Windows 8 Preview Now Available to All: Microsoft has unveiled the Consumer Preview Edition of Windows 8, and pundits say it could accelerate the world’s transition toward a mobile-first vision of general purpose computing. The Windows user experience has been radically overhauled with the Metro user interface, which has been a critically acclaimed part of the Windows Phone design. It allows Microsoft to embrace a new era of computing that is more and more about the touch screen. There’s also a version of Win 8 for ARM smartphone processors, as well as a “Desktop” user interface version of Windows 8 that will run old applications. Dice News
Google Is Still Growing In New York: Google added 750 people to its New York City office in 2011. Having acquired four Gotham-based companies and building its media and advertising teams, the company now has about 2,750 employees in the city, a 38 percent increase from 2010. “Many of the most talented and creative engineers and scientists in our field of computer science want to be here…there’s a critical mass in the city,” said Alfred Spector, the vice president of research and special initiatives based in Google’s New York office. Facebook, Hewlett-Packard, and other companies are also expanding their New York presences, and Cornell University is now planning to build an engineering campus on Roosevelt Island. The Wall Street Journal
Nokia Wants to Attract App Developers: Nokia says its new Windows Phones as the best bet for operators and app developers. “We’re creating a platform to attract third-party developers that’s far friendlier and far more aligned with the interests of operators all over the world,” said Stephen Elop, Nokia’s president and CEO, in a keynote speech at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Wednesday. For example, Nokia offers operator billing with 140 operators in 40 countries, an important considering for this growing market when new customers don’t have credit cards. CIO.com
Google’s CEO Wants Seven Billion Android Customers: Google Chairman Eric Schmidt is hoping Android will get the whole world onto the Internet. Speaking at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, he said, “We talk about how everyone has a cell phone, but only about one billion have a phone. For most people, the digital revolution has not arrived yet.” He added that, “The smartphone revolution will be universal and a mobile experience to be available to almost everyone at a fraction of the price. If Google gets it right, there will be an Android in every pocket, and at the current growth rate, it is certainly possible.” Schmidt said 850,000 Android phones are activated every day, and 300 million Android devices have been activated. The New York Times
Cisco to Acquire Lightwire: Cisco will acquire Allentown, Pa.-based Lightwire Inc. for $271 million, the company said. Lightwire develops optical interconnect technology for high-speed networking applications. Its technology is designed to help its service provider and data center customers meet the growing demands of video, data, voice, mobility, and cloud services, precisely the arena in which Cisco plays. San Jose Business Journal
D.C. Startups Need Skilled Workers: The Capitol region’s up-and-coming technology companies need Web developers and engineers but must often compete for the same small pool of qualified applicants. Washington doesn’t get the same kind of attention from the technology community that denser tech hubs, such as New York and Silicon Valley, do, and D.C. employers face competition from huge government contractors. One example: D.C.-based LivingSocial has an engineering team of 100 employees, about 40 of whom work in cities as far away as Dallas, Portland, Ore., or Boulder, Colo., because there isn’t enough local talent. The Washington Post
Need a Change of Scenery? Try Australia: It’s a long way to go for a technology job, but thousands of new jobs are set to be created in Australia’s digital economy, and there are not enough workers to fill them. According to the Australian Computer Society, 35,000 new IT jobs may be created by 2013, but Australia will not have enough candidates to fill them. National IT education enrollments are now less than half of what they were a decade ago, according to the Society’s report. Australia Magazine
Upcoming Tech Events
Predictive Analytics World
March 4-10—San Francisco
Predictive Analytics World focuses on concrete examples of deployed predictive analytics. Hear from the horse’s mouth precisely how Fortune 500 analytics competitors and other top practitioners deploy predictive modeling, and what kind of business impact it delivers.
Independent Games Festival
March 5-9—San Francisco
Located on the show floor at Game Developers Conference, and open to any members of the public or game professionals who have bought an Expo Pass to the show, the IGF Pavilion showcases every single finalist for that year’s Festival in playable form. Members of the development team for each IGF finalist are on hand to discuss and demonstrate the title and talk to top game publishers and distributors attending the show.
March 7-8—San Francisco
Forty cutting-edge, never-before-seen technology companies will debut at this festival, and panels of experts will evaluate each idea.
South by Southwest offers an amazing gathering of thought leaders in independent music, independent films, and emerging technologies. Fostering creative and professional growth alike, SXSW is the premier destination for discovery. The Integrated Media Association conference will be held in conjunction with SXSWi, and there will be a tech career expo on March 9 and 10.
March 14-16—Washington, D.C.
VERGE DC brings together corporate leaders focusing on a new wave of technological change revolutionizing sustainability. A convergence of technologies for energy, buildings, information, and vehicles, which GreenBiz calls VERGE, is enabling companies to break down organizational silos and accelerate innovation. This has profound implications for your company’s sustainability and business goals.