Windows 8 Update: Windows 8 Wows AT&T Mobility
The chief of AT&T Mobility can't wait for Windows 8 tablets to hit the market because they'll fuel demand for Windows phones.
"When they come out with Windows 8 in the fourth quarter, I think it will actually add to the value that [Windows Phone] OS brings to the marketplace in that that'll be the first time that you can truly have a similar experience on your PC, on your tablet, on your smartphone from Microsoft," says Ralph de la Vega, speaking at the J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference. "From what I've seen from the previews that I've been given, I think it's going to be exceptionally good."
If current Windows users upgrade to Windows 8 or buy new Windows RT devices, their experience with the Metro interface could influence their choice of phone, he says. With that Metro exposure, "then if you're a customer and you come into a store you think one of the logical questions will be, 'Well what do you have at home?' If you have a Microsoft device the likelihood is you may want to use a Microsoft OS."
Lumia, the Windows smartphone from Nokia, is impressive for its simplicity, ease of use and intuitive user interface, he says, and the added boost of customers seeking an all-Windows experience could snap them up.
Separately, AT&T may be working on another incentive to buy tablets: more attractive data plans that cover both phones and tablets that also make more money for AT&T. Here's what he says: "What we need to be able to do is allow connecting those tablets to some of the existing data plans that [customers] have, to be able to share them in a way that will drive more revenue for us but also give a good deal to customers."
Nvidia CEO: Windows RT is a brilliant move
Microsoft won't be able to deliver what tablet users want with Windows 8 on an x86 mobile device, but it will with its Windows RT hardware/software bundle that favors touch screens and ARM processors, according to the CEO of tablet-maker Nvidia.
That shouldn't come as much surprise, given that Nvidia is one of three processor makers listed by Microsoft as partners in its Windows RT efforts, the other two being Qualcomm and Texas Instruments.
What do tablet users want? A platform on which they "can see documents created, always be connected and designed for mobility," says Nvidia CEO Huang Jen-Hsun at the company's GPU technology conference in San Jose, according to zdnetasia.com. And Windows 8 -- the version that supports legacy Windows applications as well as new Metro-style applications -- won't cut it, he says, because it's hard to reposition a Windows PC as a tablet.
If Windows 8 x86 mobile devices don't perform up to what customers expect out of PCs, they will "go nuts," he says, according to zdnetasia.com.
One advantage that Windows RT will have is that it doesn't promise as much, so won't disappoint when it delivers an experience that is less than they would get out of a traditional Windows laptop, Jen-Hsun says.
Windows 8 comes with parental controls that enable separate user accounts for each kid in a family on which parents can impose separate restrictions. So, for example, different children can be allowed more or less time playing "World of Warcraft," according to the Building Windows 8 blog.
The monitoring and control capabilities -- what Microsoft calls family safety features -- also generate reports about what each child has been up to online, including time spent online broken down by days, top applications used, websites visited and searches made.
It's a one-way street; the kids can't access parents' emails and can customize their own accounts, within restrictions, without affecting their parents' settings.
A pending disappointment
Initially Windows 8 won't do much to improve sluggish PC revenues, says a four-star-rated analyst for BMO Capital Markets, dashing the hopes of some PC makers.
"Windows 8 will prove to be a disappointment, at least out of the gate," says Keith Bachman an analyst for the firm, in a written analysis note, according to Reuters. Thomson Reuters' StarMine gives Bachman four stars for the accuracy of the earnings estimates he makes for companies he follows, which include PC giants HP and Dell.
These vendors have other worries as well, including how to make a profit as customers expect low price and the cost of components rises, Bachman says.
Senate looks into Windows RT browser flap
The staff of the U.S. Senate antitrust subcommittee is looking into allegations that Microsoft's Windows RT may unfairly exclude third-party browsers.
That doesn't mean the issue will rise to the level of a hearing, but it does mean at least some on the committee are sensitive to the pleas of Mozilla, which called for Microsoft to relent.
Tim Greene covers Microsoft for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Tim_Greene.
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