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July 29, 2016


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July 28, 2016

Microsoft Surface Phone release date indicates three variants coming in 2017
Pc-Tablet Media

Rumors about Microsoft’s mystery Surface phone have been going around for quite some time now. New reports have emerged which further claim that the Surface Phone might indeed be a reality.Microsoft Surface Phone

According to the report, the Surface Phone will come in three variants which will include an entry-level device, mid-ranger along with a top-of-the-line flagship variant. The entry-level variant will be equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor bundled with 3GB of RAM. The mid-range variant will reportedly get a whopping 6GB of RAM. While its top-of-the-line variant will get an 8GB of RAM with 512GB of built-in storage

Other rumored specs include a 5.5-inch AMOLED display, USB Type-C connectivity along with liquid cooling technology. In addition, these devices are expected to get a 20MP Carl Zeiss rear camera along with Surface Pen functionality. They’ll run Windows 10 Mobile with support for the Continuum feature, which essentially allows the phone to be used like a desktop.






July 27, 2016

iPad 2, iPad 3, and iPad mini Get Their Last iOS Upgrade
Tablet PC Review

Apple has released iOS 9.3.3, a bug fix and performance update for its tablets and phones. Users of Apple iPadssome popular but aging iPad models should realize that this will be the last system software upgrade their device will get.

Apple announced iOS 10 earlier this summer, and at the same time revealed that not every model that runs iOS 9 will be able to make the move to this upcoming version. Specifically, the iPad 2, iPad 3, and original iPad mini didn’t make the cut. Tablets from this company hold their value, and a study from Localytics this spring revealed that, at that time, those three older models make up 41% of devices currently in use.

It is an open question about users of these devices will react. When asked why they are still using an iPad model that went off the market years ago, a typical answer is something like “It still does what I need it to do.” It’s not yet known how an inability to upgrade to iOS 10, iOS 11, etc. will affect this. It’s possible it might lead to a surge in sales of newer Apple tablets , which have been anemic for several years as people have held onto their older devices.




Surface Pro 3's massive battery drain is a software problem, Microsoft says

Surface Pro 3 owners may not have to deal with a battery recall, after all.

Since May, a number of Surface Pro 3 owners have been dealing with surprisingly weak battery life for the two-year-old device. The problem hits some users so severely that their battery lasts only an hour or two after a full charge. Now, Microsoft says it thinks it can fix the issue.

When the problems first hit Surface Pro 3, users wondered if the cause was a faulty battery; many people reporting problems had devices with a Simplo brand battery installed. Faulty-battery recalls also aren’t uncommon in laptops and other devices. But Microsoft says that faulty hardware is not the problem.

“Based on our investigations we can confirm that it is not an issue with the battery cells,” a Microsoft representative said on the company’s support forums, as first noted in The Digital Lifestyle. “We believe this is something that can be addressed via software.”

The impact on you: It’s not clear when the update will roll out to Surface Pro 3 owners. Microsoft’s next Patch Tuesday is due on August 9, which would hopefully be the latest that Microsoft would roll out the fix. Considering the severity of the bug, however, Microsoft may push a patch earlier, or perhaps or during the Anniversary Update’s release next Tuesday.




July 26, 2016

Surface Pro 3 Battery Issues Being Investigated By Microsoft

Many Surface Pro 3 owners are reported significant battery issues with their tablet/notebook hybrid and Microsoft has taken notice of the problems. The company says that it’s investigating the matter. Surface Pro 3 Reports of Surface Pro 3 battery drain have been coming in since May this year and many users are now reporting that their devices barely last for an hour after being fully charged. That’s certainly not normal and requires a fix, one that Microsoft will hopefully have ready soon.

The majority of the Surface Pro 3 users who are facing battery drain issues have units with SIMPLO batteries. Microsoft went with LG and SIMPLO batteries for the Surface Pro 3 and it appears for now that the issues are limited to units with SIMPLO batteries.

Microsoft has confirmed that it’s aware of customers complaining about unusual battery drain on the Surface Pro 3, “This is a top priority for our team, and we are working quickly to understand the root cause,” the company said in a statement.

The company recommends users who are facing this problem to get in touch with its customer support. It’s unclear at this time whether a software fix is going to take care of this problem or if this is a hardware-based issue.




July 25, 2016

First look: Microsoft's Windows 10 Anniversary Update

I've had a chance to use the upcoming Windows 10 Anniversary Update preview (the Pro version) for the past few days. I am one of the few dedicated Microsoft watchers who haven't been installing and running the 25 interim test builds of this Windows 10 release over the past few months. I've only been using the November update (Build 1511) on my Acer S7 and other loaner devices since it was made Surface Pro 4available last fall. So the Anniversary Update is completely brand new to me.

Microsoft doesn't want us to call the build we've been testing "RTM" (release to manufacturing) because Windows 10 is a continually updated service. Company officials want us to say we're using the latest preview release.

However, Build 14393, which testers got last week and which I installed on a couple of devices last week, is effectively the "Release to Mainstream" version of Windows 10 1607. (Hat tip to Ali Robertson for the idea of what to rename RTM.) The Windows 10 Anniversary Update version that Microsoft will begin rolling out to users on August 2 is going to be this code base plus updates that Microsoft makes between last week and next Monday.

This release is the second major feature update to Windows 10 since Microsoft initially introduced the operating system on July 29, 2015. (The first was the Fall 1511 update.) Microsoft isn't keen on us using the old "service/feature pack" nomenclature, either, but Windows 10 Anniversary Update is basically the equivalent of Windows 10 Feature Pack 2. This is a rollout of performance, reliability, bug fixes, and new feature updates for Windows 10 that Microsoft has developed since last fall.

From a consumer standpoint, there are a few main features in this release that existing Windows 10 users will notice.

Windows Hello, Microsoft's biometric authentication mechanism, is a lot more reliable and is starting to be integrated into apps with this release. Cortana can now be used above the lock screen and provides more entry points. The built-in Edge browser now supports extensions. And a dedicated Windows Ink capability makes using digital pens easier and more interesting.

Let me get the pen out of the way from the get-go. I am not a pen user. Microsoft loaned me a Surface Pro 4 with a pen so that I could test drive the new Windows Ink capabilities, which include updated Sticky Notes and other apps designed to make pen use more intuitive.

But the reason Microsoft wants reviews of the Anniversary Update out now, a week ahead of the August 2 general availability date is because of the looming July 29 cut-off for the free Windows 10 update offer. After Friday, users still on Windows 7, 8, and 8.X won't be able to get Windows 10 -- including the coming Anniversary release -- as a free update. There won't be an extension to the offer.

My advice, after using the Anniversary Update for the past few days is any Windows 7/8.X user who is thinking at all about going to Windows 10, now's the time. Whether or not you care about Windows Ink, Cortana, or Hello, this update to Windows 10 makes the operating system and the apps integrated with it more reliable and better performing.




Microsoft Highlights Surface Pro 4's Abilities In New Promos

If you’re in the market for a new computer, Microsoft would really like you to take a look at the Surface Pro 4. The company today released some new promotional videos of the Surface Pro 4 to highlight some of the abilities of this device. The videos showcase this laptop/tablet hybrid’s versatility as well which is often touted as one of the biggest selling points of the Surface Pro 4 by Microsoft.

In the promos, Arnot can be seen using OneNote, Windows Phone, and the digital inking feature on a Surface Pro 4. She also goes on to explain how the Surface Pro 4 enables her to be productive even when she’s at the peak of a mountain.





July 21, 2016

How to Determine the Battery Manufacturer Installed in Your Surface Pro 3
SuperSite for Windows

As part of “battery-gate,” I’ve given pretty simple instructions on how to determine the manufacturer of the battery in your Surface Pro 3 tablet. Those very succinct instructions said to use the powercfg /batteryreport command at an elevated command prompt.Simplo Battery

Catch up on the latest on battery-gate here: Surface Pro 3 Battery-gate: Piecing it Together

But, there’s been enough activity (enormous activity, actually) around the battery-gate issue that it’s probably best to provide more detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to locate the battery manufacturer of your Surface Pro 3.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Right-click on the Windows 10 Start button and choose “Command Prompt (Admin)”
  1. In the command prompt window type: powercfg /batteryreport and hit Enter.
  1. The Powercfg command saves the battery life report to: C:\WINDOWS\system32\battery-report.html.
  2. Open this html file in your web browser (Edge, Chrome, Internet Explorer, etc.) and locate the manufacturer line.
  1. If the manufacturer says “SIMPLO” you are affected by the issue.




Apple iPad Pro: A Student's Point-Of-View

What is there not to like about the Apple iPad Pro? At first, it thought the tablet is nothing more than just a restyled version of the original iPad but after I was given a unit on my birthday, my opinion on the device changed completely.

The iPad Pro is more than just an ordinary tablet as it is tuned for productivity. Previously, I was using my MacBook’s Evernote for college but now, I have switched to the iPad Pro. The tablet comes with OneNote that somehow works better.

With OneNote on the iPad Pro, I can draw mind maps and even take handwritten notes. On top of that, the multitasking option allows me to read up slides and use the browser to seek references with complete ease.

These are some of the biggest strengths of the iPad Pro. The tablet offer a convenient platform for your productivity needs, especially if it involves studying. Are you using the iPad Pro? What do you think of the tablet?




July 20, 2016

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet review - A Surface Pro 4 rival you can count on
Expert Reviews

Taking a stab at the Surface Pro 4, the ThinkPad X1 Tablet looked to be a top contender when we first got some hands-on time with it at CES at the beginning of the year. Fast forward to the summer, the number of 2-in-1 devices gunning for Microsoft’s crown has grown exponentially, with some, like Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tabletthe HP Elite X2, hitting pretty close to the mark.

Lenovo are all about choice when it comes down to the ThinkPad X1 Tablet. With a bunch of different plugins and upgradability options, which add some new features to the mix, you should be able to find the right device and extras to suit your needs. Bear in mind, it’s not all that cheap if you want all the extras, but it’s nice to see Lenovo at least offering them.

Thankfully, even if the price at first looks to be pretty high, at least you get both the keyboard and the pressure-sensitive ThinkPad Pen Pro stylus included in the box too. Paired with the brilliantly designed and easy to use kickstand, you’ve got both a practical and portable device that stands almost unrivalled against its 2-in-1 competitors, even the Surface Pro 4.


Lenovo has definitely made portability and lightness a priority, considering it weighs just 725g on its own. Add the keyboard into the mix and you’re still only looking at slightly over 1Kg. Considering the fact that it’s a 12in 2-in-1, you’d think it’d be heavier, with the 8.6mm thickness also something worth shouting about.

A fingerprint reader, found on the right side bezel when using it landscape, is a welcome addition, and adds that extra layer of security with Windows Hello integration. It’s much faster, and a trifle more secure, than having to type in a password to unlock it.





Huawei MateDock Review: Expand Your USB-C Tablet Like a Desktop
Tablet PC Review

USB Type-C will soon be a feature of most tablets and laptops, and Huawei already offers an accessory that can turn a mobile computer with one of these ports into a desktop: the MateDock. It costs $89 and is designed for the Huawei MateBook, but isn’t limited to this 2-in-1.

Our Huwaei MateDock Review is intended to help consumers decide if this peripheral should be part of their next PC.Huawei MateDock

At 2.9 x 1.3 x 6 inches and 11 ounces (0.7 pounds), this accessory is definitely something that needs a gear bag, backpack, briefcase, or purse to carry around. Still, there are a lot of functions packed into it, so the size doesn’t seem unwarranted.

That said, there’s a real design flaw. Sticking out of one end is a short cable with a USB-C jack used to connect the MateDock to a tablet or laptop. This cable isn’t removable, and not only does it make the item longer than it needs to be, this cable gets absolutely no protection. Huawei should have used a USB-C port instead so a cable could be inserted or taken out as needed.

On the same end as the cable is a USB Type-C port, so the computer this dock is connected to can be charging while other accessories are also being used. This is a feature the rival Dell USB-C to HDMI/VGA/Ethernet/USB 3.0 Adapter lacks.

Also on this end are two USB 3.0 ports so that a keyboard and mouse can be used simultaneously, or a regular flash drive can be plugged in.

An Ethernet port is also on this end of the MateDock, freeing the tablet or laptop from its dependence on wireless networks, and giving access to the secure Ethernet networks so many companies require.

On the opposite end of Huawei’s peripheral are HDMI and VGA ports. These can’t be used at the same time, so the user can connect to only one external monitor.




July 19, 2016

Many Surface Pro 3 customers are reporting sudden degrade of battery life

As per Microsoft, the batteries on Surface devices are designed with some of the highest charge cycles for consumer electronic devices which means that the battery can get charged daily (5 days a week) for over 4.5 years and still maintain 80% capacity. Many Surface Pro 3 customers are now reporting on Microsoft forums that they are seeing sudden drop in battery performance on their devices. It seems some Surface Pro 3 devices were shipped with defective battery units.

My wife’s Surface Pro 3 is about 18 months old, and we have seen the battery life just tank on it in the last 3 months.  Running powercfg /batteryreport shows the following:

Installed Batteries

NAME X898289
SERIAL NUMBER 1162811908

Battery capacity history

2016-04-17 – 2016-04-24 19,698 mWh 42,157 mWh
2016-04-24 – 2016-05-01 15,069 mWh 42,157 mWh
2016-05-01 – 2016-05-08 12,148 mWh 42,157 mWh
2016-05-08 – 2016-05-15 10,091 mWh 42,157 mWh
2016-05-15 – 2016-05-22 7,678 mWh 42,157 mWh
2016-05-22 – 2016-05-29 5,717 mWh 42,157 mWh
2016-05-29 – 2016-06-05 4,091 mWh 42,157 mWh
2016-06-05 – 2016-06-12 2,770 mWh 42,157 mWh
2016-06-12 – 2016-06-19 1,077 mWh 42,157 mWh
2016-06-19 – 2016-06-26 551 mWh 42,157 mWh
2016-06-27 502 mWh 42,157 mWh
2016-06-28 272 mWh 42,157 mWh
2016-06-29 144 mWh 42,157 mWh
2016-06-30 144 mWh 42,157 mWh
2016-07-01 144 mWh 42,157 mWh
2016-07-02 144 mWh 42,157 mWh
2016-07-03 144 mWh 42,157 mWh

From searching this forum, it looks like Microsoft has a serious issue with these Surface Pro 3 batteries, specifically the SIMPLO model.  I spoke with support today, and even referenced the Reddit post that other’s have found about the $200 replacement for batteries, and they did not budge off their position that it would be $450 + tax to exchange this unit out of warranty.  And they could provide no more than a 90-day warranty on the new replacement, no thank you!

During a Reddit AmA, Surface Cheif Panos Panay said that if the battery fails during the warranty period, Microsoft will replace the battery. If the battery fails after the warranty period, you can get it replaced from Microsoft Support for $200 USD. Even when Surface Pro 3 customers pointed out this info from Panos Panay, Microsoft Support has refused to change the batteries for $200. We reached out to Microsoft regarding this issue and got the following response.

We are aware of some customers reporting a scenario with their Surface Pro 3 batteries in which the system is reporting lower battery capacity than expected. This is a top priority for our team, and we are working quickly to understand the root cause. If you are experiencing this scenario, please contact Microsoft customer support.






July 18, 2016

iPad Pro: How Apple's tablet can make you into a painting master – or almost
The Independent

Unlimited undos and no paints to clean up mean that the iPad Pro can be the ultimate place to learn ipad paintinghow to paint

How creative are you? When the Apple iPad Pro was released last autumn, I interviewed several artists who had just started using the advanced tablet and its clever, super-precise Pencil. The results they came up with were phenomenal and used some of the inexpensive, or free, apps available for general use on the iPad.

My own attempts, however, were frankly rubbish. The apps did everything they could to help, and confirmed what Tim Cook told the Independent at the time, that Apple has always sought to help creativity flourish.

So an invitation to a life-drawing class at the Royal Academy to see if I could manage something a little more imaginative was not to be missed. 

It took place in the Life Room in the academy’s building in Piccadilly, London. A room that has been used for hundreds of years by illustrious students of the academy, and which could take those students literally years to be deemed good enough to enter. 




Microsoft Surface Phone release date: 2017 release hinted by Micrsosoft?
Vine Report

The long rumored Microsoft Surface Phone is expected, along with other long rumored Surface devices, to finally become a reality sometime in 2017.

The information came from what seemed to be teasers from Microsoft. Photos taken from inside Microsoft's Building 88 in Redmond, Washington show a wall dedicated to showcasing Surface devices. They were posted on Twitter by Indian app developer Shubhan Chemburkar.

Along with the current set of the released Surface devices were four different slots — presumed to be meant for four new devices — with nothing but a label of 2017. This was taken as a teaser that new Surface devices would be released by 2017, including the long rumored Surface Phone.




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