Category Archives: Windows Mixed Reality

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Mixed Reality at Microsoft – February update

It’s hard to believe that 2018 is almost two months old! Speaking on behalf of everyone on the mixed reality team at Microsoft, we are excited about the year to come. We have a lot of fun things planned.
Because I love mixed reality so much, I thought February 14th (Valentine’s Day for those who celebrate) would be the perfect day to kick off a new regular update from us. Each month we will share some news on what we are doing, and we will highlight some of the great work coming to market from our customers and partners.
Let’s get going with what we have to share today!
Making it easier to get your hands on HoloLens
We have heard loud and clear that people are looking for additional ways to get HoloLens. To support that demand we have two important program updates to share.
HoloLens expands to more markets
First, I’m happy to announce we will soon be making HoloLens available in Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. To all the developers, creators, partners, and customers we will now work with – welcome! With these new additions, HoloLens is now available in 41 markets around the world.
HoloLens now available for rent
Second, many of our customers have expressed a desire to rent HoloLens, so that companies can evaluate before purchasing or increase their inventory temporarily to support tradeshows and events.
Today, we are excited to help remove this barrier and announce that customers in North America can now rent a HoloLens from our partners at ABCOMRENTS. We are also working to bring this program to additional markets in the months ahead. We look forward to sharing those details soon.
For those in the USA and Canada who are interested in renting HoloLens devices, please visit this link.
Continued adoption of mixed reality
The best part of my job is seeing what people around the world are doing with mixed reality. The innovation and development we see on the platform inspires us to create the software and tools needed to bring the potential of mixed reality to life.
Over the first six weeks of 2018, we have seen some really great work from our partners and customers. Here are a few of my favorites.
Trimble expands their mixed reality product portfolio

Last month, Trimble announced Trimble Connect for HoloLens and a new hard hat solution for HoloLens that improves the utility of mixed reality for practical field applications. Trimble has paid close attention to how to support HoloLens as a high-value tool for firstline workers and are continuing to increase their impact on the market.
Trimble Connect for HoloLens is a mixed-reality solution that improves coordination by combining models from multiple stakeholders such as structural, mechanical and electrical trade partners. The solution provides for precise alignment of holographic data on a 1:1 scale on the job site, to review models in the context of the physical environment. Trimble Connect for HoloLens is available now through the Microsoft Store.
Trimble’s Hard Hat Solution for Microsoft HoloLens extends the benefits of HoloLens mixed reality into areas where increased safety requirements are mandated, such as construction sites, offshore facilities, and mining projects. The solution, which is ANSI-approved, integrates the HoloLens holographic computer with an industry-standard hard hat. Trimble’s Hard Hat Solution for HoloLens is expected to be available in the first quarter of 2018.
HP unveils Windows Mixed Reality Headset – Professional Edition
Last week, we saw HP announce the HP Windows Mixed Reality Headset – Professional Edition. What we love about this headset is the work HP is doing to enhance the way work is done within a set of industries we also care deeply about – Engineering Product Dev and design reviews, AEC (Architecture, Engineering & Construction) reviews, and MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) training use environments.

Just like the consumer edition, this headset delivers 1440×1440 resolution per eye and up to a 90Hz refresh rate. For businesses, this headset is the perfect combination of comfort and convenience as it comes with easy to clean, replaceable face cushions. It also uses a double-padded headband, easy adjustment knob and front-hinged display for a superb experience for one or more users.
Honeywell introduces mixed reality simulator to train industrial workforce and help close skills gap

Earlier this week Honeywell Process Solutions announced a cloud-based simulation tool named Honeywell Connected Plant Skills Insight Immersive Competency. This new offering uses mixed reality to train plant personnel on critical work activities. With as much as 50 percent of industrial plant personnel due to retire within the next five years, Immersive Competency is designed to bring new industrial workers up–to–speed quickly by enhancing training and delivering it in new and contemporary ways. By implementing experiences that take advantage of both HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality immersive headsets, Honeywell has been able to deploy a solution that directly links industrial staff competency to plant performance by measuring the training’s effectiveness based on real outcomes.
We look forward to sharing more next month. If you have any questions or needs, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter – @lorrainebardeen.
And – if you celebrate – enjoy Valentine’s Day! Here’s a little something for you.

Lorraine

Mixed Reality at Microsoft – February update
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Target Surface Hub and Windows 10 S on a Snapdragon processor with your UWP apps

When submitting your UWP app or game to Microsoft Store through Dev Center, you have the flexibility to choose the device families on which customers can acquire your app. By default, we make your app or game available to all device families which can run it (except for Xbox, which you can opt into as appropriate if your packages support it). This lets your apps and games reach the most potential customers.
Recently, we’ve added new options that let you offer your submission to customers on Surface Hub. You can now also offer ARM packages to Windows 10 S on a Snapdragon processor (Always Connected PCs).

To target Surface Hub when submitting your UWP app to the Microsoft Store, simply ensure that the box for the Windows 10 Team device family is checked. This is generally the case if you upload packages targeting the Universal or Team device family.
If you include an ARM package in your submission that targets the Universal or Desktop device family, this package will be made available to Windows 10 S on a Snapdragon processor (Always Connected PCs) devices as long as the Windows 10 Desktop device family box is checked.
The example above shows three packages that target the Universal device family, x64, ARM and x86. The boxes for Windows 10 Desktop, Windows 10 Mobile, Windows 10 Xbox, Windows 10 Team, and Windows 10 Holographic are selected. This means that customers on any of those device types can download this submission.
For more about device family selection, check out our documentation.

App packaging and testing
App packages are configured to run on a specific processor architecture. We highly recommended that you build your app packages to target all architectures whenever possible, so your app will run smoothly on all Windows 10 devices. To learn more, visit our app package architecture documentation.
We highly recommend that you test your app on all device families that you plan to support to ensure the best experience on all devices. To learn more about steps to take before packaging and submitting your UWP app, read our documentation.

#ifdef WINDOWS – 3D launchers and glTF toolkit

With the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, when developing experiences for Windows Mixed Reality, a 3D launcher can be defined to override the default 2D launcher and provide a richer experience launching a game or app from the mixed reality home.
Roberto Sonnino and Tom Mignone from the mixed reality team dropped by my office to give me a hands on demonstration as we discussed why developers should consider creating 3D launchers and what is possible when creating 3D tiles. We also covered why the team chose glTF as the file format and how they created the glTF toolkit to make it very easy for developers to modify and optimize glTF assets.
Check out the full video above and feel free to reach out on  Twitter or in the comments below.
Happy coding!

Microsoft Education unveils new Windows 10 devices starting at $189, Office 365 tools for personalized learning, and curricula to ignite a passion for STEM

Our ongoing commitment to empower every student to create the world of tomorrow continues today with several new announcements for education. Whether igniting interest in STEM, learning in 3D, helping students of all abilities improve their reading, writing, and comprehension, or saving teachers time and helping them collaborate, we know technology has the power to unlock limitless learning.
I love hearing about the inspiring results we see from schools using Microsoft Education products, and we’ve been pleased to see more schools choosing Windows this year.
This week at Bett, we’ll show new Windows 10 and Windows 10 S devices from Lenovo and JP, starting at just $189, providing more options for schools who don’t want to compromise on Chromebooks. We’ll add new capabilities to our free Office 365 for Education software, enabling any student to write a paper using only their voice and making it easier to access Teams via mobile devices. And we’re making STEM learning fun with a new Chemistry update to Minecraft: Education Edition and new mixed reality and video curricula from partners like BBC Worldwide Learning, LEGO®* Education, PBS, NASA, and Pearson.
New Windows 10 devices starting at $189 and free professional development
Affordability is the top priority for many schools. Shrinking budgets can lead schools to choose devices with a stripped-down experience and a limited lifespan, unfortunately costing more over time and offering less to students. Our new Windows 10 devices won’t force schools to compromise on features, giving schools cutting-edge tools like touch, inking, and 3D as well as free accessibility technology like Learning Tools, which improve reading comprehension by 10 percentile points for students of all abilities. This week, building on the success of our expansive education device portfolio, we’ll be showing new 2-in-1s under $300 and notebooks under $200. Our new devices include:
Two new Lenovo devices to give schools great performance at a great price.

The Lenovo 100e, a brand-new Intel Celeron Apollo Lake powered PC, starting at just $189 USD**.

The Lenovo 300e, an affordable 2-in-1 convertible PC with pen support, starting at $279 USD.
Two new devices from JP, one of our largest partners in emerging markets.

The Classmate Leap T303 laptop with Windows Hello, starting at $199 USD.

The Trigono V401 2-in-1 with pen and touch, starting at $299 USD.
These new devices join the HP ProBook x360 11 EE, which continues to be one of our best-selling 2-in-1 devices in education at just $299 USD and the recently released HP Stream 11 Pro G4 EE PC starting at $225 USD. They are all spill resistant and ruggedized to avoid accidental breakage, have long battery life to avoid charging wires all over the classroom and have faster connectivity.
With Intune for Education, it’s easy to set up and manage Windows devices. With Microsoft 365 Education schools can get our complete software solution with free Office 365 Education and starting next month, with purchase of certain Microsoft 365 Education licenses, they can also get free Professional Development to help train teachers on how to get the most from their new technology.***
Personalized learning drives better results
Office 365 is built to support every type of learner, with assistive technology natively built-in and tools like Word, OneNote, and Teams that give every child a voice in the classroom. We are proud to offer teachers in 146 countries Office 365 Education for free, and there are a number of new updates coming to Office in the next month, including:
Starting in February, we will introduce dictation in Office 365 to help students write more easily by using their voice.
Microsoft Learning Tools improves reading, writing, and comprehension for all students, especially the one in five students who have a learning difference. Starting in February, we will introduce dictation in Office 365 to help students write more easily by using their voice. Immersive Reader functionality will also expand Word for Mac, iPhone, Outlook Desktop, OneNote iPad, and OneNote Mac with support for many new languages.
OneNote Class Notebook, which has added more than 15 million new student notebooks since the beginning of this school year, will now include assignment and grade integration with the most widely used School Information Systems in the UK (SIMS Capita).
To further simplify classroom workflows, we are delivering on the number one request from teachers for Class Notebooks, enabling them to lock pages as read-only after giving feedback. In OneNote, we are also enabling Desmos interactive math calculators, a set of popular applications for STEM teachers.
Teams, a digital hub for the classroom, is now accessible on iOS and Android so teachers and students can now keep track of their assignments and classroom conversations on their phones or tablets. To enable language learners to engage in classroom conversations, our newest updates will also make it easy to translate any conversation or chat into another language.
PowerPoint will now allow teachers to record their lessons including slides, interactive ink, video, and narrations and publish to their Stream channel in Teams classrooms. This way, students can view from anywhere in advance of class, so class time can be used for conversation. Stream will also add automatic captioning to the videos to make them accessible to all learners.
Our recently announced partnership with PowerSchool – the leading global education technology platform for K-12 – will help create classroom efficiencies, enable collaboration and provide insights that allow teachers to spend more time teaching and less time focused on administrative tasks.
Sparking creativity with STEM
Igniting a passion for STEM in today’s students will help prepare them for the future. We’re committed to giving teachers new ways to teach these subjects with fun curricula that sparks students’ innate creativity, a skill that is predicted to be one of the top three most desired skills by employers in 2020.
One way we do this is through MakeCode, which today announced a new Cue Education app, available first on Windows, new curricula for Computer Science with MakeCode for Minecraft, and a new MakeCode for micro: bit Windows 10 app.
Chemistry comes to life through Minecraft
Nothing shows the power of creativity in STEM education more than Minecraft: Education Edition, which is already being used in classrooms in more than 115 countries. This spring, a new and free Chemistry Update will enable teachers to use the familiar world of Minecraft and game-based learning to engage students of all ages in chemistry. Through hands-on experimentation, students can learn everything from building compounds to more difficult topics like stable isotopes.
Mixed reality for immersive learning
Our research shows the most effective learning involves multiple regions of the brain. In the era of mixed reality – which includes augmented and virtual reality, we are working with our partners to deliver products and experiences that will help teachers push the boundaries of their curricula.
Over the last year, we have seen remarkable instances of teachers and institutions using Microsoft HoloLens to bring 3D experiences to life in the classroom. With the release of Windows Mixed Reality immersive VR headsets that start at $299, we provide a more affordable entry point for mixed reality in the classroom.
To support that effort, today we are announcing three important program updates:

Pearson – the world’s largest education company – will begin rolling out in March curriculum that will work on both HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality immersive VR headsets. These six new applications will deliver seamless experiences across devices and further illustrate the value of immersive educational experiences.
We are expanding our mixed media reality curriculum offerings through a new partnership with WGBH’s Bringing the Universe to America’s Classrooms project****, for distribution nationally on PBS LearningMedia. This effort brings cutting-edge Earth and Space Science content into classrooms through digital learning resources that increase student engagement with science phenomena and practices.
To keep up with growing demand for HoloLens in the classroom we are committed to providing affordable solutions. Starting on January 22, we are making available a limited-time academic pricing offer for HoloLens. To take advantage of the limited-time academic pricing offer, please visit, hololens.com/edupromo.
New partnerships in STEM learning
Lesson plans that encourage hands-on and visual learning drive deeper engagement from students, and we’re excited to partner with some of the world’s most respected brands to bring teachers exciting new lessons in time for the next school year.
Starting this March, we’ll be partnering with BBC Worldwide Learning to bring the stunning BBC Earth natural history film Oceans: Our Blue Planet to classrooms and museums around the world, starting with the release of the film in museums this March. As part of the multi-faceted partnership, we are also exploring ways to expand this content across the Microsoft Education portfolio.
Starting this March, we’ll be partnering with BBC Worldwide Learning to bring the stunning BBC Earth natural history film Oceans: Our Blue Planet to classrooms and museums around the world, starting with the release of the film in museums this March.
And together with LEGO® Education, we’ll be offering a new free online Hacking STEM lesson plan that has students use the Pythagorean Theorem to explore and measure topography in 2D/3D space. Acting as environmental surveyors and engineers, students build tools with LEGO® bricks from the Simple & Powered Machines set or cardboard to create and visualize an initial transportation plan for the development of an island National Park in Excel. They then bring their National Park to life by adding topographic elements.
With all of these new experiences available in time for the upcoming school year, there’s never been a better time for schools to try Microsoft Education. We will continue to work hard to deliver innovative technology for educators around the world to unlock limitless learning for students of all abilities.
*LEGO, the LEGO logo are trademarks and/or copyrights of the LEGO Group. ©2018 The LEGO Group. All rights reserved. **$219 global pricing ***If at least 30 qualified licenses are purchased between February 1, 2018, and December 31, 2018, you can schedule free in-person or virtual Professional Development led by certified Microsoft training partners. Learn more on microsoft.com/education. **** “Bringing the Universe to America’s Classrooms,” is a cooperative agreement awarded to WGBH from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) under cooperative agreement award No. NNX16AD71A.

Surface Book 2 coming to all Surface markets

Surface Book 2 is the most powerful Surface we’ve ever built, and customers love that they can run their most demanding applications from anywhere. For those of you who have been waiting for Surface Book 2 to come to your market, the wait is over. Surface Book 2 is coming to all current Surface markets in both 13” and 15” sizes, and pre-order for Surface Book 2 15” begins today in 17 markets.
Surface Book 2 is a portable powerhouse with up to 17 hours of battery life. Since the product first launched in November, we have been hearing from customers and fans about what sets Surface Book 2 apart. They love that it delivers the processing and graphics power required to run demanding applications, but gives them the freedom to work away from their offices when projects demand or inspiration strikes. Featuring the latest 8th Generation Intel Core Processors and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 and 1060 discrete graphics, it runs the high-performance applications customers rely on, the PC games people love, and Windows Mixed Reality experiences. Surface Book 2 also supports Surface Pen with tilt and 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity for amazing inking as well as Surface Dial on-screen. Like its predecessor, Surface Book 2 can instantly transform from a laptop to a digital canvas to a sleek tablet, unleashing your creativity.

Today, we’re excited to bring the power of versatility of Surface Book 2 to more people around the world. Pre-orders for Surface Book 2 15” will begin today in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
Later, beginning in February and continuing through March and April, Surface Book 2 13” and 15” will roll out to Bahrain, China, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. Check with Microsoft Stores, local retail or your commercial reseller partners for details on availability in your market.

Surface Book 2 coming to all Surface markets
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*Note: Surface Book 2 13” is already available in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

#ifdef WINDOWS – Getting Started with Mixed Reality

I sat down with Vlad Kolesnikov from the PAX Mixed Reality team in Windows to talk about what mixed reality is and how developers can get started building immersive experiences. Vlad covered what hardware and tools are needed, building world-scale experiences, and using the Mixed Reality Toolkit to accelerate development for Microsoft HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality Headsets.
Check out the video above for the full overview and feel free to reach out on Twitter or in the comments below.
Happy coding!

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
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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.

This Week on Windows: Celebrate the countdown to 2018 with great deals at Microsoft Store

We hope you enjoyed this week’s episode of This Week on Windows!
Beginning today, find the perfect last-minute gift or treat yourself during the Countdown to 2018 sale with deals of up to 50% off popular PC games, up to 65% on select Xbox Digital Games, up to 60% off popular movies and TV shows, up to 75% on must-have software and apps for Windows 10, great deals on Surface and Xbox One bundles, entertainment and more! You can shop the sale now at Microsoft Store online, on your Windows 10 PC, and on your Xbox.
Below we’ve rounded up some of the best Countdown deals, available now at Microsoft Store:
Game On
There are numerous adventurous options on sale now for PC and Xbox gamers alike:

PC Games
Save up to 50% on popular PC games for Windows 10, including these favorites:
Disneyland Adventures – 35% off

The Disneyland theme park comes alive like never before. Each adventure is based on the park’s real-life attractions, with opportunities to interact with beloved Disney characters.
Forza Motorsport 7 Standard Edition – 35% off

Gorgeous graphics and more than 700 Forzavista cars to collect bring you the danger and beauty of competitive racing at its limit.
Super Lucky’s Tale – 35% off

A delightful platformer for all ages that follows Lucky, the ever-optimistic, energetic, and lovable hero, on his quest to help his sister rescue the Book of Ages.
Xbox Consoles
For a limited time, buy an Xbox One X and get PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, the game named “Best Multiplayer Game” at this year’s Video Game Awards.
For Minecraft fans, save $100 on the Xbox One S Minecraft Limited Edition Bundle (1TB), and enjoy $20 off select Minecraft Edition Xbox Wireless Controllers with purchase of the Minecraft Explorers Pack. There are also several limited-time deals happening now inside Minecraft.
Or save up to $80 on Xbox One S 500GB bundles, now starting at $199, plus get a free select game.
Xbox Digital Games & Subscriptions
Save up to 65% on select Xbox Digital Games. Plus, if you’re an Xbox Live Gold member, you can save up to 10% more! Not a Gold member? Get your first month of Xbox Live Gold membership for just $1. And while you’re at it, try Xbox Game Pass for just $1 for the first month.
Here are a few of our Xbox Digital Game favorite deals:
Call of Duty WWII – 17% off; 25% off with Gold
The popular franchise returns to its roots in this edition, a breathtaking experience that redefines World War II for a new gaming generation.
Star Wars Battlefront II – 30% off; 40% with Gold
Enter a Star Wars multiplayer universe where up to 40 players fight as iconic heroes and authentic-to-era troopers, all in a massive array of vehicles on land and in the air.
Cuphead – 15% off on Windows 10 and Xbox
Inspired by cartoons from the 1930s, this game is a classic run-and-gun actioner with visuals and audio painstakingly recreated to be authentic to the feel of the era.
Entertainment
Not a gamer but still want to be entertained? Find great deals on Movies & TV and ebooks during the Countdown sale, too.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens + Bonus – 25% off

Relive this epic adventure and see tons of deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage and amazing bonus features, too – including an hour-long featurette.
Spider-Man: Homecoming + Bonus – 50% off

Following his sensational debut in Captain America, a young Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) begins to navigate his newfound identity as a web-slinging superhero.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle + Bonus – 25% off

When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, the Kingsman’s journey leads them to discover an allied spy organization in the U.S.
ebooks
If a good read is more your speed, you’ll enjoy flipping through and choosing from the numerous ebooks on sale, up to 80% off, including:
The Bourne Objective by Robert Lundum – 50% off

No matter how the plot twists and turns in a Jason Bourne novel, the thrills are always first-rate. In this installment, he’s facing down mercenaries in Africa when he witnesses the death of an art dealer named Tracy Atherton.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson – 80% off

The holidays are a stressful time of year, but keeping life’s little things from driving you crazy is what this book is all about.
Today Will Be Different – 50% off

A brilliant novel from the author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette, about a day in the life of Eleanor Flood, forced to abandon her small ambitions and awake to a strange, new future.
Gear up for the best you in 2018
It’s not all fun and games – we’ve got great deals on Surface, PCs, and apps to help ring in the new you in the New Year!
Surface and PC Deals
Save $200 on select Surface Pro and Surface Laptop i5 devices, designed for the way you work, play and all of the moments in between. Save up to $650 on PC and Windows Mixed Reality headset bundles and immerse yourself in a wide range of epic experiences. Or save up to $500 on select new Windows 10 PCs.
Software and apps
Save up to 75% on must-have software and apps for Windows 10, including:
Affinity Photo – 20% off

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Dolby Access – 20% off

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djay Pro – 40% off

Hosting a New Year’s party or just need a new soundtrack for your life? Use djay Pro to access millions of tracks, including millions on Spotify, and put your own unique spin on music.
You can also still get your gifts in time for the holidays by picking up your online purchase or visiting your local Microsoft Store, and get a Limited-Edition Xbox Holiday Ornament with any in-store purchase while supplies last. Plus, experience the Microsoft Wish Machine by sharing an inspiring wish for your local community while you’re there. Wishes are already being granted so follow #MicrosoftWishMachine and get yours in today through December 31!
If you’re still looking for that perfect gift to give this Holiday season, we have the answer: This year, give the gift of choice with a Microsoft or Xbox Gift Card. Or, give the gift of games through Xbox digital gifting. It’s simple and fast, no shipping required.
Explore more deals
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite Countdown deals from Microsoft Store here, but there’s so much more to explore – PC games, Xbox digital games, Movies & TV, ebooks, software, and apps galore!
And just to keep things interesting, be sure to visit the Microsoft Store on Xbox, on Windows 10, or follow Microsoft Store on Twitter, for even more, one-day-only Daily Deals on Xbox games, Movies & TV, and ebooks!
Happy shopping!
*Available 12/22/2017 to 1/4/2017 on select items available through Microsoft Store while supplies last. Offers and content vary by market and may change at any time. Not valid on prior orders or purchases. May not be combinable with other offers. Other exclusions and limits may apply.

Announcing Babylon.js v3.1

Babylon.js is an open source framework that allows you to easily create stunning 3D experiences in your browser or your web apps.
Built with simplicity and performance in mind, it is the engine that fuels the Remix3D site, Xbox Design Lab or 3D objects preview in Teams or OneDrive on the web.
Earlier this year we announced the third version of the engine. Today I’m glad to announce its first update: Babylon.js v3.1.

The main goal of this version was to provide helpers to achieve high end tasks. Let’s see some of them:

Improving VR experiences with the VRExperienceHelper
Babylon.js v3.0 introduced support for WebVR and VR controllers (including Windows Mixed Reality, Oculus and HTC Vive). With 3.1 release, we wanted to make the process to add VR experience in your code simple.
Therefore, we introduced the VRExperienceHelper which will take care of the following for you:
Create the HTML button to enter VR mode
Create a WebVRCamera (if supported) and a DeviceOrientationCamera as a fallback (this camera will allow you to use device orientation events to control your scene. This is useful on mobiles for instance)
Add support for teleportation and rotation in the same way you can experience it in the Windows Mixed Reality cliff house
Add support for controllers picking (you can use your controllers to interact with the scene) and gaze picking (you can use your gaze to interact)
All of this will be available with literally 3 lines of code:

var VRHelper = scene.createDefaultVRExperience();
VRHelper.enableTeleportation({floorMeshName: "Sponza Floor"});

You can try it here: https://www.babylonjs-playground.com/frame.html#JA1ND3#15

We also added more WebVR demos on our homepage for you to try:

Building a 3D experience with 2 lines of HTML with Babylon.js Viewer
Babylon.js viewer is a new tool to allow you to integrate 3D into your web sites or web apps in a couple of seconds. Everything can be done directly from your web page:

<body>
<babylon model.title="Damaged Helmet"
model.subtitle="BabylonJS"
model.thumbnail="https://www.babylonjs.com/img/favicon/apple-icon-144×144.png"
model.url="https://www.babylonjs.com/Assets/DamagedHelmet/glTF/DamagedHelmet.gltf">
</babylon>
<script src="//viewer.babylonjs.com/viewer.js "></script>
</body>

With these two lines of HTML you can create a complete touch aware 3D viewer anywhere in your page.
http://viewer.babylonjs.com/basicexample
The viewer can be configured in all possible way either with HTML attributes, JavaScript code or even with DOM elements:

<babylon extends="minimal" scene.default-camera="false">
<model url="https://playground.babylonjs.com/scenes/BoomBox.glb" title="GLB Model" subtitle="BabylonJS">
</model>
<camera>
<behaviors>
<auto-rotate type="0"></auto-rotate>
</behaviors>
</camera>
<lights>
<light1 type="1" shadow-enabled="true" position.y="0.5" direction.y="-1" intensity="4.5">
<shadow-config use-blur-exponential-shadow-map="true" use-kernel-blur="true" blur-kernel="64" blur-scale="4">
</shadow-config>
</light1>
</lights>
</babylon>

All the user interface can be updated to reflect your brand and the configuration model can also be extended.
Please follow this link to our documentation to learn mode about the Babylon.js viewer: http://doc.babylonjs.com/extensions/the_babylon_viewer
Create your demo setup with a few lines of code thanks to the EnvironmentHelper
For non-3D experts, setting up a 3D environment (lights, skyboxes, etc.) could be tricky. Therefore, we added a tool named EnvironmentHelper and directly available on the scene to help you with this task.
Using it is straightforward:

var helper = scene.createDefaultEnvironment();
helper.setMainColor(BABYLON.Color3.Teal());

And you can then get a good-looking setup (skybox + ground) adapted to your scene:

The helper offers a lot of options like enabling reflections or shadows:

var helper = scene.createDefaultEnvironment({
enableGroundMirror: true,
groundShadowLevel: 0.6,
});

See a live version here: https://www.babylonjs-playground.com/#4AM01A
Helping the community with our glTF exporter for Autodesk 3dsmax
We introduced support for glTF 2.0 in Babylon.js 3.0 and we wanted to help our community to produce assets in this open standard format. This is the reason why we worked on adding support for glTF export in our Autodesk 3dsmax exporter.
You can now create your scene in 3dsmax and directly export it to glTF in one click:

More info here: http://doc.babylonjs.com/resources/3dsmax_to_gltf
From the client to the server: Introducing the NullEngine
Starting with Babylon.js v3.1, we introduced the NullEngine which is a version of the main Babylon.js engine but we no need for a WebGL capable device.
The NullEngine will obviously not produce any rendering and thus can be used in a node.js / server-side environment.
It can be used to:
Run tests
Run a server-side version of your application / game
Use specific Babylon.js services (like glTF loaders for instance)
More details can be found here: http://doc.babylonjs.com/features/nullengine
Improving the codebase
Babylon.js is entirely written in TypeScript. In order to improve the quality of the code we decided to turn on all strict type checking offered by the latest version of TypeScript (like the strict null check introduced by TypeScript 2.0 or the strict function types added by TypeScript 2.6).
With stricter type checking we can capture errors and bugs at compilation time and thus provide more reliable code for the community.
Improving documentation
Writing good documentation is a complex task. With this release we added more content for beginners. We now have complete course starting from scratch and going through all important aspects of the engine.

We also added several multi-steps guide so you can read and learn at your own pace.
If you want to know more or just want to experiment with our latest demo, please visit http://www.babylonjs.com/.
And if you want to join the community and contribute, please join us on GitHub!