HALO: Spartan Assault coming exclusively to Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 and Windows RT in July

The Halo franchise is finally headed to Windows Phone as an exclusive first party game from Microsoft’s 343 Industries Studio in collaboration with Vanguard Studios. Halo: Spartan Assault is a top-down arcade shooter game which will be exclusive to Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 and Windows RT. The game’s story line is set between Halo 3 and Halo 4 and will focus on the Halo: Spartan Ops team’s first mission against the Covenant forces.

The development and released of this exclusive title was only a matter a time given the different OS’ share core and APIs and is a definitive sign of Microsoft flexing it’s muscle to pushed it’s ecosystem further ahead of the Xbox One launch later this year. Still thinking that MS doesn’t really care about Windows Phone? Well this and the flood of high quality applications hitting the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 Store in the past months is a clear sign the Redmond is finally “getting it”.

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Nokia Music for Windows 8 and RT released

Nokia has just released it’s first Windows 8 / RT Metro / Modern application today. This first (probably not last) Windows 8 application is Nokia Music and mimics the synonymous application already available on Nokia’s Lumia Windows Phones. The main difference though is that users can only listen to 30s song samples instead of the unlimited streaming found on Lumia Windows Phones.

Ironically Nokia Music technically craps all over Microsoft’s own Xbox Music app on the platform. It’s faster, smoother, has a better UI/UX etc… It is lightning fast on my Surface RT compared to the bloody mess that is Xbox Music and Video. Microsoft is once again being one-upped by Nokia similarly to what is often happening on the company’s mobile platform. Hit the break to watch the application in action and download it.

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HTC and Nokia working on Windows RT tablets

News has just broke (or should I say “rumor”) that HTC is working on two Windows RT tablets that should launch in 2013. A 12inch and another 7inch device powered by a Qualcomm SoC which will probably be a SnapDragon S4 Pro (Quad-Core with Adreno 320). This story follows up recent rumors that Nokia is also hard at work on a similar device with the same Qualcomm chipset.

Talk about a Nokia Windows 8 tablet surfaced last summer (and here) but the Finnish company apparently decided not to take too much risk and wait for Microsoft Surface release to see if this whole endeavor is worth it. Unfortunately all of these rumors ,which should be taken with a pinch of salt, only make my decision to get a Surface RT even harder given that they will most probably be powered my a much faster SoC.

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NVIDIA Tegra 3 still not fully compatible with Windows RT

Here’s a non Windows Phone 8 related piece of news I came across a few days ago when looking around for real performance benchmarks and impression on the Microsoft Surface RT. As most of you have heard the Surface suffered/suffers from some performance issues according to most of the early rushed out reviews posted on the web. My own impression based on real users feedback/experience posted on forums and especially YouTube videos seems to indicate the opposite. Not really surprising to say the least but given that I have never touched a Surface in my life I can’t really judge one way or another. Anyway, I surprisingly found out that NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 SoC which powers the Surface and Asus Vivo Tab apparently doesn’t fully support Windows RT yet according to the company’s own product page. For those of you who aren’t aware; the Tegra 3 SoC packs 4 CortexA9 cores plus a 5th ARM core meant to take over all the low-power tasks like video,music, active standby. Turn’s out that the 5th core simply isn’t recognized by Windows RT yet and that one of the 4 CortexA9 cores is probably being tasked with all the low power workload.

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Microsoft Surface tablets announced: The iPad killers are finally here

Microsoft has finally decided to go head on against Apple iPad today with the announcement of their new hardware product line of Windows 8 tablets the Microsoft Surface (update: watch the full event after the break). Those of you who haven’t been leaving under a rock already know that besides being the number one Software company in the world Microsoft is also one of the leading hardware design tech firm in the industry thanks to it’s decades old line of keyboards, mouses, webcams, joypad/stick/wheels and last but not least, Surface tables and the mighty Xbox consoles. The Redmond company is also know to take bold steps that sometimes defy common logic when they think that their hardware partners aren’t doing a good enough job (Xbox, Zune etc..).

Today the company has introduced to Windows 8 tablets under the Microsoft Surface brand which was originally only used to refer to the Surface tables (now re-branded PixelSense for the Surface 2 SUR40 table manufactured by Samsung). So what’s really existing about them ? Well the first thing to note is that Microsoft is covering all bases by offering a Windows RT and Windows 8 Pro model. Both tablets have mostly the same design but have slightly different physical and hardware specifications to accommodate the chips powering them:

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Windows 8 to come in only three editions: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT

Pigs are flying in Redmond today following the announcement that Windows 8 will only have three SKUS: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT (known as Windows on ARM). That’s right, Microsoft has finally decided to streamline it’s previously stupid offering and go straight to the point after many years of complains from users, OEMs and various other actors in the tech industry.
Windows 8 will be the basic version will include most of the essential features that 90% of the users will need while Windows 8 Pro will include all the features in Windows 8 plus features for encryption, virtualization, PC management and domain connectivity. Surprisingly Windows Media Center will apparently only be available as an economical “media pack” add-on to Windows 8 Pro.

Windows RT formerly known as Windows On ARM will only be come per-installed on devices/tablets equipped with ARM based SoC but will be the only Windows 8 SKU to have the Office suite included. This version will only be able to run applications build using the recently introduced WinRT runtime. Hit the break for the full list of features supported by each versions:

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