desktop

Barcelona, Spain – BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). While not many Windows Phone users are too familiar with the popular and secure messaging service, things will change later this year as a Windows Phone 8 client is launched (probably for 8.1).

This morning, BlackBerry held their press conference where the company is certainly far from the grave that some have proclaimed. Indeed, the company announced two new devices (Q20 and Z3) and mentioned they’re working on some new high-end devices for later this year. In addition, they announced BES 12 and more on enterprise services coming to, more of which you can read at CrackBerry.

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Evernote Desktop gets "dramatic update" with version 5

Around these parts the majority of you might be using OneNote as your note taking application. It has applications on most platforms, syncs across devices and more. One of the biggest competitors to OneNote in both features and users would be Evernote. They too have apps on nearly every platform, strong syncing, and more. They also just recently updated their desktop application for Windows to version 5. This is what’s new.

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There is speculation that with the Windows 8.1 update users will have the option to boot up directly to the traditional desktop view. The 8.1 update, code named Blue (that will also impact Windows Phones), will still have the hot corner functionality for access to the Charms and Start Screen.  The option will simply launch the desktop view on the computer at boot up.

No word on whether or not the Start Button will be making a comeback (wouldn't hold your breath) but it will be nice to have the option to go straight to the desktop view. Especially for those who prefer the more traditional Windows view.

Source: The Verge

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By now it’s old news that the Zune Desktop as we know it will be phased out—in fact we’ve seen features already removed over the last few months.  What was to replace it though was always a bit of a mystery though there are only so many options available.

Now an image has leaked out of what appears to be the ‘companion app’ for Windows Phone and Windows 8—think of it as Zune Desktop the next generation. There's really not too much to the image though we suppose it is better than nothing.

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Back at the end of May, Microsoft surprisingly turned off the Windows Phone Marketplace from Zune Desktop. The “update” wasn’t software based but instead just altered a configuration file on the user’s computer, causing the Marketplace to be hidden.

We ended up using a simple hack (more of that below) to bring ours back but now a user in our forum (“rockstarzzz”) is claiming that they’ve received another feature-change notification…

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Windows Live Essentials has been part of most Windows Users standard installation for many years now. This familiar and ‘essentials’ set of applications does much to make Windows come to life as a useful productivity tool. Providing photo editing, movie making, blogging, email, synchronising and instant messaging apps, ‘Essentials’ forms a solid backbone for basic computing throughput when using Microsoft operating systems.

Whereas a certain other well-known fruit themed OSX has the luxury of these types of applications being built in, Microsoft decided after Vista to detangle these common apps from their OS. In part to make future updates easier to deliver and in part due to avoid any undue and potentially messy encounters with anti-trust bodies. So what’s the skinny on Essentials 2012? 

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October 26th, 2012. That’s the date folks and it’s a Friday, in case you were wondering.

Microsoft today (via Steven Sinofsky) just revealed at Microsoft’s annual sales meeting that Windows 8 for customers will be available for download and on new PCs too starting at the end of October. With a $40 upgrade fee in place, purchasing a license for the much hyped OS should be easy and painless. 

So where does that leave Windows Phone 8? We’re betting we’ll see a similar release pattern and time-frame for their next mobile OS. We have a feeling Microsoft is going for a big launch, dominating tech headlines for weeks to come. While it will be hard to coordinate with carriers, we’re hoping their strategy is aiming for a universal release.

For the last two years, Microsoft has released new Windows Phones in October/November so we’re hoping for a repeat this time around too.

At least that’s our expectation.

Source: Microsoft

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Microsoft in a surprising move has updated the Windows 8 Marketplace so that there is now another SkyDrive app available. This is not the WinRT version but instead a shortcut to the full-blown desktop app that is currently available to all. SkyDrive is going to be a linchpin of Microsoft’s cloud based continuous client strategy. So what are they up to?

Windows 8 already has the WinRT version of SkyDrive, but currently that does not support folder synchronisation. I have to say I find this rather odd. I would have expected MS to simply update the existing built-in app to support such a function.

I do think there are number of reasons they have chosen this route. Firstly, it could be that a pure WinRT version will make it impossible to execute that level of interaction with the classic desktop environment. It could also be there to help aid install until a fully featured SkyDrive app baked in  with the WinRT environment and the Classic environment.

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The mobile messaging service TalkBox had a nice little launch last week and has since racked up some solid reviews grabbing 4.5 stars out of 5. Not bad for a version 1.0 though clearly the app can use some fixes and features e.g. landscape for typing, Toast notifications that take you directly to the message, perhaps pinnable contacts, etc.

The good news is an updated version should be coming this week. We're not entirely sure on the changes but we'll get you that list as soon as possible. One thing we're certain of, the TalkBox team seems set on delivering a rock-solid experience on Windows Phone, which leads us to Windows 8...

As you can see below, the TalkBox team is evidently working on a a desktop application for their push-to-talk messaging service, which will allow you chat via texting or voice clips to all of your contacts on Windows Phone, iOS, Android and eventually even BlackBerry.

No word on specific features but as you can see from the images, it looks to support everything the mobile clients handle. The design also looks bright and minimal which should keep the Metro-peeps happy out there.

It's great to see developers taking the ability to co-develop for Windows Phone and Windows 8 seriously as we can only imagine such a strategy will be very helpful to their brand. We'll keep you posted on any more info that we get, so stay tuned.

Pick up TalkBox for Windows Phone for free here in the Marketplace.

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Yesterday, Microsoft released a new app for Windows 7 PCs called Bing Desktop (it was in beta for the last few weeks). It's an interesting move as Google as had their Desktop app for years (it's also a little creepy as it can search your hard disk).

Luckily, Bing Desktop does no such thing and darn it all, it's awesome to boot.

For one, it can download the Bing wallpaper daily to your PC and makes it your desktop background. Next, there's a nifty Bing Search bar that sits on your desktop and allows super quick access to Microsoft's increasingly awesome search service. Pro tip: pin it to the top of your screen and you can tap to bring it down anywhere for quick lookups-- Microsoft really nailed the interaction here in our opinion.

Enough chit chat though, go and download it here and read the Bing Team's description of it here. We think it's awesome though. You?

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We've seen our share of Metro spin-offs for your Windows desktop (see Firefox skin, RainMeter) and heck, Windows 8 is going to have a Metro-inspired UI to it to boot. But for those wanting a quick way to update today, you can run this free weather app right on your desktop that heavily lifts from your precious Windows Phone UI.

The app is simple enough, not even an installation. Just download and extract the folder to your \Programs (or wherever) and run the main .exe file. From there, right click to get options and setup your location and preferences, then hit "refresh" on each panel to get it up to date.

Heck, it even bounces up and down like the Metro UI, so we're giving this a big thumbs up--it looks great, works well and is simple.

Note: the app auto-updates, you only need to manually refresh if you change anything in settings. You can even set the weather-update interval.

Source: Download Crew; designed by 'Stealth'; via Beta News

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We've seen some attempts at bringing the Windows Phone 7 Metro UI goodness to your desktop before and now the makers of HTC Home have a "special" version of their Vista/Windows 7 widgets available.

Called Metro Home, it brings the usual widget functions including "date and time, weather information for the current day and next four days, and picture slideshow" and allows limited customization.

Oh and its donation-ware so no big commitment if you like it or don't. We're loading it up right now because we keep it geeky-real, son.

Source: HTC Home; via: InToWindows

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MetroTwit beta goes live

We mentioned last week about MetroTwit, the desktop Twitter client who's UI was influenced by Windows Phone 7. At the time, the software was still too early in development to be released, but alas its creators have allowed the beta our the gate.

First thing you should know is it'll require you to install .NET Framework 4 Client Profile and Extended, which it will do on its own if you allow it. That's a whopping 89MB for that entire framework, so be prepared. Then you'll have to restart your computer and the final install of MetroTwit will take place. The actual MetroTwit program is very tiny at less than 3MB, owing to its .NET coding.

Overall, it's quite a pretty program. With its configurable columns, its very much like Seesmic. You can add/remove those columns (your feed, replies, friends, direct messages) and drag and drop to re-arrange them.

Technically it can do multiple accounts, but we had trouble getting it to do so. Especially noteworthy is the live "badge" on the icon in the Windows Start bar which displays how many new Tweets you have. Other advanced features like delete, map, conversation, show in browsers are missing as of this early build, but we imagine it's just a matter of time.

Remember, this is a beta, so there are some bugs and some of the menu/options are less than intuitive, but overall it's not too bad for such an early start.  

Get it herehttp://www.metrotwit.com/

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