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New Windows Phone update is also in store

Windows 8 sales have been mixed, with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) seeing strong OEM support and moving a lot of licenses, but struggling in sales -- particularly among enthusiasts.  At the root of the controversy is the rich graphical GUI formerly known as "Metro", which today is referred to as Windows 8 UI.  

There've been unconfirmed rumors that a Windows 8 update code-named Windows Blue was in store for later this year or early next year.  Now those rumors have seemingingly been confirmed, and Microsoft has dropped an indication that it make respond to criticism and tweak the UI.

In a job posting, first noted by Charon at, Microsoft seeks an experienced software engineer, writing:

We’re looking for an excellent, experienced SDET to join the Core Experience team in Windows Sustained Engineering (WinSE). The Core Experience features are the centerpiece of the new Windows UI, representing most of what customers touch and see in the OS, including: the start screen; application lifecycle; windowing; and personalization. Windows Blue promises to build and improve upon these aspects of the OS, enhancing ease of use and the overall user experience on devices and PCs worldwide.

In a second post, Twitter user @h0x0d (Walking Cat on Twitter) notes a second post, pertaining to Windows Phone Blue:

Windows Phone Blue

Excel MX is expected to OneNote MX and Lynx MX as a touch-optimized offering available from the Windows Store.

ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley indicates Microsoft is gunning hard to try to deliver the UI and services overhaul by the end of this upcoming summer.  The refresh is expected to be the first cross platform push for Microsoft's new unified strategy; Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Windows Server 2012, Hotmail, and SkyDrive will all receive similar makeovers.

Windows 8 UI critics shouldn't get too excited -- the new UI isn't expected to bring back the "Start" button, a perpetual criticism of the Windows 8 UI.

A major focus of the Blue update is to improve APIs to make it easier to design an app that works with only a few modifications, on both Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

Sources: Microsoft [1], [2 via Twitter]

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RE: Brace yourselves....
By SAN-Man on 2/18/2013 3:23:29 PM , Rating: 0
Out of the box, no, it can't.

RE: Brace yourselves....
By ArcsinZ on 2/18/13, Rating: 0
RE: Brace yourselves....
By SAN-Man on 2/18/13, Rating: 0
RE: Brace yourselves....
By mcnabney on 2/18/2013 6:19:16 PM , Rating: 2
There are only two anchors for the Windows PC

DirectX games and MS Office

If you can resolve those two issues there is really no reason to stick with MS. The added cost and the burden of security just aren't worth it if you don't need those two things.

RE: Brace yourselves....
By JPForums on 2/19/2013 1:22:11 PM , Rating: 2
I was actually mostly in agreement until you made this statement:
And by the way, you are joking yourself if you think Linux will be mainstream any time soon. Sorry, but to do anything with Linux you have to learn and use the terminal at some point. Talk about taking a time warp back 20 years.
Really shows how well you've kept up with linux. I haven't had to use the terminal since 2010 when I switched to Ubuntu. I probably didn't have to before then, but I was using RHEL until the support ran out. I'm currently Giving Linux Mint a whirl (don't like unity) and it seems to have equal dependence on the terminal (that is to say none).

Addressing the original point, I like the Windows 7 UI better on the desktop. It looks and feels better in my opinion given that it was designed around a high precision pointing device. It may take more clicks to get somewhere, but pointing and clicking several times often takes less time than scrolling through the start screen to find the program of interest in Win8. However, I like the underlying system of Windows 8 better. The task manager and file transfer applets are significantly improved to name a few. Win8 is faster Win7 and this is even noticeable on an i7-3960X with 64GB quad channel ram, a Quadro 5000, and a Samsung 830 SSD if you run something sufficiently intense. Having a bazillion applications open simultaneously isn't the best way to show the performance differences. Simply trying to do normal tasks like checking e-mail, doing web searches, or modifying spreadsheets can show the difference when you have a single intense application running at the same time.

That said, I don't think people are really arguing that the underlying system isn't better than Windows 7. They are arguing that it isn't enough better to justify putting up with the UI. I can go through the steps of setting up the Windows 8 UI to be equally good (maybe even slightly better) for my purposes. However, that is a lot of work that I didn't have to do with Windows 7. Win7 sets things more to my liking by default. I am using both on a regular basis and see strengths to both, but I firmly believe that giving Windows 8 the option to boot to desktop and display the start screen in list mode (like Windows Phone) would go a long way towards improving the situation on the desktop (or just leave the old start menu intact).

RE: Brace yourselves....
By Fritzr on 2/19/2013 7:31:53 PM , Rating: 2
Install Start 8...Do NOT install any Metro Apps and enjoy Win8 enhancements with a Win7 experience :P

Yes you do lose Aeroglass and a few other performance sapping "enhancements" that Microsoft decided did not have enough user interest to justify continued support. (Aero itself was a theme pack that is or will soon be available from third parties, though Aeroglass may remain missing due to OS non-support)

RE: Brace yourselves....
By ArcsinZ on 2/21/2013 3:58:06 PM , Rating: 2
I just downloaded Mint 14 (I used to use Fedora as my desktop, so I'm not ignorant to Linux).
First thing I have to do for my job is install Java for remote management of Intel servers. Here are the instructions:
Notice they want you to use the terminal to install it, since the RPM is 32bit only.

Next thing I always like to do is install Tux Racer. Best PC game, bar none. Only way to do it is to use the terminal to create a package.

I'm not saying it's impossible, I'm just saying that Linux is not for the faint of heart. It works great for a lot of things, just not for average users. You have to be a geek, or at the least want to learn about computers, in order to use it. Windows and OSX are not that way.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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