Microsoft’s week: Cortana for Android, Windows 10 updates and Lumia leaks

Microsoft continued its promised post-launch support for Windows 10 with another Windows Insider Preview Build for testers. The operating system’s digital assistant, Cortana, was also brought to Android devices in beta form.

Elsewhere, Apple extended an olive branch by allowing Microsoft Edge users to livestream the upcoming iPhone event, and Microsoft previewed its SharePoint Server 2016 software while enhancing its own data centres with some network interface controller (NIC) tech.

Windows 10 Build 10532 released to Insiders

Windows 10 Start menu

Members of the Windows Insider programme got another taste of future updates with Windows 10 Build 10532, released on the programme’s Fast Ring earlier this week.

The build introduces a couple of new features: a series of redesigned context menus that make better use of Windows 10’s light/dark theme; and the ability to share feedback via email, Twitter and OneNote directly from the Feedback charm.

Microsoft upgrades its data centres with custom NIC hardware

Data centre racks

Microsoft has begun deploying bespoke NIC hardware in its data centres in an attempt to offload software-defined networking processes from the server chips and free up processing power for its Azure cloud services.

Azure SmartNIC, as the hardware is named, uses Field Programmable Gate Array logic that allows network adapters to be reprogrammed to meet specific needs.

Windows 10 users allowed to stream Apple’s iPhone announcement

iPhone 7 invite 9 September

Apple confirmed that it will permit Windows 10 users to watch the official livestream of the iPhone announcement event on 9 September. This will be the first time that Windows users will not need to resort to dubious, unofficial streams of an iPhone event, although they will be able to watch only in the Microsoft Edge browser. This is because Edge supports the same HTTP Live Streaming technology as Apple’s QuickTime and Safari products.

Apple is expected to reveal two new iPhones, most likely an iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus or an iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

New Lumia devices allegedly leak

Microsoft Lumia 950 XL with Windows 10 Mobile

Renders supposedly showing the long-rumoured Microsoft Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL were posted on Twitter by Evan ‘Evleaks’ Blass. They appear to be running Windows 10 Mobile, the yet to be released smartphone edition of Microsoft’s latest OS.

Codenamed Talkman and Cityman respectively, the smartphones are likely to be officially revealed at a Microsoft event in October.

Microsoft launches Cortana for Android beta

Microsoft Cortana

In a surprise move, Microsoft has made a beta version of the Cortana digital assistant available on Android devices. The port is slightly stripped down, lacking the ‘Hey Cortana’ voice action feature as well as the ability to open apps or adjust settings.

Susan Hendrich, Microsoft’s principal programme manager lead, also revealed that Cortana will eventually come to iOS, although a launch date has yet to be announced.

Microsoft’s SharePoint Server 2016 previewed

signage-microsoft

A preview release of the upcoming SharePoint Server 2016 was released on the Microsoft Download Centre, along with a preview of a cloud hybrid search tool for the new software.

Features include provisioning capabilities, better optimisation for mobile and touchscreen devices, improved large file support and enhanced compliance tools to help prevent data loss.

Windows 10 now running on 75 million machines

Windows 10 arrives on 29 July

Windows 10 has been installed on over 75 million devices since launching last month, according to Yusuf Medhi, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group.

Medhi also announced that more than 90,000 unique PC or tablet models are now running Windows 10, and that the Cortana digital assistant has been asked 500,000 times to tell a joke.

Cortana faces competition from Facebook M

Facebook M

Microsoft found success in bringing Cortana to Windows 10, but must now compete with another digital assistant: Facebook M, which was unveiled this week.

Unlike Cortana or Apple’s Siri, M is designed to complete tasks on the user’s behalf. David Marcus, vice president of messaging products at Facebook, claimed that M can “purchase items, get gifts delivered to your loved ones, book restaurants, travel arrangements, appointments and way more”.

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28 August 2015 | 3:15 pm – Source: v3.co.uk

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