Microsoft has announced that Windows 8.1 will be arriving on October 17th (well, in the US, anyway), confirming an earlier rumor of a mid-month launch. For some reason, the company's specified an exact release time of 12am on October 18th in New Zealand, which is 4am PT or 7am ET on October 17th. At that time, the free update will begin rolling out across local Windows Stores, and will be available "at retail and on new devices" from the 18th onwards, depending on your region. Check out our hands-on and subsequent coverage for an idea of what to expect from the update.
Today at 10:30 am PST, Activision and Infinity Ward will reveal the multiplayer mode for the upcoming Call of Duty: Ghosts. The reveal will last about an hour. So far Infinity Ward has been on total radio silence about what we can expect when the most popular game in the world joins the next gen (although it will be released on the current gen as well), at least as far as the multiplayer. The campaign will take place in the near future following the fall of America. You play a member of the Ghosts, an elite group of resistance fighters that continue to fight the enemy (that has not been revealed), and squad based play will factor in. You also have an AI controlled dog in your group, and the smart money is on the dog not surviving. We do know a bit about the multiplayer though. It will feature dynamic maps that are subject to events like earthquakes that will alter the shape of the map. There will also be multiple pathways that you have to open with force, and traps you can lay. We'll find out more in a bit.
During Q2, smartphone sales blew past feature phones, Windows Phone beat BlackBerry, and Samsung continued to dominate. Samsung continues to grow its lead over Apple, the smartphone industry and the mobile phone market on the whole, Gartner announced Aug. 14. During the second quarter of 2013, Samsung's portion of the smartphone market grew to nearly one-third (31.7 percent, up from 29.7 percent a year ago), while Apple's share fell, from 18.8 percent to 14.2, though its sales increased. Apple sold 31.9 million iPhones during the quarter, compared with 29 million a year ago, while Samsung sold 71.4 million, up from 45.6 million.
Android tablets have been getting a lot more popular over the past year but they still face a major shortage of top-notch tablet-centric apps. Canalys has found that 30% of the top 50 free and paid iPad apps in the first half of 2013 were not available on Google Play while 18% were available but weren't optimized for tablets. Taken all together, then, that means nearly half of the top iPad apps either aren't available or aren't optimized for Android tablets. The issue seems to be that app developers simply haven't seen a need to create tablet-centricAndroid apps because Android tablets have only really started taking off in the last year. Canalys expects that the app gap will shrink somewhat once Google improves the Google Play experience on tablets and once developers see that Android tablet owners have stronger engagement than they have in the past. "To take the Play ecosystem to the next level, Google needs more than just a large addressable base of devices," says Canalys analyst Tim Shepherd. "App developers need to see clear potential to build robust and sustainable business models around apps built for the platform, so increasing monetization potential must be a priority."
Apple on Wednesday updated its iCloud.com beta site for developers, bringing many of the design elements the company already introduced to testers in pre-release builds of iOS 7. The newly updated iCloud.com includes the iOS 7 icons for Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Notes, and Reminders. The icon for Find My iPhone has also been given a simpler, iOS 7-style look. Apple's iWork for iCloud.com suite remains in beta, and the icons for those applications have not been revised to reflect the design changes in iOS 7.
The stars are just like us, except, you know, they have way more Facebook "likes" than most of us. Take for example, Rihanna and Eminem, who both have earned more than 74.5 million likes each. Visiting their Facebook pages show contests and promotional videos, but not much of the famous musicians themselves, making them look less like people and more like brand-name products. Facebook itself wants to rekindle the connection between the famous and their fans and is working on an app just for VIPs on the service. A spokesperson for the company said, "We are currently testing some mobile features designed to help public figures interact with their fans."Technology site All Things D first reported on the exclusive app. Details are scarce about what exactly Facebook is planning. The features might not ever break through beyond a limited test run. "We are testing these features with a small group of partners and [Facebook] will share more details should we roll it out more widely," said the company's spokesperson.
A family in Houston in the US apparently had their child's baby monitor camera hacked, after insulting phrases emanated from the unit. Marc Gilbert heard expletives being directed at his two-year-old daughter Allyson, before he disconnected the camera. Mr Gilbert said that the invasion felt like "someone broke into our house", but because his daughter is deaf, she was oblivious to the intrusion.
Samsung is having a unique kind of contest, the company announced today, and it's not the kind where someone walks away with a Galaxy S4. The Korean smartphone maker is asking people to submit ideas around what kind of devices to make with its flexible display technology. Have a hardware startup? Samsung wants you… to figure out what to do with their product. Samsung is looking "to encourage designers, hardware engineers and entrepreneurs to begin thinking about future start-ups ideas using flexible display technology." Winners are up for prizes that range from $2,500, to $5,000 and $10,000, for third, second and first place respectively, and the entries will be scored based on how important flexible displays are to the overall design, and how realistic and viable both the hardware and the business plan turn out to be. Unfortunately, Samsung stipulates that teams won't get any kind of firm details about when they might actually be able to get any prototype components should their idea be feasible enough to become real, nor will the company reveal anything around component pricing with regards to flexible displays to participating teams. Teams can create devices with displays ranging from 1-20 inches, with a max full-HD resolution of 1920×1080. \
After reporting a $900 million charge due to its Surface RT tablet flop, Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT) is facing a class-action lawsuit for allegedly misleading investors about its Surface RT's sales. The class-action complaint was filed Monday by Robbins Geller Rudman and Dowd LLP on behalf of purchasers of Microsoft Corporation between the dates of April 18, 2013 and July 18, 2013. The law firm claims Microsoft executives knew RT was tanking and intentionally kept numbers from investors. According to the document, Microsoft's "foray into the tablet market was an unmitigated disaster, which left it with a large accumulation of excess, over-valued Surface RT inventory." Defendants listed in the complaint are Microsoft, Microsoft's CEO Steven Ballmer, Microsoft's former CFO Peter Klein, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer Frank Brod, and Executive Vice President of Microsoft Marketing Tami Reller.
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Howard from LA asks "I hear they will be making more than one iPhone. How do I know which one to get?