WinInfo Short Takes, November 23, 2011

An often irreverent look at this holiday-shortened week's other news ...

What I'm Thankful For

This is a dramatically shortened work week in the United States, meaning we're on France time for a change. Tomorrow (Thursday) is Thanksgiving, so the Penton offices are closing mid-day today and will be closed through the end of the week. So most people won't be back until Monday. But I'll be blogging and writing for the duration, so stay tuned to the SuperSite for Windows for further updates over the long holiday weekend. And for crying out loud, get your face out of that iDevice and actually spend some time with your family and friends. Look up. They're right there.

One Year of Windows Phone Marketplace

Speaking of things I'll be working on in the coming days ... I'll probably write more about this soon, but Distimo just released a study of the Windows Phone Marketplace and how it has evolved over its first year in the market. And the findings are kind of interesting. In the United States, consumers download 101,000 free apps and 20,000 paid apps every day from Microsoft's supposedly pathetic online store. The most popular app type is games, of course. And the rate at which apps are added to the store is rising dramatically: It was 1,300 per month back in early 2011 but is more than 1,650 per month now. There are 700 new app publishers per month, the study says, and about half of all Windows Phone apps are available in all countries in which the Windows Phone Marketplace exists. Interesting stuff, and like I said, I'll be examining this more closely soon.

Nokia to "Blame" for Lack of Dual-Core Windows Phones

WMPoweruser is claiming that the reason there are no second-generation Windows Phone handsets with a dual-core processor is that Microsoft wanted to protect Nokia. The story goes that because Nokia was new to its relationship with chipmaker Qualcomm, it would have been unable to deliver a dual-core design in 2011. So, to level the playing field, Microsoft specified single-core chipsets across the board for all Windows Phone makers. This is one of those things that sounds true and makes sense but could simply be fanciful. But I'll say this: Single-core Windows Phone handsets scream from a performance standpoint, so it's unclear what a dual-core design could do for the platform at this point, beyond sucking battery life more quickly.

FCC Says No to AT&T/T-Mobile Merger

And since the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has also nixed the deal, I have to wonder whether the wireless companies will ever make enough concessions to allow this to happen. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski ordered that AT&T's proposed $39 billion merger with T-Mobile be reviewed by an administrative judge for review. Put in layman's terms—and really, this is where my true value as a communicator becomes obvious—this means he said ... "No." The FCC says the merger would result in higher prices, fewer jobs, and fewer choices for consumers. In other words, it's a lose-lose scenario. I'm not a betting man, but I'm thinking this deal is dead.

Google Kills Off 7 More Products

I hope you weren't a fan of any of these, because the online giant has suddenly gotten religion about product bloat and is busy getting rid of products and services that simply don't make sense. Among the victims in this line of cuts is Google Bookmarks Lists (never heard of it), Google Friend Connect (an out-of-date website sharing mechanism), Google Gears (the offline technology that actually worked, now pulled in lieu of HTML 5, which still doesn't work), Google Search Timeline (historical trends graphing), Google Wave (the original Google+), Knol (online collaboration), and ... and ... seriously, something called "Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE<C)," which was a project to drive down the cost of renewable energy. I can't believe Google is getting rid of that one.

4.74 Degrees of Separation Just Doesn't Have the Same Vibe

Remember the saying "6 degrees of separation," which led to the game 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon? Well, it turns out that estimate was a bit off and that the world is even smaller than we previously thought. According to a study by, yes, Facebook, the average number of acquaintances separating any two people in the world is just 4.74. I'd hate to be that .74 bit, I guess. More important, I don't mean to dump on the data-analysis capabilities of Facebook or anything, but aren't most "friends" on Facebook not really friends or even acquaintances? And aren't we skewing the results by counting people we've never actually met in person? Why do things like this bother me? Is there a study about this? Perhaps something on Facebook ...

If You Count the iPad, Apple Will Be the World's Biggest PC Maker Next Year

Sure. And if you count smartphones, it could be Samsung. Maybe if you count air conditioners it will be Frigidaire. Moving on.

As Chromebooks Tank in the Market, a Voice of Hope for Google

Speaking of computing devices that are not PCs, Google's Chromebook initiative hasn't exactly taken off in the marketplace, and this past week Google announced a price cut on the nearly worthless devices. So the Chromebook is going the way of webOS and the Amiga, right? Maybe not. Dixons Retail, a consumer electronics giant from the United Kingdom, says it now expects Chromebooks to account for a whopping 10 percent of PC sales by this time next year. That's a pretty serious claim, given the fact that Apple's best-selling Mac lineup hasn't accounted for more than 5 percent of PC sales in the past 15 years. So how will Google and its hardware partners manage this feat? Actually, it's not very clear. And when you consider that Dixon is really the owner of the world's first retail store dedicated solely to Google products, you realize that this pronouncement is more propaganda and wishful thinking than anything else. Again, moving on.

Activision Bans Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Cheaters

Wait, you mean I could have just cheated my way to fame and fortune in Activision's latest shooter? Activision announced this week that it had banned more than 1,600 cheaters on Xbox LIVE and the PlayStation Network (PSN) and that it would take a zero-tolerance policy toward anyone who tries to "cheat, hack, or glitch" their game. I wish they were that serious about fixing the bugs in multiplayer. I especially enjoy getting shot after I've moved behind a supposedly bullet-proof obstruction or getting similarly offed one second after respawning ... by an enemy who is curiously located right behind me. You know, bugs that were already fixed in the previous Call of Duty game but are mysteriously back in Modern Warfare 3. Or how about the goons that hack their gamertag and/or clan tag to include Xbox controller graphics, another bug that was previously fixed? I could go on and on.

This Week, on the Windows Weekly Podcast

Mary Jo, Leo, and I recorded a new episode of the Windows Weekly podcast very early in the week this week, on Monday, so the new episode should be available .... well, now actually. You'll find it on iTunes, the Zune Marketplace, and wherever else quality podcasts are found, in both audio and video formats.

But Wait, There's More

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter, Friendfeed, Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows, and the SuperSite Blog. Coming soon: Windows 8 Secrets!

Happy Thanksgiving.

TAGS: Windows 8
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