Windows 10 will be released this summer

windows 10 family1Microsoft is really focused on delivering Windows 10 as early as possible, and in recent blog post, head of Microsoft’s operating system team Terry Myerson revealed that Windows 10 has a planned summer release.

The exact time-frame is not outlined, but Myerson did go on to say that Microsoft’s new flagship OS will be available in 190 countries and 111 languages on release.

Microsoft wants to make a big splash with Windows 10 and intends to get everyone on board as it’s offering the OS for free for those upgrading from Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8.1 and even from pirated copies of Windows 7.

This time-frame aligns with an RTM version of the OS to be complete in June and it should be perfect timing for Microsoft to unveil the Surface Pro 4 and possibly a flagship Windows 10 phone.

Source: Microsoft

Microsoft will give you up to $650 towards a purchase of a Surface Pro 3 but there's catch

SurfacePro3Primary_PageThe Surface Pro 3 was a major upgrade over the previous models, but many people who purchased the Surface Pro 2 were very disappointed to see that Microsoft launched its successor much sooner than expected. Microsoft is now running a new promotion offering the trade-in value for their used Surface devices for a gift card of up to $650 towards a Surface Pro 3.

Before you get excited though, it’s not as exciting as it seems. The only way to get the full $650 is to actually trade in a Surface Pro 3, which some may want to do if they’re looking to get a more powerful version. However, a 128GB Surface Pro 2 which was the most popular configuration of the model, would only get you $221. Don’t even bother with the original Surface RT because that would only get you a measly $84.

To see how much your device is worth, head over to this website to get it appraised. This promotion runs from February 15th to the 8th of March and is only available in the US and Canada. You’ll then receive a trade-in voucher if you proceed and it must be used before April 8th of 2015.

Overall, if you’re someone who doesn’t prefer to sell their electronics privately and appreciate the convenience of dealing with Microsoft, then this is a pretty good way to save some money off of a brand new Surface Pro 3.  However, if you have the time and willingness to sell your device privately, it’s definitely a way to make more money off of the sale.

Get your Surface appraised here

Source: Microsoft

Microsoft increases tablet share in the US thanks to Surface 2

surface 2

According to Chitika, Microsoft’s tablet market share has increased by 60% year-over-year when collecting data for the month of September. However percentage-wise it’s still only at 1.6% of the overall tablet market in the US, while Apple is in a very comfortable lead at 79.9%.

It’s worth mentioning that this only takes into account Windows RT which includes the original Surface RT and Surface 2, and does not include any of the Pro models.  Surface Pro 3 is reportedly selling well for Microsoft and we’re curious to see how the numbers would compare when taking into account all the Surface Pro models.

Chitika tablet market share

When comparing to other OEMs in the tablet market, it doesn’t look too bad for Microsoft as they all seem to be in the single digits percentage-wise. If Microsoft releases the long awaited Surface Mini and upgrades its current crop of Windows RT devices (not sure if they will) then moving up a rank or two seems plausible.

Here is the method that Chitika uses to determine their results:

To determine the distribution of Web usage among leading tablet brands for September 2014, Chitika Insights sampled tens of millions of U.S. and Canadian tablet-based online ad impressions running through the Chitika Ad Network. The data used to compile current usage share were drawn across the time range of September 1 through 30, 2014. The historical year-over-year data were drawn across the time range of September 1 through 30, 2013.

Source: Chitika

Microsoft rolls out Surface 2 firmware updates today

surface 2

Microsoft has rolled out a bunch of firmware updates to the Surface 2, bringing in some needed fixes and improvements.

Here’s the complete list of what to expect in today’s update:

  • Surface 2 UEFI update (v4.22.500) addresses case where the battery drains under the 0% level and will not charge.
  • System Aggregator Firmware update (v1.0.51500.0) increases the overall reliability and compatibility with a Surface Pro Type Cover.
  • Surface Platform Power Driver update (v2.0.716.0) adjusts the minimum charge current to address the case where the battery drains under the 0% level and will not charge, and enhances the overall system stability.
  • Surface Accessory Device update (v2.0.671.0) enhances the user experience with a Surface cover.
  • Audio and Display driver set (v9.17.13.2822) improves sound and video display performance, and resolves the case where a display driver caused system instability on resuming the system from sleep.
  • Surface Cover Click (v2.0.643.0) update enhances the user experience when connecting/disconnecting a Surface Pro Type Cover.
  • Surface Type Cover Filter Device (v2.0.682.0) adds support for a Japanese Surface Pro Type Cover on non-Japanese Surface 2 models.

You should be seeing this update now, but don’t panic if it’s not there as Microsoft rolls out updates like these in waves, and not everyone gets it immediately.

Microsoft will also release an update for the Surface Pro 3 in the coming weeks, which is set to fix the Wi-Fi connectivity issues and provide more improvements.

Source: Surface Blog via Neowin

19% of teens in U.S. expect to buy a Surface tablet in the next six months

surface 2A survey of U.S. teenagers by Piper Jaffray reveals that a growing number of teens in the U.S. are eager to buy a Surface tablet. Currently, Microsoft’s tablet has 10% share in this market segment, but what is rather interesting is that the study of more than 7,200 teens in America finds that 19% of all teens expect to buy a Surface tablet in the next six months, “which seems to point to some early favor among teens of the Microsoft tablet, perhaps due to its productivity features,” according to the Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.

Apple is still the king among tablets for teenagers in the U.S. holding a strong 66% of the market share, but with Microsoft’s strong marketing push to get kids to use their tablets as they are optimized for productivity, we expect the Redmond software company to keep gaining ground and perhaps become the #2 contender.

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 has been receiving a lot of positive attention recently, and coupled with a great advertising campaign-word of mouth is spreading really fast.  Surface Pro 3 is certainly a hit, so much that it’s bringing attention to their lower cost Surface devices, and with a rumored announcement for new Surface devices running Windows RT, things are really starting to look up for Microsoft and their tablet business.

Source: Investors.com

Microsoft is the 3rd largest Windows OEM by volume

Surface-Pro-3-057

Every month, Ad Duplex releases a report for Windows Phone that shows how each device is selling (compared to other Windows Phones, at least). This month, however, they gave us a look at Windows 8 usage statistics, which they do about twice a year.

For those that don’t know, Ad Duplex claims that it is the largest cross-promotion network for Windows 8/8.1 and Windows Phone 8/8.1 apps. Let’s hop in and look at some of the highlights to see what’s going on with Windows this month.

Microsoft is the 3rd largest OEM for Windows 8 devices – No surprise that Dell and HP are at the top of the list, but what may come as a shocker to some people is that Microsoft is the third largest OEM, beating out some major companies such as Asus, Lenovo, and Acer. It seems that Surface is becoming a major brand in the Windows world.

Surface Pro 3 is seeing lots of success– despite only being released within the past month, the Surface Pro 3 has already passed the Surface Pro 2 and is only .07% behind the original Surface Pro. Microsoft may have just found a hit with the Surface Pro 3. It is of note, however, that in the US (where the Surface Pro 3 launch before the rest of the world), the Surface Pro 3 has already passed it’s predecessors.

This has been a very interesting study from Ad Duplex. While some people that you meet online might insist that Surface RT was a failure, it just goes to show that you can’t believe everything you read on the internet. I look forward to seeing how the landscape will change when Windows 9 comes along.

Source: Adduplex

Surface Ears make your Surface look cute, but they also amplifiy the sound

box front

In March 2014, I was notified of a project on Kickstarter that caught my attention, it’s called “Ears for Surface tablets” and it’s used to amplify the sound on your Microsoft Surface tablet.

It’s not that the sound from the Surface tablets is inadequate for a tablet, although some of the previous models could be a little louder (original Surface RT), I thought it was a fun idea and wanted to support somebody that was making an effort to bring an accessory to the Surface (pun intended) ;-).

surface ears

Before I give you my first impressions, here are ways in which donations were given towards this idea and what each donation gave back:

  • Pledge $1 or more: Thank you! We appreciate the support as we are trying to reach our goals
  • Pledge $5 or more: Early Bird. Thank you for having the confidence in us early! You get either the Surface RT/2 or Pro/2 Ears in any of the Surface keyboard colors.
  • Pledge $10 or more: You will receive the Ears in any Surface keyboard color for either the Surface RT/2 or Pro/2.
  • Pledge $15 or more: Kickstarter SE Green. You will receive the Ears for either the RT/2 or Pro/2 in the Special Edition Kickstarter Green.
  • Pledge $20 or more: You will receive 2 sets of Ears in any Surface keyboard color. One set is for the Surface RT/2 and the other is for the Surface Pro/Pro 2.
  • Pledge $30 or more: You choose any color for any tablet. Plus we will give you one of the 6 pairs of 3D printed prototypes. This were the first rough versions. Two have very rough prototype packaging. First come first serve. Only 6 available

This project was successfully funded on April 8 2014, and just four days later they were able to start production with almost double the money this project needed to proceed, the estimated delivery time for my Surface Ears was June 2014.

Of course the project starter Brandon Schaap had to go through the production process, as well as legal issues, quality markers and besides that, until the company designed the right packaging and shipping processes, my “Surface Ears” were slightly delayed.  No harm done though, as the end result is more important than rushing a product and making it “half baked”.

I received the Ears about a week ago and would like to share my impressions.

First of all, I gotta say that they look really cute on my Surface 2 (her name is Mickey now) :-).

ears on

When it comes to the actual performance, Brandon predicted the sound will be increased by 10db, and after conducting my own tests, the results at 50% volume were 60db without the Surface Ears and  66db with the Surface Ears. With the volume at a 100%  my Surface 2 outputs  59db on its own and with the Ears it managed to reach 70db, which is an 18.5% increase. Brandon’s estimates were  pretty accurate.

db db

I also noticed that the sound was much clearer and had a stronger bass with the Surface Ears – it made a pretty significant difference.

The Ears actually come and match all of the Surface keyboard colors, they’re also made out of silicone and feel almost indestructible. There are two different models, one for Surface RT devices and one for Surface Pro  devices. Unfortunately they won’t work with the Surface Pro 3 due to the different placement of the speaker, but they work great with every other Surface model.

I would definitely recommend this product to people who like to spice things up a bit and are looking for a cheap way to increase the volume output on your Surface device. It does look pretty funky having Mikey Mouse ears on your Surface, but they actually work quite well. A 10db is a pretty good increase in volume, and the clearer sound makes a big difference.

(PLEASE NOTE: at this moment Brandon Schaap is not taking in orders outside of the United States because he is working with Amazon to find the best way to bring the Ears to the international market. He will keep you and us posted when they are available internationally @Amazon). Howerever, if you want the Ears now and live in the United States you can contact Brandon at ears@mercariumimporting.com

Check out Brandon’s video below for more information.

 

Surface 2 gets a $100 price drop until September 27

surface 2

Microsoft has dropped the price off of all its Surface 2 configurations as a promo until September 27.  The 32GB version of the Surface 2 now starts at $349 while the 64B version will cost $449. Microsoft also discounted the LTE version with AT&T which will now go for $579.

These discounts are available at Microsoft’s online store and their retail locations.

Surface 2 comes with a free copy of a full-featured Microsoft Office 2013, 200GB of OneDrive storage as well as unlimited minutes and WiFi calling for Skype.

For those of you who won’t need to run desktop applications that aren’t Microsoft Office, this may be the perfect device for you. Surface 2 runs on Windows RT which will not enable the installation of desktop applications, but will come with a full Windows desktop that has its advantages.

There have been rumors of Microsoft releasing a new Surface RT tablet and it’s also back to school time.  Surface 2 still remains the best productivity tablet on the market by far (not counting Surface Pro models), with its ability to multitask, offering a full Windows desktop, a free copy of Microsoft Office 2013, USB 3.0, and expandable storage. With its ability to work with thousands of printers and peripherals, it really is in a class of its own at it’s price range.

Check it out at Microsoft’s online store

Microsoft to launch new 10.6" Windows RT tablet this October

surface 2

According to Digitimes, Microsoft will be launching a 10.6″ tablet which will be thinner and lighter than the current Surface 2.  This new device is expected to run on Windows RT and be the successor to the Surface 2. Digitimes claims the leaked information comes from Pegatron which is the Taiwan-Based Surface manufacturer.

The new tablet will also feature a new kickstand and support for the Surface Pen. It’ll be interesting to see how Microsoft’s new slimmer design will impact the full sized USB port, as one of the things that held the Surface 2 back in achieving a thinner body was due to the fact that a standard USB port wouldn’t physically be possible. Microsoft’s tablets are advertised as being productive machines rather than typical media consumption devices, therefore a USB port is necessary. Microsoft may possibly still include a mini USB 3.0 port to accommodate the needs for productivity focus.

Windows RT has evolved significantly since its inception, and with Windows Threshold rumored to be combing in the first half of 2015, it is set to evolve much more. This is an important offering that Microsoft must have to battle the low-cost Chromebook and offer a high-quality Windows experience to the masses, despite not being able to install desktop applications.

Google Chromebook has seen success in the education segment and Microsoft having a high-quality offering of their own can help them win over this segment as these types of locked-down productivity machines have proven to be the best solution for students.

Microsoft will unify the Windows and Windows Phone Stores in their next major release of Windows, and universal apps are already in full effect. With these improvements and the amount of apps there are now in the Windows Store, Windows RT may finally shine – and a free copy of Microsoft Office that comes with it, is always a big plus.

Although nothing is official and Digitmes is known to be wrong sometimes, Microsoft hasn’t missed a late-year launch with Surface since the creation of the tablet.

Source: Digitimes

Microsoft to launch new 10.6" Windows RT tablet this October

surface 2

According to Digitimes, Microsoft will be launching a 10.6″ tablet which will be thinner and lighter than the current Surface 2.  This new device is expected to run on Windows RT and be the successor to the Surface 2. Digitimes claims the leaked information comes from Pegatron which is the Taiwan-Based Surface manufacturer.

The new tablet will also feature a new kickstand and support for the Surface Pen. It’ll be interesting to see how Microsoft’s new slimmer design will impact the full sized USB port, as one of the things that held the Surface 2 back in achieving a thinner body was due to the fact that a standard USB port wouldn’t physically be possible. Microsoft’s tablets are advertised as being productive machines rather than typical media consumption devices, therefore a USB port is necessary. Microsoft may possibly still include a mini USB 3.0 port to accommodate the needs for productivity focus.

Windows RT has evolved significantly since its inception, and with Windows Threshold rumored to be combing in the first half of 2015, it is set to evolve much more. This is an important offering that Microsoft must have to battle the low-cost Chromebook and offer a high-quality Windows experience to the masses, despite not being able to install desktop applications.

Google Chromebook has seen success in the education segment and Microsoft having a high-quality offering of their own can help them win over this segment as these types of locked-down productivity machines have proven to be the best solution for students.

Microsoft will unify the Windows and Windows Phone Stores in their next major release of Windows, and universal apps are already in full effect. With these improvements and the amount of apps there are now in the Windows Store, Windows RT may finally shine – and a free copy of Microsoft Office that comes with it, is always a big plus.

Although nothing is official and Digitmes is known to be wrong sometimes, Microsoft hasn’t missed a late-year launch with Surface since the creation of the tablet.

Source: Digitimes