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Microsoft is betting big on the 5G promise to transform computing as we know it despite a growing outcry that it poses serious health and environmental dangers. 5G, the next evolution of mobile networks, promises to transform the way we experience technology. 1G brought voice to a mobile platform. 2G introduced text. 3G delivered higher speeds and enabled music and video streaming. 4G or LTE brought up to 10-times higher speeds than 3G. 5G has been described as an evolution of mobile computing due to the many new computing scenarios it is expected to enable such as connected cars, advanced A.I., remote healthcare, advanced augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) and much more. 5G networks will have low latency (very responsive with no delay). They will be exponentially faster than current networks and more robust (able to handle more data). And they will be capable of connecting far more devices. Devices will not only connect and communicate with the network, but 5G's robust low latency qualities will allow devices to connect, communicate and "make decisions" between one another (i.e., smart cars) in real time. These capabilities are foundational to Microsoft's "Azure as the world's computer vision, " its intelligent edge and IoT infrastructure and its always connected PC, Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), Mixed Reality and xCloud game streaming strategies. Get the facts on OUR FORUM.

Microsoft’s Windows 10 and Office telemetry has been found to be in violation of General Data Protection Regulation by Dutch regulators, reports the Telegraph. The complaint centers around the normal software monitoring of users of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook which Microsoft says it is collecting for functional and security purposes.  The data was found to include sentences from Microsoft Word or lines of emails if its automated systems detected certain actions, like using a spell-checker. The Dutch Ministry of Justice was however not satisfied, noting in a report that analysis of the data showed the data collected included email subject lines,  saying: “Data provided by and about users was being gathered through Windows 10 Enterprise and Microsoft Office and stored in a database in the US in a way that posed major risks to users’ privacy.” Privacy Company, who conducted the investigation on behalf of the Dutch government, said Microsoft engaged in “large-scale and secret processing of data”. Microsoft has made efforts to come into compliance before, by moving its data collection back to Europe and the company agreed in October to undertake an improvement plan for its services. More on this can be found on OUR FORUM.

Microsoft released the Windows 10 October 2018 Update to the general public skipping the Release Preview Ring on October 2, 2018. The update was blocked after just 4 days due to major issues found during installation. After almost a month the company re-released the Windows 10 version 1809 a couple of days ago to the general public. Many users have reported issues with the Windows 10 October 2018 update on PCs with AMD Radeon graphics card. Microsoft has acknowledged that some PCs with AMD Radeon won’t work smoothly on Windows 10 October 2018 Update and as a result, the company blocked the update on some PCs. Microsoft notes that AMD is no longer supporting Radeon HD2000 and HD4000 series graphic processor units. Users with the above graphics processing units or GPUs will experience issues installing the Windows 10 version 1809 but Microsoft is investigating and the problem will be addressed soon. “To ensure a seamless update experience, we are blocking devices with AMD Radeon HD2000 and HD4000 series graphics processors from being offered Window 10, version 1809,” Microsoft writes in the support document. Further details can be found on OUR FORUM.

Dolby’s been making a bigger push for consumer recognition in the last few years, so it was really just a matter of time before it released a branded product. As far as those things go, headphones make as much sense as anything. Even so, the over-ear Bluetooth headphone market is a tough on to crack, between quality sets from Bose and Sony, along with the flashiness of Beats and its ilk. Dolby Dimension is working a pretty interesting angle here, however, as the “first wireless headphones perfected for home entertainment,” rather than going after the same frequent flier demo as most of the competition. Reviews so far are pretty positive on both sound and comfort, which is nice, given the fairly astronomical $599 asking price. It’s a lot to ask for a pair of headphones catering to a relative niche in the overall market — after all, most of us likely find ourselves less inclined to wear a headset at home. It’s not like being on a plane or public transit where forcing others to listen to your music qualifies you as one of history’s greatest monsters. The Dimension offers a premium build and the sort of sound quality one expects from Dolby calibrated devices. There’s also a number of different settings to let ambient sound in or block it out completely, along with some clever touches like head tracking, which keeps the sound source in place as you move. We have an early review posted on OUR FORUM.

Windows OS is the primary and only choice for a lot of gamers and while it is the best OS for playing games on PC, in some cases it falls short. Microsoft continues to release all of their first party games in Microsoft Store (previously Windows Store) which was introduced with the release of Windows 10 back in 2015. A large number of third-party titles are available in Store but after all these years, users are still facing issues while downloading, installing and updating apps and games through the Microsoft Store. There are many store titles which come with restrictions like no support from apps like Discord, NVIDIA Shadow Play, Fraps etc. But things are likely to change as Microsoft is rethinking about the Microsoft Store from the gamers point of view. Few fixes are already showing up in Store with the latest update but still, there is room for improvements and Microsoft shared some exciting news at XO18. Microsoft’s Xbox Chief Phil Spencer in a statement confirmed that a new update for Microsoft Store is planned and it would improve the gaming experience on PC. Windows 10 has an Xbox app which allows certain control over gaming if the user already has Xbox consoles. However, the true PC gaming requires additional features which are already available on third-party platforms like Steam, Origin, GOG. This is continued on OUR FORUM.

Wired has an interesting article on the tablet market, noting that the market has now been shrinking for nearly as much time as it has been growing. Sales peaked in 2014 with 250 million tablets shipped worldwide, and the market has been shrinking for the last 16 quarters and is likely to generate as much revenue this year as seven years ago. “At the end of this year we’ll see revenue numbers that are equivalent to 2011,” says Tom Morrod, senior research director at IHS Markit. Part of the problem is that for most tablet owners, there’s not really a compelling reason to upgrade. “The trend is that tablet users were not really renewing their device,” says Daniel Goncalves, a senior research analyst at IDC. “The device they had was good enough for their daily needs – streaming, video, and television.” The product is being squeezed between ever larger phones and thinner and lighter, more portable PCs. “It’s not a well-defined category,” says Morrod. “Because of that, it’s been encroached upon by other markets. There’s not much left in the middle.” Companies have fled to the higher-end productivity part of the market, which has held steady, but analysts still feel growth there is impeded by the limited functionality of tablets, due to imprecise input options. They note that although the iPad Pro might technically be as powerful as a laptop, its design and user interface acts as a handbrake. Further details posted on OUR FORUM.

 

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