Windows 8 Public Beta Slated for Early 2012: Will We See a CES Demo?

  • Sources close to Microsoft have told The Next Web that the company’s Windows 8 beta will be released in late February.
  • However, WinRumors says the release may be ready one month earlier, and is expected to make its debut at January’s CES.
  • “Recently leaked screenshots indicate that Microsoft will allow users to change the Start Screen color and the Start Screen background image in beta copies of Windows 8,” reports WinRumors. “Users will be able to create, name and rearrange Start Screen groups as well as navigate with the Windows 8 Apps screen in a better way. Microsoft is planning to group applications to make it easier for users to identify them in Windows 8 beta. Windows Media Center will also return to Windows 8 beta alongside the typical Windows games, DVD creator and .NET 3.5.”
  • In a related post by The Verge, a preview of MS Office 15 is also expected for CES: “The update is supposed to have a redesigned touch-friendly interface and a Metro Style hub for navigating to documents — we’d expect to find cues from the Metro style UI throughout the software to make it more usable with Windows 8 on a tablet.”
  • The rumor mill is also dropping hints of new Windows 8 devices. Nokia already announced it would have a Windows 8 tablet ready by June.

Safe Internet Coalition Established in Europe Aimed at Protecting Children

  • Apple, Google, LG, Nintendo, Nokia, Samsung and Facebook are among 28 tech and media companies that are joining forces to “deliver a better Internet for our children,” reports TheNextWeb.
  • “The group was put together by the European Commission (EC) and the priority actions set out include making it easier to report harmful content, ensuring privacy settings are age-appropriate, and offering wider options for parental control,” according to TNW.
  • “This new coalition should provide both children and parents with transparent and consistent protection tools to make the most of the online world”, says Neelie Kroes, vice president of the EC. “The founding coalition members are already leaders in children’s safety online. Working together we will be setting the pace for the whole industry and have a great basis for fully empowering children online.”
  • The coalition has created a statement of purpose covering five key areas: create effective reporting with simple, robust tools; enable age-appropriate privacy settings; develop age-rating through widespread content classification; extend parental control; and effectively remove child abuse material through improved cooperation with law enforcement.

Is the Carrier IQ Rootkit Tracking Everything on Your Smartphone?

  • As an Android, Blackberry or Nokia user, you may not know that an app called Carrier IQ is logging literally everything you are doing on your smartphone including keystrokes, SMS messages and HTTPS sessions. Other articles on Carrier IQ report that this information is being sent to the carriers.
  • Apparently, there is no way for a user to turn Carrier IQ off without replacing the operating system.
  • A former Justice Department prosecutor has told Forbes that this is “likely grounds for a class action lawsuit” as it violates federal wiretapping law. This story is beginning to get a significant amount of attention online.
  • To see Carrier IQ in action, watch the 17-minute video posted to the PC World article.

Nokia Kinetic Device: Gumby Phone Controlled by Bends and Twists

  • Nokia unveiled its Kinetic Device smartphone prototype at the recent Nokia World Conference in London.
  • The screen of the concept phone “is controlled by the way that it is bent or twisted or flexed, not by the way it is touched,” reports The Huffington Post.
  • The video shows how bending the phone inwards and outwards controls zoom and twisting it controls volume and playback.
  • “It’s built entirely out of plastic, which includes the bendy and attractive AMOLED display up front, and contains only the hardware required to power it and to sense user input,” explains This Is My Next in a related post. “It all looks somewhat unwieldy when you’re observing it, and it’s not all that easy to describe, but adapting to the control scheme takes only a few seconds and once you know what you’re doing, it becomes extremely natural. Honestly, bend-to-zoom is miles ahead of pinch-to-zoom in terms of intuitive human interaction.”
  • No word yet on whether Nokia has plans to develop a commercial version.

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