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Microsoft Confirms End of Windows Phone

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Microsoft Confirms End of Windows Phone

Microsoft OS designer Joe Belfiore takes to Twitter to confirm what many already suspected-- work on Windows Mobile is officially over, bringing an end to the Microsoft-powered smartphone.

Belfiore does say existing support phones will continue to receive bug fixes and security updates, but Microsoft is not working on new software features or hardware. This was to be expected, considering how new development builds of the mobile OS stopped appearing earlier this year.

One also has to keep in mind Windows Phone user volumes remained all too low, leading to developers dropping support for the platform even as Microsoft offered financial incentives.

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More Google Devices at Pixel 2 Event

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More Google Devices at Pixel 2 Event

The Google Pixel 2 event might have technically been about the flagship smartphone, but the search giant also found the time to reveal a range of other devices-- the Pixelbook Chromebook, the Home Max and Mini smart speakers, and the Clip camera.

Tying all the recently announced Google devices together is Assistant, the Google virtual assistant. The search giant says the launch builds on its current "AI-first philosophy," making a combination of hardware and software able to learn and adapt to the user.

But on to the devices themselves. The Pixelbook is a continuation of Google's Chromebook efforts, being a 12.3-inch notebook powered by the browser-based OS, with built-in Google Assistant and Play Store support. It is 10mm thick, weighs 1kg and carries 7th generation Intel i5/i7 CPU, 16GB RAM, up to 512GB SSD storage and a battery promising 10 hours of use on a single charge.

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Intel Gives Up on Project Alloy?

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Intel Gives Up on Project Alloy?

Road to VR reports Intel has given up on Project Alloy-- the reference design for an all-in-one self-contained VR solution promising to "cut the VR cord."

Described as "the future of merged reality" back at its 2016 Intel Developer Forum reveal, the Project Alloy headset carried all components to power VR experience. As such, it allowed a full range of motion with 6 degrees of freedom (6DoF), as well as Augmented Reality (AR) via RealSense technology.

However a statement provided to Road to VR reads Intel is winding down the reference design because of lack of partner interest. The reason why partners are not interested is unclear, but it could be due to costs associated with essentially cramming a full Windows PC in a headset.

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China-Backed Equity Firm Buys Imagination

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China-Backed Equity Firm Buys Imagination

Imagination Technologies, the former maker of the graphics chips inside iDevices, has found a buyer-- Canyon Bridge, an equity firm backed by Chinese fund Yitai Capital.

According to the Financial Times the deal is worth £550 million, and is conditional on the completion of the sale of MIPS. The Imagination US unit currently being bought by Silicon Valley investment group Tallwood Venture Capital.

Back in June 2017 Imagination put itself on the selling block after Apple, its largest customer and one of its biggest shareholders, decided to stop using PowerVR technology in favour of self-designed solution. The announcement halved the value of Imagination stock almost overnight, causing a crisis in the company.

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Microsoft Teases Windows Mixed Reality Event

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Microsoft Teases Windows Mixed Reality Event

The press is to see more of the Windows Mixed Reality-- aka the Microsoft combination of virtual and augmented reality-- at a special event come 3 October 2017, ahead of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update launch.

The event should be an "opportunity to hear where Microsoft is headed next," and will have Kinect and HoloLens inventor Alex Kipman as speaker.

One can safely assume the event will host a variety of Windows Mixed Reality headsets, which should hit the market from 17 October. As seen at IFA 2017, Mixed Reality headsets come from a number of vendors, including Acer, HP, Dell and Lenovo. The trade show also hosted an Asus headset with unique polygonal design, but that one will only hit the market on Spring 2018.

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And the Buyer of the Toshiba Memory Unit is...

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And the Buyer of the Toshiba Memory Unit is...

Toshiba appears to have decided on a buyer for its memory chip unit-- the consortium formed by Bain Capital and SK Hynix, together with some financial backing from Apple.

However, Reuters reports, Toshiba is still "not ruling out a deal with other bidders," making the lengthy process to sell the unit even more, well, lengthy. Reuters also says the decision to choose the Bain-led group comes after failure to bridge disagreements with the other main rival suitor, Western Digital.

“We are disappointed that Toshiba would take this action,” a WD statement reads. “Our goal has been — and remains — to reach a mutually beneficial outcome that satisfies the needs of Toshiba and its stakeholders.”

WD has complicated the sale of the deal, since it has a joint investment in a key Toshiba NAND production plant-- leading to a lawsuit from Toshiba over what it deems as interference.

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New iPhones, Watch, Apple TV at September Apple Event

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New iPhones, Watch, Apple TV at September Apple Event

The 12th of September sees Apple inaugurate its new, purpose-built theatre-- named, of course, the Steve Jobs Theatre-- with the launch of the latest iPhone models, as well as the Watch Series 3 and the Apple TV 4K.

Following an preamble on the state of the Apple Store by retail chief Angela Ahrendts, Tim Cook took to the stage to present the next version of the Watch. First off was the revelation the Watch is now the top watch in the world, beating even the likes of Rolex and Fossil, while customer satisfaction is no less than 97%. The company also claims the Watch is now the most used heart rate monitor in the world.

But what is really interesting is the next generation of Watch-- Watch Series 3, now with built-in cellular radio for truly bringing the Dick Tracy 2-way wrist radio dream to life. The smartwatch shares a number with the user's iPhone, streams Apple Music and pairs with with the AirPods. Powering it is a new dual-core processor promising a 70% performance boost, together with a custom W2 wifi/Bluetooth chip. Handling cellular connectivity is an electronic SIM, while the antenna is built right into the display.

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HTC to Sell Off VR Business?

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HTC to Sell Off VR Business?

HTC is going through a spot of financial trouble, Bloomberg reports-- and to solve such woes the company considers either selling or spinning off its Vive virtual reality business.

According to anonymous sources HTC is working with an adviser as it weighs between "bringing in a strategic investor, selling its Vive virtual reality headset business or spinning off the unit." Apparently a number of companies are interested, including Google, but HTC will probably not be sold in full since "it isn’t an obvious fit for a single acquirer."

HTC has been refocusing from smartphones to high-end VR, but while IDC reports Q1 2017 Vive headset shipments total over 190000, these are still not enough. In fact, the company has recently slashed headset prices by $200 in an effort to expand both sales and user base, two factors it believes are more important than earnings.

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PCs Drive HP Q3 2017 Results

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PCs Drive HP Q3 2017 Results

HP beats Wall Street expectations as it reports Q3 2017 revenues of $13.1 billion, a 10% Y-o-Y increase. However profits are down, slipping from $783 million in Q3 2016 to $696m.

That said, the company remains bullish about the results, particularly since the Personal Systems business sees "incredible" 12% Y-o-Y growth, bringing in revenues of $8.4bn. Commercial revenues are up by 11%, while consumer revenues increase by 14%. In addition, the company reports total shipments are up by 7%, driven by a 12% increase in notebook shipments.

Desktop and workstation shipments are down by -3% Y-o-Y.

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