Windows 8.1 Update 1, a small evolutionary update to the controversial operating system from Microsoft, has leaked ahead of its official March release. The update 1 is squarely aimed at desktop users, with enhancements made to lessen the gestural actions that don’t make sense for people using Windows 8 with a keyboard/mouse combination. New mouse-focused context menus, search and power/shutdown buttons on the lock screen and the ability to add metro apps to the taskbar are some of the notable changes in Update 1. This sets the stage for the next version of Windows codenamed “Threshold” which will be detailed at the Build developer event in April and released to OEMs sometime next year.
The tablet market is peculiar. It started out with a form factor of the iPad with 9.7 inches of screen real estate, and then suddenly, small tablets were all the rage, with the Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7 kickstarting the now popular form factor for tablets. Apple had to follow suit of course, with the iPad mini, and even if they wouldn’t want to admit, it has definitely cannibalized the bigger iPad, as noted by the falling ASPs. It is telling that the price alone wasn’t the reason(Nexus 10 is cheap too) for this form factor’s success, although it played a huge role.
Microsoft was a late entrant to this market. Windows 8 was supposed to take it by storm, but with a UI focused on landscape use, 10 inch tablets entered the space and they were met with little to no interest. It is also due to the lack of interest in this big widescreen form factor, as noted earlier. Out came Windows 8.1 with much better portrait support, better snap modes with no resolution dependencies and now, we finally have a whole range of 8 inch Windows tablets from several OEMs, with surprisingly affordable price tags. One of them, which really caught our eye, was the Dell Venue 8 Pro. Armed with the new x86 Intel Atom BayTrail processor, full blown Windows 8.1 and a price tag of 299$ for the base version, is Dell Venue 8 Pro THE small tablet you deserve? Lets find out in our in depth review.
It is a well known fact that Qualcomm is one of the leading chip providers for the Windows RT ecosystem as well as the Windows Phone ecosystem. At the Computex event in Taipei, they have gone ahead and announced that their Snapdragon 800 series of powerful high end chipsets will include support for the Windows RT 8.1 platform. Powered by quad core processors with upto 2.2 GHz clock speeds per core, this marks a huge upgrade from the yesteryear dual core S4 plus chipsets that were used for the first Windows RT tablets, like the Dell XPS 10 for example. The Adreno 330 graphics is supposed to offer even greater graphics performance, and with additional support of in-built LTE and USB 3.0, the performance and feature gains for the Windows RT 8.1 are massive.