windows

Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo tablets dip below $250 at Microsoft Store

Microsoft is pushing select Windows 8.1 tablets below $250 at its online and physical stores.

For example, the 32GB Dell Venue 8 Pro is now priced at $229, dropping $70 from $299.

The 32GB Lenovo Miix 2 and Toshiba Encore are also $249 now, down from $299.

As a yardstick for comparable Android tablets, Dell's Venue 8, which runs Android 4.2.2 on an older Z2580 Intel Atom processor, sells for $179.99 directly from Dell. And Toshiba markets the Android-based Toshiba Excite 7 for $149.99.

Other Windows 8.1 models have been cut too. The … Read more

Chrome extension turns YouTube into your own personal radio station

There is no shortage of Internet radio services. From freeware like Pandora and Rdio to premium services like Spotify and Google Music, you can listen to all the songs you want, when you want them. Streamus allows you to search for songs by tapping into the world's largest music database, YouTube.

Just download and install the extension and start listening to your favorite tune. You can search directly from the Omnibox (the address/search bar) by typing in "Streamus" and hitting Tab, or you can search within the extension and create your own playlist.

You can get … Read more

Windows Phone grabs a ride with Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, one of the most popular titles in the franchise series, has made its way to Windows Phone just a month after it arrived on Android and iOS.

Rockstar Games launched GTA: San Andreas to Windows Phone on Monday for $7. The game follows the same storyline as the console versions that launched years ago. In addition to downloading the game, players will also need to download an additional 2.5GB to get the full title onto their devices.

For now, GTA: San Andreas is available on just a handful of Windows Phone devices, including the … Read more

Android ends 2013 on a high note

The Android mobile OS finished 2013 with a rise in market share in 12 major regions around the world, research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech said Monday.

For the three months ending December 2013, Google's mobile OS showed market share gains in the US, Europe, Latin America, China, and Japan. In Europe alone, Android now holds a 68.6 percent slice of the market, according to Kantar.

In second place, Apple's iOS lost steam in virtually all regions, slipping to a 43.9 percent share in the US, 29.9 percent in the UK, and 19 percent in China. … Read more

Microsoft Surface: It's on a roll (and why it exists)

Why does Surface exist and is Microsoft serious about moving forward with the laptop-tablet hybrid? The software giant -- er, device maker -- has answers to those questions.

Microsoft said this week during its earnings conference call that Surface shipments doubled sequentially, though it's a little more complicated than that (i.e., Surface doesn't appear to be profitable yet).

The company is, not surprisingly, encouraged by the numbers and it appears to have no intention to retreat from the strategy to evolve as a device maker.

So, let's pose this existential question: why did Microsoft create Surface? … Read more

How to find and clip Amazon instant coupons

Have you heard? Amazon.com has coupons. You may have seen a random coupon here or there while shopping for toothpaste or sunblock, but there's actually an entire section of Amazon that's dedicated to coupons and it's not just for groceries and household goods. You can find coupons for electronics, pet supplies, toys, and other items.

No scissors are necessary to clip Amazon coupons and you don't have to worry about forgetting to bring them with you either.

To get started with Amazon coupons, go to Amazon.com, then click on the link at the top … Read more

Windows 8.1 Update 1 coming March 11?

There's nothing like ending the week with a few fresh Windows rumors.

First up, the target release date for Windows 8.1 Update 1 -- the relatively minor update coming to Windows 8.1 this spring -- is allegedly March 11, according to one of my accurate and trusted sources. Yes, that's a Patch Tuesday. Given that Microsoft will likely deliver Update 1 to Windows 8.1 users via Windows Update, this seems pretty believable to me.

Windows leaker WZor previously indicated that Windows 8.1 Update 1 would likely be released to manufacturing in March, but didn'… Read more

Dell's Surface Pro 2 rival appears at Microsoft Store

The Microsoft store has begun selling an Intel Core i5-based Dell tablet that competes with the Surface Pro 2.

Microsoft has added an Intel Core i5 4210Y-based Venue 11 Pro to its lineup of Dell tablets, which already includes an Atom-based Venue 11 Pro and the Venue 8 Pro.

The i5-based Venue 11 Pro differs from the Intel "Bay Trail" Atom model in some important respects, performance and price being the most salient. The Core i5 variant is faster and more expensive than its Atom counterpart. The i5 model is priced at $899, compared with $499 for the Atom-based model. … Read more

Security suites jockey for position on Windows 8.1

Independent security testing firm AV-Test.org released its first Windows 8.1 results earlier this week, showing that, once again, most security suites are capable, but not great, at protecting you from threats.

AV-Test spent most of 2013 focusing on testing security suites on versions of Windows prior to Windows 8. The company's January and February tests showed that top-rated suites on Windows 7 generally performed well on Windows 8. The new Windows 8.1 tests saw similar results.

The new tests compared 24 suites during November and December 2013 on Windows 8.1 with no default security features … Read more

Review: Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Breaking with series convention, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag steps back in time instead of forward, filling in the gap between Assassin's Creed III and II. You play as Edward Kenway, a privateer turned assassin caught in a dastardly plan of betrayal.

Pros

Fluid mechanics: Assassin's Creed IV benefits from the work of its predecessors, evident in the game's much refined mechanics. Controlling the assassin, Edward, as he trudges through jungle, climbs trees, or dashes across the rooftops has never felt more natural.

Pirate mode: The naval battles of Assassin's Creed III are now a … Read more