A sneak peek of Windows 8.1

Microsoft granted us a sneak preview of Windows 8.1 here in Manila before it was made available as a free upgrade last Oct. 17. The seemingly incremental update includes many small adjustments that improve overall usability and user experience that add up. Kazuhiro Arai, Microsoft Philippines Marketing and Operations Director; Mae Moreno, Microsoft Philippines Windows Client Business Lead Some notable changes are the return of the start button, better customizable tiles and background, easy enterprise access, app locker, and improved multitasking split screen. Yes the Start button is back but it works different in Windows 8.1. What’s nice is that now we can shut down the device without using the power button by using a menu option when we right-click the Start button. The right-click menu also allows other “traditional” options like bringing up the control panel, search, run, task manager, and file explorer just to name a few. Now we can also customize and organize the Live Tiles much quicker. This is done be allowing us to select multiple tiles, resize them as needed, and organize then in groups. The background can now also be changed by using a wallpaper that we can further customize by “tweaking” the color. It’s not clear though how the color changing will work if we use an actual photograph as the background, or if it is possible at all. Another demoed feature is the improvement in the multitasking split screen interface. In Windows 8.1, we can now adjust split by dragging it left or right to allot more screen space for an app we’re running. Also, Microsoft removed the resolution limitation for split screen multitasking; so now it doesn’t matter how small the resolution on your tablet is. Microsoft Philippines also showed how simple it is to setup a Windows 8.1 device in an office network. They made an interface in the setting menu where all we have to do is put in the company domain and that’s it. No more troublesome trips to the IT support...

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Gameloft’s Asphalt 8 and 14 other top titles to hit Windows Phone 8

Gameloft, a leading global publisher of digital and social games, recently announced their lineup for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 over the next twelve months. There will be 15 blockbuster titles to hit Microsoft’s platform soon. Beginning with the release of Asphalt 8: Airborne and Dungeon Hunter 4 in the coming weeks, Gameloft will launch a complete line-up of blockbusters across many genres simultaneously on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, taking advantage of the Windows platform’s multiple hardware configurations and focusing on exciting new features like cross-platform play between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 devices. “Gameloft’s AAA-quality games are a perfect match for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8,” said Baudouin Corman, Gameloft’s VP of Publishing, Americas. “Microsoft’s platforms provide a great environment for serious and deeply engaging games. Gameloft will bring its full support, taking advantage of the platforms’ specific features.” “We’re thrilled to work with a gaming industry leader such as Gameloft to deliver top casual and core titles to our customers this holiday,” said Steve Guggenheimer, Corporate Vice President of Developer and Platform Evangelism, Microsoft Corp. “We strive to make Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 the best platform for gaming. With top gaming companies such as Gameloft investing in the platform, it is evident that there is no better time for game developers and gamers alike to choose Windows.” Beyond Asphalt 8: Airborne and Dungeon Hunter 4, gamers will also see the release of Despicable Me: Minion Rush, Total Conquest, Six Guns and UNO™ & Friends by the end of 2013, followed by an impressive lineup of the latest Gameloft titles in 2014. Related posts: No related...

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Lenovo ThinkPad Helix, the business Ultrabook that rips and flips

Lenovo recently launched a new convertible design for their Windows 8-powered ThinkPad device line. The Lenovo ThinkPad Helix features a special design called “rip and flip” which allows for versatility with multiple ways to use it. The ThinkPad Helix is a new design of a tablet/laptop convertible. There’s still the tablet portion, and the keyboard or base unit, and you can combine them both to use the device in four different modes. As a tablet, the ThinkPad Helix can be an ideal device for content consumption that can last for over six hours. As a laptop, users can enjoy additional USB 3.0 ports and additional battery for up to 10 hours battery life so you can be sure to get some work done. It looks really sleek and slim as well for a laptop. You can also use the base unit as a stand by docking the tablet the other way so you can watch your videos without being distracted by the keyboard. If you want to use it as a tablet but with more battery, dock the tablet and flip it face up. This will give you the whole weight of the device but will surely last you throughout the day. Everything takes place in the tablet unit. It has an 11.6-inch Full HD 10-finger multi-touch screen covered with Gorilla Glass. The tablet is powered by a 3rd gen ultra-low voltage Core i5 processor with vPro, has a 4GB RAM and 180MB SDD. The Helix runs on Windows 8 Pro so you can get the full manageability and security features for enterprise use. It also has a 3G SIM slot (4G optional) built-in if you want to stay connected while on the go. There’s a 5-megapixel Full HD camera at the back and a 2-megapixel Full HD camera in front. It also comes with a digitizer pen hidden in its slot on the tablet itself. It also has a 3-cell Li-Polymer battery to last you up to 6 hours. The tablet itself weighs...

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Discover destinations with the free Windows 8 More Fun Series local tourism apps

Microsoft Philippines, together with the Department of Tourism, and the Tourism Promotions Board, recently launched a series of beautiful Windows 8 apps to help tourists (both local and foreign) discover Philippines more. Called the More Fun Series, this group of apps highlight the country’s 25 key tourist destinations including their interesting overview, activities you can do, sites to see, and even has an itinerary builder to help you plan properly. The apps also feature a list of DOT-accredited hotels, shops, restos, and tour operators you can contact to plan your trip. “At Microsoft Philippines, we aim to constantly bring innovation and make technology accessible to more Filipinos to help them improve their lives and businesses,” said Karrie Ilagan, Managing Director of Microsoft Philippines. “We are honored that the Department of Tourism and the Tourism Promotions Board partnered with us in empowering tourism in the country through Windows 8. The More Fun Series apps are designed to promote our country’s amazing travel destinations worldwide, which means more opportunities for our local entrepreneurs and businesses to reach an even wider audience”.” TPB Chief Operating Officer Domingo Ramon C. Enerio III said, “We are always very optimistic in all our campaign strategies and digital advertising obviously plays a huge part in this. We are happy that Microsoft is a generous and avid partner in helping us in our goal to connect with intended markets as well as create new ones.” The More Fun Series apps were created by Subterfuse Design to follow the look and feel of DOT’s campaign slogan, “It’s More Fun In The Philippines”, which blends nicely with the Windows 8 UI. For its initial offering, 10 apps have already been developed covering Boracay, Bohol, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Puerto Princesa, Baguio, Bicol, Cebu, Ilocos, and Manila. You can download these apps for free from the Windows Store or from the DOT portal, www.itsmorefuninthephilippines.com. Now we hope that DOT has plans to put up kiosks with these apps in airport terminals to further boost the...

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Microsoft offers Win XP to Win 8 upgrade promo to SMBs

About a month ago, Microsoft announced the end of support for their Windows XP and Office 2003 which will take effect on April 8, 2014. This means no further support will be provided for the said products in case vulnerabilities and security issues are found after that date. To encourage SMBs to modernize their IT infrastructure before that deadline, Microsoft offers their beneficial promo called Get2Modern. From May 1 to June 28 2013, qualified SMBs can avail of a special 15% discount on Windows 8 and Office 2013, as well as 20% off on Windows 8 Pro notebooks and tablet hardware upgrade offers. To top it off, for the first 100 local SMBs who will avail of this offer, Microsoft Philippines will provide them with their own customized Windows 8 catalog app. An app made for Windows 8’s touchscreen UI they can showcase to their customers. Issa Aviles, Small and Medium Business and Enterprise Marketing Lead at Microsoft Philippines said, “SMBs from the backbone of the economy as they employ a large portion of the workforce and contribute significantly to productivity, export and revenues. Yet, many are stuck with old technology and processes which do not address today’s needs for increased collaboration and higher productivity for a multi-generational workforce and security. Our goal through this effort is to help SMBs to modernize by moving away from old technologies like Windows XP or Office 2003 so they can truly realize new levels of productivity, experience stronger security and take advantage of cloud services cost effectively.” Additionally, SMBs running Windows XP and Office 2003 need to be aware that these products will no longer receive support from Microsoft, which means they will be exposed to security and privacy risks, software incompatibility and eventually higher total cost of ownership. To learn more of Microsoft’s Get2Modern promo and how you can upgrade your business, do visit http://www.itworks.ph. Related posts: Windows 8 Release Preview now available for download Internet Explorer 10 shows prowess with Contre Jour web game Microsoft...

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Nokia Lumia 820 Windows Phone 8 now available for P18,990

Nokia just officially announced the availability of their mid-range Windows Phone 8 handset, the Lumia 820, in the market which will retail for Php18,990. The Nokia Lumia 820 is a far cry from the Lumia 800 in terms of design. Gone is the unibody polycarbonate shell with the off-center rear camera which is a staple of first-generation Lumias. The Lumia 820 instead has a plasticky chassis with a semi-glossy finish and rounded corners. Nokia went back to its roots by making the rear panel of the Lumia 820 replaceable instead. This phone has a 4.3-inch AMOLED touchscreen with an 800 x 480 resolution for a decent 217 ppi pixel density. Running the show is a 1.5Ghz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 (Krait) processor that is almost comparable to last year’s quad-core chips. It has 1GB RAM and 8GB worth of internal storage. What’s nice here is that this phone sports a microSD slot which is something that’s missing from the high-end Lumia 920. There’s also an 8-megapixel rear camera with Carl Zeiss optics and dual-LED flash. Front camera is limited to VGA quality though. Aside from the usual Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, the Lumia 820 also supports NFC and wireless charging. The Nokia Lumia 820 is already available in selected Nokia stores in different colors: white, black, red and yellow. Nokia Lumia 820 Specs: 4.3-inch AMOLED display @ 480×800 pixels, 217ppi Nokia ClearBlack display 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon S4 (Krait) Adreno 225 Graphics 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage, microSD up to 32GB HSDPA, 42 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps microSIM WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi hotspot up to 8 devices Bluetooth 3.1, A2DP, EDR, NFC 8MP autofocus camera, Carl Zeiss optics and dual-LED flash 1080p video recording @ 30 fps VGA front-facing camera GPS w/ aGPS support, GLONASS Qi Wireless charging Li-Ion battery 1650mAh Windows Phone 8 123.8 x 68.5 x 9.9 mm 160 grams SRP: Php18,990 Related posts: Nokia Lumia 920 gets official, packs a lot of goodies Nokia Lumia 710 Windows Phone appeals to the...

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ASUS VivoTab Smart ME400 Review

Windows wasn’t really popular on tablets in the pre-Win 8 era but now, with the Windows 8’s touch-centric UI, it’s as if the OS was built primarily to accommodate tablet usage. The ASUS VivoTab Smart is one of the few Windows 8 tablet-only offerings we have in the market as most Win 8 devices combine the functionality of the tablet and the laptop in one package. It is a low-powered tablet made simply for content consumption and basic computing tasks like you would on a modern netbook. The VivoTab Smart looks like your typical 10.1-inch tablet with an all-black profile. The side bezels are thick with with the capacitive Windows icon at the bottom acting as your Home button.   As for ports, the left side has a microHDMI slot (closed in our review unit), a microSD card slot for storage expansion, and the microUSB port for charging and other USB functions. On top left is the tiny Sleep/Wake/Power button which is not that easy to press due to the curvature of its back. On the right side you’ll get the 3.5mm audio port and the slim volume buttons. Wish there’s a button to lock/unlock the orientation. There are no proprietary ports on this tablet unlike the iPad and some Androids and that’s a really good thing as you can use your generic microUSB cables. The back has that soft, smooth, matte finish that you can also find on the lids of ASUS’s current notebook lineups. It’s not glossy but still attracts faint smudges and prints. You’ll also find the 8-megapixel camera f/2.2 lens at the back with the LED flash beside it. The 10.1-inch display sports an ordinary 1366 x 768 resolution which frankly, doesn’t matter on Windows 8’s big, solid tiled UI. It supports 10-finger multitouch and has an IPS panel for excellent viewing angles which is important for a device you usually hold in your hands. At 580g, it gets heavy over a short period of time when held in one...

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PTB’s Top IT Product of 2012

Dec 31, 12 PTB’s Top IT Product of 2012

Posted by in Featured, From the editor

Before the year ends, I would like to take time to write about what I think the best IT product of the year was. Last year I limited myself to gadgets and usually it’s either a phone or a tablet so I’m going to widen my scope this year. Just a few guidelines, the Pinoy Tech Blog IT Product of 2012 should be: It should be officially introduced in our local market this year. No gray market stuff. It’s something that a lot of people can use. Being innovative is not really a requirement but it’s a plus It should make an impact in its field, not really in terms of market share but on how people adapt to it and companies react to it… an influencer if you will. I asked this question over at Facebook and although the runaway winner is boring to write about, I have to agree with the few respondents who took time to share their thoughts. But before I reveal our top IT Product of the Year, I want to share a couple of runner-ups who can easily take the crown as our winner. I was about to say iPad mini because it was a big step for Apple to finally admit that they need to make a smaller version of the iPad to compete with Android. But then again, it’s just the same old iPad. Then there’s also the Google Nexus 7, the Android tablet done right, or should I say priced right. Quad-core 7-inch tablet with a high-def screen at an inexpensive price, I think the Nexus 7 pushed Apple to strongly consider the 7-inch tablet market. So that brings us to our Top IT Product of 2012, Microsoft’s Windows 8. Before you begin bashing this article by saying that you prefer Windows 7 than 8, allow me to explain. Windows 8 is the start of something special for Microsoft. From Windows 3.1 up to Windows 7, we always associate the brand to PCs and laptops....

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Western Digital releases WD App for Windows 8

Western Digital recently released their own Windows 8 app that not only displays your content on the Start screen but also takes advantage of the new storage features found on Windows 8. First and foremost, the WD app automatically discovers digital content on all directly attached WD drives on your machine and showcases your photos, music, and video on a live tile on the Start screen. You can also share your media via email and social media sites using the Share charm within the app. If you’re new to Windows 8, there’s a new built-in feature called File History which is its own backup application that allows automated scheduled backups. The WD app allows you to simplify this process by performing automatic, periodical back up of personal files stored in Libraries, Desktop, Favorites, and Contacts folders to connected WD drives. There’s also a feature in Windows 8 called Storage Spaces which Western Digital drives support. This allows multiple external hard drives appear as a single storage volume and along with File History, lets you create redundant backups for enhanced security. Windows 8 automatically installs the WD app for certified WD products or it can be downloaded from the Windows Store. Related posts: No related...

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Microsoft brings Cut the Rope to Internet Explorer 10 and Windows 8 Store

Remember Cut the Rope for the web browser that Microsoft brought last January? Well, this popular game is now optimized for Internet Explorer 10 and also available at the Windows 8 Store to provide us with the multi-touch gaming experience smartphones and tablets are enjoying. Microsoft partnered with Russian app developer company ZeptoLab to bring Cut the Rope and other games such as Contre Jour and Atari to “provide users with the best gaming experience possible, whether at home with their PCs or on the go with their mobile devices”. This is according to Joben Rara, a Technical Evangelist from Microsoft Philippines. Cut the Rope (if you still need an introduction) is an app downloaded more than 60 million times by tablet and mobile users. The objective of the game is to feed a little monster called Om Nom with the candy hanging by ropes which must be cut by swiping your finger or clicking and dragging on your mouse, depending on what device you are using. We also met with Giorgio Sardo, the Director of the Windows Evangelism group of Microsoft – Redmond, Washington. He said that “Gamers can play Cut the Rope through Internet Explorer 10 or through downloading it from the Windows Store for free for a totally re-imagined gaming experience that is fast, fluid and easily accessible through PC and mobile.” Giorgio shared to us that this game was initially a challenge to the developers to convert the game using HTML5 during the time Microsoft released the Windows 8 developer preview in September 2011. A great thing about HTML5 is that you don’t need to learn a new language to unlock the power of this new technology. If you know and understand Javascript, you already have access to all that a modern browser can do. The successful conversion of this game paves the way for so many more possibilities that HTML5 can bring. Isn’t it exciting to see what developers can build today with HTML5? Experience it yourself! Play the...

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