Windows 10 to be released to users in waves, following Windows Insiders
Prospective users of Windows 10 may have to wait before being able to use the next version of Microsoft's operating system, the software company has revealed. A blog post advises that it will be rolling out Windows 10 to Windows Insiders first on July 29, then reserved systems will be notified that they can upgrade in waves after the launch date, with subsequent waves increasing in size.
Sixth Surface Pro 3 includes Core i7 processor, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage
Microsoft has quietly extended its Surface Pro 3 lineup, adding one more option to the existing collection of five tablets, as part of a few changes to its overall Surface range. The sixth tablet adds an extra Core i7 selection to the roster, and while it has the same core specifications as its high-end stablemates, Microsoft has shrunk the storage capacity down from 512GB and 256GB to just 128GB.
Microsoft hands technology licenses, collected data to Uber
Uber is significantly bolstering its mapping operations and research, by acquiring technology and staff from Microsoft for an as-yet undisclosed amount. Map-related assets from Bing are being passed on to the app-based taxi firm, reports TechCrunch, with approximately 100 employees also being transferred over as part of the purchase, in yet another navigation-related acquisition from the transport company.
New Samsung notebooks have Windows Update-disabling software installed
Samsung is preventing some of its customers from performing Windows Updates automatically, it has been discovered. A small app going by the name of Disable_Windowsupdate.exe has been found to be installed on some new Samsung notebooks, with the app's sole purpose being denying the computer from downloading any important security updates or drivers from Microsoft's service, so that Samsung's own driver-updating software can work instead.
Blog post on Friday mistakenly said Windows Insiders would gain full Windows 10 free
Microsoft has been forced to clarify the free Windows 10 upgrade offer, after a blog post on Friday suggested that anyone within the Windows Insider program would get it as well. The software giant's original post has been corrected, removing text about the activation, while also explaining how users could still use a final build of Windows 10 without upgrading from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.
Augmented reality HoloLens hardware may change, but likely to offer same display range
Microsoft's HoloLens is unlikely to have a wider field of view for its augmented reality display when it eventually reaches consumers, an executive has confirmed. The smaller section of the helmet where the AR content is visible, leaving a large peripheral area where there isn't any overlay, will most likely remain the same in terms of size and position, despite receiving complaints and comments from people who have tried out the device in tests and at major events.
The giants have spoken, but who's going to take the 2015-2016 sales crown?
The triumvirate of console gaming, Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, have shown what they're going to show to launch the 2015 E3 expo, and as with all things, we've got opinions. Join MacNN and Electronista staffers Mike, Malcolm, and Jordan with special commentary from HammerCast's Duane Sibilly as they discuss the surprises, let-downs, reveals, and presentations that we've suffered through so you don't have to!
Doom, Gears of War 4, Mass Effect Andromeda shown at E3 events
Welcome to a special Game Replay, our regular gaming column, which will be daily for a few days this week to cover the main stories coming out of E3. For today's edition, we're covering Bethesda's first major E3 event, the non-hardware shown off by Microsoft's event, and EA's major announcements, including more of the multiplayer from Star Wars: Battlefront.
Over 100 Xbox 360 games will be playable on Xbox One by end of this year
[strong]Updated with pricing on new Xbox One Pro controller[/strong] Owners of the Xbox One will be able to see their game library expand, with the introduction of backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 titles coming to the console in the near future. The hardware announcements at Microsoft's E3 event also include a new controller for the Xbox One that includes a number of customizable elements to allow gamers to get the most out of the games they play, as well as some Windows 10 and VR items.
Xbox One with 1TB drive, controller with extra headset options shipping June 16
Microsoft has formally unveiled its upgraded Xbox One game console and controller, following a pair of earlier leaks for each device. Aside from confirming the new hardware's existence, Microsoft has also revealed its price cut for the existing version of the console will stay in place, as well as upcoming availability for an adaptor that will allow the Xbox One controller to be used on PCs and tablets wirelessly.
Gaming news summary for June 7, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the twice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN and Electronista. In today's edition, an upgraded Xbox One leaks on Amazon, Harmonix reveals why it isn't making Rock Band 4 for the PC, and Destiny players have raised over $1 million in Bungie's Nepal earthquake charity effort.
Browser-based version of Skype widens beta reach, global availability expected in weeks
Microsoft has opened up Skype for Web to more users, pulling it out of the closed beta and making it available to all current Skype users based in the United States or the United Kingdom. The widening of beta access follows after another web-based Skype change, namely a redesign of how Skype for Outlook.com appears and works for users of the browser-based webmail client.
Latest Microsoft acquisition follows recent pattern of productivity app purchases
Microsoft is continuing its productivity app acquisition spree, with yet another purchase. 6Wunderkinder, the Berlin-based development team behind to-do list app Wunderlist, has been acquired by the software giant, in what is potentially a move for Microsoft to either add features from the app to its own Office productivity suite or simply rebrand it, in a similar manner to two previous app purchases in the last six months.
Microsoft continues hard sell on Windows 10 with device reveals
Electronista was on hand at Computex today, where Microsoft continued its push for Windows 10. With the official announcement last week that Windows 10 will begin shipping from the end of July, Microsoft Senior VP, OEM Division Nick Parker took the opportunity at today's keynote to highlight the wide range of devices that will support Windows 10 at launch. This includes existing devices built for Windows 8, as well as several previously-unannounced devices from Asus, HP, Dell and Toshiba that will arrive when Windows 10 goes on sale.
Upgrade reservation notices sent to Windows 7, 8, 8.1 users
Microsoft is releasing Windows 10 upgrade on July 29, the software giant has confirmed. It is also revealed that users of Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 will find they will have a slightly different process for the free upgrade this time around compared to the upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, with Microsoft offering an upgrade prompt to "reserve" the upgrade download instead of forcing users to go through the Windows Store.
Gaming news summary for May 31, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the twice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN and Electronista. In today's edition, Twitch bans AO-rated titles from streaming, NCsoft is making MMO WildStar a free-to-play title, and leaks suggest Microsoft is adding a headphone jack to the Xbox One controller.
Microsoft virtual assistant app will head to iPhones, Android this year
Microsoft will be making Windows 10 more useful to smartphone owners, by making it easier to set up their desktop and mobile device to connect together and share files. The added mobile support is also supported by a second announcement that the Cortana virtual assistant will be available to download and use on other platforms than Windows Phone, with both iOS and Android set to receive access in the future.
Gaming news summary for May 20, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the twice-weekly post where MacNN and Electronista writes about some of the major stores in the wider world of gaming that developed over the last few days. In today's edition, more characters invade Lego Dimensions, the digital TV tuner for Xbox One goes on sale in the US and Canada, and a request for cheaters to apologize on YouTube in order to reinstate their banned accounts.
Filemaker Pro 14, Cox Cable's cap testing, Xbox bricking, and more
Episode 15 of The MacNN Podcast is on the air! Regular shenanigans ensue, even if not perpetrated by the regular crowd. This week, we talk about Microsoft up to its old tricks with six versions of Windows 10 at retail, Xbox consoles bricked by Microsoft (or not), Cox Cable's cap testing, and much more!
Carriers will be unable to delay Windows 10 for Mobile update releases
Microsoft will be attempting to make Windows 10 for mobile devices more secure than Windows Phone has been previously, by excluding device manufacturers and carriers from the process entirely. The software giant will be directly applying patches to smartphones running Windows 10 Mobile, potentially eliminating some of the operating system fragmentation that occurs when carriers delay the release of upgrades produced by manufacturers.
Ad blocking plans could result in request by carriers for advertising revenue cut
European carriers are allegedly working on blocking mobile advertising from major advertising networks, including those from Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo. A report claims the current plans to remove the online advertising from smartphone browsers in order to save on bandwidth costs, though it will also apparently have the ulterior motive of trying to force the advertising networks to share some of their revenue with the carriers themselves.
Gaming news summary for May 17, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the twice-weekly post where MacNN and Electronista writes about some of the major stories in the wider world of gaming that have developed over the last few days. In today's edition, Blizzard brings back Diablo's "Cow Level" secret, Ubisoft gives up on previous-generation consoles, and Candy Crush Saga will be heading to Windows 10.
Microsoft clarifies stance on free Windows 10 upgrade qualification
Microsoft will not be providing the free Windows 10 upgrade to owners of pirated operating systems, the software giant has clarified. A blog post by operating systems vice president Terry Myerson doubles back from earlier comments suggesting users of pirated software would receive the update, with the affected users now being required to pay for a full Windows license before receiving Windows 10.
Xbox Live ban for game testers leaking early details of Microsoft remake
Microsoft's rumored remake of the Gears of War franchise is being marred form accusations that it is being overprotective of its intellectual property. A game testing company has alleged that Microsoft is making some of its staff's Xbox One consoles unusable as a punishment for the leaks, a claim that Microsoft has refuted, denying it has 'bricked' the consoles in question.
Still not revealed are specifics of free upgrade program, fate of virtualization users
Microsoft has taken the wraps off of some more of its plans for Windows. In a blog post heralding the imminent arrival of the new version of the operating system, Microsoft has revealed no less than six versions of the operating system, including versions for mobile.
Real-time voice-based Skype translation available in English, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin
Microsoft is making its Skype Translator available to all users of the video messaging service. Open to everyone, instead of being available to people signing up to take part in the preview, the tool provides near real-time translation of spoken languages, allowing participants to easily speak to each other with little in the way of additional conversational gaps between participants.
x86-powered Surface 3 offers more possibilities
Perhaps the most notable aspect of the launch of the Microsoft Surface 3 is the apparent death of Microsoft's Windows on ARM for tablets experiment, otherwise known as Windows RT. Instead of being powered by an ARM-based chip design like the iPad and most Android tablets, the Surface 3 is now powered by an Intel x86-based Atom chip. The main benefit of this change in approach is that, unlike the original Surface and Surface 2, the Surface 3 runs the standard and full version of Windows 8.1. This means that desktop applications like Apple's own iTunes for Windows PCs can be installed on the Surface 3, along with any other applications compatible with Windows 8.1 and the specifications of the machine. So does this finally make the Surface 3 seriously warrant your attention?
Amazon adds Prime Stations to Echo wireless speaker
Amazon has updated the Echo portable wireless speaker to work with Prime Stations. An email sent to Prime subscribers owning the device advises that the Alexa digital assistant can be commanded to play a personalized ad-free station from Prime Music. The verbal command "Alexa, play the Bruno Mars Prime Station" will start streaming the relevant station through the speaker, with "Alexa, thumbs up/thumbs down" rating the track for further personalization, and "Alexa, what song is this?" to receive more track details.
Comments suggest regular updates instead of milestone Windows releases in future
Windows 10 will be the "last" version of the operating system, a Microsoft developer evangelist has claimed. Speaking at the Ignite conference earlier this week, Jerry Nixon told attendees "Right now we're releasing Windows 10, and because Windows 10 is the last version of Windows, we're all still working on Windows 10," suggesting Microsoft will be taking an alternative path to upgrading the operating system.
Desktop-style apps on mobile unlikely to woo switchers, but still points new direction
Although Microsoft is lagging as very distant third in the smartphone space, it has not yet given up on the hope that it can eventually gain some market traction. At its Build developers conference last week, the Redmond software giant revealed the shape of things to come from its smartphones in the near future. The most intriguing features demonstrated for Windows 10 on smartphones was Continuum, its new desktop mode for a smartphone connected to a monitor, keyboard and mouse. Although it hasn't been revealed in its final form, Continuum promises to reconfigure a Windows 10 smartphone interface on-the-fly so that users can interact with its apps in a desktop environment much as they would do with a PC. Is it a game changer?
JetBlue bringing Amazon Instant Video to in-flight Wi-Fi service
JetBlue passengers will soon be able to use Amazon Instant Video during flights. While most in-flight Internet services either block or are not capable of high-bandwidth applications, such as streaming video, a partnership between the airline and the retailer will let Amazon Prime subscribers view Prime Instant Video content through JetBlue's satellite-based "Fly-Fi" service at no extra cost. Passengers without a Prime subscription will be able to buy and rent shows during the flight, with Amazon.
Microsoft barred from registering european trade mark for Skype
Microsoft has suffered a second trademark-related blow from satellite broadcaster Sky, following a second ruling against the software producer in an EU court. The ruling declared that the Skype name is too similar to Sky's own trademark, and therefore could easily confuse consumers signing up for the service, expecting something produced by the broadcaster.
Devices codenamed Cityman, Talkman said to have QHD displays, run Windows 10
Microsoft may be working on a pair of high-specification Lumia smartphones meant to showcase the upcoming Windows 10 operating system. Details relating to two upcoming smartphones have apparently leaked, with a report claiming one device codenamed "Cityman" has a 5.7-inch QHD display, while the "Talkman" will have the same resolution but use a smaller 5.2-inch screen.
Gaming news summary for May 3, 2015
The Game Replay is a twice-weekly look back at the wider world of gaming from the last few days. Today's edition includes Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella revealing a reason behind the purchase of Mojang, a bomb threat at a GamerGate meeting, Yooka-Laylee exceeding expectations on Kickstarter, and Bungie using Destiny's community to help a charitable effort.
Microsoft ends upgrades of Windows Media Center for next operating system
Windows Media Center will not form part of the upcoming release of Windows 10. Microsoft has no intentions of bringing the software over into its latest operating system, meaning that users who have it running on Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 will no longer be able to access it if they decide to accept the company's offer of a free upgrade to Windows 10.
Stylus technology could help Microsoft improve handwriting input in apps
Microsoft has acquired the technology behind the Surface Pen used in the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3. The acquisition from Israel-based patent holder N-trig allows Microsoft to invest in improvements to the stylus, as well as making it harder for other tablet manufacturers to use the same technology in newer tablets, without Microsoft's agreement.
Initial preview of Windows 10 for Raspberry Pi can use some universal apps
Microsoft has brought a preview version of Windows 10 to the Raspberry Pi 2 microcomputer, but not the typical desktop version some were expecting. The Windows 10 Internet of Things (IoT) Core preview allows users to remotely access the components of the Raspberry Pi 2, as well as Intel's Minnowboard Max, with Microsoft also working with Arduino to get the operating system communicating with its hardware.
Augmented reality HoloLens headset can run Windows 10 apps
HoloLens, Microsoft's augmented reality headset, also received some attention at the Build keynote, among updates to Windows 10. A brief demonstration showed how the headset could be used in industry for visualization and management of complex systems, as well as how it handles running Windows 10 apps, taking into account the available 3D space.
Future Windows 10 smartphones can offer larger work area with monitor connection via Continuum
Future smartphones running Windows 10 will be capable of performing some of the same tasks as desktop PCs when they are connected to a television, Microsoft has revealed. Demonstrated at Build, Continuum will allow mobile users to run some of the universal apps installed on their device on the larger display, giving them more space and freedom to work.
Project Spartan browser renamed as Edge, accepts Chrome, Firefox extensions
The incoming Windows 10 release was teased further at the Build developer conference, with Microsoft showing off more of what to expect from the operating system. New changes to the Cortana virtual assistant were previewed, while the Spartan browser replacement for Internet Explorer has been renamed Edge and given a few neat tricks its predecessor does not have.
Developers offered variety of ways to bring apps to Windows
Microsoft has used Build to reveal to developers what to expect when they develop apps for the incoming upgrade to Windows 10, both for mobile and desktops. More details about universal Windows apps was issued, as well as new ways for developers to create new apps or port existing apps from other platforms, including iOS and Android.
Free version of Windows development suite heads to other platforms
Microsoft is bringing its Visual Studio suite to more platforms, the company announced at its Build conference keynote today. Visual Studio Code is a lightweight version of the long-standing code editing suite, with the new cross-platform version being made available in preview not only for Windows, but also OS X and Linux systems, and as a free download to developers.
Company in the middle of model shift from Windows to services revenue
Microsoft today announced that revenues for the quarter that ended March 31 grew to $21.7 billion. Net income, however, was a bit less than expected, coming in at $5 billion -- a 12 percent drop from the same quarter a year ago. These financial results include $190 million of integration and restructuring expense related to Microsoft's turnaround plan, and the ongoing integration of the Nokia Devices and Services business.
Gaming news summary for April 22, 2015
The Game Replay is a twice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN and Electronista, noting a few of the major stories in the industry from earlier this week. Today's story collection includes incoming Xbox One changes, Gearbox Software's loss of the Borderlands creator, and more Halo content
Smart document scanning app comes to iOS
Didn't we just do this one? At first glance, if you compare the new Microsoft Office Lens to Evernote Scannable, you might conclude that one is red and one is a sort of cyan blue. Otherwise, they do the same job of scanning documents very quickly, they do the same job of processing them, and they do a very similar job of passing that data on to other applications. In the case of Office Lens, that is chiefly anything beginning with Microsoft, and with Scannable, that is chiefly Evernote.
Gaming news summary for April 19, 2015
The Game Replay is a twice-weekly look by MacNN and Electronista on the wider gaming landscape, highlighting some of the more notable stories from the last few days. Today's list includes improvements to security on Steam, "Timewalking" in World of Warcraft, and the small matter of a new Star Wars game.
Skype, Microsoft Office, other apps will be included in future Cyanogen releases
Users of CyanogenMod will soon find more Microsoft apps on their devices. Cyanogen and Microsoft have announced a strategic partnership between the two companies, which will see the Android ROM producer adding Microsoft-created apps to Cyanogen OS, including Bing services, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook, Microsoft Office, and Skype.
Lumia 540 Dual SIM has 5-inch 720p display, quad-core 1.2GHz processor
Microsoft has unveiled a Windows-based smartphone that seems to be a slightly improved version of the recent Lumia 640 for emerging markets. The new Lumia 540 Dual SIM shares much of its specifications with last month's smartphone launch, but it does include a few useful changes, such as a higher-resolution front-facing camera and, as the name suggests, the ability to use two SIM cards.
Audio Description tracks added to Netflix-produced shows
Netflix is making some of its content more accessible to the visually impaired, by adding an alternate "Audio Description" track to shows. Starting with the recently-released Daredevil today and reaching other Netflix-produced shows in the coming weeks, the extra option provides a narration track that describes scenes and important character attributes, such as costumes, facial expressions, and actions.
Trusted Voice Smart Lock option rolling out to stock Android devices
Owners of devices running stock Android will be able to unlock their smartphones and tablets by uttering "OK Google." Following changes to Google Play Services, Android Police reports that the Trusted Voice unlocking option is starting to roll out, appearing in the Smart Lock settings. Users are warned before setting up Trusted Voice that it is "less secure" than a knowledge-based security measure, such as a PIN or a pattern, as "someone with a similar voice or a recording of your voice could unlock your device."