Acer unveils new Windows 10 PCs ideal for students, businesses and families

Ahead of Computex 2016, Acer unveiled a new portfolio of Windows 10 PCs ideal for students, families and business professionals, all available at extremely affordable prices beginning at just $199.

Each of these PCs offers the best of Windows 10, with built-in fingerprint readers you can conveniently and securely sign into your device with Windows Hello, you can draw and markup webpages in Microsoft Edge and enjoy having your own personal digital assistant in Cortana.

Let’s take a look at these new devices that were announced today:

Acer Switch V 10 

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The Switch V 10 2-in-1 laptop powered by Windows 10 is a great choice for students and young professionals thanks to the fast data transfer, high-resolution video output and convenient charging of the USB Type-C port. With a built-in fingerprint reader, you can conveniently and securely sign into the PC using Windows Hello, by simply placing your finger on the fingerprint reader for instant access to the device. The touchscreen allows you to take notes, write, draw and highlight on webpages in Microsoft Edge.

The brilliant Acer Snap Hinge latch-less magnetic design allows this 2-in-1 laptop to transform into four different modes — notebook, pad, tent, and display — simply and smoothly. Add to that its long battery life and color options in Pearl White, Shale Black, Coral Red, Peacock Blue and Navy Blue, and you have a partner for work and play.

Other features include:

  • Powered by Windows 10
  • The built-in fingerprint reader allows users to conveniently log into the computer through Windows Hello
  • The thin and reversible USB Type-C port supports fast data transfer, high resolution display output and device charging
  • Enjoy stunning 10.1” display with IPS technology
  • Long battery life – up to 9 hours
  • Enjoy Dual Camera while using Skype and taking photos with friends and family
  • Precision Touchpad enables improved pinch to zoom, smoother scrolling and screen navigation experience.

Price and Availability: This Acer notebook will become available later this year in North America for $249. For more information, visit acer.com.

Acer Switch One 10

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The Switch One 10 powered by Windows 10 is convertible and detachable into four modes of usage — notebook, pad, tent, and display — and has a multi-touch HD screen, for the perfect blend of a laptop’s productivity and a tablet’s multimedia fun. This PC also features a built-in fingerprint reader for instant access to the device by logging in with Windows Hello.

The tablet detaches effortlessly to share with kids when they want to watch their favorite cartoons, while also providing ample productivity when parents need to get some work done. This budget-friendly device comes with a stylish dark grey brushed-metal cover.

Other features include:

  • Powered by Windows 10
  • Get instant interaction between your finger and the multi-touch screen, which supports Windows 10 Precision Touchpad gestures
  • The latest quad-core Intel Atom processors allows for best-in-class performance and productivity
  • The latchless hinge design provides you convenient transformation between device modes
  • Immerse yourself in the HD display with IPS technology
  • The built-in fingerprint reader allows users to conveniently log into the computer through Windows Hello
  • Work where and how you want using the dual camera, Precision Touchpad, and up to 8 hours of battery life

Price and Availability: The Switch One 10 will be available in Metallic Gray in North America in July with prices starting at $199. For more information, visit acer.com.

Acer TravelMate P2 Series

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The new TravelMate P2 series powered by Windows 10 and the latest Intel 6th gen Core CPU, NVIDIA GeForce 940M graphics is available as a 14” and 15.6” laptop. These PCs were designed to meet daily business needs by offering a combination of functions, performance and price with a unique twist of design for a fresh workday look. They also feature an optional built-in fingerprint reader that allows you to login instantly and securely with Windows Hello. Both devices, the TravelMate P249 and TravelMate P259, come with a stylish textile pattern cover that’s non-slippery and scratch-resistant for easy portability.

Other features include:

  • Powered by Windows 10
  • Powered by the latest Intel 6th gen Core CPU, NVIDIA GeForce 940M graphics and DDR 4 data transit to ensure fast and smooth performance
  • Skype for Business certification plus Acer TrueHarmony and 2 stereo speakers ensure a friction-free, optimized audio and visual communication
  • Features Full HD backlit LED displays and supports connecting to three independent displays so users are able to work efficiently with multiple documents and programs open
  • Trusted Platform Module (TPM2.0) provides hardware-based encryption keys to help secure your data, e-mail, and user credentials while Kensington lock prevents physical hardware from being stolen
  • Acer ProShield protects authentication and secures valuable data; Acer Office Manager enables easy, centralized control of IT policies and assets

Price and Availability: The TravelMate P2 series will be available in North America later this year starting at $599. For more information, visit acer.com.

Acer BM320 Monitor

Acer BM320 Monitor

The Acer BM320 monitor’s stunning 32-inch panel delivers up to 4K UHD resolution (3840 x 2160) images with professional-grade color accuracy and amazing detail. Photographers and graphic designers will appreciate its support for 100% of the Adobe RGB color gamut, while video editors and directors can work with confidence as it covers 100% of the Rec. 709 color gamut and 90% of DCI-P3. It comes with Uniformity Compensation to help reduce brightness and color fluctuations across the screen.

Other features include:

  • Supports 10-bit color depth, which provides 64 times more color depth over conventional 8-bit monitors, and every unit is factory pre-tuned and tested to ensure a Delta E<2 color accuracy.
  • A sleek and stylish ZeroFrame design virtually eliminates the screen’s bezel for a seamless visual experience when multiple displays are put together
  • Acer’s ErgoStand provides for effortless tilt, swivel, pivot and height adjustments to ensure users find the perfect viewing position every time.

Price and Availability: Visit acer.com.

Acer CloudProfessor IoT

Acer’s first IoT education kit designed for people of all ages and backgrounds, CloudProfessor, offers plug-and-play hardware and software out of the box, as well as tutorials and starter modules to learn about IoT development. CloudProfessor is now available with Windows 10, which adds supports to the student-friendly Scratch programming language. The design offers flexibility of choice in programming language, which allows for learning to code right from a smartphone.

Acer’s new 2-in-1 notebooks, TravelMate P2 series laptops and BM320 Monitor announced today, together with Windows 10, are ideal for work or play, anywhere you go. Visit acer.com to learn more about today’s news.

Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14352

Hi everyone,

Today we are releasing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14352 to Windows Insiders in the Fast ring.

Here’s what’s new in Build 14352

Cortana Improvements

Cortana, Your Personal DJ: In addition to playing songs via your local files and OneDrive, you also now have the ability to play any song from the entire Groove Music Catalog using Cortana. If you have a Groove Music Pass, just ask Cortana to play your favorite artist, genre, playlist or song. This also works with Cortana on your Lock screen.

  • “Hey Cortana, play <song name>”
  • “Hey Cortana, play <artist>”
  • “Hey Cortana, play my <Groove playlist name>”
  • “Hey Cortana, pause”

NOTE: Groove Catalog support currently for U.S. English only – other regions to come in the future.

Set a timer: You can now set a timer using Cortana to remind you to go get a snack, take a break, or while cooking. You can set a timer, query how long is left and cancel using natural language. On your PC, this works logged in or above the Lock screen. On your phone, you can use speech or text. Examples below. We are continuing to improve the overall user experience including conversation mode (“set a timer”, then specify the time), and enable turning off a ringing timer using speech. Try out:

  • “Hey Cortana, set a timer for 10 minutes”
  • “Hey Cortana, how much time is left?”
  • “Hey Cortana, cancel my timer”

Windows Ink

Updated Sticky Notes: With the latest update, Sticky Notes are now better than ever* with the ability to create Cortana reminders from your notes that will flow with you across your Cortana enabled devices. You can also ink or type a phone number and it readies itself for calling; write an email address and launch directly to email, write a URL and launch into Microsoft Edge right from the Note. A few jotted-down bulleted items become an easy-to-manage checklist. Don’t forget that Sticky Notes is also a standalone app, just launch it from Start if you’d like to use it outside of Windows Ink Workspace.

 *Certain features are currently limited to EN-US, with more market and language support coming in future updates.

Compass on the ruler: We’ve updated the Windows Ink ruler to include a compass. If the ruler is oriented in the direction of any of the cardinal points or midpoints, the compass indicator will become bold.

New compass on Windows Ink ruler

General improvements to the Windows Ink experience: We have made performance and reliability improvements based on feedback including:

  • Sketchpad will now dismiss if you tap Esc or Windows key combinations (for example, Win + S or Win + D).
  • We’ve updated the export icon to be the more familiar floppy disk icon for saving your sketch.
  • We’ve polished the experience of opening Sketchpad when many ink strokes are present on the canvas.
  • We fixed an issue that resulted in Sketchpad sometimes needing to be tapped twice before it would launch from the Windows Ink Workspace flyout.
  • Sketchpad and Screen Sketch will now default to touch inking ON for non-pen devices. They will also remember the state of the button when you relaunch Windows Ink Workspace.
  • Going forward from Build 14252, the Windows Ink Workspace icon state (on or off) on the taskbar will be preserved after upgrading.
  • We have updated Sticky Notes to show a small sticky note icon next to the app name when hovering over the app in the taskbar or in Task View.

Other items of note

Windows Game bar improved with full-screen support: One of the most common requests we see for the Windows 10 Game DVR feature is the ability to use the Windows Game bar with more games running in full-screen.  With this flight, we’ve added support for six additional games in full-screen mode with Windows game bar: League of Legends, World of Warcraft, DOTA 2, Battlefield 4, Counterstrike: Global Offensive, and Diablo III. With those games, you can now use Windows key + G to bring up the Windows Game bar when the game is running full-screen.

Tip: You can control this feature through the Windows Game bar settings. In the settings dialog, look for the “Show Game bar when I play full-screen games” checkbox.

Feedback Hub will now show Microsoft responses: You’ll now see short status tags on feedback to let you know what we’re doing with it. The tags are a short-form way to give status on feedback we’re actively working on or have made changes for. The tags will often be published along with a “Microsoft response” comment that gives more context on what the team is doing. This change also replaces the “Received” tag that you’ve been seeing on all feedback with something much more useful and informative!

Status tags for feedback

Updated File Explorer icon: Based on Insider feedback, we have updated the File Explorer icon with more color.

Updated File Explorer icon

Deploying Windows Enterprise edition gets easier: Prior to Windows 10, the upgrade from the Pro to Enterprise edition required a complete wipe and reinstallation of the OS. In Windows 10, we enabled bit-less edition upgrade from Pro to Enterprise. This means all the features are on the device already and the upgrade to Enterprise edition can be performed by changing the product key rather than having to download and deploy a new image. However, doing this required a reboot to complete. We heard a lot of feedback about having to reboot to complete the upgrade so starting with this build a reboot is no longer required when upgrading from the Pro to Enterprise edition. You can try out this out by going to “Settings -> Update & Security -> Activation” in the settings app and click the “Change product key” button and enter a valid Enterprise product key. If you find any issues, please send us feedback via the Feedback Hub!

Upgrade to a higher edition of Windows 10

Limited Period Scanning: Limited Periodic Scanning is a new security setting you can choose to turn on if you use an antivirus program other than Windows Defender. This setting can provide an additional line of defense in scanning and detecting malware on your device. To enable this – go to Settings > Update & security > Windows Defender and turn “Limited Periodic Scanning” on. Each month Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool detects malware on 1 to 2 million devices, even those running other antivirus software. This setting can be turned on for unmanaged devices. You can read more about Limited Period Scanning here.

Here’s what’s fixed for PC

  • Feedback Hub should now be localized properly. If you install a different language, you will need to relaunch Feedback Hub to have it show in that language.
  • We fixed the issue with Intel HD Graphics 3000 or Intel HD Graphics 2000 GPUs causing rendering issues and instability with Microsoft Edge. If you mitigated this issue by using software rendering instead of GPU rendering, you can go back to GPU rendering.
  • Starting with this build, pinned tabs in Microsoft Edge should no longer get lost after updating to a new Insider Preview build.
  • We fixed an issue causing Surface Books to bugcheck (bluescreen) when using Windows Hello.
  • We fixed an issue that caused the Brightness Quick Action to appear missing.
  • This build includes fixes for Precision Touchpads. We have Improved reliability of using gestures to switch between virtual desktops. We also improved touchpad responsiveness for pans and two finger taps. We also fixed an issue where swiping on the touchpad might not wake the device once it was in Connected Standby state.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in maximized UWP apps slightly overlapping the taskbar if taskbar was positioned on top.
  • We fixed an issue in the Action Center where it wouldn’t show the hover state when moving your mouse over notifications if a notification had been expanded.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in missing icons in Action Center when using Light mode.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in “Restart Required” continuing to show in Action Center after restart has already occurred.
  • Increased hit target of X icon for notifications in Action Center, to make them easier to dismiss.
  • We fixed a timing issue where the Bluetooth Quick Action might appear (with state ON) for a device with no Bluetooth.
  • We fixed an issue where using Esc to exit a full screen video with Microsoft Edge maximized would result in the window becoming unmaximized.
  • We fixed an issue where playing mp4s from a network share in the Movies & TV app would sometimes show an “MF_E_UNSUPPORTED_BYTESTREAM_TYPE” error.
  • We fixed an issue that resulted in the volume mixer slider for system sounds getting reset to 100% after receiving a notification or altering master volume.
  • Update notifications to now deep link straight to Update History, rather than the Windows Update landing page in the Settings app.
  • Updated the Settings app so now the CTRL + E keyboard shortcut will set focus to the Settings search box.
  • We fixed an issue where theme settings were not roaming correctly to other PCs with the same Microsoft account.
  • Fixed an issue resulting in the All apps list in Start being blank for certain languages
  • We updated the Action Center icon to now hide unread notification count when the taskbar is using small icons, as there’s not enough space to display it.
  • Fixed an issue with Command Prompt where it wasn’t keeping the current line in view after resizing the window.
  • We fixed an issue that resulted in the User Account Control dialog sometimes appearing behind other windows instead of in the forefront.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in the Lock screen sometimes not showing the Caps lock warning when Caps lock was on.

Known issues for PC

  • Previously installed extensions for Microsoft Edge may not work for around 15 minutes after your first sign-in. A work around for this is to manually re-install each extension from the Store.
  • In some cases, the new Cortana features highlighted above may not work. Restarting your PC should fix the issue and get the features working.
  • Using the keyboard to navigate in certain Store apps like Netflix or Tweetium does not work. You will need to use your mouse.

As always – thank you for being Windows Insiders and make sure to send us feedback on any issues you run into with these builds in the Feedback Hub.

Thanks,
g

Microsoft announces streamlining of smartphone hardware business

REDMOND, Wash. — May 25, 2016 — Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday announced plans to streamline the company’s smartphone hardware business, which will impact up to 1,850 jobs. As a result, the company will record an impairment and restructuring charge of approximately $950 million, of which approximately $200 million will relate to severance payments.

“We are focusing our phone efforts where we have differentiation — with enterprises that value security, manageability and our Continuum capability, and consumers who value the same,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “We will continue to innovate across devices and on our cloud services across all mobile platforms.”

Microsoft anticipates this will result in the reduction of up to 1,350 jobs at Microsoft Mobile Oy in Finland, as well as up to 500 additional jobs globally. Employees working for Microsoft Oy, a separate Microsoft sales subsidiary based in Espoo, are not in scope for the planned reductions.

As a result of the action, Microsoft will record a charge in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016 for the impairment of assets in its More Personal Computing segment, related to these phone decisions.

The actions associated with today’s announcement are expected to be substantially complete by the end of the calendar year and fully completed by July 2017, the end of the company’s next fiscal year.

More information about these charges will be provided in Microsoft’s fourth-quarter earnings announcement on July 19, 2016, and in the company’s 2016 Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

Note about forward-looking statements. Certain statements in this press release, other than purely historical information, including estimates, projections, statements relating to our business plans, objectives and expected operating results, and the assumptions upon which those statements are based, are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words “believe,” “project,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “intend,” “strategy,” “future,” “opportunity,” “plan,” “may,” “should,” “will,” “would,” “will be,” “will continue,” “will likely result,” and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties which may cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements. A detailed discussion of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and events to differ materially from such forward-looking statements is included in the section titled “Risk Factors” of our Forms 10-K and 10-Q. We undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.