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Microsoft to Reportedly Dump Edge for Chromium-Based Browser; Chrome OS-Rival Windows Lite Said to Be in the Works

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Microsoft is apparently abandoning its Edge browser, or at least, the EdgeHTML browser engine. As per a new report, Microsoft is working on a new browser that will be based on Chromium, the open-source project behind Google’s Chrome browser. Codenamed Anaheim, it will reportedly reach Windows 10 Insider Preview members soon. In the meanwhile, another report claims that Microsoft is working on Windows Lite, a rival to Google’s Chrome OS, aimed at budget laptops and tablets. Windows Lite is said to be an evolution of Windows 10 S, and only run Progressive Web Apps (PWA) and Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps.

As per a report by Windows Central, Microsoft is working on a new default browser for Windows 10, one that will replace the current default – Microsoft Edge. It remains uncertain whether the company will do away with the Edge branding when it launches the new browser, or whether the new browser will be released under the same name. The report says that amidst this uncertainty, at least one thing can be considered a surety – the company is abandoning its EdgeHTML browser rendering engine for Google’s Chromium instead.

What does this mean for end users? Users will no longer have to wait for Microsoft to play catch-up with Google (or in that vein, Mozilla and Opera), and in turn receive better support for most of the Web – as most Web developers look to optimise their webpages for popular browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. The report notes that Edge on Android and iOS use each respective platform’s native web-rendering engines, so not much will change on the mobile front. Anaheim for Windows 10 is said to hit testing for Windows Insider Preview Fast Ring members soon, as part of the 19H1 developmental cycle. The report also points to Microsoft’s recent contributions to the development of Chrome for Windows 10 on ARM as evidence that the Redmond giant is indeed taking the plunge to abandon the EdgeHTML engine.

 

As we mentioned, there is another report doing the rounds of the Internet, claiming Microsoft is working on a version of Windows 10 called Windows Lite. According to Petri, the new operating system is said to be Microsoft’s latest salvo against Google’s dominance of the budget laptop market with Chrome OS. While Windows 10 S was its most recent attempt on this front (later rebranded to Windows 10 in S mode), it is reported Windows Lite will be completely different from the regular Windows 10 interface, and an evolution of Windows Core OS.

Windows Lite is said to be super lightweight, instant on, always connected, and able to run on any type of CPU. As we mentioned, the report claims that the operating system will only run PWA and UWP apps, while also stripping other legacy components from the OS. While the term ‘Lite’ has been spotted in documentation, and there are mentions in the latest release of Insider Preview builds and SDKs, the Petri report claims Windows Lite may in fact not be called Windows at all when launched, helping differentiate it from the original operating system. This, coupled with a new UI, should give it a “fresh” start in the market.

The company is also said not be aiming Windows Lite at enterprises, or even small businesses. Instead, it appears to be aimed at consumers and educational institutions. End users wouldn’t be able to buy the OS either, instead, only OEMs will have access. The new flagship level mobile SoC anticipated to be announced by Qualcomm during this week’s Snapdragon summit in Hawaii is also expected to be the first chip powering the first Windows Lite devices.


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Samsung Galaxy Fold Unveiled, With 7.3-Inch Infinity Flex Display

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Samsung’s first foldable phone is here. After teasing the arrival of its first foldable phone in November last year, the South Korean tech giant on Wednesday unveiled the device at its Galaxy Unpacked 2019 event in San Francisco. Dubbed as Samsung Galaxy Fold, the new smartphone combines two screens in one device – one main flexible display of 7.3-inch and the other secondary screen of 4.6-inch. Targeted to the customers, who want the very latest technology in the palm of their hands, Samsung Galaxy Fold will be marketed as a luxury device. The Galaxy Fold goes on sale in April this year in select markets around the world. Samsung is yet to share the market-specific availability details.

Samsung is using the brand-new Infinity Flex Display to put a large 7.3-inch screen in the Galaxy Fold, which can be folded to turn the phone into a compact device that can easily fit in your pocket. The company claims that it had to work on the Galaxy Fold from the ground up and create new manufacturing processes, components, and a lot more to turn the phone from a concept into reality.

To make sure the Galaxy Fold’s folding mechanism works as intended, the company has given the phone a robust backbone in the form of a sophisticated hinge, which uses interlocking gears. This hinge is cleverly hidden in the body of the phone and is not visible at all on the outside, helping the phone keep its elegant look.

 

Samsung Galaxy Fold price, availability

According to Samsung, it will start selling the Galaxy Fold beginning April 26, 2019 in select countries around the world. The Galaxy Fold price has been set at $1980 (roughly Rs. 1,41,300) and the phone will be offered in four colours – Green, Blue, Silver and Black. The company notes, the smartphone will be sold in both 4G LTE and 5G variants.

There is no word on the pre-order details right now or exactly which of the markets will be receiving the device. If we were to hazard a guess, all major markets would be getting the Galaxy Fold, sooner or later.

Samsung Galaxy Fold specifications

Moving to the internals of the smartphone. Samsung has revealed that the Galaxy Fold is powered by an unnamed processor, which is based on 7nm manufacturing process.

It is likely the SoC in question is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855. The resolution of the larger 7.3-inch Infinity Flex Dynamic AMOLED panel is set at 1536×2152 pixels (4.2:3), whereas the smaller 4.6-inch Super AMOLED panel includes 840×1960 pixels resolution (21:9). The smartphone also includes 12GB of RAM and 512GB of inbuilt storage (UFS 3.0) – there is no storage expandability. Since, there is no market-ready flexible battery right now, Samsung has packed two batteries in the phone that are placed on two sides of the phone. The batteries combine their energy and offer a total capacity of 4,380mAh.

For the imaging needs, the Samsung Galaxy Fold comes with a total of six cameras – three are placed on the back, two on the inside, and one on the front. Let’s start with the rear cameras: a 16-megapixel ultra wide camera with an f/2.2 aperture, a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera, with Dual Pixel AF, OIS, and variable f/1.5 to f/2.4 aperture; and finally, a 12-megapixel telephoto camera with PDAF, OIS, an f/2.4 aperture, and 2X optical zoom. As for the front dual camera, it features a 10-megapixel f/2.2 primary sensor and an 8-megapixel RBG depth camera with an f/1.9 aperture. Finally, the cover camera is a 10-megapixel selfie camera with an f/2.2 aperture.

Samsung says that no matter how you are holding the phone, you will have a camera ready to snap a photo whenever you need.

It isn’t just the hardware where Samsung has worked hard to make the Galaxy Fold great, the company has invested equally in the software of the device as well. The Samsung Galaxy Fold runs on Android Pie and packs several software customisations to make use of that massive real estate. The company has included support to run three apps simultaneously on the large 7.3-inch as well as App Continuity for seamless transition from the smaller screen to the larger and vice versa.

According to Samsung, the company has worked with Google as well as the developer community at large to make sure everything works great and seamlessly on the Galaxy Fold. Apps like WhatsApp, YouTube, and Microsoft Office have been optimised to work great on the Samsung phone.

Samsung may be the first mainstream smartphone maker to launch a foldable phone, but pretty much all smartphone makers are working on foldable phones of their own, including Xiaomi, Lenovo, and LG. Even some recently discovered Apple patents hinted at the developed of foldable phones in Cupertino.

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Xiaomi Xiaoai Mini TV Smart Speaker Announced Alongside Mi 9

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Alongside the Mi 9 and Mi 9 SE smartphones launch, Xiaomi has also unveiled a new speaker with a touchscreen display. Calling it ‘Mini TV’, the device is a smart speaker at heart, but comes with a 4-inch touchscreen display for added functionality. Apart from the touchscreen display abilities, the Xiaomi Xiaoai Mini TV smart speaker also supports voice control. It can control all the smart fittings in the house, set alarm clocks, play music, and also set custom routine settings. It is looking to give competition to other smart speakers with displays like the Echo Spot.

The Xiaomi Xiaoai Mini TV is yet another addition to the Xiaoai speaker series. The new variant is set to go into open beta registrations on February 28. The company has revealed very little about the smart speaker, and it is listed to sport a 4-inch touchscreen display and will support smart home products. For example, it will support smart doorbell products, showing you who is at your doorstep whenever someone rings the bell. It relays real-time information, and as mentioned, also works on voice control commands as well.

Users can also access videos and music via many supported apps. There’s little else that is known about the speaker, and we should know more in the days to come.

 

Alongside, Xiaomi also launched the Mi 9, Mi 9 Transparent Edition, and Mi 9 SE smartphones in China. Key highlights of the Mi 9 include a triple rear camera setup along with a 48-megapixel primary sensor, Game Turbo technology, 90.7 percent screen-to-body ratio, and a fifth-generation in-display fingerprint sensor. Price of the Mi 9 series starts at CNY 1,999 (roughly Rs. 21,200).

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Scientists develop smart, flexible window that can trap air pollutants

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Scientists have developed flexible smart windows that can trap air pollutants, and keep the indoor environment free of harmful particulate matter.

Tuning the light intensity and reducing the concentration of atmospheric particulate matter (PM) in commercial buildings are both crucial to keep indoor people comfortable and healthy.

Smart windows fabricated on the flexible and transparent silver (Ag)-nylon electrodes can tune the light intensity entering commercial buildings to maintain thermal comfort.

 

However, fabricating a large-scale transparent smart window for high efficiency PM2.5 capture has been a significant challenge, until now, researchers said.

Scientists led by YU Shuhong from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) developed a simple solution based process to fabricate large-area flexible, transparent windows for that can efficiently capture PM2.5.

“It takes only about USD 15.03 and 20 minutes to fabricate 7.5 square metre Ag-nylon flexible transparent windows,” researchers said.

The obtained mesh, coated with thermochromic dye, serves not only to tune the light intensity but also to purify indoor air.

The performance of the smart window remained stable even after 10,000 cycles of bending test and 1,000 cycles of stretching deformation, researchers said.

The success of the present design strategy provides more choices in developing next-generation flexible transparent smart windows and air pollution filters, researchers said.

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