Category Archives: Cortana

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Make the most of your time with the new Windows 10 update

We all get the same 24 hours. And now, more than ever, it seems like it’s never enough. People feel more overwhelmed than ever before and pretty much all of us would love more time – not necessarily time to do more, but time to do what we love. At Microsoft, we want to help you do just that.

With Windows 10, we’ve focused on delivering the most modern and most secure operating system. Since its initial launch, we delivered two updates with features designed to enable the creator in each of us. With our latest major release – the Windows 10 April 2018 Update – we want to give you back some of your greatest currency, your time. Our hope is that you’ll have more time to do what matters most to you –  create, play, work or simply do what you love.
Timeline helps you easily find what matters to you across your devices
The proliferation of devices, combined with the explosion of information, has led to an influx of screen time. In fact, today, practically all free time goes toward screens. Your information is spread across multiple devices – making it increasingly harder to find your stuff. We’ve all had the experience of digging through your email or file folders for the document you know you wrote, but can’t find. Or looking for photos and videos that you know you’ve seen and love, but can no longer locate. Timeline can help you get back this wasted time.
With Timeline, your Windows 10 PC lets you go back in time up to 30 days to find your stuff, whether you were working on it earlier today, last week, or a few weeks ago. Because much of our activity is on the go, you can even pick up what you were doing if signed into your Microsoft account while using Microsoft Edge or Office 365 on your iOS or Android device when you return to your Windows 10 PC. Imagine looking at bathroom vanity options for that home remodel when you’re out and about on your phone, and then finishing that purchase when you’re back at your PC. Or working on a document on the bus during your commute and seamlessly picking it back up when you’re at your desk.

Focus Assist returns your focus
Today, most of us spend between 3-6 hours – each day – on screens. Much of this time is spent on social media, where the constant stream of distractions across our myriad of devices makes it hard to focus. In many ways, our attention is being hacked, pulling us into continuous scrolls of information, but distracting us from what matters most. This war on attention is real – in the workplace, the average amount of time people spend on any single event before being interrupted or switching tasks is about three minutes (outside of meetings). Since the average person needs about 23 minutes to regroup after being interrupted, we see our productivity and creativity diminished.
With the April 2018 Update we’re introducing Focus Assist to help you stay in the zone. Turn on Focus Assist whenever you want to get things done without distractions, like social media or other notifications. Or set it to turn on automatically at certain times during the day when you want focused time. When you finish, you receive a summary of what came through, whether notifications, emails or updates, while you were heads down. If you’re waiting on a specific call or email, choose people who you want to break through.

We’re also helping you focus while on the web with updates to Microsoft Edge. You can now click the audio icon to mute and unmute a tab that is playing sound. Books, PDFs and Reading View pages can go full-screen for a distraction-free reading experience. Shopping gets easier as your address, payment and other information can be securely saved with the option to autofill on web payment forms1. You can now clear out clutter from your printouts by printing web pages in a cleaner format with the new clutter-free printing option2. Finally, anyone needing a little help with reading can use the new Grammar Tools button to enable comprehension aids. Grammar Tools can break the words on the page into syllables, as well as highlight different parts of speech such as nouns, verbs, and adjectives.

Voice as a natural input
Natural computing experiences enable us to speak directly to our devices to accomplish tasks, without typing. We see potential for voice input to dramatically change how people interact with their devices, far beyond novelty experiences or entertainment.
One way we’ve done this in the April 2018 Update is with Dictation. It’s now easier than ever to take a note or write a paper, with just your voice. With your cursor in any text field either in Windows 10 or in an app, simply press Win+H and start talking. The improved Dictation feature in Windows 10 will capture your thoughts quickly and accurately so that brilliant idea you just riffed on with your colleagues or the speech you’re practicing for your best friend’s wedding isn’t lost forever.

With the April 2018 Update and Cortana enabled on your Windows 10 PC, you can manage your smart home right from your PC using just your voice3. For example, want to come home to a warm house from a long day at work? Just tap Cortana on your PC and say “Hey Cortana, set the living room thermostat to 72 degrees” to control your ecobee, Honeywell, Nest Learning thermostat and more4.
Of course, there are many more great new features in the April 2018 Update including simplified IT management tools for our enterprise customers, new ways to create with Photos, 3D and Windows Mixed Reality, new ways to keep you safer online and enhancements to your PC gaming experience.
The April 2018 Update will be available as a free download beginning Monday, April 30.
With all the time you’ll save, how will you use your precious time?
Yusuf
Twitter | LinkedIn

Make the most of your time with the new Windows 10 update
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1 Microsoft Edge does not save Card Verification Value (CVV) information.
2 This option available for only certain types of web pages.
3 Cortana available in select markets; experience may vary by region and device. Cortana Skills only available in the US and work with select home automation services (paid subscriptions may be required).
4 Additional requirements may apply per device.

Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17128 for Fast

Hello Windows Insiders!
Today, we are releasing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17128 (RS4) to Windows Insiders in the Fast ring.
On Build 17128, you will notice that the watermark at the lower right-hand corner of the desktop has disappeared. This does not mean this is the final build as we are not done yet. We’re just now beginning the phase of checking in final code to prepare for the final release. The only difference between this build and Build 17127 from Tuesday is the removal of the watermark. However, we’ve got more fixes being checked in for the next flight.
Additionally, we have also released Build 17127 to Windows Insiders in the Slow ring. We plan to provide the ISO for this build early next week.
Introducing Cortana Show Me
Ever wanted to change a setting, but didn’t know how? Enter Cortana Show Me, your guide to Windows 10 settings, which is now available for download in the Microsoft Store through this link. In our preview app, Cortana will show you how to change settings step-by-step. In this release, you can launch guides directly from the app homepage, but check back soon for voice entry points. For Insiders, the app is available in English (US and UK) and in German. We’ve created guides for 15 settings so far but stay tuned for further improvements and additional offerings. While we know this experience isn’t specifically designed for Insiders, it’s for all the friends and family we have who need a pointer – please share it with them.
If you click the link in Store and can’t download the app, wait a few hours and give it another try. It’s still rolling out!
Note: If you’re using keyboard navigation with your device, you will need to use Alt + T ab to move between Settings and Cortana Show Me.
Here’s the full list of guides:
Update Windows
Check if an app is installed
Uninstall an app
Change your desktop background
Use Airplane Mode
Change your display brightness
Add nearby printers or scanners
Change your default programs
Change your screen resolution
Turn off Windows Defender Security Center
Run a security scan
Change Wi-Fi settings
Change your power settings
Discover Bluetooth devices
Check your version of Windows
No downtime for Hustle-As-A-Service,
Dona

AI Platform for Windows Developers

At Microsoft, we’re making huge investments in AI and Machine Learning across the company. AI capabilities in Office 365 help subscribers with productivity at work, intelligent features in the Photos app for Windows 10 make it easier for people to create videos and search through massive photo collections, and Windows Hello uses AI to recognize your face and get you quickly logged in to your Windows devices. We also use AI to answer your questions when using Bing Search and Cortana, to enable advertisers build deeper connections with customers, and to help security professionals safeguard businesses against modern threats. Microsoft Research continues to drive the state of the art with speech recognition, machine reading and comprehension, computer vision. We’ve scaled AI to tiny devices, and even built AI that can draw!

“Intel’s Movidius VPU technology will deliver increasingly sophisticated AI experiences for the hundreds of millions of Microsoft users worldwide,” said Intel’s Remi El-Ouazzane, Vice President and General Manager of Movidius.
With the next major update to Windows 10, we begin to deliver the advances that have been built into our apps and services as part of the Windows 10 platform. Every developer that builds apps on Windows 10 will be able to use AI to deliver more powerful and engaging experiences.

“AI acceleration on Window 10 PCs is the latest evidence of how artificial intelligence is becoming ubiquitous in our everyday lives,” said Ian Buck, vice president and general manager, Accelerated Computing, at NVIDIA. “NVIDIA is delighted to be partnering with Microsoft to enhance the PC experience for users worldwide.”
The AI platform in Windows 10 enables developers to use pre-trained machine learning models in their Apps on Windows devices. This offers developers a number of benefits:
Low latency, real-time results. Windows can perform AI evaluation tasks using the local processing capabilities of the PC, enabling real-time analysis of large local data such as images and video. Results can be delivered quickly and efficiently for use in performance intensive workloads like game engines, or background tasks such as indexing for search.
Reduced operational costs. Together with Microsoft’s Cloud AI platform, developers can build affordable, end-to-end AI solutions that combine training models in Azure with deployment to Windows devices for evaluation. Significant savings can be realized by reducing or eliminating costs associated with bandwidth due to ingestion of large data sets, such as camera footage or sensor telemetry. Complex workloads can be processed in real-time on the edge, with minimal sample data sent to the cloud for improved training on observations.
Flexibility. Developers can choose to perform AI tasks on device or in the cloud based on what their customers & scenarios need. AI processing can happen on the device if it becomes disconnected, or in scenarios where data cannot be sent to the cloud due to cost, size, policy or customer preference. 

“We’re excited to be collaborating with Microsoft on the Windows ML platform, and helping developers accelerate on-device AI performance on Windows laptops with the Snapdragon 835 AI Engine.” Gary Brotman, Director of Product Management – AI and Machine Learning, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.
Our ML model evaluation is tuned for efficiency across the diverse silicon that runs Windows. By using instruction set optimizations on modern CPUs, hardware acceleration on GPUs that support DirectX 12, and a driver model for purpose-built AI processors in the future, we deliver performance and efficiency on the broadest range of form factors. With the update, developers can use the AI platform across the Windows device family, including IoT edge devices, HoloLens, 2-in-1s and desktop PCs, workstations, servers and in data centers.

“We’re excited to work with Microsoft on Windows ML as a part of taking advantage of the high-performance capabilities of AMD CPUs and GPUs to bring AI acceleration to Windows 10 PCs.” – Andre Zdravkovic, CVP Software, AMD
Windows supports ONNX, an industry standard format for ML models that is driven by Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon Web Services, and supported by Windows IHVs including NVIDIA, Intel, Qualcomm and AMD. Data scientists can train and deliver ONNX models for use by Windows developers using Azure Machine Learning Workbench, and coming soon, the Azure Custom Vision Service will also support creating ONNX models for Windows.
We’ve also invested in delivering a great development experience for AI developers on Windows. Starting with Visual Studio Preview 15.7, adding an ONNX file to a UWP project will automatically generate a model interfaces in your project. For prior versions of Visual Studio, developers can use the MLGen tool to generate the code interface and then manually add it to their projects. This capability will be coming soon to Visual Studio tools for AI as well.
For consumers, this is just the beginning! You’ll see more intelligence in every day experiences on Windows devices. Developers can build AI powered apps that help you inspire and communicate in 3d, keep track of tasks and commitments more easily, and listen to music from playlists made just right for you.
You can learn more about our AI journey at Windows Developer Day on March 7, and at //build 2018.

Windows 10 Tip: Ask Cortana to shut down, restart or sleep your PC

With the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, you can shut down, restart, or sleep your PC simply by saying any of these:
“Hey Cortana, lock my computer.”
“Hey Cortana, shut down my computer.”
“Hey Cortana, restart my computer.”
Head over here to read more about what’s new in the Fall Creators Update, and have a great week!
*Cortana available in select markets.

Hey Cortana, turn up the heat; Cortana now works with more smart home providers and IFTTT

Cortana helps make your life easier by making it easy to control your smart home devices from afar. Rush out of the house and forget to turn off the lights? No problem, just pull out your phone, open the Cortana app and say, “Hey Cortana, turn off the lights,” and she’ll take care of it for you.
Last October we announced you could use Cortana to manage your smart devices through Samsung SmartThings, Nest, Philips Hue, Wink, and Insteon. Today, we are pleased to announce that you can use Cortana to control your favorite smart home devices from ecobee, Honeywell Lyric, Honeywell Total Connect Comfort, LIFX, TP-Link Kasa, and Geeni. You can control these devices using Cortana on Windows 10, iPhone, Android, and the Harman Kardon Invoke speaker.
Want to come home to a warm house from a long day at work? Just tap Cortana on your PC and say “Hey Cortana, set the living room thermostat to 72 degrees” to control your ecobee, Honeywell Lyric, or Honeywell Total Connect Comfort thermostat. With vivid colors from your LIFX Wi-Fi connected light bulbs, you can set the mood just right for movie night.
With the slim smart plugs by TP-Link, you’ll never have to worry again about leaving the house and forgetting to turn off something like a space heater or straightening iron. Just say, “Hey Cortana, turn off the space heater.”
Geeni’s smart bulbs and power products work with Cortana, and its smart surge protector even lets you name and control each outlet separately or in groups with Cortana. For example, if you have several lamps in your living room, plug them into your Geeni surge protector and say, “Hey Cortana, turn off the living room lamps”, and Cortana will turn off all the outlets named “living room lamp”.
To set up your connected home with Cortana, open Cortana on Windows 10 or go to the Cortana app on your phone, click Notebook, then click Connected Home. From there, you can connect your favorite smart home accounts and control your devices from anywhere you use Cortana.*
Cortana now works with hundreds of services on IFTTT
We are also excited to share that starting today, Cortana works with IFTTT! IFTTT is a free platform that helps you connect your apps and services together. IFTTT works with 600 services from providers in a variety of areas. You could add items to your shopping list on Trello, post a tweet, open your Link shades, extend tumble time on your GE Dryer and log your weight on Fitbit among many other things. There’s a whole world of possibilities with Cortana on IFTTT.
Using IFTTT, you will be able to customize your experience by creating your own phrases to use with services on IFTTT. For example, you could turn your lights off by saying, “Hey Cortana, let there be light” or put money towards that next concert trip on Qapital by saying, “Hey Cortana, penny for my thoughts.” Use triggers and responses on IFTTT to make Cortana your truly personal assistant.
You can also use Applets on IFTTT with Cortana to trigger multiple actions with one phrase. So if you are watching a movie at home, you can say “Hey Cortana, movie time” and she’ll turn down your Hue lights, Harmony TV turned on, and your Nest Thermostat set to the right temperature.
Cortana is always available to help you on Windows 10, Android, iPhone, and Harman Kardon Invoke devices. Set up your Cortana Applets on the Cortana channel on IFTTT!

Hey Cortana, turn up the heat; Cortana now works with more smart home providers and IFTTT
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*Additional requirements may apply per device.

Windows 10 Tip: 7 pro tips for getting started with Microsoft Edge as your PDF viewer

With the latest feature updates, you can now do a lot more with your PDF in Microsoft Edge like, customize different views, take notes, and even have your PDF read aloud to you!
Check out all that the PDF viewer in Microsoft Edge has to offer:
Text highlighting and handwritten notes
Annotations in the browser is now extended to PDFs as well. Look for the “Add notes” button next to browser address bar to move into the annotations mode. The annotations toolbar has all the tools to highlight text or use Windows Ink to write on your documents. The toolbar also provides different colors for inking and the “Touch writing” button can be used to switch between annotating and scrolling and panning your document. And, if you’re not pleased with your annotation – the Eraser tool is there to remove things.

Pop-up menu and text notes
You can get to some of the features quickly through the pop-up menu that appears when you select any text. Once you select text, you will get an option to highlight the text quickly or add a text note. Click on the “Add a note” button and a text note will pop-up.

Easy navigation through the document
The PDF toolbar offers all the necessary tools to view PDFs. You can click/tap anywhere on the screen to invoke and dismiss the toolbar. You can enter a page number to jump to any page of the document or use “Table of contents” to jump to a desired section. “Search” can help you find all the occurrences of a text in the document and then easily jump to the locations.
Reading modes to suit your requirements
You can use “Rotate” to rotate those upside-down documents and use “Layout” to choose between different reading layouts including one-page and two-page layouts. Like to have freedom when it comes scrolling – then you’ll like the continuous and page-wise scrolling options. The “Full screen” option, in the browser menu, allows for distraction-free reading of your documents and books as well.
Pro tip: Try opening a PowerPoint presentation saved as PDF in single page layout with continuous scrolling off and go full-screen. You are now in presentation mode right from your browser.

PDF form filling
Every now and then we encounter forms to be filled which are in PDF format – and now you can fill them out within Microsoft Edge. You can even use the inking feature to sign the forms with your handwriting.
Read aloud
Now you don’t have to read those long research documents or books yourself because the browser will read them to you. Look for the “Read aloud” button in the toolbar to start reading your PDFs.
Ask Cortana*
Select any text within your PDF and click “Ask Cortana” and Cortana will give you all the necessary information of your search without even having to leave the browser tab.

So, the next time you open a PDF in Microsoft Edge, try out some of these features, and happy reading.

Windows 10 Tip: 7 pro tips for getting started with Microsoft Edge as your PDF viewer
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*Cortana available in select markets.

CES 2018: Five trends to watch – and new Windows 10 devices that power them

It’s exciting to kick off the new year with our incredible partners at CES, the world’s gathering place for people who love consumer technology. As I walked the floor and met with our partners, it’s been amazing to see the amount of innovation in the Windows ecosystem and the trends that will unlock creativity and empower a new culture of work in 2018 and beyond.

In line with our mission to empower every person and organization to achieve more, creators, students, and gamers continue to inspire us. Over the course of this week, we showcased new devices and experiences in five key areas:
1. Beautiful devices ranging from premium to affordable to fit every lifestyle
PCs are increasingly a lifestyle statement. People want beautiful and powerful devices that fit their style. Surface Laptop is a great example. It packs performance, versatility, and over 14 hours of battery life into a sleek design. Starting at $999, Surface Laptop is available in four colors to fit your style.
Surface Laptop available in four colors
At CES this week, our partners announced incredible new devices ranging from premium to affordable. We believe affordability should not come at the cost of elegant design and access to innovation – and no ecosystem offers more choice than Windows.
Examples of new Windows 10 PCs unveiled at CES this week include:
Acer Swift 7
Acer Swift 7
At just 8.98 mm thin, the new Acer Swift 7 is designed for mobility, with an ultraportable design, all-day battery life, and a personal, trusted 4G LTE connection. The Acer Swift 7 also comes with a built-in fingerprint reader to unlock Windows Hello. The Acer Swift 7 starts at $1,699.
ASUS Zenbook 13
ASUS Zenbook 13
The ASUS Zenbook 13 UX331UAL features a feather-light 985g all-metal chassis and all-day 15 hour of battery life for $999.
Dell XPS 15
Dell XPS 15 2-in-1
The Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 offers an eye-catching next-generation InfinityEdge 4K Ultra HD display with vivid color and cinematic immersion in a slim 16mm design. It’s built with the new 8th Generation Intel Core processor combining a high-performance Intel CPU and discrete Radeon RX Vega M graphics in a single package. It’s also built with far-field microphone capabilities that let you talk to Cortana even when you’re across the room from the PC. The XPS 15 2-in-1 starts at $1,299.99.
HP Spectre x360 15″
HP Spectre x360 15″
The HP Spectre x360 15″ is a great device with a starting price of $1,369 that will offer a beautiful convertible design, 4K screen, fast performance with 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor or quad-core 8th Generation Intel Core processors and powerful graphics that allow you to effortlessly create, edit, and stream content while delivering up to 13.5 hours of battery life.
Lenovo ThinkPad L580 series
Lenovo ThinkPad L580 series
The Lenovo ThinkPad L580 series include 8th Generation Intel Core processors and optional discrete AMD graphics in a thin and light form factor. The Lenovo ThinkPad L series ranges from $449 – $779.
Samsung Notebook 7 Spin (2018)
Samsung Notebook 7 Spin (2018)
The Samsung Notebook 7 Spin (2018) has a 360-degree rotating touch screen, is Active-Pen enabled for Windows Ink (Pen sold separately) and offers secure fingerprint login with Windows Hello. Samsung will share pricing and availability of this device in Q1.
2. A new category of Always Connected PCs with up to 20 days of standby power
In December, along with our hardware partners HP and ASUS, we showed the world the first full-featured Always Connected PCs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset running Windows 10. These Qualcomm-powered devices deliver instantly on, always-connected experiences that seamlessly switch between LTE and WiFi connections and up to 20 days of standby power. Also in December, we started shipping Surface Pro with LTE Advanced to business customers. Surface Pro with LTE Advanced provides seamless connectivity with unmatched versatility and performance.
Surface Pro with LTE Advanced for business customers
This week at CES, Lenovo announced the Miix 630, a 2-in-1 detachable that gives you the power and productivity of a laptop with the always-on, always-connected mobility of a smartphone. It offers up to 20 hours of battery life in a thin and light fan-less design and supports Windows Hello with a built-in infrared camera.
Lenovo Miix 630
HP also announced their Always Connected PC running on Intel chips: the HP ENVY x2.
HP ENVY x2
The new HP ENVY x2 is purpose-built for an always-on, always ready to work experience. The thin, light and durable device offers mobile flexibility to stay connected with an instant-on experience with optional 4G LTE and a brilliant touch display that supports Windows Ink.
3. Voice powers an increasing number of new PCs and devices
We built Windows 10 to be the most advanced platform for the most natural of input methods, including voice. From Windows Hello facial recognition to voice input with Cortana, AI is deeply incorporated into Windows 10 to make your experience more personal and more secure.
Thanks to far-field microphones arriving in more than a dozen new Windows 10 PCs, you can ask Cortana on your PC to check the score of the game, the weather, or hear the news. New devices from Dell and ASUS recently announced are great examples of what’s possible with this far-field capability and we will continue to see this number grow. We’ve seen Cortana expand to the Harmon Kardon Invoke voice-activated speaker, and we’re looking forward to more from HP, who will unveil a new device featuring Cortana, combining connectivity and voice activation in a beautiful, compact, and stylish design later this year.
Not only have we invested in deeply integrating Cortana for these advanced experiences, Windows also provides the most robust platform for our partners to offer additional voice capabilities.
This week, device makers including Acer, ASUS, HP, and Lenovo announced that Amazon Alexa will be available on some of their Windows 10 PCs in 2018 through an app. It’s great to see Amazon building an Alexa app for Windows 10 ahead of other platforms that leverage the far-field technology our hardware partners are building into their devices.
Finally, partners like Johnson Controls and Kohler have unveiled new smart home devices powered by the Windows and Azure platforms:
GLAS from Johnson Controls smart thermostat featuring Cortana
Johnson Controls announced the first in-home voice-controlled thermostat, using Cortana and powered by Windows 10 IoT and Azure IoT.
Kohler selected Azure IoT as its cloud platform to power its new line of connected products, KOHLER Konnect. KOHLER Konnect allows personalized bath and kitchen experiences that automate everyday tasks.
4. Mixed reality gains momentum
Windows Mixed Reality headsets from Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Samsung
Last year, we welcomed the launch of Windows Mixed Reality headsets from our partners Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Samsung, and unveiled highly immersive VR experiences, highlighted by many of the most popular VR games and experiences, including more than 2,000 titles from the Steam®VR library.
This week at CES, ASUS announced that their Windows Mixed Reality headset will be coming to customers in North America in the first quarter of this year.
When we unveiled Microsoft HoloLens, we knew mixed reality had the potential to change the world. Today, we’re inspired by industry leaders like Ford, thyssenkrupp, and Case Western Reserve University who are reimagining the possibilities of product design, remote assistance, and healthcare with HoloLens and mixed reality. With HoloLens now available in 39 markets and more on the way, we can’t wait to see what our partners will do in the coming year.
5. Gaming PCs that deliver more immersive and social experiences
PC gaming is booming, driven by innovation in VR, the incredible popularity of multiplayer games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), the excitement of esports, and game streaming services like Mixer. We continue to see PC gaming innovation from partners such as Dell, HP, NVIDIA, Lenovo, msi, iBUYPOWER, and Corsair.
This week, ASUS unveiled the ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) G703, a gaming laptop with an ultra-responsive 17.3-inch IPS-level display with NVIDIA G-SYNC technology that can reach refresh rates of 144Hz. It’s Mixed Reality Ultra Badged which means it’s powerful enough to run Windows Mixed Reality experiences when combined with a compatible headset and includes support for up to eight Xbox One controllers, eliminating the need for multiple adapters.
ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) G703
Continuing to push gaming display technology boundaries, NVIDIA just announced Big Format Gaming Displays, along with supporting hardware partners Acer, ASUS, and HP. BFGDs are high-end, 65-inch, 4K, 120Hz HDR displays – complete with NVIDIA’s G-Sync technology and integrated NVIDIA SHIELD set-top streaming box – that they are calling ‘buttery-smooth’ for gaming.
With all this innovation, it’s no surprise that gaming on Windows 10 PCs has increased 500 percent in the last year, with nearly 200 million monthly active users gaming on Windows 10 devices.
This is just the beginning
We are just scratching the surface of what’s possible—and what’s to come in the Windows device ecosystem. With the relentless pursuit of new categories and new experiences on modern devices, innovation and ecosystem collaboration doesn’t stop at CES.
For us, this is just the beginning.
Terry
LinkedIn |  Twitter

Cortana coming to more devices in 2018 through Devices SDK and new reference designs

2017 was an exciting and productive year for Cortana — from launching the Harman Kardon Invoke intelligent speaker, releasing our Skills Kit, and introducing many new features and capabilities — we continue to grow the Cortana ecosystem to help people get things done across work and life.
To kick-off 2018, we’re making it easier than ever for OEMs and developers to build for Cortana with the Cortana Devices SDK. Just last week, Johnson Controls announced the new Cortana-enabled JCI Glas thermostat, built using the Cortana Devices SDK. We’ve also partnered with industry leaders including Allwinner, Synaptics, TONLY and Qualcomm, to develop reference designs for new Cortana experiences. Sign up today to start building with the Devices SDK and bring Cortana to your very own designs or leverage one of the many reference designs from our Cortana Device Program partners. Additionally, skills created using the Cortana Skills Kit are available on devices built leveraging the SDK, allowing users to seamlessly access their favorite Cortana skills across all devices.
With the support of both existing and new partnerships, we’re continuing to bring Cortana to even more places in the office, at home and on the go. Regardless of the device or context, our goal is to put Cortana everywhere you need assistance, whether that is on your PC, phone, Xbox, mixed reality headsets, intelligent home speakers, thermostats and even more in the future. You’ll continue to see Cortana integrated on your favorite devices and services throughout the year to come.
More on the reference designs from our Device Program partners:
Allwinner
The Allwinner Tech R16 Quad Core IoT solution is now available with Cortana, enabling partners to build voice first IoT devices. The reference designs come with the software integration to equip device partners to deliver high quality Cortana devices reducing cycle time and overhead.
Synaptics
Synaptics is an industry leader in far-field voice processing for consumer IoT, smart speakers, PCs and beyond. Synaptics provides Cortana and Skype certified solutions that greatly reduce development time-to-market and provide a high-quality user experience. Learn more about Synaptics designs here.
TONLY
TONLY has collaborated closely with Microsoft to design, develop and manufacture Cortana devices that optimize Skype audio requirements.
Qualcomm
Qualcomm and Microsoft are excited to enable partners to build Mesh Networking and Smart Audio products that bring Cortana value to customers, through reference designs on the Qualcomm® Smart Audio Platform and Qualcomm® Mesh Networking Platform. Learn more about Qualcomm designs here.

Johnson Controls utilizes Microsoft technology to expand the smart thermostat category

Heating and cooling account for more than 40 percent of the energy use in a typical home and makes for the largest energy expense for most families. In the commercial building sector, the cost for energy is approximately 40 percent of their expenses.
We’re excited to share that today, Johnson Controls (JCI), the inventors of the first room thermostat, revealed details of GLAS, the first smart thermostat featuring Cortana and powered by Windows 10 IoT Core.

The simple to use, elegant thermostat features a translucent OLED touchscreen display for you to control temperature, monitor indoor and outdoor air quality, check the weather and more so you can live and work comfortably in your home or office. When connected to the internet, GLAS continuously monitors air quality and intelligently adjust settings to help create a comfortable home environment. GLAS can also adapt to your schedule and save energy, blending seamlessly with a home or building’s environment when not in use. After adopting your preferred settings and routines, the thermostat can intelligently detect when you’re home and can adjust settings accordingly to keep your space comfortable and energy efficient.

To ensure GLAS stays up to date with important feature and security updates while providing a simple and interactive experience, Johnson Controls turned to Microsoft technologies to bring GLAS to life, including its most secure, trusted and cutting-edge IoT platform, and its personal assistant, Cortana.
Cortana is integrated into the thermostat so you can use your voice to easily adjust your space, in addition to understanding indoor and outdoor temperature and learning about the current weather forecast. For example, just say, “Hey Cortana, set the temperature to 68 degrees,” and GLAS will adjust the temperature in your space accordingly. Moreover, Cortana can help you manage your calendar, inform you of traffic, answer questions, and more, so all of this information is on display in one place to help jumpstart your day before leaving the door.  You can access GLAS on mobile, tablet or web browser, with mobile apps currently available to download for iOS and Android, and a Windows 10 app expected soon in the Microsoft Store.

GLAS is the latest personal device built using the Cortana Devices SDK, much like the Harmon Kardon Invoke with Cortana. Cortana delivers intelligence and deep integration with Microsoft’s suite of knowledge and productivity tools. Coupled with JCI’s deep experience in building automation and controls, GLAS will provide a seamless and interactive experience you can control with your voice or any of your connected devices to help ensure your home is comfortable.

Windows 10 IoT simplifies the process of bringing together all the pieces and technologies needed to make a full solution. JCI chose to build GLAS on Windows 10 IoT Core and utilize Azure IoT Hub device management capabilities, which was released with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Because GLAS is powered by Windows 10 IoT Core and Azure IoT, the smart thermostat keeps getting better by delivering the latest feature and security software updates.

Johnson Controls utilizes Microsoft technology to expand the smart thermostat category
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GLAS is available for pre-order in March 2018 at glas.johnsoncontrols.com. For more information, visit glas.johnsoncontrols.com.

Start shopping Microsoft Store’s Black Friday deals now!

You can also save on apps like Adobe Photoshop Elements 2018, PC games including Halo Wars 2, movies like Deadpool and Wonder Woman and more at Microsoft Store on your Xbox or Windows 10 device.
Keep reading for the full list of the hottest Black Friday deals from Microsoft Store and remember to check out our Cyber Monday deals starting Nov. 26 at 9 p.m. PT.
Surface

Save $329 on Surface Pro bundle
Get instant savings on Surface Pro (Intel Core i5/256GB SSD) and black Type Cover.
Save $229 on Surface Pro bundle
Bundle and save on Surface Pro (Intel Core i5/128GB SSD) and black Type Cover.
Free Harman Kardon Invoke
Buy a select Surface Laptop and get the new Harman Kardon Invoke speaker for free ($199 value) – Available through Monday, Nov. 27.
Xbox

Xbox One S only $189 + free game
Score an amazing deal on an Xbox One S 500GB console, plus get a select free game of choice and one month of Xbox Game Pass.
Save $50 on Xbox One S bundles + free game
Save $50 on Xbox One S 500GB and 1TB bundles plus get a select free game.
Windows 10 PCs
Save up to $300 off select Windows 10 PCs
Looking for a new PC? Save up to $300 this holiday when you purchase a new Windows 10 PC that lights up the recently released Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. The Fall Creators Update brings mixed reality and 3D to the masses, faster broadcasting for gaming, features to turn photos and videos into real memories, and much more.
Windows Mixed Reality

Save up to $100 on Windows Mixed Reality headsets
Grab instant savings on select Windows Mixed Reality headsets with motion controllers, starting at $299 – Available through Monday, Nov. 27.

Bundle and save up to $400
Get instant savings on select Windows Mixed Reality headsets and PC bundles.
Accessories
Up to $20 off Xbox controllers
Save instantly on select Xbox Wireless Controllers through Monday, Nov. 27.
Save $20 on Minecraft controller
Build, dig, and craft in style with the Xbox Wireless Controller – Minecraft Creeper.
Save $50 on Elite headset
Hear every pin drop with the Turtle Beach Elite 800x on-ear headset with noise-cancellation – Available through Monday, Nov. 27.
Digital
Up to 50% off games
Stock up on the hottest Xbox games this season like Halo Wars 2 and Super Lucky’s Tale.
Call of Duty for $49.99
Save $10 on Call of Duty: WWII.
Save $20 on Office 365 Home
Get Office 365 Home for $79.99 and get things done from virtually anywhere, on all your devices.
Microsoft Store
Don’t forget! Microsoft Store locations nationwide will offer the first Black Friday shoppers a chance to win an Xbox One X. Be in line before the store opens on Nov. 23, in select locations and on Nov. 24, in most locations for a chance to win.** Check your local Microsoft Store for more information.

Happy shopping!
Visit your local Microsoft Store, Microsoft.com or any of our retail partners for more details on availability and pricing.
Offers valid for a limited time, while supplies last. Not valid on prior orders or purchases; cannot be transferred or otherwise redeemed for cash or coupon code(s). May not be combinable with other offers. Refunds will take into account the discount. Price discount does not include taxes, shipping or other fees. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Microsoft reserves the right to modify or discontinue offers at any time. Other exclusions and limits may apply. 
**No Purchase Necessary. Open only to legal residents of the 50 U.S.+ DC, Puerto Rico, or Canada (excluding Quebec) who visit a Microsoft Retail Store beginning on November 23 or 24 (check your store’s Black Friday hours for opening times). One winner will be drawn 15 minutes after opening at each store. Must be present to win. For Official Rules, see a store associate.