Microsoft's tight design rules require all Windows Phone 7 devices to have a pretty nice camera on them; they must tout at least 5 megapixels and video capture to boot. Unfortunately, Redmond's new phone operating system has limitations that mean developers can't fully take advantage of the lenses.
"We're trying to understand how multitouch is useful to the knowledge worker (to) get real work done," Han told CNET. His comments come just as Perceptive Pixel has landed a new wave of funding, including an investment from products giant 3M. It's the second round of funding for the start-up, which now has offices in New York, Palo Alto, Portland, and Washington, D.C.
While Apple and Microsoft focus on the consumer and retail end, Han has zeroed in on the upper echelon of the business. His only real consumer play was a brief appearance in the Neiman Marcus holiday catalog back in 2007.
Although Han is focused largely on large-screen touch interfaces, one area he is also eyeing is the intersection between touch screens and "Minority Report"-style in-air gestures. On their own, he said, the in-air stuff is fairly imprecise, largely useful for games and entertainment--much the way Microsoft is using it for Kinect. Combine those gestures with a touch screen, though, and things get a bit more interesting, he said.… Read more
Ordinarily, the release of a single ultraportable Mac should not be reason for Redmond to quake in its boots, but yesterday's announcements by Apple should give the Windows team plenty of reason to fear.
It's not that the product itself will put that much of a further dent in Microsoft's still-massive share of the PC market. However, the product demonstrates some capabilities that the Mac now can offer that Microsoft would seem to have a tough time matching.
The biggest is the fact that the Mac, like the iPhone and iPad before it, now boasts the ability … Read more
Like any proud parent, Microsoft wants us to know just how cute its baby is.
To mark the first birthday of Windows 7, Microsoft posted a blog touting its first steps.
Unlike Vista--which was a somewhat awkward toddler--Windows 7 has proven to be a rather good addition to the family. In addition to selling more than 240 million copies, it has helped rebuild the company's reputation.
Here's some other fun facts that Microsoft wanted to show off. (Sorry, no wallet pictures.)
CUPERTINO, Calif.--With both an update to its operating system due next summer and new laptops available now, Apple is trying to infuse the Mac with some of the best qualities of the iPhone and iPad.
The new line of MacBook Airs are thinner and lighter than the prior model, while aiming to offer the kind of instant-on and ultra-long battery life found in the iPad. Available in both 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch models, the machines range from $999 to $1,599 depending on the combination of screen, processor, and storage. All use flash memory rather than a hard … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--The 365 in Microsoft's new Office 365 may not represent the number of different versions, but there sure are a lot of different options for the new subscription Office suite.
Small businesses, those with 25 or fewer employees, have it simplest, with a $6 per worker per month option that includes Office Web Apps, along with hosted versions of Exchange and SharePoint. Larger businesses can choose from products anywhere from $2 to $27 per person per month. At the low-end, businesses get hosted e-mail, while for $4 a month they can also get SharePoint.
A version comparable to the $6 small-business plan will cost larger outfits $16 per month per employee. The options that include the traditional desktop Office suite, in addition to the slimmed down Office Web Apps, start at $24 per worker per month.
For options that include desktop Office, businesses can allow workers to install the suite on up to five machines--including their home PCs. The service will check around every 60 days to make sure a subscription is current; if it isn't, Office will shrink its features to a "limited functionality" that basically includes viewing, but not editing capabilities.
Microsoft is touting the choices as one of its key advantages over rival Google Docs.
"The key to our approach is that we don't think it is a 'one size fit all' (market)," Senior Vice President Chris Capossela said in an interview. Starbucks, for example, he said can offer a low-end version to its store workers that aren't at a PC, while giving the higher end options to those at headquarters.
"We find that by having a variety of offers, we're actually able to give customers the choice they need to pick the right technology for the different workers in their company."
Google, for its part, really has two main options--the free consumer versions of Gmail and Google Docs and a paid version, known as Google Apps, for which it charges $50 per worker per year. Both companies also have options for the education and nonprofit market.
Perhaps the good news is that workers won't really have to worry about the myriad options until next year. The company said that the final version will come sometime next year, but Capossela declined to be more specific. … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--Aiming to bolster its hosted software for businesses, Microsoft announced today that it is adding Web-based versions of Office to its collection of hosted software for business. The company will also offer traditional Office as a subscription-based service. As expected, the company also rebranded the product.
What once went by the mouthful Business Productivity Online Suite will now be known as Office 365, Microsoft announced at an event at the St. Regis Hotel here. The St. Regis is owned by Starwood hotel chain, one of Microsoft's early customers for its hosted online services.
Microsoft has a new version of Windows ready to roll.
The company is using an automotive trade show in Detroit to announce it is done with the latest release of the automotive version of its operating system. The current code is used by a variety of carmakers, most notably Ford, which uses it to power Ford Sync.
Continuing on its theme of releases with the number 7 in them, Microsoft's latest in-car software is dubbed Windows Embedded Automotive 7. The new software builds in the latest version of Microsoft's Tellme speech recognition technology as well as a version … Read more
Bringing change to Microsoft has been likened to getting an ocean liner to change course.
By all accounts though, the company has made several such adjustments. While the changes took time, the key ones can often be traced to a moment in time. Bill Gates' Internet Tidal Wave memo marked one such course change. The 2005 Internet Services Disruption memo, by exiting Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie, was another.
That long note from Ozzie not only led to the start of Windows Live and an effort to take Office into the cloud, but also helped start what became Windows Azure … Read more
In a surprise move, Microsoft announced today that Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie is leaving the company.
The move, which raises questions about the company's future technology direction, was announced in an e-mail to employees from CEO Steve Ballmer. Ozzie is leaving after an unspecified transition period, expected to be several months.
"With our progress in services and the cloud now full speed ahead in all aspects of our business, Ray and I are announcing today Ray's intention to step down from his role as chief software architect," Ballmer said in the memo, which was posted to Microsoft's Web site. &… Read more