April 9, 2014 By: Samantha
Although the spec sheet of your Windows 8 or RT device may give a pretty big indication of its performance, it’s sometimes a lot more helpful if you have an idea of how well it performs in real life. But although there are plenty of software tools available to help you to do this, we thought that XDA members may be much more inclined to try something home-grown and open-source. This is where CPU Performance Tester comes in.
Developed by XDA Senior Member rootfan, CPU Performance Tester performs a large number of mathematical operations on your Windows 8 or RT device in order to see how well its CPU performs. Depending on your device’s CPU, it uses up to 8 threads to do this, and measures the amount of time it takes to finish the test. This provides a simple and easy way of comparing the CPU performance of your device versus other devices that have gone through the same test. One great thing about CPU Performance Tester is that it is also open-source, so you can incorporate your own tests and measurements if you want.
If you are interested in giving this a go, be sure to check out the original thread for more information.
February 21, 2014 By: Samantha
If you’re running Windows 8 on a device of yours, you’re probably already aware of the wealth of unit conversion programs and software granted by the platform’s capability to run standard Windows EXE files. Of course, one of the most glaring downsides with this is that most, if not all, of such standard PC programs are not designed for the touch interface, which can lead to a whole lot of accidental presses. So, if you’d rather have a touch optimized app converting all those confusing units for you, check out Global Converter.
Developed by XDA Senior Member jimdem, Global Converter is compatible with both Windows 8 and RT. As an app with tablets and other touch screen devices in mind, its interface features big and unmissable buttons as the primary mode of navigation. The left half of the interface is dominated by a list of all the different types of units that the app supports, such as area, data, pressure, and radiation, while the right half is where you plug in your numbers and where the units are converted.
Global Converter is a well-polished and easy to use unit converter that can be downloaded for free, and it is ad-free. If you own a Windows 8 or RT device and would like to give this a go, check out the application thread for more details.
January 12, 2014 By: Samantha
Now that the gift giving season is over and we have all (hopefully) received presents we’ve been wishing for, there are probably a lot of folks who’ve been gifted with a brand new Windows device and are wondering what exactly to do with it. If you are on a budget or are trying to reign in their spending habits, you may want to check out Costs Keeper.
Developed by XDA Forum Member filfat, Costs Keeper is an app compatible with the Windows 8 and RT platforms, and it and is essentially what one expects of it: a costs keeper. The app presents itself in a very typical, Metro manner that’s very clean and simple, with a user interface that’s very navigable and touch-friendly.
On the main screen, you’re presented with the all-important spending tracker that displays the total amount of money spent in a given time period, what category the expense is under, and the amount of the transactions. Since the app is still in its alpha phase, you can only see the monthly expenses, with daily, weekly and yearly tracking to be added in the future.
For a more detailed view, tap the ‘Transactions’ tab, and you’ll be able to see all the expenses of the selected time period and any related information such as date, category, and name. Three bright and clear buttons to the right allow you to add income and expenses, as well as export transactions if you wish to do so.
Although in its alpha phase, Costs Keeper is an app that seems otherwise. Despite some missing features, it’s simple, well designed, ad-free, and promises much in the future. If you would like to check out the app, visit the application thread for more details.
January 12, 2014 By: Samantha
If you’re using a device running either Windows 8 or RT—be it a tablet, a PC, or a hybrid—you’ll probably be familiar with the tools context menu that pops up when you right click on the desktop. And in all honesty, it’s not that particularly useful other than to organize your desktop. This is a shame because it wouldn’t cause any harm if some more options and actions were added.
Well, XDA Senior Member pbanj thought similarly. And as a result, he developed a batch file that allows you to conveniently install extra tools to the context menu. As of now, there are three different menus that you can choose from:
Installation is simple. You simply run the batch file and follow the prompts. The process is the same for uninstalling the menus.
If you would like to give this a go, visit the original thread for more information and download.
January 6, 2014 By: Samantha
Automatically adjusting the screen brightness depending on ambient light levels, also known as adaptive brightness, is a pretty standard feature on modern smartphones, tablets, PCs, and anything in between. This is most definitely the case for Windows 8 and RT devices such as the Microsoft Surface RT and Pro (check out the review here), Asus t100, and the Dell Venue 8 and 11 Pro tablets. But if you’ve been having issues with the pre-determined screen brightness levels of your Windows 8 device, or you’re simply not satisfied with them, there’s a fix that may help you out.
Developed by XDA Forum Member antys86, this tweak rids you of the default setting that only offers three brightness levels. As a replacement, it introduces a more flexible brightness adjustment that adapts to any light condition. The adaptive brightness changes according to the brightness level you’ve manually set, which means if the level is set at 0, there will be no automatic adjustment in brightness.
Additionally, the tweak shortens the time between adaptive brightness changes from three seconds to only 0.1 second (100 milliseconds). This will not drain the battery faster, as the tweak does not interfere with the sensor refresh rate. Rather, it simply modifies the time between changes in brightness.
This fix is easy to install, requiring you to simply download the provided registry key, run and confirm it, and reboot your device. But as always, make sure to backup your original registry key just in case you want to revert back to the original settings.
If you would like to learn more about this adaptive brightness tweak for Windows 8 and RT devices, visit the original thread for more information and download.
December 20, 2013 By: Samantha
For Android users who have made the leap of faith to Windows 8 or RT, the limited number of available Modern UI apps can be quite a shock. But this shouldn’t be a surprise, as the majority of tablets now ship with Android. This is then naturally reflected in user and developer contributions.
It seems like Microsoft’s well aware of this issue, however, as they’ve just released Project Siena. Sienna can be seen as Microsoft’s attempt to encourage app development for Windows 8 and RT.
Sienna’s description states that it “works well with corporate and web data and media content: SharePoint lists, Excel and Azure tables, RSS feeds and the gamut of RESTful services.” Examples of apps that can be made with Siena include “media-rich product catalogs,” apps which solve customer service issues, apps that make use of photos, videos, pen and voice notes.
Siena is currently in its beta phase, and can be downloaded for free from the Windows app store.
[Via Surface Geeks]
December 11, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
It’s no secret that despite their previous successes in both the mobile and traditional computing spaces, Microsoft’s market performance as of late has been lackluster. And while sales for all of their platforms are currently suffering to a degree, it’s really only Windows Phone and Windows RT that are in serious trouble. Why have these two OSes struggled to gain any sort of traction? Part of this is due to the confusion of simply offering too many different versions. But that’s not the only reason. Though they generally offer optimized performance and a great user experience, industry adoption on either seems to be stagnant. Why? The answer is simple. Google’s Android.
To see why Google poses such a threat to Microsoft’s attempts to regain its former smartphone glory, let’s look back at why Android became so successful in the first place. In a world dictated by OEM profit margins, it’s hard to argue with “free.” I use free in quotation marks for two reasons: First, in order to access the Google Play Store in official capacity, you need Google’s seal of approval. And in order to get this, you quickly have to venture outside the realm of the increasingly few open source first party Android apps. Second, thanks to industry litigation, some of the major OEMs have to pay royalties to Microsoft when building atop the Android platform. But regardless of these issues, “free” is still better than paid licensing.
But if you think Android only became successful because of it’s “free,” you’re wrong. Let’s take a look back at the history of Android. When it first launched, the smartphone landscape was quite different. Back then, Apple’s iOS offered some legitimate innovation in the form of new UI paradigms that were, at least to a certain degree, well ahead of the competition. Back then, many outside of the “draconian” Apple ecosystem wanted a viable alternative to Apple’s growing stranglehold on the market. Sure Windows Mobile existed, as did BlackBerry and Palm, but none of those captivated consumers like the iPhone.
Now let’s take a look at what Microsoft is contemplating. A story published earlier today over on The Verge detailed a potential path for Microsoft to help it better compete with Android. According to the story, Microsoft OS Chief Terry Myerson is considering removing licensing fees for Windows Phone and Windows RT, in the hopes of recuperating these losses with ads and subscription revenue. Clearly, Google dominates the market both in mobile ads and online services, and much of this is undoubtedly spurred on by the exponential growth of Android. Having free versions of Windows would (in theory) put Windows devices into more hands. And once it’s in more hands, people will naturally use Microsoft services.
However, the market today has changed, and it has changed dramatically. There are currently plenty of options in the mobile marketplace. Sure, Android is the only alternative to Apple iOS that has actually gained any significant traction, but the fact remains that other touch-friendly options do exist—and many of these options are legitimately free, no quotation marks. Thus, it’s no longer “good enough” to simply be free. Rather, any OS that hopes to stake its claim in the mobile OS pie has to offer something special—be it apps, groundbreaking features, or incredible user friendliness.
Ultimately, the mere fact that Microsoft is even considering such a dramatic shift in their business model makes it absolutely clear that they are targeting Google smack dab in the middle of their crosshairs. Whether this succeeds, and even whether this comes to fruition, is yet to be seen. As it stands, it’s hard to define just what Windows RT brings to the table that cannot be accomplished by other tablet-friendly OSes such as Android and even Microsoft’s own Windows 8.1. However, perhaps the picture is a bit rosier for Windows Phone, as it now is starting to gain much more third party developer attention. One thing is clear, though: The mobile OS wars are about to get a whole lot more exciting.
Is it too little too late, or do you think Microsoft can actually fight
fire free with free? Is Microsoft just mad that they got Scroogled? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Which company has not one, not two, but three operating systems being actively developed at the same time? Microsoft does, and they’re getting tired of it.
The strongest suggestion of this comes with Microsoft executive Julie Larson-Green’s statement that “We [Microsoft] have the Windows Phone OS. We have Windows RT and we have full Windows. We’re not going to have three,” at the UBS Global Technology Summit last week. The straightness of the statement strongly hints at a potential axing of an existing OS. And given each OS’s relative success, it’s not difficult to surmise which.
Although the bluntness may come off as rather shocking, we all should have seen it coming sooner or later, with trails of bread crumbs here and there. This is evident with comments made by Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft, who said that “We [Microsoft] should have one set of developer APIs on all of our devices. And all of the apps we bring to end users should be available on all of our devices,” in September.
So which OS will be axed? Well, all the fingers point towards Windows RT, the lonely and confusing child that never quite knew who it wanted to be. And Microsoft doesn’t know either, with Larson-Green admitting “We didn’t explain [Windows RT] super-well. I think we didn’t differentiate the devices well enough.” She went as far as saying that “[Microsoft] should not have called it Windows.”
Windows RT will most likely be ‘gently’ merged with Windows Phone rather than suffer an immediate death. According to the Verge, Windows RT in some shape or form will be seen on mobile devices in the future, with Myerson complimenting the long battery life and large connectivity options and potential of ARM-based devices, on which Windows RT runs.
Despite this, troubling comments have been uttered by Larson-Green at the same summit that will possibly impact the potential of Windows and any future Windows OS being developer-friendly, or at least to an extent that is remotely close to Android. As she explains,
“you look at iPad in particular, and it’s a turnkey, closed system. It doesn’t degrade over time….It doesn’t get viruses. It’s not as flexible, you can’t do as much with it, but it’s a more seamless experience, even though more simplified….So we believe in that vision and that direction and we’re continuing down that path.”
This is a strong hint that Windows will probably be trying to keep to themselves in the corner of the room, much like Apple. It doesn’t bode well for developers who are hoping that maybe, just maybe, Microsoft may make Windows more open to development.
What are your thoughts on Microsoft’s vision and future plans? Have they gotten it right, or are they just digging themselves a deeper hole? Share them with us below.
October 17, 2013 By: Will Verduzco
If you’re a Spotify user running Windows 8/8.1 or RT, you may have noticed that there’s currently no official offering available in the Windows App Store. While x86 users can simply download the official client directly from Spotify’s website, ARM-based users aren’t so lucky.
To alleviate this, XDA Forum Member hsalps created Spotlite and uploaded it to the Windows App Store. The application supports x86, x86-64, and ARM processors.
In addition to allowing Spotify members to listen to music, Spotlite lets you play playlists, search for songs/albums/playlists/artists, and it gives you personalized recommendations based on your listening habits. Initially, the app only allowed users with Spotify premium memberships to listen to music. Now, however, Spotlite allows free Spotify users to login and play music.
If you’re a Windows on ARM user, or even if you’re an x86 user looking for a different experience, Spotlite may be worth a look. Head over to the application thread to get started.
OK, I must admit before I write anything else that this story hits extremely close to home on the nostalgia front. Having first played the game upon release in 1998 and considering it one of the best games of any genre ever made, Half Life’s single player campaign not only forged a new genre of story-driven and immersive first person shooters; It defined the later part of my childhood.
With that disclaimer etched in digital 1s and 0s, I’m delighted to say that it is possible to enjoy this masterpiece of digital entertainment on Windows RT tablets thanks to XDA Forum Member S1yRuleZ. The project is built atop the preexisting WinQuake ARM project by Senior Member bfosterjr. The game itself is occasionally glitchy, but this shouldn’t detract from the pure awesomeness of being able to travel between worlds and defeat the Nihilanth and the rest of the Xen forces.
Naturally, users must supply their own game data (PAK files), which can easily be obtained from the original game’s ID1 folder. This is because the actual game content is housed within these files, and including them would be less than legal. However, even if you can’t find that old installation CD of yours, you can always pick up this relic of a game for practically pennies on your online game distribution network of choice.
Head over to the original thread to get started.
March 15, 2013 By: Conan Troutman
If you own a Surface or similar device running Windows RT and are reading this, chances are that you’ve already jailbroken it and are always on the lookout for useful ported apps to install. You may have been using some of those already ported by the development community, or even begun to port them for yourself. Either way, the selection of apps available to Surface owners is improving on a daily basis.
One of the latest traditional desktop apps to be ported across to RT is Process Hacker. It’s a tool for viewing detailed system information and interacting with the various tasks and processes running on the device at any given time. The RT port is currently still at a beta stage and doesn’t feature all the functionality of the desktop version. However, most of the functionality you would expect is there.
Some of the things that Process Hacker will allow you to do include:
If you’re interested in what’s going on with your RT device behind the scenes, this is well worth a look. Check out the original thread for more information.
One of the things Windows RT users have found most frustrating is the inability to run traditional desktop apps on their shiny new(ish) device. Although it was never any secret that this would be the case, it’s still something that many people were hoping would cease to be an issue thanks to the development community.
The release of the RT Jailbreak Tool, which allows the device to run .exe files that aren’t officially compiled and signed by Microsoft, was a huge step towards solving this problem. What remained was to start porting across applications to run on the ARM architecture. XDA Senior Member no2chem has put together a pretty comprehensive guide to porting Win32 apps to run on Windows RT, which will hopefully spur a few people on to porting and sharing some applications and helping to fulfill the potential of RT powered devices, at least until we see the selection of apps available for the platform bulk out a little.
If you have previous experience of developing for Windows, chances are you already have most, if not all of the required tools and shouldn’t struggle to get started with this. If you do not have any previous experience, you’ll probably need to do a little reading before attempting this, although no2chems guide does take you through the process in a good amount of detail. Check out the original forum thread for more information if you’re looking to add to the collection of previously ported applications.
January 28, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
In an move unheard of from OEMs, Sony has released an official Alpha build with the source code! A lot of other great news stories hit the Portal here at XDA this weekend. Jordan reviews all the important stories from this week. Jordan talks about the official Jelly Bean 4.1.2 for the Samsung Galaxy S II I9100.
In Windows RT news, Jordan talks about the whitelist tool that allows flash for certain sites. Also, a Windows RT jailbreak tool lets people installed non-Microsoft executables. Jordan talks about the new bootloader unlock for the Galaxy Note 2, with XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler‘s CASUAL Tool updated to make the process painless. Pull up a chair and check out this video.