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Member Since 10 Nov 2009
OFFLINE Last Active Apr 24 2012 09:08 AM

New Surface Pro firmware brings Windows 10 S support, but why?

16 August 2017 - 07:38 PM

Would you buy a Surface Pro device running Windows 10 S? We only ask because Microsoft has issued new firmware for its latest tablet explicitly supporting the new operating system.

Released on August 12, the new firmware patches the Surface Pro with four key Intel driver updates, all of which directly cite support for Windows 10 S.

Furthermore, these are the only changes found within the firmware update, making it only more suspicious that Microsoft is up to something. Why would a device that ships only with Windows 10 Pro be receiving hardware drivers that work with Windows 10 S?

Surface Pro meets Windows 10 S

The most logical conclusion here – i.e. the only one we can come up with – is that Microsoft is laying the groundwork for an eventual version of the Surface Pro paired with Windows 10 S.

While we’ve had little evidence from which to draw that conclusion, there stands little other reason for a device to be updated with firmware for an OS it doesn’t currently use. We can’t find much reason in Microsoft offering a “Switch to Windows 10 S” option on Surface Pro, because few would leap for that.

With Windows 10 S giving teachers greater access to their student’s devices, coupled with strong Back to School deals on Surface Pro 4, it makes sense for Microsoft to push the classroom-edition of Windows on a potentially better-selling device.

So, what we’re left with is the first inkling of a Surface Pro device running Windows 10 S, but next to nothing else suggesting such a move. So, would you buy a Surface Pro for – one would hope – a bit less cash if it meant a more secured OS? You might be able to vote with your dollar soon enough.

Via Windows Central

Google Home voice calling goes live, and it's better than Amazon Echo

16 August 2017 - 06:00 PM

If releasing and updating smart home devices was a foot race, Amazon would be winning. It was the first to launch the Amazon Echo ahead of the Google Home, and the first one to offer both device-to-device calling and video conferencing via a camera on the brand-new Amazon Echo Show

But sometimes it’s not about coming in first – it’s about doing things better. 

Starting today, Google Home can now make calls not to another Home device, but to any number in the US and Canada – home phones, cell phones and business numbers – absolutely free.

To activate the free calling service, all you need to do is ask Google to call someone listed in your Google Contacts with an associated phone number. 

Of course, if you’re unsure of a phone number, like, say for that pizza place down the street, simply ask Google Assistant to call a location specifically and it will locate a number for you.

Saying “Hey Google, call Dad” automatically triggers a ringtone, a neat feature for the times you're just a bit too pre-occupied to pick up the phone, but, perhaps even cooler is the fact that if your roommate or significant other walk in and make the same request, Google Assistant will know to call their father instead thanks to Google Assistant’s ability to identify voices.

So, what does the person on the other end see when they receive a call from Google Home? The way the system is setup right now, if you’re a Google Voice or Project Fi user, they’ll see your name and number. If you’re not, they’ll see it pop up as call from “Unknown” or “No Caller ID”. 

That will change soon, however, according to Google, who says that by the end of the year it will be possible for your own mobile number to be displayed. 

The new 'Home' phone

The easiest comparison to make here is to a home phone – the kind that have become somewhat of a relic in recent years thanks to the rise in cellphone use. 

Like home phones, Google Home is obviously tethered to the house, but unlike the unappreciated rotary dials of yesteryear, Google Home’s landline service is available for free without a monthly service fee.

Ahead of launch, a representative from Google whitelisted our account, allowing us to place phone calls to friends and family before the service went live. 

The experience took a bit of front-loading (i.e. making sure our Google Contacts were up-to-date with pertinent phone numbers) but when finished, the service worked nearly flawlessly: Those we spoke to said that we can through loudly and clearly, perhaps not as clearly as we did while using a proper headset or a phone’s built-in microphone, but quite well considering our distance from the speaker. They said they heard themselves partially during the first few minutes of the call but later on couldn’t hear themselves – a likely sign that the built-in microphone is picking up some of the caller’s voice.

Besides a few niggling performance issues, the only problem with the service is that, as of right now, Google Home only works as a line out. You can use it to make calls to friends and family, but not the other way around ... which is probably one of the reasons that you can’t use Google Home to call emergency services, as they’d have no way to call you back should you get disconnected.

The fact that Home can only make calls and not receive them is a weakness that Google hasn’t necessarily addressed yet. But, considering that it’s making a brand-new hands-free voice calling service available to millions of customers at no cost, it’s hard to hold this minor oversight against the company for long. 

And, I mean, you have to save something for next year’s Google IO, right?

Download of the day – Foxit Reader

15 August 2017 - 07:00 PM

If you're sick of having to open PDFs in your web browser or Microsoft's simple Reader app, take a look at Foxit. This free PDF software lets you view, sign and annotate PDFs before sharing them.

Foxit Reader can also create PDFs from virtually any Microsoft Office document, and has a brilliant security feature that disables JavaScript in case a document you've downloaded is harboring anything unpleasant.

Foxit Reader makes navigating large, cumbersome PDFs easy, and its tabbed interface lets you work with several files at once.

If you're in the market for a new PDF program, or you're still using the Windows defaults, you'll be amazed by the difference it makes.

Download here: Foxit Reader

Download of the Day is our pick of the best free software around – whether it's useful, fun, or just plain silly. If you have any recommendations, please send them to downloads@techradar.com.

Facebook Messenger has launched its digital assistant M in the UK

15 August 2017 - 06:00 PM

Facebook Messenger is getting a lot more interactive if you’re a UK user. Facebook is launching its digital assistant M, as part of its global rollout.

M is a completely automated assistant that makes suggestions based on the conversations that you are having in Messenger, potentially alerting you to features that you may not have known about previously. 

The sorts of suggestions that M can make include:

  • Sending stickers - personalised suggestions for stickers like ‘Thank you' or 'Bye-bye'.
  • Sharing location - If the conversation is about your location, so someone asking “Where are you?” for example, M will suggest that you share your location.
  • Making a plan - If you are trying to organise a plan with a group, M will suggest using Messenger’s planning capabilities.
  • Creating a poll - If you and a group are having a difficult time deciding on a subject, M will suggest creating a poll to decide once and for all.
  • Birthdays - If the person you are speaking to in a one-on-one conversation is currently celebrating their birthday, M will surface a suggestion to wish them happy birthday in one of the many ways Messenger currently supports; these include stickers, cards, and videos.
  • Saved - When content is shared in a message that M decides is worth you saving for later, a suggestion will pop up for you to use the Saved extension. This can be used for URLs, videos, Facebook posts, events, and pages.
  • Starting a voice or video call - If you’re in a one-on-one message and one of you suggests you actually speak, M will suggest initiating a call within the app.

While the suggestions are undoubtedly useful, there will be users who are uncomfortable with knowing that there is a bot essentially listening in on every conversation that they are having, waiting for an opportunity to make a suggestion. 

If you would rather not have M making suggestions, it is possible to mute suggestions in M settings. We contacted Facebook to see if muting turned off the observation of your conversations. A representative said:

"Turning this feature off means you will stop receiving helpful suggestions and prompts from M. However, Messenger will continue to use automated tools to analyse messages so that we can help reduce spam on our services and also to make our products responsive to how people are using Messenger." 

This is the latest rollout of the feature, which was brought to the US in April 2017 after successful testing. In the US, M has slightly more suggestions than it currently has in the UK thanks to Messenger’s payment functions that are yet to come to the UK. 

All these suggestions are obviously a way for Messenger to try and keep you within its ecosystem, as many of the functions that M is suggesting are functions that users typically turn to other apps for. 

That said, there are some truly useful features of Messenger that many people don’t use, and may not even know exist, so we do envisage M being useful for those users. 

Suggestions from M should automatically appear on your Messenger app. If it doesn't, it may be worth checking that you have the latest update.

Amazon Great Indian Sale: best deals and offers on electronics, phones, and more

12 August 2017 - 02:25 PM

Welcome to Amazon Great Indian Sale on TechRadar. The sale is in full swing and we are filtering  all of the best Amazon Great Indian Sale deals throughout the three day event. It not just takes away the hassle of hunting for the best deals, but also save your time to know if the products are worth the cash or not.

After holding a successful Prime Day in India, Amazon is all geared up to set new records with its yearly sale dedicated to consumers inside Indian border. 

 Deals on Apple phones

Here find our selection of the hottest smartphone deals:

Apple iPhone 7 32GB at Rs 42,999 @ Amazon (save Rs 13,201)

The 32GB variant of the iPhone 7 will be available for Rs. 42,999 compared to its regular price of Rs. 56,200. This means that if you buy the device during the sale, you can save Rs. 12,201. The iPhone 7 comes with a 4.7-inch display with a resolution of 1334 x 750 pixels. The device come with Apple A10 Fusion chip and 2 GB RAM. It features a 12MP primary camera and a 7MP Facetime HD camera on the front. The device is powered by a 1,960mAh battery.

Apple iPhone 6 32GB at Rs 23,999 @ Amazon (save Rs 5,501)

Just like the iPhone 7, the 32GB variant of the iPhone 6 will also be on sale. The device will be available for a discounted price of Rs. 23,999 compared to its original price of Rs. 29,500. This means, that customers will get a discount of Rs. 5,501. The iPhone 6 comes with a 4.7-inch display with a resolution of 1334 x 750 pixels. 

Best Amazon Great Indian Sale deals by category

Hand-picked deals

Buy SanDisk Cruzer Blade 16GB USB 2.0 Pen Drive @ Rs 349

The most basic and reliable 16GB pen drive from SanDisk is now selling for Rs 191 below its original price. 

Buy Sony MDR-ZX110A headphones 16GB USB 2.0 Pen Drive @ Rs 649

At Rs 649, Sony MDR-110A is an amazing option for those looking for a budget over-the-ear headphone at minimal cost. It is capable of delivering good quality audio for its price. The original cost of the headphone is Rs 1300.

Buy Logitech M235 wireless mouse at just Rs 729

Looking for a wireless mouse? Here's a great deal with a great product from Logitech. The M235 is void of any drawbacks and can stick to your computer table for years. 

Buy Seagate 1.5TB portable hard disk @ Rs 4,799 on Amazon

Seagate is one of the most trusted brands when it comes to storage solutions. If you are on a hunt to get the best value of your cash while buying a portable hard disk, this deal may be the one for you.

Buy TP-Link 300MBps router @ Rs 899 on Amazon

Got a new internet connections? TP-Link TL-WR841N is a great choice for single band budget router especially when it is available at a discount of Rs. 600. It is capable of giving you up to 300Mbps Wifi speed.

Buy Logitech K230 Wireless Keyboard @ Rs 678 on Amazon

Logitech is renowned for its high-quality computer accessories. Out of its vast portfolio, K230 is one of the finest budget wireless keyboard. It is compact and comes with great battery life keeping your data safe using 128-bit AES encryption.  

Buy Sony MDR-XB250 Extra Bass headphones @ Rs 1005

One of the highest selling budget headphones from Sony now available for a discount of Rs 485 only for today. Sony MDR-XB250 has received a lot of praise from it's users and is one of the finest under its budget. 

Buy LG 32LH576D HD smart LED @ Rs 22,499

LG LH576D comes with Android OS and is a great option for a budget HD LED. Amazon is offering a good deal on the TV, so here's something that will justify the cash you put on it.