Aug 17 2011

What’s the Word on Operating Systems?

Every month, BizTech tackles one technology and offers up news, notes and insights from around the web on the topic.

Windows Phone Mango OS Officially Released to Manufacturing

Microsoft is making significant progress in its mobile phone operating system, Windows Phone 7, and the latest version, Mango, promises to deliver a unique and usable experience for mobile computing enthusiasts. Mango has generated remarkable buzz and market anticipation since the company unveiled the OS in May.

Users anxious to get their hands on Mango are one step closer now that Microsoft has formally released the mobile operating system to manufacturers.

Earlier this morning, the Windows Phone development team officially signed off on the release to manufacturing (RTM) build of “Mango” — the latest version of the Windows Phone operating system. This marks the point in the development process where we hand-code to our handset and mobile operator partners to optimize Mango for their specific phone and network configurations.

Read the full July 26 post on the Windows Phone Blog.

Windows XP Market Share Less Than 50 Percent

Windows XP has been a loyal, faithful and reliable companion for many IT workers for years, but more and more consumers and businesses are switching to Windows 7 to take advantage of the newer operating system’s security, features and polish.

According to data released by Net Applications, Windows XP holds nearly 49.7 percent of the OS market share but is experiencing a steady decline. Windows 7, on the other hand, is seeing steady growth, with 27.9 percent market share. Add in Windows Vista, and Microsoft controls a whopping 87 percent of the OS market.

If the trend toward Windows 7 hasn’t gotten your company thinking about an OS upgrade soon, then Microsoft’s announcement that it will discontinue support for XP in 2014 might.

For more on Windows’ OS market share, check out Lance Whitney’s Aug. 2 CNET post.

Android’s Widespread Adoption Makes It Vulnerable to Malware

Android, the mobile operating system developed by Google, has rapidly achieved widespread adoption, thanks to its deployment strategy across multiple devices from multiple phone manufacturers. The technology has become so ubiquitous, in fact, that GottaBeMobile is reporting an Android activation rate of roughly 500,000 per day.

But with increased size comes increased threats. Malware proprietors can have a far greater reach by targeting the dominant or leading mobile OS, which means that malware gets more bang for its buck on Android devices than on iOS or BlackBerry OS smartphones. We saw similar behavior play out on the desktop with Windows XP, which became a focal point of malware attacks.

Mobile security can’t be an afterthought — especially for Android users — but survey data from Retrevo reveal that less than half of Android users currently use a password to lock their phones. That, then, would be as good a place as any to start.

Read the full article at GottaBeMobile.

Latest iOS 5 Beta Released to Developers

Anticipation for the next version of Apple’s iPhone and mobile operating system, iOS 5, are high. But there’s no set date for either: Apple has said iOS 5 will launch sometime in the fall, and it hasn’t even officially announced the iPhone 5.

Apple detailed the major features of the mobile operating system and announced its iCloud service at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in early June. Since then, the company has given the keys to the developer community, with multiple dev releases of iOS 5.

OS X Daily reported on Aug. 6 that the latest beta, 9A5288d, has been formally released to developers. If your company is involved in software development and wants to check out the latest iOS 5 beta, follow these instructions:

You can download iOS 5 beta 5 in one of two ways:

  • OTA delta update directly on your iOS device — this is the easiest way to get the update and also has the smallest bandwidth footprint. You can access Over-the-Air updates from iOS 5 beta 4 devices by tapping on Settings > General > Software Update.
  • Download the device-specific IPSW files from Apple’s iOS Dev Center.

Read more about iOS 5 and the developer’s release on OS X Daily.

Windows Phone Mango Boasts Voice-to-Text

Given all of the legislation that’s been enacted to penalize those who text while driving, it’s likely that voice-to-text will become a crucial technology for many people and organizations.

Among the many features in the next version of the Windows Phone operating system, Mango, is an ability to handle voice-to-text messaging.

Bill Pardi, a writer for the Windows Phone Blog, highlights the features and capabilities of the OS’s built-in voice-to-text functionality in an Aug. 3 post. He writes:

Other things you can use Speech for in Windows Phone include:

  • Making a phone call by name or nickname
  • Redialing a number
  • Calling voicemail
  • Searching Bing
  • Turning on the speakerphone
  • Starting an app while in a call
  • Navigating Maps

Read more about Mango’s speech-recognition features on the Windows Phone Blog.

Windows 8 Is Already on the Way

While some businesses are still pondering whether to upgrade to Windows 7, Microsoft is already well into the planning stages of the next version.

The Windows 8 operating system is somewhat revolutionary in that it seeks to create a single OS for the desktop and the mobile computer. Yes, convergence is the name of the game at Microsoft headquarters.

Smallbiztechnology.com reported on the sneak peek of Windows 8 that Microsoft gave back in June, and there’s a shocker in there for longtime Windows OS users: In Windows 8, there’s no Start button.

It’s possible that more information about Windows 8 will be unveiled at Microsoft’s BUILD developer conference in September.

In the meantime, read more about Windows 8 at Smallbiztechnology.com.

How to Change the Mission Control Background in Lion

Some power users love to customize as many aspects of their computer as they can. Desktop wallpapers are just the beginning, after all.

With Mac OS X Lion, the latest version of Apple’s desktop operating system, Apple has introduced a new feature called Mission Control. Mission Control essentially combines the functions previously found in Exposé, Spaces and Dashboard. The OS comes with Linen as the default background image, but with Mission Control, users can quickly preview all open applications, windows and desktops to find a replacement image.

OS X Daily explains how to personalize Mission Control in this step-by-step tutorial.

Windows 7: Troubleshooting from Within

Unexplained and unexpected computer problems are a headache that no one looks forward to. Even more frustrating than having a problem with your PC is diagnosing it.

When seeking the source of computer woes, IT workers often forget to utilize the operating system’s built-in troubleshooting tools. Windows 7, for example, offers several, including the Reliability Monitor, the Resource and Performance Monitor, System Health Reports and Easy Connect.

Read more about these built-in tools in this article from BizTech.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/24799746@N04/5868411413/sizes/l/in/photostream/">Flickr/prasanthmj</a>