windows 8

We've been informed that Liquid Daffodil has finally managed to get its Unification app listed on the Windows 8 Store, enabling consumers to download and utilise the notification centre across the Windows ecosystem. So what's Unification all about? If you're not familiar with the name, or have somehow missed our previous coverage, it's a notification centre that pulls in and stores alerts and notifications from third-party apps.

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According to data released by research firm Strategy Analytics, Microsoft has managed to obtain 7.5 percent of the tablet market with Windows 8 and Windows RT. Tablet shipping in general reached an all-time high of 40.6 million units in Q1 2013, a huge climb from 18.7 million reported in Q1 2012. Apple still dominates the market with 48 percent, but Android is close behind with 43 percent of the pie. So what's hindering Microsoft's advance?

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We don’t cover too much on the topic of design around here, but this was too handy to pass up for developers looking to do more with Windows 8. Ratio Interactive (http://www.ratiointeractive.com/) is a digital agency up in Seattle that makes various apps for companies across a lot of platforms.

But lately they’ve been doing some kickass work with Windows 8 apps. Between running contests around app design and actually making apps (AllRecipes and various Conde Nest properties) they know a thing or two about Windows 8.

So here’s a handy handbook for Windows 8 design from the Ratio Interactive team.

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Microsoft is set to reintroduce the famous Windows start button in Windows 8, according to sources familiar with company plans. A report over on The Verge points at Windows 8.1 (aka "Blue") as to when consumers will be able to see a start button in desktop mode without utilising third-party software. The only downside is it's noted the button will simply take the user back to the start screen and not fire up a menu.

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Head on over to web retailers like Newegg or Amazon and you’ll see that the cheapest Intel based tablet you can buy running Windows 8 is about $430 (Acer Iconia W150). That’s not too bad when you consider the potential of the system with the ability to actually install desktop applications. But what if we could go lower than the $400 dollar mark? Totally possible according to Intel’s CEO.

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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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Many have been (and continue to do so) predicting the end of personal computing as we know it today. But it's a bit like global warming - a controversial topic. Windows 8 has been available on the market for a number of months and while sales haven't been as strong as one hoped, it's not the sole reason the PC being in a potential situation. A new article on the Forrester blog really goes into some detail about why such thoughts should stop.

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There’s a report going around the web from the IDC about PC shipments from the first quarter of 2013. The overall outlook is rather gloomy – PC shipments were down 13.9% from the same period a year ago. A bit worse than the forecast of a negative 7.7% decline. What’s this mean for Windows 8 and the PC market going forward?

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Whether you like it or not, Instagram is here to stay as a social network. Whatever plans Facebook has in the future are irrelevant, today it’s a huge platform for a lot of users. Its presence (or absence) makes or breaks potential smartphone purchases by the active 90 million users. Windows Phone still doesn’t have an official app, but Instagraph is a good workaround for right now. From the forums, here’s another slightly more involved way to get pictures up to Instagram without using an iPhone or Android device.

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It’s “Patch Tuesday”, the traditional day where Microsoft tends to push out some major OS fixes and updates and while it used to be a big Windows day, it’s increasingly more important for Surface owners. That’s because the Surface, a work in progress, is constantly getting tweaked for performance and usability. Today is no different.

Both the Surface RT and Surface Pro have numerous updates queued up for installing, including a few for Office 2013. The bigger deal though is the included firmware, which once again will hopefully fix a few lingering issues some of you may still be having.

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Of all the offsite meetings we engaged in during GDC, the most pleasant place to visit was probably Electronic Arts’ suite at the St. Regis Hotel. Within that cozy location, Android Central’s Simon Sage and I met with Dan Tausney, PR Manager of Chillingo. As you might remember from our article about their most recent Windows Phone releases, Chillingo is the arm of EA responsible for publishing indie games from all over the world. They’ve been a major Windows Phone supporter and will soon be doing the same for Windows 8 as well.

Check out our hands-on footage with Contre Jour for Windows 8, see your favorite mobile Games Editor in action on video, and learn about Chillingo’s future Windows 8 plans after the break!

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Skulls of the Shogun has been an incredibly important game for Windows Phone and the Microsoft ecosystem as a whole. It’s the first Xbox Live game to cross platforms between the Xbox 360, Windows Phone, and Windows 8. It was also the Xbox Windows Phone game that ended the game drought we faced earlier this year. After so many weeks without a new game, Skulls quenched many a Windows Phone gamer’s thirst.

We had the opportunity to speak with Skulls of the Shogun developer 17-BIT twice last year, first at E3 and later Casual Connect. Of course, that was all before the game launched. Now that Skulls of the Shogun is live and in players’ hands, Windows Phone Central jumped at the opportunity to ask 17-BIT’s lead programmer Borut Pfeifer about how the game performed and what players can expect in the future.

Head past the break for the full video interview!

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Looking for more ways to enjoy Nokia Music? Well you'll be pleased to hear that the service is now available on the Windows 8 / RT store for consumers to download and enjoy. Nokia has launched the apps with a number of great features for those who use Windows on a desktop or laptop, as well as a tablet. So what's included in Nokia Music for Windows 8?

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HTC has always been a big partner of Microsoft. They’ve been onboard with Windows Phone since the beginning in 2010, but the history goes back deeper than that. They started out making devices for other companies (running Windows Mobile) and took off when they started to produce devices under their own name. With the upcoming ‘Blue’ update across a variety of Microsoft platforms it’s becoming harder and harder for OEMs to build a Windows Phone and not have a corresponding tablet running Windows 8 to complement it.

NPD DisplaySearch, a market research and consulting firm, believes that HTC is working on a tablet running Windows 8.

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Songza (www.songza.com) has revealed that the company is working on a Windows app, but more importantly a Windows Phone app thereafter. But what is Songza exactly? It's a free music streaming and recommendation service for the US. Playlists are claimed to be created by music experts and the service recommends various playlists based on time of day and mood or activity. 

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