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Microsoft - the old behemoth wakes up

04 April 2014 / 13:04:15  GRReporter
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- The modern applications already have a titlebar with minimizing and closing buttons. The titlebar is hidden and it appears only when moving the cursor to the top of the screen.

- The taskbar is now visible on the start screen.

- The newly installed applications are easily notable.

Here is a short video of the new options:

The main change is in the attempt of Microsoft to unify user experience in terms of the different types of applications, of the familiar and traditional applications and the "modern" ones that came with Windows 8.

In the first place, the start menu is back! Essentially, it reminds us of the familiar start menu, but with one major difference, namely that it already features modern applications and allows the pinning of "tiles" of information from them.

Another important innovation is the ability to run advanced applications in the windows of a traditional desktop. We have seen such an option in software solutions of third parties and it is more than expected and desired.

Windows Phone 8.1

The long-awaited Windows Phone 8.1 will be available with an update to current users of Windows Phone 8 within the next few months but before that, in late April or early May, new smartphones with preinstalled Windows Phone 8.1 will appear in the market.

The new demonstrated features include a new notifications centre, which allows quick access to various phone functions and displays notifications of applications. Users can define which applications can access the function and which can use the vibration function. The company demonstrated a new locked screen the appearance of which can be changed by external applications. With respect to the home screen, phones with a smaller diagonal screen will show more tiles too - until recently, this feature was available only to models with a display larger than 5 inches. In addition, it is now possible to select an image as the background of the tiles.

The new features also include Wi-Fi Sense, which automatically connects you to the nearby free access points to the Internet. In addition it allows you to share your wireless home network with friends without giving them your password.

The most important new feature, however, is the new voice assistant, Cortana, which uses data from Bing. At first glance, it is a response to Apple's Siri and offers similar functionality such as creating calendar appointments, searching for information, playing music, setting up the time when only your close people can contact you, etc.

Like Google Now Cortana learns from the habits of the user and retrieves data from the information in the phone. It can interact with other applications installed on your phone and, for example, can start a Skype conversation with a selected contact or to open a particular Facebook profile. The function will be launched in the U.S. at first and it will later be available in the UK and China, before reaching other markets. The long-awaited option for independent control of the volume of different platform functions is available too.

Microsoft's goal is to continue to expand Windows in order for the devices that use it and the innovations that it offers to provide developers with an attractive marketing platform for their applications.

There is lunch  

One of the key moves that analysts had predicted for some time was officially announced, namely that Windows is free for all devices with screens less than 9 inches. This means that we can expect a wider variety of cheaper Windows tablets and smartphones. With this step, Nadella hopes to fight off the competition on the part of Android, which is available free of charge to manufacturers of smart mobile devices. Thus, manufacturers reduce their costs which is why Android has been able to establish itself as the preferred mobile operating system. The first devices developed under the new licensing policy of Microsoft will be available this summer, as announced by the company. This will not directly increase the company's revenue from Windows, but Microsoft hopes that the payment for other services related to the operating system will compensate this.

We see an apparent change in the course of Microsoft development as well as the responses of its employees. It remains to see if all these moves will lead to actual positive results. However, it is clear that the giant has woken up.

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