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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 A80 With Rotating Camera, In-Display Fingerprint Sensor Launched

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Samsung Galaxy A80 was launched on Wednesday at an event in Thailand. It features a 48-megapixel primary camera. The Galaxy A80 also sports a full-HD+ Super AMOLED display and comes with Dolby Atmos audio integration. The Android Pie-based Samsung phone comes with an in-display fingerprint sensor. Of course, the biggest highlight of the Samsung Galaxy A80 is its rotating camera – the form factor helps in two ways, first, enabling a notchless display, and second, making the high resolution rear camera usable for selfies. The company is also touting the ‘intelligent battery’ that learns the user’s routine to optimise battery life, and also supports 25W ‘Super-Fast Charging’ tech. At the launch event, Samsung also revealed the availability of the Galaxy A70 it had unveiled last week. Read on for more details about the Samsung Galaxy A80 price, release date, specifications, and more.

Samsung Galaxy A80 price, release date

The Samsung Galaxy A80 price has been set at EUR 649 (roughly Rs. 50,500). The company added the smartphone will be available in Angel Gold, Ghost White, and Phantom Black colour variants, with the first two having pearlescent effects. The Samsung Galaxy A80 will go on sale from May 29, in markets across Asia, Australia, China, Europe, Hong Kong, Middle East, New Zealand, and Russia. We can expect the Samsung Galaxy A80 price in India to be along the same lines as Europe pricing, though for now, an India release date has not been specified.

 

At the launch event, Samsung also announced the availability of the Samsung Galaxy A70 that it had unveiled last week. It will go on sale from April 26, in Black, Blue, Coral, and White colour variants.

Samsung Galaxy A80 specifications

The dual-SIM Samsung Galaxy A80 runs Android 9.0 Pie with the company’s One UI on top. It sports a 6.7-inch full-HD+ (1080×2400 pixels) Super AMOLED ‘New Infinity Display’ with a 20:9 aspect ratio and no notch. It is powered by the newly unveiled Snapdragon 730G SoC, an octa-core processor with two cores clocked at 2.2GHz and six cores clocked at 1.7GHz. This is coupled with 8GB of RAM. The smartphone sports an in-display fingerprint sensor.

Coming to the highlight of the smartphone, it’s rotating camera with a triple camera setup. It features a 48-megapixel primary sensor with an f/2.0 aperture, a secondary 8-megapixel camera with an ultra wide-angle lens (123-degrees), an f/2.2 aperture. There is also a 3D depth camera on board. An IR sensor rounds off the optics. As for selfies, when the user selects selfie mode, the three cameras automatically pop-up and rotate to the front. Other features on the Samsung Galaxy A80 include Super Steady video mode, Scene Optimizer with detection for 30 scenes, and Flaw Detection.

There is 128GB of inbuilt storage, which isn’t expandable via microSD card. The Samsung Galaxy A80 sports a 3,700mAh battery with 25W Super-Fast Charging support. It measures 165.2×76.5×9.3mm. Other features on the smartphone include Bixby, Samsung Pay, Samsung Health, and Samsung Knox. The company is also boasting of an Intelligent Performance Enhancer that uses AI for performance optimisation. The Bixby Routines feature looks to automate daily tasks by learning user patterns.

Finally, the Galaxy A80 also features Dolby Atmos technology for improved audio output with headphones or Bluetooth speakers.

Commenting on the launch, DJ Koh, President and CEO of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics, said, “The Galaxy A Series provides a range of models so everyone can choose a device that fits their unique needs and enables them to pursue their passions. The Galaxy A80 offers premium features for digital natives who want to fully engage in the Era of Live.”

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Acer Nitro 7 Slim Gaming Laptop Launched, Nitro 5 Series for Casual Gamers Updated

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At Acer’s annual hardware event, the company has launched a bunch of new products, while refreshing some of its existing lineup. One of the new launches is the Acer Nitro 7 gaming laptop, which boasts of a metal design, a slim body measuring 19.9mm in thickness, and up to seven hours of battery life. The company has also refreshed its existing Nitro 5 gaming laptop, which now boasts of an 80 percent screen-to-body ratio thanks to the 7.18mm narrow display bezels.

Both the Acer laptops share many of the underlying technologies such as CoolBoost, which features a dual exhaust system for keeping temperatures down when gaming. The NitroSense software allows users to visualise component temperature, loading performance, power usage, and more on both series. The Nitro 7 and Nitro 5 also feature Killer Ethernet E2500 networking card and Acer’s Network Optimizer to prioritise gaming traffic and Waves MaxxAudio for better sound.

Acer Nitro 7 specifications, pricing and availability

 

The new Nitro 7 features a metal chassis that is less than 20mm in thickness, making it quite slim. It features a 15.6-inch display with 144Hz refresh rate and a 3ms response time. It’s powered by 9th generation Intel Core CPUs and the latest Nvidia GPUs, up to two NVMe PCIe SSDs in RAID 0 with up to 2TB of mechanical storage and up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM.

The Acer Nitro 7 is available now in the US, starting at $1,000 (roughly Rs. 69,500). It will also be available in China and EMEA regions starting May and June respectively.

Acer Nitro 5 specifications, pricing and availability

The Acer Nitro 5 is available with a full-HD IPS panel in either a 17.3-inch size with slim borders or a 15.6-inch display size. It too packs in the latest 9th generation Intel Core processors, latest Nvidia GPUs, up to two NVMe PCIe SSDs in RAID 0, up to 32GB of RAM and Wi-Fi 802.11ac with 2×2 MU-MIMO antennas.

The Acer Nitro 5 is available from April in the US for a starting price of $800 (roughly Rs. 55,650). It will also be available in China and EMEA regions from May 2019.

Finally, Acer also announced the Nitro Stream, which is a dedicated streaming PC with a built-in capture card for streaming PC and console games. Specifications include an 8th generation Intel Core i7 CPU, up to 32GB of RAM, 256SSD and a in-built capture card. The PC is also compact enough to be mounted at the back of a monitor using the VESA mount standard. Pricing details and availability aren’t mentioned as of now.

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Google Home Can Now Remotely Enable Do Not Disturb Mode on Phones

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Google has quietly rolled out a new feature and a behavioural change for the Google Assistant on Google Home smart speakers. Starting with the new feature, users can now activate the Do Not Disturb mode on their smartphone by just saying asking the Google Home speaker to do so via relevant voice command. As for the behavioural change, the Google Home no longer vocally recites every step it is performing that is part of a routine set by users. However, it is not clear when the aforesaid changes went live.

Android Police reports that the Google Home no longer recites every single step of a routine. Earlier, the Google Assistant would alert users about every step of a routine that was in progress. But now, individual steps in a pre-specified routine are not accompanied by a vocal cue every time a routine is executed. However, individual commands that need the Google Assistant to respond vocally as well as standalone actions will still be accompanied by a vocal response.

Moreover, another report from Android Police states that the Google Assistant will now enable the Do Not Disturb mode on a linked smartphone via relevant voice command. For example, users can ask the Google Home to “silence my phone” or “activate DND mode on my phone” to enable the Do Not Disturb mode.

 

But in case the Google account being used for the Google Home is linked to multiple smartphones, users will have to specify the device, on which they want to enable the DND mode. As per Google’s support page, users can also choose to activate DND mode on all devices in a network via voice command. However, it is not clear when the aforementioned changes went live, or if it is available to only a small set of users in certain regions.

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