Windows 10 Now on 110 Million Devices; HoloLens Release Date Announced

At the Microsoft Windows 10 devices briefing in New York on Tuesday, the Redmond giant detailed some statistics about Windows 10, including adoption rates. Microsoft also detailed the release date for Microsoft HoloLens.

Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of the Windows and Devices Group, Terry Myerson, also said that in the 10 weeks since its launch, Windows 10 is now on over 110 million devices across the world. Of these, 8 million are business PCs.

While the adoption rate has slowed down a little – as Windows 10 had reached 50 million install base in just about two weeks since release on July 29. But it is still a record breaking figure.

To put it into perspective, Windows 7, which was released in 2009 and is used by 600 million devices. Microsoft has sold 200 million licences of Windows 8 as of 2014. Apple’s OS X operating system, across all its versions, was used by 80 million users as of June 2014.

Myerson also announced that over 650 billion webpages have been visited using Microsoft Edge, the new Web browser from the company that ships with Windows 10. More than 120 years of gameplay has been streamed from Xbox One systems to Windows 10 devices.

microsoft_hololens_mixed_reality.jpgMyerson also announced that this holiday season, the Xbox One would be upgraded to Windows 10. He added that Facebook is amongst the many popular developers that will be launching universal Windows apps, starting with Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger.

The Redmond giant also showed off a mixed reality game on HoloLens, called Project X-Ray, which adapts to any room the player. Myerson added that the Microsoft HoloLens development kit will be available in the first quarter of 2016, for $3,000.

India, Germany Decide to Extend IGSTC Beyond 2017

To enhance cooperation in the field of science and technology, India and Germany on Monday decided to extend the bi-national Indo-German Science & Technology Centre (IGSTC) beyond 2017 with a two-fold increase in funding every year, a move that will help in supporting industrially relevant research and development (R&D) projects.

The move will see the funding going up from EUR 2 million to EUR 4 million in IGSTC projects that have potential to generate novel technologies and new intellectual property in sectors such as advance manufacturing, embedded systems, renewable energy, food security, clean water and health care technologies – all of which are in tune with present national missions of the government of India.

India is the only country with whom Germany has such a bilateral R&D Centre dedicated to promote applied and industrial research. The IGSTC is already supporting 15 joint projects and pro-types of some new technologies have been co-developed in solar-thermal energy, stress tolerant chic-pea variety, and high altitude cold resistance plants.

Vardhan also offered Germany to participate in some of the future mega science projects, which India will be embarking upon.

At the meeting held before the 3rd Indo-German Consultative meeting, Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for S&T, and his German counterpart Johanna Wanka said the two countries would continue to support and strengthen the basic research component of collaboration which will underpin future technology developments.

The Indian side emphasised on new areas such as anti-microbial resistance and regenerative medicine, earth science system including monsoon studies and marine sciences required to understand the climate change process.

India is investing approximately EUR 14 million for the construction of an additional beam line and access to the synchrotron facility at PETRA-III in DESY at Hamburg.

Similarly, India is equity share holder with investment of EUR 36 million in the construction of the international ‘Facility for Antiproton-Ion Research’ (FAIR) at Darmstadt.

These state of art facilities will further enable Indian scientists to conduct high impact and frontier research in material science, nuclear and high energy physics.

Both the Ministers reiterated the need for “concerted effort” to promote exchanges of young scientists and student researchers. To this end, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) through a Letter of Intent agreed to continue the support for participation of 25 Indian science and medical students to the annual Nobel Laureate meet in Lindau.

The two, also echoed that the future cooperation should focus on programmes to promote innovation and techno -entrepreneurship by linking the Small and Medium Enterprises and Start-up enterprises of both the countries in order to make meaningful contribution.

The Best Day of the Year to Buy a House

Sales of U.S. Existing Homes Drop to Lowest in Four Months
The single best day of the year to purchase a home is — drumroll, please — Oct. 8. But if you’re in the process of purchasing a home now and have a closing date later in the month, don’t despair; chances are you’ll still get a pretty good deal.

RealtyTrac, a company that tracks public record housing data, recently crunched the numbers for more than 32 million house and condo sales since 2000 to figure out the best and worst months for buyers to purchase a home.

The study revealed that homes usually sell at their lowest prices in October. “Of the 2.7 million sales closed in October over the last 15 years, the average sales price was 2.6 percent below the average estimated full market value at the time of sale,” RealtyTrac said.

Within the month, the magic day was Oct. 8, with the best deals of any other single day. RealtyTrac said that housing deals that closed Oct. 8 sold for an average of 10.8 percent below estimated market value.

February, July, December and January are the next best months to try to score a bargain deal on a house.

“The start of the school year and the holidays influence our buyer decisions and serve as a strategic indicator of the most advantageous times for buyers to land their lowest priced deal,” Mark Hughes, chief operating officer with First Team Real Estate in California, told RealtyTrac.

According to the study, April is the worst month of the year for buyers to close on a home. RealtyTrac said that since 2000, homes in April were purchased at an average premium of 1.2 percent above estimated market value — bad for buyers, but great for sellers.

Although the study results are interesting, Michael Golden, co-founder of Chicago-based real estate company @properties, told MarketWatch that they’re unlikely to matter to most prospective homebuyers. Golden said buyers are usually more interested in finding a house that suits their needs rather than buying a home on a certain date (or month).

Microsoft Band 2 With Curved Oled Display, Barometer Launched

At its Windows 10 devices briefing event on Tuesday, Microsoft announced the Band 2, the refresh ofMicrosoft Band fitness tracker device that it had launched last year. The Microsoft Band 2 comes with a number of features and improvements.

The Microsoft Band 2 will be available to pre-order in the US from Tuesday, and will start shipping from October 30 at $249 (roughly Rs. 16,300).

The Microsoft Band 2 features with a curved Oled display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 screen protector. The company says that the display is more responsive than ever.

microsoft_band_2_side.jpgThe Microsoft Band 2 also comes equipped with a range of sensors including GPS, gyroscope, and barometer (which is new) among others. These sensors will enable UV monitoring, offer guided workouts, sleep tracking, and measure calories intake.

microsoft_band_2_back.jpgIn addition, the Band 2 will also fetch notification from your smartphone and show it on your Band.Microsoft Health will show you more comprehensive information about your fitness level and activities. The company says that Band 2 will work with Android and iOS as well. Unlike most other fitness trackers, it also tracks VO2 Max levels – the amount of oxygen the body can absorb in a minute.

The Microsoft Band 2 also features Cortana integration. Users will be able to preview emails, get calendar and call alerts, receive text messages, and see social updates, apart from reply to text messages with a quick responses, or dictate a response using Cortana.

microsoft_band_2_cortana_side.jpgAs for what’s coming, the company announced that it has partnered with several new players including Runkeeper, Facebook, Starbucks, and others. Another new partner is Lose It!, which offers fitness tracking.

Twitter Brings ‘Super-Sized Emojis’ to Direct Messages

twitter_reuters_14.jpg

Twitter, after lifting its 140-character limit from Direct Messages, has introduced bigger emoji for users. Twitter users would now see bigger sized emoji while posting them in DMs. However, the emoji would stay the same size as before when used along with text.

The ‘super-sized emojis’ would be visible in both mobile and desktop versions. The news came via Twitter’s own post on the micro-blogging website on Tuesday. “Emojis are already a big deal in Direct Messages. We just made them bigger. Send super-sized emojis today!” said the post. While the majority of the users tweet on the social media website instead of using DMs, this nifty addition is expected to generate some traction.

However, recent reports have hinted that the micro-blogging website might soon scrap the character limit from tweets as well. Twitter is said to be working on a new product that would let users tweet longer than 140-characters.

The firm is additionally testing new feature for tweets which will help users embed a poll, not relying on Cards. The new poll feature is already being rolled out to select users. Twitter last month was testing new photo and video editing tools with limited users, which were mostly verified accounts.

The social media website on Monday named co-founder and interim Chief Executive Jack Dorsey as its permanent CEO.

Twitter in August lifted its 140-character limit for direct messages. However, the firm said the limit would still be there for those sending DMs over text messages. The limit also exists for tweets.

YouTube and Google Photos for iOS Updated With New Features

Google has updated Photos for iOS to add several new features to the app. Separately, YouTube for iOS has also received an update that adds several new features to it.

Google has updated the Photos app for iOS to version 1.4 and added several new features. As per the changelog offered on the app’s App Store page, Photos app now allows users to give private labels, and merge face groups in Search. You can now share animations – gif files – to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger apps. The company claims that the app would now launch faster and there are other bug fixes and performance improvements as well. The app, however, doesn’t offer Chromecast support just yet.

The company recently rolled out an update to Photos’ Android client to add Chromecast support, a new labelling feature, and the ability to share gif files to WhatsApp messenger.

YouTube for iOS has also received an update, hitting the version number 10.38. The new update makes it easier to find content. As listed in the changelog, users will now be able to access recommended videos, subscriptions feed, and their favourite channels by either tapping on their respective icons or swiping your screen. If you like to upload videos to the network, you now get a new in-app editing tools to make it easier to upload your videos.

Earlier this month, Drive for iOS also received an update. Bumping up the version number to 4.2, the app added the ability to backup and share photos and videos from iOS Photos app. Also, the update made it possible for users to open and edit documents files in their respective apps and save it back to Drive.

Cisco Security Researchers Disable Big Distributor of Ransomware

Cisco Systems Inc said it had managed to disrupt the spread of one of the most pernicious systems for infecting Internet users with malicious software such as so-called ransomware, which demands payment for decrypting users’ data.

The investigators from Cisco’s Talos security unit were looking at the Angler Exploit Kit, which analysts at several companies say has been the most effective of several kits at capturing control of personal computers in the past year, infecting up to 40 percent of those it targeted.

They found that about half of computers infected with Angler were connecting to servers at a hosting provider in Dallas, which had been hired by criminals with stolen credit cards. The provider, Limestone Networks, pulled the plug on the servers and turned over data that helped show how Angler worked.

The research effort, aided by carrier Level 3 Communications, allowed Cisco to copy the authentication protocols the Angler criminals use to interact with their prey. Knowing these protocols will allow security companies to cut off infected computers.

“It’s going to be really damaging to the attacker’s network,” Telos manager Craig Williams told Reuters ahead of the release of the report.

Cisco said that since Limestone pulled the plug on the servers, new Angler infections had fallen off dramatically.

Limestone’s client relations manager told Reuters his company had unwittingly helped the spread of Angler before the Cisco investigation.

Often sold in clandestine Internet forums or in one-to-one deals, exploit kits combine many small programs that take advantage of flaws in Web browsers and other common pieces of software. Buyers of those kits must also arrange a way to reach their targets, typically by sending spoof emails, hacking into websites or distributing malicious advertisements.

Once they win control of a target’s computer, exploit kit buyers can install whatever they want, including so-called ransomware. This includes a number of branded programs, also sold online, that encrypt users’ computer files and demand payment to release them.

Telos estimated that if three percent of infected users paid the ransom averaging $300 (roughly Rs. 20,000), the criminals that had used the Limestone servers to spread Angler could have made about $30 million (roughly Rs. 200 crores) a year.

Microsoft Lumia 640 XL LTE Dual SIM Launched

Microsoft has launched the Lumia 640 XL LTE Dual SIM in India at Rs. 17,399. The smartphone was firstunveiled at MWC 2015, but was not launched in India alongside the Lumia 640 Dual SIM and Lumia 640 XL Dual SIM in April.

The Microsoft Lumia 640 XL LTE Dual SIM is identical to the Lumia 640 XL Dual SIM, except that it features 4G LTE connectivity in addition, with support for Indian 4G LTE bands. It will be upgradeable to Windows 10 Mobile when it is released later this year. The company is also touting a bundled SIM offer with Bharti Airtel, which includes the Airtel Double Data offer.

The Lumia 640 XL LTE Dual SIM bears a large 5.7-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) IPS LCD display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3, and is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor clocked at 1.2GHz coupled with 1GB of RAM.

The new 4G LTE smartphone from Microsoft sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with Zeiss optics and a 5-megapixel front camera. The Lumia 640 XL LTE Dual SIM also packs a replaceable 3000mAh battery that is rated to deliver up to 30.3 hours of talk-time on 2G, and 37 days of standby time.

The new Microsoft Lumia phone also packs 8GB of built-in storage, which is expandable via microSD card (up to 128GB). Free OneDrive storage is available up to 30GB, while the smartphone measures 157.9×81.5x9mm, and weighs in at 171 grams.

Commenting on the launch, T S Sridhar, Microsoft Mobile Devices, Director (sales), South, said, “We understand the needs of the Indian consumers and with the Lumia range we have always focused on complementing the needs of the customers across segments by delivering new experiences and features. Lumia 640XL LTE is power-packed offering great productivity at power of 4G.”

 

Microsoft Lumia 640 XL LTE Dual SIM

Microsoft Lumia 640 XL LTE Dual SIM

₹ 13,536

Display

5.70-inch

Processor

1.2GHz

Front Camera

5-megapixel

Resolution

720×1280 pixels

RAM

1GB

OS

Windows Phone 8.1

Storage

8GB

Rear Camera

13-megapixel

Battery capacity

3120mAh

Microsoft Lumia 950, Lumia 950 XL With Windows 10 Mobile, ‘Liquid Cooling’ Launched

The long-rumoured Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL are real. Microsoft on Tuesday at its “Windows 10 devices briefing” event unveiled the two flagship smartphones. Both the handsets run Windows 10 Mobile, the mobile edition of the company’s latest operating system.

The two smartphones, platform lead devices for Windows 10 Mobile, were unveiled by Microsoft’s Panos Panay, the new head of engineering of the firm’s premium devices division. The Microsoft Lumia 950 will start from $549 (roughly Rs. 35,800), while the Microsoft Lumia 950 XL will start at $649 (roughly Rs. 42,300) – both will become available in November. The company also announced the Lumia 550, due in December at $139 (roughly Rs. 9,100), but did not detail the specifications.

As for the specifications, the Microsoft Lumia 950 sports a 5.2-inch QHD display with a pixel density of 564ppi. It is powered by a 1.8GHz hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 SoC and 3GB of RAM. It comes with 32GB of inbuilt storage that’s expandable via microSD card (up to 200GB).

The Microsoft Lumia 950 XL, on the other hand, sports a 5.7-inch QHD display with a pixel density of 518ppi. It is powered by a 2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 SoC and 3GB of RAM. It comes with 32GB of inbuilt storage that’s expandable via microSD card (up to 200GB).

microsoft_lumia_950_950_xl.jpgBoth the handsets come equipped with a 20-megapixel rear camera with 4K video recording, OIS, and a f/1.9 aperture, apart from a 5-megapixel sensor placed upfront with a f/2.4 aperture and full-HD video recording. The rear camera module features a triple-LED RGB flash module, and the phones feature dedicated camera buttons. They are the first Lumia handsets to run the new operating system, Windows 10 Mobile. Both handsets are also liquid cooled.

The Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL come with adaptive antenna technology. The company says that this makes it possible for the device to give users the best reception no matter how they pick it up. The handsets also come with liquid cooling technology, ensuring that the phone doesn’t heat up. The phones also feature USB Type-C port (USB 3.1), which Microsoft says can charge 50 percent of the battery in just 30 minutes. Both phones also feature removable batteries, and built-in wireless charging.

lumia_950_continuum.jpgAs for software features, both Lumia 950 and 950 XL support Windows Hello biometric system that unlocks the device by just looking at your face. But the biggest deal was Continuum. Using a Microsoft DisplayDock – which comes with HDMI and DisplayPort and three USB ports, you can connect your phone to the system and seamlessly start using as part of your computer.

 

Microsoft Lumia 950

Microsoft Lumia 950

Display

5.20-inch

Processor

1.8GHz

Front Camera

5-megapixel

Resolution

1440×2560 pixels

RAM

3GB

OS

Windows 10 Mobile

Storage

32GB

Rear Camera

20-megapixel

Battery capacity

3000mAh

See full Microsoft Lumia 950 specifications
Microsoft Lumia 950 XL

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL

Display

5.70-inch

Processor

octa-core

Front Camera

5-megapixel

Resolution

1440×2560 pixels

RAM

3GB

OS

Windows 10 Mobile

Storage

32GB

Rear Camera

20-megapixel

Battery capacity

3340mAh

Sony to Split Off Fast-Growing Image Sensor Business

Japan’s Sony Corp said it will split off its semiconductors operations to bolster growth in devices such as image sensors, which have emerged as the company’s strongest products in recent years.

Sony said the move was part of the company’s push to split off various business units into separate companies while they retain full ownership, to accelerate decision-making and make them more accountable for their profitability.

Sensors, used in smartphones such as Apple Inc’s iPhone, have helped lead a turnaround at Sony in the past year while its TV and mobile operations have struggled.

PlayStation, along with camera sensors, has helped to offset a slump in sales of Sony’s traditional consumer electronics such as smartphones and TVs. The company at the Tokyo Game show said it expects operating profit to more than quadruple this fiscal year.

Sony has sold about 25 million PlayStation 4 game consoles since its late 2013 launch, almost double the sales of Microsoft Corp’s Xbox One, according to market research firm VGChartz.

In July the company raised its PlayStation 4 sales outlook to 16.5 million units from 16 million for the current fiscal year through March. In September, Sony said it was slashing PlayStation 4 prices in Asia in an effort to bolster sales.

Edited by Gadgets 360 staff from original story by Reuters

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