Friday 17 July 2015

Comcast Games, Microsoft Music, HBO Online

In Tech Games and Music

The country's largest cable TV provider is working with video game maker Electronic Arts. For now, the service is free for people who pay for both Comcast TV and Internet. Customers may have to pay once a test phase ends after at least a few weeks.

Games available include FIFA Soccer, NBA Jam and Monopoly.
Comcast says the service is aimed at casual players, including people who play on phones, rather than hard-core gamers who already use consoles such as Xbox or PlayStation. The games through Comcast don't let you play online with friends or strangers, as many games allow on consoles today. You can play by yourself or with people sitting in the room with you, using smartphones or tablets as controllers.
Comcast wants to position its set-top box, the X1, as an entertainment hub. The box can stream music from Pandora and display photos from Facebook, Instagram and Flickr on a TV. Only about 5 million of Comcast's 22.4 million video customers have X1, but the company says it expects most customers will get it by the end of 2016. Customers who don't have the X1 box yet can request it.
You can sign up for the games at
— Tali Arbel, AP Technology Writer
Microsoft has a streaming music service, too — though it was mostly overlooked as attention turned to Apple's entry into a business crowded with Spotify, Google Play and others.
Maybe that's why Microsoft is revamping the service formerly known as Xbox Music. It's now called Groove.
Along with the new name, Microsoft promises redesigned menus and other new features when it releases Groove with Microsoft's new Windows 10 operating system later this month.
The company said it's dropping the Xbox name to avoid confusion, as the service is no longer focused on Xbox gaming consoles. Instead, the new Groove can be used to manage music files on any PC or mobile device running Windows 10.
Like the Xbox Music service, Groove will also offer unlimited streaming from Microsoft's music catalog for $10 a month. It will work on Android and Apple mobile devices as well as Mac and Windows PCs.
As with Apple and Google, Microsoft also offers the option to upload songs you own to the Internet, through Microsoft's OneDrive storage service, for playback on other devices.
Meanwhile, Apple says it's honing its Apple Music service as more people weigh in with suggestions and complaints. The company plans to restore "Home Sharing," or the ability to stream music from a computer running iTunes to other Apple devices over Wi-Fi. Home Sharing was disabled on iPhones and iPads with the iOS 8.4 software update that enables Apple Music.
— Brandon Bailey, AP Technology Writer
HBO's stand-alone Internet service, HBO Now, is available on Android and Amazon devices starting Thursday.
The online video service had been limited to Apple device owners and customers of the New York-area cable company Cablevision. Google announced plans for Android earlier, but hadn't disclosed a launch date.
If you download the HBO Now app on an Android tablet or phone or on an Amazon Fire tablet, you get a 30-day free trial. Afterward, it costs $15 a month.

Microsoft Edge is faster than other browsers; up to 112 percent faster than Chrome

By tech2 News Staff /  16 Jul 2015 , 17:41
Yes, you read that right. After years of ridicule, Microsoft has claimed its latest browser Microsoft Edge is faster than Chrome and Safari in their own benchmark tests! Not Microsoft benchmarks, but benchmarks created by Apple and Google teams. With the latest near-final version of Windows 10 released, Microsoft is adding finishing touches to the launchpad, and getting ready to ‘celebrate’ what is their biggest launch ever.
Microsoft Edge is blazingly fast
In a blog post on the Windows blog, Gabe Aul, Head of the Windows Insider program took the opportunity to announce performance findings from the latest Windows 10 build. He added:
“The Edge team has been continuing to optimise performance since first adding the new browser to Windows 10. In this build, Microsoft Edge is even better and is beating Chrome and Safari on their own JavaScript benchmarks:
On WebKit Sunspider, Edge is 112% faster than ChromeOn Google Octane, Edge is 11% faster than ChromeOn Apple JetStream, Edge is 37% faster than Chrome
We’re really pleased with those performance gains and we hope that you’ll enjoy faster browsing with Microsoft Edge along with the many great features we’ve added over the last several builds.”
If these are true, then it’s the best thing to happen to the browser space. If anything it’s best for the browser ecosystem that Microsoft, otherwise known for Internet Explorer has spruced up its browser performance with a more efficient EdgeHTML engine than the dominating WebKit. We’re sure this will boost further optimisation and innovation in other browsers.
For those unaware, the SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark is developed by the Apple Webkit development team. Although intended for the iOS, Mac, and Windows versions of Safari, which are powered by the Webkit engine, it is popularly used to benchmark browsers across platforms.

Lumia 950 And Lumia 950 XL Are Next Flagship Smartphones From Microsoft

Microsoft is rumored to release the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL handsets at the IFA event in September. Reuters
Since the end of 2014, rumors have swirled that Microsoft will be launching the Lumia 940 and the Lumia 940 XL as flagship smartphones this year. Even the purported specs of the devices have been making the rounds since past few months. But fresh rumors state that the company will be announcing the Lumia 950 and the Lumia 950 XL instead of the Lumia 940 models with the same specifications.
In 2014, Microsoft released the Lumia 930 flagship model. Phone Arena’s report claims that a Chinese tech blog has revealed that Microsoft will be skipping the Lumia 940 generation to directly roll out the Lumia 950 models this year.
The Microsoft Lumia 950 will be a sporting a-5.2 inch display that will support a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. It will be able to produce a pixel density of 424 ppi. It will be featuring a Snapdragon 808 SoC that will contain a hexa-core processor and Adreno 418 graphics. The chipset will be supported by 3 GB of RAM.
The handset will come with an inbuilt storage capacity of 32 GB. It will also carry a microSD slot. The rear will be housing a PureView technology-powered 20 MP camera whereas the front will be flanked with a 5 MP selfie snapper.
The Microsoft Lumia 950 XL will be phablet device as it expected to house a 5.7-inch screen with support for Quad HD resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels. The display will support a pixel count of 515 ppi. It will be powered by Snapdragon 810 chipset that includes a 64-bit octa-core CPU and Adreno 430 GPU. It will be coupled with 3 GB of RAM.
The native storage of the Lumia 950 will be 32 GB. It will also come with microSD slot. The handset will also come with 20 MP PureView rear camera and 5 MP front-facing selfie camera. 
The Microsoft Lumia 950 and the Lumia 950 XL will be shipped with Windows 10 Mobile OS onboard.NDTV states that Microsoft has proclaimed that premium Lumia smartphones powered with Windows 10 Mobile OS will be arriving this year. The new devices will be announced at the IFA 2015 tech show in September in Berlin.

Exciting new Microsoft Surface tablet is on track for an October launch

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Release Date
Image Source: Microsoft Corporation
Microsoft is preparing for one of its most critical Windows updates in its history, theWindows 10 release that will be available as a free download to consumers who already own genuine Windows 7 and Windows 8 copies. Beginning on July 29th, the update will be rolled out gradually, with Windows 10 retail boxes supposed to reach retailers at some point after that. But Microsoft is also working on new hardware for Windows 10, and a report already shares some exciting details for the next-gen Surface tablet.

Likely to be called Surface Pro 4, the next Windows flagship is supposedly launching this October. At least that’s what sources from the supply chain told Taiwanese tech news site Digitimes.
The Surface Pro 4 will feature “the same ultra-thin form factor, bezel size and large-size display as the predecessor model,” the website says.
However, the new Surface tablet will feature Intel’s new Skylake processor, and might pack Samsung SSD drives of up to 256GB. Other details have not been provided yet, and it’s not known how much the new Surface Pro 4 will cost.
According to the sources, the new Surface might help Microsoft increase monthly tablet shipments to 500,000-600,000 units from the current 300,000 monthly units.
Microsoft confirmed a few days ago that it plans to unveil new Windows 10 hardware at the upcoming IFA 2015 show in Berlin, Germany, without specifying anything about mobile devices. However, the company has an event titled Windows 10 Lights up New Devices for September 4th at the German trade show.
The new Surface Pro model – if it’s going to be unveiled in September – won’t be the only new tablet/laptop running Windows 10 out of the box. According to the company, “a breadth of new Windows 10 devices, including tablets, 2-in-1s, premium notebooks, gaming devices and all-in-ones” are about to be unveiled.

Microsoft has finalized Windows 10

Microsoft has now finalized Windows 10, ready for its release later this month. Sources familiar with Microsoft's plans tell The Verge that the software giant has selected build 10240 as the final release to manufacturing (RTM) copy, allowing PC makers to start loading the software onto new machines ready for release. We understand that Microsoft is signing off on the build internally today, and may announce the RTM publicly by the end of the week or choose to ignore the milestone and focus on the launch. While Microsoft is planning to launch Windows 10 on July 29th, new PCs with the software won’t be available until some weeks later. Microsoft is now pushing for existing and new device owners to upgrade to Windows 10 as part of a new marketing campaign.
Microsoft will first roll out build 10240 to its Windows 10 testers, and the company is now focused on patches and fixes that will also roll out alongside the OS launch. While the RTM process is a milestone for Microsoft, especially almost 20 years to the day the company finalized Windows 95, it’s really just one step in a new model that will see Windows act more like a service. In the future Microsoft will be updating Windows 10 regularly, especially the built-in apps that power most experiences in the operating system. Microsoft will test these future updates with its Insider program first, before rolling them out more broadly over the coming months.

Build 10240 now available for Windows Insiders in Fast and Slow rings

Hi everyone, today releasing a new build to both the Fast and Slow rings. We’re just about two weeks away from beginning to offer Windows 10 to the world, as Terry detailed here. Over the past few days we’ve been preparing our release pipelines and processes, and this build is one step closer to what customers will start to receive on 7/29. For example, you’ll notice with this build that the desktop watermark is no longer there (you can still do Search > Winver to see your version number.
On Monday we announced that builds from here on will only be available through Windows Update, so to get this one you can either wait and it will be installed automatically (but who are we kidding, I know you want it now!) or go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Check for updates. Remember that you’ll need to be logged in with your Microsoft Account in order to receive the build.
Besides builds, over the next 2 weeks you’ll also see some Windows Updates and app updates in the Store, so make sure to keep checking for updates daily to make sure you’re running the latest and greatest code.

Microsoft Edge is blazing fast!

The Edge team has been continuing to optimize performance since first adding the new browser to Windows 10. In this build, Microsoft Edge is even better and is beating Chrome and Safari on their own JavaScript benchmarks:
  • On WebKit Sunspider, Edge is 112% faster than Chrome
  • On Google Octane, Edge is 11% faster than Chrome
  • On Apple JetStream, Edge is 37% faster than Chrome
We’re really pleased with those performance gains and we hope that you’ll enjoy faster browsing with Microsoft Edge along with the many great features we’ve added over the last several builds.

Windows 10 App Development

Developers working on Windows 10 will have the first opportunity to upload Universal Windows Applications to the Windows Dev Center using production quality Windows 10 tools on July 29th. We appreciate all the time you’ve spent using flights of the tools and providing feedback and we are excited for you to begin sharing your applications with everyone running Windows 10. For more information on developing Universal Windows Apps, see the Building Apps For Windows blog.

Office on Windows 10

Thanks to all of you who have been using the new Office Word, Excel, and PowerPoint mobile apps on Windows 10. There are a few changes to the apps coming up that are part of helping them get ready for their release with Windows 10. You may have already noticed that on PCs and tablets we’ve added “Mobile” to the app names (to help distinguish them from the Office desktop suite), while on phones we simply call the apps Word, Excel and PowerPoint. We will also remove “Preview” from the app names and in about one week, you will need an Office 365 subscription to edit on Windows 10 PCs and larger tablets.
Similar to what we announced in March, viewing and most editing will remain free for non-commercial use on devices of 10.1” or less. Otherwise, you will need a qualifying Office 365 subscription. If you don’t have an Office 365 subscription, you can sign up for a free trial at You can also always edit your documents for free in Office Online at The full featured OneNote Universal App will come installed with Windows 10 and similar to OneNote on all other devices, editing is free.

We’re getting close!

We’re all working super hard here to deliver the best Windows ever, and are preparing everything that needs to be in place for our public release. We cannot wait for all of you, and your friends and family who reserved their upgrade, to see the result.
This is going to be an exciting couple of weeks, but it is also only the beginning.Windows as a service means that we’ll continue to keep Windows up to date with improvements and features, and our Windows Insider Program will continue so you can get early builds and share your feedback with us.
Stay tuned for more news about our launch activities, and at least one fun surprise for Windows Insiders coming up!