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Microsoft unveils Windows 10

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Microsoft has unveiled Windows 10 which will offer users a unified look and feel across all Windows devices. It will also feature multiple desktops and re-introduce the familiar Start menu that was absent in previous Windows versions.

Microsoft has unveiled its next Windows operating system, Windows 10. It also gave a first look at an early Technical Preview for the PC, highlighting advancements designed for business, including an updated user experience, enhanced security and management capabilities.

The company also introduced the Windows Insider Program (WIP), kicking off their largest ever open collaborative development effort to change the way Windows is built and delivered to meet the needs of customers. Program participants will receive the technical preview of Windows XX and a steady stream of builds through the development cycle to use and give feedback on.

“Windows 10 represents the first step of a whole new generation of Windows, unlocking new experiences to allow customers new ways to work, play and connect,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice president, Operating Systems group at Microsoft. “This will be our most comprehensive OS and the best release Microsoft has ever done for our business customers, and we look forward to working together with our broader Windows community to bring Windows 10 to life in the months ahead.”

Microsoft provided the following information on Windows 10:

Windows 10: Familiarity and Consistency Across Devices

Windows 10 adapts to the devices customers are using—from Xbox to PCs, phones to tablets and tiny gadgets—and what they’re doing with a consistent, familiar and compatible experience, enabling even greater productivity. Windows xx will run across the broadest range of devices ever from the Internet of Things to enterprise data centers worldwide. Microsoft is also delivering a converged application platform for developers on all of these devices with a unified app store. Developers will be able to write an application once and deploy it easily across multiple device types, making discovery, purchase and updating easier than ever for customers.

Windows 10: Designed for the Challenges of Modern Business

Windows 10 builds nearly everything that businesses need, right into the core of the product – including enterprise-grade security, identity and information protection features – in ways that can reduce complexities and provide better experiences than other solutions. One area of advancement is in the work we’ve done with user identities that improve resistance to breach, theft or phishing. Windows 10 will also help advance data loss prevention by using containers and data separation at the application and file level, enabling protection that follows the data wherever it goes.

Management and deployment has been simplified to help lower costs, including in-place upgrades from Windows 7 or 8 that are focused on making device wipe-and-reload scenarios obsolete. Businesses will also have the flexibility now to choose how quickly they adopt the latest innovations, as well as influence continued improvements based on their feedback. Additionally, organizations will be able to customize a store specific to their needs and environment. The app store will allow for volume app licensing, flexible distribution and the ability for organizations to reclaim or re-use licenses when they need.

Technical Preview PC Productivity

The early Technical Preview of Windows 10 demonstrates new levels of flexibility, navigation and familiarity through the Windows experience, such as:

·         Expanded Start Menu: The familiar Start menu is back providing quick one-click access to the functions and files that people use most, and includes a new space to personalize with favorite apps, programs, people, and websites.

·         Apps run in a window: Apps from the Windows Store now open in the same format that desktop programs do. They can be resized and moved around, and have title bars at the top allowing for maximize, minimize, and close with a click.

·         Snap enhancements: Working in multiple apps at once is easier and more intuitive with snap improvements. Have up to four apps snapped on the same screen with a new quadrant layout. Windows will also show other apps and programs running for additional snapping and even make smart suggestions on filling available screen space with other open apps.

·         New Task View button: The new task view button on the task bar enables one view for all open apps and files allowing for quick-switching, and one-touch access to any desktops created.

·         Multiple desktops: Instead of too many apps and files overlapping on a single desktop, it’s easy to create and switch between distinct desktops for different purposes and projects—whether for work or personal use, or both.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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When will we stop calling them phones?

If you don’t remember when phones were only used to talk to people, you may wonder why we still use this term for handsets, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK, on the eve of the 10th birthday of the app.

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Do you remember when handsets were called phones because, well, we used them to phone people?

It took 120 years from the invention of the telephone to the use of phones to send text.

Between Alexander Graham Bell coining the term “telephone” in 1876 and Finland’s two main mobile operators allowing SMS messages between consumers in 1995, only science fiction writers and movie-makers imagined instant communication evolving much beyond voice. Even when BlackBerry shook the business world with email on a phone at the end of the last century, most consumers were adamant they would stick to voice.

It’s hard to imagine today that the smartphone as we know it has been with us for less than 10 years. Apple introduced the iPhone, the world’s first mass-market touchscreen phone, in June 2007, but it is arguable that it was the advent of the app store in July the following year that changed our relationship with phones forever.

That was the moment when the revolution in our hands truly began, when it became possible for a “phone” to carry any service that had previously existed on the World Wide Web.

Today, most activity carried out by most people on their mobile devices would probably follow the order of social media in first place – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn all jostling for attention – and  instant messaging in close second, thanks to WhatsApp, Messenger, SnapChat and the like. Phone calls – using voice that is – probably don’t even take third place, but play fourth or fifth fiddle to mapping and navigation, driven by Google Maps and Waze, and transport, thanks to Uber, Taxify, and other support services in South Africa like MyCiti,  Admyt and Kaching.

Despite the high cost of data, free public Wi-Fi is also seeing an explosion in use of streaming video – whether Youtube, Netflix, Showmax, or GETblack – and streaming music, particularly with the arrival of Spotify to compete with Simfy Africa.

Who has time for phone calls?

The changing of the phone guard in South Africa was officially signaled last week with the announcement of Vodacom’s annual results. Voice revenue for the 2018 financial year ending 31 March had fallen by 4.6%, to make up 40.6% of Vodacom’s revenue. Total revenue had grown by 8.1%, which meant voice seriously underperformed the group, and had fallen by 4% as a share of revenue, from 2017’s 44.6%.

The reason? Data had not only outperformed the group, increasing revenue by 12.8%, but it had also risen from 39.7% to 42.8% of group revenue,

This means that data has not only outperformed voice for the first time – as had been predicted by World Wide Worx a year ago – but it has also become Vodacom’s biggest contributor to revenue.

That scenario is being played out across all mobile network operators. In the same way, instant messaging began destroying SMS revenues as far back as five years ago – to the extent that SMS barely gets a mention in annual reports.

Data overtaking voice revenues signals the demise of voice as the main service and key selling point of mobile network operators. It also points to mobile phones – let’s call them handsets – shifting their primary focus. Voice quality will remain important, but now more a subset of audio quality rather than of connectivity. Sound quality will become a major differentiator as these devices become primary platforms for movies and music.

Contact management, privacy and security will become critical features as the handset becomes the storage device for one’s entire personal life.

Integration with accessories like smartwatches and activity monitors, earphones and earbuds, virtual home assistants and virtual car assistants, will become central to the functionality of these devices. Why? Because the handsets will control everything else? Hardly.

More likely, these gadgets will become an extension of who we are, what we do and where we are. As a result, they must be context aware, and also context compatible. This means they must hand over appropriate functions to appropriate devices at the appropriate time. 

I need to communicate only using my earpiece? The handset must make it so. I have to use gesture control, and therefore some kind of sensor placed on my glasses, collar or wrist? The handset must instantly surrender its centrality.

There are numerous other scenarios and technology examples, many out of the pages of science fiction, that point to the changing role of the “phone”. The one thing that’s obvious is that it will be silly to call it a phone for much longer.

  • Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube
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MTN 5G test gets 520Mbps

MTN and Huawei have launched Africa’s first 5G field trial with an end-to-end Huawei 5G solution.

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The field trial demonstrated a 5G Fixed-Wireless Access (FWA) use case with Huawei’s 5G 28GHz mmWave Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) in a real-world environment in Hatfield Pretoria, South Africa. Speeds of 520Mbps downlink and 77Mbps uplink were attained throughout respectively.

“These 5G trials provide us with an opportunity to future proof our network and prepare it for the evolution of these new generation networks. We have gleaned invaluable insights about the modifications that we need to do on our core, radio and transmission network from these pilots. It is important to note that the transition to 5G is not just a flick of a switch, but it’s a roadmap that requires technical modifications and network architecture changes to ensure that we meet the standards that this technology requires. We are pleased that we are laying the groundwork that will lead to the full realisation of the boundless opportunities that are inherent in the digital world.” says Babak Fouladi, Group Chief Technology & Information Systems Officer, at MTN Group.

Giovanni Chiarelli, Chief Technology and Information Officer for MTN SA said: “Next generation services such as virtual and augmented reality, ultra-high definition video streaming, and cloud gaming require massive capacity and higher user data rates. The use of millimeter-wave spectrum bands is one of the key 5G enabling technologies to deliver the required capacity and massive data rates required for 5G’s Enhanced Mobile Broadband use cases. MTN and Huawei’s joint field trial of the first 5G mmWave Fixed-Wireless Access solution in Africa will also pave the way for a fixed-wireless access solution that is capable of replacing conventional fixed access technologies, such as fibre.”

“Huawei is continuing to invest heavily in innovative 5G technologies”, said Edward Deng, President of Wireless Network Product Line of Huawei. “5G mmWave technology can achieve unprecedented fiber-like speed for mobile broadband access. This trial has shown the capabilities of 5G technology to deliver exceptional user experience for Enhanced Mobile Broadband applications. With customer-centric innovation in mind, Huawei will continue to partner with MTN to deliver best-in-class advanced wireless solutions.”

“We are excited about the potential the technology will bring as well as the potential advancements we will see in the fields of medicine, entertainment and education. MTN has been investing heavily to further improve our network, with the recent “Best in Test” and MyBroadband best network recognition affirming this. With our focus on providing the South Africans with the best customer experience, speedy allocation of spectrum can help bring more of these technologies to our customers,” says Giovanni.

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