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Intel Compute Stick adds Windows 8.1 to any TV for $150

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Intel is staying close to emerging new technologies – the Internet of Things, smartwatches and now HDMI sticks. With the rising popularity of Google’s Chromecast and Amazon’s Fire TV Stick, Intel’s Compute Stick stands out with a complete Windows 8.1 with Bing copy for just $150.

The stick is powered by a quad-core Atom processor, not unlike the ones found in phones and tablets. Read more »

Microsoft’s upcoming Spartan Web browser for Windows 10 shown in first leaked screenshot

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At the end of last year, we heard an intriguing report which said that Microsoft would ship Windows 10 with two Web browsers on board – IE11 for backwards compatibility, and a new one codenamed Spartan, which was allegedly being built from scratch. Today the existence of project Spartan has pretty much been confirmed by the leaked screenshot you can see below.

This apparently shows us the second version of Spartan, dating back to November. It’s an older iteration than the one currently in the works, but it does help us get a general idea about it. And immediately that codename starts making sense, for this is shaping up to be a very bare bones experience, with a very minimalistic design. Read more »

New Toshiba Encore 2 Write Windows tablets announced with Wacom pen support

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Last year Toshiba released a pair of tablets under the Encore 2 name. Both devices featured a slick body with rounded edges for better handling and a nice Satin Gold finish. Both tablets feature 1280 x 800 pixel screens in 10 and 8-inch form factors, respectively. They are powered by quad-core Atom processors and come with an array of connectivity options: 802.11n Wi-Fi, Micro HDMI and wireless display support.

In a recent announcement Toshiba revealed that it will now offer an improved version of the devices that include support for Pen input and are bundled with one, produced by Wacom. The extra input method is said to be very precise, with 2048 levels of pressure intensity and should offer an array of new possible features and uses for the next generation Encore 2 tablets, dubbed Encore 2 Write. Read more »

Lenovo unveils Yoga 3 convertibles, ThinkPad Yogas and an 8″ Yoga Tablet

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Aside from the carbon ThinkPad X1, Lenovo also brought out new Yoga convertible laptops. The Lenovo Yoga 3 comes in 11″ and 14″ sizes, both powered by a 5th generation Intel processor. The signature move of the Yoga are the four modes – Laptop, Stand, Tend and Tablet – thanks to the hinge that opens all 180°.

The Windows Yoga line continues with an 8″ tablet that can use a pen instead of a stylus and three ThinkPad models that aren’t as portable as the Yoga 3 but pack additional features. Read more »

ASUS introduces a trio of Windows Transformer Book Chi tablets

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Alongside the Zenfone 2 and Zenfone 2 Zoom phone duo, Asus also introduced a trio of Windows tablets from its Transformer Book Chi series. Тhe T90, T100, and T300, as their called, all run Windows 8.1 and can be attached to keyboard docks to become a full-fledged laptop.

Like their names suggest, the Transformer Book T90 Chi and Book T100 Chi feature 8.9″ and 10.1″ screens, respectively. The resolution of the T90 is 1280 x 800, while the larger T100 is one step ahead with full HD panel. Both are powered by the Intel Atom Z3775 and are offered in 32GB and 64GB flavors.

However, the star of the show is the Transformer Chi T300 with its all-aluminum body and 12.5″ IPS 2560 x 1440 pixel display. Under the hood, there’s an Intel Broadwell Core M processor with no fans. It’s quite thin too with a waistline of 7.6mm when detached and 16.5mm when attached to a keyboard dock. Read more »

Samsung unveils new Series 9 ultrabook, Series 7 AiO

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Samsung slipped in two new computers in 2014 even though New Year’s Eve is less than 48 hours away. One is an updated Series 9 ultrabook, the other a Series 7 all-in-one PC.

Interestingly, both lack the ATIV branding that Samsung used for its Windows/Windows Phone devices. Read more »

Microsoft is allegedly working on a new browser for Windows 10

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When Windows 10 launches, it will do so with two Web browsers on board – IE11 (for backward compatibility), as well as a brand new one codenamed Spartan. This will be lightweight, will look a lot like Chrome or Firefox, and will support extensions.

However, Spartan will still use Microsoft’s Chakra JavaScript engine and its Trident rendering engine, according to a couple of unnamed sources. Read more »

Latest Surface Pro 3 ad focuses on praising “the tablet that can replace your laptop”

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Microsoft has released a new ad for its Surface Pro 3 tablet today. And it seems to us that the company has cranked up the praise in this one – it’s obvious how proud it is of this device.

Add in some complimenting quotes from a few well known publications, and you pretty much have the whole recipe for this commercial – which, by the way, is called “Accolades”. Read more »

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 »