Not quite so unexpectedly, thanks to a pulled Microsoft blog post on May 30th (published again on May 31st), we found out that Christmas was coming early... sort of. Windows 8 probably won't be hitting PCs until holiday season 2012 but Microsoft was a few days ahead of the of the scheduled June 2nd release. Steven Sinofsky the head of Windows, didn't promise anything in a recent blog post but at least it feels like things are on track.
If the feedback and telemetry on Windows 8 and Windows RT match our expectations, then we will enter the final phases of the RTM process in about 2 months. If we are successful in that, then we are tracking to our shared goal of having PCs with Windows 8 and Windows RT available for the holidays.
While not a lot of changes were made, they have managed to clean Windows 8 up a bit. The UI seems to have a better feel, the transition between the desktop and metro is smoother and major performance gains over Windows 7 are nothing to laugh at. The Windows App Store also has a bit more content now to rummage though.
We also learned that Microsoft will offer a Windows 8 upgrade plan. Starting now, if you purchase a Windows 7 PC, you will have the ability to upgrade to Windows 8 for only $15. Not quite the free XP to Vista or Vista to Windows 7 deal, but a lot better than paying the full $200 to upgrade later.
Other than that, we'll just sit tight a little longer and keep taking our Prozac until some powerhouse Windows tablets hit the market. In the meantime, get the
latest version of the Release Preview here.
It looks like Verizon is about to put their
upgraded fiber backbone to good use as the company has announced plans to start offering 300Mbps FiOS speeds. This seems to confims their new found commitment to FiOS when combined with the new markets announced in April. The best, and most surprising, part of the new plan is the price.
Apparently Verizon will charge only $205 per month for the new 300Mbps speeds. We currently pay $55 for only 20Mbps speeds on our provider. So four times the price for 15 times the speed? Totally acceptable. The high-end plan isn't the only one with a price announcement, though. All of the FiOS plans seem to be about to undergo a price change. The company's base plan on 15Mbps will increase $10 to $64.99 with a $5 surcharge for month-to-month. In fact, all plans will have a $5 surcharge for a no contract option or if you do not have Verizon landline phone service.
We have got the whole price lineup and hardware requirements after the break.
It has been a long time coming, but Sprint has announced that they will end-of-life their iDEN network as soon as June 30, 2013. The Sprint iDEN network is the only major operating 2G network left in the country, and possibly the last one in the world. As a recap, Sprint acquired this network when they purchased Nextel several years back and has been operating it as an independent network ever since because of its incompatibility with their existing network. The interest in the network comes from the push-to-talk capability, a feature still used on construction sites and in the government.
Sprint believes that it will be able to transition their existing PTT customers to their Sprint Direct Connect, which operates on their 3G CDMA network instead of the 2G iDEN. They will start notifying customers soon about the future shut downs, and keep reminding them as the date approaches. This is similar to the strategy Cingular used as it phased out its TDMA network several years ago. Some customers will be able to use standard voice services on their existing handsets but lose the ability for PTT, as Sprint has made several iDEN/CDMA hybrid phones, but most customers will have to replace their phones entirely to continue to receive service after the transition.
How does the new PTT stack up to the old one? Hit the break for more.
This story is a case of monkey see, monkey do. We mentioned a few weeks ago that Spotify, in an attempt to gain more traction with its relatively new music-streaming service,
teamed up with Coca-Cola to bring more attention to the platform as a whole. Now, Pepsi thinks it can further capitalize on the music industry and has looked beyond Young Money Cash Money Billionaires to the social world.
PepsiCo has partnered with Twitter for a year-long plan to use the social site to get more followers involved in music.
Sony's new PlayStation,
codenamed Orbis, may not be releasing until next year, however the company has been very vocal about some of the things we may or may not see on the new console.
Sony continued that effort just days before their annual gaming press event and said that while it considered a download-only option for the upcoming next-gen platform, the company will stick with the disc drive that stays true to the customary industry standard. This is opposite of both previous reports of the new hardware and of Microsoft's
new potential plan with the Xbox 3.
I know everybody is in the gaming and entertainment mindset, however until Tuesday, those industries will be quieter until the big day comes. In the meantime, we can talk about some gadget products that will provide countless hours of entertainment. Close enough, right?
This week, Koss Corporation released something we didn't see at CES. Their STRIVA headphones are an over-the-ear design that will stream music to the headset via Wi-Fi by accessing the Internet and sites like Pandora and Last.fm.
How does this all work? The details are after the break.