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Microsoft is no longer required to show the Browser Choice screen on Windows in the EU

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Believe it or not, five years have passed since the European Commission forced Microsoft to add the Browser Choice screen to the versions of Windows it sold in the EU. And incidentally, this means that the requirement has in fact expired.

As of now, Microsoft no longer falls under the obligation to show people in the EU the Browser Choice screen, so it’s stopped doing so. The dedicated website for the feature is gone too. Read more »

Skype Translator Preview released for Windows 8.1 and Windows 10

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Skype’s wonderful Translator functionality has finally become reality. The feature was first demoed by Microsoft back in May, and now it’s available as a preview on Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

At the moment, it only works between English and Spanish speakers. But it does do on-the-fly translation of voice calls. So you speak in one of these two languages, and the person at the other end of the ‘line’ will hear the other one. There is a slight delay, of course, but it’s perhaps smaller than one might have expected. Read more »

Windows Phone apps show up in Windows 10 store

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The recent leak of a Windows 10 consumer build (9901) has provided tech-enthusiast and Windows fans alike with information on a lot of previously unannounced features of the upcoming OS release. And while Xbox and Cortana integration are obviously on their way we are yet to see one of the exciting features boasted by Microsoft – ability to run Windows Phone applications on a desktop Windows distribution.

The leaked Windows 10 build in question has given us a possible glimpse of precisely this feature. An interesting picture popped up on twitter, showing HTC’s “Make More Space” app listed in the Windows 10 Store. The application is clearly intended for Windows phone, as evident from its listing. Read more »

Windows 10 build leaks, showcases Xbox and Cortana integration

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A Windows 10 consumer build 9901 leaked out to reveal some of the features that the upcoming OS will bring. Microsoft will have a consumer presentation of Windows 10 in late January next year.

The latest technical preview of Windows 10 showcases the integration of Cortana. Read more »

Microsoft announces January 21 event for Windows 10 consumer presentation

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Microsoft will hold a Windows 10-related event on Wednesday, January 21, 2015. Terry Myerson, Joe Belfiore, and Phil Spencer from the Operating Systems Group will all be speaking, as will CEO Satya Nadella.

The company has only published its official invite for now (which you can see above), choosing not to specifically say what the event will be about. However, a rumor from last month said we’d hear all about the consumer-facing features of Windows 10 for PCs “towards the end of January”. So this seems to be that. If so, then on this occasion Microsoft will also talk about Windows 10 on phones and tablets for the first time. Read more »

Microsoft gifts 100 albums on Xbox Music

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If you are using Microsoft’s Xbox Music streaming service, you can now download 100 popular albums for free. Microsoft is giving those away those albums to citizens in the USA only (damn licensing rights!), who are subscribers to its music app with Xbox Music Pass activated.

Some of the free albums include TRON: Legacy OST, Swedish House Mafia – Until Now, U2 – All That You Can’t Leave Behind, Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP2, Zedd – Clarity, Avicii – True, Lana Del Ray – Born to Die, Jessie J – Sweet Talker, Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III and Imagine Dragons – Night Visions. Read more »

Windows 8′s Xbox Video app now natively supports MKV files

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Blu-ray won the optical format wars while MKV won on the digital side. That’s why there was plenty of cheers (by which we mean grunts “Finally!”) when it was revealed that Windows 10 will support MKV files natively. It turns out we don’t have to wait so long – Windows 8.1 now supports them too.

The pre-installed Xbox Video app has been updated and it can now play “most MKV files,” provided they don’t use an unsupported codec. Read more »

Panasonic FZ-E1 headed to the US, Europe in LTE flavor

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Doomsday preppers behold – the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-E1 is the only phone you need for a zombie apocalypse, if you are a fan of Windows Embedded 8 that is (not WP8!). The handset is rated for IP68 and MIL-STD-810G and can survive drops from 3m (10ft).

And was certified by the GCF in the States, meaning it will be available over there too. Read more »

Skype 7.0 for Windows lets you video call Lync users

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Skype has released an update for its Windows app today (the desktop Windows, mind you, not Windows Phone). Version 7.0 brings with it support for video calling people using Lync, as well as a few other things.

Audio calls and chats with Lync users have been possible since 2013, and now the video call functionality has finally been turned on between the two Microsoft-owned services. Lync is part of Microsoft Office, and it offers IM and presence, video conferencing, as well as telephony, being geared at businesses. Read more »

Windows 8.1 continues to steal market share away from Windows XP

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According to the latest statistical data on netmarketshare.com the last Windows release – 8.1 is steadily increasing its user base. The opposite trend can be observed in Windows XP market share, which has been steadily declining. The numbers are pretty close with 13.57% for Windows XP and 12.1% for 8.1 and this year may be the first to finally shift the balance. This is great news for Microsoft as it may finally manage to sway users away from the very aging OS, riddled with security issues and gear them towards current and future company projects, like windows 10, which is set to debut on the general market late next year.

Windows XP has long been a thorn in Microsoft`s usage statistics. It is still held as one of the most successful iterations of the OS ever, permeating almost every possible corner and niche of the technology world, including vital systems, such as ticket reservation and event most current ATMs. Read more »

Archos fully unveils the 80 Cesium tablet – a €150 Windows 8.1 tablet

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Archos did its usual pre-IFA mass announcement of multiple devices, including the Windows 8.1 running Archos 80 Cesium. Little was known about it other than that it was supposed to launch in October. Better late than never I suppose.

The 80 Cesium belongs to the line of very affordable Windows tablets – €150 in this case – and it comes with the usual concessions. Read more »

Windows 10 to include native free FLAC playback support

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This September saw the announcement of Microsoft’s next big version of Windows, Windows 10. It is set to be the biggest redesign of the OS to come along in years and it promises a whole lot more than the just design changes. This next iteration is set to be such a formidable step forward for Microsoft technology, that it actually manages to skip a version number and needless to say drove up a huge hype. What Microsoft 10 is set to accomplish is hopefully unify the OS experience as well as, to a large extent, functionality across different hardware platforms.

Now another exciting piece of inside news has been posted from Gabriel Aul from the Windows development team via his Twitter account. Apparently Windows 10 will feature native free support for FLAC audio playback, a much requested addition. The screenshot clearly shows Windows Media Player with a playlist full of lossless audio. Read more »

HP Envy x2 goes official as a Microsoft Surface 3 alternative

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HP took the wraps off the Envy x2 of family of convertible PCs. With a multi-angle kickstand, fabric keyboard cover, and available stylus, the device is a cheaper, slightly less capable clone to the heavily marketed Microsoft Surface 3.

HP Envy x2 is available in configurations with 13” or 15” IPS display. Read more »

Microsoft’s latest Surface Pro 3 ad takes aim at the MacBook Air

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In a new ad very much dominated by a heavy holiday theme, Microsoft wants you to know that the Surface Pro 3 tablet is better than Apple’s MacBook Air.

So far we’ve seen the promo videos, as well as a football-themed ad for the slate, but now it’s time for some comparisons with an Apple product – something Microsoft loves to do from time to time. Read more »

Microsoft launches free Movie Creator app for Lumia phones, Windows tablets

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Today Microsoft has unveiled a new free video editing app for Windows Phone 8.1. It’s called Movie Creator, and it’s available in beta in the Windows Phone app store, for Lumia smartphones. It also works on tablets running Windows 8.1.

It lets you create movies using up to 25 videos you’ve recorded on your phone, as well as photos, cinemagraphs, ‘living images’, and music from your mobile device. Read more »