An often irreverent look at this week's other news ...
If all goes well, by the time you read this, I’ll be flying home from France after three weeks in Normandy. See you on the other side! —Paul
There Is No Way That Microsoft Surface Will Cost $199
With the understanding that I have absolutely no actual information about this topic, I can tell you with utter certainty that Microsoft will never price the Windows RT version of its coming Surface tablet at just $199, as gadget blogs have claimed, citing a single anonymous source. And the reason I “know” this is that I have, in fact, seen how Microsoft’s partners intend to price their own Windows RT tablets, and none of them come anywhere near that figure. I think I’ve mentioned this elsewhere, but what the heck: Microsoft would never undercut its own partners by such a wide margin. And if the $199 figure is “true,” then it can only happen if the device comes with an additional monthly subscription cost. Which means it doesn’t cost $199. I rest my case.
And We Have a Winner: “” It Is
For the past two weeks, a weird cottage industry has sprung up offering Microsoft help in renaming its Metro platform—a name the software giant is suddenly unable to use because of a mysterious legal threat (thought to be initiated by Metro AG in Germany). In Windows 8: Solving the Metro Naming Flap, I recommended using “WinRT” in place of the awful “Windows 8 apps” and “Windows 8 UI” text that Microsoft was going to use, and other sites made up names (like “Modern”) that Microsoft was supposedly moving to. But it's not. From here on out, what we used to call Metro-style apps are now called Windows 8 apps. And the Metro UI is now called the Windows 8 UI. Is this ridiculous? Yep. Are we stuck with it? It appears so, yes. Ah well.
Microsoft Isn't Forcing Developers to Remove "Metro" from Their App Names
In keeping with the previous blurb—where, if you heard it on the Internet, it must be true—there were also stories this week about Microsoft forcing developers to remove the word "Metro" from the names of their Windows 8 apps. This news reached ludicrous proportions when I was alerted to an ebook reader app for Windows 8 that uses the mangled name "Merto Reader," allegedly to avoid this very issue. But as it turns out, Microsoft isn't forcing developers to not use "Metro" in their app names. Instead, it is alerting them to this potential issue and warning them that should some company that shall never be named claim infringement, they’re going to have to change their app’s name.
Outlook.com Hits 10 Million Users in Just 2 Weeks
Microsoft announced this week that its Gmail killer webail service, Outlook.com, has reached more than 10 million users in just two weeks. Not coincidentally, I spent that two-week period writing at least one Outlook.com tip every single day. You can find them all, and a ton of other Outlook.com and related content, on the SuperSite for Windows.
Samsung to Nokia: Oh No You Didn’t!!
Although Samsung is the number-one maker of smartphones overall, and the number-one maker of Android smartphones, struggling handset maker Nokia reigns supreme over the Windows Phone market. And this week, Nokia sales and marketing head Chris Weber, for some reason, prodded his much bigger adversary with a bizarre taunt on Twitter. “Samsung take note, next-generation Lumia coming soon,” he wrote, most likely in reference to an early September Nokia event (see below) where the company is expected to announce (but not release) its first Windows Phone 8 handsets. Some have wondered whether the “note” mention is a reference to Samsung’s Note 10.1 tablet, which shipped this week in the United States, and thus a sly clue that Nokia will be announcing its own Windows 8 or Windows RT-based tablets next month, too. I’ve often thought that a tablet modeled on the awesome unibody design of the Lumia 800 or 900 phone would be an incredible move. But that said, I’ve caught no whiff of a Nokia product in Microsoft’s Windows RT device lineup lists.
Nokia Special Event Expected to Preview Windows Phone 8 Designs
Nokia was originally expected to unveil its first Windows Phone 8 handsets at Nokia World 2012 on September 5. But now Nokia is also holding a live event in New York City on September 5, and according to the invite graphic, it has a lot to do with Windows Phone 8. So what’s one to expect? I think it’s pretty clear that Nokia is going to announce its Windows Phone 8 products on September 5, that’s what. Sadly, I can’t make either event: I’ll be in New Zealand that week!
HP Renames webOS to My Grandmother’s Name
This one is too weird: A leaked memo notes that HP will rename its abandoned webOS mobile platform and the rest of its Palm-based assets with a new name: Gram. That’s the name I called my grandmother, but I suspect HP is shooting for "gram" as in a tiny weight (or perhaps part of the word “program”), not Gram as in a tiny Italian woman. "This change in identity will take some getting used to and that's normal,” the memo notes. You don’t say.
Listen to Paul. No, Really Listen. Or Watch. Or Both!
I was able to record both podcasts this week—What the Tech with Andrew Zarian on Tuesday and Windows Weekly with Leo Laporte (Mary Jo Foley was away) on Thursday—from France. Both episodes should be available soon, on the web, and via iTunes, the Zune Marketplace, and wherever else quality podcasts are found. You can also find all of my podcast activities on the SuperSite for Windows.
The Paul Thurrott Mobile App: Is That a Paul in Your Pocket?
The Paul Thurrott: Pocket Tech app is now available for both the iPhone and Windows Phone, bringing all of my technical content to your favorite mobile device in a fun, on-the-go format. We'll have an Android version available soon as well, I'm told. And who knows? A Windows 8 app would make plenty of sense too. Download for Windows Phone - Download for iPhone
But Wait, There's More