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 on: February 18, 2018, 04:44:23 PM 
Started by javajolt - Last post by javajolt
A new evidence pointing towards Microsoft’s long rumored foldable Andromeda, popularly referred to as Surface Phone has been discovered. Until quite recently, the release of mythical Surface Phone was uncertain, but the software giant appears to be speeding up the development of both Andromeda hardware and software. The existence of Andromeda mobile device was recently confirmed by a developer and Windows Internals Expert, Alex Ionescu, in the latest Windows 10 SDK build.

Another leakster has now also managed to find a evidence to the Andromeda. In a tweet, Diamond Monkey claims that there is a new SKU in Windows 10 .17604.1000.180209-1422.rs_prerelease product.ini, named “Andromeda=XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX”.

This new SKU points to the existence of the Andromeda project concerning the device, no other information associated with the foldable mobile phone has been discovered in any latest preview build.

According to new reports, Andromeda will run Win32 Centennial apps, as the Windows Core OS will be able to emulate them on ARM chipset which will power the device. Microsoft’s Andromeda is reportedly a Pocket PC that would run Win32 apps and extend to a large monitor with a dock, mouse and keyboard to deliver a true desktop experience.

It is highly likely that Microsoft’s foldable phone will have a dual-screen display with a hinge, it is it is expected to run on Windows Core OS, and be powered by ARM processors. Microsoft’s foldable Surface Andromeda is the company’s latest attempt to invent new product categories, like how it did with the 2-in-1 Surface laptops device and the Surface Studio all-in-one PC.


 on: February 18, 2018, 04:41:49 PM 
Started by javajolt - Last post by javajolt
Microsoft has been working on a new version of Windows operating system that would work across all form factors including the highly anticipated ‘Surface Andromeda’. The new modular version of the operating system will be Microsoft’s latest attempt to unify the platform to the execute vision of ‘OneCore’. With Windows Core OS, Microsoft will be slowly ditching the older legacy elements and modernizing Windows 10.

What is Windows Core OS?

Windows Core OS will make Microsoft’s desktop operating system ‘modular’ so that the platform could be installed on any form factor including dual-screen phones, laptops, and large-screen size devices ‘Surface Studio’. Windows Core OS for all form factor devices will share the same ‘OneCore’ kernel. This project was initially dubbed as ‘One Windows’ and ‘OneCore’, it involves stripping the OS down to the necessary components for performance, security, and modularity.

It can be concluded that Windows Core OS (WCOS) is a new version of Windows 10 which is modular, secure and well-optimized. Windows Core OS is consists of UWP, Composers, Composable Shell (CShell) and OneCore, the Kernel.

All the devices powered by this new version of Windows operating system will share the same kernel, but composers (interface) will be different across the devices. The Mobile composer is codenamed ‘Andromeda’, while the desktop composer is currently referred to as ‘Polaris’. Microsoft is also preparing a composer for Surface Hub and Windows Mixed Reality, but the focus is now on Andromeda and Polaris.


Andromeda is the codename for the software and hardware (foldable phone). Microsoft’rumoredumoured foldable phone also known as Surface Phone will be powered by Windows Core OS with Andromeda composer which is designed for mobile-type devices.

Microsoft will not be positioning the Andromeda-powered device as a smartphone, and according to the reports, such a device will be updated in 2019 with Polaris that could also bring support for Win32 applications.

The long-rumored foldable Windows 10 device is the dream of every Windows Phone diehard which is about to come true. The software giant might announce the foldable device as Surface Phone or Surface Journal by end of this year. The official moniker of the Andromeda is not known just yet.

The foldable Microsoft mobile device will have a foldable body and two screens connected to each other by a revolutionary hinge. This allows the device to act as a phone, tablet, and a laptop under the different angle of the screens.


Microsoft is designing Polaris for the traditional PCs, with Polaris, Microsoft will remove almost all the legacy components. Polaris will be even more locked down than Windows 10 S (also known as Windows 10 in S Mode). Polaris is being designed for performance, security and better power management, this could be only achieved without the legacy components.

The Windows 10 PCs powered by Polaris will be locked to the Microsoft Store in terms of app compatibility, and Windows 10 Pro won’t be killed, it will be still developed for power users.

As running Win32 software in laptop or PC configuration would still make sense, Microsoft will be using the power of cloud ‘virtualization’, this will technically allow the desktop software to run on such devices, but again these apps won’t run on the system natively.

Ever since Microsoft has launched Windows 10 operating system, the company is making Windows as a whole less dependent on legacy components, for example, the control panel has been migrated to the Settings app. Similarly, UWP File Explorer will be available by the end of 2018.

Polaris is a version of Windows 10 that would be specifically aimed at users who don’t need Win32 programs, and it will compete with Chromebooks. As a result, Polaris would be more secure and fluid.


 on: February 18, 2018, 03:36:37 PM 
Started by javajolt - Last post by javajolt

It’s been a while since we heard about Samsung planning a new tablet, but here is one, a presumed Samsung Galaxy Tab S4, leaked via GFXBench. The device is supposed to be the most powerful Galaxy tablet ever and we have more details below.

It’s been a year since the unveiling of the Galaxy Tab S3, so it’s high time we got a successor, don’t you think? The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 just got listed on GFXBench, under the codename SM-T835. Considering that the LTE version of the Galaxy Tab S3 had the codename SM-T825 this may well be the follow-up. The GFXBench listing shows the slate with a 10.5 inch Super AMOLED display, that offers a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels.

It also mentions an octa-core processor clocked at 2.3 GHz and Adreno 540 graphics. It’s very likely it’s a Snapdragon 835 and it’s accompanied by 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. As far as cameras are concerned, there’s a 12 MP back camera here and a front-facing shooter with an 8-megapixel resolution. Android 8.0 Oreo is the OS of choice and the leaked specs hint that the Tab S4 may well be the most potent Samsung Android tablet yet.

We’ll see both a WiFi and LTE model, with AKG, tuned speakers, S-Pen stylus and keyboard according to leaks. Last year Samsung unveiled the Tab S3 at MWC, so they may do the same with the Tab S4, at this year’s tech show. I’m expecting a sleek metal body too.


 on: February 18, 2018, 03:28:34 PM 
Started by javajolt - Last post by javajolt
Microsoft will be releasing its next big Windows Update this spring with Windows 10 Version 1803. From the version number, we can infer Microsoft intends to roll it out sometime in March or thereabouts.

Whether this update will be called the Spring Creators Update as some signs seem to indicate and recycle its 2017 update branding, or whether the firm updates its nomenclature is something for Microsoft to decide.

All that said, thanks to the Windows Insider Program, we’ve seen what Microsoft plans to bring to users in this update, and there are a fair few changes to Windows that will come with this spring’s update.

Windows Timeline

With the Windows 10 Spring 2018 Update, Microsoft is introducing a feature known as Windows Timeline. For most users, Windows Timeline will serve as an upgrade to the current task view in Windows.

In current builds of Windows 10, users can press the task view button to see what apps they have open on their device, as well as activate new virtual desktops.

Timeline’s update takes this a step further. With Windows Timeline, users can now view all apps and files (they have opened with supported apps) on all their Windows devices. To put this practically, this means that if you’re working on a document on your home PC, and you open your laptop at work and click task view, the file will be available for you to open and continue work on assuming it has been synced to the cloud.

Microsoft will also extend this to its own apps for Android and iOS, so users who open documents and files in Edge/OneNote/Word will be able to continue working on their files when they get to their PC.

It’s a nifty feature that some users will get a lot of mileage out of.

Fluent Design Improvements

Fluent design is the new design language for Windows 10 which the firm debuted last year. Microsoft is improving the implementation of Fluent all over the platform, making it more consistent, and moving away from the old completely flat user interface it sported.
With the Windows 10 Spring 2018 Update, acrylic elements of Fluent design has now spread to more parts of the shell like the Start Menu, taskbar, and the My People screen, among others.

If you’re a tablet user, or you use a hybrid device, the touch keyboard is also now decked out in acrylic, making for a slightly nicer looking interface.

The Setting and Messaging apps both will also be receiving a fluent design overhaul. Now, while not many people use the Messaging app yet, for users of always-connected PCs, it’ll be the primary means of receiving messages from carriers and the like — unless you opt for Skype. The interface has been redesigned so as to feature a fully transparent interface in the messaging Window, and the reveal highlight now graces the app.

The Settings app has received in-app acrylic on its leftmost panel, and also makes more liberal use of reveal ‘s lighting effect when navigating the app.

Fluent design is indeed here to stay, and Microsoft’s adoption of the interface proves as much. What is less strong — however — is the adoption of Fluent elements by third parties. As Windows pivots towards PWAs and warmed-over Win32 Store apps, it’ll be interesting to see where Microsoft takes Fluent from here.

Microsoft Edge improvements

Microsoft Edge is fast catching up with features offered by rival browsers with the Windows 10 Spring 2018 Update.

Microsoft has added the ability to mute individual tabs in Edge, something users switching from browsers like Chrome and Firefox would have wanted to do. The firm has also made it easy for users to pay for products online with a new auto-fill feature that fills in your saved card details from your Microsoft account for you.

Edge is also much improved for readers. The Reading mode now has a feature which lets you improve your reading tools with an advanced grammar tools feature.

The improvements to reading mode also extend to the e-book experience, you can now save e-pub files to your Windows 10 PC for later consumption, rather than having to read them in their entirety in the Edge browser all at once.

Microsoft has also brought more Fluent Design to Edge. Both the browser’s main interface and its reading mode have been treated to a heavy dose of acrylic and reveal highlight elements. While this doesn’t add any functional improvements, it simply makes it nicer to look at and brings it in line with the overall design language.

Privacy Improvements

Microsoft is tackling privacy concerns with the Windows 10 Spring 2018 Update, much like it does with every other update.

The firm has added a new Diagnostics Data viewer into the operating system which lets users analyze what kind of data Microsoft’s automatic telemetry is sending back to Redmond.

“We value your privacy. Our commitment is to be fully transparent on the diagnostic data collected from your Windows devices and provide you with increased control over that data.” explained Microsoft’s Dona Sarkar when introducing the feature in an earlier insider build, “The Diagnostic Data Viewer is a Windows app that lets you review the diagnostic data your device is sending to Microsoft, grouping the info into simple categories based on how it’s used by Microsoft.”

As the firm’s critics had noted, Windows 10 was wont to send all sorts of mysterious scary sounding data back to Microsoft, leading to some branding it a data slurp, only slightly less invasive than Facebook.

With Microsoft’s increased transparency, one would hope that such hysterics be diminished going forward.

Microsoft has also thrown users who don’t have admin permissions a bone. Standard users can now set their own level of data collection, independent of what is set by the device admin. If they’re uncomfortable with giving Microsoft a comprehensive set of data, they can limit it, and vice versa. The important part of this is that power is placed back in the user’s hands.

Near Share

Windows 10’s new update also introduces an easier way to share data between devices with Near Share. Near Share has been described as Microsoft’s rival to AirDrop, and works over Bluetooth between PCs in close proximity. Once near share is activated, users can share files directly between PCs on the Spring 2018 update from the Windows Sharing screen.

Near Share might seem like an odd feature in the age of the cloud and other means of convenient file-sharing, but Microsoft isn’t billing it as world-changing, simply another feature in an update that makes your PC better to use.

The Windows 10 Spring Update is a big one indeed, and there are several other features included. Some relatively big like HDR video, some smaller like emoji changes. It won’t change the way you use your computer, not entirely, but it’ll make it a little easier to be productive, the unspoken caveat, of course, being that you choose to embrace Microsoft’s tools.


 on: February 17, 2018, 06:11:34 PM 
Started by javajolt - Last post by javajolt
Google's Project Zero initiative tasks its security researchers with finding flaws in various software products developed by the company itself as well as other firms. Back in 2016, it revealed a serious vulnerability present in Windows 10, and reported a "crazy bad vulnerability" in Windows in 2017.

Now, the firm has disclosed another security flaw in Microsoft Edge, after the Redmond giant failed to fix it in the allotted time.

Back in February 2017, Microsoft stated that it would be using Arbitrary Code Guard (ACG) in Microsoft Edge with the Windows 10 Creators Update to mitigate arbitrary native code execution. Although most modern web browsers rely on Just-in-Time (JIT) compilers, this created complications with ACG, which forced Microsoft to transition the JIT functionality of Chakra into a separate process that runs in an isolated sandbox, which according to the company, was a difficult task to accomplish.

For those unaware, Microsoft's JIT process is responsible compiling JavaScript to native code, creating a shared map object, mapping it to the content process and reserving the memory. Then when pages need to be written to memory, it calls the VirtualAllocEx() function to allocate memory to it from the space it reserved in the content process and commits it.

Now, the problem with this technique is that if the content process can predict the address on which the JIT process is going to call its VirtualAllocEx() function next - which can be done fairly easily, according to Google - and it is compromised, the content process can:

► Unmap the shared memory mapped above using UnmapViewOfFile()

► Allocate a writable memory region on the same address JIT server is going to write and write a soon-to-be-executable payload there.

► When JIT process calls VirtualAllocEx(), even though the memory is already allocated, the call is going to succeed and the memory protection is going to be set to PAGE_EXECUTE_READ.

This is understandably a considerable security concern and one which the Google security researcher has exploited, as detailed in his highly technical debug log which you can view here. In it, the researcher has successfully bypassed ACG and created an executable page in memory.

It is important to note that the bug has been classified as a "Medium" severity flaw and was disclosed to Microsoft by Google in November 2017. The standard 90-day-deadline was awarded to the company to fix the issue before it was disclosed to the public.

According to the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC), the problem turned out to be more complex than initially believed, due to which it was given an additional 14-day grace period by Google. Although the company missed this deadline in its February Patch Tuesday too - which forced Google to make the flaw public - Microsoft is confident that it will resolve the issue by March 13, aligning the shipment of the fix with the Patch Tuesday in March.


 on: February 17, 2018, 05:22:04 PM 
Started by javajolt - Last post by javajolt
The first Windows 10 computers with ARM-based chips are coming soon, including the Asus NovaGo, HP Envy x2, and Lenovo Miix 630.

While these won’t be the first devices with ARM-based chips to run something called Windows, they’re different from Windows phones or Windows RT devices in that they’ll run a full-fledged desktop version of Windows that performs almost like Windows on a computer with an Intel or AMD processor.


Microsoft has posted some new documentation for Windows 10 on ARM explaining how x86 emulation works and some troubleshooting tips for developers. But the company is also outlining some “limitations of apps and experiences on ARM.”

Chip architecture (x86 and ARM32 go, x64 no go)

Microsoft is confirming that you’ll be able to run most applications designed for x86 chips thanks to emulation. But 64-bit apps designed for Intel and AMD chips will not currently be supported.

Applications and built-in Windows experiences compiled for ARM64 should be good to go. Microsoft says that includes Windows 10 features like Explorer, the Start Menu, and Cortana. The company says Notepad and some other key Windows apps have also already been compiled to run natively on ARM64 devices.

When it comes to Universal Windows Platform apps (things you can download from the Microsoft Store), Windows 10 on ARM supports x86 and ARM32 apps… although if there’s an ARM32 version available that’ll always be the one that’s installed.

Interestingly it doesn’t seem like there’s any support for native ARM64 apps yet.

Games, drivers, and other features that might not work

Microsoft notes that games and other applications that require hardware-accelerated OpenGL or “use a version of OpenGL later than 1.1” don’t work.

Keep in mind that OpenGL 1.2 was released in 1998… so an awful lot of games probably won’t work.

Microsoft also says that “games that rely on ‘anti-cheat’ drivers are not supported,” which means that games with DRM aren’t going to work.

Windows 10 on ARM also only supports ARM64 drivers. That means any hardware that relies on an x64 or x86-specific driver isn’t going to work unless the driver is rewritten to support ARM64 architecture.

Other things that won’t work on Windows 10 on ARM include:

   • App that customize the native Windows experience by doing things like adding a shell extension (such as a cloud storage app that tries to add an “upload to cloud” option to the right-click menu in Windows Explorer), or input method editors or assistive technologies that use native OS components to load non-native components

   • Apps that assume any device with an ARM-based OS is using a mobile version of Windows may do things like display in the wrong orientation or use a mobile layout.

   • Windows Hypervisor Platform is not supported, so you can’t run virtual machines using Hyper-V.

Microsoft’s suggested workarounds: make new versions of your apps

If you’re an end user rather than a developer, you may be able to run the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter or adjust emulation settings to get some apps to work better. But there’s no guarantee that’ll resolve all of the issues.

For the most part, if a Windows application doesn’t work on Windows 10 for ARM, Microsoft suggests developers recompile it to use supported technologies.

For example, the solution for an app that’s only currently available for x64 architecture? Make an ARM or x86 version.

Have an app that uses OpenGL 4.2? Make a version that uses DirectX 9 or later instead.

Have a driver that isn’t designed for ARM? Recompile it to work with ARM.

Which is all well and good, but part of the appeal of Windows 10 on ARM is supposed to be that it’s compatible with legacy Windows applications in a way that Windows RT never was. Asking developers to do more work to add support for ARM isn’t all that different from what Microsoft has been doing (with limited success) for years: asking developers to port their apps to the new Universal Windows Platform and distribute them through the Windows Store.

The good news is that some (maybe even many) legacy Windows applications should work out of the box on upcoming Windows 10 on ARM devices like the HP Envy x2, Asus NovaGo, and Lenovo Miix 630. But unless PC makers sell an awful lot of those computers, it’s hard to imagine that developers will have much incentive to develop for the platform. And if developers don’t adopt the platform, it might be tough for Microsoft and PC makers to convince customers to buy those new Windows on ARM PCs.

So there’s a bit of a chicken and egg problem here. Maybe if there weren’t quite so many limitations on what Windows on ARM support, that wouldn’t be the case. But getting millions of existing Windows apps to run on devices with an entirely different chip architecture was already a pretty big challenge. It’s not surprising that there are some limitations.


 on: February 16, 2018, 05:42:19 PM 
Started by javajolt - Last post by javajolt
Microsoft released a new set of firmware updates for its Surface Book and Surface Pro Devices. This is the first set of firmware updates which the company is pushing out after the fix for Meltdown and Spectre issues.

There is nothing major which has been released in the latest firmware updates except that the updates improve the system compatibility, reliability and battery stability. The Firmware version for the Surface Book has been pushed to 90.2098.256.0.

Along with pushing out Firmware Updates with stability improvements for the Surface Book, Microsoft has also pushed out updates for its Surface Pro with Advanced LTE device. As is the case with the Surface Book, the firmware update for Surface Pro with Advanced LTE comes with battery and stability improvements for reliability and performance of the device.

The Firmware version has been pushed to 233.2102.1.0 for the Surface Pro Advanced LTE  and 233.2099.256.0 for the standard Surface Pro device, with the update not affecting the performance of the device in regards to the security, compatibility, and connectivity but improving the reliability and stability of the device.

The updates are currently available for download and you can get them by going to Settings> Update & security -> Windows Update -> Check for updates.


 on: February 16, 2018, 05:17:10 PM 
Started by javajolt - Last post by javajolt
This bug not only crashes iPhones but also disables access to iMessage and other apps.

iPhone owners, brace yourself for yet another bug that pranksters and other ne'er-do-wells can use to crash your iPhone and block access to messaging apps like iMessage and even third-party apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Gmail.

The bug, spotted by the Italian blog Mobile World, involves sending an Indian language character (Telugu) to the victim. Once it is received, the iOS SpringBoard application immediately crashes, and then the system prevents the application from loading.

This bug can cause iPhones to crash to the point where they require a DFU reset to recover.

The workaround for iMessage is to get someone else to send you a message, which allows you to open the application and delete the offending message, but for other third-party apps, the fix is dependent on the application, and it can range from simple to impossible if you don't have web access enabled for apps such as WhatsApp.

The bug also appears to affect Safari and Messages on macOS.


 on: February 16, 2018, 02:27:58 PM 
Started by javajolt - Last post by javajolt
LG has a new patent out there, for a foldable phone that has an interesting tidbit: a hand strap. The device does fold, but into a narrower format than usual. We dissected these innovations below.

LG has been working on a foldable phone for a while now, even getting Apple involved in a project of the sort. This time they seem to be doing their own thing, as revealed by this fresh patent titled “Mobile Phone”. It was submitted on March 9, 2015, and published only this week. LG included a special hand strap, that lets you grip the phone better. That’s rather odd and reminiscent of the accessories from the 90s.

Example of situations for a strap are these: working out, showing content to students in a school, e-reading on the subway and more. The problem is that the mechanism would have to expand and contract with the whole device. This also makes it feel that the device is glossy, otherwise, we wouldn’t need an extra help with grip. Foldable phones are being prototyped right now and I have a feeling that this patent won’t make it to the mainstream.

The USPTO has more details about this project.


 on: February 16, 2018, 02:22:24 PM 
Started by javajolt - Last post by javajolt
Microsoft seemed to have the upper hand over Samsung with the latest foldable phone design patents. They had a nice hinge thing going on, pretty solid and well built, resilient to potential stressors. Now Samsung strikes back with a patent of its own, for a foldable phone that uses a smarter hinge.

Samsung filed the patent with the WIPO, for an electronic device that uses a flexible display. The sketches showed here reveal a design that’s similar to the previous ones and it seems that Samsung is still working on the final design. It was filed by Sammy in May 2017 and published by WIPO only today. It’s written in English and describes a hinge that prevents a phone from big deformation and damage.

I see there several flexible pieces will rub against each other, aiding with the foldability of the device. This reminds me of a tank’s tracks if you really want a comparison and that’s also the approach the Microsoft took. Documents from Samsung mention this as a smartphone, portable phone, navigation device, game console, TV, and PDA. PMP, tablet, laptop and in vehicle unit are also here.

One of the sketches makes the device appear to be a clamshell, a theory we’ve heard related to Samsung before. In the folded state, the hinge members will keep the curvature of the flexible display at a predetermined value. This prevents extra deformation of the device. It feels like Samsung has fixed the resilience problem.


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