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2017's Weak VR/AR Demand May Burst VR Investment Bubble

Many research firms' numbers have shown that VR product sales in 2016 have been weaker than originally expected due to both high product costs and lack of content. No-one has yet seen VR's killer app, after all, and I know I'd love to see another Halo-like product to drive awareness on the VR platforms like it did on the original Xbox.

All of the above lead towards Google's Daydream View, HTC's Vive, Oculus Rift and Samsung Electronics' Gear VR having all achieved sales that are not even close to previously-set market expectations, with even the current mainstream poster-boy for VR, Sony's PSVR, showing adoption numbers that are as lowly as low can be. Even in their home-field, Japan, a country known for being filled with tech-savvy and tech-crazed customers, only 0.7% of the existing PS4 and PS4 Pro user-base has made the jump for a VR headset.

Resident Evil 7 for PC will support HDR and 4K, No Cross Saves for Steam

Japanese developer and publisher Capcom has publicized that the PC version of their anticipated Resident Evil 7 game will support up to 4K resolutions and HDR. Naturally HDR will remain dependent on being connected to a compatible TV or panel, whereas high resolution support could provide additional levels of image quality through the use of super sampling on screens that do not support such resolutions natively. It is said that HDR will complement the immersive experience, better enabling the game to deliver overwhelming fear and ultimate horror.

As previously revealed by Capcom, Resident Evil 7 will also support cross saves between the PC and Xbox One versions of the game, however this will only be possible if you purchase it for PC on the Windows Store. Resident Evil 7 is also available on Steam and this version will not support cross saving. Resident Evil 7 will be available for PC on the 25 January, 2017.

Microsoft Joins the Linux Foundation

On Wednesday, during its annual Connect(); developer event, Microsoft Corp. unveiled a series of products and partnerships that strengthen the company's Azure cloud platform for building intelligent, cross-platform apps and services. Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Executive Vice President Scott Guthrie detailed significant steps Microsoft is taking to empower the ecosystem by giving developers greater choice in the tools they use - including joining the Linux Foundation as a Platinum Member to better collaborate with the open source community, welcoming Google to the independent .NET Foundation, and working with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. to enable .NET developers to build apps for more than 50 million Samsung devices worldwide.

Guthrie also demonstrated a preview of Visual Studio for Mac, which enables developers to write cloud, mobile and macOS apps on Apple's Mac operating system using the popular development environment; a preview of the next version of the company's flagship SQL Server database with support for Linux, Linux-based Docker containers and Windows-based environments; and a preview of Azure App Service on Linux with support for containers.

Microsoft Announces the Surface Studio - A 28-Inch AIO With Skylake and GTX 980M

At the 2016 annual Microsoft Surface Event, Microsoft's corporate vice president for Surface Computing Panos Panay announced a new addition to the company's Surface lineup: a 28-inch All-in-One, with a 3:2 aspect ratio monitor Microsoft calls a "Pixel Sense Display", packing a 4500x3000 resolution (with around 62% more pixels than 4K resolution, combining to provide about 192 pixels per inch), as well as 10-point touch and Microsoft Pen support.

All of that screen real-estate comes in at just 12.5mm thick - the AIO's innards are actually on the monitor's base, with an hinge that promises to allow the display to be moved seamlessly and in a wide variety of angles, as well as allowing it to take on extra weight in studio mode. All of this is powered by an Intel Skylake processor (configurable as an i5 or i7 model), your choice of an NVIDIA GTX 965 M 2GB or an NVIDIA GTX 980 M 4 GB model, 8 through 32 GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 1 TB or 2TB storage - with all configurable options also including in their base specs what Microsoft calls a "Rapid Hybrid Drive", which at the moment, remains unclear as to its nature of either a SATA or PCIe SSD, or even an SSHD.

Thecus Expands Windows Storage Server Line-up with W5810

Thecus Technology Corp. today announced the launch of the latest addition to its Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials NAS series, the enhanced W5810 equipped with the quad core Intel Celeron 2.0 GHz processor and 4 GB DDR3 RAM. Designed for small and medium businesses of up to 50 employees, the W5810 provides a robust, centralized storage solution for businesses to access, share, and manage files securely within a network while simultaneously hosting PC backups in one central location.

Continuing on the success of the original Windows Storage server 2012 solutions from Thecus, the W5810 provides increased power allowing users enhanced multi-tasking abilities, said Florence Shih, CEO of Thecus Technology Corp. "The new Thecus Windows Storage Server provides an ideal solution for individuals and organizations with Windows infrastructure to securely manage and backup their data."

Shuttle Offers Value Priced XPC Nano Small Form Factor PC

Shuttle Computer Group, Inc., one of the world's leading designers of small form factor (SFF) computers, today announced its XPC Nano line of barebone computers, including the NC01UBING, a fully configured system with Windows Bing 8.1 pre-installed, designed specifically for commercial applications.

"If you're looking for a small form factor computer with a big heart to drive digital signage, kiosks or other playback functions, look no further," said Marty Lash, director sales and marketing, Shuttle Computer Group. "These small, sophisticated beauties fit everywhere, and our new pre-configured NC01UBING comes with 2GB RAM, 32GB SSD and Windows Bing 8.1 at an ESP of $299. It's a killer product."

The new line of Nano SFF computers boast low price points and an elegant palm-sized, 0.5 liter, stylish design in black with gold trim. Available with Intel's Ultra Low-Power CPU, embedded processor choices include Celeron, and Core U3/U5/U7. Product numbers are NC01U, NC01U3, NC01U5, NC01U7 determined by processor and graphics capabilities. They also come with unique features like RS232C, an SD card reader, optional NVIDIA, and AMD docking stations for superior graphics.

New Ideas from Lenovo Inspire a PC Refresh this Holiday Season

Lenovo today announced seven new desktops, laptops and tablets across its popular ideacentre and ideapad sub-brands, giving discerning shoppers multiple reasons to upgrade this holiday season. The fresh portfolio of devices include the new ideapad MIIX 700 2-in-1 tablet, new ideacentre AIO 700 desktop and five new laptops - ideapad 300 and 500 and their thinner and lighter cousins ideapad 100S, 300S and 500S.

The new ideacentre AIO 700 desktop delivers up to double the power, screen resolution and memory capacity from its three-year-old previous generation - ideal for watching videos and gaming. In addition to the performance leap, all the new devices boast state-of-the-art Lenovo design, significantly improved portability and the promise of intuitive, new technology like Windows 10 and Intel RealSense Cameras. The new trio of ideapad MIIX 700 2-in-1 tablet, ideacentre AI0 700 desktop and ideapad 500 laptop are all available with optional Intel RealSense Cameras so users can explore, discover and create new and intuitive ways to 3D game, video chat, scan and print through gesture-based computing.

Corsair Unleashes Bulldog DIY 4K Gaming PC on the Living Room

Corsair, PC gaming hardware leader, today at Computex unveiled Bulldog, the first DIY PC built exclusively to bring the vivid immersion of 4K gaming to the living room. Composed of a DIY kit with a stylish gaming console-sized chassis, liquid CPU cooler, power supply, and motherboard, and designed with plenty of space for customization and upgrades, Bulldog provides the foundation for users to build the ultimate living room PC. Using its proprietary liquid CPU and GPU cooling technology, Corsair condensed the desktop PC computing performance into Bulldog's compact form factor. An early version of Bulldog is on display at Computex 2015, with availability expected in early Q4.

"Bulldog is designed to take the 4K gaming experience delivered by desktop gaming PCs, and bring it to the big 4K screens in the home," said Andy Paul, CEO of Corsair Components. "We knew we needed to deliver a solution that was elegant, powerful, and compact. By leveraging our leading expertise in PC case design and liquid cooling, we met that goal with Bulldog. We can't wait to unleash it on gamers this fall."

Cirrus7 Intros nimbini Chassis for Intel Broadwell NUC

Building on the success of its Nimbus NUC case with a stackable laser-cut aluminium sheet design, Cirrus7 introduced the nimbini, for Intel's latest Core "Broadwell" NUC system boards. The case features the same aluminium sheet stack design, and its thick aluminium sheets double up as heatsink for the CPU and PCH. It's available as both a case, or as a complete DIY kit with Windows or Ubuntu pre-installed. This kit, however, comes with over 90 parts, and you have to manually put it all together. As a case, the nimbini is game for Intel's 28W "Broadwell" Core M chips with Iris Graphics i7. Cirrus7 is expected to start pre-orders later this months, shipping begins in May.

Logitech Announces Keys-To-Go Ultra-Portable Keyboard

Today Logitech unveiled the Logitech Keys-To-Go Ultra-Portable Keyboard for Android and Windows mobile devices. The Logitech Keys-To-Go - which is also available for iOS - is a slender stand-alone Bluetooth keyboard that can fit anywhere and go everywhere.

"We first introduced the Logitech Keys-To-Go for the iPad and the keyboard quickly became a favorite with consumers," said Michele Hermann, vice president of mobility at Logitech. "We're thrilled to now bring that same portability and typing experience to Android and Windows devices, whether that's your tablet, phablet or smartphone. The Logitech Keys-To-Go goes wherever you go thanks to its thin and light design, and it offers the great typing experience that you expect from a Logitech keyboard. It's the perfect partner for your device."

PNY Releases Ultra-fast HP x755w USB 3.0 Flash Drive

PNY, the leading manufacturer of memory products and PC peripherals, has officially announced the extreme HP x755w USB 3.0 flash drive for lightning fast transfer and various capacities of all your documents and files. The HP x755w packs unparalleled transfer speed and generous capacity into a pocket-sized package. Experience accelerated data transfer up to 90 MB/sec and 30 MB/sec sequential read and write speed. Equipped with USB 3.0 transmission speed, this flash drive can perform significantly faster than other generic USB 2.0 models available in the market. Light, compact and trendy, the HP x755w makes the perfect travel-friendly flash drive no matter where you go.

The HP x755w dramatically reduces the time spent for transferring files. It enables fast boot up without creating any lagging time and saves hours by reducing the transfer time in a few seconds. HD videos, graphic rich images and PDF files can be moved and stored easily in an instant. Easy plug and play operation means you can simply connect the USB to your computer or notebook and start transferring your files immediately. It does not require any extra installations or software to operate.

QNAP Ships 16GB Versions of TS-x70 Pro Series NAS

QNAP, Inc., a global network attached storage (NAS) manufacturer, is now shipping new 16GB models of the TS-x70 Pro Series Turbo NAS which is designed specifically in support of QNAP's new Virtualization Station, a centralized virtualization environment that allows users to run and manage multiple virtual machines directly on the NAS without the need for additional hardware/software. QNAP is the first and only NAS vendor to offer this capability. The entire QNAP Turbo NAS lineup features "hardened" data security architecture that makes QNAP a leading choice of US defense contractors and enterprise datacenters.

Thecus Announces World's First Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials NAS

Thecus Technology Corp. today announces another world first: Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials is now available for NAS users. Available this October, the 2-bay W2000, 4-bay W4000, and the 5-bay W5000 offer a host of benefits to SMB users, including data protection, integrated cloud services, and secure remote access.

"Thecus NAS provide users with a complete solution to their storage needs. With the additions to the W Series, Thecus is able to offer a more diversified product to its customers. Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials is an ideal pairing with Thecus NAS and will equip small businesses with a powerful and trusted storage solution," said Florence Shih, CEO at Thecus Technology Corp.

HP Unveils Five New Innovative and Stylish Consumer Products for Holiday

HP today announced a new lineup of sleek consumer PCs including, two new powerful HP ENVY x2 detachable PCs designed to deliver a notebook experience for productivity, but quickly transform to a tablet for entertainment and apps; the ultra-portable HP Pavilion x2 detachable PC designed for customers who want to simplify their life with a single device that transforms from tablet to laptop; and two new colorful HP Chromebooks that bring the power of the Chrome OS for a fast, simple, protected internet experience.

"Customers have told us they want devices that offer flexibility and performance while reflecting their personal sense of style," said Mike Nash, vice president, Product Management, Consumer Personal Systems, HP. "The products we are announcing today include innovative designs, vibrant color options, choice of operating system and computing power to enable the way that customers communicate, play and live."

Microsoft to Release Nine Security Updates Next Week

With only a few more days until this month's Patch Tuesday Micrsosoft took to the web to announce that it plans to roll out no less than nine updates - two rated 'Critical' and seven rated 'Important'. The upcoming patches address vulnerabilities found in Windows, Office, Microsoft Server Software, SQL Server, .NET, and Internet Explorer.

The August updates are scheduled to be made available this Tuesday, August 12, at 10 AM PDT. For more info check out the advance notification published here.

Microsoft to Revamp Activation System with Windows 9

Microsoft is expected to introduce a radical new software activation system with its next major release of Windows, in a bid to stem piracy. According to BetaNews, citing a Russian source with a reasonably good track-record in leaking stuff out of Redmond, the company is planning to do away with software keys, 16-character alphanumeric passwords unique to each copy of the software, which let you prove the validity of your purchase, and unlock the software. The next Windows will use a system in which having a Microsoft Store account - which isn't necessarily the same as a Microsoft Account - is mandatory, and acquiring machine-specific images of the Windows installation disc from the store.

The way we understand it, it works like this. After paying for your license while logged into the Microsoft Store, you're made to download a generic install disc image. After its installation, your machine's details (usually just motherboard-related details) are logged with Microsoft, and the software stays activated on your machine. When you need to install your OS on another machine, you untie your current machine from your licence online, and install your software on the new machine. The software will stop working on the older machine, ensuring that only one single-user license is running on a machine at a given time. The concept can be suitably adapted for 3-user and 5-user family licenses.

Microsoft To Roll Out Six Security Updates Next Week

Microsoft Corp. has just announced its plans for this month's Patch Tuesday and they include the release of six updates - two rated 'Critical', three rated 'Important' and one rated 'Moderate'. The upcoming updates target vulnerabilities found in Windows operating systems, in Internet Explorer and in Microsoft Server Software.

The six patches will be made available this coming Tuesday, July 8, 2014, at about 10:00 am PDT. The bulletin advance notification for this month's releases can be found here.

Microsoft To Roll Out Seven Security Updates Next Week

The first Patch Tuesday of Summer '14 is coming up and it will see Microsoft release seven updates - two bearing a 'Critical' rating and five rated 'Important'. The incoming patches target vulnerabilities found in Windows (Vista, 7, 8/8.1, Server 2003, Server 2008 and Server 2012), Internet Explorer (6 to 11), Office (2007, 2010) and Lync (2010, 2013).

Microsoft's software updates will be made available Tuesday, June 10th at about 10:00 AM PDT. The Advance Notification for this month's patches can be found here.

Microsoft Readies Eight Patches For Next Week

May's Patch Tuesday is coming up and Microsoft is ready for it with eight new updates, two of which are rated 'Critical' while the rest are rated 'Important'. The patches will address vulnerabilities found in Windows (Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, RT, Server 2003, Server 2008 and Server 2012), Office (2007, 2010, 2013), .NET Framework and Internet Explorer.

The eight patches are set to be released next Tuesday, May 13th, at about 10:00 AM PDT, For a bit more info check out the Advance Notification published here.

Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth Supports AMD Mantle

Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth, a turn-based strategy game based in the interstellar age, in which you travel to and colonize habitable planets by realpolitik, was announced last weekend, with support for AMD's Mantle API, besides DirectX 11. Mantle should make the game increasingly playable on AMD "Kaveri" APUs with eye-candy cranked up, and at reasonable mainstream resolutions such as 1080p. Mantle reduces the CPU's role in graphics processing, and should benefit APUs. Developer Firaxis announced the game for three PC platforms, Windows, OS X, and Linux (over Steam). Don't add it to your summer bucket-list just yet. It's slated for this fall.
A trailer video follows.

Four Microsoft Security Updates Coming Next Week

This month's Patch Tuesday (the last one for Windows XP and Office 2003) will see Microsoft roll out four fresh security updates, two rated Critical and two rated Important, targeting remote code execution vulnerabilities found in Windows, Office and Internet Explorer. One of the updates is set to resolve a Word bug that was made public last week (on March 24th) and is known to have been exploited in 'limited, targeted attacks directed at Microsoft Word 2010'.

The April patches will be made available next week on April 8th, at about 10:00 a.m. PDT. For a bit more info check out the Advance Notification published here.

Microsoft Showcases Latest Updates to Windows

Wednesday at Build 2014, Microsoft Corp.'s developer conference, the company announced several advances to Windows including Windows Phone 8.1, the availability of Windows 8.1 Update, a converged developer platform, and a $0 royalty licensing program for OEM and ODM partners developing smartphones and tablets with screens under nine inches.

Microsoft detailed new developer opportunities on the Windows platform with a common platform across devices, a single toolset, a common infrastructure across the Windows and Windows Phone stores, and a clear commitment to interoperability. The announcements highlight Microsoft's continued commitment to its partners and the developer community by maximizing opportunities across the broadest range of devices and services. Also as a part of the conference, Nokia announced three new Lumia smartphones for Windows Phone 8.1, including the flagship Lumia 930, the affordable Lumia 635 and the first dual-SIM Lumia 630.

Valve Runs a Direct3D to OpenGL Translation Layer

Digging through the source code tree of Dota 2, developers discovered Valve's latest creation, ToGL. Simply put, it's a Direct3D to OpenGL translation layer, which works to reduce duplication of effort in developing games for multiple platforms (such as Windows, Linux, and OS X). The software can translate Direct3D calls to their OpenGL analogues. So far, it can translate only certain kinds of calls within the Direct3D 9.0c API, which should fit Valve's needs adequately. It features a bytecode-level HLSL to GLSL shader language translator. It features only a limited shader model 3.0 support. ToGL is currently being provided by Valve as-is on GitHub, and is unsupported. Developers are free to incorporate it into their projects, and make modifications to it.

Microsoft Readies Five Patches for Next Week

This coming Tuesday Redmond-based Microsoft Corp. is planning to make available five fresh security updates - two with a 'Critical' rating and three tagged 'Important'. The incoming parches are set to address bugs found in Windows, Internet Explorer and Silverlight.

One of the Critical updates will fix an Internet Explorer issue that has already been acknowledged and was exploited in a 'limited number of attacks'. Additional information about Tuesday's releases can be found in the Security Bulletin Advance Notification published here.

AMD and BlueStacks to Bring New Dual-OS Android Solution to Retail

AMD today at Mobile World Congress announced the retail availability of a new BlueStacks dual-OS Android solution, optimized for AMD APUs, with expected consumer availability in the second half of 2014. The AMD and BlueStacks joint solution brings the complete Google Android OS experience to select Microsoft Windows-based AMD-based tablets, 2-in-1s, notebooks and desktops in select retail stores. The availability in retail stores of the virtualized Android solution, unveiled at CES earlier this year, will allow consumers to easily access both Windows and Android environments, side-by-side, on select AMD-based PCs. The BlueStacks solution will first be made available with several key retail partners across EMEA later this year, including Elkjop Group.

"The ability to span two OS ecosystems gives end-users access to both Windows and Android apps, but the key is providing for the seamless integration of entertainment and productivity across those ecosystems," said Steve Belt, corporate vice president, Product Management, at AMD. "Introducing our solution in retail puts AMD and BlueStacks in a unique position to offer in-store customers the option to include access to this great experience at the time of purchase of their new systems."
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