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Windows 10 Upgrade Begins Rolling Out in Waves

Microsoft began rolling out of the Windows 10 upgrade to existing users of Windows 8.1 and Windows 7. The upgrade process is handled by a "reservation system," which lets you tell Microsoft in advance that you intend to upgrade, using the Get Windows 10 (GWX) app that's been sticking out in your system-tray over the past month, which looks like the Windows logo. Once "reserved," Windows slowly fetches installation files of Windows 10, and stores them into a temporary directory. When all the installation files and drivers specific to your hardware have been downloaded, the app notifies you that the upgrade can begin at your command.

The upgrade process itself is zero-intervention, and happens much like an iOS or Android OTA upgrade. Once it's installed, you get to customize a handful things, and then you're done. GWX may notify you that your upgrade is ready to begin any time today. If you've not reserved your upgrade, you can still do so, but you may not get to upgrade just yet, maybe over the next "few weeks or months," according to Microsoft. With an estimated 350 million installations queued up for the upgrade, GWX will not be able to fetch the installation files and drivers by maxing out your Internet bandwidth. It will take its own time, as Microsoft servers shed their bandwidth load.

There doesn't appear to be a strict correlation between reservation and upgrade availability. For example, we reserved upgrades for two of our PCs around the same time. The PC with the simpler hardware, programs, and settings, finished with the upgrade, while another one is still queued up. Microsoft will formally launch Windows 10 in media events spread around the world.

Dell Starts Shipping Windows 10 Devices

Dell customers will be among the first to experience Windows 10, Microsoft's best operating system yet, when it launches tomorrow. For those who purchased Windows 10-based devices during Dell's pre-sale period, systems will start shipping today with free next-business-day delivery. Today, nearly 70 configurations of laptops and 2-in-1s and desktops and all-in-ones featuring Windows 10 are available on Dell.com and 51 Dell systems will be available from leading retailers beginning tomorrow.

Whether buying a new Dell device or upgrading an existing PC, Dell makes it quick and easy to get the most from Windows 10 features, such as support for secure sign-on through integrated Intel RealSense cameras and unprecedented touch capabilities on select Dell screens. Unique to the Dell experience, proactive service and support options including ProSupport Plus and Premium Support keep commercial and consumer customers up and running easily while maintaining the health of their systems.

Microsoft Releases FY15 Q4 Results

Microsoft Corp. today announced that revenues for the quarter ended June 30, 2015 were $22.2 billion. Gross margin, operating loss, and loss per share for the quarter were $14.7 billion, $(2.1) billion, and $(0.40) per share, respectively.

These results include the impact of a $7.5 billion non-cash impairment charge related to assets associated with the acquisition of the Nokia Devices and Services (NDS) business, in addition to a restructuring charge of $780 million. There was also a charge of $160 million related to the previously announced integration and restructuring plan. Combined, these items totaled $8.4 billion or a $1.02 per share negative impact. Excluding this impact, operating income and EPS would have been $6.4 billion and $0.62, respectively. During the quarter, Microsoft returned $6.7 billion to shareholders in the form of share repurchases and dividends.

The following table reconciles these financial results reported in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP") to Non-GAAP financial results. Microsoft has provided this Non-GAAP financial information to aid investors in better understanding the company's performance. All growth comparisons relate to the corresponding period in the last fiscal year.

Windows 10 Attains RTM Status

Microsoft's ambitious next-generation operating system, Windows 10, has attained RTM (release to market) status. This marks the official end of product development, and the beginning of its distribution. Windows 10 RTM (build 10240) is that version which will be transmitted to PC OEM partners (to pre-install on their new notebooks and desktops), physical media manufacturers, and to the team handling GWX (Get Windows 10), the tool that upgrades existing eligible Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 installations to their applicable variants of the new OS. Microsoft will officially launch Windows 10 on 29th July, 2015.

Microsoft to Celebrate Windows 10 Launch Around the World on July 29

On Monday, Microsoft Corp. announced its plans to launch Windows 10 on July 29 with global fan celebrations, joint efforts with thousands of retailers, including all Microsoft store locations, a new global advertising campaign, and a new year-long initiative to celebrate people and organizations making a difference around the world. Available for the first time as a free upgrade, Windows 10 delivers a fast and familiar experience that is more secure and automatically up-to-date. Featuring new innovations like Cortana, Microsoft Edge and Xbox integration, Windows 10 is the best Windows ever.

"Windows 10 was built to empower people to do great things. We are thrilled to celebrate the launch of Windows 10 with our fans," said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Windows and Devices Marketing at Microsoft. "We'll mark the launch of Windows 10 by celebrating the people and organizations that upgrade the world every day - and by helping them do more in their communities."

Windows fans have helped shape Windows 10, with 5 million Windows Insiders providing valuable feedback. The Windows Insiders will be the first to receive Windows 10 and are invited to join Windows 10 fan celebrations in 13 cities around the world, including Sydney, Tokyo, Singapore, Beijing, New Delhi, Dubai, Nairobi, Berlin, Johannesburg, Madrid, London, Sao Paolo, and New York City. Fan celebrations will offer hands-on opportunities, experiential demos, entertainment and opportunities to meet the Windows team.

Windows 10 Retail Box-art Revealed

Here are some of the first renders of what the retail channel packages of Windows 10 could look like. Microsoft plans to sell packages with physical DVDs in markets with slow Internet connections (the first two renders), in others, the company will sell slimmer envelope-type package (the last two renders) that lacks physical media, and include only a plastic card with a key printed on it. You can download the install image for your edition, and create a bootable USB flash drive that can be used as an installation media.

Given that over 300 million current users of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 are expected to avail the free upgrade to Windows 10, which entails a web-based update; and given the amount of people buying licenses on the web, Windows 10 could very well be the last version of Windows that's sold in physical packages, at ground stores. Speculation is also rife that Microsoft could fundamentally change its version numbering scheme and upgrade model, which could mean no more future major versions, and possible subscription models to get software updates. Windows 10 will release on July 29, 2015.

Source: WinFuture.de

E Fun Announces Nextbook Flexx 10

Summer is finally here; the sun is out, school is no longer in session and many families take the opportunity to take a vacation. Don't get stuck inside on a large laptop or desktop, make the most of your summer with a new portable Nextbook Flexx 10 from E FUN. Larger than a smartphone, yet smaller than a computer, this versatile 2-in-1 tablet makes the perfect travel companion for the entire family this summer. The Nextbook Flexx 10 is available now for under $200.

At 10.1", this Windows 2-in-1 is the perfect size to bring on vacation, so you can conveniently watch movies, play games, listen to music and surf the web on any flight or car ride. And with a 16:10 aspect ratio, you still get the high definition you've grown accustomed to. For those that want to be productive while traveling, the Nextbook Flexx 10 comes with a full-sized detachable keyboard, perfect for getting work done wherever your summer travels take you.

D-Link Announces the DNS-340L NAS Server

D-Link today announced immediate availability of its new ShareCenter + 4-Bay Cloud Network Storage Enclosure (DNS-340L). Designed to provide features offered in both business and consumer storage arrays, the DNS-340L is an ideal solution for SMBs seeking a cost-effective iSCSI target for their video-surveillance projects and storage requirements.

Powered by the latest generation 1.2GHz CPU and 512MB RAM, the new Unified Storage Enclosure delivers high performance with low power consumption. The storage solution integrates a rich feature set which can act as a small multi-functional server to support applications such as media and print serving, FTP, web server, download and backup center, photo and audio center, surveillance, and more with an affordable price.

Windows 10 Release Date Announced

Microsoft Windows 10 will launch on the 29th of July, 2015. This is when existing users of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 will be able to upgrade to their applicable variant of Windows 10 for free; PC makers ship desktops and notebooks with the OS pre-installed; and when you will be able to buy Windows 10 copies off the shelf.

Microsoft is expecting at least 350 million users of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 to freely upgrade to Windows 10 by the end of the year, many of which could upgrade on day-one, clogging Microsoft Update. To mitigate that, Microsoft launched a "reservation" system. Current users of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, woke up to a curious Windows logo in their system-tray, which launches a tiny app that lets you "reserve" your upgrade (a position in the queue to upgrade). When your time comes, Windows will fetch the Windows 10 upgrade image from Microsoft Update. The actual upgrade process will be similar to that of Windows 7 to Windows 8. You can choose a clean install, or upgrade over an existing installation. Once installed, your Windows 10 license is tied to the machine forever.

Microsoft Selects Dolby Audio for Windows 10

Dolby Laboratories, Inc. and Microsoft Corporation announced today that Dolby Audio is selected to be a part of the Microsoft Windows 10 operating system and will be natively supported by the new Microsoft Edge browser for the playback of web-based content as well as accessible by third-party Windows Store apps. Users of Microsoft Windows 10 PCs and tablets will enjoy Dolby quality audio experiences through Windows entertainment apps and through Microsoft Edge.

Dolby Audio (supporting Dolby Digital Plus) will be available in x86 Windows 10 PCs and tablets for playback of movies, TV shows, and videos with crisp, clear dialogue and greater detail of sounds. Windows 7 and 8 users may upgrade to Windows 10 for free and continue to experience Dolby quality audio consistently across headphones, built-in PC and tablet speakers, or connected home theater systems. Microsoft Edge will be the first browser to leverage the Dolby Digital Plus decoder on the Windows 10 operating system, enabling online content providers to enrich the entertainment experiences of millions of Internet users globally with Dolby Audio.

"We are excited about the collaboration and partnership with Microsoft and share in the commitment to providing the best entertainment experiences possible to consumers across a wide range of devices in the Windows 10 ecosystem," said John Couling, Senior Vice President, E-Media Business Group, Dolby Laboratories. "With the launch of Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge in nearly 200 countries, Dolby and Microsoft will enable better user experiences with high-quality audio that is robust, consistent, and at a scale necessary for the large Windows ecosystem."

Microsoft Reveals Windows 10 Variants

Microsoft revealed the six variants in which its next operating system, Windows 10, will ship in. The company decided to unify the Windows 10 brand across its PC, workstation, and handheld platforms. For PCs, workstations, and tablets running x86 processors, the lineup will include the Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Education, and Windows 10 Enterprise.

Windows 10 Home has everything a home and small-business user could ask for (including PC gamers and enthusiasts). It will include the Edge web-browser (so your post-install waltz to Chrome or Firefox websites is a few seconds faster), Microsoft Cortana voice-based assistant, richer Bing integration, Microsoft Hello face-recognition software, and support for biometric login methods. Gamers get DirectX 12 out of the box. Users of Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 8/8.1 get a free upgrade to this edition.

Futuremark Releases 3DMark Update with API Overhead Feature-set

Futuremark is excited to introduce our new 3DMark API Overhead feature test - the world's first independent test for measuring differences in DirectX 12, DirectX 11 and Mantle API performance. It's also the very first public application to use DirectX 12 full stop. This is cutting edge stuff! Developed with input from AMD, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA, and the other members of our Benchmark Development Program, the 3DMark API Overhead feature test lets you compare the performance of DirectX 12, DirectX 11, and Mantle.

The purpose of the test is to compare the relative performance of different APIs on a single system, rather than the absolute performance of different systems. The API Overhead feature test is not a general-purpose GPU benchmark, and it should not be used to compare graphics cards from different vendors. (We are working on a DirectX 12 benchmark with game-like workloads, which we expect to release soon after the public launch of Windows 10.)

DOWNLOAD: Futuremark 3DMark v1.5.884

Thecus Announces New Zero-Crash 5-Bay NAS, the N5810PRO

Thecus today announced its new zero-crash 5-bay NAS, the N5810PRO. Embedded with an Intel Celeron processor J1900 Quad Core 2.0 GHz SoC and Mini-UPS battery, the Thecus N5810PRO empowers users with lightning fast performance while providing impenetrable data integrity.

"In today's ever-evolving digital environment, businesses require robust storage solutions that provide premium performance with piece of mind that their data will always be secure," said Florence Shih, CEO of Thecus Technology. "The N5810PRO is designed to equip users with a comprehensive set of applications that will optimize their business environment while addressing the needs for performance and security."

Windows 10: A New Generation of Windows

Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday unveiled a new generation of Windows, with a wide range of experiences designed to usher in a new era of more personal computing, as well as two new devices designed to extend the Windows experience from large screens to no screens. Windows 10 will be delivered as a service to offer a safer, innovative and updated experience for the supported lifetime of the device. A free upgrade1 for Windows 10 will be made available to customers running Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1, who upgrade in the first year.

"Windows 10 marks the beginning of the more personal computing era in the mobile-first, cloud-first world," said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. "Our ambition is for the 1.5 billion people who are using Windows today to fall in love with Windows 10 and for billions more to decide to make Windows home."

Windows 10 marks the beginning of the more personal computing era, where technology disappears and people are at the center. In this era, the mobility of the experience matters, not the mobility of the device, and experiences should work in a seamless, familiar way across devices. People should be able to naturally interact with technology as they interact with other people - with voice, gestures and gaze. Protecting privacy plays a pivotal role in delivering trustworthy experiences that put people in control of their experience.

Windows 10 to be Free Upgrade for Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 Users

In what could be a fundamental shift in how Microsoft monetizes its flagship product, the Windows operating system, the company decided to offer its upcoming Windows 10 as a free upgrade for existing users of Windows 8.1 and Windows 7. This offer will be applicable only for the first year following Windows 10 launch (after which, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 users will have to pay to upgrade to Windows 10). Windows 10 will see the return of the Start Menu, a productive Desktop environment, and cutting-edge new API features such as DirectX 12.

Source: The Verge

Microsoft to Rebrand Internet Explorer

Despite some genuine increases in performance and reliability, Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE) is turning into a relic. Once an unbeatable web-browser that attracted anti-competition lawsuits the world over, its market-share (usage) has dropped below 10 percent, according to W3Schools. With Windows 10, Microsoft plans to completely rebrand the bundled web-browser.

Codenamed "Project Spartan," the browser will feature a new UI, and a different branding from MSIE. It will also shed useless code, and will have a smaller memory footprint, much in the same way Firefox was a toned, peppy rebrand of Mozilla/Netscape Navigator. You could even expect a new icon. Microsoft could undertake a massive marketing campaign for the new browser, of a scale similar to Google's, for its Chrome browser. Microsoft could even delink the browser from Windows Update, to facilitate faster security and bug fixes. The browser could debut with beta releases of Windows 10, and its first stable version could come out with Windows 10 RTM.Source: PC World

AMD to Give 20 nm Optical Shrinks to Console SoCs First

AMD has the unique distinction of supplying SoCs to all three leading game console vendors simultaneously - Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. The company, like NVIDIA, is looking forward with perched eyes for manufacturing partner TSMC to get its 20 nanometer silicon fabrication node running full-cylinders. Unlike NVIDIA, which may use the new process to shrink its GPUs, or launch bigger chips based on its "Maxwell" architecture, AMD will treat its console SoCs with optical-shrinks to the new nodes first, so the company could immediately eke out better margins, as console gamers upgrade to Xbox One or the PlayStation 4.

AMD's SoC for the Xbox One, could be the first in line for this optical shrink to 20 nm. This chip features a transistor count of 5 billion, and houses eight 64-bit x86 CPU cores, and a 768 SP GPU based on the Graphics CoreNext architecture; 48 MB of on-die cache, and a quad-channel DDR3 IMC. The chip also features an integrated core logic. AMD's chip for the PlayStation 4 features design inputs from Sony. The chip features the same CPU component, but a 1152 SP GPU, and a 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, wired to 8 GB of memory that's virtualized for both system- and graphics-memory. The 20 nm shrinks of both chips are expected to lower not just manufacturing costs, but also step up energy-efficiency, which could then let Microsoft and Sony save additional costs on other components, such as power and cooling.


Source: Expreview

Microsoft Reports Record First-Quarter Revenue

Microsoft Corp. today announced revenue of $23.20 billion for the quarter ended September 30, 2014. Gross margin, operating income and diluted earnings per share ("EPS") for the quarter were $14.93 billion, $5.84 billion and $0.54 per share, respectively.

These financial results include $1.14 billion of integration and restructuring expenses, or an $0.11 per share negative impact, related to both Microsoft's restructuring plan announced in July 2014 and the ongoing integration of the Nokia Devices and Services ("NDS") business.

CyberPowerPC Announces FangBook Edge with GeForce GTX 900M Series GPUs

CyberPower Inc., a global manufacturer of custom gaming PCs, gaming laptops, and performance workstations, today announced the Fangbook Edge, a slim notebook gaming system that packs revolutionary processor technology from Intel and NVIDIA into a slender enclosure that is less than one inch thick. Equipped with a powerful Intel Core i7-4870HQ processor with Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200, and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M graphics card, the Fangbook Edge packs a lot bit of muscle inside a 0.78-inches thick enclosure that weighs 4.36 pounds.

The Fangbook Edge is as lean as high-end gaming notebooks get, but does not compromise energy efficiency over high performance. The 4th Generation Intel Core i7-4870HQ processor sips power when idle or under general workloads, cruising at 2.5GHz, and then kicking up to 3.7 GHz when you need it. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M outperforms previous generations by a wide margin and features all-new technologies that enhance the overall gaming experience. Combining the groundbreaking efficiency of NVIDIA's Maxwell GPU architecture with NVIDIA Optimus Technology, the GTX 970M provides high-end desktop level performance in games, while the integrated Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200 takes over when high-end performance is not required. Support for the next-generation DirectX 12 graphical API means the Fangbook Edge is ready to take on the super-detailed games of the future.

Microsoft Announces Windows 10 Operating System

Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday unveiled its next Windows operating system, Windows 10, and gave a first look at an early technical preview for the PC available Oct. 1. The announcement highlighted advancements designed for business, including an updated user experience and enhanced security and management capabilities. The company also introduced the Windows Insider Program, kicking off its largest-ever open collaborative development effort to change the way Windows is built and delivered to best meet the needs of customers. Program participants will receive the technical preview of Windows 10 and a steady stream of builds through the development cycle to use and give feedback on.

"Windows 10 represents the first step of a whole new generation of Windows, unlocking new experiences to give customers new ways to work, play and connect," said Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Operating Systems group at Microsoft. "This will be our most comprehensive operating system and the best release Microsoft has ever done for our business customers, and we look forward to working together with our broader Windows community to bring Windows 10 to life in the months ahead."

Microsoft Announces Board Changes and Quarterly Dividend Increase

Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday announced that Teri List-Stoll, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Kraft Foods Group Inc., and Charles W. Scharf, chief executive officer of Visa Inc., have been appointed to the company's board of directors and will join the board effective Oct. 1, 2014. The company also announced that Dave Marquardt and Dina Dublon have decided not to seek reelection to the board of directors and will retire from the board at the expiration of their current term following the annual shareholders meeting in December.

Microsoft also announced its board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.31 per share, reflecting a 3-cent, or 11 percent, increase over the previous quarter's dividend. The dividend is payable Dec. 11, 2014, to shareholders of record on Nov. 20, 2014. The ex-dividend date will be Nov. 18, 2014. "As we continue to focus on the company's transformation and the board continues to evaluate capital strategy options, this dividend increase is another step in our ongoing commitment to increase capital returns to shareholders," said Amy Hood, chief financial officer of Microsoft.

Microsoft to Hold a Big Windows Event in Late-September

Microsoft sent out invites to the press for a big event it's holding on the 30th of September, 2014. The invite's catchphrase reads "join us to hear about what's next for Windows and the enterprise." Speculation is rife about what Microsoft plans to launch on that day. The most plausible theory talks about a possible Windows 2014 launch, the next addition to its enterprise operating system family. A less plausible theory speaks of Windows 9, which is really a client operating system. Microsoft wouldn't specifically mention "enterprise." Windows 2014 could be loaded with features for the next-generation of enterprise environments, which are increasingly leveraging the cloud. It wouldn't surprise us if Microsoft took a big leap in favor of the new breed of ARM + x86 hybrid CPUs, and high-density ARM-based servers.

SanDisk DAS Cache Software Now Available for Next Generation Dell PowerEdge

SanDisk Corporation, a global leader in flash memory storage solutions, today announced that SanDisk DAS Cache software will be offered by Dell for use in its next generation Dell PowerEdge servers with direct-attached storage (DAS). This all-software solution will allow customers to benefit from the high performance of solid state drives (SSDs), while maintaining data on direct-attached, disk-based storage. SanDisk DAS Cache software works with SSDs from any manufacturer, empowering customers to select the SSD capacity and performance that is appropriate to their data center needs.

"We have been working very closely with Dell to provide a complete solution for their customers that provides the performance and cost benefits of solid-state storage technology," said John Scaramuzzo, senior vice president and general manager, Enterprise Storage Solutions, SanDisk. "Combining innovations in both hardware and software enables customers to realize the full potential of enterprise storage solutions. We are excited that Dell is able to offer the benefits of our SanDisk DAS Cache software to customers with its new PowerEdge servers."

Windows 8.1 Overtakes 8 Worldwide – StatCounter

Microsoft's Windows 8.1 operating system has overtaken its older sibling Windows 8 for the first time in terms of internet usage worldwide, according to StatCounter, the independent website analytics company. The company's research arm, StatCounter Global Stats also finds that despite Microsoft's ending of support in April this year, Windows XP refuses to die and remains the world's second most popular operating system version. However, for the first time globally, the combined total of Windows 8 and 8.1 (14%) overtook XP (12.9%) in August.

All AMD Graphics CoreNext GPUs to Support DirectX 12: Company

AMD production manager Devon Nekechuk, speaking at the company's 30 Years of Graphics event, disclosed that all AMD GPUs based on the Graphics CoreNext architecture will support DirectX 12, Microsoft's next generation multimedia API. The company is already up-to-date on the DirectX feature-level support, with support for DirectX 11.2. The company isn't drumming that up too loud, probably because it's developing an ecosystem for its own/competing AMD Mantle 3D API.
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