aggressive on power
Key Microsoft program managers Sharif Farag and Ben Srour on Tuesday gave a detailed outline of how Windows 8 will manage Metro apps to control power. While the two stressed that multitasking will still be active, the principle will be to devote attention almost exclusively to apps in the foreground. If in the background, especially if the screen is asleep, it should be having no impact on the battery, they wrote.
Windows 8 desktop may get special-case scenarios
New leaks have hinted that Windows 8 could make important gestures to catch certain users. Although it's still thought by The Verge that the regular Windows 8 desktop won't be on ARM, it will purportedly kick in for Internet Explorer and Office 15. The restriction would in part be to keep traditional Windows apps from draining the battery, since they can't suspend themselves like Windows 8's new Metro apps.
Duarte says iOS and WP7 UIs are too fake
Google's key Android interface designer Matias Duarte in an interview chastised both Apple and Microsoft for their UI. Pointing to Android 4.0's attempt at balancing design with flexibility, he saw Apple as clinging too closely to real-world metaphors. Its skeuomorphic (real-world emulation) interfaces, he told This is my next, were not just cartoonish but were too reminiscent of crude early web design.
Windows 8 app store limits raise antitrust issues
Details just now coming from a developer session at Microsoft's Build conference last week have raised major concerns about the legality of the Windows Store. While it was already known the company would likely take a 30 percent cut for paid apps using Windows 8's Metro interface, Windows Store director Ted Dworkin is now known to have also told the audience that developers will be banned from offering Metro-optimized apps outside of the store. Apps written using classic Windows programming, including ones optimized for touch, wouldn't be subject to the same rules.
iPad and Windows 8 get early comparison
Windows 8 was given one of its earliest tests against the iPad it was designed to beat in a comparison video (below) showing differences between the two. The even-keeled look shies away from making many pronouncements on superiority and instead focuses more on differences in design philosophy. Windows 8's live tiles are more dynamic and customizable than those on the iPad, WinRumors noted, but the iOS home screen's grid of icons was also easy to use.
Windows 8 UI uses Metro design from Windows Phone
A new video from Microsoft shows how the appearance of the Start Menu will change in Windows 8. The menu has incorporated Microsoft's new official "Metro" design that first appeared on Windows Phone. The Windows 8 Start Menu uses both text and icons, and contains just four options: Settings, Devices, Share, and Search. Although different from the Windows 7 Start Menu, it was not clear from the video if this was the new standard menu for Windows 8 or if it had been user-customized.
Microsoft Windows head may show Win 8 at D9
A rumor on Monday suggested that Microsoft might show Windows 8's tablet interface at the D9 conference next week. Windows group leader Steven Sinofsky, who was just today confirmed to be an interview guest at the show, is now rumored to be giving the Immersive UI its first public display. The demo according to WinRumors would be a "technology preview" and not necessarily a finished representation of what would ship.
Windows 8 and Office 2012 to get Metro interface
Microsoft's plans to borrow from Windows Phone in Windows 8 were given confirmation in the new week turnover through a pair of leaks from Russia. New interface elements in a set known as Aero Lite would give Windows, and also Office 15 (likely Office 2012) the same transportation-inspired arrows and fonts as Windows Phone 7. MSwin.me's copy of the styles file also showed newly revamped corner buttons that would show maximize, minimize, resize and help buttons with a similar look, hinting that Aero Lite would take over the whole look, though possibly only when a touchscreen device was involved.
Windows 8 roadmap tip puts it in late summer 2012
Microsoft's long-term schedule for Windows 8 tablets was given support Thursday night with an apparent leak of the timetable. Sources backed the notion of a Windows 8 public beta being ready at the end of 2011 and a finished version of the OS nearly a year, in time for the "back-to-school season." The timing given to Bloomberg wasn't more specific, but it would be consistent with the third anniversary of Windows 7's Release To Manufacturing (RTM) and Microsoft's preference for three-year gaps between OS releases.
Windows 8 tablet interface prototype due by June
Microsoft could have the first Windows 8 tablet UI on show by mid-year with a mobile-influenced design, rumors contended on Monday. The first evidence of its redesign is reportedly slated for before the end of June, Microsoft's fiscal year end. The SAI tip suggest it would not only borrow cues from Apple but from the Metro interface in Windows Phone 7.