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It is kind of tricky to explain in words, so take a look at the video above where Roger shows you how it works.The final electronic musical instrument which caught my eye was a modern update on the great grand-daddy of them all, the Theremin. Virtuoso Theremin player Masami Takeuchi was showing another revamp of an old synth design which first appeared in 2000, the Matryomin, hidden inside an unassuming Russian doll.Using the same proximity motion gesture as the original Theremin but without the antennas sticking out, the Matriomym costs around £250 and is a much more portable and transportable version of Leon Theremin’s 1929 classic – but with the same expressiveness which some purists claim has never been superseded. Just two and half years ago Microsoft dropped Windows 8 on the world, playing Redmond’s card in the touch-tablet game against Apple’s iPad and Google’s Android.Windows 8 was remarkable for three reasons: the touch-inspired Metro interface, the fact Microsoft built its own-branded tablet running Windows, and it put Windows on ARM.

For all that, Windows 8 was a bust, failing to lure shoppers away from Apple or Android tablets or get enterprises upgrading from Windows XP and 7.Microsoft’s touch operating system has just over 10 per cent market share. On Wednesday Microsoft is poised to unveil the consumer preview edition of the successor to Windows 8, and yeah, it's Windows 10.Windows 10 is described my Microsoft as the next chapter and there's single core that'll work on a variety of devices, including phones.That aside, from what we've seen so far Windows 10 is a retreat from the follies and hubris of its predecessor back to the safe desktop. From what we’ve seen so far, Windows 10 embraces the parts of the Windows desktop dumped by Windows 8.However, a year is a long time in IT, and fortunes can change. The question is whether they have changed in favour of Microsoft and Windows 10. The dynamic undercurrent of the PC market – the flow of which was tablet – is in flux and shifting direction.

Tablet sales are decelerating – down 7.2 per cent in 2014, according to IDC. The reason is saturation: people have already bought their first tablets and aren’t buying a second. Smart phones are taking up the slack instead, as a lower-priced and equally functioning alternative.The PC market has stabilised from freefall and Gartner expects sales of Windows will grow faster than iOS.It sounds like the end of Microsoft’s experiment with Windows 8, and the release of Windows 10 this year has come at just the right time. Just don’t expect big, juicy margins Microsoft.Today’s tablet market is characterised by price consciousness, and with connection to internet services as standard.To that end, Acer, Asus, Toshiba and Hewlett-Packard last year hit the market with laptops running Windows 8 with Bing, the version of Windows with Bing set as the standard search engine but that (significantly) is available at low-to-no license fee.Rather than making money from the license fee, Microsoft’s goal is to cash in on services – bundling things like Office 365 for free for the first year and charged thereafter, when you forget to cancel. The Chromebook market is unstable right now, with Acer for one in turmoil, with its lowest world-wide sales in eight years and managerial instability and restructuring in Europe Cheap laptops are Microsoft and the OEM’s counter to Chromebooks, running Chrome from – again – Google. Chromebooks have been growing, with Acer, Samsung and HP selling the most.

But growth is relative and Chromebooks are really niche: just one per cent of total PC sales.The Chromebook market is unstable. Samsung closed its European laptop business last September, killing the continent’s Chromebook channel for the company. Acer is in turmoil, with its lowest world-wide sales in eight years along with managerial instability and restructuring in Europe.Chromebooks may yet to prove a passing fad, essentially this year’s netbook that gave rise to the tablet. Their growth may be hampered by the instability of supply, with Samsung gone from Europe.Microsoft will start supporting PayPal’s PayPal Here hardware, so people can buy things with their mobile phones.The partnership, which is only for the US initially, will allow retailers to use a Lumia or Surface to take payments through PayPal.The idea is that they will then want to use Microsoft products rather than something like the mPowa Bluetooth device with an Apple tablet.Microsoft wants to see small and medium business (sole proprietors, retailers and professional services organizations) using a Surface as a laptop replacement for inventory, supply, customer relationship information and accounting, and as a tablet for point-of-sale duties.

The company will launch apps for Surface and Lumia which link to PayPal Here, which will give audit trails, track sales, manage inventory, and accept “all forms of payments”. Hmmm, Bitcoin?Tablets will need additional hardware but some phones (the Lumia 635 and Lumia 830) will not.There is an SDK available for favoured developers, which include Canvas and iConnect POS, who have committed to beginning work immediately on the platform and aim to introduce new software in the coming months.This SDK will allow even more developers and ISVs to integrate their apps in the PayPal transaction platform directly from Windows and Surface. Much will depend on the fortunes of Acer and the direction taken by HP, which seems to enjoy having the option of selling Windows, Chrome and Android devices.HP has troubles of its own, with the PC business being spun out. It will need flexibility and margin-friendly ways to expand and hold position share in a changing market.Windows 10 is looking at a more favourable climate than that which Windows 8 entered in 2012, but the dynamic of cheap and low-priced computing won’t necessarily help Microsoft.

The rise of cheap tablets and the rise of smart phones as a cheap alternative to the tablet means PC makers and Microsoft must keep offering low-price but fully functioning devices on a par.The price genie isn’t out of the bottle for buyers only, though, it’s also escaped for the PC makers.Finally, PC makers can gain market share and make a profit selling cheap devices because they don’t have to pay a Windows royalty to Microsoft. It will be difficult for Microsoft to persuade PC makers they should start paying on Windows 10, and it will make Microsoft unpopular should try to mandate it.Microsoft’s chief operating officer Kevin Turner estimates there'll be no Windows 10 freebies. If he wants Windows 10 market share and Windows 10 devices that feed paying cloud services, Turner may need to re-think that and swallow the loss. Review Take a quick gander at any decent tech news site and you'll find stories about Chromebook sales doubling in 2014 and the Googly laptop being a gadget that is here to stay. That’s why every self-respecting PC maker is muscling in on the Chromebook scene.

Newest to hit the shores of Blighty is Acer’s Nvidia Tegra K1-powered 13.3-incher, which is called, with a certain lack of imagination, the Acer Chromebook 13. Available in two screen resolutions: 1366 x 768 and 1920 x 1080, it's the range topping £270 full-HD version I’ve been fannying about with since the festive season.Let’s start with the aesthetics. The Acer Chromebook 13 is one of the smartest to hit the streets, although Toshiba's CB30-102 from last summer is up there with it, with its MacBook-alike livery. If you want a laptop to pose with in Starbucks that’s not a MacBook Air, this is one to consider. Yes, posing with an Acer, who'd have thought?The white satin-finish body appears robust and has a high quality look and feel to it. The screen hinge is solid, nicely weighted and squeak-free. At 1.5kg, the Acer is a little heavier than Apple’s 1.36kg 13-inch MacBook Air. The Acer’s 18mm profile is closer to the Air’s 17mm.

Take a tour around the edges and you will find two USB 3.0 ports, a full sized HDMI connector and a spring-loaded SD card slot that takes said card all the way in. That last is a must have feature for a Chromebook in my book as the internal storage is never more than meagre on this breed of device. Finally, cheek by jowl you’ll find a 3.5mm audio jack and a tiny power socket into which you can plug the Acer’s all white, and rather dainty, power brick.USB 3.0 port and tucked away along the edge is the SD card slot Moving on to the bits of the Acer that you’ll be touching and looking at the most. The keyboard is solid and the individual keys have a decent amount of travel and a crisp, well damped action. There’s no backlight but I didn’t expect there to be one for this price. The trackpad is usefully large, pleasant to the touch and the click action rewarding.The screen is more of a mixed bag. Not technically. It’s very sharp and pretty bright while the matte finish keeps reflections at bay. Viewing angles are far from what I’d describe as stellar but for the price I’m not complaining.

Ports at the back, just like an old school laptop: USB 3.0 alongside a full-size HDMI connector No, the problem is the resolution itself. It makes the text in Chrome browser tabs and in the bookmark bar too small. The only way to change the tab and menu text size is to change the screen’s resolution but that not only looks terrible but rather defeats the object of buying the full-HD model in the first place.After such a banner year of Linux releases it might seem overly pessimistic to pause and ask this question: is there a future beyond this?The answer is, of course, yes – or rather it's yes, but... The qualifying but can take many forms, depending on who you talk to and what their stake is in the game.Even if you take the most optimistic outlook for the future of the Linux desktop, to what end do all these distros continue turning out all these great releases year after year? Are we waiting for the day when there are no more laptops or desktops left?In this sense, the question of what the future looks like for the desktop Linux distro is closely tied to the look of the future of general-purpose computing. In your correspondent's opinion, that future looks increasingly like one that will exist primarily on mobile devices.

The much-hyped mobile future may not feel that promising or real to those who grew up with TRS-80s in the den and will always think of computers as something you can hack on, something you control, but for the other 99.99 per cent of computer users, mobile devices are in fact exactly what they want for the very same reason: they never wanted to tinker with that massive, ugly contraption like that TRS-80 sitting in the den in the first place.The tightly controlled, rarely compromised world of app stores and mobile contracts is not limiting if that's all you wanted in the first place. It may not be the best way to debug your company's failing mail server, but mobile devices are great for getting you search results, Facebook updates and simple ways to share photos with friends.Couple that with the reality that the next two billion people who will be connecting to the internet will be in areas where factors like price, battery life and portability make the mobile device a clear winner. The exact form of that device will change over time, but right now the phone form factor seems to be winning.Given Linux's long history of outstanding support for underpowered hardware, mobile devices could end up being the best place for Linux yet. Unfortunately, so far the gap between: Yes! Mobile Linux will be awesome! and an actual mobile version of Linux that runs on devices that actually sell in stores is, well, insurmountable.

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