Microsoft offers details of Windows and Windows Phone 8.1 updates

microsoft offers details windows phone 8 1 updates dell box

Speaking to a group of journalists gathered in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress, which officially starts tomorrow, Microsoft has revealed some of the changes users can expect to see in its desktop and mobile operating systems this spring. Updates for both platforms are expected in April around Microsoft’s Build conference.

First up the desktop operating system: An update to Windows 8.1 is in the pipeline that makes it easier to use with a mouse and keyboard on non-touch devices. Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore explained that search, power and settings buttons will be more visible and that full-screen Windows 8/8.1 apps will have new title bars. The right-click menu is also being revamped in the Start screen environment.

App launching and switching via the taskbar will also be tweaked to make the interactions between the new Start screen and the old desktop environment more seamless. This matches up with some of the rumors we’d already heard about the next update for Windows.

Microsoft said that over 200 million Windows 8/8.1 licenses since its launch in October 2012, a figure that’s already been made public this month. 40 percent of Windows 8/8.1 devices sold are touch-enabled, and over four million Start screen apps have been downloaded by users.

Windows Phone

On to the mobile side of the announcements, and Microsoft promised support for more handsets and chipsets for Windows Phone in the next update, which is widely assumed to be labelled 8.1 — dual SIM phones will soon be compatible, for example. This means the mobile operating system can be installed on a greater number of devices as the company looks to get a foothold in the market.

Hardware requirements such as the physical camera button will be relaxed, Microsoft confirmed. If you’re thinking that this would make it easier for manufacturers to build devices that could run either Android or Windows Phone, you’d be absolutely right. The softkey navigation system that was leaked back in December has been confirmed too.

Other nuggets of information released by Microsoft were that the next Windows Phone update will be backwards-compatible with all Windows Phone 8 handsets, and that Facebook Messenger will be arriving on the mobile platform in the space of a few weeks. The company also took the opportunity to announce a new set of hardware partners ready and willing to manufacture WP handsets in the future: LG, Samsung and Lenovo were among the names mentioned.

Computing

MacOS update may include external display support for iPads

Apple's upcoming MacOS is rumored to include a new native external display support feature. Code-named "Sidecar" the new feature is expected to allow MacOS computers to send app windows to external displays like iPads.
Computing

Tired of choosing between Windows and Mac? Check out these Chromebooks instead

We've compiled a list of the best Chromebooks -- laptops that combine great battery life, comfortable keyboards, and the performance it takes to run Google's lightweight Chrome OS. From Samsung to Acer, these are the Chromebooks that really…
Mobile

The black satin Razer Phone 2 is now available for $500

The Razer Phone 2 is finally here, and it's got upgraded specs, that super-smooth 120Hz display, and an updated design. Here's absolutely everything you need to know about the Razer Phone 2.
Mobile

The Pixel 3 range will soon be coming to T-Mobile's network

Google's latest flagships, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, are now official and we have all the details from the October 9 event in New York City and Paris. Here's everything we know about the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
Computing

AMD’s 2020 Ryzen CPUs could have a big boost in power efficiency

The sequel to AMD's Zen 2-based Ryzen 3000 CPUs is slated for a 2020 release and when it arrives, could leverage the new Zen 3 architecture to deliver impressive gains to performance and power efficiency.
Computing

The iPhone’s Screen Time and Siri Shortcuts could land on Macs this year

For its desktop computers, it appears that Apple may continue to draw from the iPhone for inspiration. iOS 12 features, like Screen Time and Siri Shortcuts, are believed to be making their way to MacOS this year at WWDC in June.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robots that eat landmines and clean your floors

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Computing

Dell slashes prices of XPS 13 and Alienware 17 laptops in latest promo

Dell's latest promotion will score you big savings on the XPS 13 or the Alienware 17. The stylish XPS 13's discount is for $430, and only the rose gold model is on sale, while gamers who choose the Alienware 17 will save $860.
Computing

Lenovo’s Yoga C930 sale drops a $650 discount on its 2TB SSD laptop

Lenovo is offering one of its 2-in-1 laptops at a $650 discount. This Lenovo Yoga C930 laptop comes with a 2TB solid-state drive, a digital pen, a fingerprint reader, and a Dolby Atmos sound bar.
Computing

You won't want to miss these deals on some of the best laptops around

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work or you're just doing some post-holiday shopping, we have you covered: These are the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.
Deals

The best Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals: Everything you need to know

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is still a few months off, but it's never too early to start preparing. We've been taking a look at the best discounts from previous Prime Days to give you our predictions of what to expect this year.
Computing

These business machines can rival any consumer laptop in style and function

These laptops have the reliability, performance, and battery life you need whether you're at your desk or flying across the country for a meeting, letting you to revel in a function-first approach.
Computing

Online passwords: Research confirms millions of people are using 123456

According to recent analysis of data caught up in cyber attacks, millions of people are continuing to use super-simple passwords, with 123456 topping the list of easy-to-crack codes.
Computing

Microsoft deal takes up to $400 off select Surface Book 2 laptops

Microsoft is running a promotion for the Surface Book 2, taking as much as $400 off the price of the laptop at the Microsoft Store. The promotion applies to select 13.5- or 15-inch configurations of the convertible laptop.