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26
Oct

Microsoft introduces Dolby Atmos support for Xbox One


While Microsoft’s Windows event put a lot of focus of 3D image capturing and designing, the company also made some announcements for the Xbox. Updates for the Microsoft’s games console include being able to host your own tournaments within games, that can be played with friends across Xbox and Windows 10 PCs.

  • Dolby Atmos explained: What is it and how do I get it?

But the last announcement of the Xbox section was perhaps the biggest and that’s that Dolby Atmos support will be coming to the Xbox One and Xbox One S with the Creators Update.

The Xbox One can play Blu-rays while the Xbox One S is the first games console with a built-in 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player. Both formats can have a Dolby Atmos soundtrack, but until now, neither console has been able to output to a Dolby Atmos AV receiver.

Dolby Atmos expands upon a regular 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound system by adding height channels to create a more enveloping sound field. You’ll need an Atmos speaker setup in your room to reap the full benefits, either by installing cinema speakers or by adding height channel speakers to your existing surround sound speakers. 

The update will mean both the Xbox One and Xbox One S can become more powerful home media devices, combining Blu-ray, 4K and Atmos into one package. Dolby Atmos support will arrive with the Windows 10 Creators Update in early 2017.

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26
Oct

Microsoft Surface Book 2016 goes super-powerful, increases battery life, amps graphics


Microsoft is revamping the Surface Book for 2016 – and this time it’s all about increased power and longevity.

Externally the new Surface Book looks no different to the original model. It’s the same 13.5-inch laptop design, with detachable screen and electronic “muscle wire” release mechanism.

  • Surface Book review: One for the books

But the 2016 Surface Book has been redesigned “from the outside in”, with an additional cooling fan and a pair of hyperbolic cooling fans at back of product to keep the temperature down. That means the latest Intel Core i7 processor on board can work harder without overheating.

Graphics have seen a boost too, doubling the power compared to the original model by using an Nvidia GTX 965M with 2GB RAM. That’s some serious power. Microsoft claims it’ll mean more than three times the power of the current MacBook Pro 13-inch.

Also inside is a new battery. So when Microsoft claims that the 2016 Surface Book offers a 30 per cent increase in longevity per charge, it’s not basing that on software enhancements – it’s down to increased capacity. The claim is 16-hours of life per charge.

Now the original Surface Book was said to last for 12-hours, but we were achieving around 8-hours from it during our testing. If that stands true for the new Surface Book then, well, it could last for a genuine 12-hours – which sounds great to us.

The 2016 Microsoft Surface Book will go on sale in November. It’s available for pre-order right now, priced at $2,399. International pricing and release dates aren’t confirmed just yet.

26
Oct

Microsoft announces Surface Studio, an all-in-one PC


Microsoft is live in New York City, where it is unveiling new Surface goods.

After introducing an updated Surface Book laptop, Microsoft announced an all-in-one Surface-branded PC called Surface Studio. This is a new product. It features a 28-inch PixelSense touchscreen with a 3:2 aspect ratio and 192 PPI. Microsoft described the LCD monitor as the thinnest ever built, at 12.5mm, and said it has 13.5 million pixels, which is 63 percent more than a 4K TV.

The display is TrueColor, Microsoft explained, because it wanted to “render the deepest reds possible”. Microsoft also built true scale into this thing, meaning 1 inch on the screen is 1 inch in real life, meaning there’s no more need to print-preview your documents. The Surface Studio has a forged aluminium enclosure and chrome arms, which Microsoft said “completely fade into the background”.

Surface Studio’s unprecedented versatility adjusts to every step of your creative process. #MicrosoftEvent pic.twitter.com/gaPUzofTNH

— Surface (@surface) October 26, 2016

You can push the top of the display and it folds down, almost flat, making the PC essentially a giant-sized Surface tablet. Other specs include 32GB of memory, a 2TB hybrid drive, and GeForce 980M. There’s also a built-in mic array, so you can talk to Cortana from across the room, and a HD camera at the top that supports Windows Hello. And only one cable comes out the back to power it all.

Because the Surface Studio has a zero-gravity hinge, with 80 parts and custom-tuned spring, there’s a 20-degree drafting angle. It’s 13-pound display, and it works with Surface Pen as well as a new Surface Dial accessory, which helps with blending and inking. It’s an all-new input tool that you can use to rewind what you just did in the Windows Ink workspace, just by spinning the dial.

Introducing Surface Dial, a new tool for the creative process.#MicrosoftEvent pic.twitter.com/qYwD09XCDE

— Surface (@surface) October 26, 2016

Of course, the Surface Studio has palm rejection. You can also use the Dial to zoom in on a Word document, and then you can grab the Surface Pen to annotate on the same document. Dial appears to trigger the software radial menu underneath when you place it on top of the Surface Studio. We’re imagining Microsoft will need app support to get Dial working throughout Surface Studio. 

Microsoft said you can use any Xbox controller with the Surface Studio, too. You can preorder Surface Studio starting 26 October for $2,999. It’s unclear if Dial is included, and if not, how much it’ll cost.

26
Oct

Dolby Atmos audio is coming to the Xbox One S


One of the gripes audiophiles have had with the Xbox One S is that despite the console’s Ultra HD Blu-ray drive, it doesn’t support next-gen audio standards. That changes sometime in the future with a free update adding Dolby Atmos playback (via bitstream). It’s not nearly as dramatic as Sony adding 3D Blu-ray playback to the PlayStation 3 via an update in 2010, but for audio geeks this is pretty big news. And this is why buying a game console is a better idea than a standalone Blu-ray player: constant updates adding new features, rather than something with a fixed feature set that may never be updated. Now it’s time to drop $1,500 on a soundbar that can help you make the most of that improved sound.
Click here to catch all the latest news from Microsoft’s big Surface event.

26
Oct

Microsoft built Twitch-like livestreaming into Windows 10


Broadcasting live gameplay to Twitch or Facebook isn’t easy. It means setting up special capture software and navigating a mire of complicated bandwidth settings. Microsoft is trying to fix that: The next version of Windows 10 is going to integrate game broadcasting directly into the Xbox App. The streaming experience promises not only to be easy, but also to almost eliminate the communication lag between viewers and broadcasters — but don’t expect to use it on Twitch. Microsoft’s game broadcasting tools seem to be designed specifically for Beam, the livestreaming service it acquired back in August.

If you’re not familiar, Beam was a start-up streaming service that let viewers more directly interact with a broadcaster’s game — allowing them to choose what weapon they might use next or select what weapon the player will have next. Microsoft bought the company earlier this year, and seems to be positioning it as the default streaming platform for Windows.

Starting with the Windows 10 creators update, gamers will be able to start a broadcast to Beam by pressing the Windows button and the ‘G’ key, giving them an instant streaming overlay with a preview of their stream and a community chat window. That’s great on its own, but the real selling point is Beam’s low-latency streams, which let players watch gameplay in near-realtime and gives broadcasters the ability to respond to chat messages almost instantly. Beam users are also be able to send audio commands that ask the broadcaster to pay attention to the chat window, or take a specific action in the game.

Microsoft hasn’t said if the Xbox App’s streaming tools will work with other streaming services, but it definitely seems like a simpler way to broadcast gameplay. Unfortunately, if you’re not a member of the Windows Insider program you’ll have to wait a while before trying it out — the streaming update doesn’t officially arrive until Windows 10’s Creators Update launches early next year.

Click here to catch all the latest news from Microsoft’s big Surface event.

26
Oct

Insult-em-up ‘Oh…Sir!’ arrives on PC, Mac and mobile


Few games are as difficult to categorise as Oh…Sir! Part beat-em-up, part smack talk generator, this weird indie title has you insulting your opponents into submission. Each match offers a central column with useful words and phrases — clothes, smells, relatives and more — which players take turns to pick from. String together a half-sensical slight and you’ll damage your opponent, whittling down their health and resetting the word repository. Each character has a weakness too — a trait or topic that they take particular offence to — which you can utilize for critical hits.

The game is now available on PC, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android for $1.99. I played an early build with my colleague Aaron Souppouris at Gamescom (see video below). It’s hilariously addictive, especially once you start eyeing your opponent’s argument-in-process. Instead of perfecting your own insult, it’s often better to “block” your rival by selecting the words they most badly need. If you’re a Twitch streamer, there’s also a mode that allows spectators to vote on their favorite put-downs and increase their damage. Sometimes, it would seem, the slur is mightier than the sword.

Source: Oh…Sir! (Steam)

26
Oct

Surface Studio is Microsoft’s first all-in-one desktop


As rumors suggested, Microsoft has unveiled a new all-in-one PC at its “Imagine What You’ll Do” event in New York City. The Surface Studio, as the device is called, is a gorgeous desktop that looks to rival Apple’s iMac. On stage, Surface Computing chief Panos Panay said the Studio is built for creators and professionals. For starters, it features a 28-inch, 12.5mm thin touchscreen that’s capable of pushing 13.5 million pixels — 63 percent more than a 4K display. Of course, Surface Studio is powered by Windows 10, and Panay says it’s designed to work seamlessly with the upcoming Creators Update.

One of the main highlights of Surface Studio is the quality of its PixelSense Display. It can switch between DCI-P3 color and RGB on the fly, something that’s going to appeal to graphic designers everywhere. Design-wise, Surface Studio is no iMac clone. There’s a “zero-gravity hinge” that lets you adjust the display down to a 20-degree angle, thanks to 80 custom-tuned springs which turns the display into a versatile piece.

The Surface Studio is available for pre-order today, starting at $3,000 for a configuration with a 6th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 1TB of internal storage, 8GB of RAM and a 2GB GPU. If that’s not enough, you can spend $500 extra for a model with a more powerful Core i7 CPU and 16GB RAM. Meanwhile, the top-of-the-line Surface Studio is $4,200 and sports a Core i7 processor, a 2TB hybrid drive, 32GB RAM and a 4GB NVIDIA GeForce 980M graphics card. Per Microsoft’s site, the Surface Studio is scheduled to ship on December 15th.

It’ll be interesting to see if Microsoft introduces smaller versions of the Studio later on, to compete with something such as the 21.5-inch iMac.

Naturally, Microsoft also revealed a companion wireless keyboard and mouse, in case you need more than that sleek touchscreen to get you through your tasks. Those of you who get a Surface Studio will get a Surface Pen included in the box, which isn’t surprising given that Microsoft is pegging this as a computer for creators. That’s the idea behind accessories like the Surface Dial, a wireless aluminum puck that lets you use gestures to manipulate functions on different Surface-compatible apps.

What’s more, gamers should know that, according to Major Nelson, Surface Studio has built-in support for the Xbox One Wireless controller protocol. That means you won’t need any dongles to connect your controller to the desktop. We’ll know more about the Surface Studio shortly, as we’ll be bringing you a hands-on from Microsoft’s big launch event in The Big Apple. Keep your eyes peeled.

Click here to catch all the latest news from Microsoft’s big Surface event.

26
Oct

T-Mobile leaks new Windows 10 phone ahead of announcement


T-Mobile accidentally leaked the newest Windows 10 phone, the Alcatel Idol 4S, ahead of the handset’s official announcement during Microsoft’s Surface event in New York City today. The handset was originally released in July as a low-cost competitor to the Galaxy VR, though, back then, the Idol was still running Android. T-Mobile is now offering the Idol 4S bundled with a VR headset as well as a 45-day trial subscription of Hulu, a 60-day trial subscription to Groove Music and a free copy of Halo Spartan. There’s no word yet on pricing or availability.

Microsoft announced a major push into VR at the event today. The company is partnering with Dell, Acer, HP, ASUS and Lenovo to bring a line of $300 headsets to market. It is also revamping the venerable MS Paint program to generate 3D doodles which can be viewed in both AR and VR.

Via: The Verge

Source: T-Mobile

26
Oct

Microsoft’s Surface Book i7 offers twice the graphics power


Were you worried that Microsoft would leave the Surface Book untouched during its Windows 10 event? You can set your mind at ease. Microsoft has unveiled the Surface Book i7, a refresh that focuses on pure power. The name is a giveaway as to the processor (surprise, there’s a Core i7), but you also get twice the graphics performance — the company added a second fan and otherwise redesigned the thermals to allow for faster GeForce GTX 965M video without cooking the inside. There’s also a larger battery that promises up to 16 hours of battery life in laptop mode (no word on the tablet mode yet).

The catch? Aside from the absence of major external revisions (not that this is necessarily a bad thing), this will be a pricey piece of hardware. The Surface Book i7 will cost $2,399 when it ships on November 10th. This is a flagship machine for people who want Microsoft’s definitive take on mobile computing, and are willing to pay whatever it takes to get it.

Click here to catch all the latest news from Microsoft’s big Surface event.

Source: Microsoft

26
Oct

Surface Dial is a physical scroll wheel for your digital art


During today’s big event, Microsoft introduce a new Surface-centric peripheral alongside the new all-in-one Studio desktop. The Surface Dial is a wireless, brushed aluminum puck that adds new gestures and functionality to a variety of Surface-friendly apps.

Onstage, Microsoft CVP Panos Panay demoed the Surface Dial on the Studio itself, showing off its ability to quickly flip through document pages like a scroll wheel, adjust screen brightness or music volume and rewind through pen strokes like a rotating Ctrl-Z button. But the dial also has the ability to work directly on-screen for additional functions based on the app and the context — like changing paint color without picking up your pen. While the dial can rotate smoothly with ten points of precision per degree, it also packs haptic feedback to give you the feeling of a real-life dial click. For Engadget’s first impressions on the Dial, check out our hands-on with the Studio.

Naturally, the Surface Dial works with Surface Studio, but it is also backwards compatible with the Surface Pro 3, Pro 4 and Surface Book. (Although the on-screen functions will only work with the Studio.) At launch there are 14 compatible apps including Sketchable, Spotify, Microsoft Office apps and the new MS Paint 3D. The Surface Dial is available for pre-order today for $99.99 and it ships on November 10th.

Click here to catch all the latest news from Microsoft’s big Surface event.

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