Out of nowhere, Google has released Android N in preview form, limited to Nexus smartphones and tablets. Android N is a very early beta of Google's next mobile OS, something it should release in fuller, more finished form as we get closer to Google I/O in mid-May.
For now, the beta is available on g.co/androidbeta and judging by the screenshots - Android N has three big new features. The first is split screen, for an improved multitasking experience - something that the likes of Samsung have been doing with TouchWiz on their Galaxy smartphones for a while now.
The second one is a new notifications panel, and a new and improved Doze power saving feature. There's heaps more in Android N, with a full list of what the Preview has to offer.
Windows 10 Build 14279 has been released today to Windows Insiders on the Fast ring.
If you're a big Cortana user, this one should make you very happy: Spanish (Mexico), Portuguese (Brazil) or French (Canada) languages are now supported, as are quick reminders. To set a quick reminder, say something like "remind me to read [insert book name]", or "remind me to wash the car". After doing so, you can set details like location, time, and people if you like. It's not built-in yet, but soon you'll be able to retrieve these reminders as a real PA would.
The other significant update is a unified Lock and login screen. Going forward, the Lock screen background will be used for both, as on mobile, making for a smoother experience.
Apart from that, there's Sway and Photos integration, a Featured section for the Xbox app, and more. For all the details, hit the source.
Microsoft has a few tricks up its sleeve when it comes to Windows 10, with one of them being DirectX 12. We loved the explicit multi-GPU support found in Ashes of the Singularity, powered by DX12.
Well, the company has just released a new teaser video that shows off the benefits of DX12, with the vide featuring footage from DX12-powered titles like Quantum Break, Forza Motorsport 6: Apex, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, Ashes of the Singularity, and Just Cause 3.
Microsoft says that DX12 offers up to 20% more performance from your GPU when compared to DX11, and up to 50% from your CPU.
Microsoft's takes the opportunity to make digs at Apple in its new Windows 10 ads. Featuring "the bug chicks" (two women who teach kids about bugs for a living), they praise functionality like touchscreen drawing and Cortana, then say things like, "Even on the new Macs they don't have that."
Also, real bugs are shown. In other words, if you're an Apple fan with a fear of bugs, these ads will make you simultaneously angry and terrified.
Valve's Linux-powered SteamOS now supports the Vulkan API, the cross-platform alternative to DirectX 12. For SteamOS users, this should result in significantly better performance when gaming, as well as more SteamOS games.
The latest version of SteamOS includes version 355 of the NVIDIA Linux driver, which supports Vulkan, so from here on out, it's good to go as far as NVIDIA hardware is concerned. Intel are said to be hopping on board soon too, and with an open-source driver, no less (NVIDIA's is closed-source). As for AMD, it is currently working on the Vulkan-friendly AMDGPU, which will replace its Linux/SteamOS fglrx driver.
What's more, the individual whose made the project has also been able to emulate Windows 1.01 and certain versions of Linux that all work just swimmingly. So if you're of the generation that never knew the glory of Windows 98, now's your chance to play around without having to install it in your own virtual machine. And you can easily dabble in Linux without the need for a Live-CD and even dabble in FreeDOS.
Windows Spotlight is a great feature that can actually be useful at times. Showing you some nice artistic photographs on your lockscreen and even suggesting some surprisingly useful apps on your start menu. A recent update seems to have added some annoying ads that go beyond simple suggestions. But thankfully there's a way to turn it off.
In fact, it's very simple. But it also means you won't get a rotating gallery of beautiful photos when you start-up. You might find ads magically appearing about games or even other products that aren't even related to Microsoft. Just follow the below steps and you'll be just fine, sans ads.
- Open the Start Menu and search for "Lock Screen Settings."
- Under "Background," select either Picture or Slideshow, instead of Windows Spotlight.
- Scroll down to "Get fun facts, tips, tricks, and more on your lock screen" and this toggle.
Microsoft will be holding a press event later this month centered around its Xbox One and Windows 10 cross-platform ecosystem. Details are a bit light, but sources indicate that Xbox head Phil Spencer will be there, and a roadmap for future Windows 10 content will be presented.
Redmond wants to remind everyone that Windows 10 is still exciting, and to prove it, the tech titan is holding a new presser just three weeks head of GDC 2016. The Windows event kicks off on February 25, and will focus on the hottest new Xbox One games as well as the future of Windows 10 as a whole, so we'll probably get more info on Redstone and cross-platform Xbox One-to-Windows features.
According to Windows Central, who has been invited to the shindig, attendees will have "the chance to hear from Head of Xbox Phil Spencer and get hands-on with the best games and platform experiences launching this spring on Xbox and Windows 10." So we'll likely see the usual suspects like Xbox One's former-exclusive Quantum Break as well as the Windows 10 flavors of Killer Instinct and Gears of War.
Since the release of Windows 10, we've been slowly learning just how much of a spying tool it is for Microsoft, but these new numbers are going to blow you away.
Voat user CheesusCrust has completed some extensive testing on Windows 10, where he reports that during an 8-hour period, Windows 10 attempted to send back data from his PC to over 51 different IPS addresses owned by Microsoft, and at a staggering 5500 times.
After 30 hours, the data being sent back to Microsoft from Windows 10 expanded to a huge 113 non-private IP addresses. These IP addresses being non-private means that hackers can intercept that data, which makes anyone using Windows 10 very, very vulnerable. You might think this is just a once-off, and that the proof can't be replicated? Yeah, well, no.
Microsoft has been pretty secretive about the contents of its Windows 10 updates, but that's no longer the case as of today. The company has launched a new section of its website which details all updates in changelog form, starting with two updates released today (one for each Windows 10 branch).
"We're committed to our customers and strive to incorporate their feedback, both in how we deliver Windows as a service and the info we provide about Windows 10," they write. "In response to this feedback, we're providing more details about the Windows 10 updates we deliver through Windows Update. You'll see a summary of important product developments included in each update, with links to more details. This page will be regularly refreshed, as new updates are released."