From official announcements and juicy rumors, to some intriguing insights and even a couple of surprises, there’s been no end of excitement across the tech world, and 7 Days is here again to bring you up to speed with what’s been happening.
We begin this week with Samsung, which unveiled two OLED panels that look like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. One of the two 55-inch displays is transparent, while the other has a mirrored surface, and Samsung thinks they could be a big hit in retail stores. With Intel RealSense cameras, the displays support augmented reality scenarios, such as allowing customers to virtually ‘try on’ clothes while in a store just by looking at the screen.
Our regular readers may well have spotted that we’ve been covering a lot of handsets from Chinese OEMs lately, including some obscure ones that you may never have heard of. This weekend, Neowin editor Steven Johns took a closer look at some of the technologies that Chinese manufacturers will be focusing on in their upcoming devices, so be sure to check that out.
On Tuesday, the world famous Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles – best known as the venue for the annual Emmy Awards – officially became the Microsoft Theater, following Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s devices and services business last year.
On Wednesday, we exclusively published slides from a Microsoft webinar for OEMs that showed some of the marketing highlights that the company wants to focus on when promoting Windows 10 to consumers and businesses.
And on Thursday, it emerged that Microsoft has now revised its out-of-box experience for customers who are currently buying Windows 8.1 devices. When these users turn their new PC on for the first time, they’ll now receive an invitation to reserve their copy of Windows 10, which follows on from similar prompts introduced for existing Windows 7 and 8.1 users earlier this month.
The latest Windows 10 Insider Preview is build 10130, which was released to the Fast ring at the end of last month. On Tuesday, Microsoft rolled out a patch to fix problems with notifications and flyouts in that build, and on Friday, it pushed out three security updates and fixes for some other particularly annoying issues.
Later that day, it also announced that build 10130 would be rolling out to the Slow ring – but some users may be unable to upgrade to it via Windows Update, although there is a workaround.
Windows 10 build 10135 leaked onto the web earlier this week, but before you download and install it, we advise caution – the version that has leaked is a modified ‘homebrew’ release by WZor.
Windows 10 Mobile build 10134 appeared on video this week, in a Chinese video that showed off a few minor changes in the smartphone OS, along with performance improvements.
But on Thursday, Microsoft said that the newer build 10136 is a possible candidate for release as the next Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview.
On Wednesday, we exclusively revealed when Microsoft plans to release Windows 10 Mobile to its hardware partners, ahead of its public launch later this year.
Windows Phone 8.1 Update 2 began rolling out to the Lumia 635 on AT&T this week, making it one of the few devices to get the update so far. Update 2 is the latest non-preview version of the OS, which also comes pre-installed on the latest devices, like Microsoft’s new Lumia 640.
The Lumia 640, which did pretty well in our recent in-depth review, is expected to join T-Mobile US on June 17. Pricing info hasn’t yet been announced, but a recent Microsoft Store listing for the device suggests that it could be very affordable indeed.
One of the most affordable Windows Phones ever is currently even cheaper over in Australia. Until June 16, Microsoft’s Lumia 532 can be purchased for just $39 AUD (roughly $30 USD) off-contract.
There was some bad news for Windows Phone this week, as the latest independent figures from comScore show that the OS lost around one million users in the US alone during the last quarter. Ouch.
Changes in Facebook’s Graph API have meant that a number of major Microsoft platforms and services – including parts of Windows Phone 7 and 8, Windows 8 and 8.1, Windows Live Essentials, OneDrive and more – can no longer integrate and sync with Facebook contacts, calendars and other data from the social network.
A bunch of images (briefly) posted on Tumblr by a Microsoft employee revealed a Nokia smartwatch, which was developed under the codename ‘Moonraker’. It seems it came very close to actually launching last year alongside the Lumia 930, but Microsoft killed it off in favor of its own Band wearable device. Are we the only ones who think it makes the Band look a bit boring?
Microsoft unveiled its new Portable Dual mobile battery chargers this week, available in three sizes: 5200mAh, 9000mAh or 12,000mAh. Prices start at $35, but the color options are a bit, errrr… limited.
The company also announced full specs and pricing details for its new Surface Hub, the gigantic multitouch display designed to boost productivity and improve workplace meetings. There’s no way to sugar-coat this: the 55-inch model costs $6,999, and the 84-inch Quad HD model will set you back $19,999. Those of you who can afford these vast, magnificent displays can place your pre-orders from July 1, while the rest of us grit our teeth and stare at you in envy.
Meanwhile, Microsoft’s (much smaller) 12-inch Surface Pro 3 came first in a performance test of ten of the most popular tablets in the UK, conducted by one of the country’s leading independent consumer watchdog groups. The Core i5 Surface Pro 3 with 4GB RAM beat the iPad Air 2 into second place, and Apple’s iPad mini 3 was beaten by a low-cost $150 Android tablet launched by UK supermarket giant Tesco.
Microsoft's Scott Hanselman said in no uncertain terms this week that the company is going to open source its Windows Live Writer blogging software. However, it’s not yet clear exactly when that’s going to happen.
Microsoft rolled out a new update for its Office 2016 for Mac preview this week, and while it’s not as feature-packed as the update it released in April, it does bring the sweet relief of various bug fixes for some annoying issues across the productivity suite.
On Thursday, Microsoft announced that its Skype Modern app for Windows 8/8.1 is being killed off next month, requiring users to download the desktop app instead, which is the only version that will be maintained – for now at least. Microsoft is planning to launch a more deeply integrated Skype experience in Windows 10, but this won’t arrive until sometime after the OS rolls out on July 29.
Later this summer, Microsoft has said that it will begin integrating Skype Translator functionality into its mainstream Skype desktop app. Currently, the Translator – which can translate spoken language in near-real-time – is only available in a standalone preview app.
It emerged this week that some Windows 10 PCs won’t get Microsoft’s new Edge browser at all. However, this will apply to a very specific set of Windows 10 Enterprise PCs that are maintained on Microsoft’s Long-Term Servicing Branch.
Microsoft announced a new $399 version of its Xbox One console on Tuesday, with 1TB of onboard storage and an updated wireless controller with integrated 3.5mm headset jack.
The intrepid 'sextronauts' who will boldly go (and come) on this noble mission.
And have you ever wondered what porn would be like in space? If you have, then Pornhub has got you covered. The people behind the popular adult site have launched a $3.4 million crowdfunding campaign to allow them to cross porn’s final frontier with some zero-G docking maneuvers.
…and be sure to check out our review of Portal Pinball too - it’s pretty good fun!