launch

Microsoft have just announced their plans to get the advertising steamroller underway for the launch of Windows 8.

They are set to kick off the full scale assault in 42 countries in the run up to the Windows 8 launch. They have decided to highlight local upcoming bands using “the universal medium of music”. Bands such as Best Coast (US), Lenka (China) and Hogarth (Brazil) are being cited as some examples. Check out the videos below…

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Windows 8, the much anticipated PC OS, was just launched in China a few hours ago, although many are still waiting for October 26 - the fateful day. As we understand, the global launch of Windows 8 will be marked by not one single event, but a whole series of them. The launch will start in China (October 23rd 10:00am local time), and end with the US party on October 26.

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Verizon HTC 8X

Here we go folks, with the rumor of Verizon having issues with Windows Phone 8 being dispelled by Paul Thurrott recently, we can get back to guessing when it will launch.

Luckily, we don’t have to guess too much as reader Adil T. has tipped us on this image and some launch info for Verizon. The info comes from friend of his who works for Verizon and as you can see, that gorgeous HTC 8X is running on Big Red’s network (check the Phone Tile).

Regarding the launch, HTC evidently has a “save the date” for Tuesday, November 6th with a launch window around the same time—in other words, very soon.

Oh and is that an ATIV S on that screen back there or is that just a generic Windows Phone?  We’ll try to dig up some more info as it comes in. Thanks, Anon, for the info!

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Rogers has published a blog post detailing what hardware the carrier will be sporting from Microsoft for both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, as well as any exclusivities Rogers will hold on said devices. We're already aware of which Windows Phones the carrier will be taking, but the blog post also touches on carrier apps that will be pre-loaded.

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Yes folks it’s finally here, the week that will see Microsoft launch Windows 8, spearheading its massive 2012 product launch schedule. It’s keystone of the ‘Three Screens & Cloud’ play and this is where we see how it’s all going to shake out.

The pre-orders for Surface have started and even run dry in some regions, invites to the various launch events have gone out and now it’s time to put all the cards on the table. With such a wide ranging spruce-up of the entire product line from Xbox to Windows Phone, we’re in for a wild ride. Windows 8 will be at the centre of these launches, not just because it’s Windows but because with it we will see a whole host of services light up to enable the entire eco system.

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Huawei CEO Yu Chengdong

It looks like the other shoe has dropped with OEM manufacturer Huawei and US relations. We reported a few weeks ago that the US Congress took a strong stance against Huawei and ZTE due to their closeness to the Chinese government, accusations of IP theft and other irregularities with the company.

Now the CEO, Yu Chengdong, has taken to the social network Sina Weibo to announce that Huawei will be absent from the Windows Phone 8 launch at the end of the month and the reason is due to (translated) “Sino-US political and economic storm”.

That sounds like Microsoft may be distancing themselves a bit from Huawei until this controversy blows over or in the worst case scenario, Huawei is dropped from Windows Phone 8. Indeed, through personal communication with people in the know at Microsoft the impression we were given is they do not want to talk about Huawei.

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Microsoft appears to be pushing out the golden envelopes for the final reveal-all of Windows Phone 8. The event is scant on actual details but the data is locked in for 5pm GMT on October 29th, London. This matches the upcoming event in San Francisco.

The events held so far have seen journalists physically restricted from properly playing with the OS, so aside from videos and SDKs precious few have any idea how well it works on a real device.

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Swisscom, a major telecommunications provider in Switzerland, has announced via Twitter the carrier will be looking to launch the Lumia 920 late-November, which has been pushed back from earlier reported dates. According to WParea.de, the Nokia Windows Phone was originally slated for mid-November availability with December being the month when the smartphone hits the Swisscom stores.

Unfortunately the tweet that was published earlier today doesn't contain any further information on ordering or pricing.

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New, crisp, clean website designs are just a start

Microsoft has been busy launching new services, designs for established properties, and keeping a number of secrets under wraps in the run up to the eventful weeks ahead. We've been looking forward to this part of 2012 as it'll be when Microsoft unveils Windows Phone 8, Windows 8, Surface tablets, Office, new Xbox update, and - of course - Halo 4. 

We've already seen Microsoft go big with the launch Outlook.com to replace the aging Live / Hotmail email service, but the software giant has revealed plans to apply changes across the board. Yesterday we covered a detailed blog post that walked readers through the new design that'll be applied to the MSN portal later this month - changes have been applied to Microsoft web properties, including the official website as well as the home of Visual Studio (see above).

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AT&T has big plans for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8

It looks like once again AT&T in the United States will be taking the helm for Windows Phone 8 and even Windows 8 come October and November. Windows Phone Central has now confirmed information about AT&Ts upcoming plans, including employee-training dates for the big launch. The info comes via two known and trusted sources who wish to remain anonymous to the public.

First up are Windows 8 tablets.  With Lenovo’s ThinkPad 2 officially having AT&T’s LTE on board, it’s not too much of a surprise that the mobile carrier will be looking to sell the tablets in their store direct to customers. We were quoted the $799 price-tag by Lenovo last week for the 10.1” tablet and we’re confident that you will be able to pick one up there come October 26th.

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ThinkPad 2 for $799 w/keyboard?

Last night we popped by PepCom, a little tech event that happens every few months here in New York City. We were curious if Samsung would be there with their ATIV lineup (answer: no) and we were hoping to maybe spot some interesting tidbits for you folks. We're not too heavily focused on tablets here, but sometimes we find out things.

For instance, we managed to get our mitts on the upcoming Lenovo Thinkpad 2, sporting Windows 8 Pro and a 10.1” 1,366 x 768 IPS display. Impressions? It’s very nice and we’re kind of itching to get one, especially with its reported 10 hour battery life, 2MP/8MP camera, AT&T LTE, NFC, USB ports and even a stylus.

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Verizon set to get the 'big 3'?

Although unverified at this point, the site PhoneArena is claiming to have the Verizon roadmap for upcoming new devices, including those rumored “multiple” Windows Phone 8 phones.

The good news if accurate is Verizon is getting all of the big guns, including the Nokia Lumia 920, Samsung ATIV S and the recently announced HTC 8X—all considered to be the top of the line launch devices for Windows Phone 8, due to occur at the end of October.

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New information has come forth confirming October 21st for the Lumia 920 launch

The technology site BGR recently cited Sunday, October 21st as the launch date for the Nokia Lumia 920. At the time, we gave a low rating to the rumor due to two reasons: BGR’s rumor track record (52% on Tracour) and the fact that the date conflicts with other word-of-mouth bits of information.

However, Windows Phone Central has now come across new documentation circulating within AT&T that does indeed confirm the date of October 21st as an important day for the upcoming Nokia flagship phone. This is not the same info that presumably BGR saw (or was told) due to its recency. 

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Could we finally see a Windows 8-powered NOOK?

With Amazon wooing the world late last week with their new Fire and PaperWhite tablets (and eReader), many have been left wondering what Barnes & Noble’s response would be. The online book retailer has slashed prices recently on their NOOK tablets, paving the way for a new holiday refresh and release.

Now, sources to the site Digital Trends have confirmed with them that in late September in Union Square, New York, the company will unveil a new Nook tablet rumored to be powered by Windows 8.

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Nokia has announced that their music streaming service is to finally get launched in the U.S. Whilst many countries have seen the service up and running for a while the U.S. has, to date, been left out in the cold.

Not so anymore, Nokia brags about their service having over 150 playlists from Detroit house to Classical music. U.S. users will also be able to take advantage of creating custom playlists and even downloading the playlist for offline use.

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We are ever so close to the 5th of September where it’s possible Nokia and Microsoft are planning to reveal all about Windows Phone 8. We still have much to learn about the next version of Windows Phone such as possible consumer features for the OS that include Xbox Live and music improvements, as well as anything else Microsoft may still have hidden up their sleeves.

While there is still much to learn about Windows Phone 8, a recent video release only adds to the mystery of what's in store for September 5th.

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We knew a while back about the proposed Odyssey and Marco handsets from Samsung. Well it looks like some more detailed specs and pricing has emerged. With Windows Phone 8 only a whisper away from being launched it seems as if the leaks just keeps on coming.

Samsung are one of Microsoft’s launch partners and it looks like we can expect some impressive hardware for this round of devices. One device is reported to have a 4” screen and the other a whopping 4.8” HD AMOLED display.. Rumour caution is advised in lieu of an official announcement.

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The new SkyDrive login screen

Two weeks ago Hotmail became Outlook.com with a new Metro…errr..modern look to it and now it is finally time for SkyDrive to get the same makeover.

Heading to www.skydrive.com you can see the new site redesign (log out and refresh if you are not seeing it) that brings it up to par with the Windows 8, Windows Phone and Outlook’s new appearance. And yes, Microsoft is not calling it Metro but rather are using ‘modern’ instead—take that as you will.

Besides the new look, SkyDrive also gets some new features on board including instant search, contextual toolbar, thumbnail multi-select, drag-and-drop organization, and HTML5 sorting which should make the service is more fun to use.

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Microsoft will be unveiling its Windows RT Surface tablets this coming October with a price tag of $199, according to an Engadget source. Microsoft first unveiled the Surface family of Windows tablets earlier this year, and pricing rumours have been flying all around the room. The tipster reportedly revealed details from a session at Microsoft's recent TechReady15 conference and notes that the Surface Windows RT tablet will launch on October 26th.

Should Engadget's source be correct, this will definitely put the Surface on the map as an affordable tablet experience compared to competing Android and Apple offerings. With the low-end Windows RT version sporting 32GB storage, Office 2013, a variety of connectivity ports, and weighing in at just 676g, $199 would be an excellent launch price. For comparison sake, the Apple iPad 2 starts from $399 for the 16GB WiFi model (or $499 should you desire the new Retina iPad). Too good to be true?

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