HP Unveils Tegra 4 Powered SlateBook x2 and Split x2 Windows 8 Hybrid Tablets

American-based technology firm expanded its x2 line up with the addition of two new hyrbid models dubbed Split x2 and SlateBook x2.

The SlateBook x2 Android tablet sports a 10.1-inch 1920×1200 touchscreen and is powered by 1.80GHz Nvidia Tegra 4 quad-core processor. The tablet comes with 2GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage which can be expanded using the SD card slot. It runs on Android 4.2.2 and houses a 1080p rear-facing camera and a 720p front-facing camera. It also has stereo speakers with DTS+ sound HDMI port and 1x USB 2.0 port.

“Customers want to access and share content anywhere, anytime, on any internet connected device–and they expect those connections to be seamless,” said Ron Coughlin, senior vice president and general manager, Consumer PCs, HP.

On the other hand, the Windows 8 powered Split x2 hybrid packs a 13.3-inch screen with 1,366×768 resolution. It houses 2GB RAM and 4GB RAM along with a 500GB hard drive. It sports an 8-megapixel  rear camera, two speakers with Beats Audio, an SD/microSD card reader, HDMI port, 1x USB 3.0 and 1x USB 2.0 ports.

Both devices pack two batteries, however the capacity of the battery is not known yet.

“The HP SlateBook x2 and the HP Split x2 are next-generation devices and the latest examples of our continued commitment to evolving the computing experience by providing the flexibility necessary for customers to be productive at home, at the office or on the go,” said Ron Coughlin.

HP’s SlateBook x2 and Split x2 are expected to hit the stores in August with a price-tag of $480 and $800, respectively.

How To Create A Windows 8 Installation DVD Or USB Stick

You may not realise this (I didn’t), but the Windows 8 upgrade tool actually gives you the option to create a DVD or USB — you just have to get past the activation screen first. Here’s what you do:

Download the Windows 8 Installer from Microsoft’s web site and run it on an existing Windows system. It doesn’t actually have to be the PC you want to upgrade, even though it says so — heck, it can be a PC you’ve already upgraded to Windows 8.
  1. If it prompts you for licence details, enter the key you received when you originally bought Windows 8.
  2. Once you have passed the licensing screen, it will ask you how you want to install Windows 8. Choose “Install by Creating Media.”
  3. It will now give you a choice between a flash drive or an ISO file. If you want to create a thumb drive, choose “USB Flash Drive” — if you want to create a DVD, choose “ISO File.”
  4. If you chose the ISO file, you can now burn it to a DVD with a tool such as ImgBurn.

Note that if you create the installation media on a 32-bit PC, you’ll get a 32-bit ISO, and if you create it on a 64-bit PC you’ll get a 64-bit ISO. Also note that you won’t be able to use this disc to do a clean install on an empty hard drive if it’s an upgrade version of Windows 8, but you should be able to do a clean install over an existing copy of Windows.

Once you read the steps, the process is extremely obvious, but if you aren’t aware that the option exists, you might be confused about how to burn a more traditional disc (I know I was).

Microsoft Issues Another Warning of XP’s Demise

Microsoft is reminding customers once again that Windows XP has less than a year to live until life support is switched off. The warning arrives as the Redmond company is gearing up to launch a preview of Windows 8.1 next month during the BUILD 2013 developers conference. The current warning is aimed primarily at small businesses reluctant to upgrade, but it also applies to all users still clinging to the ancient OS.

“Small businesses, we know you love Windows XP. It’s been good to you. But it’s 12 years old, and the time has come to start bidding it a fond farewell,” said Microsoft’s Jennifer Chen. “The unfortunate fact is that it’s out of date and support for it will end on April 8, 2014 – less than a year from now. Are you ready?”

Many may not be. In fact, many businesses and consumers may still think Windows XP will be supported by Microsoft despite the warnings. While speaking with one local retailer, the manager swore up and down that Microsoft will keep supporting the platform beyond May 2014 given that this particular chain has stores spread out across the country. After arguing back and forth with us over the subject, he still didn’t get the message, and said that HP would keep Windows XP supported indefinitely.

The scary aspect of this reluctance is that this chain holds the personal records of millions of customers. Another local business we spoke to was just as reluctant about upgrading, but a quick glance at the screen showed that even security updates issued by Microsoft weren’t installed. Again, like the former chain, this company holds personal records of all its customers. Imagine what will happen after April 2014.

“What does end of support mean? It means no security updates,” Chen added. “No free or paid assisted support options, and no updates to online content. Using new hardware and software will become increasingly difficult and incompatible.”

In 1Q13, Windows XP’s market share of the OS market was 38.31 percent, following Windows 7 which commanded 44.72 percent. The usage of Windows XP has dropped to some degree over the past year, but not as much as Microsoft would probably like. In June 2012, the platform owned 43.61 percent of the market, and by December it still retained 39.08 percent. That said, Microsoft has a long way to go before Windows XP is completely out of the picture.

Windows 8 hits 100 million sales, Microsoft working to address user complaints

Officials from Microsoft revealed the 100 million sales figure to media outlets last week, but it was only publicly released on Monday, according to Reuters. The sales pace for Windows 8 roughly matches that of Microsoft’s successful Windows 7, but observers doubt that the new system is on track to have an impact comparable to the older one.

In the past four months, Windows 8 has sold 40 million units, lower than Windows 7’s average sales rate. Windows 7, though, had the benefit of replacing the much maligned Windows Vista. Windows 8, meanwhile, represents Microsoft’s attempt to counteract the ongoing popularity of Apple’s iPad, even as the PC market that supported Microsoft and its hardware partners looks to be crumbling.

The traditional computing market — the so-called “Wintel” grouping of Microsoft, Intel, and a collection of PC manufacturers — suffered its biggest decline ever last quarter, dropping 14 percent year-over-year. A soft global economy, the rise of smartphones and tablets, and a plateau in overall PC design have all played a part in the market’s stagnation and decline, but observers also point the finger at Microsoft, whose Windows 8 marked a significant departure from the standard set by the preceding editions.

The touch-centric Modern UI featured in Windows 8 was Microsoft’s answer to the rise of iOS and Android, which dominate a mobile device segment where Microsoft has been largely unable to gain traction. Consumers balked, though, at Windows 8’s marked difference from its predecessors, especially the move away from a traditional desktop into the Metro UI’s tile-based touch environment and the apparent abandonment of the familiar Start button.

Windows 8 also suffered from high component prices in the touch-enabled computers it is meant to power. Microsoft has responded by cutting licensing prices for Windows 8 on some devices, as well asencouraging its partners to develop smaller Windows 8 form factors in order to compete with the iPad mini and other mid-size tablets.

Tablets running Windows 8 combined to grab about 7 percent of the market in the first quarter of last year. Apple’s iOS held roughly 48 percent of the market, while Google’s Android operating system grew to 43 percent.

The flat consumer response to Windows 8 has been likened to Coca-Cola’s launch of New Coke some 30 years ago, notes The Financial Times. Coca-Cola, though, dropped its New Coke formula after only three months of consumer backlash, while it apparently takes longer to turn around a software giant.

Microsoft is trying to turn it around, though: The Redmond giant is preparing a follow-up to Windows 8,currently codenamed Windows Blue. That version, also known as Windows 8.1, is said to include the ability to boot straight to the traditional desktop, largely bypassing the “Modern” environment. Microsoft will be revealing more about the update’s functionality in the coming weeks, but for now the company says it will be doing more to help consumers adapt to new features.

“The learning curve is real, and we need to address it,” Tami Reller, Microsoft’s Windows unit co-head, said to Reuters. “We’re not sitting back and saying they will get used to it.”

Microsoft VP Says Smaller Windows 8 Tablets Are Coming At The End Of June

Microsoft is thinking more about enabling Windows 8 to run on smaller and cheaper tablet computers, and we’ll get a look at the first of such devices at the end of June.

The news comes from comments made Julie Larson-Green, the corporate vice president for Windows at Microsoft, at Wired’s business conference today.

“We’ve made some recent changes in windows to allow smaller devices,” Larson-Green said when asked about smaller Windows tablets. “In fact you can get your hands on it at end of June.”

She went on to say that Windows Blue, the codename for the next version of Windows 8 that will have several new improvements, will launch at the end of June too. Microsoft is holding its Build developers conference on June 26 where it’s widely expected to unveil the final details of Windows Blue and possibly new models of its Surface tablets.