There's more Microsoft could be doing to tie your phone closer to your PC. Here are four ideas the company should pursue.
Microsoft's current mobile strategy is all about making your PC and smartphone work better together by allowing users to share experiences and activities across devices, regardless of whether you're using a PC, smartphone, or tablet. Thanks to the Microsoft Graph, features like Timeline let users start an activity on one device, and resume it on another. Everything from web browsing, to Word documents, and more, can take advantage of Timeline and be shared across your devices.
You've also got Your Phone, an app on Windows 10 that lets you see everything that's happening on your phone, including the latest notifications, photos, and even text messages. Your Phone is the next step bringing your PC and phone closer together; however, some notable experiences are still oddly missing that honestly should have been there on day one, especially on Android where Microsoft has a little more wiggle-room for synergy. So, here's four of those obvious experiences that Microsoft should add to its ecosystem.
3D Printing has never been so easy!
XYZPrinting has a new 3D printer called the da Vinci Color mini available on Indiegogo for $999. We have seen several 3D printers from XYZPrinting in the past, but this one is something altogether new. Where most 3D printers require multiple colored filaments or by-hand painting to create 3D objects in different colors, the da Vinci Color Mini will actually use three ink cartridges, similar to what you'd find in a regular printer, to stain the filament as it prints.
Originally developed last year, the da Vinci Color was called the "world's first full color 3D printer" by XYZPrinting. The mini version is designed for consumers like you and me. It's compact enough to fit in a small office or right on your desktop, and it can build objects up to 5.1 x 5.1 x 5.1 inches in size. It can work in a classroom, a business, or anywhere else you want to use it. Print gifts, create sculptures, or learn something new altogether.
The Heretic Kingdoms saga is coming to Xbox One.
According to Kalypso Media, Shadows: Awakening is a new adventure in the "Heretic Kingdoms" saga. PC players will immediately recognize the name because it's a staple series on the platform. However, Shadows: Awakening is making its way to Xbox One on September 4, 2018. The game is a substantial twenty-hour experience and even features voice actors like Tom Baker.
Meet Maverick – Rainbow Six Siege's blowtorch-wielding Operator arriving with Operation Grim Sky.
Ubisoft has recently been gearing up for "Operation Grim Sky," the next major expansion headed to hit tactical shooter, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege. Two new Operators, a rework of Hereford base, and other content is in the pipeline, with a full reveal slated for August 19 during the Six Major Paris. After recently teasing the electrifying shield defender, Clash, we've now received a look at her partner.
Out of the big three, Xbox is often hailed for having the best gaming service platform, but in 2018, is that still the case?
Nintendo is increasingly known for its focus on portable games, PlayStation is known for its big-budget blockbuster games, but what is Xbox known for?
At least personally, I feel Xbox has typically been known for its platform services. Xbox Live, Xbox achievements, and now, Xbox Game Pass, completely changed the game. Microsoft has generally been far speedier than Sony and Nintendo at updating its Xbox ecosystem with new features, tweaks, and other improvements. Just this week, Microsoft finally delivered the much-requested wishlist and checkout feature for its store platforms, including Xbox, for example.
Despite the achievements of the Xbox platform team, there are several noteworthy aspects of Xbox Live and its associated services that have slipped into disrepair and neglect. While some of these things are relatively minor, I believe others represent huge missed opportunities that will harm Xbox in the longer term if not addressed sooner, rather than later.
Many waited a year for this.
According to Tripwire Interactive, Road Redemption lets players command a biker gang on an epic journey across the country. The goal is to essentially destroy everything in your path, including other pesky riders. The game features a fairly lengthy campaign judging from its Steam release, and has favorable reviews from consumers. However, online multiplayer is the focus here. You earn money by finishing races, assassinations, and robberies. Better yet, as you collect loot, you'll upgrade your character, bike, and weapons.
Bask in the glow of this discounted Philips Hue kit.
This Philips Hue two color bulbs starter kit is only $99.99 on Amazon. This is a new kit that released at a $150 price in early July. Last month, it dropped this low for a short time before rising back to $150. Considering individual bulbs cost about $50 right now and this kit comes with the bridge that is essential to the Philips Hue setup, that's a good price.
The starter kit comes with two Philips Hue white and color A19 60W equivalent LED smart bulbs, the Philips Hue hub, and a three-year warranty. The A19 bulbs can choose from more than 16 million colors and shades. Once you connect the bulbs to the hub, you can connect the hub to your smart home ecosystem and control it all with just your voice. The hub can support up to 50 bulbs as well, so you can keep adding onto the system. You'll be able to use the free app to control your lights as well. These kits have 4.1 stars based on over 460 reviews.
As business moves online and people's attention moves to the web more and more, having your own website is more than an asset — it's almost a necessity. But maintaining a website means paying monthly or yearly hosting fees which can quickly add up over time.
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Fortunately, there are companies like Dragify Website Hosting which will keep your website hosted and domain registered for a one-time payment of just $59.99.
Coming next month with some large price tags.
Last year, Samsung acquired Harman Internation Industries, the company behind the popular Harman Kardon audio division. Since then, we've been waiting to see what the two could do together, and now we have the first product that comes with co-branding on it. Samsung has announced two new soundbars, the HW-N850 and HW-N950, both of which will become available to purchase later this month. Both options will have Dolby Atmos and DTS:X to bring along the best sound quality, and they will have up and side-firing speakers.
As you'd expect from the numbering scheme, the N950 is the more premium option of the two. The key differences here are that it will have four speakers and two wireless surround speakers, while the N850 will have a main speaker and subwoofer. Both will launch on September 1 in the Netherlands and wider availability will follow after that, though specifics were not mentioned. The N850 will have a retail price of €1,000 ($1,130), while the N950 will be available for €1,500 ($1,700).
There's no denying that these prices are on the higher end, but considering everything that is packed inside, it may be worth giving a shot. Some Harman Kardon soundbars sell for around $800 already for just the bar and a small subwoofer. Both new kits will offer substantially better audio quality and an overall better experience.
Edge for Android is keeping pace with its iOS counterpart, adding breaking news alerts, annotations for books, and more.
Just a day after rolling out to the Microsoft Edge beta for iOS, Microsoft is shipping a few new features to beta testers on Android as well.
What are the best accessories for Microsoft's Surface Book and Surface Book 2? Read on.
Your Microsoft Surface Book 2 is a fantastic Ultrabook as is, but a few accessories could make your life easier. Whether you're looking for a new way to play games, a little protection for the body, or some new headphones, these are the best accessories for Surface Book and Surface Book 2.
Speakers of all shapes and sizes are discounted just for one day only.
Today only, you can take up to 30% off the price of a number of TaoTronics Bluetooth speakers and soundbars as part of Amazon UK's Deals of the Day.
The popular waterproof shower speaker is included in the deal and drops down to just £10.99. With over 2,000 reviewers giving it an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, it's definitely worth a look at that price.
Agent 47 is back to work!
Today, Warner Bros. released a new Hitman 2 trailer which focuses on a variety of features coming to the game on November 13, 2018. In order to become the perfect assassin, you have to blend into the crowd, exploit the environment, and trick numerous personalities. Each decision has a consequence, so the more "invisible" you are, the smoother the mission will go.
Do you pay for stuff with Microsoft Pay?
Microsoft used to have a service called Wallet that stored all your bank and loyalty cards. The company rebranded the platform to Microsoft Pay to better compete against Android Pay and Apple Pay. Think of it as Microsoft's version of PayPal. Microsoft recently added support for Masterpass, so we're intrigued to learn if you've been using the service to make purchases online.
Lots of action.
Today, EA released a new trailer for Battlefield V, an upcoming first-person shooter set in World War II. The game features single-player campaign scenarios similar to Battlefield 1. For example, one of the main missions focuses on a female solider, her history, and her family. The developers said that Battlefield V tells the "untold stories of World War II" but it's unclear if they're works of fiction or interactive reenactments.
One tool makes it easy to upscale, downscale, convert and compress videos on Windows 10.
Videos can come in all different shapes, sizes, and formats. While it's easy to export videos into different formats using a video editor, sometimes all you want to do is turn a video into an mP4. HD Video Converter Factory Pro lets you convert videos between a long list of formats without having to use a full-fledge video editor.
It also allows you to compress, upscale, and downscale videos as well as a few other tricks.
Go forth and provide feedback.
Yesterday, a lot of new features hit Alpha – Skip Ahead and Alpha Ring Xbox Insiders. Aside from the new "Shopping Cart" functionality, ability to broadcast your whole dashboard on Mixer, and the first build of the Avatar Store, select Xbox Insiders got the chance to test out Xbox Avatars on Windows 10. According to a post in Xbox Wire by Microsoft's Brad Rossetti and Randy Santossio, "the Avatar Editor is a Universal Windows Platform application and now we're ready to start collecting feedback from Windows 10 users! If you're in the Alpha – Skip Ahead, Alpha, or Beta Rings on Xbox One, you'll find a new quest in the Windows 10 version of the Xbox Insider Hub that will tell you how to download and provide feedback for the Avatar Editor on your Windows 10 device. Please note that the Avatar Store will not appear on any version of the Avatar Editor on Windows 10."
File Explorer has finally been updated with a brand new dark mode in the upcoming Windows 10 feature update. Let's take a closer look.
Microsoft is debuting a brand new dark theme for File Explorer with its upcoming Windows 10 feature update, codenamed Redstone 5 and scheduled for release in October. It's not often that you see File Explorer receive any new features or changes, the last notable one was when Microsoft added the Ribbon UI to it back in 2012. So the introduction of a new dark theme for File Explorer is a pretty big deal — let's take a closer look and see how it is.
Just like most apps on Windows 10, enabling the dark theme for File Explorer is done through the system-wide dark mode toggle within the Settings app on Windows 10. Once enabled, File Explorer seamlessly switches into dark mode, which blackens out the title bar and tabs, and gives the rest of the UI a dark gray tone, which is super easy on the eyes.
Even the context menus within the File Explorer and on the desktop have received dark mode treatment, which makes these legacy context menus appear more consistent alongside the modern context menus found in UWP apps when dark mode is enabled. It's pretty awesome and is something I've been asking for since Windows 10 first launched back in 2015.
A brand new Insider Preview build for those with Microsoft HoloLens is now available, featuring new fixes.
Microsoft is now rolling out a brand new Redstone 5 Fast ring preview build for HoloLens that brings with it new fixes and under the hood improvements. Today's build is 17737, and is packing a handful of fixes in addition to a couple known issues worthy of note.
It's almost impossible to go wrong with Seasonic.
When you think NZXT, exquisite cases come to mind along with incredible attention to detail. Now the company is having a go at making power supplies, which makes more sense than not. If you're going to pick up an NZXT case, why not a PSU from the same brand with identical logos? We took in the brand-spanking new E500, the 500W model from the new E series of PSUs.
Is it worth the rather expensive price tag?
A great time to add Alexa to your smart home set up.
Amazon's second generation Echo Dot is available today for just £34.99, matching one of the best prices we've ever seen for the device. The Dot regularly sells for £49.99, making this offer a great opportunity to get into the Echo ecosystem or add Alexa to more rooms in your house.
Most will already be familiar with Amazon's Echo line of products that add smart assistant functionality to rooms in your home. The hands-free, voice-controlled Dot is Amazon's entry-level Echo, offering the ability to play music, control smart home devices, make calls, send and receive messages, answer queries, read the news, set alarms or timers, among other things.
Featuring an array of 7 mics, it can pick up your commands even when playing music and has a built-in speaker for output (and can be paired to other speakers via Bluetooth or 3.5mm stereo cable for a little extra volume). The Echo Dot is also down to £34.99 at Currys PC World if you prefer to click and collect.
Setting up FreeNAS, a popular open-source network attached storage (NAS) solution, is not a difficult task. Here's how to get started and configure a working home server.
FreeNAS offers a stable platform for home and office use. From a simple file server to a connected media hub, it's possible to configure FreeNAS to perform a variety of tasks on behalf of other PCs on the same network. Thankfully, to install the OS, it doesn't require much time or knowledge.
Turn your portable Surface Go into a full-sized PC with one of these external monitors.
The Surface Go is Microsoft's most portable Surface device, but that doesn't mean it can't act as the centrepiece of a grounded workstation. Whether you're using connecting straight to a monitor with USB-C or you're using a Surface Dock, we've rounded up some of the best external monitors that will give you the screen real estate to get more done.
That took a while.
Yesterday, Microsoft announced that a "Shopping Cart" feature was making its way to select Xbox Insiders. Well, another feature that slipped under the radar has to be the ability to broadcast everything on your dashboard when you're streaming to a platform like Mixer. According to a new post in Xbox Wire by Microsoft's Brad Rossetti and Randy Santossio, "with the latest update we have allowed Xbox users to broadcast not just the game but the entire Xbox console to Mixer."
Intel plans to set its graphics free in 2020.
That Intel is cooking up a discrete graphics card is anything but a secret, but the company stoked the hype for fans of team blue today with a smoky sizzler of a teaser.
Microsoft continues to expand Edge's features on iOS with breaking news alerts and much more.
Microsoft Edge has embraced a relatively rapid update cycle since it hit mobile devices last year, and it's continuing that trend with its latest update for iOS beta testers.
You can claim free Rainbow Six Siege charms this weekend with Six Major Twitch Drops.
While Ubisoft is gearing up for the next major update to Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege, a major tournament is on the horizon. Mid-August marks the "Six Major Paris 2018," bringing together the world's top players for a week of tense tactical shooter gameplay.
Dedicated live streams show the unmissable action as it happens, but Ubisoft is offering further incentives to tune in. Watching the final days on the Six Major Paris grants access to exclusive cosmetic rewards – all completely free.
Here's how to enable Twitch Drops and claim your free charms this weekend.