Windows 10 Creators Update

Five days before the new Windows 10 officially rolls out to end-users, I managed to install it using Microsoft’s Windows 10 Update Assistant. The result is a neat version after about 2 gigabytes of download and four restarts.

Right after installation, this welcome screen on the updated Edge browser will greet you.

Windows 10 welcome

There is no easily recognizable change between the previous Anniversary Update (version 1607) and the Creators Update (version 1703). Interestingly, the Windows Settings app has been expanded from 9 menus to 11.

It now includes dedicated menus for managing installed apps and for gaming. Windows 10 gaming settings.png

Borrowing from Android, users are now given a choice whether to allow installation of apps from “trusted” sources (i.e. Windows Store) or from somewhere else. Windows 10 install source.png

To top it all, our IT friends can take more rest with the comprehensive self-help tools for troubleshooting. Windows 10 troubleshooting.png

Learning its lessons well, Microsoft has made Windows become appealing once again.

Up next… 3D smileys created from the new Microsoft Paint app 😉

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RIPD

I am juggling between watching the movie “R.I.P.D.” and writing this blog post when it struck me that I should adopt the same title here.

Rest in Peace, Devices!

Just two weeks after Microsoft announced its acquisition of Nokia’s Devices and Services business, Research in Motion is writing down almost a billion dollars for its smartphones that lost charisma among consumers. Almost everywhere, RIM is considered “unofficially” dead.

Their epitaph reads:

Nokia and Blackberry: the two biggest brands before the iPhone era.  Taught fingers how to do the talking. Left the world with a million fingers talking about them.

Nokia and RIM could have survived if not for being too self-consumed by their own respective “mobile phone world.” Apple went out, proved to be, and remains to be the differentiator.

RIM panicked in 2007 after the first iPhone was launched but was too confident that Blackberry’s business users would stick to the email-focused device with an exclusive messaging service. It was too late for RIM to realize that sales would be driven more by apps than by hardware features. Before it decided to let go of the physical QWERTY keypad and make the BBM application available to iOS and Android users as well, RIM’s market share has sunk to unrecoverable depth.

Nokia was too confused which way to go. It got rid of Symbian OS in favor of Meego. After creating one great Meego phone, it went for Windows while the rest of the non-iOS world moved to Android.

Unfortunately, these wrong moves were lethal for Nokia and RIM.

Those who are afraid to die have been keenly looking at Apple. Google bought Motorola. Microsoft got Nokia. Apple made them realize that it wins by taking full control of the hardware and the OS. Now, Samsung is reported to be porting all its future devices to its own operating system, Tizen. It’s arguably built out of fear as Google has started creating smartphones with a proprietary version of Android.

Each of these tech giants are not myopic about innovation. All of them have made their marketing teams a lot of things to brag about. But the primary success factor in the mobile device industry in the last few years has been consumer-conscious innovation. It is delivering new ways that enhances how consumers use their devices, not just new technologies to bluff about which in the end do not get utilized at all.

The competition keeps getting more exciting. Two down, and more to go.

Hey Samsung, how’s Tizen doing so far? Make sure it’s not a re-branded Bada or else you’ll be next in the RIPD list.

Beneath the Surface

I woke up this morning with Microsoft splattered all over my news feeds. They all glorify the upcoming Surface, a Windows 8 tablet for which the hardware is also created by Microsoft.

Digging deeper though, it’s all publicity and media hype for now. Surface is being positioned as a direct competitor to Apple iPad. Unfortunately, it was announced when Microsoft cannot even tell when it will become available, how much it will cost, what it can actually do, and how it will behave while running applications. Nothing was said about detailed technical specifications, battery life, readily-available apps, and everything else that matters to tablet owners and prospective customers. That’s completely contradictory to Apple’s strategy of keeping it secret until it comes up with a finished product that is ready for delivery.

Microsoft describes the Surface as a “tablet that works and plays the way you want.” Well, that is if you’ll have the applications that will let you do so. Remember that Apple does not win by device and OS alone; it has the best apps store! One advantage that Microsoft has is that they did not make Office apps available for the iPad. They can make Office exclusive for Windows tablets but that may not be a significant leverage nowadays.

I went to the Surface page in Microsoft.com and all it says is “Welcome to Microsoft Surface. Coming Soon.”

Promising to deliver: Is that all Microsoft can do now from all those years of leaving Apple take away their market share? Good luck!

Here’s a teaser video by Microsoft. See if it will buy you in.