week in review Microsoft stole the tech news spotlight this week, initially by, the Surface, which effectively helps it play catch-up in the competitive iPad-led tablet market. And then at the same developer conference, it made its next-generation mobile operating system, Windows Phone 8, official and promised the OS would ship on handsets starting this fall.
Microsoft is breaking with its traditional business model by building and branding its own Surface tablet, effectively competing with its own hardware partners such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Lenovo. The company has so far avoided irritating manufacturers that churn out Windows PCs, tablets, and phones. Butwith mobile devices. In addition to Surface, rumor has it .
Surface tablets, not to be confused with their table-top cousin (), will be available in two versions. The first, running Windows RT -- effectively the "light" version of Windows 8 -- will launch in the fall, around the same time Windows 8 does, and run on an as-yet-unnamed ARM CPU. While it won't have the full desktop version of Windows 8, running only the Metro apps available through the Windows app store, it will include a version of Microsoft Office at no additional charge.
About three months later, a Windows 8 Pro version of the tablet will follow. The Pro will offer the full Windows 8 OS running on an Intel Ivy Bridge CPU (the same chip found in ultrabooks and other laptops). The Pro version will also be slightly thicker, offer a more robust battery, and boast better peripheral support (USB 3.0 versus 2.0, DisplayPort, and an SDXC expansion slot) and twice the storage capacity of the RT version.
Microsoft has yet to release any pricing or availability on the two Surface models, making them hard to compare with tablet competition. CNET's Dan Farber points out that in not making the hardware available to the press on the preview day or before -- or to customers soon after -- it appears to be creating.
Still, at first glance, by most accounts, the Surface is kind of awesome. From magnetic, hydrophobic, touch keyboards to a built-in stand that's been acoustically tuned somewhat like a door on a luxury car, Microsoft is positioning the Surface as a premium device.
Microsoft's young smartphone operating system promises to grow up with Windows Phone 8.
Microsoft's decision to bar older Windows Phones from upgrading burns current users and demolishes the goodwill built here by Nokia's Lumia phones.
Service was spotty for Twitter users as the company scrambles to figure out why the site was down. While Twitter says it's an internal issue, a hacker group is claiming responsibility.
The e-commerce giant is applying for 76 new top-level domains -- and you won't be able to register any of them. What exactly does it have up its sleeve?
A House committee says the IPO process needs to be modernized to react to today's marketplace.
Some news sources are confirming that the new iPhone will have a much smaller 19-pin port, rather than the 30-pin connector currently on the phone.
Google tells operators of YouTube-MP3.org that by converting YouTube music videos into MP3 files, they violate the site's terms of service and risk "legal consequences."
Come along with CNET's Daniel Terdiman as he visits some of the best geek-oriented spots in California, Nevada, Arizona, and Oregon -- from Hollywood to the mountains to the coast to the desert.
Road Trip 2012 roundup
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