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5 Hot Microsoft Rumors

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Phone specs for Windows 8, $300 tablets, and more.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL As the fourth quarter looms on the horizon, so do this year's major technology releases. Microsoft (MSFT) has plenty of new products in the pipeline that may give the company a much needed edge in its attempt to wrestle the title of top tech manufacturer from Apple (AAPL). Here are the five best rumors detailing their strategies:

1. Window's 8 phone price and specs.
The next line of Windows phones are expected to be released in the fourth quarter of this year to compete with Apple's iPhone 5. This week, information was leaked from Samsung (SSNLF) in regards to the estimated price difference of the two different models, the Samsung I8370 and the I8570, and their specs.

Samsung 18370 Samsung I8570
- A 4.0-inch Super AMOLED WVGA screen
- A dual-core 1.5 GHz Krait processor
- A 5 MP rear and a 1.9MP front camera.
- 8 GB internal storage expandable via a microSD slot
- 4.8-inch Super AMOLED HD screen
- 1.5 GHz dual-core Krait
- 8MP rear and 1.9MP front camera
- 16 or 32 GB internal storage expandable via a microSD slot

The I8370 model is reported to be priced somewhere between $431-$554, while the high end I8570 should be priced around $615-$738.

2. Windows 8 and Windows 8 Phone will support the Unity game engine.
Although users found the game options of the Windows 7 phone to be lacking, Windows 8 will have a noticeable edge over its predecessor with the addition of the Unity engine. The recently developed Unity 4 is a creation tool used by over 500,000 developers across almost all video game platforms. Unity technologies CEO David Helgason stated that Unity didn't support the Windows 7 phone because of its "relatively closed" nature, but expressed optimism about the engine's use in Windows 8 phones.

3. Windows RT tablets could start at $300.
In an interview with Bloomberg last week, Lenovo's (LNVGY) North American head of American Operations, David Schmoock, stated, "RT will play in consumer and retail at very aggressive price points." While the Intel (INTC) powered Windows 8 tablets will be priced around $600-$700, the RT tablets are reported to be $200-$300 cheaper. This would significantly undercut Apple's latest iPad, which starts at $499. Still, at these levels, the tablet would still find competition from the $199 Android (GOOG) Nexus 7, though Microsoft's decision to lift its licensing restrictions for the tablet (thus allowing it to run different operating systems) could see it replacing the Nexus completely.

4. Microsoft's Windows 8 Pro OS will cost $199 after the promotional pricing.
Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro copies will be available from retailers on October 26, with the Pro upgrade priced at $69.99. However, after January 31, 2013, the upgrade cost will rise to $99.99, and will be priced at $199 on its own. Microsoft has also announced that any existing Microsoft customer that uses XP, Vista, or 7 will be able to upgrade to 8 Pro for the low price of $39.99, if purchased online.



5. Microsoft partners with University of Missouri.
Microsoft reportedly partnered with the University of Missouri's Reynolds Journalism Institute with the intention of creating a new lab to develop apps for the Windows 8 operating system. Microsoft signed a three-year contract with RJI, and initially paid $100,000 to equip the lab. Randy Picht, the executive director of RJI, is optimistic about the partnership, believing that its Futures Lab will encourage students and faculty to gain valuable experience with the latest technology, and produce unique innovations for its systems.
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