Lenovo unveils new 10-inch Windows 10 tablet and new series of ThinkPad laptops

Lenovo today announced a new tablet and refreshed its series of ThinkPad laptops and convertibles ahead of CES 2018.

The new tablet – Tablet 10, as the name suggests, has a 10-inch display with pen support and comes with an integrated pen which can be recharged easily.

Lenovo Tablet 10 Features

Tablet 10 is powered by the Intel Celeron N series processor and runs Windows 10 and is mainly targeted to business or enterprise customers as it comes with a fingerprint scanner for safe and easy authentication and a discrete Trusted Platform Module Technology for business-class protection and up to 9 hours of battery life. The tablet comes with a detachable keyboard base that allows it to be used as a laptop. Support for Wifi is also present here.

Lenovo Tablet 10 Release Date and Price

For now, no pricing details are available for the tablet but would go on sale from this month according to Lenovo.

Lenovo’s new series of ThinkPad laptops

Lenovo ThinkPad

Coming to laptops and convertibles, Lenovo upgraded the processors to 8th generation Kaby lake R processors and added USB-C charging.

X280 and X380 Yoga is the new addition to the ThinkPad X series. Lenovo claims X280 to be lighter than its predecessor and X380 Yoga comes with support for a pen, includes Rapid Charge Technology and IR scanner for Windows Hello.

Available from this month, X280 goes on sale for $999 and X380 Yoga for $1,459.

The new addition to the T series includes T480s, T480 and T580. They come with both IR and fingerprint scanner for Windows Hello and a cover for the webcam. All devices come with a Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU unit. Extended battery options can offer 27 hours of battery life.

Available from this month, T480 goes on sale for $989, T480s for $1,269 and T580 for $1,079.

The new addition to the L series includes L380 Yoga, L380, L480, and L580. The devices are available in 13.3, 14 and 15-inch FullHD display with an option for AMD Radeon 530 GPU for the L480 and L580. The devices have support for Rapid Charge Technology.

Available from this month, L380 Yoga goes on sale for $1,049, the L380 for $609, the L480 for $779, and the L580 for $769.

Microsoft to bring Windows Defender Application Guard to Windows 10

Microsoft yesterday released a new Windows 10 Build 17063 to the Windows Insiders and the update introduced many new features, including Windows Defender Application Guard for the operating system. Since Microsoft wants to make Windows 10 the most secure operating system, with the upcoming Redstone 4 update, Microsoft will bring Windows Defender Application Guard to Windows 10.

While Windows Defender Application Gaurd (WDAG) is an enterprise-exclusive feature, it is also making its way to Windows 10 Pro SKU. This new security feature is already available for the Fast Ring Insiders, WDAG is now expected to ship with the next OS update which is set to arrive in the spring of 2018.

Microsoft claims that this technology would help Edge become the world’s most secure browser. Windows Defender Application Guard for Windows 10 will basically protect your machine against the malware using Hyper-V virtualization technology.

“Windows Defender Application Guard provides unprecedented protection against targeted threats using Microsoft’s industry leading Hyper-V virtualization technology. Check out this recent RSA talk on Window Defender Application Guard if you’d like to understand this feature in some more detail,” Microsoft explains in a blog post.

Earlier this year, Microsoft detailed this new technology in a presentation. Chas Jeffries, Lead Program Manager, Windows Enterprise and Security, at Microsoft Ignite provided an in-depth look at Windows Defender Application Gaurd, you can watch the presentation here

 

 

news digest: PostgreSQL 10 released, Red Hat Container-Native Storage 3.6, and ReactOS moves to GitHub

The open source database PostgreSQL has announced the release of their latest version, PostgreSQL 10. It includes the ability to distribute data across many nodes, also known as a divide and conquer strategy. Other features include logical replication, declarative table partitioning, improved query parallelism, quorum commit for synchronous replication, and SCRAM-SHA-256 authentication.

Logical replication will enable users to send modifications to different databases. The new release improves upon the existing table partitioning by providing a new syntax, which allows users to create and maintain range and list partitioned tables. The update also provides better queries by enabling more parts of the query execution to be run in parallel. The quorum commit allows for flexibility in how the primary database gets confirmation that changes were successfully written to replica databases. And the SCRAM-SHA-256 authentication is designed to provide a more secure way of authentication than what was previously in place.

Red Hat announces Red Hat Container-Native Storage 3.6
Red Hat has announced the release of Red Hat Container-Native Storage 3.6, which will be available later this month. Container-Native Storage integrates with their OpenShift Container Platform, the latest version of which was released in August. New features include block storage, support for core infrastructure elements of Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, and the ability to have three times as many applications and microservices deployed on a single cluster, according to the company.

“As enterprises deploy containers, many see a need for storage solutions designed specifically for these types of systems,” said Ranga Rangachari, vice president and general manager of Storage at Red Hat. “Red Hat Container-Native Storage, optimized for multi/hybrid cloud deployments with Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, offers that.”

Microsoft Edge to be released on iOS and Android
Microsoft has announced that they will be bringing Microsoft Edge to iOS and Android devices. Currently, it is available in iOS to limited number of users as a part of Apple’s TestFlight system. It will be available soon as part of the company’s Play Store Early Access. Microsoft Edge is built on the EdgeHTML platform, but the iOS version will be built using the WebKit engine and the Android version will be built using the Blink rendering engine from Chromium. The mobile version will be able to sync with the desktop version so that users can open pages on their phone and then pick up where they left off on their computer.

“A web platform is a complex piece of technology that in many respects duplicates aspects of an entire operating system in a single app,” Sean Lyndersay, principal program manager lead for Microsoft Edge, wrote in a post. “Taken in that light, it should then not be a surprise that we have chosen to adopt the core web platform technologies on each of the app platforms we are announcing today.”

ReactOS moves to decentralized Git repository
The ReactOS source code has been migrated to a Git repository. According to the company, the team has been wanting to move to a decentralized repository for years, but were unable to do so until now. They are still in the process of rewriting development documentation that reflects changes after the Git migration. “We expect that this move greatly improves the way we collaborate on ReactOS development and reduces the barriers for newcomers,” said Colin Finck in a blog post.

Microsoft Azure confidential computing keeps data in use secret

Microsoft has announced a new Azure (cloud) data security capability: confidential computing.

Who’s it for?

The capability allows companies to use the cloud even if they don’t completely trust the cloud service provider and administrators.

Confidential computing is aimed at companies that need to safeguard very sensitive information (user data or company data/intellectual property), but still need to regularly analyze and use it.

This can include, for example, financial companies who want to keep personal portfolio data and wealth management strategies secret, or healthcare organizations that want to collaborate but still need to keep their private patient data confidential.

“Confidential computing ensures that when data is ‘in the clear,’ which is required for efficient processing, the data is protected inside a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE – also known as an enclave),” Mark Russinovich, CTO at Microsoft Azure, explained.

OPIS

“TEEs ensure there is no way to view data or the operations inside from the outside, even with a debugger. They even ensure that only authorized code is permitted to access data. If the code is altered or tampered, the operations are denied and the environment disabled. The TEE enforces these protections throughout the execution of code within it.”

The cornerstones for Azure confidential computing

The hardware and software technologies Azure confidential computing makes use of have been developed by Intel and Microsoft in the last four years or so. They include:

Currently on offer

For the moment, customers can try out Azure confidential computing through the company’s Early Access program. Also, only two TEEs are currently supported.

“Virtual Secure Mode (VSM) is a software-based TEE that’s implemented by Hyper-V in Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016. Hyper-V prevents administrator code running on the computer or server, as well as local administrators and cloud service administrators from viewing the contents of the VSM enclave or modifying its execution,” Russinovich explained.

“We’re also offering hardware-based Intel SGX TEE with the first SGX-capable servers in the public cloud. Customers that want their trust model to not include Azure or Microsoft at all can leverage SGX TEEs. We’re working with Intel and other hardware and software partners to develop additional TEEs and will support them as they become available.”

Microsoft won’t force Windows downloads on users, Go 1.9, and Project Brainwave

According to a press release on the Baden-Würtenberg consumer rights center website, Microsoft will no longer download operating system files to users’ computers without their permission.

Germany’s consumer rights center had a lengthy battle with Microsoft, since the company’s approach to the new Windows 10 operating system would force users to six gigabytes of installation files on the computer, whether the user agreed to the download or not. Microsoft finally made an announcement to avoid the continuation of legal action. The consumer rights center hoped that the resolution would come sooner, but according to reports, Microsoft’s decision could have a bearing on how the company acts in other countries.

“We would have wished for an earlier introduction, but the levy is a success for more consumer rights in the digital world,” says Cornelia Tausch, CEO of the consumer center in Baden-Württemberg. ​​”We assume that Microsoft and other software producers will pay closer attention to which process is negligible and which is not Gigabyte certainly does not belong to it.”

Go 1.9 is released
Google’s open-source Go project has been updated to version 1.9, bringing changes to the language, standard library, runtime, and tooling.

“Most of the engineering effort put into this release went to improvements of the runtime and tooling, which makes for a less exciting announcement, but nonetheless a great release,” the Go team said in the announcement on their development blog.

“The most important change to the language is the introduction of type aliases: a feature created to support gradual code repair,” the post reads.

In addition, the Go compiler has been sped up by compiling functions in a package concurrently.

MIT wants to bring rapid-prototype robotics to the masses
In “Interactive robogami: An end-to-end system for design of robots with ground locomotion,” published in The International Journal of Robotic Research, a team of researchers at MIT have outlined their origami-inspired system for bringing rapid fabrication of robots.

Interactive Robogami is a tool that lets users design ground robots which can be fabricated as flat sheets and then folded into 3D components.

“Using Interactive Robogami, designers can compose new robot designs from a database of print-and-fold parts,” the team writes in the abstract. “The designs are tested for the users’ functional specifications via simulation and fabricated on user satisfaction.”

According to their research, the tool has proven intuitive with inexperienced designers, and some of their proof-of-concept designs have had parts 3D printed and cut from sheet metal.

Microsoft’s Project Brainwave for real-time AI
Microsoft unveiled a new deep learning acceleration platform called Project Brainwave, which will be a major leap forward for performance and flexibility for cloud-based serving of deep learning models, according to Doug Burger, distinguished engineer at Microsoft, in a blog post.

Project Brainwave is built with three layers: A high-performance, distributed system architecture; a hardware DNN engine synthesized onto FPGAs; an a compiler and runtime for low-friction deployment of trained models, according to Burger.

“In the near future, we’ll detail when our Azure customers will be able to run their most complex deep learning models at record-setting performance,” writes Burger. “With the Project Brainwave system incorporated at scale and available to our customers, Microsoft Azure will have industry-leading capabilities for real-time AI.”

Windows 10: Microsoft promises never to repeat upgrade campaign’s ‘forced downloads’

Microsoft has promised it will never again download files onto Windows PCs without permission, after being challenged over its Windows 10 upgrade push.

During the one-year period when Windows 7 and 8 users could upgrade to Windows 10 for free, Microsoft downloaded gigabytes of data to eligible PCs in anticipation of the upgrade.

In early 2016, a consumer rights body in the German state of Baden-Württemberg took Microsoft to court over the downloading of these files, on the grounds that up to 6GB of files were being added to PCs without the consent of owners.

After more than a year of legal hearings, Microsoft’s German subsidiary has now agreed the company will not download files to Windows users’ PCs without permission.

The German group welcomed the change but said it was unacceptable it had taken so long to reach this resolution.

“We would have wished for an earlier backdown, but [Microsoft’s statement] is a success for more consumer rights in the digital world,” said Cornelia Tausch, CEO of the Consumer Center in Baden-Württemberg.

In a statement, Microsoft said it is pleased the matter is resolved and highlighted recently added Windows 10 features that offer users greater control over when updates are installed. But it is unclear how the declaration by Microsoft’s German subsidiary will affect the way the wider company handles user consent in practice. The free upgrade period for Windows 10 ended in July last year, and there are ways to nominally get consent for actions that the bulk of users are unaware of, for example, making options opt-out rather than opt-in.

It is not the first time Microsoft has distanced itself from the aggressive tactics it used to push Windows 7 and 8 users to upgrade to Windows 10. At the end of last year, Microsoft’s chief marketing officer Chris Capossela admitted the company had gone too far when changes it made to the Get Windows 10 user prompt made it easier for Windows 7 and 8 users to inadvertently agree to the upgrade.

Microsoft also faces a multi-million dollar, class-action lawsuit from US citizens who claim they lost data or suffered ‘damage to software or hardware’ after upgrading to Windows 10, some of whom, the suit claims, did so “inadvertently”.

This recent suit followed a ruling by a US small claims court last year that Microsoft should pay $10,000 to Teri Goldstein, a travel agent based in Sausalito, California, who said an unwanted Windows 10 upgrade made her PC unstable.

Microsoft set itself ambitious targets for Windows 10 adoption. When Windows 10 launched in July 2015, the firm predicted it would be installed on one billion devices within two to three years.

That timeframe for Microsoft to hit its target was dropped last year, when Microsoft acknowledged it would take longer than expected, due largely to its decision to reduce its focus on making Windows 10 smartphones amid lackluster sales. By May this year, the OS was installed on half that original target, about 500 million devices, with daily growth slowing.

The Windows 10’s Continuum feature turns your phone into a PC. It lets you connect your phone to a monitor and turn the monitor into a PC with help of a mouse and keyboard. Continuum is one of the best features in Windows 10 Mobile, but not all apps are currently supporting Continuum.

The popular movies & TV shows streaming service, Netflix doesn’t support Continuum yet. With the latest preview builds for Windows 10 Mobile, Netflix now finally works in Microsoft Edge on Windows 10 Mobile.

Earlier the users were unable to play content on Netflix’s official website in Microsoft Edge. Microsoft has finally fixed the bug and you can now watch Netflix in Microsoft Edge on your Windows Phone.

As Microsoft Edge finally supports Netflix, you can use Windows 10 Mobile Continuum to stream Netflix on the monitor. Furthermore, you can now also watch Amazon Prime videos in Microsoft Edge on Windows 10 Mobile.

 

Surface Phone release date has been postponed once again. The Surface Phone has been rumoured for so long now and a new report suggests that Surface Phone will now be released even later. Microsoft’s new version of Windows 10 codenamed ‘Andromeda‘ has been rumoured to power the Surface Phone.

A new leaked internal Microsoft memo revealed the unexpected changes in the company’s plan. Expensive devices like Surface Book have reliability issues, Microsoft understood that this is due to the Skylake processor. The assumption was false as Lenovo told Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella that they have had no issues with the Skylake processor.

“It’s important for us to always learn more from our customers and how they view their ownership journey with our products. Feedback like this [from Consumer Reports] stings, but pushes us to obsess more about our customers,” the internal memo reads.

To counter Intel’s dominance, Microsoft also partnered with AMD for Windows 10 on ARM but the product is still not ready. Integrated LTE capabilities and great battery life are the key features of an ARM-powered device.

Microsoft understood that something is wrong with their own software, as a result the Surface Phone release date has been postponed once again. The company also decided to push the release date of Surface Hub to 2019. It is worth noting that a recent report from an unknown source also confirmed that Surface Phone will probably arrive in late 2018 or 2019.

The Redmond giant is also planning to launch a new mobile device in 2017, apparently not the Surface Phone. A new patent also revealed that Surface Phone could be a foldable mobile device with a metallic body.

After spending months in beta phase, Windows Subsystem For Linux (WSL) has finally grown into a complete Windows 10 feature.

While the Windows 10 Insiders can grab this feature by getting the Build 16251, other users need to wait for the Fall Creators Update. After this change, Windows users can use regular feedback channels to submit their reports.

With Windows Subsystem For Linux (WSL), Microsoft allowed Windows developers to use Linux tools on Windows 10 itself. Just recently, more Linux distros were added to WSL and it became easier to install Linux on Windows 10 via Windows Store. Till now, this feature was in beta phase.

With the release of the Insider Build 1625, which can be grabbed by the Fast Ring Insiders, Windows Subsystem For Linux is out of beta. The early adopters will notice that WSL is no longer marked as a beta feature in this release.

Just in case you’re a conservative Windows 10 user who doesn’t trust Microsoft with its Preview builds, you’ll be able to witness this change in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update due in Fall 2017.

ubuntu suse on windows 10

 

Microsoft added that the skeptical users will now be able to use WSL as a day-to-day developer tool to create and test apps on Windows 10.

Are there some new features in WSL?

Not much. You’ll notice changes like the ability to file issues related to WSL via normal Windows 10 feedback channel. You can also use Windows 10 Feedback Hub to register your findings.

Don’t forget to share your experiences.

Microsoft had introduced their Windows 10 operating system update as the “Windows as a service” and hence making it their last Windows OS.

We had earlier reported that Microsoft will now follow a “Semi Annual” release for the updates to Windows 10 and Office 365. Microsoft had posted a video to explain each information on their servicing model.

Windows 10 Redstone 4 Release Date

Surprisingly, Microsoft had put up the release version of the upcoming Windows 10 OS updates in the video. The following image from the video shows that Redstone 4 and Redstone 5 which are not named currently will release in March 2018 (version 1803) and September 2018 (version 1809). The timing of the release is similar to how they had released the Creators Update and would release the Fall Creators Update.

Microsoft had described that they have simplified their servicing model with major feature updates releasing every six months and monthly Cumulative updates.

Microsoft said this model makes it easy for everyone to expect what is coming and when the update will be available by preparing them for a major Windows 10 update and also discontinue support for older versions.

It’s good to know as a consumer when Microsoft will release the upcoming version of their feature updates.