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Microsoft to unveil Lumia 950, 950XL and Surface Pro 4

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This year’s arrival of Windows 10 brings with it a great promise, a universal operating system that will run across all devices in the Windows ecosystem, plus every other device that Microsoft builds.

Theoretically one operating system means a seamless computing experience across devices, and one shared app store.

When the rollout is complete, Windows 10 will run on Windows-powered smartphones, tablets, and computers, as well as the X-Box One gaming console and Microsoft’s upcoming augmented reality headset HoloLens.

Last August’s release of Windows 10 already brought the new OS to tablet, notebook, and desktop computers. On October 6th, in New York, Microsoft is set to unveil the first smartphones to run Windows 10, and later this November Windows 10 will come to the X-Box One. 

GadgetMatch will be in New York to bring you live updates from “Windows 10 Devices” event. Here’s what to expect:

Microsoft Lumia 950 and Lumia 950XL

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Leaked Lumia 950 product photo (@evleaks)

It’s been a while since Microsoft announced a flagship smartphone. In fact, the last Lumia flagship, the Lumia 930, was released in early 2014 prior to Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s smartphone business. The long wait can be attributed to the impending arrival of Windows 10 (on smartphones it will be referred to as Windows 10 Mobile).

Like most other top smartphone manufacturers this year, Microsoft’s upcoming flagship is reportedly coming in two sizes…a 5.2-inch standard model, the Lumia 950, and a 5.7-inch phablet variant the Lumia 950XL.

The phones will come with top of the line specs including Quad HD screens, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, 20 megapixel cameras with Zeiss lenses, USB Type-C connectors, and Qi wireless charging.

The Lumia 950 will be powered by a hexa-core Snapdragon 808 processor, while the 950XL the more powerful Snapdragon 810, and 3000mAh and 3300mAh batteries respectively.

Both phones will run Windows 10, and as promised, transform into PCs once connected to an external monitor and bluetooth keyboard. Expect them to also support Hello, a Windows 10 feature that allows users to log-onto their devices using facial recognition.

The larger Lumia 950 XL is also expected to support the Surface Pen stylus allowing it to go head-to-head with Samsung’s Galaxy Note 5 phablet.

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Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (Microsoft File Photo)

Surface Pro 4

It’s been a big year for convertible tablet/notebook devices. Just a month back Apple announced its  12-inch iPad Pro that comes with an optional keyboard dock and stylus (the Apple Pencil), Google is also set to release a similar device called the Pixel C. But the mother of this form factor is Microsoft’s Surface Pro – now going on its 4th update.

There are fewer leaks pertaining to the 12-inch Surface Pro 4, but the new hybrid device is expected to have a better display, possibly 4K or 5K, and an improved Surface Pen. There are also rumors suggesting that Microsoft is also planning a larger 14-inch variant.

The Surface Pro 4 will run Windows 10 and will probably run on Intel’s Core M Broadwell processors (unlike last year’s Core i5 and i7 variants) with up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB of storage.

Microsoft Band 2

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Microsoft Band (Microsoft File Photo)

In case you didn’t know, Microsoft also makes a wearable fitness tracker.

While it’s first attempt wasn’t hugely successful, expect its second try to be better. The Microsoft Band 2 will have a curved display that wraps around your wrist, and will be redesigned to fit more comfortably.

The Band 2 should also run on a variant of Windows 10, and will most likely be also compatible with Android and iOS smartphones.

Computers

Microsoft’s new patches may be harming your PC

The Meltdown and Spectre patches are duds!

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The Meltdown drama continues. Days after researchers confirmed the existence of the Meltdown and Spectre flaws, big firms like Microsoft and Apple started issuing patches against the bug. Microsoft’s fixes, however, might be doing more harm than good.

Microsoft’s series of patches have been causing issues among those who installed it already. Users are reporting that the patches have caused their PCs to run slower than usual.

Surprisingly, Microsoft themselves have confirmed the reports. A wide range of devices are indeed slowing down because of the patches. The firm has also listed down the affected PCs, as described below.

First, PCs that run Windows 10 on newer processors like Skylake and Kaby Lake show “single-digit” but hardly noticeable slowdowns. Meanwhile, PCs that run Windows 10 on fourth generation or earlier chips will suffer from noticeable slowdown. Finally, those that run Windows 8 or 7 on older chips will be most hit by the performance issues.

The chaos doesn’t even stop there. Some users have even reported that their PCs have stopped booting entirely. In an open thread on Microsoft’s support forums, a user suffering from a bricked PC has been joined by a torrent of users who are suffering from the same issue.

As with the performance issues, Microsoft has issued a statement regarding the unbootable state. This time, they have pinpointed that AMD processors are to blame for the issue, citing a lack of documentation on AMD’s part.

Microsoft has since halted distribution of the erring security patch to AMD processors. Their support team is working to resolve the issue among those already affected by the issue. Meanwhile, Microsoft and AMD developers are working to put out a more stable fix for the Spectre flaw.

Despite the lack of workable fixes for the issue, Microsoft is assuring its users that harmful exploits have not been discovered out in the wild. Not yet, that is.

SEE ALSO: Newly discovered bugs leave two decades of devices vulnerable

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Computers

All Apple devices are at risk of Meltdown, Apple says

Patch your devices now!

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“Macs never get viruses.” It’s an adage that Apple fans often use to defend their beloved devices against PC users. With the Meltdown and Spectre reveals, that may soon change.

As we reported earlier, researchers recently uncovered hardware flaws that left affected devices open to hidden attacks that leaked sensitive info. Meltdown and Spectre affect nearly every device working today.

Tech firms, including Apple, are rushing to release their own patches to ease consumer fears. Apple users have been waiting with bated breath for a statement, especially since the company usually lives in its own world outside of the PC.

Now, Apple has finally released a statement for the issue. And it’s a resounding yes: Apple devices are affected.

Not surprisingly, every single Apple device, from the small iPhone to the towering iMac, are vulnerable to Meltdown and Spectre attacks. The firm remains one of the biggest chip makers in the tech world.

Despite the flaw, Apple says that there is nothing to fear; they haven’t discovered any exploits that take advantage of the two flaws.

Even then, the firm has already released patches for Meltdown in its latest OS updates — iOS11.2 and macOS 10.13.2. The updates have been available for download even before the reveals for Meltdown and Spectre.

Meanwhile, Apple shares in the difficulty of patching the Spectre flaw. The flaw itself is hard to exploit, but equally as hard to patch. Other companies are still developing their patches to the bug. Likewise, Apple is also only promising an update through Safari in the coming days to ease the risk.

Further, Apple says that the Apple Watch is safe from Meltdown and Spectre attacks.

SEE ALSO: Newly discovered bugs leave two decades of devices vulnerable

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CES 2018

Lenovo outs ultra-thin 4K ThinkVision monitors

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Aside from new business laptops, Lenovo also introduced a couple of desktop monitors which are designed to bring new visual technology to offices.

(more…)

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