Microsoft Releases Windows 10 build 9926 and then some

Windows Insiders got a cool surprise on Friday afternoon 2015-01-23

Well, schniekies! Its available now instead of next week. My friend Gabe Aul over at Microsoft surprised me as well as everybody else today when Microsoft released Windows 10 Build 9926 to its Windows Insiders.

Nearly everyone was looking for this sometime next week. However, as I explained recently, I’m a bit of an update nut, and yeah… I decided to check this afternoon on the off chance that Microsoft did in fact release something. I knew when I was checking that I was going to be met with a “no update available” message or with the same ISO from the TechNet Evaluation Center’s Enterprise Download page.

I was wrong. Interestingly enough, Microsoft posted the 9926.0.150119-1648.FBL_AWESOME1501_CLIENTENTERPRISE_VOL_X64FRE_EN-US.ISO file to the download center, and then my friend, Gabe Aul (@GabeAul confirmed it all. The build is available now.


If you’re a Windows Insider, get to downloading. If you’re not, but want to apply to become one, you can check out the Windows Insiders home page and apply for a spot there.

After you download the software and install it, you will need to run Windows Update. Microsoft has already released fixes to a few problems in the build. You can get the straight poop on all of the issues the hot fixes resolve, here.


…Unfortunately – and I’m hoping it’s all the download traffic – the MS KB article came up totally empty when I tried to view it. However, I was able to snag the deets on all of the updates elsewhere. The hot fixes for Build 9926 address the following issues:

Reliability improvements to prevent some system crashes in explorer.exe
Fixes an issue that could cause a deleted app to be unintentionally reinstalled
Increased power efficiency to extend battery life
Reliability improvements for virtual machine live migrations
Performance improvements for Internet Explorer
Fixes an issue that could cause pending Windows Updates to be incorrectly reported in the update history
Fixes an issue that could cause the Start Menu to be improperly registered and fail to launch
Fixes an issue that could cause random pixilation on the screen when using Remote Desktop Client

It should be noted that this is NOT the same build that Microsoft demoed at their press event on 2015-01-21. The build demoed there was Build 9944, and this is a few builds behind (Build 9926)

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Windows 10 Day is Upon Us

Here are my hopes for what comes out of the Microsoft announcement…

big-windows-logo-wallpaper-100256988-primary.idgeI’ve been part of the Windows 10 Insider Program from the beginning. I’ve put every released build of Windows 10 on a Surface Pro and have been relatively pleased with its performance. While others have been less than happy with it, my experience has been ok.

It may be because of the way I use my Surface Pro – it’s really nothing more than an electronic note pad. I use it to take meeting notes with its stylus in OneNote. While I do occasionally use other productivity apps on it – mostly Office 2013 apps – I tend not to push it too hard. I’m the same way with my Surface Pro 3, especially since it’s only a 1.8gHz i3 with 4GB of RAM… but that’s another story.

So, 2015-01-21 is the big Windows 10 Consumer announcement. You can check the Next Chapter page for the webcast starting at Noon EST, 11am CST, 10am MST and 9am PST. Many things are anticipated. More is hoped for. Here’s what I want from Microsoft at the end of the day.

A New Build of Windows 10 Consumer/Enterprise
Let’s face it. The last couple releases of Windows 10 haven’t been quite up to snuff. The first few weren’t bad; but the last one totally sucked. I expect a new build to be released on 2015-01-21, and available for download immediately.

The new version is supposed to have a few new, highly anticipated features including Continuum, OneDrive improvements, Cortana integration and a refreshed UI. Up to now, many of these have been nothing more than hot air (I don’t want to say vapor, as Microsoft IS supposed to deliver on these, and they (the company) are too big, and this new OS release is too big for them to swing and miss on any of them, given the amount of press they’ve been given.

A few other places are also predicting this – ComputerWorld has a great article that consolidates most of them.

Talking Up the Consolidation
Windows 10 brings Windows under a single roof. My good friend, Mary Jo Foley references the Microsoft label, “OneCore.” Windows 10 contains a single core that recognizes the hardware you’re using and then displays the appropriate UI and only uses the appropriate libraries, platform layers, etc. it needs to support the hardware pushing it. This means that the same version of Windows you’re [hoping to] download today is the same version that’s going to run on phones, tablets, as well as desktop and notebook PC’s, Perceptive Pixel AND Xbox.

We’ll see how clean and lean it is over time. If Microsoft isn’t careful, it can get awfully bloated in there.

Talking Up the Hardware
I’m also certain that there’s going to be a lot of hardware talk. While I don’t expect Microsoft to announce a new Surface Pro 4, I wouldn’t be surprised if they refreshed the hardware with the latest Intel processor chip set. You should also see them announce and/ or speak to a couple, new Windows Phone devices, though any new and real mobile hardware announcements will likely be saved for Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, later this Spring.

However, the item that I would like Microsoft to speak to is tablets.

Surface Pro is nice, but it’s really an ultrabook, and the world understand that now. I don’t want them to dust off Surface RT devices, because Intel’s Broadwell has [seems to have] finally cracked the mobile nut and should be able to push a better and more appropriate mobile experience without all of the bulk and bloat of a full desktop OS.

Since Windows 10 runs on phones, it should run on a tablet and provide a tablet experience that can more appropriately compete with the iPad. Since Microsoft is pushing “universal” apps – i.e. the same app downloaded from the Windows Store can run on a phone, a tablet or a desktop, again, detecting the hardware its running on and displaying the proper UI experience – developers shouldn’t have issues making apps that run on tablets. Since its really just the same app, the data that’s created and used in the app doesn’t have to be converted, transformed, transported or otherwise coaxed on to the device that’s running the app and using the data. It’s all just supposed to work. I’d expect Microsoft to really try to talk this up at the announcement.

We’ll see what happens during the announcement. I hope my predictions are accurate, as some of this would be very cool to see happen AND be successful. Lord knows, Microsoft needs a break. This year is a pivotal year for them. If Windows 10 doesn’t play to their bad version/ good version release cycle, (2006 – Windows Vista: BAD; 2009 – Windows 7: GOOD; 2012 – Windows 8: TRAIN WRECK), they’re due for a good one, then this could be problematic for them. They may begin to have relevancy issues (though in truth, they wouldn’t become totally irrelevant for a number of years… Windows runs nearly every businesses on the planet).

So, what do YOU think Microsoft will announce and speak to on 2015-01-21? Will a new version of Windows 10 be available for users to download? Will (some of) the new features that are supposed to be revealed be once that you might find valuable and use? While we may see some, we might not see everything that has been talked up. It’s very possible that items like Continuum may not be totally ready for prime time, and may come later this year or be totally held until final release.

Will we see a new class of Windows devices in true tablets to replace Surface RT and Surface 2 devices; or has that ship truly sailed and Microsoft can’t ever, EVER hope to compete in the mobile tablet market? If they make it, how will that effect BYOD and CoIT trends? Will bringing your own stuff to work be easier now, or still a huge issue for both users struggling to adapt consumer devices to a corporate world and IT professionals desperately trying to keep their enterprise malware free?

Is Windows 10 going to be a hit, a mediocre thud, or a total dud? Will Microsoft be able to phoenix up from the ashes of Windows 8.x and be a huge success with the enterprise and in consumer circles again, or will they just maintain the status quo?

I’d love to hear what YOU have to say on all of this. Why don’t you join me in the discussion area below and give me your thoughts?

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Microsoft Delivers Surface Pro Firmware Updates

All three versions of Surface Pro hardware got updates this morning…

pro2_type_purple_cam8_pos-01I’m an update nut. Every time I turn on either my Mac or Windows machines, I always, always, always check for both system and app updates. Call it anal retentivity if you must, but with so many different vulnerabilities and exploits going around, computing on any connected devices can be dangerous without the proper OS and critical application updates. That’s why I check so often. I’m really online all the time, every day, out loud; and I don’t have time to deal with the aftermath of getting hacked.

I also just like making sure I have the latest version of everything.

As I said… anal retentive…

As a converted Mac user, you see app updates more often than you see OS updates. As a veteran Windows user, I’m used to running Windows Update at least 2-3 times a week to make certain I’ve got everything; and when you do run it, you run it over and over again until the service tells you there’s nothing left to update.

So imagine my surprise this morning when I got to the office and jumped over to SuperSite for Windows to read what will likely be Paul Thurrott’s last post there, when I saw this – an article on firmware updates for ALL three Surface Pro versions.

Microsoft missed a December update for the devices, and I honestly thought nothing of it. They should be pretty much done updating firmware for Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2, anyway. They’ve been replaced by Surface Pro 3, and I’d expect Microsoft to really be concentrating on this one. The updates here have some legs; and I’m really hoping they get up and walk around a bit… There are a couple things here, like the Wi-Fi and other wireless changes as well as the update to Surface Hub. Both of these should correct errors that have been hounding people around the world with Surface Pro 3 for some time.

Without further ado, here is the full list of updates, for all three devices.

Surface Pro 3:

Surface Pro UEFI update (v3.11.450.0) adds support for updated HD Graphics Family driver.
HD Graphics Family driver update (v10.18.14.4029) enhances display stability and performance, improves user experience when using Miracast adapters. Improves compatibility with DisplayPort monitors and daisy chaining.
Wireless Network Controller and Bluetooth driver update (v15.68.3073.151) addresses connectivity issues while Hyper-V is enabled. Adds an advanced feature to control the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz band preference.
Surface Home Button driver update (v2.0.1179.0) ensures compatibility with the Surface Hub app.
Microsoft Docking Station Audio Device driver update (v1.31.35.7) improves the user experience while using the Surface Pro 3 Docking Station so that sound is available when a speaker is not connected to the docking station.

Surface Pro 2:
Surface Pro UEFI update (v2.05.0150) improves the PXE boot experience with the 1 gigabit Surface Ethernet Adapter and further enhances the system security.
HD Graphics Family driver update (v10.18.14.4029) enhances display stability and performance, improves user experience when using Miracast adapters. Improves compatibility with DisplayPort monitors and daisy chaining.

Surface Pro:
Surface Pro UEFI update (v1.7.50) further enhances the system security.
These updates for the Surfaces will be listed as “System Firmware Update – 1/15/2015” once installed and viewed in update history.

As a reminder, when delivered via Windows Update, the Surface firmware updates are pushed out on a staggered basis. Instructions for manually installing the Surface firmware updates are available on the individual Surface Update History sites.

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Where the Rubber Meets the Road…

…or (really) where my gut meets the treadmill…

Fitness-page-imageI’ve been doing a lot of spewing over the past few months about the quantitative self. I talked about it in my 2015 Predictions and in my big write up about smartwatches.

I also recently purchased an MS Band (usage article and review pending). I’m also likely going to have a review unit of the Fitbit Surge show up in a few weeks and will have a review on it. Needless to say, when Apple Watch is released later this year, I will also likely purchase one of those and will have a review of it; and ultimately a roundup of MS Band vs. Fitbit Surge vs. Apple Watch published shortly thereafter.

Yeah, I’m gonna be quantifying myself all over the place, and I figured that if I didn’t start having a workout program going, I’d find myself wanting and needing some sort of common ground needed. The whole idea is to have a standard work out setup so that I can rinse repeat with all of these devices through the same kind of activities for the same durations. At least that way, I will be able to say with a bit of confidence that “this” device performed this way during my standard workout and “that” device did that, etc.

So, the new job that I got near the end of last year has a “Biggest Loser” competition every year and this year, I am participating. I’m doing this partly because of the reviews and articles I need to write, partly because of the devices I have and will have, partly because I’m new to the company and need to get to know more of my co-workers (the company has about 200 people…), but mostly because I’ve lost sight of my shoes and my pants are harder to zip up than they were last year.

Yes… I need to lose about 25 pounds (ideally). More would be better.

So, I start working out this week. I plan to work out after work with my wife, and will also try to join some of my Biggest Loser team mates in the office gym during lunch. I’m not sure which days I will be where yet; but suffice it to say, that my goal is to really slim down this year. I’m tired of the clothes not fitting right…

And who knows, I might learn something cool about the smartwatches I’m looking at in the process. Stay tuned, kids. I should have something to post on the process in the next week or so.

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Take control of the heart of your computer with this Ashampoo HDD Control

Take control of the heart of your computer with this essential Windows utility.HDC-01

Your hard drive is the heart of your computer. If the CPU is the brain, then your hard drive is definitely the heart. It pumps information throughout your PC and allows you to perform and complete tasks that can make your life a lot easier. However, like any body, when the heart is sick, the body can’t do well. This is why you need to keep your PC’s heart – your hard drive – working as well as it can. This is where applications like Ashampoo’s HDD Control come in. It’s a Windows app that can help you keep your hard drive working at its best possible ability.

Ashampoo HDD Control monitors, maintains and defragments hard drives. The software supports not only all common IDE and SATA hard drives, but also provides improved support for external USB hard drives and SSD’s. The extended user interface gives an overview of the status of your hard drive’s health, performance and temperature. It also offers lots of technical information on the drive’s supported features and current status. The software supports S.M.A.R.T and will check for electric and mechanic problems of hard drives as well as adjustment of the noise level and power management, if supported by the drive.

With just a few clicks, HDD Control finds unused files and Internet traces, and then delete the data, with support for different erasing methods. If something goes south and you accidentally remove the wrong information from your drive, HDD Control can also help you get it back. Once you’ve got the space you need, the app can also proactively defragment your drive as well.

Speaking of SSD’s, HDD Control works well with Windows-based SSD’s. Its Duplicate Finder can help locate and delete duplicate files so you don’t waste space on these limited volumes. You can use its filtering mechanism to search for specific file types and extensions, to help you keep a handle on your disk usage.

Ashampoo HDD Control bundles all of the essential information about your PC’s hard drive on its start screen in a clear and concise manner. From here, you have a clear, detailed picture of the state of your drives within seconds and can take instant action of you need to.

The app’s history view can show you drive’s long term performance trends and allow you to predict if and when your drive may fail. You’ll be able to take the appropriate precautions in order to save your data from corruption or overall drive failure.

The app’s interface is non-standard; but it’s a decent application and it does a great job of keeping an eye on your drive and its performance. The app is a bit on the expensive side by today’s prices, but if you’ve got a home network and have a great deal of storage on it, this could be the tool that helps you keep things running at peak performance.



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Keep your Windows drivers current with Driver Booster

1420722467_icon_256x256If there’s one thing that I know, its Windows PC’s. The life blood of a Windows PC is its hardware drivers. When they don’t work right, are out dated, or conflict with other drivers, then your whole PC can tank. Its performance can go right down the proverbial tubes.

When you have a notebook computer, you’re likely confined to a specific set of drivers, as much of the equipment is not upgradable or interchangeable. You aren’t going to be able to change out your graphics card or your drive controller on a notebook, for example, while doing this on a desktop computer is fairly common. Its here where apps like Driver Booster really shine.

Driver Booster is an easy-to-use hardware driver updater. It analyzes your installed drivers for outdated ones and then automatically installs the right update with just one click. It has a newly adopted online database insuring that your drivers are always the latest version. Moreover, it`s specially designed to tune drivers for peak gaming performance.


Drive Booster protects PCs from hardware failures, conflicts, and system crashes. Outdated drivers heavily affect your PC’s performance and lead to system crashes. Driver Booster, designed with IOBit’s most advanced driver update technology, scans and identifies outdated drivers automatically. When it finds an update, it downloads and installs it for you with just one click, saving you time and a lot of headaches.

Drive Booster is specially designed to tweak drivers for better gaming performance. It insures better PC performance by enhancing security with Restore, Uninstall & Rollback features. It protects your PC from hidden security vulnerabilities, hardware failures, conflicts, and system crashes.

IOBit Driver Booster is part of Advanced System Care. The two apps kinda come bundled together; and while some may like that, I’m not a huge fan of program bundles. When I install something I only want what I’ve tried to install and not a bunch of other stuff that happens to come with what ever I’m trying to install. In many cases, the bundled apps are junk. While this is clearly NOT the case with any of IOBit’s products, I still don’t like getting stuff I didn’t expect when it comes to app installs.

Driver Booster in and of itself is a decent app. It does what it does very well; and can in many cases, save your bacon if your having driver issues. As of this writing, the app is also on sale. IOBit has it for 70% off, for a license that gets you a one year subscription for up to three PC’s.

download Driver Booster

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Fitbit Announces New Products at CES

The Smartwatch and fitness band markets just got an interesting pair of competitors…


The quantitative self is going to be big in 2015. Apple’s Watch is scheduled to appear this year. Microsoft Band is here and I’m currently evaluating one and will have a review of it shortly. As it’s really the first serious fitness and smartwatch device out there right now, it’s likely going to be the base line that I use this year when I take a rather severe look at this particular category. As I’ve stated previously, it’s a bit confusing.

But as I eluded to in the title and teaser of this article, fitness band maker, Fitbit has announced the availability of two new products in the smartwatch and fitness wearables categories. Fitbit one of the market leaders in fast-growing Connected Health and Fitness category, announced the availability of the Fitbit Charge HR and the Fitbit Surge, which will begin shipping across North America with global availability following shortly after on 2015-01-06.

The company also announced it will extend popular features like on-device exercise summaries – already available on Fitbit Surge – to Fitbit Charge HR, as well as new features coming soon, like multi-device support across its entire product line. Fitbit is always working to enhance its full line of award-winning trackers to deliver even more advanced, game-changing features designed to make tracking more intuitive and efficient.

“[Fitbit is] focused on [their] mission to empower and inspire people to lead healthier, more active lives. [They] have always understood that activity tracking is only part of the journey to attaining better health. It is critical that the information users get from tracking is easy to understand and useful, and the experience is fun and engaging – so they stay motivated,” said James Park, CEO and Co-Founder of Fitbit. “With Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge, features like heart rate tracking are made simpler by being continuous and automatic so the technology works no matter what you’re doing and the experience is seamless yet powerful, giving users valuable all day health insights.”

Fitbit Charge HR helps users track their active and resting heart rates and delivers continuous, automatic wrist-based heart rate tracking all day (not just when you wake up) and during workouts to give a complete picture of your health and fitness. It has a bright OLED screen that displays all day stats including continuous heart rate tracking with steps, distance, floors climbed and calories burned.

Fitbit Surge is Fitbit’s Fitness Super Watch, and it includes all the powerful features of Fitbit Charge HR, plus a built -in GPS, Multiple Sport Mode, customizable watch faces, Caller ID, text alerts and mobile music control. Along with its GPS, it has 3-axis accelerometers, 3-axis gyroscope, a digital compass, an optical heart rate monitor, altimeter, ambient light sensor and a backlit LCD touchscreen display for easy viewing and navigation through real-time stats, workout apps and alarms. Most importantly, it has up to 7 days of battery life, to track everything from the work week to a full marathon on one charge.

Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge are available now on and online at leading retailers nationwide. Both will be widely available in major North American retailers by the end of January. Fitbit Charge HR ($149.95) will be available in black, plum, blue and tangerine; and the Fitbit Surge ($249.95) will be available in black, blue and tangerine.

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2015 Predictions

Here are my technology predictions for 2015…

Businessman Consulting Glowing Crystal Ball

If there’s one thing that you can count on every year, its that nearly every website and [tech] publication will have a best and/or worst of the [outgoing] year feature as well as a [my] predictions for the coming year feature. In fact, in many cases, it can be laughable. Many have come to expect both of these types of articles; and in fact its something that I’ve tried to embrace as much as I can, believe it or not.

While I haven’t done a best/worst of the outgoing year set of articles here on Soft32, I do enjoy making predictions for the coming year and then reviewing those predictions at the end of the year to see how I did. Those micro-look backs can be kinda fun. A lot can change in a year.

So without too much pomp and circumstance, here are my predictions for the coming year of 2015.

2015 Makes or Breaks Wearable Computing

A lot has been happening in the Wearable Computing category over the past 12 or so months. While there’s been little to no news on Google Glass and one can likely (thankfully??) declare it pretty much dead, wearables have taken off here at the end of 2014. There are a boatload of new fitness bands out there. There are also a great many new smartwatches hitting the market and while you can’t figure out what’s what without a program, its clear that something is about to happen.

2015 is going to be the year that either makes or breaks this computing hardware category. Period. This middle of the road, undefined but possibly probable burgeoning market gets defined in 2015. Remember, it’s the year that the Apple Watch is going to get released.

And that’s the lynch pin.

Apple’s Apple Watch is either going to totally set this market on fire where we see a TON of companies trying to jump on the me-too wagon, or I think the category kinda just fizzles and cools off. If Apple Watch can’t make it, I don’t think anything really will.

Wearable computing has been sorta hanging out in the background waiting for something to define it. Fitness bands like the Nike Fuel Band or any number of Fitbit bands, for example, have been out there for a while, and while the quantitative self is big in just about every mobile OS on the market today, if tools like Apple Watch don’t hit and hit big, then I think the whole category of computing devices just bombs.

Cost may be the biggest contributing factor to all of this, too. Apple Watch starts at $350 bucks; AND you have to have an iPhone to pair it with, at least in the beginning. That’s a big investment to make on top of your new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, or even iPhone 5 or iPhone 5s, the latter two, just now can be considered, “paid for” or fully depreciated. Spending an additional $350 bucks on top of either a subsidized or financed iPhone may be difficult for some to shoulder.

However, suffice it to say, that if Apple Watch doesn’t kill it, you can pretty much count on the rest of the market dying and this computing category fading away.

Phablets become more Relevant, but not in the US (yet)

Most computing users I know, want a bigger screen than what can be found on their phone or tablet. Maybe is the crowd I’m hanging out with as I *AM* getting a little older; but while tablets and smartphones are GREAT for computing on the go, most everyone that I talk to or associate with prefers having a bigger screen to compute on. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why phablets are becoming so popular.

Phablets are huge in the Asian markets. Many people there have one computing device and only one computing device, and having something WITH a big of a bigger screen is where they’re headed; but they still need a mobile phone. This converged device, if you will, or the phablet, gives them the [mobile] computing power they want and need; but also keeps it [mostly] affordable and provides that bigger screen.

In the US, while phablets are gaining in popularity, and I expect that to continue somewhat even here, many people consider them to be a bit too big. In those Asian markets I mentioned where a phablet may be a user’s ONLY computer, I can certainly understand their popularity. In the US, where most have access to a smartphone and a secondary computing device like a tablet, notebook or desktop PC, the urgency or need for a phablet isn’t as high as it is overseas.

I don’t see this trend taking any real hold, here in the US. Phablets are cool. Some of them are very usable, but I don’t see them eating too much more into the smartphone or tablet markets here. Phablets run in the 5″ to 6″ screen size range, and I don’t see users leaving their 7″, 9″ or 10″+ sized tablets for a 5″ or 6″ screen. Especially when we have access to another device, likely with an even bigger screen. We just don’t have the need. I don’t see those market conditions changing much in 2015, and such, the phablet, while an interesting and amusing dalliance here, won’t cannibalize the US tablet market too much more than it already has.

There is a possibility that this may change, as devices like the iPhone 6 Plus and the Galaxy Note 4 gain in popularity, but I just don’t see it.

Mobile computing trends here in the States will likely stay the course in 2015.

Mobile Broadband becomes More of a Need than a Want

Mobile Broadband will see a HUGE gain in 2015. I think we’re going to see a big uptake on usage and you’re going to see carriers like AT&T and Verizon struggle to keep up with T-Mobile’s whole, no-contract, Uncarrier thing.

If Apple Watch takes off like I think it will – and I think it will end up being huge (and therefore the wearable market will also get bigger as everyone tries to jump on to ride the wave), you’re going to see more and more people need and want mobile broadband. I think we’re going to have issues going forward in this category. Mobile traffic is going to get congested, and there’s going to be an even bigger demand for additional mobile spectrum, beginning in 2015.

Competition is going to heat up and I think we’ll see the bigger carriers begin to shift away from prepaid and begin offering better postpaid (pay as you go) plans, as people find that they don’t want to be tied to contracts so much anymore.

Anyway you slice it, or how ever it happens, there’s going to be a huge push for bigger, better, faster, and MORE mobile broadband in 2015. Given the current spectrum allotments in the market that I’m in, I think mobile speed performance will also take a huge hit as a result. Its going to get slower before it gets faster with more available spectrum as the swim lanes get crowded with more devices and more mobile users.

T-Mobile Overtakes Sprint as the Number 3 US Wireless Carrier

I gave this its own prediction instead of piggy backing it on top of the last one simply because I think its big enough to deserve its own, separate prediction. T-Mobile is doing all the right things. I see them getting more and more popular in the bigger, more densely populated, metropolitan areas. As such, I see Sprint continuing to struggle to keep pace and T-Mobile will overtake the number three carrier spot, albeit, late in the year.

Microsoft Super Hypes Windows 10 Release, but it gets a Luke Warm Reception

It’ll be the thud heard ’round the world.

Microsoft is going to work their butts off unifying the Windows platform in 2015. There will be some really good things that will happen in the Windows 10 space before the replacement OS is finally released to the public in late 2015 (as in October – or Q4 – 2015).

I think Windows 10 is going to be a decent OS. I think its going to be better received than Windows 8 was. I think it will be preferred over Windows 8.x; but I’m not sure how much its going to matter.

Microsoft is making their apps and services available on other platforms – like iOS and Android – and doing so a lot quicker than on Windows. For example, Office for iOS and Android was available long before Office for Windows tablet or Windows Phone.

With Microsoft unifying the Windows Platform to include Desktop AND Mobile (Phone and Tablet) into one OS, I don’t see it being as relevant or as important as a Windows release may have been in the past. On the consumer side of the world, its not as critical as it used to be for me to have a Windows PC at home like I do at work. I can create and/ or modify documents for Work not only on my home PC, but on my personal tablet or smartphone, and those devices can be just about any device I’ve got. Microsoft no longer cares.

While Windows 10 is likely going to be a much better desktop OS than Windows 8.x, its not going to matter. IT departments are still not going to jump on the OS right away. They’re going to stick with what they have (most likely Windows 7) and continue to deploy that OS with new and existing hardware in the Enterprise. I also think Microsoft is going to unify development of Office versions for other platforms so that the same “version” is going to be available everywhere. It won’t matter what device or platform you’re on or using. Microsoft is going to have a version of what you’re needing to get work done on any and every platform so you don’t have to worry if what you’re updating at home is going to be usable or readable at work.

Computing is going to be a bit simpler as a result, and the emphasis is going to be taken off Windows as a platform. Windows 10 is going to be a good OS. Its going to be easier to use than Windows 8. Its going to have less issues than previous versions of Windows. However, its not going to matter as much, and as such, much of the thunder of a decent Windows 10 is going to be stolen by none other than Microsoft itself. When I say, “thud,” I don’t mean bad release. I mean, it ain’t gonna matter as much as it did in the past, because Microsoft is going to cannibalize their own market.

What do you think of my predictions? Am I on track, or off my nut? Will wearables fizzle out, especially if Apple Watch is a dud; or will it be a success even without Cupertino’s much anticipated contribution? Will Phablets be a big deal in the US, or will they continue to be a niche market here in the US? Are we going to need more mobile broadband beginning in 2015 or will usage remain flat? Will Sprint relinquish its number 3 spot in the Mobile Carrier market? Will T-Mobile become more of a success in 2015; or will things there maintain the status quo? Is Windows 10 going to be a big deal or will Microsoft sorta shoot themselves in the foot because they’re supporting all platforms, including desktop and mobile versions, of just about everything that matters to the world – meaning mostly Office in 2015; or will Windows 10 be a huge hit, breathing life back into the Windows PC market?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these and any other computing trends you think are going to take off or die in 2015. Why don’t you meet me in the Discussion Area below, and give me your thoughts on the year in tech to come?


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