One of the more exciting aspects of Windows Phone 8.1 is the appearance of Cortana, a Siri-like voice-based personal assistant. We spent time talking to Microsoft's Marcus Ash about Cortana, and we asked him about the possibility of Cortana making its way over to other smartphone platforms like iOS and Android. After all, the demo we were given was impressive. According to Marcus, at first it'll be a focus that is part of Windows Phone, and that's the number one priority with Cortana.
To extend Cortana across the entire smartphone ecosystem, that's the part that Microsoft is still mulling over and figuring out. The question is "How do we get Android or iOS users that also use Windows to have a great Cortana experience?" As a company, Microsoft is putting work into solving the question, and it isn't afraid to put its apps on competing platforms. After all, there's Office on Android and iOS, Bing, and others. For our money, it makes a lot more sense for Microsoft to release Cortana across multiple ecosystems rather than tying the service down as a Windows Phone exclusive. It's not the kind of feature that sells phones (similarly, we don't think that Siri on its own sells iPhones, either.) As a cloud-powered service, is Cortana a Windows play or a service play? Time will tell.
HP decided that it was time to build a business notebook that sports the best features of the top consumer laptops, and the result is the HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1. Ridiculously long name aside, the thin and light body construction is the right first-impression, and is a stark change from the typical squared-off black boxes that you typically find in a business notebook.
That said, you should never judge a laptop by its cover, and we've been using the HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1 for the past month to put it through the proper paces in anticipation of this review. Does this PC succeed at accomplishing all the things a business power user needs while maintaining the sexy appearance of a consumer laptop? Join us for our full HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1 review to find out.
We just hit you with our HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1 review, but we also put together this sampling of images to give you a look at some of the fit and finish on the business notebook. Seriously, the EliteBook 1040 is a fine-looking piece of hardware. Head on over to the gallery below to check them out!
We've been taking part in the Absolute LoJack #DigitallyDark challenge, giving up our smartphones for a full 24 hours to emulate what it might feel like to have them stolen. As part of the campaign, we're giving away an awesome Absolute LoJack Premium Family Pack. That gives the winner give 1-year Absolute LoJack premium subscriptions, which can be installed on any Mac, PC, or Android devices they own, giving them the ultimate in protection with a guarantee that they'll get the device(s) back in the event of theft. If it isn't back in your hands in 60 days, they'll give you $1000 to help replace the laptop, and $600 for a tablet or smartphone. How cool is that?
Ready to enter? Simply use the widget below to keep track of your entries! If you're a Gear Live Patreon backer at any level, you get an extra 25 entries in this giveaway! We've got a lot of ways for you to enter even if you aren't, but don't check off any that you don't actually perform. If you do, you'll be eliminated:
Oh, and if you wanna get in on all this awesomeness, use this link to get 30% off any Absolute LoJack subscription until June 30th--just enter promo code DARK30 at checkout!
As we reported a few days ago, T-Mobile has introduced Test Drive, which allows both current T-Mobile customers and those in other carriers (or who have no cell provider at all) to borrow an iPhone 5s from the company for 7 days. That includes unlimited talk, text, and data with the only current T-Mobile device that supports all the wireless band's used by the company. It's an effort to show, not just tell, the US population that it's greatly improved its wireless network and tuned it for massive data use.
After the T-Mobile Uncarrier 5.0 event we were able to get our hands on one of the iPhone 5s Test Drive units, and we've included some images here. Inside the box is what we assume is a refurbished black iPhone 5s, along with a sealed Lightning cable, Earpods, and AC adapter. It's definitely not the Apple unboxing experience, but that isn't the point. As far as storage capacity, our iPhone 5s is a 32GB model, so there is room to try downloading apps, videos, and images.
We are coming to you live from Seattle's Paramount Theater, where T-Mobile is set to deliver its Uncarrier 5.0 keynote address. Outspoken CEO (or un-CEO) John Legere is about to take the stage to unveil the next big move from the bold wireless carrier. The lights are going down, so join us for the live coverage after the break!
In an effort to bring you guys, our loyal readers, some of the best deals of gadgets, consumer technology, games, software, and more, we've launched the brand new Gear Live Deals shop! A few times a week, we'll pick out and feature a particularly flossy bargain that we think you should jump on, but of course, you're also free to simply head over to the Gear Live Deals store and simply shop around and grab whatever strikes your fancy.
Today, we're launching with the Name Your Own Price Mac Bundle. Name your own price for 3 apps, or beat the average price paid and get all 10 apps, which include the amazing Fantastical (one of my favorite Mac apps) and Path Finder 6, among many others.
We wanna hear what you think as well! Let us know what kind of products you'd like to see featured in the Gear Live Deals shop, and we'll do our best to get them in there and bring you even more tremendous value.
Chris Weber is the CVP of Mobile Devices Sales at Microsoft, re-joining the company through it's purchase of Nokia, where he was in charge of global sales. He knows his way around every Lumia device, and is now aiming to make sure that Windows Phone first-party hardware is an even player at the devices table. We were able to sit down with Chris to talk about Nokia, Lumia, Windows Phone, and what changes need to be made in order to realize the success he is seeking. Check out the full interview below:
When is Windows Phone 8.1 coming out?
The answer varies by device and operator. The Lumia 630 and 635 are the first 8.1 products, launched internationally. We’re also working with our current products, and any Windows 8 phone is upgradeable to 8.1. There is currently a developer preview, but the operator version requires further testing. 8.1 is a completely different experience. Things like the background wallpaper, increased customization, and especially Cortana, which is one of the best features.
There are key differences between Cortana and similar services on other devices. It proactively learns. The other day I was flying to Moscow. The week before, it asked if it wanted me to track my flight to Moscow. There is a link that says "Do you want to know how I knew that?" Cortana looked at my calendar and started looking up flight numbers. It also has geo-fencing. You can say "Remind me that Ignacio owes me $100." I can say remind me when I send an email, when I arrive home, etc. Or "Remind me to pick up my dry cleaning" and when you get in the area, the message pops up. "Remind me to pick up milk at the grocery store” and you get the choice of having it remind you when you are near any grocery store, not just one specific one.
Back to being on the plane, I said "Remind me to download the music for guitar when I get home." It's really, really good. Flow writing, which is similar to Swype, means I can do emails faster on my phone than on the keyboard now. I got a new phone and it wasn't running 8.1 and the hunt and peck was tough!
Yes, it’s true—Microsoft is about to get into the smartwatch game, and I got the opportunity to play with it. As we'd previously reported, Microsoft has filed a patent that details a smartwatch. However, often these patent filings aren’t exactly what we see companies end up releasing. So, let’s separate the cruft and get to the meat of the matter. A number of months ago I took a trip to New York where I came across someone who was testing the upcoming Microsoft wearable device. I saw it on their wrist and asked about it. They tried to explain that it was a random fitness wristband ordered from China at first, but eventually (with some prodding) gave me the scoop. Here is your exclusive first look at what Microsoft is planning for its first wearable smart device, what we are referring to as the Surface Watch:
- As far as looks, the image above is a parody, but not far off. It has an elongated form factor, but isn't as comically large as what's in the image. It is much more akin to something like the Fitbit One or Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit in shape rather than taking on the shape of a traditional watch, like Pebble did, or like what Google showed off with Android Wear. What we saw had a flat display, while the inner portion that would rest against your skin was curved.
- The icons are the flat style that Microsoft has been using on its other devices like Windows 8, Windows Phone, and Xbox One. That's what tipped me off in the first place.
- Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy is how it interacts with the rest of the world
- The flat glass display, and was definitely not high resolution. We hope that both of these change in the final product--a high-resolution curved display already exists on the Samsung Gear Fit, and the Microsoft device just didn't look as good.
- The watch is packed with sensors. It has a heart rate monitor, accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS, and most interestingly, a galvanic skin response sensor all built-in. The galvanic skin response sensor is built into the watch band, while everything else is built into the unit itself.
With plenty of people now running both iOS 8 beta and OS X Yosemite Developer Preview in order to kick the tires on Apple's upcoming operating systems, we're hearing that a lot of people are confused as to how to get the cool Handoff feature working. Handoff, announced during the WWDC 2014 keynote, is what allows the two operating systems talk to each other and pass app information back and forth seamlessly. Here's how you do it: