After placingÂ all bets on Windows Phone, Stephen Elop announced that Nokia would slowly phase out its OG operating system, Symbian. Today, it’s officially passed the torch, handing over all Symbian-related duties to Accenture, a consulting and outsourcing firm. 2,300 former Nokia employees will also be repurposed, getting a new name on their paycheck as they tend to the ill-fated OS. The Finnish mainstay says the arrangement will last until at least 2016, and plans to continuallyÂ roll out updatesduring this time. Not everyone is hanging on another five years though, as it seems that at least 500 employees havejumped shipÂ or found new gigs within the company since the original announcement predicting 2,800 reassignments. Head past the break to find the full (and very terse) press release.
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We’re wishing a heartfelt farewell to Microsoft Reader today, because the folks at Redmond have decided to pull the plug on their e-book application, more than a decade after it first launched. Pre-dating the rise of theÂ e-inkÂ medium, the forward-looking MS Reader was originally designed to display digitzed books on an LCD screen, using the company’s ClearType font display. Over the past few years, however, the app has slowly faded into obscurity, with the latest desktop version dated from 2007 and its last update rendering it compatible with Windows Mobile 6.1. The concept was clearly ahead of its time, but it ultimately fell behind what would become a swelling trend, ushered in by the Kindle, Nook and other e-reading hardware. No word yet on whether Microsoft plans to introduce a similar tool forÂ Windows 8, though the timing of Reader’s demise certainly leaves ample room for speculation.
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We’ve been waiting for confirmation onÂ yesterday’s rumor, about Microsoft’s motion-sensing Xbox 360 peripheral coming to PCs, and now we have it. MS has just now released a software development kit (SDK) for Windows that will allow .Net developers to write Kinecting apps in C++, C#, or VB. We spoke with some developer representatives from the company to get the full details, including just what you can and can’t do with this big bundle of libraries. Follow us after the break for all the info.
At this point the SDK is effectively a straight-port of the same libs that are currently available to Xbox 360 developers. Built on XNA, the Kinect library is standalone, so you won’t necessarily need to rely on DirectX being present. The SDK gives full access to everything the peripheral has to offer, including both cameras (VGA and depth-sensing) and the full microphone array. The former can identify up to six individuals or track the full skeletons for two, while the latter can handle advanced echo-cancellation and even sound triangulation.
To get the full skeleton tracking you’re going to need the same sort of setup as on the Xbox 360 — namely a largeish space in front of your computer for you to stand in and plenty of light. But, developers will be able to extract raw data from both cameras should they like, so in theory someone should be able to write an app that works with a Kinect sitting on your desk and looks for simple gestures from you, even if you’re seated in a chair. That’s our ideal scenario: hand-waving recognition in productivity apps to bridge the gap between mousing and multitouching.
To that end, Microsoft isn’t confirming any plans to integrate Kinect compatibility with any of its major apps (alas, no jazz-hand formula creation in Excel), but the company’s own coders are said to have their “juices flowing” thinking of ways to integrate the tech. Hopefully those creative fluids ooze their way right into the heart ofÂ Windows 8.
The name “Windows 8” may have been tossed around a lot as of late, but Steve Ballmer himself has only just now uttered the name for the first time in public at the company’sÂ developer forum in Japan. What’s more, while he didn’t divulge a ton of specifics, he did say that the “next generation of Windows systems” will be coming out next year, and that “there’s a whole lot more coming,” including “slates, tablets, PCs, a variety of different form factors.” AsÂ ZDNet‘s Mary Jo Foley notes, the distinction between “slates” and “tablets” as two separate form factors is certainly an interesting one, as is the fact that he curiously didn’t use the name Windows 8 in connection with those next generation Windows systems. What does it all mean? Perhaps Microsoft’s Windows chief, Steven Sinofsky, will have more to say during his appearance the D9 conference next week –Â Winrumors is reporting that he may even be set to demo the company’s Windows 8 Tablet UI. And, yes, you can count on us being there to bring it all to you live.
We’re sure Microsoft is going to announce some more official details aboutÂ Windows 8 one of these days, but until then we’ll just have to make do with the seemingly unending stream of tidbits being unearthed from theÂ leaked version of the OS. Most notably, this latest batch includes the most conclusive evidence yet of a Windows 8 app store, including the logo pictured above, and a slew of other references at the code level — things like the ability to download a trial app and then unlock the full version (rather than re-download it), for instance, and the existence of things like screenshots and system requirements in the app store listings. Another recent leak has also revealed some new cloud-based settings options that could let you take your desktop profile and other personalizations from one computer to another, and even give you the ability to sync apps from that aforementioned Windows Store between PCs. All that, plus support for 3D displays andÂ WiFi Direct. Hit up the links below for some additional details.
We’ve already seenÂ Evolucetoy around with using a Kinect to control Windows, but it’s now taken things one step further with its new “Win & I” software, which promises to let anyone do the same with minimal effort. That comes in both a home edition that offers gesture controls for Windows 7 itself, plus Media Center and other applications (which could be particularly handy for a home theater), as well as a business edition that apparently adds some extra controls specifically tailored to Microsoft Office, and PowerPoint in particular. Head on past the break for a quick video demonstration, and hit up the link below to snag the software if you’re interested — the home edition runs â‚¬20, or just under $30 (Kinect not included, obviously).
Update: Well, it looks like Evoluce already has a bit of competition. Upstart company So Touch has now also released itsÂ Air Presenter software that will let you liven up your next presentation with more gesturing and hand-waving than usual.
Okay, so 2.35 million downloads in a single day is nothing to scoff at, but it’s also not a monumental achievement in terms of browser downloads in the first 24. A post to Internet Explorer’s official blog used the word “wow” to describe theÂ IE9 numbers, but considering Firefox 3 got theÂ Guinness world record for most software downloads in a day, with 8 million way back in 2008, we’re reluctant to call this news wow-worthy. Given, Firefox 3 was available for both Mac and PC, but it still beat Windows’ new browser three times over. Don’t get us wrong,Â we like IE9, but we still think a little bit of modesty goes a long way.
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