#398 Jan 26 2015 – New Goodies from Microsoft

This week’s headline story: New Goodies from Microsoft

win10_holoLens_livingRoom_webMicrosoft dominated the tech news this past week with a media event last Wednesday that unveiled new features for the upcoming Windows 10 and other surprises. Among the most important upgrades for Windows will be

  • The integration of digital personal assistant, Cortana. Cortana will be always listening for questions and voice commands including running a PowerPoint presentation, checking the weather, dictating email, searching for files, and showing photos.
  • Another new feature of Windows 10 will be universal apps: buy an app once and run it across all of your desktop, notebook, tablet, phone and xbox devices.
  • Windows 10 will offer unified settings, providing all device settings in a standard, centralized location, unlike the mashup of the old Control Panel and new settings options found in Windows 8.
  • A feature named Continuum, allows Windows 10 to change its appearance and functionality depending on the type of device using it. It will provide a touch interface when on a tablet, or a desktop interface when a keyboard and mouse are used.
  • Windows 10 users will be able to stream games from their XBox over the home network to Windows 10 devices.
  • Windows 10 will come with a new browser, code named Project Sparta. Sparta is said to be everything that Internet Explorer isn’t: light, nimble and secure. Sparta will also include Microsoft’s digital personal assistant, Cortana.
  • A big change for Windows 10 is that it will become a cloud-based service where users are billed for use by the month. Windows as a Service will be continuously updated, so that Microsoft will never have to release another version of Windows again.

Windows 10 is due out later this year and will be a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8 users.

Microsoft will also be updating Office. Office 2016, expected in the 2nd half of 2015, will be available in the traditional desktop installation, and as a mobile app. Microsoft will be applying a new touch interface, and common features across all hardware platforms.

Wednesday’s event wasn’t only about software. Microsoft unveiled an 84″, 4K, all-in-one computer named Surface Hub. Surface Hub is a business/collaboration tool that joins together Surface tablets, and Lumia smartphones on a large wall-mounted display. Engaet calls it a “beast that is basically a large all-in-one PC (slash smart display) that is fully loaded with sensors, speakers, WiFi, NFC, microphones, cameras and more.

The Microsoft announcement that got the biggest reaction was a new holographic headset named HoloLens, that overlays objects from the virtual world over your view of the real world. Microsoft HoloLens has been 7 years in development, and intends to moves computing from the display to the world around us. The headset utilizes a Central Processing Unit, a Graphics Processing Unity, and a new Holograph Processing Unit (HPU) to integrate lifelike holographic images with real-life objects in the environment. In demo’s, users have used HoloLens to play the popular game Minecraft, by manipulating landscapes and architectures that are dispersed around a real room using hand gestures. Using HoloLens, designers manipulate a motorcycle design by pushing and stretching components on a holograph-enhanced physical motorcycle. Scientists use HoloLens to examine the landscape of Mars. Microsoft is putting HoloLens into the hands of developers to see what other kinds of applications will emerge.

in other tech news…

  • Obama pledges to ‘protect a free and open internet,’ tackle climate change [Engadget]
    Obama’s Social Media Team Tries to Widen Audience for State of the Union Address [NYTimes]
    White House Jump-Starts Cybersecurity Protection Programs [Ecommerce Times]
    President Barack Obama provided his State of the Union address in which he called for two years of free community college for all, strong cybersecurity legislation, a free and open Internet, and stronger efforts to combat global warming. For the first time, the president made the text of his address available to the public online prior to the presentation, and utilized social media to promote his agenda and reach more people.
  • Is Google’s Schmidt Right? Will the Internet Disappear? [NewsFactor]
    Google’s Eric Schmidt says that the Internet will soon disappear, but he’s not overly concerned about it. At the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Schmidt was asked what he sees for the future of the Internet. “I will answer very simply that the Internet will disappear,” Schmidt said. “There will be so many IP addresses… so many devices, sensors, things that you are wearing, things that you are interacting with that you won’t even sense it. It will be part of your presence all the time. Imagine you walk into a room, and the room is dynamic. And with your permission and all of that, you are interacting with the things going on in the room…. A highly personalized, highly interactive and very, very interesting world emerges,” Schmidt explained.

and in Tech Industry news…

  • Google to Add Mobile Carrier Hat to Its Collection [Ecommerce Times]
    Google is reportedly purchasing wireless bandwidth from Sprint and T-Mobile in order to offer its own cellular service. A Google-branded cellular company would pro vide Google with increased advertising revenue and lower prices for consumers, but, as you might guess, some are concerned about privacy.

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