Big news this week from two of the biggest companies in the tech industry: Intel and Microsoft.
At Microsoft's BUILD conference in California, it teased Windows 8 and showed it off running on a Samsung tablet.
The 5,000 developers in attendance all got one of the devices preloaded with an early version of Windows 8. It runs an Intel Core i5 processor has a 64gb SSD and 4gigs of memory. The company said the reason for such a fluid UI is because Windows 8 takes advantage of hardware acceleration.
The interface for Windows 8 is unlike any previous version of the OS and it will run on Intel and ARM chips, that means PCs and tablets. Microsoft released a developer preview of the OS this week, but didn't say when the final version would be available.
With Build going on in Anaheim, up the road in San Francisco, Intel hosted it's Developer Forum where the company also focused on being mobile, whether it be with a phone or tablet, or with a laptop or ultrabook with long battery life. Intel and Google announced a partnership to optimize future versions of Android OS smartphones and other devices using Intel chips. Intel also touted a new chip, codenamed Haswell that will be the most power efficient chip from the company to date. The company promised 10 days of stand by time with it.
Haswell chips are due in laptops by 2013 and are targeted at ultrabooks, which is Intel's category of thin and light PCs with tablet like features.
Sharp will end sales of most of its Galapagos tablet computers, less than a year after launch. It will discontinue the 5.5-inch and 10.8-inch models in Japan later this month. When the devices launched last December, Sharps said it hoped to sell a million of the tablets and take the lead in Japan from competitors like the iPad and Kindle. Apparently that won't be the case.
Netflix now works on Android 2.2 and 2.3 devices, though some people with tablets might need to wait a little longer. The video-streaming service has updated its app to work on smartphones that run either the Froyo or Gingerbread, although those with the Honeycomb version are still out of luck. Official Android tablet support is only available for specific devices. It was only this May when Netflix came to Android. iOS users got the service more than a year ago and Windows Phone 7 last November.
While Steve Jobs's departure from the Apple marked a major shift in the company's development, one thing it probably won't affect is the company's bottom line. A new survey from market research firm ChangeWave Research says that the end of Jobs's tenure at the company's top post won't slow consumer adoption of its products. In 2008 after Bloomberg mistakenly published an obituary for Jobs, 18 percent of consumers said that the icon's theoretical resignation would make them less likely to buy Apple products in the future. In the most recent survey of the question only 4 percent of consumers said they would be less likely to buy Apple products. Just 1 percent said they'd be more likely to buy products with him gone.
High tech vending machines were in Boston this week and will continue a tour throughout the US, showing the public what's possible with the help of technology.
Dan Matthews, EVP, National Automatic Merchandising Association:
"When you go out and see some of these machines it’s like an iPhone. They’re all touchscreens, they’re all interactive. The produce will move 3D towards you. You can turn the product so you can see the ingredient label and that’s important to people that they see the ingredient label and they’re just fun."
Matthews said the machines on display are designed to cater to Gen Y or 18-29 year olds the target audience for vending machines. One machine called the Diji-Touch has a 46” Samsung touch LCD screen that lets consumers see the product, its ingredients and nutrition facts. Diji Touch machines take cash, credit cards and soon payments from mobile phones. The company is testing 20 machines in Boston an hopes to expand soon.
Another machine dispensed fresh ground coffee, which a product manager said is rare as the coffee is usually premade and sits in the machine for days. The vending machine tour continues through mid October and will stop in New York City, Atlanta, Austin, Phoenix, Minneaplois and Madison.