It’s alive. Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is here!

Microsoft finally let the tiger roars out of the gate. The much anticipated version of Windows 10 is now available. Dubbed the Fall Creators Update is the must install update for your current version of Windows 10, bringing the figure up to 1709 after six months of development.

surfacelaptop6

It’s an exciting release for many reasons. First, the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update brings up one particular goody, it’s the Fluent Design language. The new UX for a the operating system. When Windows 10 hits the shelves in its initial release all the way back in mid 2015, I was complaining about the flat UX that the OS bore across the board. It reminded me the Watercolor UX that debuted during the development of Windows XP, 17 years ago. But now, the Fall Creators Update finally brings niceties to the OS with this fresh user interface, with some elements that quite reminiscent to the AERO look-and-fell from Windows Vista.

The Fluent Design won’t be visible across the board. That’s it to say, don’t expect to see its elements being integrated into the OS as you get your hands on the Fall Creator Update. That’s it the UX will be updated sporadically with the next releases. Redstone 4, will certainly bring lot of niceties of the Fluent Design when it will hit the shelves next year.

Here are the improvements coming to the table for the Fall Creator Update :

Windows Mixed Reality. Microsoft’s hardware partners are now selling the first generation Windows Mixed Reality headsets, which provide access to a new spatial interface for Windows itself as well as new virtual reality (VR) and 3D games, apps, and other experiences.

Remix: Photos, videos, and 3D effects. One of the most stunning Microsoft consumer demos ever is now available as a feature inside of the Windows 10 Photos app.

OneDrive Files On-Demand. One of the best features from Windows 8—OneDrive placeholders—is back and better forever as OneDrive Files On-Demand. This feature lets you navigate your entire OneDrive storage directly from File Explorer and access files and folders that are stored only in the cloud in a very seamless fashion.

Pick up where you left off. With the Fall Creators Update, Microsoft is finally getting serious about integrating your PC with your smartphone, and while some of these features will get better over time, the basics are there now.

My People. It’s nice to see Microsoft bring its people-centric user experiences to the desktop. And while My People isn’t for everyone, those who prefer this type of interaction will wonder how they ever used Windows without it.

Microsoft Edge improvements. As has been the case with each Windows 10 version, Microsoft Edge gets a major update this time around, adding big performance improvements, many more extensions, simple and consistent full-screen support, and many ink-based updates.

Gaming improvements. In the Fall Creators Update, Windows 10 gets several gaming-related improvements, including an improved Game Bar with easier access to Game Mode, improved Mixer broadcast capabilities, improved Game settings, and GPU performance tracking capabilities.

Inking improvements. Windows Ink has improved all across Windows 10, with new inking capabilities in Microsoft Edge for ebooks and PDFs, an improved handwriting panel with overflow and correction support, more customizable palm rejection capabilities, pen scrolling, and a new Find My Pen feature.

Security and privacy improvements. Windows Defender now includes ransomware protection for the first time, with controlled access to protected folders. And with the Fall Creators Update, Microsoft has once again tweaked the system’s privacy features to make them more transparent and easily managed.

That’s it. Windows 10 Fall Creator Update is a huge upgrade for any Windows User. Highly recommended.

Sofiane MEROUANI

 

That’s all folks. Windows 10 Mobile is no more.

It’s over for Microsoft. They tried hard but they just admit they failed to get into the business of the smartphone, still dominated by Apple and Android.  And if you do own, a Windows Phone or a Windows 10 Mobile, I advice you to keep it as a relic of the past. Microsoft will no longer put lot of efforts on upgrading their mobile platform.

htc-one-m8-for-windows-phone-9103-008

Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft no longer use Windows Phone device, but instead, he switched to Android platform. Not providing the name of the device he owns, many readers speculate that Gates might use a Galaxy S8 Edge bundled with Microsoft apps, as the device is showcased in many Microsoft Stores.

Joe Belfiore, the strongman behind the platform admitted that Microsoft Windows Phone and Mobile are dead. They put the platform on “servicing mode”, providing only bug-fixes and security updates, and that’s all folks.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO wants the company to focus on the future and what the technology of tomorrow has to offer, like Virtual Reality.

The Lumia sale was a complete disaster in you compare it to the dominate iPhone and Android devices.

 

However, for the Microsoft fans, don’t be disappointed it.  Rejoice. Many official Microsoft apps are now ported to iOS and Android, namely Cortana and Edge web-browser.

Sofiane MEROUANI

 

Lenovo unveils retro ThinkPad 25th Anniversary

It’s a remake of some sort for Lenovo

They did it again. It’s a do-over. A remake of some sort. Lenovo just unveiled The 25th Anniversary of its successful Think Pad laptop computer.

Even if every ThinkPad looks retro, this is a particularly retro version of the ThinkPad design based on the current ThinkPad T470 model.

The original ThinkPad, designed by Richard Sapper and engineered in Japan, was inspired by the traditional Japanese bento box, and Lenovo has taken some of these classic elements and fused them with modern hardware. The overall design is very similar to the retro-classic ThinkPad. It has the classic rubberized coating, a TrackPoint, ThinkPad keyboard with ThinkVantage blue enter button, the colorful ThinkPad logo, and lots of status LEDs.

2017-06-21-image-7

Even the laptop retains the classic retro look, under the hood, it’s all modern and high tech.Lenovo is using Intel’s 7th generation Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, 512GB of SSD storage, an Nvidia GeForce 940MX graphics chip. It also has all the modern ports you’d expect from a laptop in 2017: USB-C port (Thunderbolt 3), three regular USB ports, an SD card reader, HDMI port, and Ethernet connectivity. There’s even a fingerprint reader that lets you log into Windows 10 with Windows Hello.

And it is ain’t cheap though, the 25th Anniversary Editon is price-tagged $1,899.

Sofiane MEROUANI

Windows Phone was a complete failure

It is almost a tragic story for  Microsoft. As Apple unveiled its latest iteration of iPhone and the brand-new 10th anniversary edition dubbed iPhone X, Microsoft did actually shot its foot despite its multi-year head start in mobile business.

Photo6

Traced back in 2000, Microsoft embarrassed the notion of mobility with the introduction of the Windows Mobile for PDA and smartphones. But no one saw Apple coming from the ashes and ate it its market share slowly but surely when it unveiled iPhone in 2007.

It was a real threat. And it was too late.

It was too late for Microsoft for a simple reason. When Windows Phone 7 was revealed in 2010, three years after iPhone, the mobile ecosystem was dominated by Apple and Google. Despite the steady improvements of Windows Phone and the doomed acquisition of Nokia, consumers yawed and were bored by the lack of a rigid ecosystem from Microsoft. Windows Phone Store was a complete disaster. Flagship apps from iOS and Android were not even available on the Windows Phone Store.

Despite Microsoft’s vast resources, they simply couldn’t compete in a mobile oriented market that had quickly pegged them as irrelevant. Indeed, even as Windows Phone launched, many were quick to proclaim that the initiative was doomed from the start.

Another reason is that Microsoft was focused on Windows and Office products, which are simply the company cash-cows. While Apple focused on hardware and Google on the search engines and mobile ecosystem.

The Longhorn project that Microsoft embarked back in early 2000s, was amid the reasons that Microsoft missed the boat to get into the mobile business. By the time Longhorn was completed and renamed as Vista, iPhone in its first iteration hit the shelves. Microsoft needed to refocus on how to correct the Vista mistake. By the time Windows 7 and 8 hit the computer landscape, Apple and Google enjoyed their two house race, as Microsoft was seen from their rear view mirror.

If Microsoft engineers and executives had experienced that same type of urgency, the smartphone market today might very well look a lot different than it does today.

Sofiane MEROUANI

 

Bill Gates jettisoned Windows Phone in favor of Android. He shows no interest in an iPhone

Everybody knows that Bill Gates is an ardent supporter of Windows Phone platform. He even worked on an note-taking apps to showcase the power of that platform. However, everybody knows that Windows Phone was one of the greatest debacle after Windows Vista.

24gates-videoSmall

The platform, which was heavily criticized due to the lack of premium apps and solid ecosystem was left lagging behind iOS and Android.

And in a surprise move, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft found it naturally to follow the trend, as he still keep his promise not to use the iPhone (not let his kids to use Apple products) but to jump into Android bandwagon.

As far as the device he uses, Gates likely owns a Samsung Galaxy S8 filled with ton of Microsoft apps like Office, Azure…etc, as the company decided to migrate most of its apps to iOS and Android stores.

Welcome to the club Bill!

Sofiane MEROUANI

Hit Refresh, a cultural revolution at Microsoft as seen by its CEO Satya Nadella

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella just released today his brand new book called “Hit Refresh” where he talks about the radical transformation that happening at Microsoft. As the technology is dancing forward, Satya Nadella explores the advance in artificial intelligence, Mixed Reality , quantum computing that Microsoft embarked since his tenure at Redmond.

Satya-Nadella-678x381

Nadella, who has been promoted as CEO back in 2014, talks about his decision back then on Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia, which ended up as with negative consequences. As a result, Microsoft ended the production Lumia phones, which is seen by the critics and users alike, as a greatest debacle since Windows Vista.

In his book, Nadella also traces his journey, with his humble beginning in India before immigrating to the United States.

“Ideas excite me,” Nadella explains. “Empathy grounds and centers me.” Hit Refresh is a set of reflections, meditations, and recommendations presented as algorithms from a principled, deliberative leader searching for improvement—for himself, for a storied company, and for society.
Hit Refresh is right now available at Amazon, Kobo.

Sofiane MEROUANI

I will stick around with my HTC Desire 628

When it comes to opt for a smartphone, HTC is a no-brainer. I have owned at least five models in the past five years, spanning a Windows Phone powered Mozart all the way up to HTC One and One 7.

And here is my latest acquisition. The mid-range HTC Desire 826.

htc
Sorry Mondi Ess. I will stick around with my HTC.

Sorry Mondi Ess. I will stick around with my HTC.

Desire 628 is HTC’s midrange offering to take on the growing competition from various Chinese and Indian brands. Instead of opting for the usual phablet form factor that most brands are offering, HTC has kept the Desire 628 as a compact device with a 5-inch display.

HTC has continued the same design language as the previous Desire phones including the dual colour scheme. The 628 doesn’t look any different from the 626 or the 820, except for a different style speaker grill. Looking from the back, you can’t tell the difference between the Desire phones as the camera placement is exactly the same.

The back panel has a glossy finish on the Desire 628 which is a fingerprint magnet and requires constant cleaning. Also, the power and volume button sit flat with the frame on the side – when pressed they don’t give the satisfying clicky feel of a button. Even though it’s an all-plastic body, the phone looks and feels premium for its price.

It has a 5-inch display with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels which keeps everything pin sharp. It has slim bezels on the sides and the on-screen navigation keys can be customised with up to 4 buttons). You can also adjust the colour temperature as well as enable three finger gestures for ease of use.

Inside is a 1.3 GHz octa-core Mediatek MT6753 processor, 3GB RAM, 32 GB storage and a 2,200mAh battery. With day-to-day usage, the phone impresses with zippy navigation.

Image quality from the rear 13MP camera is surprisingly good with minimal noise in daylight as well as indoors. You get a plethora of modes to shoot including a full manual control mode. The shutter speed is zippy although the focus does take a sec \nod to lock on the subject in landscape photos. The front 5MP front camera is a letdown; we got grainy photos with soft details.

There are a few other issues with the phone as well :

First, the in-ear speaker volume is on the lower side – we had trouble hearing the person on other end while travelling on a road with traffic around us. Second, it doesn’t have a fingerprint scanner – this is now commonly available on a number of phones that cost less than this.

As a mid-range offering, the HTC Desire 628 has its share of pros and cons. However, it faces strong competition from cheaper devices that offer much more features such as the LeEco Le 1s, Redmi Note 3, Yu Yunicorn and Asus Zenfone Max.

Sofiane MEROUANI