WhatsApp to stop working on some devices by the end of 2016 – find out if your model is affected

 

WhatsApp has said that its messaging app will cease to work on older phones and operating systems as early as the end of this year.

The announcement comes after a warning earlier this year that the Facebook-owned company would be pulling support for older models, and that the deadline to upgrade was fast approaching.

The same blog post was then updated to say some phones would be supported until June 30, 2017, while the service would be discontinued on others by the end of this year.

The blog says: “When we started WhatsApp in 2009, people’s use of mobile devices looked very different from today. The Apple App Store was only a few months old. About 70 per cent of smartphones sold at the time had operating systems offered by BlackBerry and Nokia.

Whatsapp Web

“As we look ahead to our next seven years, we want to focus our efforts on the mobile platforms the vast majority of people use.”

Those using certain handsets will have to buy new ones if they want to use the world’s most popular messaging app, which has a billion users globally.

“While these mobile devices have been an important part of our story, they don’t offer the kind of capabilities we need to expand our app’s features in the future,” a spokesperson said. (Video calling was recently added to WhatsApp)

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iPhone users

WhatsApp will stop working on iPhone 3GS at the end of this year.

It will also cease to function any iPhone running iOS 6, so any phone which hasn’t been updated to a later operating system will lose WhatsApp.

The change also affects first, second, third or fourth generation iPads that haven’t been updated.

Android users

WhatsApp will cease to function on any Android tablet or phone running Android 2.1 or 2.2.

This affects any phone released between 2010 and 2011 which hasn’t been updated.

Windows phone users

Anyone still using Windows Phone 7 will not be able to use WhatsApp anymore.

Blackberry and Nokia users

People who have these phones are safe until June 2017: BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry 10, Nokia S40 and Nokia Symbian S60.

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Microsoft will stop supporting Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10 next week

Microsoft has officially announced it will cease to support Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10 from January 12. The company will issue a Windows update KB3123303, which will place a prompt box in the three browsers urging people to update to Internet Explorer 11. This will happen for Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 users.

The box can be disabled by enterprise users who don’t want to jump ship by altering the registry. However, switching to Internet Explorer 11 is far the better option in the long run.

The end of life status for the Internet Explorer 7, 8 and 9 means that Microsoft won’t release any more security patches, leaving the browsers vulnerable to potential new threats. This way it hopes users will move on to a more recent version of the browser, hopefully Edge.

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Microsoft unveils the Surface Pro 4, Surface Book and new Lumia Smartphones!

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Software giant Microsoft today announced its next-generation Surface Pro laptop/tablet hybrid, the Surface Pro 4. Designed to take Apple’s upcoming $799 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the $899 Surface Pro 4 offers updated hardware and software features like Windows Hello, the Cortana personal assistant, and of course Windows 10.

The thinnest and most powerful Surface yet, the Surface Pro 4 features a larger display than its predecessor, fitting a 12.3-inch display in the same physical footprint as the older twelve-inch device, making the laptop/tablet hybrid compatible with the existing crop of keyboard accessories on the market.

Microsoft also designed a brand new stylus to go with the Surface Pro 4. They’re calling it the Surface Pen and it’s extremely sensitive at detecting 1,024 levels of pressure.

Surface Pro 4

As mentioned, the new Surface Pro 4 features a 12.3-inch PixelSense 3:2 aspect ratio display in the same physical footprint as the older twelve-inch device. At only 8.4 mm thin and weighing in at 786 grams (1.73 pounds), the new Surface is thinner and lighter than its predecessor.

The PixelSense screen has five million pixels at a resolution of 2,736-by-1,824 pixels at 267 pixels per inch. The contrast ratio is 1300:1. Each display has been individually calibrated to achieve a hundred percent sRGB color.

The new Surface, rated with up to nine hours of battery life for vide playback, is driven by Intel’s sixth-generation Skylake processors (Core m, Core i5 and Core i7), with Microsoft claiming the device to be one-third faster than its predecessor and up to 50 percent faster than Apple’s MacBook Air notebook.

The gizmo runs Microsoft’s Windows 10, which can run both desktop and tablet applications, as the Surface was designed to be a tablet that can replace your laptop.

Check out Microsoft’s rather nicely done promotional video below.

If you can’t see the video embed, watch it on YouTube.

The device incorporates a fingerprint sensor on the keyboard, has the 0.4mm-thick Gorilla Glass 4 covering the front and runs a Microsoft-designed ‘G5’ chipset which controls the Surface’s responsive touchscreen. Built-in flash storage can be upgraded from the base 128 GB to up to one terabytes while the memory varies by model at 4 GB, 8 GB or 16 GB.

Wireless stack supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO and Bluetooth 4.0. Other hardware features include a five-megapixel front camera with 1080p video capture, an eight-megapixel sensor out the back with auto-focus and 1080p video capture, stereo microphones, stereo speakers with Dolby audio, one full-size USB 3.0 port, a Mini DisplayPort and a microSD card reader.

A handy side-by-side comparison of the Surface Pro 4 features versus those of previous Surface models is available at the official website. More about the Surface Pro 4 is available in Microsoft’s fact sheet.

Surface Pen

The all-new Surface Pen is bundled with the Surface Pro 4.

It can detect 1,024 levels of pressure so it’s more sensitive and accurate then before. The Surface Pen has an eraser on one end and attaches magnetically to the side of the Surface Pro 4 when not in use.

Microsoft Surface Pen image 001

A dedicated button on the stylus lets you invoke Microsoft’s Cortana voice assistant. A built-in battery provides “all-year battery life,” according to Microsoft.

Last but not least, an all-new Type Cover (sold separately) is available for the new Surface, featuring a redesigned mechanical keyboard, an optional fingerprint reader and backward compatibility with the existing Surface Pro 3 devices.

Pricing

Here’s what the Surface Pro 4 will cost you:

  • $899—128 GB 6th Generation Intel CoreTM M3 with 4 GB of RAM
  • $999—128 GB 6th Generation Intel CoreTM i5 with 4 GB of RAM
  • $1,299—256 GB 6th Generation Intel CoreTM i5 with 8 GB of RAM
  • $1,599—256 GB 6th Generation Intel CoreTM i7 with 8 GB of RAM
  • $1,799—256 GB 6th Generation Intel CoreTM i7 with 16 GB of RAM
  • $2,199—512 GB 6th Generation Intel CoreTM i7 with 16 GB of RAM

These are estimated retail prices so actual retail pricing may wary.

Availability

The new Surface Pro 4 and the new accessories are available for pre-order in select markets October 7, 2015. The Surface Pro 4 starts at $899 and is scheduled to ship on October 26 in Canada and the United States, with additional markets to follow. The Surface Pen is provided in a variety of colors.

Microsoft Surface Book image 008

In addition to launching the new $899 Surface Pro 4 with the Surface Pen stylus, Windows giant Microsoft has another highly-popular Apple product in its crosshair: the MacBook Air.

Billed as “the ultimate laptop,“ the Surface Book is another hybrid device from Microsoft. Featuring an accurate, responsive stylus, multi-touch support and a high-resolution 13.5-inch optically bonded screen that detaches easily from the keyboard, the new Surface Book promises to offer best of both worlds.

Surface Book hardware

The Surface Book is driven by Intel’s sixth-generation Core i5 and Core i7 processors with up to twelve hours of video playback. The 13.5-inch PixelSense display at 267 pixels per inch with improved touch latency and parallax is “natural and fluid to write on,” according to the Redmond firm.

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In terms of graphics, the baseline Surface Book configuration uses Intel HD graphics 520 but you can optionally upgrade it to discrete Nvidia GeForce graphics with dedicated 1GB of DDR5 video memory and hardware-acceleration for video editing, fast rendering and immersive gaming.

Microsoft Surface Book vs MacBook Pro slide

For those wondering, that 13.5-inch 3:2 aspect ratio screen maxes out at an astounding 3,000-by-2,000 pixel resolution. Contrast ratio is 1800:1 and the display can detect up to ten simultaneous touches at once. Like on the Surface Pro 4, each Surface Book screen has been individually calibrated to achieve 100 percent sRGB color.

If you the embedded video won’t show, watch it on YouTube.

Next, the front-facing camera has five megapixels and supports 1080p video capture (you can use it to log into Windows with the Hello facial recognition feature). An eight-megapixel camera on the back is also capable of capturing 1080p video.

In terms of connectivity, the Surface Book is 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 compatible. Other features include a full sized, backlit keyboard, up to 16 GB of memory, and the same Windows Hello and Cortana software features provided by Windows 10.

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We should also mention that Microsoft’s new notebook/laptop hybrid sports stereo headphones, dual microphones and microphone jack built-in, in addition to the front-facing stereo speakers with Dolby audio. The computer packs in ambient light, accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer sensors.

Microsoft Surface Book image 005

In terms of I/O, the Surface Book has two full-size USB 3.0 ports, one Mini DisplayPort, a single full-size SD memory card reader and the Surface Connect for power and docking (base and clipboard).

All Surface Book models ship bundled with the Surface Pen stylus.

Surface Dock

The new Surface Dock is available, too. Compatible with the Surface Book, Surface Pro 4 and Surface Pro 3, it transforms your device into a desktop PC by plugging in your dock with the SurfaceConnect cable.

Microsoft Surface Dock image 002

The Surface Dock features two Mini DisplayPorts, one Gigabit Ethernet port, four USB 3.0 ports, one audio out port and an external power brick.

Pricing

The following Surface Book configurations are available:

  • $1,499—128 GB 6th generation Intel Core i5 with 8 GB of RAM
  • $1,699—256 GB 6th generation Intel Core i5 with 8 GB of RAM
  • $1,899—256 GB 6th generation Intel Core i5 with 8 GB of RAM and NVIDIA GeForce graphics processor
  • $2,099—256 GB 6th generation Intel Core i7 with 8 GB of RAM and NVIDIA GeForce graphics processor
  • $2,699—512 GB 6th generation Intel Core i7 with 16 GB of RAM and NVIDIA GeForce graphics processor

These are estimated retail prices so actual retailer pricing may vary.

Availability

The Surface Book will be on sale in Canada and the United States on October 26, like the fourth-generation Surface Pro and Microsoft’s refreshed accessories lineup. The Surface Book can be pre-ordered in select markets October 7, 2015.

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Today Microsoft announced its latest Windows-powered phones, as well as two new members to the Surface family.

The new Lumias are the first devices to ship with Windows 10 (mobile), which represents a massive step forward for Microsoft. What’s all new? Let’s jump in and find out.

Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950XL

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The new Lumia 950 and 950 XL are Microsoft’s new flagship phone offerings, and both are quite impressive on paper.

First, the 950 is powered by a Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor with a 5.2-inch WQHD display, 3GB RAM, and 32GB storage (and microSD). The 950XL scales things up a bit, offering the same amount of RAM and storage, but bumping the QHD display up to 5.7-inches and trades out the 808 for a octa-core Snapdragon 810.

Both phones share the same rear 20MP sensor with OIS, USB Type-C ports, Qualcomm quick charging, and the same basic sensors you’d expect. Microsoft also says the phones utilize a form of liquid cooling to help eliminate (or reduce) any potential heating issues.

The new Lumias also support Windows Hello, which will use face-scanning tech via the camera to login users; this is not anything particularly innovative for those over at Camp Android, but a first for Windows (phone) users.

In many ways, the new Lumia 950 and 950 XL look a lot like typical Android devices when it comes to the spec sheet. The big difference, of course, is on the software side. Forgoing Android, Microsoft’s latest devices jump from the Window Phone 8 over to Windows 10 Mobile.

The new platform looks a lot like WP8 did, but offers quite a few under the hood and UI improvements that help it feel much more polished than past iterations of the Windows phone-centric OS.
With Windows 10 Mobile, you’ll now find an integrated store that combines the Windows 8/10 (desktop/tablet) store and the Windows phone store into one. That means just about any universal app should play nicely with a Windows-powered phone, though traditional Windows .EXE programs obviously won’t work.

Probably one of the coolest software tricks for Windows 10 (mobile) is known as Continuum. Basically, this feature lets you experience a full Windows-like experience, complete with a desktop screen and a start menu when plugged into a bigger monitor. The experience isn’t completely like Windows 10 (more like Windows RT with the looks of 10), and so you are limited to what apps will work. That said, any universal app for the Windows store will play nicely, as will programs like Microsoft Office.

So how do you hook up your phone to a bigger screen? This can be done either by connecting a Bluetooth keyboard/mouse and wirelessly streaming to a compatible display, or there’s the Display Dock. The Display Dock is an optional accessory that plugs into the 950 or 950XL and includes three USB ports, including Type-C, as well as a Display Port and an HDMI port. The presence of USB means you’ll be able to use just about any keyboard or mouse, as well as USB drives for extra storage, and other USB powered accessories. No word on its pricing just yet.

Both the Lumia 950 and 950XL are expected to arrive this November, priced at $549 and $649, respectively.

Microsoft Lumia 550

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Designed to compete with budget offerings in the Android world, the Lumia 550 is a 5-inch device that is powered by a Snapdragon 210 with 8GB storage. Other specs include a 5MP rear cam, 2MP front cam, 8GB storage with microSD expansion, and a 1905 mAh battery.

The phone is priced at $139 and will arrive in December. Judging by the spec sheet, Android alternatives like the Moto G need not get too worried by this one. While the specs aren’t bad for the price, they aren’t exactly amazing either. Additionally, some of the cooler Windows 10 features like Continuum aren’t mentioned, so we doubt the phone is powerful enough to support it.

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“Windows 10 is the last version of Windows”, says Microsoft!

Windows10

At Microsoft’s Ignite conference, Microsoft employee and developer evangelist Jerry Nixon said that “Right now we’re releasing Windows 10, and because Windows 10 is the last version of Windows, we’re all still working on Windows 10.” That sounds like Microsoft won’t be releasing any more versions of Windows 10, which is true more or less.

Windows 10 is the last version of Windows, in the sense there won’t be any major releases of Windows hereafter. Microsoft plans to turn Windows into a service, where it will continue to get updates but there won’t be any major releases. The OS has now become modular to the point where Microsoft can update parts of it individually, which is exactly what it plans to do. The next update will be in 2016, codenamed Windows Redstone, but it will still be Windows 10, and not 11 or anything else. Basically, no more Windows X releases, where X is a version number or name.

As a customer, this probably doesn’t change much. You will continue to get free updates on a monthly basis to ensure your Windows experience continues to work smoothly. There may not be big numbered releases to look forward to, but Windows itself will continue to evolve and get better.

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Microsoft Windows 10 event recap: HoloLens, Cortana, Free Upgrade, Project Spartan and More!

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With Microsoft’s Windows 10 event over it is time to take a look at what the Silicon Valley giant has in store for the next version of the legendary OS. Announcements definitely did not disappoint both in volume and quality.

Most of our questions about Windows 10 as well as some long-standing disputer were finally settled, but Microsoft went a step beyond and touched upon cross-device application usage, unified PC and Xbox gaming, improved DirectX performance and a whole new enterprise collaboration 84-inch touch device.

So if you think you might have missed anything here is a quick rundown of what Microsoft offered in Windows 10 and beyond and boy is it exciting!

Cortana is now part of Windows 10 on PC

The cloud-based Cortana assistant is officially going to be part of Windows 10 on the PC. It is now more intelligent and useful than ever. During today’s Microsoft Windows 10 event the assistant software was showcased in all its glory, working on a Desktop machine.

Cortana will not only be available on your computer, but she has gotten a whole lot better than on your phone. The software has undergone a major upgrade and is now specifically tailored for a full PC experience.

The assistant is built straight into the Shell and resides constantly in the new search bar, in the remodeled task bar. But it does not only act like a simple voice search service. Use cases are incredibly varied and include easy and seamless access to files, settings, web and local search results and basically any other core function of Windows 10.

Microsoft says Cortana is now more personal than ever with the soft female voice now cracking jokes, and understanding 7 new languages – it even does impersonations. Voice interaction and trigger words are very natural as well. You can simply ask Cortana to play some music or be quiet, which is definitely a step toward elevating it the status of an almost human-like assistant, rather than simply a clever voice operated machine.

The increased personality factor comes from the fact that Cortana is now aware of the user it is aiding. Microsoft demoed some of these implications by asking for personal advice and suggestions and Cortana was more than happy to oblige.

Cortana has also learned a trick or two from Google Now and is now really contextually aware, It will provide the right suggestions and notifications, just when you need them. Voice recognition has also taken a huge step forward. Voice typing was showcased as pretty coherent and almost usable on a daily base.

Cortana will also be baked straight into the new web browser, codenamed “Spartan” for an even more intuitive and content-aware experience with link suggestion, info boxes and a lot more.

We are more than happy to see Cortana in the new Windows 10 and with the new added functionality it seems that Microsoft is really making an effort to bring forward a tailored experience for better productivity.

Windows 10 will be a free upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 for the first year

At its Windows 10-related “briefing” today, Microsoft has just announced some very good news for those of you who are running an older version of its desktop OS – be that Windows 8.1, or even Windows 7, believe it or not.

Namely, the software giant has revealed that for one year after the official launch of Windows 10, you’ll be able to upgrade to the new version for free.

That’s regardless of whether you’re using Windows 8.1, Windows 8, or even Windows 7. This move is clearly meant to entice as many people as possible to make the jump to Windows 10 as soon as possible after it gets released, with Microsoft possibly hoping to have some very nice adoption numbers for the new OS a few months in. It is, however, following in the footsteps of Apple, which has pioneered free desktop OS upgrades.

Microsoft has also mentioned free upgrades for Windows Phone 8.1, but hasn’t given more details yet. It’s clear that the company wants as many mobile devices to see the new software as possible, but it remains to be seen if all WP 8.1 handsets will actually get the update to 10.

Microsoft announces the much rumored Project Spartan browser for Windows

One of the highlights of Microsoft’s Windows 10 event today was Project Spartan, the software giant’s next generation Web browser. This will be built into Windows 10, and according to company execs you can expect to see it both on the desktop version of the OS as well as on mobile devices.

Microsoft hasn’t yet told us if Spartan will replace IE on Windows 10, but past rumors did mention they’d both ship alongside each other, so perhaps that’s what will happen.

Three main features of Spartan were introduced today, but undoubtedly there’s more to come. And even before we get into those, it’s obvious that the new Microsoft-made browser looks more modern than IE, in line with its competitors such as Chrome and Firefox. The whole UI is simplified and there are much less ‘chrome’ elements to be seen (stuff that’s not actually part of the webpage you’re looking at, that is). So that’s one step in the right direction, clearly.

Based on the official image you can see above, it’s also likely that Spartan will support themes, though probably not by itself – we assume it’s going to adapt its looks to the Windows theme you currently have selected. The browser will also come with built-in note-taking and sharing features, allowing you to ‘select’ any part of a webpage, annotate it, and then share it with your friends or coworkers.

Project Spartan is going to get a reading mode too. This will show you a distraction-free view of the page you’re looking at, with nothing to get in the way of a good reading experience. Think of it like Microsoft’s interpretation of Safari’s Reader Mode. Spartan will have a built-in reading list to complement this mode, and this will be synced across devices naturally.

Finally, Cortana will be inside Spartan, not just Windows 10 as a whole. She will do things to make your life on the Web easier, such as quickly show you weather details, or give you more information about places such as restaurants. She will make the most of the information she has on you, using it in ways that can help you find things out quicker.

Start menu resurrected with Windows 10, but with Live tiles

Windows 10 is taking a step back and forward – the Start menu is back, but unlike the classic menu this one has Live tiles in it. For those who enjoyed the full-screen mode, it’s still on board and is the default for tablet mode.

That’s right, Windows 10 will power both phones as well as tablets and convertibles.

Another change is that the search functionality has been excised from the Start menu and is now part of the dock, making it always visible.

Anyway, switching between the modes is done via the new Continuum feature, which will come especially handy for convertibles. In laptop mode, keyboard and mouse run the show with the compact Start menu. When going into tablet mode you’ll be prompted to switch, which enables the Windows 8-style Start screen.

Microsoft details Xbox integration on Windows 10 – streaming to PC on board

In today’s Windows 10 press event, Microsoft spilled the beans on the Xbox app for its latest OS. The application will be available on every tablet and PC running Windows 10.

Microsoft approached gaming as a highly personal activity with its latest Xbox implementation. System-level features will include messaging and friends list. The Windows 10 app will interact with the Activity Feed, as well as support Steam games.

DVR will arrive to gaming with Xbox for Windows 10 as well. Users will be able to capture and edit gameplay footage just like they do on Xbox One.

DirectX 12 will be part of the graphics subsystem. It will ensure smooth graphics and low power consumption. The popular Unity game engine will also support DirectX 12.

Furthermore, Xbox One users will be able to stream their games to a Windows 10 PC at some point later this year. Microsoft demoed the upcoming feature by playing Forza on a Surface 3.

Microsoft Surface Hub is an 84″ all-in-one computer for the conference room

Remember the Microsoft Surface? No, not the tablet, the large, touch-sensitive table. It never took off, but it’s successor is here and it leverages all the new tech in Windows 10.

The Microsoft Surface Hub was demoed on a massive 84″ 4K touch-sensitive display and it can even detect you when you walk into the room.

The Surface Hub is aimed at businesses and promises to streamline meetings. No more wrangling conference calls and trying to get your presentation files on the projector.

Skype for Business will bring in the people who can’t physically attend while the extensive sync functionality with OneDrive will make your presentation easily accessible.

A special version of OneNote is available when you need to sketch something on the spot. Microsoft promises a fast, lag-free experience, just like you would get from a real marker writing on a whiteboard. This works with mulitple fingers and multiple pens writing on the roomy screen.

The Microsoft Surface Hub packs dual cameras and a mic array for those Skype calls, plus a number of additional “advanced sensors.”

There’s no word on price yet, but we have a feeling this will be one of those “if you have to ask…” type of deals.

Windows 10 will run on phones, share apps with the desktop

Microsoft is unifying Windows 10 for large devices (8+ inch screens) and small devices (phones and small tablets). It has tailored the experience to the size class so you won’t get a large desktop on your small phone, but many shared interfaces will make things feel familiar to users as they switch between form factors.

Developers will be able to create apps that work on a desktop, a phone and even Xbox. Joe Belfiore demoed a special version of Office (still under development) running on a phone, but it will work just as well on a desktop.

The tile-based launcher remains unchanged, but the Settings menu and the Action Center share their base design with the desktop Windows, which will improve the learning experience for users.

The People app will work across device and will aggregate your contacts. The app will let you quickly start a call (regular or Skype) or message a contact. The upcoming Outlook update will feature Tinder-like swipe functionality – left for delete, right for flag. Meanwhile, composing emails will be handled by Word.

Speaking of, Windows 10 will come with a rich set of Office apps – Word, Excel and PowerPoint. They have the full capabilities of their desktop counterparts, but can reflow docs so they fit better on the small screen.

Messaging is now more unified – the default Messages app can handle all Internet-based messaging like Skype, so all messages accross supported services will be in one place (third-party apps need to support it though).

The on-screen keyboard can be moved around to position it more comfortably on phablets. You can also rely on Cortana to transcribe spoken text.

Maps features Cortana integration and the universal app makes it easy to plan a route on a computer and send it to your phone.

Photos is another universal app. It features OneDrive integration and will sync photos from multiple devices, so you can view your entire photo collection from one place. The app will handle duplicates and burst-shots to avoid clutter and automatically group photos in albums. There’s also auto-enhance that handles common issues with photos.

As for upgrades, the Nokia Lumia 1520 has been confirmed it will get the upgrade – it was the device used to demo the OS. However, Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for Windows Phone 8.1 users during the first year of availability. That doesn’t mean some devices won’t be left out though, we’re yet to find out the full details.

The first release of Windows for phones will become available in February to members of the Preview program.

Microsoft’s HoloLens headset is a holographic display for Windows 10

Microsoft is building support for holographic displays into Windows 10, so it only makes sense that the company would make one of those displays, wouldn’t it? Meet HoloLens, an official headset with see-through lenses that merge digital content with the physical. It includes spatial sound so that you can hear things happening behind you in the virtual world, and it even has a dedicated Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) to make sure everything works smoothly. The company is shy about just when it’ll start selling HoloLens, but it should be available “in the Windows 10 timeframe.”
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