Sprint’s HTC 8XT brings BoomSound and HTC camera to Windows Phone 8

Sprint HTC 8XT retail package

I was given an HTC 8X at the Windows Phone 8 launch event and loved the design that seemed to disappear in your hand. Sprint hasn’t seen much Windows Phone love, but has two decent options for customers. I’ve been using the HTC 8XT for a couple days and wanted to share some first impressions.

The HTC 8XT from Sprint brings a mixture of HTC’s best with design aspects of the HTC 8X and 8S, along with features from the excellent HTC One. It is available now from Sprint for $99.99 with a 2-year contract.

Hardware

It comes in California Blue and at first glance looks like a slightly larger 8S with a different shade of color on the bottom button area. Specifications include:

  • 4.3 inch 800×480 pixels resolution Gorilla Glass display
  • 1.4 GHz dual-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB integrated storage with microSD card (up to 64GB supported)
  • 8 megapixel rear camera and 1.6 megapixel front camera
  • HTC BoomSound front facing stereo speakers
  • Bluetooth 3.0, 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, and NFC
  • 1,800 mAh battery
  • Dimensions of 5.2 x 2.6 x 0.39 inches and 4.9 ounces

As you can see this is more of a mid-range device with the lower resolution display, 8GB of internal storage, and processor. Then you see high end aspects with the HTC BoomSound speakers, Beats Audio, NFC, and 1GB of RAM.

Like the HTC 8X, the 8XT feels great in your hand and if I was a Sprint customer looking for a Windows Phone then this would probably be the one. The camera has been improved over the 8X with a more attractive design around the lens and new HTC Camera utility. The HTC Camera utility gives you some different effects to use when you capture your photo, just like the HTC One camera utility. You also get the ability to capture photos in burst mode with the software then selecting the best shot so you can make sure to capture the best photo. You can also capture still images while recording video, something again seen on HTC Android devices.

Software

The HTC 8XT launches with Windows Phone 8, which is a very functional OS that has enough apps to compete with iOS and Android. You will find all the typical Windows Phone 8 functionality in the 8XT with some HTC-specific experiences included. Windows Phone 8’s latest Data Sense utility is included with Office, OneNote, Wallet, and more. Don’t forget you can also download and install HERE Maps from Nokia on the 8XT.

HTC includes their weather/news/stocks utility, handy flashlight app, photo enhancer, unit converter, and utility to manage space on your device. As I mentioned earlier, they also provide an HTC Camera app similar to what Nokia does with their special apps. I haven’t taken a ton of photos yet, but so far I am pleased with the camera performance and functionality of the HTC Camera application.

Sprint also includes apps and services, but like all Windows Phone devices you can easily remove anything you want, unlike on Android devices. Sprint apps and services include Sprint Music Plus, Sprint TV and Movies, Visual Voicemail, and Slacker Radio.

I was pleasantly surprised to find Telenav Scout on the HTC 8XT since I find this application to be quite useful on my iPhone 5. I did not know they had a Windows Phone 8 client and after trying it on the HTC 8XT I saw it is also available on T-Mobile Windows Phone devices so I installed it on my new Nokia Lumia 925.

First experiences

The HTC 8XT is a solid Windows Phone device for Sprint customers. The device feels excellent in your hand and the resolution looks good on a 4.3 inch display. All the user reviews on the Sprint site show nearly all five star ratings so it seems Sprint customers like the device so far.

The light weight and curved design of the 8X always appealed to me and the 8XT continues that look and feel. With the soft touch material all around, the 8XT doesn’t slide around and the California Blue looks great.

I understand that there is still no LTE coverage in the Puget Sound area so I won’t be able to test out those speeds unless I travel in the next couple of weeks. With Seattle being the home of Microsoft and Windows Phone, I find this lack of LTE to be rather disappointing.

Long life, no cooling fans: Intel’s 4.5W Core processors could blur the PC/tablet line

Windows tablets hold within them an implicit promise: To deliver the full Windows 8 experience in a svelte tablet form factor.

Unfortunately, the ambitions of Microsoft and its partners have thus far exceeded reality, largely due to processor power issues. Even the lowest of low-wattage Ultrabook chips simply sip too much juice, forcing manufacturers to house their hybrids in cases full of fans—a compromise that has left Windows tablets and convertibles thicker and louder than the ARM-based tablet competition.

No more. Intel announced Tuesday that new Core Y-series Haswell processors capable of fitting in thin, completely fanless designs are inbound “in the coming months.”

While Intel had previously announced its Core Y-series chips would run at a scenario design point—basically, an Intel metric for the power draw during sustained workloads—of 6 watts, the newly announced processors will dip all the way down to 4.5W SDP. (6W variants will also be available.) That 1.5-watt difference between the two is the difference between needing additional cooling and a potentially fanless design, according to Intel

Tablets and hybrid PCs with the 4.5-watt Core chips will offer more than nine hours of battery life on active usage, Intel spokesman Dan Snyder said via email.

Don’t expect to see crazy performance from such low-powered Haswell processors, however.

While the new chips will be able to boost to higher performance for short periods thanks to their 11-watt thermal design power rating—a “worst-case” power metric that measures the maximum energy used during heavy workloads—a large part of Intel’s ability to bring the cooling and power requirements down so far lies in underclocking the processor. Sustained boosting above 4.5W would strain the cooling capabilities of a fanless chassis.

Even still, a low-powered Haswell processor will blow the pants off both ARM chips andIntel’s own Atom CPUs, performance-wise, bringing true Ultrabook-like chops to a truly tablet-style design.

“I think there is a real market need for a fanless tablet or 2-in-1 with PC-level performance,” says Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy. “This is exactly where Intel’s new 4.5-watt [chip] comes into play… Even though the 4.5-watt Haswell will be clocked lower than the 6-watt version announced at Computex, it will have significantly higher performance than Bay Trail.”

While Moorhead expects production of low-watt chips to ramp up sometime in 2014, Intel says the first round of energy-sipping Y-series processors will be produced in limited quantities. It’d be a shock if those chips failed to show up in a Haswell refresh of Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet.

HP Intros New Entry-Level Workstation, Pro Monitors

HP today released an update to its entry-level workstations along with a slew of new IPS Gen 2 professional grade displays.

The new HP Z230 Workstation, unveiled at the Siggraph show in Aneheim, Calif., brings professional quad-core workstations to the $999 price point. The new Z22i, Z23i, and Z24i IPS displays, meanwhile, bring wider viewing angles and power savings to the professional graphics, architecture, and engineering user.

The Z22i, Z23i, and Z24i IPS Gen 2 displays are professional grade, offering 95 to 99 percent coverage of the sRGB color space and increased color accuracy compared to previous LCD TN panels. IPS Gen 2 also offers wider viewing angles, both horizontally and vertically.

Sized at 21.5 inches (Z22i) and 23 inches (Z23i), the two smaller monitors feature a 1,920-by-1,080 (1080p) full HD 16:9 resolution. Both feature a wide range of brightness adjustments, DisplayPort, DVI, and VGA inputs, 4-way pivot/tilt, and a built-in USB 2.0 hub for your keyboard and tablet digitizer.

The 24-inch Z24i adds a 1,920-by-1,200 (16:10) resolution for workers who need more desktop real estate for toolbars and the like. The Z24i also has wide brightness adjustment, and extra niceties like a carry handle and cable management.

All these displays are Energy Star and EPEAT Gold compliant. They are available today for $239 (Z22i), $259 (Z23i), and $399 (Z24i)

The entry-level HP Z230 workstation comes in small and compact tower form factors, depending on how much expansion your professional users need. The Z230 is built around the latest Intel Xeon E3 v3 and 4th-generation Intel Core processors. The Xeon-powered models feature integrated Intel HD Graphics P4600 for professional applications, as well as options for 2D multi-display graphics cards from Nvidia and entry to high-end 3D graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia.

Systems with discrete graphics cards will be able to support up to six simultaneous displays. Multiple Hard drive and SSD options can give users speed, capacity, or both. Depending on configuration, Z230 workstations can fulfill various ISV certification needs, including high-end 3D professional graphics, ECC or non-ECC memory, and professional grade CPU requirements. HP has promised a two-year (2013-2015) platform life cycle, so you can be assured of buying new pre-qualified systems for the next two years.

The HP Z230 workstation starts at $999 for a quad core powered system, and will be available worldwide this August.

Intel will offer ‘Broadwell’ SOC to battle Calxeda, AMD

Intel has updated its road map with a new, low-power server chip to help it ward off competition from Calxeda and other makers of low-power chips.

The new chip will be based on Broadwell, a microarchitecture to be introduced next year as the successor to Intel’s Haswell design. But this processor will be a system-on-chip, setting it apart from Intel’s other Xeon server products.

SOCs combine several components onto a single chip to reduce power consumption and space requirements. In the server market, they’re often used in micro-servers, a type of low-power server used for large-scale, online workloads.

Intel already offers SOCs in its Atom family of chips, but Atom has its own microarchitecture. The new chip announced Monday will be Intel’s first SOC that uses the same microarchitecture as its more powerful Xeon chips.

“With this new product, we’ll be delivering the best of both worlds: high performance and high density,” said Diane Bryant, general manager of Intel’s data center and connected systems group, at an Intel event in San Francisco.

She didn’t give a name for the new chip but said it will ship next year. It will be manufactured on a 14-nanometer process and include integrated I/O, networking, and application accelerators, Bryant said.

The chip essentially allows Intel to straddle the gap between its current Atom processors, which focus on low power consumption, and its Xeon processors, which are tuned for higher performance but use more electricity.

“They’re trying to cover the whole market. They’ve decided it’s better to have a little bit of overlap than to have any gaps,” said industry analyst Nathan Brookwood of Insight64.

The chip comes at a time of heightened competition in the server market. Rivals such as Calxeda and Advanced Micro Devices are building low-power SOCs using designs from UK chip architecture company ARM, and the new chip from Intel is its latest response to that trend.

Intel didn’t say on Monday if the new chip will be branded as a Xeon or an Atom. Its place between the two product lines could create some confusion for customers, Brookwood said, though he thinks Intel will eventually decide on Xeon.

It’s not the only chip Intel has for low-power servers. The company recently began shipping a Xeon E3 processor based on the Haswell core, and versions of that chip based on Broadwell are expected next year. They will be “general-purpose” Xeons, as opposed to SOCs specifically for low-power, high-density systems.

In its Atom family, Intel will begin shipping a new chip later this year code-named Avoton, based on a new chip core known as Silvermont. Compared with the current Atom core, Avoton will offer “a 3x improvement in power at the same performance level, or a 5x increase in performance at the same power,” according to Bryant.

Intel aims for longer tablet battery life with Haswell chips

IDG News Service – Intel says it will increase of the battery life of tablets and hybrid PCs that use its microprocessors, with new low-power Haswell chips that will start shipping later this year.

The chip maker said Tuesday that its upcoming Core Y series chips will run at 4.5-watts using a metric called SDP (scenario design power), roomates measures the power used to dissipate heat while running certain apps on mobile and touch devices.

That’s a lower figure than Intel was aiming for initially, Intel spokesman Dan Snyder said via e-mail. Intel previously said it would release the Core Y chips with a 6-watt SDP.

Intel’s use of SDP has been Criticized, however, since it differs from the used and accepted, Instant-TDP (Thermal Design Power) metric. TDP Intel counters that may not be applicable on devices such as tablets, Because they differ so much in design from laptops. Rivals such as Advanced Micro Devices disagree.

Tablets and PCs hybrid with the 4.5 watt Core chips will offer more than nine hours of battery life on active usage, Snyder said. Intel also Announced Y 6-watt Core processors for PCs fitted with fans.

Claimed that Intel has the fourth-generation Core chips based on Haswell offer up to 50 percent longer battery life and up to twice the graphics performance than their predecessors Ivy Bridge.

The Y Core chips will ship to device makers in the coming months, Snyder said. However, the company Declined to comment on when tablets and hybrids based on the chips would Become available. Tablets and hybrids running on Intel’s third-generation Core i3 and i5 chips based on Ivy Bridge are already available. Intel also offers the Atom processor for tablets; faster the Core processors are more power hungry though.

The Y-series chips are vital for Intel, roomates needs to grab a larger share of the tablet market as PC shipments decline. Intel is also trying to bridge the divide via laptop-tablet Haswell, targeting the chips at hybrids with detachable touchscreens and keyboards. The market today is dominated by ARM, Whose processors are used in most tablets and smartphones.

The first Core processors Y joins a lineup of Haswell processors that include a dual-core Core U laptop chips, roomates draw 11.5 watts to 15 watts of power. Intel started shipping in June also other quad-and dual-core Haswell chips for desktops and laptops. Including PC makers Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Acer have Announced laptops and hybrids based on the Haswell chips Announced in June.

LG Optimus F3 from Virgin Mobile USA Touts Advanced User Experience and Functionality, with No Contract

LG Electronics and Virgin Mobile USA announced that the LG Optimus F3 smartphone is available today from Virgin Mobile for $179.99 when purchased with a Beyond Talk™ monthly no-contract plan which offers unlimited data and messaging1starting at $35 per month2. This dynamic device features powerful performance, an advanced user experience and long battery life to provide exceptional connectivity and entertainment.

The LG Optimus F3 comes equipped with everything users need to connect, share, create and manage their lives, including a sleek, user-friendly form factor, 4G LTE3 speed, a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean), an LED Home Button with color-coded alerts – for notifications like missed events, incoming calls or texts from friends – and a long-lasting 2,460 mAh battery with up to 16 hours of talk time.

Additionally, the LG Optimus F3 received ULE Platinum Certification, the highest level of environmental performance recognized by sustainable requirements established by UL Environment and Sprint, and is packaged in 100 percent recyclable materials.

“In an always-connected world, users need a device that delivers an intuitive, user-friendly experience alongside solid all-day performance thanks to the strong battery,” said Georg Rasinski, director-Mobile Brand Management, LG Electronics USA. “The LG Optimus F3 from Virgin Mobile provides users with tools that enable greater self-expression, functionality and entertainment in conjunction with powerful hardware and 4G LTE speeds to match their daily needs.”

“Virgin Mobile customers appreciate value for their wireless solutions,” said Mark Lederman, director-Virgin Mobile USA. “Adding the LG Optimus F3 further enhances Virgin Mobile’s strong smartphone portfolio and continues to offer choice and flexibility in consumers’ no-contract wireless plans.”

Some of the compelling features of Optimus F3 include:

Enhanced user experience: The LG Optimus F3 blends intelligent tools with collaborative sharing features that enable thoughtful self-expression and greater multitasking functionality. Users can also utilize QuickMemo™ to add their own creative commentary to pictures or screenshots with the swipe of a finger, then share it via social media, email or SMS. Another unique LG feature built into the user experience is Quick Translator, which allows users to translate words and phrases from 44 different languages into 64 native languages.

Designed to inspire: The LG Optimus F3 also comes with a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera with an LED flash that shoots 1080p Full HD video, as well as a front-facing camera that can be used for shooting self portraits or for video chat. It also comes packed with advanced camera features that let users edit their photos. The Beauty Shot feature gives users the ability to snap photos that enhance the appearance of the subject while Cheese Shot lets users take a voice-activated photo by simply saying “cheese.” Panorama Shot helps users to capture the entire scene in a single photo. The LG Optimus F3’s vivid 4-inch IPS display with durable Corning® Gorilla® Glass 2 provides accurate, true-to-life color, bringing photos and videos to life.

Full list of features:

  • 4G LTE Network speed
  • Long-lasting 2,460 mAh battery with up to 16 hours talk time
  • Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean)
  • 1.2 GHz dual-core processor
  • Vivid 4-inch IPS display with durable Corning Gorilla® Glass 2
  • Share fun and personalized notes with VuTalk
  • Instant color-coded alerts with LED home button
  • 5 MP autofocus rear-facing camera with LED flash and advanced features
  • 1080p full HD video capture
  • VGA front-facing camera for self-portraits and video chat
  • QSlide 2.0™ advanced multitasking
  • Expressive QuickMemo™
  • SmartShare – share media wirelessly to DLNA®-enabled devices
  • Wi-Fi Direct™ file sharing
  • Live effects – capture video with fun and creative editing tools and backgrounds
  • Polaris® Viewer 4 – PC-like office suite app for viewing documents, presentations and spreadsheets
  • Android Beam to share content via NFC and Bluetooth technology
  • LG Tag+ – preset, individual phone profiles activated using NFC technology tags
  • Quiet Mode – specify times to disable notifications for calls and messages

About Virgin Mobile USA

Virgin Mobile USA offers millions of customers control, flexibility and connectivity through Virgin Mobile’s Beyond Talk™ No-Contract plans with unlimited 3G data, and available 4G data speeds for mobile phone service, including Android™-powered smartphones and for prepaid Broadband2Go high-speed Web access on the Nationwide Sprint Network. Virgin Mobile Beyond Talk monthly unlimited data plans, which start at $35, are ideal for those smartphone users hungry for the most connectivity and the least amount of voice minutes. Virgin Mobile-branded devices are available at more than 40,000 retail stores, including Target, Walmart, Best Buy and RadioShack. Top-Up cards are available at approximately 150,000 locations nationwide. Experience Virgin Mobile on the Web at Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, and purchase Virgin Mobile USA products athttp://www.virginmobileusa.com.

About LG Electronics USA

LG Electronics USA, Inc., based in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., is the North American subsidiary of LG Electronics, Inc., a $45 billion global force and technology leader in consumer electronics, home appliances and mobile communications. In the United States, LG Electronics sells a range of stylish and innovative mobile phones, home entertainment products, home appliances, and air conditioning systems and energy solutions, all under LG’s “Life’s Good” marketing theme. LG Electronics is a 2013 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year. For more information, please visitwww.lg.com.

1 Includes 2.5GB per month of high-speed data. Adaptive protocol video limited to 3G speeds. When mobile hotspot add-on purchased (only for select plans/devices), data usage is total combined device and hotspot data use.
2 Service on Virgin Mobile USA is subject to acceptance of certain terms and conditions.
3 4G LTE coverage is not available in all markets

3 Reasons to Sell Your Intel Stock

Although Intel (NASDAQ: INTC  ) stock may look cheap compared to theS&P 500, there’s good reason for the low price tag. Between a faltering PC market, anemic revenue growth, and profitability concerns, Intel investors have a lot of things to worry about. Together, these factors certainly beg the question: Should you sell your Intel stock today?

PC sales still top dog
As exciting as it is for Intel to develop cutting-edge technology that threatens ARM Holdings‘ mobile computing stronghold, the company remains deeply entrenched in the PC market. Intelreported its second-quarter earnings results last week, showing that more than 63% of the company’s revenue came from its PC client group segment. With worldwide PC shipments as bad as they’ve been, it’s not surprising that investor enthusiasm would be muted toward the company’s mobile computing ambitions. Simply put, it’s going to take a considerably large tail to wag this dog.

Anemic revenue growth
Without revenue growth, a company’s earnings growth potential is dampened because there’s only so far cost-cutting can take profitability to new heights. Intel lowered its full-year forecast, now expecting revenue to be flat year over year, which doesn’t bode well for profit growth. Analysts expect Intel to post a 12.2% decline in earnings this year and grow by 5.9% in full-year 2014, driven by a 3.9% increase in revenue. For the long-term investor, profitability growth remains a fundamental driver of shareholder returns. Will a 5.9% growth in earnings from a weak comparable be enough to drive Intel stock higher?

Falling prices
Assuming Intel is successful as it gears up to enter the ultra-mobile space with its upcomingBay Trail processor, it’ll likely have a negative impact on the company’s average processor selling price. In order for Bay Trail to gain market share against the ARM competition, I’m expecting its average selling price to be somewhere in neighborhood of Qualcomm‘s, which is about $22 — roughly one-fifth of Intel’s estimated average selling price of $107. Additionally, the mobile computing revolution continues to put negative pressure on the price of PCs, further compounding Intel’s average selling price pressures.

The hope is that any future decline in processor average selling price can be offset with an increase in unit volume, but that’s not guaranteed, nor does it mean total dollar profits will remain stable. Even if Bay Trail can maintain profit margins in line with the rest of Intel’s processors, a $22 or even $30 processor simply doesn’t have as much available profit as a $107 chip.

Ultimately, Intel’s profitability prospects will be driven by a number of variables, including how the overall PC market fares, if average selling prices decline due to consumers shifting to products like Bay Trail, and if Intel can make up any shortfalls with sufficient unit growth. It’s not exactly clear-cut.

No catalyst in sight
We may get a better sense of Intel’s future prospects during its investor meeting in November, but it likely won’t be until its 2014 earnings results that investors begin to get the scoop how these headwinds are actually influencing results. At that time, Intel’s Haswell and Bay Trail processors will have made their run, investors will know if the PC market has begun to stabilize, and we’ll know if ultra-mobile products are hurting Intel’s total profitability thanks to declining prices.

If you’re an Intel shareholder, the question you should ask yourself is if it’s worth waiting around for the clouds of uncertainty to potentially clear up. Being a longtime Intel stock owner myself, I’m seriously considering taking my own advice and selling my shares in the coming weeks. There are plenty of compelling opportunities where the path to long-term shareholder success is much clearer.

Google Maps for iPad Launched

Jakarta – After a week after Google Maps launched for Android users, the information technology company is now re-presenting feature map for iPad users. Google Maps 2.0 can be enjoyed globally since Tuesday, July 16, 2013.
Features that are designed for use with the device’s larger screen choose the look with clearer images and soft colors.
Just like the Android version, iOS-based applications include traffic information in real time. Google Maps 2.0 comes with Foursquare and navigation that includes information about a variety of places, including restaurants and shopping centers.
This application actually has not been downloaded from the App Store could in their home country, the United States. Yet it can be downloaded for users in Asia.
Google Maps before, they can be enjoyed by users of smart phones iPhone. Launch the application updates to follow up on complaints that come from iPhone users, especially iPhone 5 to Apple Maps. Users complained about the lack of accuracy especially on Apple Maps. Apple Management then apologized in writing to the users of the iPhone and iPad.
Service on the map offers features traffic information, navigation, transit directions, satellite, road, indoor photos, restaurant reviews, and the integration of the Google profile. Unlike other Google apps made​​, this map is a special feature produced for the default operating system iOS. The application advantages are speed and small file size so it does not take much memory.

ManageEngine Previews Citrix Xen Virtualization Support in Applications Manager, OpManager

ManageEngine, the real-time IT management company, today will preview the Xen virtualization support in OpManager, its network performance management and data center monitoring software, and in Applications Manager, its application performance monitoring solution. The move lets application developers and IT operations teams in large enterprises monitor Citrix Xen hosts and virtual machines (VMs) for availability, performance and XenMotion activity. Live demonstrations of Xen support in Applications Manager and OpManager are available at http://demo.appmanager.com and http://xendemo.opmanager.com, respectively.

ManageEngine made today’s announcement at the Virtualization Technology Users Group (VTUG) Summer Slam 2013 being held today in Brunswick, Maine. A sponsor of the event, the company will demonstrate the forthcoming Xen features in Applications Manager and OpManager. In addition, ManageEngine’s Rakesh Inbaraj will lead a breakout session, “Application Visibility – A Recipe for Conducting Successful Virtualization Projects,” at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.

Dev Anand, director of product management at ManageEngine, said, “Though initially adopted only by service providers and hosting providers, Citrix XenServer has emerged as a staple in small and medium enterprises in recent years. OpManager and Applications Manager already support VMware and Hyper-V servers, and adding XenServer monitoring support to the mix was the next logical step in our hypervisor coverage.”

ManageEngine Embraces Xen

ManageEngine provides virtualization management on three fronts. For application developers, Applications Manager delivers a holistic view of app performance, end-user experience and Apdex score along with the underlying XenServer health. Meanwhile, data center or enterprise IT infrastructure managers can monitor their network, server and virtualization components via OpManager. Finally, CIOs and data center managers will find an integrated view of the network, server and storage; application performance; and end-user experience levels by using OpManager and its Application Monitoring plug-in module.

Highlights of the Xen support in Applications Manager and OpManager include:

  • Automatic discovery of XenServer hosts and VMs via Xen API
  • Complete inventory and mapping of hosts, VMs as well as storage repositories and virtual disk images
  • Alerts delivered via email and SMS for Xen-related downtime and performance issues
  • Identifies XenMotion activity and updates inventory to reflect live migration of VMs as they move from host to host
  • Real-time map of Xen topology

Pricing and Availability

Xen server support is available as a beta version in both OpManager and Applications Manager. The beta version of OpManager is available for download at http://www.manageengine.com/network-monitoring/beta-signup.html. The beta version of Applications Manager can be downloaded athttp://www.manageengine.com/applications_manager/beta-signup.html.

OpManager Enterprise Edition prices start at $16,495 for 500 devices. The Application Monitoring plug-in starts at $15,990 for 250 monitors. Applications Manager Professional Edition starts at $795 for up to 25 applications or servers.

For more information on OpManager, please visit http://www.manageengine.com/opmanager, and for Applications Manager, visit http://www.manageengine.com/apm. For more information on ManageEngine, please visit http://www.manageengine.com/; follow the company blog athttp://blogs.manageengine.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ManageEngine and on Twitter at @ManageEngine.

About OpManager

ManageEngine OpManager is a network management platform that helps large enterprises, service providers and SMEs manage their data centers and IT infrastructure efficiently and cost effectively. Automated workflows, intelligent alerting engines, configurable discovery rules, and extendable templates enable IT teams to setup a 24×7 monitoring system within hours of installation. Do-it-yourself plug-ins extend the scope of management to include network change and configuration management and IP address management as well as monitoring of networks, applications, databases, virtualization and NetFlow-based bandwidth. For more information on ManageEngine OpManager, please visit http://www.manageengine.com/opmanager.

About Applications Manager

ManageEngine Applications Manager is application performance monitoring software that helps businesses guarantee high availability and performance for their business applications by ensuring servers and applications have high uptime. It comes with out-of-the-box support for 50+ application servers, servers, databases and transactions spanning physical, virtual and cloud infrastructures. For more information on ManageEngine Applications Manager, please visithttp://www.manageengine.com/apm.

About ManageEngine

ManageEngine delivers the real-time IT management tools that empower an IT team to meet an organization’s need for real-time services and support. Worldwide, more than 72,000 established and emerging enterprises — including more than 60 percent of the Fortune 500 — rely on ManageEngine products to ensure the optimal performance of their critical IT infrastructure, including networks, servers, applications, desktops and more. ManageEngine is a division of Zoho Corp. with offices worldwide, including the United States, India, Japan and China. For more information, please visit http://buzz.manageengine.com/; follow the company blog athttp://blogs.manageengine.com/, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ManageEngine and on Twitter at @ManageEngine.

ManageEngine is a trademark of Zoho Corp. All other brand names and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

Tags: ManageEngine, real-time IT, Zoho, OpManager, Applications Manager, Citrix XenServer, VTUG, Virtualization Technology Users Group, VMware, Hyper-V, network monitoring, configuration management, end user experience, network monitoring, cloud monitoring, virtualization, cloud, IT management, user experience monitoring

Q&A: Microsoft Talks Changes to SkyDrive in Windows 8.1

When was the last time you had to delete a bunch of photos or apps on your mobile device to clear out space? With the massive amount of data generated every day, it’s easy to exhaust all the available storage on your phone or tablet.

And this problem is only getting worse. Industry trends suggest that device storage capacities are growing at 25 percent per year, but the amount of data being produced is increasing even faster — by around 50 percent a year, according to Microsoft. The software giant is looking to address this problem with SkyDrive, which will be updated in Windows 8.1 with the goal of giving you access to your files at all times, without taking up all your available storage or Internet bandwidth.

The updated service utilizes what Microsoft refers to as “placeholder files,” which look and feel like normal folders and files with one major change — you don’t download the full file until you access it. The placeholder file contains just a thumbnail image and some basic properties, making it significantly smaller than its actual size. This means that 100GB of files in SkyDrive will use up less than 5GB of storage on the hard drive of your Windows 8.1 device, Mona Akmal.

“I have a Pictures folder in SkyDrive that’s 5.6GB in size but it’s only taking up 185MB on the local disk,” Akmal wrote.

Another major change to SkyDrive in Windows 8.1 deals with offline access to files. With the SkyDrive app, you’ll now be able to mark any folders or files you want remain available when you lose Internet connectivity.

Any edits you make to a file while offline will automatically be synced back up to SkyDrive when you regain a connection. For added convenience, all the files you open or edit on your device will automatically be marked for offline access.

As a reminder, new SkyDrive users get 7GB of storage for free. After that, an additional 20GB costs $10 per year, while 50GB will set you back $25 a year, and 100GB costs $50 a year.

We sat down with Angus Logan, group product marketing manager for SkyDrive (pictured below), last week to get the scoop on the most important changes to the online storage service in Windows 8.1.