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Google cited as bothered by Android-Windows hybrid

Google is the force behind a potential delay in the first tablet to instantly switch between Windows 8.1 and Android 4.X using Intel technology, a fresh report from Asia says. A CNET source backs up this claim.

A report on Friday from Digitimes fingers Google as holding up the Asus Transformer Book Duet TD300, a novel laptop-tablet hybrid that can instantly switch between Android and Windows 8.1.

This follows earlier reports from CNET and Digitimes.

Here's what Digitimes said on Friday, in part:

Currently, only Intel's...chip can support dual operating systems, giving consumers an … Read more

Microsoft plans to patch critical Windows, IE bugs next week

Microsoft has marked two of the five security updates it plans to release next week as "critical," including one that addresses a vulnerability in Internet Explorer that is currently being exploited in the wild.

One of the updates announced in a security bulletin Thursday will patch a flaw in IE 10 -- discovered last month by security company FireEye -- being exploited by attack code found on the Veterans of Foreign Wars' Web site. Security firm Websense reported finding similar code exploiting the same flaw on the compromised Web site of a French aerospace association, indicating there was … Read more

Microsoft leaks Windows 8.1 update early

Update: Microsoft appears to have disabled the ability to install the update.

The rumored Windows 8.1 update is here -- sort of.

The official update isn't expected until April 8, but numerous reports on Thursday are claiming that by jumping through a few hoops, it can be installed.

But it's not recommended. One method that reportedly works involves making changes to the Windows registry, a dicey undertaking if you don't know what you're doing.

"We wouldn't be surprise if Microsoft blocks this workaround very quickly," Neowin surmised.

Here's how the Verge … Read more

Ulitmate Windows Customizer review

Ultimate Windows Customizer lets you make radical changes to your Windows interface in a matter of seconds. It lets you completely redesign everything from Windows' built-in programs and utilities to random things like your "Start" button. While you might need a few minutes to figure it out, the program unleashes all sorts of control and customization for your computer's appearance.

This program lets you change multiple elements of your Windows interface from the same tabbed menu. In addition to the layout changes you'd be able to make in Windows already, this app lets you change the … Read more

Windows tablets, your time may be at hand

The tablet market is shifting into a more mature phase, and that figures to be a good thing for Microsoft.

Market researcher IDC on Thursday forecast a dramatic slowdown in the expansion of the worldwide market for tablets, with the growth rate simmering at 19.4 percent in 2014, down from a sizzling growth rate of 51.6 percent last year. The firm defines that market as including both slate-style tablets and 2-in-1 devices.

As the tablet market cools down, IDC said, sales to businesses will help lift the profile of Microsoft's Windows operating system, which has been in the shadow of Apple's iOS and Google's AndroidRead more

Security lessons from RSA

The RSA Conference, the flagship meetup for cryptography, information security, and IT experts from around the world, just wrapped on February 28. While RSA is largely for IT professionals and businesses rather than consumers, I learned a couple of new lessons about personal protection in the age of big data. Read on for lessons learned and tips for taking control of your online security and digital privacy.

1. Beware of hackers and protect your passwords

Hackers are no more evil than the average netizens, nor are they loners: They build social communities around their illicit activities. Whether they're cyber-criminals … Read more

Facebook Messenger lands on Windows Phone

Windows Phone users can now download Facebook Messenger.

Already available for iOS and Android devices, the social network's dedicated chat app is now nestled in the Windows Phone Store.

A spinoff of the full Facebook mobile app, Facebook Messenger lets you chat with one or more of your friends, share your location, and perk up your chats with pictures and stickers.

The launch doesn't come as a surprise. At last week's Mobile World Congress, Microsoft announced that Facebook Messenger would soon land on Windows Phone.

"Facebook Messenger is probably one of the most requested individual apps … Read more

Watch Cortana, Microsoft's rival to Siri and Google Now

One of the main new features of Windows Phone 8.1 -- the personal digital assistant code-named "Cortana" -- has made a brief, unofficial video debut.

The UnleashThePhones.com site posted a 2-plus-minute video clip to YouTube showing what seems to be Cortana in action. Though the "speaking voice" of Cortana isn't revealed, a few new tidbits are.… Read more

Tablet Tuesday: Get an 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablet for $199.99

I've been traveling a fair bit lately, both for business and pleasure, and on every trip I've packed a 7-inch Kindle Fire tablet and a 13.3-inch Samsung laptop -- the latter for work, the former for media consumption (movies, books, etc.).

But today's deal has me wondering: Could a single device take the place of those two?

For a limited time and while supplies last, Best Buy has the Lenovo Miix 2 (32GB) tablet for $199.99, shipped (plus sales tax). This 8-inch tablet runs Windows 8.1 and comes with Microsoft Office Home & Student. … Read more

Windows 8.1 update reportedly hits final stage

The "spring" update to Windows 8.1 is purportedly now in the hands of PC and tablet makers.

Microsoft has signed off on the update and moved it into the RTM (release-to-manufacturing) stage, The Verge said on Tuesday, citing "sources familiar with Microsoft's plans." A similar tidbit was served by Russian leaker Wzor, who tweeted that the Windows 8.1 spring update was signed off by Microsoft on February 26 and is now final.

The update has begun to reach device makers to test and install on their products, The Verge added. Windows 8.1 … Read more