Category Archives: Android

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Microsoft gives parents peace of mind with new family features across devices – Windows Experience Blog

We live in a time of both great opportunity and great responsibility. Our children have access to more information, entertainment and more ways to connect than ever before, but with that comes plenty of new things that parents like you and I need to worry about and new ways to distract their attention. Today, we are excited to introduce new features that make it easier and safer for families to interact with technology and, each other, across devices and platforms.
Creating tools and features that empower both parents and kids has always been an important part of our work and is becoming increasingly vital, not only to us as a business, but to us as individuals – parents, aunts and uncles, siblings and friends. As a mother to a young and curious daughter, I deeply understand the need for tools to help balance the use of technology in the home as well as out of the home. It’s especially near and dear to me as leader of a team building experiences for mobile devices. We emphasize the idea of transparency as a guiding principle for these new experiences. Today, I am happy to share new features that will help create greater transparency between parent and child, as well as between Microsoft and parents in what to expect from our tools.

We’re bringing new features to the popular Microsoft Launcher app for Android with two new mobile experiences, currently in preview, that give parents more peace of mind for their family and a look at your child’s activity across their devices – Windows 10 PCs, Xbox One devices, and now their Android phone.
With Microsoft Launcher installed on your family’s Android devices and a Microsoft family group of accounts set up, parents can:
Stay up to date on kids’ whereabouts. At home and on the go, you can use Microsoft Launcher to get an update on your kids’ location and rest easier knowing they are safely where they should be. You can see your child’s (or children’s) last known location and time.
Be aware of which apps your kids are using. Check in on your kids’ app activity on their Android device, including which apps are accessed and time spent on each app. With Xbox One or a Windows 10 PC set up in your family portal, you can also view their activities on those devices through Microsoft Launcher.
Microsoft Launcher is the only launcher that gives parents this visibility across Android, Windows 10, and Xbox One devices. Children and parents always have the option to toggle features off and on at any time and, best of all, it’s free. If you have a Microsoft family group, you can install Microsoft Launcher on your family’s Android devices. If you don’t have a family group set up yet, it’s easy – here’s how.

With Microsoft Edge, the ability to allow or block websites has always existed on your PCs. Now, we are extending this feature to you and your family’s Android devices. If you have set up a Microsoft family group, any websites you have already tagged as allowed or blocked for your kid(s) will carry the same settings as they try to access websites in Microsoft Edge on their Android devices. The update will begin rolling out today.

We are also excited to announce MSN Kids, currently in preview, a curated news site created specifically for children in the elementary and middle school age group. We saw a need for a place for kids to learn about the world in a safe, trustworthy and fun environment. The site offers editorially curated, age-appropriate news and features from partner publishers such as Time for Kids, Popular Science, Sports Illustrated for Kids, National Geographic, and USA TODAY.
MSN Kids brings curated, kid-friendly news to the web
Content is kid-friendly and helps children find things of interest to stay engaged, learn, and have fun – with no sponsored content or advertising. Kids can learn about animals, the world around them, kids like them doing interesting things around the globe and more. When using Microsoft Edge, kids can also use pen and read aloud to engage with puzzles or assist with reading articles. Check out the preview today at msnkids.com.

These new experiences are the next step in a long history of creating products, features, and settings with families in mind, spanning gaming to mobile to PC and the web.
Family safety settings in Windows 10 and Xbox One:  With families today owning more personal devices than ever, including kids at increasingly younger ages, we’ve invested in family settings that work across devices and platforms. A core set of family safety settings – including the ability to block mature content and apps, set screen time limits, and review kids’ purchase requests – have long been available for Windows 10 PCs and Xbox One devices. These settings help parents keep kids safer, while also fostering independence and letting kids do homework, research, and be creative, using technology as a powerful learning tool.
Safer online spending with Ask a parent:  One especially useful setting, called Ask a parent, lets parents avoid surprise spending on Xbox or the Microsoft Store by receiving notifications when kids want to make a purchase. Parents can decide whether to approve based on the maturity level, cost, and whether it fits within screen time allowed. From the kids’ perspective, it’s a good way to let Mom or Dad know what cool new game they want. From the parents’ perspective, it’s a good way to help kids manage temptations (such as in-app purchases) and make good choices.
Shared family notebook in OneNote: Earlier this month we released the new family notebook in OneNote. We know families are busier than ever and with a family notebook your whole family can stay in sync and organized – from shopping lists to vacation planning, the whole family can share, edit and access information in one place.
These are just some of the many great features across our devices and services that empower families with peace of mind, tools to learn, grow and, of course, have fun. More information can be found at this page. Please download Microsoft Launcher and Microsoft Edge for Android and give the new features a try. We look forward to hearing your feedback so we can empower you with the best tools to create the safest, most productive and fun experiences for our families.

Microsoft gives parents peace of mind with new family features across devices
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Microsoft Announces Simplygon Cloud; Optimizes Mixed Reality Development

Earlier this year, we announced the acquisition of Simplygon, a leader in 3D model optimization based in southern Sweden. As we continue our journey to bring the benefits of mixed reality to everyone, Simplygon is an important accelerant that makes it easier, faster, and cheaper to develop in 3D.
Introducing Simplygon Cloud
Today, I am excited to announce the launch of Simplygon Cloud on Azure Marketplace. Simplygon reduces complexity in the creation and extensibility of 3D models through optimization. Simplygon supports GLTF, FBX and OBJ file types for ingestion; rendering engines including Unity 3D and Unreal Engine; and all major mixed reality platforms, including Windows Mixed Reality, iOS and Android. 
How it works
Historically, 3D asset optimization has taken days or weeks of manual effort and is one of the tasks that artists and developers dislike the most. With Simplygon, you can create 3D assets once – at full visual fidelity – and automatically optimize them to render smoothly on any platform – within minutes, saving valuable time and money.

As an example, the above left 3D model of a couch was built with 584,000 polygons. To render this content on a lower GPU device, Simplygon optimized this down to 5,000 polygons, which greatly reduces the file size, while maintaining the ideal visual fidelity for the intended device.
How To Get Started
Simplygon Cloud is now available in the Azure Marketplace. To get started, visit our Azure Marketplace home to learn how to deploy the Simplygon Cloud virtual machine and start optimizing your 3D assets. Please also visit our documentation for examples and more information on how to integrate this into your workflow today.
We look forward to sharing more in the months ahead. This is a very exciting time for everyone who is developing in the era of mixed reality!

Microsoft Edge for iOS and Android: What developers need to know

As you may have read on the Windows Experience blog, Joe Belfiore announced today that Microsoft Edge is coming to iOS and Android, bringing the best browsing experience on Windows 10 to more pockets around the world.
Joe’s post has everything you need to know about availability and features of the preview app experiences. Here, we want to talk a bit about these new apps from a web developer point of view.

Getting the preview apps
As any developer can appreciate, testing and learning is a crucial part of launching a new product. It’s something we don’t take lightly. As such, we are beginning with a limited preview to get feedback and learn.
The iOS app is available today for a limited audience in Apple’s TestFlight system, and the Android app will be available shortly via Android’s Play Store Early Access. Consistent with our engineering approach for Windows 10, we’ll be listening to feedback throughout our preview and will update the apps regularly with fixes and new features. When our telemetry (and feedback) shows that the quality is great, we’ll make the apps available for public download – our goal is to do so later this year.
Engines and Platforms
One of the most common web developer questions we’re expecting is – what engine are you using? Did you port EdgeHTML to iOS and Android?
Our choices are directly related to how we think about the goals of the EdgeHTML engine itself on Windows 10.
A web platform is a complex piece of technology that in many respects duplicates aspects of an entire operating system in a single app. Part of our strategy with EdgeHTML is to build an engine that, instead of replicating (and, in some senses, competing with) the underlying platform, integrates and works with it to deliver the best possible security, accessibility, battery life, interactivity, just pure raw performance on that platform. We are proud of the work we’ve done with EdgeHTML on Windows 10, all while driving the web forward with new capabilities and supporting interoperable standards. We are fully committed to continuing to do so into the future, across the full spectrum of Windows 10 platforms and form factors.
Taken in that light, it should then not be a surprise that we have chosen to adopt the core web platform technologies on each of the app platforms we are announcing today.
On iOS, we are using the WebKit engine, as provided by iOS in the WKWebView control. That means that from a compatibility perspective, Microsoft Edge for iOS should match the version of Safari that is currently available for iOS.
On Android, we are using the Blink rendering engine from the Chromium browser project. This approach gives us more control and better performance than using the Android WebView control, but means that we are shipping our own copy of the rendering engine in the app. Much like other Android browsers based on Chromium, we expect to keep up with Chromium releases. You can expect that, from a compatibility perspective, Microsoft Edge for Android will match the version of Chrome that is currently available for Android.
User Agent String
A highly related question is – how can I detect Microsoft Edge from my site?
In most cases, you shouldn’t need to do anything different for your site to just work in Microsoft Edge for iOS and Android. But, we know that in some cases (for example, for analytics, or for choosing the right text in an onscreen instruction related to the browser experience), you might want to know that the user is using Microsoft Edge on an iOS or Android device.
Right now, the apps are using User Agent strings that exactly match the strings used by the primary browser on that platform.  Very soon, we will update the preview apps to include a new token in their user-agent strings, as below:
Microsoft Edge for iOS user agent string
Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 10_3_2 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/603.2.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Mobile/14F89 Safari/603.2.4 EdgiOS/41.1.35.1
Microsoft Edge for Android user agent string
Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 8.0; Pixel XL Build/OPP3.170518.006) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/58.0.3029.0 Mobile Safari/537.36 EdgA/41.1.35.1
A few notes:
The app/OS identifier is chosen so that it does not contain the string “Edge.” This is to avoid triggering any existing UA detection logic that might accidentally decide that these browsers are Microsoft Edge for Windows 10, resulting in a desktop site or something equally confusing.
The version number “41” is the app version number aligned across all current versions of Microsoft Edge (note that for simplicity, the app version number is not currently exposed in Microsoft Edge for PC; only the EdgeHTML engine version number is exposed).
The sub-version number is a platform-specific version number that internal version number of the app on that platform.
Stay tuned
We are excited to be releasing these preview apps, bringing the Microsoft Edge ecosystem to the devices in your pockets with the features you expect, and plenty of unique new features to come.
Stay tuned to this blog (or follow us on Twitter) for more updates on Microsoft Edge, and be sure to try out the preview apps for yourself and let us know what you think. Help us build the best browsers we possibly can!
You can find out more about the preview apps on the preview site.
– Sean Lyndersay, Program Manager, Microsoft Edge