If you want Microsoft to let you through the velvet of rope of its Xbox Insider programs, be prepared to earn it—and up through four different tiers of beta access, to boot.
A Microsoft support post from Monday night confirms that there are now four rings of beta access within the Insider program, not one, and that applicants will literally be judged on how they participate to earn access. Only the most worthy will get to try out upgrades like the excellent Creators Update features for the Xbox One being rolled out now.
ARM tried to break into the PC market but had a disastrous outing starting with Linux-based smartbooks and then tablets with Windows RT.
But ARM is launching a comeback in PCs, and the third time could be a charm. ARM chips could emerge as a threat to Intel's x86 as super thin laptops get smartphone-like usability with cellular connectivity and long battery life.
The comeback for ARM is starting with Chromebooks, with more models hosting the chip architecture. Lenovo's new N23 Yoga Chromebook -- a 2-in-1 with an 11.6-screen -- has MediaTek's quad-core MT8173c chip, based on ARM.
Currently, Microsoft’s Office Lens is a specialized mobile application for pulling images of whiteboards and other visual information into Word documents and PowerPoint presentations. But Microsoft says it will soon become much more powerful.
Office Lens originally debuted on Windows Phone, but it moved to Android and the iPhone in April 2015. It was handy for classrooms and meetings because you could take a picture of a whiteboard, for example, and Office Lens automatically aligned the photo so it would look like a screenshot.
Office Lens was originally a standalone app, but as of this week it’s built right into the Word and PowerPoint apps within iOS and Android. That makes it marginally more useful, but what’s more exciting is what’s coming down the pipe: optical character recognition, or OCR. Soon when you snap a photo of a presentation, Word will extract the relevant details for easier integration into your notes.
Some Chromebooks released this year will be able to run Android apps from the Google Play Store. Lenovo has tuned its new N23 Yoga Chromebook 2-in-1 to effectively run Android mobile apps.
PC makers are taking a page from smartphones and tablets and adding touchscreens to Chromebooks. Many new models can be interchangeably used as laptops or tablets.
More Chromebooks are also getting ARM processors -- which dominate in smartphones and tablets -- to effectively run Android apps. Most Chromebooks today have Intel x86 chips, which dominate in PCs, but Android apps best run on ARM processors.
Lenovo, for the first time, is using an ARM chip in the N23 Yoga Chromebook 2-in-1, breaking its long-time reliance on x86 chips. The device has an 11.6-inch touchscreen, and it can be used as a tablet or laptop thanks to a hybrid design.
As promised last year, Google has released the fifth and final version of the Android Wear 2.0 Developer Preview, paving the way for the full release of the wearable OS and urging developers to get their apps ready for next month’s launch.
While the release mostly brings bug fixes and general performance improvements, there are a few standout features. Most notably, the new version brings iOS support for the new on-watch Play Store, letting iPhone users enjoy the same standalone application experience as Android users. Additionally, Android Wear apps running on watches paired with iOS devices will be able to perform phone “hand-off flows” for launching web pages on the linked iPhone. The new update also optimizes the available network bandwidth for standalone apps, in an effort to save battery life.