The week in review: Windows 8

As Sony geared up for their eagerly-anticipated PlayStation keynote, Bill Gates was deep in discussion with Reddit about Microsoft's mobile strategy. Here's all the Windows phone, tablet, and laptop news from the past week.

Nokia have introduced two new models to their Lumia range – the Lumia 720 and Lumia 520 – at the Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona. Nokia are launching the phone as low-cost alternatives to their premium Windows 8 smartphone, the Lumia 920, with Nokia President and CEO Stephen Elop saying that “broadening our devices and services” was a motivation for expanding the line.

Paul Rubens, who writes for CIO, commented extensively on reports that Windows 8 tablets were making good headway in the enterprise sector. He concluded that while both Windows 8 tablet and app sales among businesses are strong, the limited app selection means that Microsoft’s offerings are only slaking the thirst of niche enterprise services not disrupting the business market as a whole.

Windows Blue, the rumoured update to Windows 8, has been poking its head above Microsoft’s leaky parapets for the first time. Unconfirmed reports state that the new OS will launch in August, and feature much-expanded search functionalities.

LG, whose handset division has all but wound up over the last year, say they’re open to developing Windows 8 devices, but don’t see a “significant market” for them yet. The Korean consumer electronics giant – who manufacture displays for a few global handset manufacturers – “will be on board” with Windows 8 when things pick up, according to an unnamed LG representative.

Microsoft has expanded its range of peripherals for Windows 8 devices. Among the accessories on offer are a pair of ergonomically styled mice and a Bluetooth-enabled keyboard.

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, thinks that Windows 8 sales are “perfect” for now, and is pretty pumped about the possibilities for Microsoft’s in-house tablet, the Surface. “I don’t think Surface is going to dominate volume,” said the exec in an interview with TechnoBuffalo, “but it’s a real business”.

Simon Garfinkel, a writer for Technology Review, has his doubts about the possibility of unifying an operating system’s interface across multiple devices. He thinks Microsoft’s solution feels “somewhat weird”, although he also credits Windows 8 with getting “a lot right”.

Consumer Reports has been testing loads of Windows 8 laptops and ultrabooks, and thinks there are much better devices on offer than Microsoft’s own Surface Pro, including ultrabooks and laptops by Lenovo and Acer.

Google have released a super-high-resolution Chromebook with a touchscreen, called ‘Pixel’. Preston Gralla, who writes for Computer World, hates it.

Lenovo have launched their best-selling ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch in the United Arab Emirates.

Mozilla has seen fit to release an early ‘test’ version of its Metro-optimised browser for Windows 8. It’s available now, free of charge, from Mozilla’s test build archive.

IHS iSuppli, a leading technology market research agency, are pretty certain that the second half of 2013 with be a gravy train for ‘hybrid’ (convertible laptop/tablet) Windows 8 ultrabooks, according to a report from CNet. Despite a weak start to the year, they predict 2013 notebook shipments from PC manufacturers will rise 5 percent from the total of 156.9 million units shipped during 2012.

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