31772a6dd13fa30012a6de614c7ac0fc9734955e5797a33812 Money And Knowledge: June 2016

Microsoft’s Windows 10 Anniversary Update will arrive August 2nd

Microsoft’s Windows 10

Microsoft today announced that the Windows 10 Anniversary Update will launch on August 2. This is one of the biggest Windows 10 updates yet and will include new features for both consumers and enterprises.

As Microsoft also announced today, Windows 10 now runs on 350 million devices and users have spent 135 billion hours using it so far. That’s up from the 300 million devices running Windows 10 the company announced in May.
Picking August 2nd as the  launch date is a bit of an odd choice, though, given that Microsoft’s free update offer, which allows most current Windows users to update to Windows 10 for free, expires just a few days earlier on July 29th and Microsoft doesn’t seem to have any intention to extend this offer beyond this date. July 29th also marks the one-year anniversary of Windows 10 that gives the update its name.
As Windows senior director Lisa Gurry told me, the company doesn’t want to roll out a major update on the 29th because it’s a Friday and also because the Windows team wanted some extra time to finish the product. She also noted that the expiration date of the offer was communicated for a year now, so Microsoft couldn’t change it anymore. I’m not sure I buy all of that, but the date is now set.
On the enterprise side, the update will include a number of new security features, including advanced threat protection in Windows Defender and the Windows Information Protection Service for ensuring that enterprise data remains secure.

Most of the new features, however, are geared toward consumers. Cortana, for example, will now be able to answer to queries without you having to log in to your computer and can now help you recall your frequent flier number, while Windows Ink allows you to easily write notes, draw sketches, and add sticky notes to documents and web sites (with the help of the updated Edge browser, which is now also more energy efficient than before and offers support for a limited number of third-party extensions).
Gurry also noted that the update includes a number of new features for schools that want to adopt Windows 10 laptops (instead of Chromebooks or iPads, for example). It’s now easier to set up a shared cart of devices, for example, or to configure the laptop for a test-taking session (with copy-and-paste disabled, for example).
Xbox One users will also see some updates to their console. Maybe the most noticeable will be the addition of Cortana to the system. In addition, Microsoft’s Xbox Anywhere program will allow gamers to buy games once and then play them on Xbox One and on their PCs. These games will be available in the new unified Windows Store on Xbox and PC.


Amazon offering Prime members $50 off two newly-released Android phones, but there’s a catch …

If you’re an Amazon Prime member in the market for a low-cost unlocked Android phone, the company is offering 50% off the full retail price of two models. The budget BLU R1 HD, normally $99.99, is available for $49.99, while the 4th-gen version of the popular Moto G is down from $199.99 to $149.99.

Each phone is offered unlocked, with no commitment to a contract, giving Prime members the flexibility to switch between wireless carriers and service options to best fit their needs. The BLU R1 HD and Moto G feature Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Google Mobile Services, including Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, and Google Play … 

For a budget phone, the BLU R1 HD has a decent-looking spec, including a 5-inch HD Gorilla Glass display and an aluminum body. 

Featuring a 1.3 GHz quad-core processor, fast 4G LTE speed, 8MP rear-facing camera, 5MP selfie camera with LED flash, 1 GB RAM and 8 GB of internal – with microSD card support for up to 64 GB of additional storage. The BLU R1 HD is compatible with GSM carriers, including AT&T and T-Mobile.

The Moto G has been one of the more popular mid-range smartphones, with a spec boost for the latest iteration. It is due for its U.S. release in a couple of weeks.

The fourth-generation Moto G is the latest premium phone from Motorola and the thinnest Moto G yet. Compatible with all major CDMA and GSM carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. It boasts a 5.5” full HD display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 chipset with an octa-core processor at up to 1.5 GHz, 2 GB RAM, and 4G LTE speeds. In addition, the Moto G features a 13MP camera with dual LED flash, and a 3000 mAh battery with TurboPower charging giving you up to 6 hours of power in just 15 minutes of charging. Available with 16 GB or 32 GB of internal storage, plus microSD card support for up to 128 GB of additional storage.

There is, however, a catch: they will display lockscreen ads, much like some Kindles. They also have the Amazon apps pre-installed.
Both phones are available for pre-order starting today at www.amazon.com/prime-exclusive-phones. Amazon Prime costs $10.99/month with a 30-day free trial, so if you’re not a member but plan to buy one of these handsets, you may want to grab a free trial.


Slack for Android picks up full Android Wear support in latest update

Slack is quickly taking over messaging for businesses around the work, but their Android application isn’t exactly amazing, especially when it comes to feature support. Thankfully in their latest update, Slack has not only fixed a few outstanding issues, but also added full support for Android Wear.

Just like other messaging apps on the platform, Slack will give you the ability to reply by voice as well as view previous messages within a thread. Pretty simple stuff, but it’s great to finally have this functionality available.
Aside from that, Slack 2.12.0 updates the method in which notifications are handled and also improves the in-app browser for those who use it. There are also a dozen bugs fixes which are listed and detailed on Slack’s official changelog. The update is rolling out now via Google Play.

Slack 2.13.0 for Android – Release Notes

  • Updated the way notifications are handled and displayed, to make them better.

  • Support for Android Wear (Reply to notifications and view previous messages to a notification by swiping right)

  • When using the in-app browser we’ve added more options to make it easier to share – in Slack, and out.

Chrome OS will finally get a storage manager in an upcoming update

Chrome OS has always been pretty bare bones, but as an avid user and fan of the OS, even I have to admit it’s missing features it really shouldn’t be. With the limited storage available on most Chromebooks, you’d think a storage manager would be available, but you would be wrong. Thankfully, that will be changing very soon.
Fran├žois Beaufort, a member of the Chrome OS team at Google recently revealed over on Google+ that the next update to Chrome OS will pick up an easy to access storage manager within the settings menu.
The storage manager will break down your used and available storage separating stored files into offline Google Drive files and downloaded files. Presumably this will also have a section broken out for Android apps as that is set to arrive on more Chromebooks over the coming months.
For now the change is available via the Chrome OS dev channel by enabling it in flags. To do this easily, type chrome://flags/#enable-storage-manager into the URL bar and then restart your Chromebook. Once you’re back up, head over to Chrome settings and you’ll find the storage manager under the “device” section.