At the time of writing, Microsoft is midway through its official unveiling of Windows 8 and the brand new Surface tablet. The latter release, a hotly-anticipated foray into hardware production, certainly represents less familiar territory for the Washington firm, but CEO Steve Ballmer has indicated we can expect more of the same his team. “Is it fair to say we’re going to do more hardware? Obviously we are…” he said, highlighting the pretty radical change of direction Microsoft is taking to keep up the likes of Apple and Google. Will it prove a success? The Surface’s lukewarm reviews suggest the matter is not as clear cut as Ballmer hopes.
EE has defended itself against criticism for refusing to launch an unlimited 4G data plan. Announced on Tuesday, EE’s largest package offers a maximum of 8GB for £56 per month. The network’s consumer chief marketing officer, Pippa Dunn, attempted to justify the decision, claiming that only a tiny margin of consumers would ever require over 8GB of data per month. According to Dunn, even the hungriest of T-Mobile’s unlimited 3G data users rarely consume over 1.5GB. In her eyes, adjusting the tariffs to cater to heavier users would impact negatively upon regular customers. EE will consider incorporating more generous add-ons into its packages, but looks likely to wait until the launch of O2 and Vodafone’s 4G services before revising its 4G data policy.
Following the tragic demise of Ceefax earlier in the week, it looks like another much-loved interactive TV service may be in peril, after the BBC announced that it is launching a public consultation into its online and interactive offerings. Specifically, question marks now hover over the future of its famous red button service, with the iconic British broadcaster venturing that its investigation will look at whether the digital television feature has “adapted to changes in technology, media and audience behaviour.”
In other news, it seems Foxconn isn’t the only Apple supplier with dodgy labour practices. According to a report from Hong Kong-based labour rights group Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM), the production facility making the iPad mini is responsible for egregious working condition violations. SACOM reportedly conducted off-site interviews with employees of the factory in question, which revealed a history of poor workplace safety and ongoing hazardous conditions. Moreover, the group blames Apple for the problems, citing the company’s “purchasing practice” and its “ineffective monitoring system” as the chief culprits in the matter.
Earlier today, HP confirmed that its new Envy x2 tablet-laptop hybrid will cost £799.99 and compete with Microsoft’s own Surface tablet which launched worldwide today. The hybrid PC is powered by a 1.8GHz Z2760 processor from Intel and the 11.6in screen has a 1,366 x 768 pixel resolution. It also includes a full-size keyboard with a large trackpad dubbed the ‘Imagepad’. The company said the device has the “power of a notebook and the freedom of a tablet.” Unlike the Windows Surface tablet, which runs on a scaled down RT version of Windows 8, the Envy x2 will run on the full version, meaning it can run traditional Microsoft Office suites as well as older Windows applications.
Lastly, Carphone Warehouse was found guilty of jumping the gun today, as the pre-order page for the LG Nexus 4 went live five days premature. The new Google handset is set to be launched on 30 October at an upcoming Android event, with the Nexus 4 set to be one of the main attractions. The phone retailers page also laid out the phones full specs confirming that it will run on the Jelly Bean operating system.