Tag Archives: Windows 10 Creators Update

Smooth as Butter Animations in the Visual Layer with the Windows 10 Creators Update

The Windows 10 Creators Update marks the third major release of the Windows UI platform APIs. With each release, an attempt is frequently made to simplify features introduced in prior releases. This encourages Universal Windows Platform (UWP) developers to standardize on these features. The new hide and show implicit animations are an example of this.

At the same time, too much standardization can potentially lead to conformity, so with each new release more powerful visual features like the new custom animations are also added, which allow developers who are willing and able to dive into them to customize their user interfaces and stand out from the crowd. This inherent tension between ease of use and the power to customize rewards developers for their efforts while also making sure that no one gets left behind.

Hide and show animations for page transitions

Page transitions, often accompanied by state transitions as visual elements, are added to the visual tree of the new page. In fact, a lot of interactivity in UWP simply involves deciding which content to show and which content to hide as the state of the app changes. More often than not, this is tied to changing the value of the Visibility properties of the elements on the screen.

In the Creators Update, two new implicit animation techniques have been added to help you make these transitions more fluid: ElementCompositionPreview.SetImplicitShowAnimation and ElementCompositionPreview.SetImplicitHideAnimation. Whenever a UIElement is loaded or when that element’s Visibility property is set to Visible, the implicit animation associated with it using SetImplicitShowAnimation will play. Similarly, whenever the user navigates away from a page or when a UIElement is hidden, an animation associated with it using the SetImplicitHideAnimation method will be invoked. These two mechanisms make it easier for you to include motion as an inherent aspect of all your visual elements, while providing a seamless experience for your users.

Connected animations

Implicit animations are great for animating controls inside a page. For navigation transitions between pages, however, the Visual Layer provides a different mechanism known as connected animations to help you make your UI even sweeter. Connected animations help the user stay oriented when she is performing common tasks such as context switching from a list of items to a details page.

The Windows UI platform APIs provide a class named the ConnectedAnimationService to coordinate animations between the source page and the destination page during navigation. You access the service by calling the static GetForCurrentView method. Then in the source page, you invoke PrepareToAnimate, passing in a unique key and the image that should be used for the transition animation.


ConnectedAnimationService.GetForCurrentView().PrepareToAnimate("MyUniqueId", image);

In the destination page, you retrieve the image from your ConnectedAnimationService service and invoke TryStart on the ConnectedAnimation while passing in the destination UIElement.


var animation = ConnectedAnimationService.GetForCurrentView().GetAnimation("MyUniqueId");
if (animation != null)
{
    animation.TryStart(DestinationImage);
};

In the Anniversary Update you did not have much control over this animation technique. Everyone got pretty much the same standard one. With the Creators Update, on the other hand, you have lots of new superpowers to personalize your transitions with:

  • Coordinated animations
  • Custom animations
  • Better image animations

Just to reiterate the point made in the introduction, the goal in designing the Windows UI platform APIs is to provide an awesome experience out of the box so you can copy the standard samples and get beautiful, fast and visually appealing visuals. At the same time, this shouldn’t ever take away from your ability to personalize the user experience to create something truly unique and wonderful with powerful new tools, like coordinated animations and custom animations.

Coordinated animations

A coordinated animation is a type of animation that appears alongside your connected animation and which works in coordination with your connected animation target. A coordinated animation gives extra visual flair to your page transition.

In the coordinated animation sample above, caption text that is not present in the source page is added to the destination page. The caption text is animated in tandem with the connected animation. We are doing two things here (in designer terms): providing context between the source and the destination using our connected animation while also adding visual interest with a coordinated animation at the destination. In user experience terms, though, all we’re doing is making the app’s transition animations look really cool.

Coordinated animations are fortunately also easy to implement. The TryStart method of the ConnectedAnimation class provides an override that allows you to pop in an array of visual elements you want to animate in a coordinated fashion. Let’s say that your caption text is in a visual element that you’ve named “DescriptionRoot.” You can add this as a coordinated animation by tweaking the previous code like so:


var animation = ConnectedAnimationService.GetForCurrentView().GetAnimation("MyUniqueId");
if (animation != null)
{
    animation.TryStart(DestinationImage, new UIElement[] { DescriptionRoot });
};

That’s a lot of power packed into a little argument.

Custom animations

By default, the connected animations in the navigation sample move in a straight line from the origin position in the source page to the target position in the destination page. If you select a box in the far-left column, it will move more or less straight up, while if you select a box in the top row, it will more or less move directly left to get to that target position. But what if you could put some English on this?

You can with custom animations, introduced in the Creators Update. The custom animations feature lets you modulate your transitions in four ways:

  • Crossfade – Lets you customize how elements crossfade as source element reaches destination
  • OffsetX – Lets you customize the X channel of Offset
  • OffsetY – Lets you customize the Y channel of Offset
  • Scale – Lets you customize scale of the element as it animates

In order to customize a particular part of a connected animation, you will need to create a keyframe animation and add it to your page transition using the SetAnimationComponent call like so:


var animation = ConnectedAnimationService.GetForCurrentView().GetAnimation("MyUniqueId");

var customXAnimation = Window.Compositor.CreateScalarKeyFrameAnimation();
customXAnimation.Duration = ConnectedAnimationService.GetForCurrentView().DefaultDuration;
customXAnimation.InsertExpressionKeyFrame(0.0f, "StartingValue");
customXAnimation.InsertExpressionKeyFrame(0.5f, "FinalValue + 25");
customXAnimation.InsertExpressionKeyFrame(1.0f, "FinalValue");

animation.SetAnimationComponent(ConnectedAnimationComponent.OffsetX, customXAnimation);

Note that you use expressions to get the starting and ending values of the connected animation.

Awesome image animations

The Creators Update also introduces improved image interpolation for connected animations where the image size and even the relative dimensions are changing between the source and the destination—for instance transitioning from a square to a rectangular image.

This interpolation happens automagically so you have less to worry about.

Implicit animation support for property sets and shadows

Finally, animation capabilities are also extended in the Creators Update by allowing you to apply implicit animations to property sets and shadows.

This change provides developers with even more creative flexibility and the ability to modify shadows in interesting new ways, as shown in the code sample below.


var shadowBlurAnimation = compositor.CreateScalarKeyFrameAnimation();
shadowBlurAnimation.InsertExpressionKeyFrame(1.0f, "this.FinalValue");
shadowBlurAnimation.Duration = TimeSpan.FromSeconds(1);
shadowBlurAnimation.Target = "BlurRadius";

//Associating animations with triggers 
implicitAnimationShadow["BlurRadius"] = shadowBlurAnimation;
implicitAnimationShadow["Opacity"] = shadowOpacityAnimation;
implicitAnimationShadow["Scale"] = shadowScaleAnimation;

implicitAnimationVisual["Translation"] = translationAnimation;
            

//Applying Implicit Animations to objects 
content.Properties.ImplicitAnimations = implicitAnimationVisual;
shadow.DropShadow.ImplicitAnimations = implicitAnimationShadow;

Wrapping up

The visual power being made available to developers through the Windows UI platform APIs have basically always been a part of the UI Framework. They just haven’t always been accessible until now. Think of this as a UI nuclear reactor being handed over to you to play with. With this awesome power, however, also comes the responsibility to create sweet UI and beautiful interactions. Go forth and be amazing.

To learn more about the topics covered in this post, you are encouraged to voraciously consume the following articles and videos:

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Sweet UI made possible and easy with Windows.UI and the Windows 10 Creators Update

Since its original debut with the Windows 10 November 2015 update, Windows.UI.Composition has been empowering developers to build fast, beautiful, sweet user interfaces in UWP and has been providing enhancements with every subsequent Windows release. At Build 2017, we revealed what all of this continuous work has been leading up to: The Fluent Design System (aka ‘Project Neon’).

Moving from classic ‘Flat Design’ to Fluent Design requires the visual and performance capabilities that the Composition APIs offers along with the interop features that let you draw on this power from your XAML layer. In case you are not yet familiar with the concepts behind the Composition APIs, here’s a quick refresher on what the Composition APIs are all about.

The Windows.UI.Composition namespace allows Universal Windows Platform (UWP) developers to use a new Visual Layer that will get them closer to the metal, graphically speaking, while still using familiar technologies like XAML and C#. By getting closer to the metal, actually down to the system compositor level, developers are able to get great visual performance and custom UI experiences. By working through the XAML layer, developers get the ease of use they have come to expect out of UWP. This is basically a best of both worlds scenario that puts great responsibility in the developer’s hands. And with great responsibility, as we all know, comes great power.

So why do you need all these graphical and UX superpowers? In addition to giving pizazz to your UWP apps, access to the system compositor level also helps your users to accomplish their tasks faster and more fluidly. For instance, when you use Composition effects to blur a background in response to a click, you are focusing the user’s attention on her current task and removing distractions. This is the sort of subtle UI implementation that actually makes your user’s life easier – and it works best when your user doesn’t even know that you did anything for them. They are just left with the impression that your app is easy to use and feels fast, even if they can’t exactly put their finger on the reason.

The Visual family

To better understand the basic principles of Windows.UI.Composition, it’s important that we also introduce you to the visual family. In order to get fast and fluid effects, you need direct access to something called the system compositor (sometimes also referred to as the DWM). The system compositor is agnostic to the UI thread and doesn’t really care about being on the UI thread or blocking threads. Things happen very quickly at the system compositor level, where everything that is about to be sent to the display screen gets put together. This is also where you get to add additional effects if you want to just before shipping all your visuals to the display.

The visual family lives down at that compositor level where things happen rapidly. The visual family is made up of Visuals, ContainerVisuals and SpriteVisuals. The SpriteVisual class inherits from container visual, and the ContainerVisual class inherits from the base Visual class. There is also a Compositor class which acts as the senior member of the visual family. It quite literally creates visual objects if you need them and also manages the relationship between an application and the system compositor process.

The visual family is a lot of fun. Let’s say your XAML, many levels above, has a Grid object. That Grid will have a member of the visual family assigned to it. In technical parlance, we say that the Grid is backed by a visual. Once you grab hold of this backing visual, you can start to animate it using the composition animation system. If it is a ContainerVisual, then you can add additional visuals to it. Finally, you can also create sprite visuals, using the compositor factory class, in order to add brush effects to your visual using the Windows.UI.Composition effects system.

What’s new for sweet UI in the Windows 10 Creators Update

Several highly requested UI.Composition features have been added in the Creators Update to support fast and fluid UI as well as the Fluent Design System, for instance:

  • SVG support
  • Normal and Virtual Surfaces
  • Hover Interactions
  • Implicit Show and Hide
  • Expression Helpers
  • Offset stomping fix

At first these can seem like small disconnected improvements. Brought together, however, they will make creating beautiful UI both faster and easier.

XAML support for static SVG files

Vector images are often better for icons and logos because they can be resized without losing image quality. Before the Windows 10 Creators Update, however, vector graphics were not supported in XAML and working with iconography in UWP typically involved multiple versions of every image to adapt for multiple DPIs.  Now that that problem is solved, not only does XAML support static SVG files, but they also work with the Composition APIs.

Normal and virtual surfaces

The CompositionDrawingSurface has been a core component of the Composition APIs since the beginning, facilitating interop between XAML and Direct2D or Direct3D. The Creators Update is introducing the CompositionVirtualDrawingSurface for situations where only a portion of the content needs to be shown to the user at any given time. It basically bridges the concepts of graphics culling in video games and the development of infinite lists in desktop enterprise apps.

Independent hover interactions off the UI thread

One of the most powerful things about the Composition APIs is that they allow effects and animations to run independently of your main UI thread at 60 frames per second. With the Creators Update, this feature will also apply to hover animations in order to light up the many pointer activated effects that are a major part of fluent design.

There is also a subtle computer etiquette benefit to this new feature. Have you ever watched a busy animation play while your app’s UI was hanging and tried to move your mouse around in circles to try to make the animation go faster, but it has no effect? That is now a thing of the past.

Implicit show and hide

If you look at the code behind any UWP app, you will likely find that a large portion of UI code is devoted to setting visibility properties on UIElements in order to alternatively hide and show content. With this understanding, the Composition APIs now allow you to associate animations with your visual elements that are implicitly triggered when you hide or show them.


    ElementCompositionPreview.SetImplicitShowAnimation(MainContent, mainContentShowAnimations);
    ElementCompositionPreview.SetImplicitHideAnimation(MainContent, mainContentExitAnimation);

Implicit hide and show animations allow you to continue using this basic UI metaphor while also making it easier to create elegant visuals around them.

Expression helpers

Expression animations provide a way to create mathematical relationships between composition objects that can then be used to drive animations. The results of applying expression animations can often be breathtaking.

One piece of feedback we received about how we implemented expression animations is that it depends heavily on long strings of text like the following:


  rotationAnimation.Expression = "ACos( ( (A.Offset.X * B.Offset.X) + (A.Offset.Y*B.Offset.Y) + (A.Offset.Z * B.Offset.Z) ) / ( Length(A.Offset) *  Length(B.Offset) ) )";
  lineVisual.StartAnimation("RotationAngle", rotationAnimation);

The phrase “magic number” may even have been raised with respect to this. Just in time for the Creators Update, the Expression Builder Library is being introduced to provide you with type safety, IntelliSense and autocompletion as you create your own amazing expression animations.

Translation property

In earlier versions of the Composition APIs, there was a complication in the way UIElement properties were shared between the XAML layer and the Visual Layer that could cause the actual position of the visual to be overwritten or “stomped” in response to layout changes. While there was a workaround previously, there is now an actual fix with the new translation property. To prevent offset stomping, you now just need to enable the new Translation property through the ElementCompositionPreview class.


ElementCompositionPreview.SetIsTranslationEnabled(Rectangle1, true);

This is one of those issues that, if you’ve run into it before, you will feel a slight sense of relief. Just add a mental bookmark for yourself about the Translation property until you need to use it.

The sample gallery

The best way to deep dive into Windows.UI.Composition is by pulling down the sample code that the Composition team created and published to Github. The Windows UI Dev Labs samples, as they’re called, are extensive and visually rich. The samples extend from simple photo effects to complex parallax animations on XAML controls.

Don’t hesitate. It’s hard to really grasp the magnitude of the visual capabilities you are getting with Windows.UI.Composition until you see for yourself all that it empowers you to do.

Wrapping up

In addition to diving into the sample gallery on Github, which is highly recommended, you can also learn more about Windows Composition through the following articles, videos and blog posts.

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Windows 10 Tip: Watch 360° videos with the Windows 10 Creators Update

With the Creators Update, the Movies & TV app* expands your viewing horizon from 2D video to 360° video. You can explore new immersive 360° video content from partners like GoPro, Baobab Studios, LIFE VR, NextVR, Littlstar and more. Go skydiving with a bombsquad, see a rocket launch from up close, visit Portugal, watch the NBA games from the best seats courtside, or even climb Mount Everest; a few of the many immersive experiences featured in the app. Stay tuned as content refreshes frequently. Want to create your own stories? Windows 10 supports a variety of 360° cameras for capturing your own content, so now you can also watch your personal 360° video creations in the Movies & TV app.

Here’s how to get started:

Launch the Movies & TV app, and head to the “360° videos” section.

Launch the Movies & TV app, and head to the “360° videos” section.

Click on a video to start playing it. If you’re viewing from your Windows PC, simply drag your mouse around to view the 360° videos.

Click on a video to start playing it. If you’re viewing from your Windows 10 PC, simply drag your mouse around to view the 360° videos.

If you’re on your Windows Phone or Windows 10 tablet, you can swivel around in all directions to enjoy 360° of video. Come Holiday 2017, you can take it up a notch and step into mixed reality entertainment with your Windows Mixed Reality headset.**

Have a great week!

*App availability and experience may vary by region and device; some content sold separately.
**Headsets sold separately.

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E3 2017: Alienware and Dell announce PC gaming systems powered by Windows 10

Today at E3, Alienware and Dell announced new PC gaming systems and components, including Alienware gaming desktops with new multi-core processor options, and a full range of performance gaming monitors and peripherals. Powered by Windows 10—the best version of Windows for gaming— these new devices are built specifically for the needs of gamers, including native live game streaming through the Game bar with Mixer, Game Mode, connection to your gaming community through the Xbox app, DirectX 12 and more.

Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop launches at E3

Dell introduced the first gaming desktop in its growing Inspiron Gaming line at Computex and will start shipping it in the US tomorrow. The new Inspiron Gaming Desktop is built for gamers seeking a competitive advantage at an affordable price and incorporates the latest AMD multicore Ryzen processors featuring SenseMI, thermally-optimized airflow routing, Polar Blue LED Illumination, easy component access and power supply options up to 850 watts for supporting dual discrete Ready for VR graphics from AMD and NVIDIA. Available in the U.S. starting today, from $599.99 USD.

Alienware Area-51 updated with new multi-core processors

Intel and AMD’s new multi-core processors available in two new versions of Alienware Area-51, for the best experiences geared towards gamers who create or creators who game.  Each are excellent choices for Megatasking, streaming gamers as well.  If you can picture yourself gaming, recording and broadcasting your game while running a render or deeply immersed in VR or with multiple 4K displays running concurrently, these are the gaming PCs for you.  They’re powered by Intel’s Core™ X-Series or AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper – marking Alienware’s first 16-core/32-thread Area-51. The Area 51 Threadripper Edition will be available to order on July 27 and the Area 51 featuring Intel Core X-Series will arrive on August 22, with pricing to be announced soon.

Alienware 15 to offer NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 with Max-Q design

 
Alienware will offer the new GeForce® GTX 1080 with Max-Q technology starting June 27 with their award-winning Alienware 15 notebook.  Alienware’s adoption of Max-Q technology provides the highest performance possible in a 15.6” notebook and continues our tradition of designing outstanding products tailored specifically for gamers. The Alienware 15 also features a full complement of input/output connections for popular gaming peripherals and VR headsets. Available in the U.S. June 27, with pricing to be announced soon.

Alienware debuts high-performance monitors, keyboards & mice

MonitorsThe Alienware 25” gaming monitor, with either NVIDIA G-SYNC (AW2518H) or AMD FreeSync, (AW2518HF), offers fast, responsive gameplay with virtually no input lag, at an extremely rapid 1 ms panel response time, and a native 240Hz refresh rate for sharp, clear graphics. With AlienFX lighting (AW2518H only), three preset display modes, full adjustability, single-diecast stand legs, and a seamless panoramic multi-monitor view with ultra-thin bezel, the Alienware 25” gaming monitor is perfect for any gamer. Available in the U.S. June 13, concurrent with E3: monitors ($499-699 USD).

 Alienware Advanced Gaming Keyboard

Alienware Advanced Gaming Keyboard – The Alienware Advanced Gaming Keyboard with optional palm rest delivers a premium gaming experience at an affordable value. Featuring mechanical keys with brown switches, with more precise, responsive and consistent key strokes and five keys dedicated for macro commands that give gamers a competitive edge. Available in the U.S. June 13, concurrent with E3: Advanced Gaming Keyboard ($89.99 USD).

Alienware Pro Gaming Keyboard

Alienware Pro Gaming Keyboard – The Alienware Pro Gaming Keyboard with optional palm rest exemplifies all the essential design components of the Advanced Gaming Keyboard, and elevates the engineering innovation with dedicated volume roller, onboard memory, 15 macro commands and 13 zone-based RGB backlit lighting options. Available in the U.S. June 13, concurrent with E3: Pro Gaming Keyboard ($119.99 USD).

 Alienware Advanced Gaming Mouse

Alienware Advanced Gaming Mouse – The Alienware Advanced Gaming Mouse offers multiple configurations with 3 on-the-fly DPI (dots per inch) levels to switch between precision and speed style gameplay.  Outfitted with nine unique buttons for in-game customization. Available in the U.S June 13 ($49.99 USD).

 Alienware Elite Gaming Mouse

Alienware Elite Gaming Mouse – Additionally, the Alienware Elite Gaming Mouse leverages advanced custom ability innovation with swappable grips, up to 13 programmable buttons, adjustable palm rest and four variable levels of weight adjustment providing ultimate control over cursor precision and movement speed to dominate opponents. Available in the U.S. June 13 ($89.99 USD).

To learn more about everything Dell announced today, visit Dell.com/Gaming!

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E3 2017: ORIGIN PC announces thin and light EVO15-S laptop powered by Windows 10

Today at E3, ORIGIN PC gave a sneak peek of their all-new thin and light EVO15-S laptop powered by Windows 10—the best version of Windows for gaming.

Measuring only .73 inches thick and weighing only 4.3 pounds, the all-new EVO15-S redefines the thin and light gaming notebook by supporting up to NVIDIA’s latest GeForce GTX 1070 desktop-class graphics; providing gamers with an unprecedented level of performance and power efficiency for games, 4K gaming and VR experiences. For Windows 10 gamers, this device is equipped with native, live game streaming through the Game bar with Mixer, Game Mode, their gaming community  through the Xbox app, DirectX 12 support, and more.

The EVO15-S lights up the best of the Windows 10 Creators Update, including the all-new Paint 3D app and Remix3D.com community, Windows Defender Security Center, Night light, mini view and more. It also arrives built-in with Microsoft Edge for fast and secure browsing, your digital personal assistant Cortana* and comprehensive protection with Windows Defender.

Features of the new EVO15-S include:

  • Windows 10 Creators Update
  • 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ Processor
  • Optional 15.6” 4K-UHD (3840×2160) or a FHD (1920*1080) HD IPS display
  • Up to an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB GDDR5 VR-Ready GPU
  • Up to 1 x 2TB m.2 PCIe and 1 x 2.5” 4TB HDD/SSD
  • Up to 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4 2666MHz Memory
  • Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
  • Built-in HD Webcam
  • Sound BlasterX Pro-Gaming 360˚
  • 2x USB Type C 3.1, 3x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, and a 6-in-1 Push-Push Card reader
  • Backlit multi-color keyboard and optional custom paint
  • Includes free lifetime 24/7 US-based tech support

To learn more about the new EVO15-S High-Performance Thin & Light Laptop actual release date and price, please visit originpc.com, subscribe to their newsletter, or follow them on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook via @ORIGINPC.

*Cortana available in select markets.

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Windows 10 Tip: Browse books in the Windows Store with the Windows 10 Creators Update

Did you know that with the Windows 10 Creators Update, we’ve added a new digital category in the Windows Store called books,* joining games, apps, movies/TV, and music?

With books in the Windows Store, you can discover and read e-books from your favorite authors across genres you love – from sci-fi to thrillers, to children’s books, and everything in between.

Here’s how to get started:

To get started, open the Windows Store from the Start menu or by searching, then click on “Books” at the top to start browsing.

Open the Windows Store from the Start menu or by searching, then click on “Books” at the top to start browsing. Books is available across Windows 10 devices, from laptops to 2-in-1s, desktops, and mobile.

Once you’ve purchased a book from the Windows Store, you can start reading immediately with Microsoft Edge, which supports offline reading without an internet connection. What’s more, in Microsoft Edge you can easily personalize your reading experience with custom font sizes, layouts, and themes. Microsoft Edge has integrated Learning Tools accessibility features like Read Aloud and text spacing to make it easier for everyone to read, including people with learning differences like dyslexia and English Language Learners.

Have a great week!

*US only

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Introducing more shopping tips with Cortana in Microsoft Edge

With Cortana and Microsoft Edge, we hope to continue offering features that will help you save time and money when shopping online using the Microsoft Edge web browser. To that end, we recently released a pilot feature that helps find the best pricing for the product you are viewing. However, Cortana will only notify you if the relevant details are available at the time of your visit. We are just beginning to roll this out to everyone on Windows 10 Creators Update to get feedback. Currently the feature supports 14 retailers including Amazon, Walmart, and eBay, within the US. We will be increasing availability and the number of retailers we support in the months ahead, so stay tuned for more updates.

When you visit the site of a supported retailer, Cortana will alert you that there are other options available at a lower price for the same product.

 Once you click on the Cortana icon, the information will be displayed in the right pane within the same window.

How it works:

The feature works similar to current Cortana features where you see Cortana display notification in the address bar if there’s helpful information available for the site you’re on. When you visit the site of a supported retailer, Cortana will alert you that there are other options available at a lower price for the same product. Once you click on the Cortana icon, the information will be displayed in the right pane within the same window.

Let us know what you think about the feature. Your feedback is important as we continue to make improvements and add support for other sites.

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Windows 10 Tip: Organize your Start files with new tile folders

Happy Monday! Today, we’re going to show you how you can organize your Start files with tile folders, new to Windows 10 with the Windows 10 Creators Update.

Here’s how to get started:

Simply click and drag one icon onto another to create a tile folder with both. Then, you can add any other icons you’d like by dragging them onto the folder, or resize it by right-clicking on it.

Have a great week!

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Surface Hub more powerful with Windows 10 Creators Update

In the past 14 months since we began shipping Surface Hub, the response we’ve seen from businesses globally has been astounding. Today, over half of Fortune 100 companies have purchased Surface Hubs to improve how their teams inspire and collaboratebreaking down barriers and creating real business value.

Today, we’ve taken another leap towards improving collaboration in the workplace by rolling out Windows 10 Creators Update for Surface Hub.

The Creators Update is the culmination of months of listening to feedback of our best customers and includes a litany of great features and tools to help teams better create. My favorites: the amazing new Microsoft Whiteboard App that allows real-time collaborative inking across devices, deeper integration with a person’s individual authenticated Office 365 documents and new manageability and security tools to help keep your information safe.

Let’s take a deeper look at what is under the hood of Windows 10 Creators Update for Surface Hub:

The Amazing Microsoft Whiteboard

As you might have seen from us on stage in Shanghai, there is a litany of inking innovation coming to the Microsoft Whiteboard app on Windows 10, such as intelligent digital inking, geometry recognition, table conversion and automatic table shading. Microsoft Whiteboard will come first to Surface Hub starting in mid-June as an app update, with the vision to bring it to more Windows 10 devices later this year (including the Surface Studio and Surface Pro) with exclusive capabilities for Office 365 subscribers.

Real-time collaborative coauthoring in Whiteboard – which enables teams to ink with each other in real time across Surface Hub devices – for lack of a better term: is magic. Additional Microsoft Whiteboard features include new inking tools, awesome ink effects as well as more ways to integrate existing content into the whiteboard canvas to create the ultimate digital workspace. Stay tuned for more as Whiteboard comes to more Windows 10 devices.

With the new Microsoft Whiteboard App, teams around the world can visually collaborate in real time with intelligent digital ink.

With the new Microsoft Whiteboard App, teams around the world can visually collaborate in real time with intelligent digital ink.

Single sign-on and deeper integration with Office 365

We’ve made Surface Hub more personal by adding the ability for people to sign-in to their Office 365 account from the welcome screen or the updated start menu. This essentially turns Surface Hub into your personal Windows 10 device, and allows you to navigate quickly to Office 365 apps and cloud-saved content including:

  • Content stored in your OneDrive
  • Most recently used (MRU) documents panels inside Office applications like Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Integration with Microsoft Teams, which can be accessed today via the Edge browser
Improved Welcome Screen makes it easier than ever to find your meeting and get started on Surface Hub.

Improved Welcome Screen makes it easier than ever to find your meeting and get started on Surface Hub.

Improved Office 365 integration makes it easier than ever to access your important documents, making the Surface Hub your own PC while in the meeting you scheduled.

Improved Office 365 integration makes it easier than ever to access your important documents, making the Surface Hub your own PC while in the meeting you scheduled.

Enhanced audio, Miracast, and Skype experiences

I love my Surface Hub meetings because they feel as natural as being in the same room with the team. To create that sense of being in the same room the audio experience is critical. To ensure Surface Hub has the best possible audio experience, we worked with the audio masters at Dolby to optimize the audio experience for human speech.

Other updates include improved Miracast projection to make it faster and more reliable.

Skype controls have been simplified too, making it quicker and easier to call, message and share content with remote participants. Now you can easily scroll through the scheduled meetings on the welcome screen with the new meetings carousel and see who’s been invited to each meeting before you join.

Now it’s easier than ever to collaborate with colleagues via the improved Skype experience on Surface Hub.

Now it’s easier than ever to collaborate with colleagues via the improved Skype experience on Surface Hub.

New manageability and security features

Security and privacy of data are of the upmost importance to us. To ensure what happens in your meeting stays in the meeting, we’ve added several security and manageability features in the latest round of updates including:

  • The ability to set Surface Hub to wipe all data at the end of each session by default;
  • The option to require BitLocker encryption for USB ports to prevent malware and other security threats;
  • Support for additional Mobile Device Management (MDM) features, so IT administrators can change settings remotely; and
  • Support for two-factor authentication, to enable users to approve an authentication request easily on their companion device.

And more…

We are now also offering a 5-year Extended Hardware Service for Surface Hub to match the business-critical value our customers are placing on their investment.

Meeting experiences and process transformation enabled by Surface Hub will continue to evolve with a growing pipeline of Windows 10 apps built with Surface Hub in mind, including newcomers AirServer, and SAP Digital Boardroom, plus apps that work great on the Edge browser, such as iObeya.

The team is incredibly passionate about helping people be more productive and bring their ideas to life. We believe the best work is done through engaged teams. People who get together, challenge each other, and work together to accomplish so much more than they would have working independently.

Our goal is that these improvements and continued innovation and investments will help people around the world collaborate and create in innovative ways. It’s truly never been a better time to purchase Surface Hub!

Find out more about Surface Hub and the Windows 10 Creators Update on the Surface Hub update history page and the Support Site.

Thanks,

Ryan

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Microsoft shows partner innovation with Always-Connected PCs, MR and IoT at Computex 2017

Computex, Asia’s largest IT trade show, is always an exciting event for Microsoft. We see the OEM and ODM ecosystem come together with over 40,000 visitors and 1,600 exhibitors on new technologies and business relationships. This year, it is inspiring to launch partners’ innovative devices with Windows 10. Beyond the PC market, these partners are also driving emerging categories like the Internet of things and mixed reality. The Microsoft booth at Computex displays the latest in device and solution innovation and gives people hands-on time with the latest technologies.

This year I had the pleasure of taking the keynote stage with Nick Parker, CVP, consumer and device sales and Matt Barlow, CVP, Windows marketing to talk about how Microsoft is ‘Building the Possible’ with our partners.

Our announcements included:

  • Debut of numerous modern devices from top partners,
  • OEM and Operator commitments to deliver Always Connected PCs,
  • Windows Mixed Reality progress on the road to launch later this year, and
  • Windows and Azure IoT solutions in key verticals like manufacturing and utilities.

We talked about our efforts to inspire customers with new Windows experiences and devices, to help grow the ecosystem, and to bring new categories to life.

Diverse Windows Mixed Reality Headset designs

Last year at Computex, Terry Myerson and Alex Kipman invited partners to join us in building devices that merge physical and virtual realities. Since then we have seen Windows Mixed Reality Headsets from partners like Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, and Lenovo.

At the show this year, we are able to show off the great new designs from these partners making mixed reality available for everyone later this year. These headsets, coming to market this holiday, use Microsoft’s platform to enable a single and consistent user interface, standardized inputs, and a universal app platform for developers.

Acer Windows Mixed Reality headset

Acer Windows Mixed Reality headset

HP Windows Mixed Reality headset

HP Windows Mixed Reality headset

During Alex Kipman’s Build keynote, we announced that Windows Mixed Reality dev kits from Acer and HP are now available for pre-order through the Microsoft Store for developers in the US (Acer, HP) and Canada (Acer, HP). The response to these dev kits has been positive and we look forward to seeing all the great content that our development ecosystem will create.

ASUS Windows Mixed Reality headset

ASUS Windows Mixed Reality headset

As a leading gaming and innovation partner, ASUS is expanding on its prowess into the fast emerging mixed reality category. In addition to its Oculus-Ready ROG gaming desktops and VR-Ready VivoPC X, ASUS will be adding a futuristic head-mount device with a unique polygonal 3D cover panel, designed with comfortable ergonomically adjustable strap, enabling an easy one-hand setup. ASUS is engaged with Microsoft to make this HMD fast, powerful, and ultra-light with a six degrees of freedom (DOF) tracked motion controller, for an incredible, immersive MR experience.

Dell Windows Mixed Reality headset

Dell Windows Mixed Reality headset

Dell is building on their Virtual Reality (VR) leadership in premium gaming and professional creation by partnering with Microsoft to deliver an affordable consumer headset, which will bring mixed reality experiences to a broad audience. Dell’s stylish white headset is uniquely focused on user comfort, designed by the same team that crafts their premium XPS and Alienware PCs. The Dell headset, which will be available by holiday, is thoughtfully designed for comfort and convenience with innovations such as comfortable cushions that can be replaced for a personalized experience, weight balanced headband centered on the user’s head for long-term comfort, cable routing to free the user from dangling wires and, a flip-up visor for easy wearing and removing.

Lenovo Windows Mixed Reality headset

Lenovo Windows Mixed Reality headset

Lenovo is partnering with Microsoft to bring this amazing technology to everyone through an incredibly affordable mixed reality headset for truly immersive, beyond-the-screen mixed reality experiences. Coming later this year, Lenovo’s mixed reality headset will contain built-in sensors to enable inside-out tracking and simplified set-up to let users move around more easily as they experience virtual worlds.

Internet of things solutions are coming in key verticals

Businesses, governments, and academic institutions are harnessing the internet of things (IoT) to drive business forward. With Windows 10 IoT core on devices, Azure IoT, Cortana analytics, and business intelligence, Microsoft is providing a consistent, end-to-end platform that enables partners to build enterprise-grade, IoT solutions for customers.

IoT is about more than a device connected to the cloud, it is really about a multitude of devices, connected together, to deliver insights. In the Microsoft booth, my colleague Mike Quinn showed journalists “a Day in the Life with IoT,” and how these devices work together. For example, the Airbox device collects and reports data on air quality metrics like temperature and humidity and displays the analytics on a dashboard. While in the restaurant scenario there is digital signage, a digital price board, a kiosk for self-ordering, and a robot which makes product recommendations based on historic order information.

New “Always Connected PCs” allow constant connectivity

There is a new generation of users that need to be connected to the cloud at all times. They are students, creators, freelancers, small businesses, and enterprises.  This means sharing experiences across screens and leveraging the latest network technology like gigabit LTE and eSIM. We are collaborating with our ecosystem on a shared vision. This starts with a close partnership at the silicon layer, with Intel and Qualcomm and with our mobile operator partners to provide seamless eSIM connectivity. Microsoft device partners ASUS, HP, Huawei, Lenovo, VAIO, and Xiaomi, are committed to this new category of Always Connected PCs using eSIM technology. In addition, Microsoft announced Always Connected devices will be coming from ASUS, HP, and Lenovo on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset. These new devices will feature Windows 10, always-on LTE connectivity and great battery life.

New, innovative Windows 10 PCs

By far, my favorite part of the show every year is seeing the latest devices from our partners come to market. Partners like Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, MSI, Panasonic, Samsung, Toshiba, Huawei have all brought beautiful new thin and slim laptops, ruggedized tablets, 2-in-1’s and gaming PCs to market in recent weeks. Here are a few announced here at Computex:

Acer’s new Nitro 5 series and its latest Spin 1 convertible notebook

With Acer’s new Nitro 5 series, gamers can choose from a variety of configurations that feature popular graphics and processors to meet different budgets and needs. Dual fans with Acer Coolboost technology deliver heightened fan speeds and cooling ability, and allows users to manually control the cooling process when heavy use requires an added boost.

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The latest version of Acer’s Spin 1 convertible notebook features a sleek metal chassis and vibrant Full-HD display. It comes with Windows 10, and is lightweight, portable and supports Windows Ink through an Acer Active Stylus for creative users on the go.

ASUS brings new thin and light PCs and gaming devices to market

This week, ASUS introduced a line-up of thin-and-light ZenBook and VivoBook laptops that push the boundaries of design and technology to deliver the ultimate mobile computing experiences. The new laptop line-up includes support for many new Windows 10 features — including Windows Ink, Windows Hello, Cortana, and Modern Standby — that boost productivity and gives users an amazing computing experience. Also unveiled at their ROG event here in Taipei was the long-awaited ROG Zephyrus. Zephyrus is the world’s slimmest gaming laptop powered by a 7th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor and the latest NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1080 graphics. Zephyrus features the Windows 10 Creators Update, which improves the performance of PC games via the all-new Windows Game Mode, and makes it easier to perform native game-streaming with Mixer, Microsoft’s streaming service.

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Dell’s new Inspiron AIOs and gaming desktop  

Dell’s new line-up includes the Inspiron 27 7000 AIO, the Inspiron 24 5000 AIO and the new Inspiron Gaming Desktop – the first gaming desktop to join Dell’s expanding Inspiron Gaming line-up. The new systems boast Dell’s iconic virtually borderless InfinityEdge display technology for a beautiful viewing experience – available for the first time on the Inspiron AIO line – and “Ready for VR” configurations which are capable of delivering immersive experiences through high-end VR headsets. Both new AIO devices are equipped with Windows Hello for one look login and Cortana for far-field speech recognition.

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Lenovo’s new V720 designed for small business

The digital transformation is your stepping-stone to the technologies of the future. Enabling employees to realize the benefits of digital transformation requires computing devices that offer power, flexibility, durability and mobility.

It was exciting for me to announce on stage a new commercial device from Lenovo. Thin and light and with an industry leading 77% screen proportion, the new Lenovo V720 is powered by the latest Intel processors and includes next-gen features like Microsoft Hello and Cortana. USB-C Thunderbolt and discrete NVIDIA graphics will help end-users leverage digital technologies to match the pace of business transformation.

MSI Promises the “Next Gaming Dimension”

MSI displayed this week high-end Windows gaming devices. This includes its refreshed gaming laptop rosters: the GT75VR, GS63/73VR, GE63/73VR series and the very latest X299 GAMING M7 ACK, X299 GAMING PRO CARBON AC, X299 TOMAHAWK motherboard. In its booth, they also showed the beefy Infinite A and Trident Arctic gaming desktops, and gaming accessories like the Clutch GM70 gaming mouse, Vigor GK80 gaming keyboard along with Core Frozr XL CPU cooler.

Samsung’s Notebook 9 Pro

I also had the privilege of showing for the first time, Samsung’s new 2017 Notebook 9 Pro which allows users to easily switch between typing on the keyboard, write with their intuitive S Pen, and navigate the brilliant touchscreen. Its slim and lightweight design is for those who are always on the go and need a portable, yet powerful device.

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This year, more than ever, we’re seeing new devices in emerging categories truly changing the market. From mixed reality headsets coming at highly affordable price points and connected IoT-enabled devices enabling consumers and businesses to achieve more to new “Always Connected PC’s” powered by eSIM technology, the opportunities for partners to bring new types of devices to life has never been greater.

A thriving ecosystem

All of these devices and new categories create business opportunities for our partners. From new business models like dynamic store bundling and cloud to expanding the ecosystem into new areas like head-mounted displays and motion controllers for mixed reality, our platforms are creating new opportunities for partners.

Our partners push the envelope in gaming experiences. They deliver affordable devices for education. They bring to market devices that light up Windows 10 experiences. Through this thriving ecosystem of partners, new categories come to life.

I’m very excited for the year ahead and for how this ecosystem works together to build the possible.

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