Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Increased Support for Multi-Monitor Setups Coming with Windows 8

Honestly, I don't know how I used to function with just one computer monitor. Ever since I built my custom gaming PC with dual-monitor setup, the thought of using just one monitor seems archaic. Having two monitors makes everything better. It makes surfing the web better, it makes gaming better, it makes multitasking better and, if you're like me and you work on a computer all day, it makes working better too. Microsoft seems to have finally realized that lots of people use more than one monitor and, as a result, has added a bunch of new tools to Windows 8 to help people who utilize multiple monitors get more out of their extra screen space.

Lead Program Manager for Microsoft's User Experience team Mark Yalovsky recently released quite a substantial blog post on building Windows 8 and explained some of the changes with dual-monitor support. The blog post is huge with tons of details on a lot of different things, though there are a few highlights that focus on multi-monitor technology. First off, Yalovsky threw down some statistics on just how many people utilize multiple monitors. According to data collected by Microsoft's Windows Feedback Program, nearly 14% of desktop PC users and 5% of notebook users run multiple monitors.

In his post Yalovsky talks a lot about how the new Windows 8 will allow better background personalizations for multi-monitor setups. This includes how the updated slideshow application selects the best images for multi-monitor setups that consist of different sized and/or different oriented monitors. Another interesting feature is how Windows 8 will handle the taskbar across multiple screens. Windows 8 will include an option to display the taskbar on every display and will also give you three different options as to how buttons on the taskbar are handled. The default setting shows the taskbar buttons on every taskbar. The second option only shows taskbar buttons on the taskbar where the window is open with the third option shows the taskbar buttons on the main taskbar and on the taskbar where the window is opened.

In addition to that, Windows 8 makes use of different user interface elements, like the Start Menu, Charms bar or lists of recently used apps that are triggered by hovering your mouse around the corner of the screen. This is easy to do on a single monitor, though with multiple monitors you run the risk of overshooting and moving over to the next monitor. To guard against this, Microsoft has added something known as "real corners" to the shared corners in multiple monitor setups. This traps your cursor, allowing you to find the edge and utilize this feature much more easily. The corners themselves are only six pixels in height, which means you shouldn't run into them unless you are trying to. If that isn't good enough for you then know that Microsoft has coded these corners to be intelligent in how they trap the mouse cursor.

The ability to have out of the box support for multi-monitor setups with Windows 8 will definitely be a major selling point for hardcore computer enthusiasts. Having to install third-party applications all the time can be a huge annoyance and hassle which makes the integrated multi-monitor support coming with Windows 8 all the more appealing.

Source: ZDNet - Windows 8 includes enhanced multi-monitor support
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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Samsung's OLED HDTV Dropping in Korea This Year

Samsung is teasing more information on its future plans for OLED HDTVs. In a recent report, the company stated that it hopes to have a 55" Super OLED 3D TV hit store shelves in Korea by the second half of 2012. Unfortunately, the company has yet to release any information on when such a TV would drop in on U.S. shores. However, an executive for the company did say that it would probably take at least two to three years before OLED HDTVs were widely available.

On the other hand, Samsung did mention back in January that its 55" OLEF TV would be available worldwide in 2012 with an expected price tag of $9,000 when it starts selling in Korea. The company first debuted the set at CES 2012 and promised a TV that produced deeper contrasts and finer detail than your average OLED displays. The technology that Samsung is relying on is self-emitting RGB sub-pixels that are placed directly on the display in order to achieve what it claims are more vivid images. In addition to that, the new set will feature voice and gesture control, a dual-processor and Smart Hub media integration.

Aside from Samsung, LG also offers a 55" OLED 3D TV that debuted during CES as well. Amid the early competition between Samsung and LG, it was rumored that LG's set would debut in Europe this May for $8,000. However, the Associated Press reported that the company plans on releasing its OLED HDTV within the last three months of this year.

Sony is also jumping on the bandwagon, working on something that the company is calling Crystal LED, which was also a heavily discussed topic at CES. Sony is claiming that Crystal LED displays will have 3.5 times as much picture contrast as well as 1.4 times richer color. Unlike LG and Samsung, Sony's tech is still in the prototype phase and has no announced plans for a release date or pricing scheme. However, that could easily change as Sony announced in April that it would focus on Crystal LED and OLED display technologies as part of the new corporate overhaul under Kazuo Hira, Sony's new CEO.

Many people are looking forward to both Samsung and LG's 55" OLED HDTVs. What we all want to know is will be when these sets will hit and how much they will cost. As it stands right now, LG's device will be $1,000 cheaper than Samsung's and could also hit U.S. store shelves sooner. More information about Samsung's device is said to be released at Berlin's IFA Trade Show, which begins on August 31, 2012.

Source: PC World - Samsung's 55-Inch OLED TV Rolls Out in 2012; U.S. Launch Date Unknown