All signs point toward the impending general availability of Windows 8, what with the upcoming OS launch event, the Surface RT finally hitting the FCC, and Paul Allen letting the world knows what he thinks of it. In light of this, the Redmond company has announced a final update push to the built-in apps you’ll find in Windows 8. The Bing update will be first out the gate tomorrow — it promises richer search results for local content — with the rest rolling out through October 26th. Also of note is Music, which touts “expanded music services” as an update (Xbox Music, anyone?). If you’re itching to know what built-in apps will be updated, you can get the full and extensive list after the break.
You know who’s likely to buy the MacBook Pro with Retina Display? Creative professionals (obviously). So you know what programs should really be optimized for that 2,880 x 1,800 screen? Try Photoshop, or Lightroom. Adobe hears your frustration, and apparently empathizes mightily: the company just posted a blog post promising Photoshop CS6, Lightroom 4 and Photoshop Touch will support HiDPI, including the MacBook Pro’s Retina Display, within the “coming months.” (No, this near-term update does not include Photoshop Elements, unfortunately.) While that timetable is on the vague side, the outfit says having a Creative Cloud membership will ensure you get that update sooner. Until then, your frankengadget renders will still look a little blurry, sorry.
First ooVoo opened up four-way video chats on Facebook, and now the video calling service is doing the same for its Android and iOS apps. The company just updates both applications so that you can view up to four video streams at once, though you can carry on text chats with as many as 12 people. That’s true of both platforms, though the Android version is admittedly getting a few more changes. The newest version of the app brings deeper integration with Google services, plugging into the native Android address book to show missed calls, as well as a list of which friends are available to chat. To that end, Android users get not just the app, but also a widget that displays these tidbits at a glance. Rounding out the list of improvements, the updates introduce push notifications as well as the ability to text chat in the middle of a video call.
At Google’s developer conference, the company announced that it would soon offer the ability to download delta updates in its Play Store, and we’re starting to see the promise fulfilled before our very eyes. These delta upgrades, which save time and bandwidth when updating larger apps by only downloading the actual changes (rather than the entire program), were spotted earlier by Android Police and verified by our staff. While it may seem like a minor feature, you’ll likely be happy that you don’t have to think twice about updating your graphically-intense games when you’re not within range of a hotspot. Head below for a video showing the delta updates in action.
In addition to all the other new laptops it announced today, Sony refreshed its mid-range S Series with a new look, and consolidated its two 13-inch models, the SA and SB lines, into one model, now called the VAIO S13. (There’s also a more business-oriented version called the S13p, which we’ll tell you about in just a moment). Thanks to a magnesium, aluminum and carbon fiber construction, it’s fairly lightweight, at 3.8 pounds. Spec-wise, Sony went with Core i5 and i7 Ivy Bridge processors, though this time around, it’s missing switchable graphics — at least on the S13. That machine now has integrated graphics only, though the business-centric S13p will be offered with an NVIDIA GPU with up to 2GB of VRAM. The S13p also sets itself apart with features the IT guy might appreciate, including TPM, a fingerprint reader and a hard drive accelerometer.
Across the board, the S13 should last up to about seven hours on a charge, or 14 if you add an optional sheet battery. Also, the company will sell an external docking station with a built-in 500GB hard drive and built-in battery — a first for Sony. We’re told the dock will cost $189, and that you can use it even with the sheet battery attached to the laptop. The S13 and S13p will go on sale this month, starting at $900 and $1,200, respectively. Though the more consumer-friendly S13 will be available in black, silver white and pink, the buttoned-up S13p comes in a more staid palette: black, gold and “Gun Metal.”
Sony refreshes VAIO Z series with Ivy Bridge, price now starts at $1,600 without the docking station
In case you didn’t notice, Sony completely revamped its laptop lineup this morning. Unlike some of the other models on offer, the high-end Z series didn’t get a redesign, but Sony at least took the opportunity to refresh it with new Ivy Bridge processors. Oh, and lower the starting price. The Z will no longer be bundled with the Power Media Dock, that external hub housing both a discrete GPU and optical drive. As such, the laptop will now start at $1,600, down from $2,000, while the dock will retail for an additional $400. Spec-wise, the Z still weighs a scant 2.6 pounds, but it’s now constructed from carbon fiber and will be offered with a glossy finish. It will also be available with quad-core Ivy Bridge CPUs, though the starting model’s processor is dual-core. Otherwise, it offers nearly the same specs as the model we reviewed last year, including a 1080p display and solid-state RAID drives. Look for the refresh sometime this month, and in the meantime we’ve included pics below to jog your memory on what this guy looks like.
Anecdotal reports have been pouring in since iOS 5 landed that battery life had suddenly dropped off on some people’s iPhones. A full 15-percent of you who responded to our poll reported suffering from the issue. Now Apple has officially confirmed that several bugs are negatively affecting battery life. In a statement given to All Things D the Cupertino company acknowledged the problem and said it would “release a software update to address those [bugs] in a few weeks.” In recent days the complaints in both the Apple forums and our own tips box have reached a deafening volume but, sadly, Apple isn’t offering any temporary work arounds or advice for those constantly attached to a charger. So there you go folks — Apple is working on it. You’re the patient type, right?
Update: Well, iOS 5.0.1 Beta, which includes the aforementioned bug fixes, just landed for devs. So Apple isn’t just working on it, they’ve fixed it… theoretically. Lets hope this test run is a bit shorter than expected.
When we heard Microsoft was holding a press event called “Give Hotmail a Second Look,” we wondered if a full-on redesign was in store. The answer happens to be a resounding “no,” but the software giant is rolling out a raft of new features to its 365 million-some-odd users. This includes an Android app with two-way email, contact and calendar syncing (!), along with a slew of updates to Hotmail’s web interface. First up, you can now automatically categorize incoming mail as newsletters, and then either trash ‘em or sweep them to a folder. Additionally, an “Unsubscribe” feature lets you do just that, with Hotmail handling the dirty work of blocking future newsletters from that sender, as well as asking the company to kindly stop spamming you. Moving along, flagged messages will now sit at the top of the inbox so that they don’t get lost in the morass of incoming mail. If you like, you can program Hotmail to automatically flag messages with a particular subject line, from a certain sender, et cetera. Meanwhile, “Scheduled Cleanup” automatically deletes messages after a certain number of days have passed — a good way to cut through that pile of unused Groupon alerts. Other updates include the ability to manage and edit folders and apply categories to individual emails — all inline. And, last but not least, you’ll now see so-called Instant Actions (e.g., “delete,” “flag”) when you hover over messages. We’ve got a few screenshots below, and you can also hit the source link for some extra details, straight from the horse’s mouth.
That “future software upgrade” Samsung promised us for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is “coming soon” according to the company’s site, though, when exactly “soon” might be is anyone’s guess. When it does start trickling its way on to Sammy’s slate, it’ll be bringing with it a host of new features, including that Honeycomb edition of TouchWiz that’s sure to be just as divisive as its smartphone ancestor. It does, however, pack in some nice functionality, like a multimedia clipboard for copying and pasting pictures and videos as well as text, and a Live Panel widget for pulling in news, weather, and updates from your social networks. Other features that you’re used to on Samsung devices are also coming along for the ride, including the Media Hub for purchasing videos and the latest, intense version of Swype. There’s also a remote tracking and wipe function for those who have a tendency to leave their gadgets behind at Starbucks, and it unlocks USB, SD card, and HDMI functionality — with the appropriate accessories of course. Check out the source link for a few more details.
Good things come to those who wait. If you bought the dual-booting ViewSonic ViewPad 10, Android 1.6 be damned, we have some good news — the tablet’s getting an upgrade to Android 2.2. Just to refresh your memories, that leap from Donut to Froyo means ViewPad 10 owners will now get updated Gmail, Calendar, Google Maps, Gallery, and YouTube apps, a refined onscreen keyboard, compatabilty with newer applications, and a healthy dose of sorely needed eye candy. New customers can choose one that also runs Windows 7 Home Premium and has 16GB of flash storage ($599) or one with Win 7 Professional and 32GB of space ($679). As for those of you chomping at the bit to upgrade, ViewSonic is keeping things interesting by compelling you to download Froyo onto a thumb drive, and then plug both it and a USB keyboard into the ViewPad to install the update. Then again, something tells us the kind of person who would opt for the ViewPad 10 over other ViewSonic tablets might actually enjoy the challenge.
Once upon a time, the Xbox 360 dashboard looked like the picture above — then, Microsoft blasted it with yearly updates to transform it into the warm, welcoming interface we’ve come to know and love. If you’re already aware of that fact, then you may also know that a select group of lucky US gamers typically get to test out the latest revision months ahead of their peers, and today Microsoft’s holding sign-ups for a new version that will include “an updated Xbox 360 disc format,” whatever that might mean. You’ll also get a free copy of Halo: Reach if your name is picked — which, according to Major Nelson, is much more likely if you’re paying for an Xbox LIVE Gold account — so you’ll probably want to dive through ancient email post-haste to find your Windows LIVE ID, head over to our more coverage link and give it a go. Let us know what those new discs are all about if you get in, eh?