An often irreverent look at this week's other news ...
Join Me for the Windows 8 Launch
Microsoft is holding its Windows 8 launch event at Pier 57 in New York City on the morning of October 25, but there will also be events the night before, including some form of meet-up/“tweet-up” that will include Mary Jo Foley and myself. Mary Jo is working on the logistics since she lives in New York, but I’ll be giving away signed copies of Windows 8 Secrets and generally making a fool of myself. More details soon (on the logistics, not on me making a fool of myself). But it’s also worth noting that the October 25 event will include a “Microsoft Surface reception,” which makes sense since the first Surface devices go on sale that day. If all goes well, I will have purchased a Surface the night before at midnight and won’t need to go to this event just to finally get a real hands-on experience with the devices.
Microsoft Finally Comes Clean on the Windows Phone 8 Launch
Speaking of events that happen this month and have the words “Windows,” “8,” and “launch” in them, Microsoft finally revealed this week that it will launch Windows Phone 8 in San Francisco on October 29, 2012. Don’t confuse this with device availability, as the first Windows Phone 8 handsets will hit the market a bit later, in November. But this schedule mirrors that of the previous two releases, Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 7.5. So we can safely dispense with that “Windows Phone 8 is late” silliness, as noted a few weeks back.
AT&T Announces Windows 8 and Windows RT Tablet Lineup
AT&T Wireless announced this week that it will sell tablets based on Windows 8 and Windows RT this holiday season. The ASUS VivoTab RT runs Windows RT, as you’d expect, and comes with a 10.1" display, a quad-core Tegra 3 TE processor, 32GB of storage, and 4G LTE networking capabilities. The Samsung ATIV Smart PC runs Windows 8 and comes with a detachable keyboard-docking system that transforms the device into a laptop, an 11.6" display, a 1.5GHz Intel “Clover Trail” processor, 64GB of storage, and 4G LTE. AT&T’s LTE plans start at just $10 per month, the company says, but device pricing—wait for it—hasn't been announced yet, nor has availability, though I have to think the devices will ship on or soon after October 26.
AT&T Will Exclusively Offer the Nokia Lumia 920
While we’re discussing AT&T: If you live in the United States and think the Nokia Lumia 920 is the best new Windows Phone 8 handset, then you’re going to need to be an AT&T customer, too: The Lumia 920 will be offered exclusively on AT&T in the United States starting in early November. (AT&T will also carry this Nokia Lumia 820, though that phone will be available on other carriers too.) AT&T, which claims to have sold more Windows Phones than any other carrier, says that the Lumia 920 will be “one of the hottest phones for the holidays,” and will offer the device in now-classic Lumia cyan blue, in addition to the previously announced red, white, black, and yellow form factors. No word on pricing, go figure, though I expect the Lumia 920 to retail for either $49 or $99 with a two-year contract and the mid-level 820 to be free or $49.
Barnes & Noble, Microsoft Partner to Form NOOK Subsidiary
In the wake of the launch of a new lineup of Android-based NOOK tablets, Barnes & Noble announced this week that it would consummate its partnership with Microsoft and spin off its tablet and ebook reader division into a new subsidiary called NOOK Media LLC. The new company comprises the former digital and college businesses at Barnes & Noble, and will sell the devices through the bookseller and other retailers as before. Microsoft invested $300 million in the firm and obtained a 17.6 percent ownership stake. As part of the announcement, Barnes & Noble said a NOOK app for Windows 8 was “imminent,” not that that’s any big deal: The Amazon Kindle app has been available for Windows 8 for months.
Microsoft Acquires Mobile Authentication Firm
Microsoft announced this week that it has purchased PhoneFactor for an undisclosed sum. PhoneFactor is cited as a “recognized leader in multifactor authentication solutions,” and the software giant says it will bring the firm’s multifactor authentication technologies into its cloud services and on-premises applications. If you’re familiar with the recent moves Microsoft has made to shore up multifactor authentication through its Microsoft account service (previously called Windows Live ID), and compare it with Google’s two-factor authentication process in Gmail, this purchase makes some sense and will help the software giant, I think, bridge the gap between the two. Basically, this technology lets customers verify authentication via phone calls or text messages to a device, the smartphone, that they have with them at all times, thus helping to ensure they are who they say they are before making account changes.
Samsung Posts Record $7.3 Billion Quarterly Profit
The world’s biggest maker of smartphones just got a lot bigger: In a regulatory filing, Samsung predicted it will post a record profit of $7.3 billion on revenues of $47 billion, increases of 85 percent and 46 percent, respectively, over the same quarter a year ago. Smartphone shipments likely topped 58 million units, with about 20 million of those being the Galaxy S III, Samsung’s current best-seller. (Final quarterly results are expected October 26.) Samsung is now the ninth most valuable company in the world, up from 17th place a year ago.
Listen to Paul. No, Really Listen. Or Watch. Or Both!
I was in Colorado this week for work meetings, so my podcast schedule got a bit scrambled again. I did record What the Tech with Andrew Zarian on Tuesday, but I had to skip Windows Weekly because I was traveling home that day. But Leo Laporte and Mary Jo Foley recorded a new episode with our bud Travis Lowdermilk of the Windows Developer Show, so that will be worth watching. Both podcast 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
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