Acer Switch 3, Switch 5 2-in-1 Windows 10 Laptops With Pen Support Launched

Acer at its Next@Acer event in New York on Thursday launched the new Aspire series and more Swift laptops, new Predator gaming laptops, new monitors, as well as a new wearable. The Taiwanese company at the event also expanded its Switch detachable laptop lineup. The company introduced the Switch 3 and Switch 5 – the latter is the more premium variant with a fingerprint sensor on board and Windows Hello support.

The Acer Switch 3 and Switch 5 both sport 12-inch displays and run on Windows 10. Both new Acer Switch 2-in-1 notebooks can be used with an Acer Active Pen on the touch screen, and have an attachable keyboard that snaps on with magnets and can be adjusted to an ergonomic angle for customer preference. There’s also a U-shaped kickstand that holds up the display and can be adjusted to any angle up to 165 degrees. Both the Switch 5 and Switch 3 have front and rear cameras for video conferencing and capturing memories, and the front webcams provide 720p full-HD video recording. Both models also support the Micro SDXC slot, a thin and reversible USB 3.1 Type-C port, an additional USB 3.1 Type-A port and Bluetooth 4.0.Acer Switch 3, Switch 5 2-in-1 Windows 10 Laptops With Pen Support Launched

The Switch 5 incorporates the company’s latest LiquidLoop fanless cooling system. It offers full-HD+ (2160×1440 pixels) resolution, and supports Intel HD Graphics 620. The Switch 5 is touted to be Acer’s first 2-in-1 to be offered with seventh-generation Intel Core i7 and Core i5 processors, and is rated to deliver up to 10.5 hours of battery life. The Switch 5 has a backlit keyboard, and supports a 256GB or 512GB PCIe SSD and up to 8GB of LPDDR3 SDRAM4. The Acer Switch 5 is thin and light, measuring just 292×201.8x12mm and weighing 1.27kg when the tablet and keyboard are connected. The tablet alone measures just 9.6 mm in height, and weighs 0.92 kg.

The Acer Switch 5 will be available in North America in June starting at $799 (roughly Rs. 51,300); in EMEA in June starting at EUR 1,099 (roughly Rs. 76,800); and in China in July starting at CNY 7,4999roughly Rs. 69,800). There’s also a Acer USB Type-C dock that can be purchased with the Switch 5, and it includes DisplayPort, HDMI, two USB 3.1 Type-C ports and three USB Type-A ports, as well as audio input for microphone and audio output for speakers.

The Switch 3 is the more budget offering of the two devices, and offers full-HD (1920×1200 pixels) resolution. It is powered by the Intel Pentium and Intel Celeron processors, and is rated to deliver up to 8 hours of battery life. The Switch 3 sports front-facing features, and supports 32GB, 64GB or 128GB eMMC memory and up to 4GB of LPDDR3 SDRAM4 . The Switch 3 measures just 295x201x16.3mm and weighs 0.9 kg when the tablet and keyboard are connected. The Switch 3 tablet alone measures just 9.95mm in height, and weighs 0.9kg. The Acer Switch 3 will be available in North America in June starting at $399 (roughly Rs. 25,600); in EMEA in June starting at EUR 499 (roughly Rs. 34,800); and in China in July starting at CNY 4,999 (roughly Rs. 46,500).

Huawei Launches HiKey 960, a Super-Powered Raspberry Pi-Style Development Board

Huawei, Google, ARM, among others, have collaborated to launch a new single-board development computer similar to the Raspberry Pi, except it’s a super-powered alternative that is priced at $239 (roughly Rs.) – to put that in perspective, the Raspberry Pi 3 costs $35. Called the HiKey 960, it’s a 96Boards development platform that will go on sale in the US, EU, and Japan in early May.Huawei Launches HiKey 960, a Super-Powered Raspberry Pi-Style Development Board

The HiKey 960 is powered by an octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 960 SoC with four Cortex-A73 cores clocked at 2.4GHz, and four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.8GHz, coupled with a Mali-G71 MP8 GPU that’;s capable of 4K graphics, and 3GB of LPDDR4 RAM. It sports 32GB of UFS 2.1 flash storage and a microSD card slot.

For connectivity, the HiKey 960 has a HDMI 1.2a port (full-HD), Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac (dual-band), Bluetooth v4.1, two USB3.0 Type-A ports, one USB2.0 Type-C OTG port, and a PCIe m.2 connector. It also has two expansion connectors (40-pin and 60-pin) for camera modules to be attached to the board.

Also on board the HiKey 960 are LEDs for Wi-Fi & Bluetooth, four user LEDs, and a power button. It measures in at 85x55mm.

The HiKey 960 board was launched by Huawei, a core member of Linaro – an open source collaborative engineering organisation developing software for the ARM ecosystem – and its 96Boards initiative. Other members that contributed to the development of the platform are ARM, Google, Archermind, and LeMaker.

The HiKey 960 is officially supported as an Android reference board. Linaro in a statement said, “Initial software support for the board is provided in the AOSP source tree based on the Android Common Kernel using the Linux 4.4 kernel release. Linaro and Huawei are also working on the Linux 4.9 based Android Common kernel.” PC World notes you can load up to Android 7.1 Nougat on board currently, and points to Google’s instructions on how to do it.

The statement added that while all AOSP developers will find the board useful, hardware-focused developers will find it more beneficial, with avenues like mobiles, digital signage, point of sale, robotics, and others. Notably, Google this week also announced the release of the Google Assistant SDK, which will allow developers to build the voice assistant service into their products. The Google Assistant SDK was claimed by the search giant to be “ideal for prototyping on Raspberry Pi devices”, giving us a Google Home style use-case for the HiKey 960.

Microsoft Surface Laptop to Rival Chromebook Leaked in Images Ahead of Tuesday’s Launch

Microsoft’s much talked about Spring launch event is just hours away, and leaks of the alleged Surface Laptop refuse to stop. The Surface Laptop has been leaked in several images, from various angles, revealing all design details, including many of its specification details as well. The Surface Laptop is alleged to be Microsoft’s answer to Google’s Chromebook that have picked up great interest in the market ever since Android apps integration was introduced last year.Microsoft Surface Laptop to Rival Chromebook Leaked in Images Ahead of Tuesday's Launch

Tipster WalkingCat has tweeted a lot of images, and specification details of the Surface Laptop scheduled to launch at the event in New York. The laptop will sport a 13.5-inch PixelSense display with 3:2 aspect ratio and 3.4 million pixels – the resolution is unspecified. It runs on a new platform called Windows 10 S which was (previously tipped to be called Windows 10 Cloud). This OS will be a lighter version of Windows 10, and is said to only run verified apps from the Windows Store. Early leaks also suggest that Windows 10 S will only work with Universal Windows Platform apps from the Windows Store, and not all of them.

The laptop will reportedly weigh just 1.25kg, and be 14.47mm thick at the back, and 9.9mm thick at the front. According to the tipster, the Surface Laptop will come in four colour options – Platinum, Burgundy, Cobalt Blue, and Graphite Gold. The images tip that the laptop will sport a regular USB port, a Surface power connector, and a mini DisplayPort. Interestingly, there’s no USB Type-C port support seen in the photos. Lastly, the laptop is tipped to sport an Alcantra keyboard, the same material that was used on the Surface Pro 4 keyboard. Looking at the design and specifications, the laptop seems rather premium, and it’s possible Microsoft may unveil cheaper versions as well.

Leaked earlier, the minimum specification requirements for the Surface Laptop include a quad-core Celeron (or better) processor, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB or 64GB of storage. Optional pen or touch support is also included. Microsoft is also looking to include all-day battery life in the mix, to lure students.

Microsoft Windows 10 S Operating System Launched for Education in Bid to Take on Google’s Chrome OS

Microsoft’s Tuesday New York event was centred on education, and the company took centre stage to introduce Windows 10 S as a simpler, more secure operating system meant for students. The Windows 10 S software is tied to the Windows Store, which means students can only run apps downloaded from the Store. All legal Windows 10 Pro machines in schools are eligible to get Windows 10 S for free.

What is Microsoft Windows 10 S?
Windows 10 S is a new Windows experience that is built from the ground up keeping in mind classrooms. As we mentioned, Windows 10 S only runs apps downloaded from the Windows Store, and for Microsoft, this means that everything is verified for both performance and safety. Students won’t be exposed to potentially dangerous apps, while every app is certified by Microsoft to ensure there is no performance drop over time.

An example of this, was the faster first-time login compared to Windows 10 Pro – just about 15 seconds – while subsequent logins will take less than 5 seconds. All Web browsers in the Windows Store will run on Windows 10 S devices, but Microsoft obviously recommends Edge that now has education-focused features like tab ordering and annotations.Microsoft Windows 10 S Operating System Launched for Education in Bid to Take on Google's Chrome OS

Windows 10 S apps
Microsoft also announced that the Office 365 suite of apps including Teams will be coming to Windows Store, complete with an education-focused update that is meant for collaboration.

Windows 10 S brings all the features that were brought by the Creators Update to Edge and Cortana. Students and teachers can also upgrade to Windows 10 Pro – for a $49 (roughly Rs. 3,150) fee – to download an application that isn’t in the Windows Store, but then, they will not be able to come back to Windows 10 S thereafter.

Just like the Chrome OS can be managed through cloud-based device management, Windows 10 S machines will support Intune, Microsoft’s cloud-based device management system. Microsoft Intune for Education is available today for administrators worldwide. Other administrator features include the ability to use a USB key to set up a PC in seconds with the Setup My PC wizard.

Windows 10 S laptop prices and manufacturers
Microsoft has partnered with Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Samsung, and Toshiba to offer Windows 10 S laptops starting at as low as $189 (roughly Rs. 12,100). These will become available in the summer, before the next school term.

Terry Myerson, VP at Microsoft, also confirmed that these partners will also offer premium devices in the future. All of the Windows 10 Educations PCs will come with Minecraft: Education Edition (a free one-year subscription).

Windows 10 S is a hassle-free OS made for the schools and is set to take on Chrome OS. With Chromebooks took the education market by storm, especially after Android apps were introduced last year, and we expect Windows 10 S to give it some good competition in the future. A lot still depends on the new devices that will be launched by the mentioned partners in summer.

At the event, Microsoft also announced Classroom Experiences for Teams, making it a “digital hub” for students and teachers. It is available in private preview today, and will become available worldwide this summer. A batch of education-focused updates will be released for Office 365 this fall as well. Built in ‘View Mixed Reality’ features for Windows 10 will also be released this fall for free, meant to help view 3D objects in the real world.

Microsoft Surface Laptop With Windows 10 S and ‘Better Battery Life Than MacBook Air’ Launched

Alongside Windows 10 S, Microsoft also launched the Surface Laptop at its New York Spring event. The durable device runs on the education-focused Windows 10 S software, and is made available in four colour options – Burgundy, Graphite Gold, Platinum, and Cobalt Blue. The Surface laptop is up pre-order right away, and will be shipped starting June 15.Microsoft Surface Laptop With Windows 10 S and 'Better Battery Life Than MacBook Air' Launched

Microsoft claims the Surface Laptop is durable, portable, and lightweight, and the design looks sleek with a premium finish, and the iconic Alcantra fabric keyboard seen on the Surface Pro 4, with backlighting. The Surface Laptop sports a 13.5-inch PixelSense touchscreen display with 1080p resolution, 3:2 aspect ratio, and 3.4 million pixels. Microsoft touts it as the ‘thinnest touchscreen LCD display’ on a laptop. The base model of the Surface Laptop is powered by the latest Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB SSD storage, while users can opt for an Intel Core i7 processor and different memory and storage configurations.

The biggest highlight is that the Surface laptop is rated to offer up to 14.5 hours of battery life. Ports on board include a USB port, a mini DisplayPort, the Surface power connector, SD card slot, and the 3.5mm audio jack. The device weighs only 1.25kg, and thickness ranges from 9.9mm to 14.47mm.

Microsoft has used vapor chambers as heat pipes at the back of the laptop to help keep components cool – important, as there are no holes on the laptop that would normally have facilitated air cooling. With no holes, you may wonder where the speakers are – Microsoft has placed them below the keyboard. While the stunningly designed device with Windows Ink and Windows Hello support could lure some users, the price may dampen the excitement. Microsoft is asking for $999 (roughly Rs. 64,000) for the Surface Laptop with Core i5 processor, which is steep to say the least.

Microsoft claims the Surface Laptop’s Intel Core i7 model is faster than the current Core i7-based MacBook Pro, and also added that it has better battery life than any MacBook Air laptop on the market today.

With the laptop running on Windows 10 S, the device has serious limitations like it can only run apps from the Windows Store – though users can choose to upgrade if they wish. As mentioned, the device is up for pre-order right away, and will be shipped on June 15. Microsoft is looking to compete with Chromebooks in the education sector, and the company even took the time to show off how apps like 3D4 Medical work on the new Surface Laptop, however, at this price range, direct competition will be impossible. Notably though, there are cheaper Windows 10 S PCs coming up, with Microsoft partners such as Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Samsung, and Toshiba all making Windows 10 Education PCs available from this summer starting $189 (roughly Rs. 12,100)

First Windows 10 S Education Laptops Launched by Acer and HP

Soon after Microsoft announced the stripped-down Windows 10 S version, alongside the Surface Laptop, partners have introduced their first notebook variants running on the education-focused software. HP has introduced the ProBook x360 eEducation Edition and Acer has introduces the TravelMate Spin B1 – both running on Windows 10 S. Both the laptops have been launched earlier, and the hardware remains the same, but the software in it is the new Windows 10 S, and the price tag is much cheaper.First Windows 10 S Education Laptops Launched by Acer and HP

Starting with the HP ProBook x360 Education Edition, the rugged device has a 11.6-inch (1336×768 pixels) display powered by an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. This laptop was launched in December last year, and was made with schools and students in mind. The company touts the new ProBook x360 Education Edition to be military standard certified to withstand accidental spills and drops by kids. It has a 360-degree hinge to rotate completely into a tablet, or even a tent stand for ease of viewing. Furthermore, there’s a dual camera system which uses a 1080p HD camera embedded in the keyboard to let users take video in tablet mode as well. There are two USB 3.1 ports, one USB Type-C ports, one HDMI 1.4b port, one AC power connector, and one 3.5mm audio jack. The company claims that laptop can stay active for up to 11 hours of school activities and homework. The Windows 10 S version will retail for $299 (roughly Rs. 19,200), and is available in select stores right away.acertravelmate main Acer

The Acer TravelMate Spin B1 convertible has a similar 11.6-inch (1920×1080 pixels) display, is powered by an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. The laptop also has a 360 degree hinge, and comes with a stylus as well. Connectivity options include a dual-band 802.11ac 2~CHECK~2 MIMO Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, a GbE port, USB ports, a webcam, an SD card reader, a touchpad, and a spill-resistant keyboard. The Windows 10 S variant is priced at $299 (roughly Rs. 19,200) as well, and is available in select retail stores in the US and online as well. Dell and Asus are also set to launch their own education laptops in the US market soon.

Microsoft Surface Arc Mouse Launched as a Companion for the Surface Laptop

While Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop and Windows 10 S managed to take the spotlight on Tuesday, the Redmond-based company also launched the new version of its Arc Touch Mouse – called the Microsoft Surface Arc Mouse. While the mouse still comes with the same arc design that provided a distinct look to the earlier versions, the latest iteration doesn’t have distinguishable left and right click buttons as before. The company has priced the accessory at $80 (roughly Rs. 5,100) and interested users can already pre-order the device from company’s website.Microsoft Surface Arc Mouse Launched as a Companion for the Surface Laptop

In order to power up the new Microsoft Surface Arc Mouse, users simply need to snap the mouse into its curved position and can snap it into a flat position to power it down, or better store and carry it. The new mouse comes with two buttons (left and right click) but on a single surface, featuring a capacitive touch ‘full scroll pane’. It uses Bluetooth 4.0 for connectivity – this limits use with certain Apple and Windows 7 machines, the company said. The accessory comes with 2 AAA alkaline batteries (included) and has a battery life of up to 9 months, as per the company’s claims. The Surface Arc Mouse has frequency range of 2.4GHz and will be made available in Burgundy, Light Gray, and Cobalt Blue colours – which complement the newly launched Surface Laptop.

The new mouse from Microsoft measures 131x55x14mm and weighs 82.49 grams. “Slim, light, and ready to travel, Surface Arc Mouse is designed to conform to your hand and snaps flat to fit easily in your bag,” the company says on its website.

On Tuesday, alongside education-focused Windows 10 S, Microsoft also launched its Surface Laptop at its New York Spring event. The new device runs on the Windows 10 S, and will be made available in four colour options including Burgundy, Graphite Gold, Platinum, and Cobalt Blue. The Surface laptop has been made available for pre-orders right away, and will be shipped starting June 15.

Microsoft Edge Browser With Windows Defender Application Guard Previewed

Microsoft is finally testing a feature that will make the Microsoft Edge browser more secure and safe. The Windows Defender Application Guard was first announced last year, but Microsoft is finally testing it in its latest Windows 10 Insider Preview for Enterprises build (16188). The new tool essentially does not let the entire PC get affected, in the event that it gets hit by a malware attack. As you may have derived, the feature for now is only mean for Windows 10 Enterprise Edition users.Microsoft Edge Browser With Windows Defender Application Guard Previewed

Browsers often act as a gateway to send malware to PCs and infect them. Application Guard essentially uses a hardware container to isolate Edge browser from the rest of the PC, and prevent malware from seeping in. To use Application Guard right away, you first need to become an Insider Preview for Enterprise member on the Fast Ring. After that, visit Windows Features in settings, and then go to Turn Windows features on or off, and then mark the checkbox for Windows Defender Application Guard. Click OK and then restart your computer. Now when you open Microsoft Edge and click on the Edge menu, you’ll see the option for a New Application Guard window. Click it, and a new special isolated browser window will appear. Apart from Windows 10 Enterprise Edition, test PCs will also need Microsoft Hyper-V enabled.

Even after it comes to the stable channels, it will only be active on devices running on Windows 10 and above due to the new Virtualization Based Security (VBS) system. This new Application Guard enabled browser will not store any cache and cookies, will be separate from storage, and other apps as well. This essentially prevents all malware from seeping through, and affecting PCs, as all data is lost once the browser is shut.

The Application Guard windows will make Edge run a bit slowly as the browser’s sessions are isolated. The Windows 10 Insider build 16188 also includes integrated Cortana settings, better viewing and navigation, and an improved PDF Reader for Edge.

Toshiba Tells Western Digital Not to Interfere With Chip Unit Sale

Toshiba has told Western Digital not to interfere with the sale of its prized chip unit, disputing claims by the US firm that it had breached a joint venture contract.Toshiba Tells Western Digital Not to Interfere With Chip Unit Sale

Western Digital, which is a partner in Toshiba’s main semiconductor plant as well as one of the bidders for the chip business, has argued that the Japanese firm is violating their contract by transferring their joint venture’s rights to the newly formed unit.

In a May 3 letter sent by Toshiba’s lawyers, the Japanese conglomerate disputed Western Digital’s argument and said it would pursue all available remedies if it saw continued interference in the sale process.

Western Digital’s “campaign constitutes intentional interference with Toshiba’s prospective economic advantage and current contracts. It is improper, and it must stop,” the letter, which was seen by Reuters, said.

In a separate letter, also dated May 3, the general manager of Toshiba’s legal affairs accused Western Digital of failing to sign some joint venture agreements.

If Western Digital refuses to sign by May 15, the chip unit would protect its intellectual property rights by suspending Western Digital employees’ access to all of the unit’s facilities, networks and databases, the letter said.

Microsoft Build 2017: Windows 10 Now Runs on 500 Million Monthly Active Devices

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella during his opening keynote at Day 1 of the Build 2017 developers conference in Seattle on Wednesday revealed that Windows 10 was now running on 500 million monthly active devices. That’s a significant jump from the 400 million active devices figure revealed in September last year – adding 100 million monthly active devices in roughly eight months.Image result for Microsoft Build 2017: Windows 10 Now Runs on 500 Million Monthly Active Devices

While most announcements were developer facing, Microsoft revealed that in addition to Harman Kardon’s Cortana-powered Invoke speaker, the company had entered into partnerships with HP on devices and Intel on reference platforms to bring more Cortana-enabled devices. On the developer side of this announcement, Microsoft said the Cortana Skills Kit was now in public preview (in the US only), allowing developers to “build skills for Cortana by creating a bot and publishing it to the new Cortana channel of the Microsoft Bot Framework.”

The Redmond-based company also revealed that there were now 100 million monthly commercial active users of Office 365, which it claims makes it the largest productivity service available.

As we mentioned, Microsoft had several developer facing announcements to make, including some by Scott Guthrie and Harry Shum. To begin with, Guthrie announced the general availability of Visual Studio for Mac, which was released as a preview alongside the Visual Studio 2017 Release Candidate for Windows back in November last year. The Windows version was released for public download back in March.

Guthrie and Shum also announced new Azure data and cloud services as well as new AI services. These will help developers quickly modernise their apps, apart from helping them build intelligent services into them complete with natural user interaction capabilities.

These developer-facing announcements included Azure Cosmos DB, new MySQL and PostgreSQL-managed services, a preview of Azure IoT Edge, availability of extensions and new APIs for Microsoft Graph, improvements to Azure SQL Database, as well as general availability of Windows Server Containers support in Azure Service Fabric, amongst others. Also announced were new AI-based services, such as an expansion of Microsoft Cognitive Services (adding Bing Custom Search and Custom Vision Service, and more) as well as new features for the Microsoft Bot Framework (such as adaptive cards).

Microsoft also revealed that as a new developer on-ramp to Office 365, the company was now allowing any developer to publish apps for Microsoft Teams. “Developers can also add new capabilities to Teams apps, including third-party notifications in the activity feed, Compose Extensions and Actionable Messages,” the company noted in a release issued alongside. They will be able to publish apps through the Office Store. New feature additions for developers of Microsoft Teams apps include Compose Extensions and Third-Party Notifications in the Activity Feed.