Windows 8Windows 8 will be coming soon (we hope) and the tech world is in a frenzy. Windows 7 was one of the best operating systems released by Microsoft and was a much welcomed change over its previous iteration, Windows Vista. Naturally, Microsoft will be making a few changes here and there to the operating system but one that may catch people off guard is that Microsoft may be making a change to the number of editions, or SKUs, that will be sold to the public.

A couple of different files from HP's web server site uncovered by ZDNet blogger Stephen Chapman seem to indicate how many different versions of Windows 8 Microsoft is planning on selling to the public. Specifically, these files list the versions of Windows 8 that will be supported by drivers in an HP laptop smart card reader. Suspiciously, HP has already removed these references to the operating system from the files.

Fortunately, Chapman was able to record what the files said, which offered six different versions of Windows 8:
  • Microsoft Windows 8 32 Edition

  • Microsoft Windows 8 64 Edition

  • Microsoft Windows 8 Enterprise 32 Edition

  • Microsoft Windows 8 Enterprise 64 Edition

  • Microsoft Windows 8 Professional 32 Edition

  • Microsoft Windows 8 Professional 64 Edition

Individual consumers will most likely be interested in the standard 32 and 64 editions of Windows 8 with the Enterprise versions targeting large businesses and the Professional versions targeting small businesses and high-end users. However, it is still not 100% clear as to whether or not these will actually be Windows 8 SKUs. Chapman noted that these names could simply be fill-ins until the actual SKUs are announced, though the specifics are throwing some people off of that idea.

If this is real, then it is obvious that Microsoft is trying to limit the different versions of Windows 8 available to customers. In the past Microsoft has rolled out a lot of different versions of its operating systems, with some of the more complicated ones being Windows Vista and Windows 7. Windows 7 came with six different SKUs: Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate with 5 of those 6 coming in both 32 and 64 bit versions, making a grand total of 11 different versions.

Vista was exactly the same with 32 and 64 bit versions of Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate, Business and Enterprise with the Starter version (like Windows 7) only coming in a 32 bit version. If the HP files tell the truth, this should be a good step for Microsoft in limiting the number of SKUs. Fewer choices mean less confusion, less confusion means happier customers, happier customers means more business. The Windows 8 beta is said to start this Wednesday so maybe Microsoft will unveil something then.

Source: CNET - Microsoft may limit the number of Windows 8 editions
ZDNet - Windows 8 SKUs mentioned on
READ MORE - Drastically Lower Windows 8 SKU Options
Samsung has just displayed a new processor at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference. The new Exynos chip will be available in dual-core or quad-core configurations with 200MHz to 1.5GHz frequencies. In addition to that, the new Exynos chip is a 32nm part unlike the current Exynos chip which is only a 45nm process. This smaller footprint also means that the chip will have a higher performance and less power consumption for the same clock speeds.

Samsung is pairing this new chip with the latest version of the company's very own computer graphics chip, which has 4 pixel processors and 1 geometry engine with 128 KB L2 cache. The graphics will also support OpenGL ES 2.0 and can also generate up to 57 MPolygons/s. Considering that Samsung recently announced new low power DDR3 memory, it isn't surprising to see that this CPU also has support for LPDDR2 or DDR3.

According to the company, this chip will be able to deliver up to 26% more performance than the current Exynos chip and will also be able to deliver battery life improvements of up to 50% with a 45% power save for CPU tasks and 48% for 3D calculations. These comparisons seem to be made with the dual-core chip and it will also be interesting to see how the quad-core chip compares. Samsung is expected to officially announce the chips at the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona so we will surely find more information there.

It is also expected that Samsung will begin shipping these chips to customers and retailers in the next couple of months, bringing quad-core performance with more battery life to all. Samsung has also stated that this new version of the Exynos was designed with power consumption in mind unlike the current chip which was built around performance.

Source: Engadget - Samsung demos new 32nm quad-core Exynos ahead of MWC
Unwired View - Samsung shows off quad-core Exynos processor
READ MORE - Samsung Unveils New Quad-Core Exynos Processors
HPIf you are one of Hewlett-Packard's Elite PC customers, then I have some good news for you. The company recently announced that it has officially expanded tech support options for its Elite PC customers who will now have the opportunity to select a single tech support official to deal with exclusively for the entire life of their computer. This basically means that Elite PC owners will have a single tech support professional that will deal with all of their computer science  problems. Whenever you need tech support, you will always get the same guy or gal.

When this new tech support plan goes into effect, Elite PC customers will get a single number to call and a single point of contact for all of their tech support needs. In addition to that, business customers can schedule support calls whenever they chose. Other options include prioritized support and PC set-up options with the support plans extending to remote and cloud-based PC support.

A lot of tech analysts are applauding HP for this move, calling it a great step forward for the company, which is currently trying to win back the confidence of its PC customers, as well as the PC community at large, after a rough 2011. It was originally reported that the company had written off its PC division altogether due to poor numbers, though it appears as if a change of heart has occurred as the company is working harder than ever to get back on top.

Tech support comes standard with every Elite PC purchase from HP and is also available for existing Elite PC customers. Elite laptops, desktops and workstations are usually aimed at business professionals and thus are priced a little higher on average than consumer devices. HP also offers business PCs, like Folio and ProBook laptops, though this new support option will not be available for those customers. More support options are also said to be arriving in the coming months, HP said.

Source: PC World - HP Assigns Dedicated Server Tech Support for Elite PCs
READ MORE - Dedicated Tech Support for HP Elite PC Customers
Simon PrakashGoogle is definitely one of the most prominent and influential technology businesses in the world. I can't think of anybody who doesn't use the Google search engine on a daily basis and the features like Gmail, Google+, Google Docs and others make the site all the more accessible for everybody.

Being the technological giant that it is, it isn't surprising that Google is always scouting for new talent, trying to get the very best possible employees on its team. In many cases this results in Google stealing some of the best and brightest minds in the industry away from other companies, including the almighty Apple.

Apple is the most recent victim of a Google acquisition as the Cupertino company has just lost its Senior Director of Project Integrity Simon Prakash to Google. At the moment it is unclear why exactly Google wants or needs Prakash. It could be for some new intellectual property or it could be to simply weaken Apple by stealing away a great mind. VentureBeat has noted that the project Prakash was brought on for is, unsurprisingly, a secret one.

In addition to that, VentureBeat says that this is the first time that Google has been able to convince a senior employee to leave Apple. There are many reasons for that. One could be that Google never made a good enough offer but I'm betting that people were just too afraid to walk out on Steve Jobs. What's more interesting is that this job deal comes right at the time the Department of Justice is investigating both Apple and Google, as well as a host of other companies, for having a proposed agreement to not go after each other's employees. It is rumored that this agreement was put in place to keep salaries in the industry low while also limiting competition.

Prakash has worked at Apple for the last eight years and was also responsible for product quality across all of the company's product lines. It has also been said that Prakash started his employment at Google today. Given his past at Apple, Prakash may very well be in charge of overseeing Motorola's Android devices though this is just speculation.

Source: Slash Gear - Google swipes Apple senior director of project integrity
Engadget - Report: Google hires Apple exec to work on 'secret project'
VentureBeat - Google hires a senior director at Apple for a top secret project (exclusive)
READ MORE - Google Steals Senior Apple Executive for Project
In a very sad announcement, it has been discovered that CEO and Chairman of the Board at Micron Steve Appleton died in a plane crash earlier this morning in Boise, Idaho. 51-year old Appleton was in the process of flying an experimental fixed-wing plane at the time of the accident.

According to a statement from Micron regarding the loss, "Steve's passion and energy left an indelible mark on Micron, the Idaho community and the technology industry at large." Appleton had been working for Micron for 29 years since he started in 1983 and had served the company as a Production Manager, Director of Manufacturing, Vice President of Manufacturing and Chief Operating Officer.

Based in Boise, the computer company is the largest memory chip manufacturer in the United States and one of the largest in the world. Micron has plants scattered across several states including Idaho, Utah and Virginia and also operates a joint manufacturing venture with Intel. Micron, for those who don't recognize the name, is responsible for brands like Lexar as well as Crucial.

Mr. Appleton began work for Micron when he was only 22, where he worked the overnight shift at the company's factory. From there he climbed the ranks until he reached the top spot of Micron CEO in 1994. However, Micron wasn't Appleton's only venture as the CEO was also a stunt pilot, triathlete and tennis player.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Appleton's friends, family and coworkers in this difficult time.

Source: CNET - Micron CEO Steve Appleton dies in plane crash
USA Today - Micron CEO Steve Appleton dies in crash of small plane
READ MORE - Steve Appleton, CEO of Micron, Dies in Plane Crash