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BWB TV: Samsung Series 5 Ultra Touch

Published by on Feb 19th, 2013, No Comments

The ultrabook category has clearly taken the market by storm – initially started as a standard defined by Intel as an answer to the popular Macbook Air, most PC manufacturers were very quick to build their own versions. The idea is simple – very light, subnotebook class machines, with high end specifications, which cost a little more than standard notebooks. Most of these ultrabooks are now on their second generations, so they are better than ever.

But the problem with a standard like the “Ultrabook” is that manufacturers need to think of ways to differentiate their own products. A few ingredients are found everywhere – low power Intel processors, speedy solid state storage, and very thin bodies. Very quickly these machines all look like copies of each other. As you will see below, Samsung bends some of these rules for the better, with a very unique offering in the Series 5 Ultra Touch.

Samsung’s latest 13 inch ultrabook is a great example of how manufacturers are quickly reinventing their ultrabook offerings.

See below our video review of the Samsung’s latest entrant into the ultrabook space.  (more…)

Windows 8 – Our Quick Review

Published by on Nov 6th, 2012, 6 Comments

Last week I was handed a copy of Windows 8 at the launch event in Johannesburg, and I was honestly excited to get home and try out Microsoft’s latest operating system. Every single review out there focusses on the new Metro interface, even though Microsoft can’t call it that – they call it the “modern” UI. Yes, it is a doozy, and it takes some getting used to. But the true magic of Windows 8 lies under that interface, and it’s great to see where Microsoft is heading in the future.

Installing Windows 8

Microsoft is really trying their best to get people to move to Windows 8. Whereas previous versions were pricey to upgrade to, the Windows 8 upgrade is available for $40, provided you have a nice fat broadband connection, because you need to download the image.

If you are upgrading from Windows 7, the upgrade process will transfer all your data and apps without issue. It will run a quick assessment to see what will work with Windows 8, and then off you go. If you are installing to an older hard disk drive, the process takes less than an hour (depending on how many apps you have already). If you have a nice zippy solid state disk, the install is done within 30 minutes. I did an install from scratch to a 7200 rpm hard drive, and the process took about 35 minutes.

Metro / Modern / The UI that killed the Start Button

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Windows 8 a Big Gamble for Microsoft – Gartner

Published by on Sep 26th, 2012, 2 Comments

Microsoft is taking a big gamble over the next few months with Windows and Office, the two products responsible for most of its revenue and profit, according to Gartner, Inc. It is a risk that Microsoft must take to stay relevant in a world where mobile devices with new modern experiences are becoming the norm.

“When the PC dominated personal computing by providing a single device for messaging, internet access, gaming and productivity, Windows was a powerhouse for Microsoft,” said Michael Silver, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “However, smartphones and tablets, led by the iPhone and iPad, have changed the way people work, making the PC just one of several devices people use. The PC is increasingly simply a peer with other devices.”

With Windows 8, Microsoft is trying to address the excitement of the tablet market by adding tablet interface to Windows. (more…)

VMWare Announces Fusion Version 5 for Macs

Published by on Aug 23rd, 2012, No Comments

VMware today announced VMware Fusion 5, which adds 70 new features, and is optimised for Mountain Lion and Windows 8. VMware is also introducing VMware Fusion 5 Professional with new capabilities designed to dramatically improve the way businesses deliver applications to users on Macs and PCs.

“While the number of users adopting Macs continue to rise, the business environment is still dominated by Windows,” said Jason Joel, director, personal products, VMware. “VMware Fusion 5 and Fusion 5 Professional build upon our award-winning platform, adding new capabilities that are in demand among both individual and professional users. Leveraging our experience with consumer and enterprise end-users, we believe this new version of the product is the best solution on the market for users who want to run Windows on Mac simultaneously.”

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Windows 8: What to Expect

Published by on Aug 1st, 2012, 5 Comments

Windows 8 is just around the corner – Microsoft has announced that it will arrive on the 26th of October. I had the opportunity to sit with Rajeev Nagar, one of the engineers behind Windows 8, to better understand the design and thought process with the new Windows 8 features.. Rajeev specialises in file systems and storage, but he quickly showed me around Windows 8, including some of its lesser known features that might appeal to power users.

When going through the features it quickly comes apparent that Microsoft really did put a lot of thought into its UI design – it is not simply using Metro because it looks funky. The basic premise behind the new UI is a greater focus on content, and presenting that content to the user with the least amount of distractions.

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Microsoft releases own Tablet – the Surface

Published by on Jun 19th, 2012, 6 Comments

For the last few days the technology media has been abuzz about what Microsoft had planned for its launch event on Monday night, and it seems they took a page out of the Apple playbook in terms of keeping these plans secret. Microsoft launched their own branded tablet – in other words, the tablet will not be marketed by a HP or a Dell – it is Microsoft’s own, just like the Xbox. And we like that.

First off, the tablet will run Windows 8, and will be available in two versions. A thinner, lighter version running with a ARM processor will run Windows 8 RT, and a higher end, thicker, heavier model running a full version of Windows 8 Pro. Microsoft was however not very upfront about everything – there is little in the way of actual specs, battery life, etc. Some media channels are reporting that the RT version will run a standard 10.6 inch HD display (think 1280 x 720) and the Intel based one will have a decent Full HD display, both covered in Gorilla Glass.

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Microsoft SA confirms Lower Priced Windows 8 Upgrade

Published by on Jun 4th, 2012, 3 Comments

So you are in the market for a new PC, but you don’t want to take the jump before Windows 8 arrives? Microsoft SA has now confirmed that if you buy a Windows 7 PC now, you will get Windows 8 for only $15 once it becomes available. Microsoft has launched a Windows Upgrade Offer, which will allow qualifying buyers the option to purchase a downloadable upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for around R125, which they can redeem when Windows 8 becomes generally available.

 “We’ve seen a great interest in Windows 8, especially given the availability of the Windows 8 Release Preview this week, and yet we know many consumers want a new PC now,” the company said in a statement. “The Windows Upgrade Offer gives you the flexibility to purchase the new Windows PC you need today, with the knowledge that you can easily upgrade to Windows 8 when it’s available.”

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Microsoft Announces Windows 8 Editions

Published by on Apr 17th, 2012, 5 Comments

Microsoft has been criticized in the past for the sheer number of SKU’s they roll out for Windows. Windows 7 arrived in quite a few editions – Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic, Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, and also Windows 7 Enterprise for the volume licensing customers. All of these version have their own capabilities, and the Starter version had some severe limitations, that basically just begged the user to upgrade it. Confusing right? Compare that to Apple, who only makes one edition of Mac OSX for consumer machines. The good news is that Microsoft has finally listened to the criticism, has made the Windows 8 choice a lot easier for customers.

Here are the “normal” versions of Windows 8:

Windows 8: This is the defacto version of Windows 8 which will ship with most new consumer x86 based computers. x86 processors are your standard Intel or AMD based laptops or desktops. Users of Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, and Home Premium will have an easy upgrade path to this version of Windows 8. Expect the new Start Menu, with its all the included “tile” based apps, like Mail, Calendar, Messaging, Photos, Music, Video, and some social features. The user will of course still have access to the traditional desktop for apps that have not been written to utilize the new Start Menu tile interface.

Windows 8 Pro: Another x86 based Windows version, but focussed on business-line machines, who also require business features, like joining domains. Users from all versions of Windows 7 (except Enterprise) can upgrade to this version of Windows 8, and the feature additions are all valuable to power users. Security features include Bitlocker encryption, encrypted file system, group policy and remote desktop host. Expect business-focussed hardware to ship with this version of Windows.

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