Operating Systems

iOS Gets Fifth Upgrade

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Apple is rather bullish at WWDC 2011-- not only stating its admittedly impressive sales statistics, but getting Steve Jobs to announce iOS 5, its latest mobile OS iteration.

ios5First off, the numbers. iDevices now reach 200m WW, with over 44% market share-- making iOS the top mobile OS IF one counts the iPod Touch (so take that as you will). Meanwhile iPad sales reach 25m (after 14 months), and Apple's app store currently has 425000 apps available (with 14Bn app downloads in 3 years, meaning $2.5Bn in revenue to developers). 

The big news, as mentioned earlier, is iOS 5-- more of an evolution than an complete overhaul, even if one with 1500 new APIs. The first noticeable change is to notifications, now taking place with an Android-style swipe-down menu on the top of the screen. Twitter now also comes backed into the OS. 

Arguably the biggest feature is (finally) getting rid of the need to sync an iDevice with a PC-- iOS 5 handles syncing over the cloud, alongside over-the-air updates.

There are also plenty of other new features and tweaks (Apple says there's over 200 of them), including compatibility with Apple's MobileMe replacement, the iCloud, whose release will predictably coincide with iOS 5's. 

Go Apple iOS 5

HP to License webOS?

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HPHP has further ambitions for its Palm-developed webOS-- to license it to its partners providing their customers mobile services. 

CEO Léo Apotheker reveals these plans during an interview with the Wall Street Journal at the D9 conference.

“WebOS will also be adopted by many partners who provide services to small and medium businesses,” he says, before confirming that webOS will not only run on "lots of HP devices" but will be available to enterprises and SMBs. 

So, will HP consider licensing webOS to the likes of HTC (the example the WSJ gives)? Apparently yes. 

Meanwhile webOS head Jon Rubinstein confirms HP's plans, saying that while the company won't be licensing webOS "broadly", it might be doing just that with its select partners. 

Go HP Might License webOS Says CEO (WSJ)

Microsoft Reveals Windows 8

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Microsoft's Windows 8 gets its first official appearance at the D9 Conference, showing off a new UI as well as scalability-- running not only PCs but, according to Microsoft, "on everything". 

Windows8The most obvious feature is the tile-based UI-- very similar to Windows Phone 7's-- replacing the traditional Start menu. The tiles (set up in a grid layout) can carry dynamic data on the icon itself, showing notifications and the like. 

The entire interface appears to be entirely touch-optimised, with task switching involving swiping apps towards the screen's center before "snapping" them to a sidebar.  

Running legacy apps (such as Office) slides the new UI away, revealing a far more familiar Windows 7-like layout, complete with Start button and file manager. 

Microsoft is pushing for developers to work on HTML5, CSS and Javascript apps (ideal for low power tablets and laptops), which it will sell on its app store. 

Internet Explorer also gets an update, with a Silverlight-powered 10th version.

The new OS runs on System on a Chip (SoC) devices-- Taipei's Computex 2011 hosts ARM-powered Windows 8 prototypes by Qualcomm, Texas Instruments and Nvidia.

Microsoft should reveal more later on September, at its BUILD developer event. 

Watch Building windows 8

Go Previewing Windows 8

Windows Phone Gets Mango-ed

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Microsoft unveils its long awaited Windows Phone update, "Mango"-- promising "hundreds" of new features and improvements. 

MangoThe update should allow for simpler communications, as it now unites MSN Messenger chats, SMS and Facebook messaging under conversation threads. It will also have a contact group system, with the ability to send emails or SMS to entire groups. 

Twitter and LinkedIn feeds now get integration into contact cards, together with Facebook's check-in system.

Internet Explorer 9 is now Windows Phone's browser of choice, complete with HTML5 support, hardware acceleration and further Bing integration. 

Meanwhile the Windows Phone app store should be receiving a revamp, alongside other general tweaks and fixes. 

Mango should appear on the future's Microsoft-powered Nokia phones, as well as devices from new partners Acer, Fujitsu and ZTE (joining HTC, Samsung and LG). 

Go Microsoft Officially Unveils Mango

A Peak into Android's Sweet Future

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Google announces Android version 3.1 at its I/O conference-- alongside a look at the OS' future, Ice Cream Sandwich.

ice cream sandwichAndroid 3.1 will be tablet only, and will have a number of tweaks to Honeycomb's interface, as well as allowing Android devices to act as USB host-- or, in other words, allowing users to plug in USB input devices (keyboards, mice, game controllers) for use with Android tablets.

It will also support Google's Music Locker service, as well as movie rentals via Android Market.

The big announcement is Ice Cream Sandwich, Android's next iteration-- one to unite mobile phones and tablets under a single OS. Rolling out late 2011, few details are actually out. Mobiles will get Honeycomb's "holographic" UI, launcher and widgets through an applications framwork allowing for scaling between different device form factors.

Meanwhile Google has other plans for Android-- such as Android @ Home, its home automation framework, and the Android Open Accessory standard.

Go Android 3.1 Highlights

Go Android: Momentum, Mobile and More at Google I/O