Connect with us

Tech News

Microsoft is overhauling the Windows Insider Program – here’s the deal

Published

on

The Windows Insider Program isn’t the same as it was a year ago. A lot has changed, from leadership to the way that builds are delivered.

It started back in February, when we were all still testing out Windows 10 version 1903. Microsoft had opened up the Skip Ahead subset of the Fast ring, which we all assumed was for version 1909, but it wasn’t. Microsoft went ahead and put Skip Ahead on 20H1; for the first time, Insiders were testing a version of Windows 10 that was slated for release a full year from then. In April, everyone was equally surprised with the regular Fast ring also skipped 19H2 in favor of 20H1. 19H2 ended up being reserved for the Slow ring.

In early October, Windows Insider Program chief Dona Sarkar announced her departure from the program, moving to the Power Platform. A replacement still hasn’t been named, but I’m told that Microsoft is still looking.

More changes were to come. During Ignite in early November, Microsoft announced that it’s killing off the Skip Ahead subset of the Fast ring. The move made sense, with the Fast ring testing out updates so far in advance now.

What is perhaps the biggest change was announced yesterday. The Fast ring is no longer tied to a specific Windows 10 release. Typically, the Fast ring gets builds from the rs_prerelease branch and then transitions to _release when the update is close to being done. That’s not going to happen anymore. Instead, the Fast ring will always get builds from rs_prerelease, and then it will be spun off into the Slow ring to prep for release.

There are several reasons for these changes. One is that the rings don’t make sense anymore. Fast and Slow imply how often builds are going to be released, but they’re not accurate. With the old way of doing things, the Slow ring would be barren for months on end, and then get builds as often as the Fast ring as an update was close to being finalized. If the Fast ring is perpetually testing rs_prerelease builds and the Slow ring is testing a feature update every six months, the rings are more useful.

Microsoft also doesn’t want to tie features to specific releases. The company has run into trouble with this in the past, promising things and then not delivering on time. Now, we’ll be testing features in the Fast ring, and Microsoft will decide at some point if it wants to include them in the builds that are spun off into the Slow ring.

Another factor here is Windows 10X, and 20H2. From what I’ve heard from sources, 20H2 will be the same type of update as 19H2, being delivered as a cumulative update and an enablement package. But it’s not for the same reason. 19H2 was delivered that way so Microsoft could focus on 20H1 and align Windows 10 development with Azure.

20H2, on the other hand, is being delivered in a similar way, but because Microsoft is focusing on Windows 10X. An issue with testing the new OS is that there are no devices that run it yet, so Microsoft can’t exactly run a Windows 10X Insider Program. One of the first devices will be the Surface Neo, and that’s not coming until later on next year.

What you’re going to see is a bunch of features coming to the Fast ring that are meant for Windows 10X, and will probably show up in Windows 10 proper in 21H1. And yes, the timeframe here is a bit strange. The Surface Neo is due out in the 20H2 timeframe, and yet 20H2 is going to be a cumulative update/enablement package. Microsoft will have a broader story to tell here, but the way I understand it is that Windows 10X will have a different build number than Windows 10 proper.

The most recent 20H1 Insider Preview build is 19041, so let’s assume for a moment that that’s the RTM build (it very well may be). Windows 10 for PCs 20H2 would be something like 19042, with Microsoft bumping the build number by one like it did for 19H2. Windows 10X would end up being something in the 19600 range, while Windows 10 21H1 and Windows 10X 21H1 would be aligned at some higher number like 20000 or so, but now we’re just making up numbers.

Yes, it’s all a bit confusing. All you really need to know for now is that the Fast ring is in perpetual prerelease status. That also means that there’s no more “magic window”, which is that timeframe where the Insider builds line up with the RTM and you can jump off of the Insider train. Naturally, you’ll be able to move to the Slow ring and then stop receiving builds at some point, or at least do a factory reset.

Source:
https://www.neowin.net/news/microsoft-is-overhauling-the-windows-insider-program—heres-the-deal

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Tech News

Trump accuses Apple of refusing to unlock criminals’ iPhones, setting the stage for a fight

Published

on

By

Trump just tweeted a tweet that might escalate a sticky situation into an outright showdown between Apple and the US Department of Justice — by effectively claiming that Apple is refusing to do its patriotic duty to unlock two iPhones connected to last month’s shooting at a naval base in Pensacola, Florida.

Here’s the tweet:

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

We are helping Apple all of the time on TRADE and so many other issues, and yet they refuse to unlock phones used by killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements. They will have to step up to the plate and help our great Country, NOW! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.122K12:36 AM – Jan 15, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy43.3K people are talking about this

Yesterday, Attorney General William Barr accused Apple of much the same thing, saying that the tech company had provided no “substantive assistance” to the FBI in unlocking the shooter’s phones. But it’s a much more nuanced matter than that.APPLE HAS ARGUED THAT UNLOCKING AN IPHONE MEANS WEAKENING ALL IPHONES

For starts, Apple claims that it has been continually assisting the FBI with the Pensacola phones, by providing data backed up from the phones to iCloud servers and account information, as we reported yesterday. Apple says it’s handed over gigabytes of data to investigators, and has been responding to each request within hours. Apple also suggested that the FBI seemed to be satisfied until just eight days ago, saying that “The FBI only notified us on January 6th that they needed additional assistance — a month after the attack occurred.”

But it’s also not an easy matter to simply “unlock” an iPhone for the feds — even if Apple has refused to do so in this case, which isn’t yet clear. We learned this in 2016 when Apple actually did publicly refuse to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernadino shooters, leading to a protracted legal fight that ended embarrassingly for the federal government when it turned out the feds didn’t need Apple’s help after all — partly because it paid a third-party for a tool to break into that iPhone, and partly because investigators were able to find the password on their own.

I digress: what Apple claimed in 2016 was that it didn’t actually have the existing ability to unlock a customers’ iPhone for the feds, even if they were an alleged killer, and that Apple wasn’t willing to build a backdoor into every iPhone just to make that happen — because it could potentially create a dangerous loophole that hackers could take advantage of as well.

That said, a poll at the time suggested that most Americans believed Apple should comply with the FBI’s demands, even though a majority understood it might make their personal data less secure. Those are the sympathies that Trump is attempting to draw on now.

According to The New York Times, Apple is quietly preparing for a brand-new legal fight over the iPhone’s encryption standards and the government’s desire for a backdoor, but is also internally frustrated that the Justice Department hasn’t spent more time trying to unlock the shooter’s iPhone 5 and an iPhone 7 Plus — devices lacking Apple’s most sophisticated encryption — with third-party tools. According to security experts who spoke to both the NYT and Bloomberg, third-party cell phone unlocking tools should be able to break into the Pensacola phones as well. Both phones were damaged in apparent attempts to destroy them, but the FBI managed to get both devices to turn on.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has issued a statement in support of Apple and the need for strong encryption on personal devices in the US and abroad.THE GOVERNMENT’S DEMAND IS DANGEROUS AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL

”The government’s demand is dangerous and unconstitutional, and would weaken the security of millions of iPhones,” said the ACLU’s Surveillance and Cybersecurity Counsel Jennifer Granick. “Strong encryption enables religious minorities facing genocide, like the Uyghurs in China, and journalists investigating powerful drug cartels in Mexico, to communicate safely with each other, knowledgeable sources, and the outside world. There is simply no way for Apple, or any other company, to provide the FBI access to encrypted communications without also providing it to authoritarian foreign governments and weakening our defenses against criminals and hackers.”

Apple may have even more at stake now than it did in 2016: increasingly, Apple has repositioned itself as a “privacy” company, as if it’s the only tech company you can trust. You may have seen the ads. And while Apple has stumbled a few times already on privacy, that’s the image it wants to send.

It is true that Apple has benefited from a relationship with Trump, by the way, but not necessarily around trade — unless Trump’s saying that Apple is why his proposed tariffs on phones and laptops keep getting delayed.

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s tweet.

Source:
https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/14/21066270/trump-accuses-apple-refuse-unlock-iphone-barr-pensacola-base-attack-tweet

Continue Reading

Tech News

Samsung claims 5G lead after 6.7 million shipments

Published

on

By

Samsung has claimed to be leading the way for 5G device shipments at the close of 2019 after selling two million devices at IFA in September last year. Samsung seemingly romped through the final three months with a total of 6.7 million 5G device shipments for 2019. The figure eclipses the four million target the firm set itself, though as its main Android competitor (Huawei) is being stifled by political friction, it is hardly surprising Samsung has stormed into the lead.

According to estimates from Counterpoint Research, Samsung’s sales up to the end of November give it a global market share for 5G devices of 53.9 per cent.

6.7 million devices is simply a drop in the ocean of potential and could be dwarfed by an aggressive campaign by Apple in the US or Huawei in China. As Counterpoint’s Neil Shah notes, Apple could gain instant scale with a launch to turn these figures around. That said, you cannot argue with the figures; in the absence of main competitors, Samsung is maintaining its leadership position in the 5G segment as well as 4G.

“Consumers can’t wait to experience 5G and we are proud to offer a diverse portfolio of devices that deliver the best 5G experience possible,” said TM Roh, President of the IT & Mobile Communications Division.

“For Samsung, 2020 will be the year of Galaxy 5G and we are excited to bring 5G to even more device categories and introduce people to mobile experiences they never thought possible.”

While many analysts do not share Samsung’s belief that the consumer is clawing at the walls for 5G connectivity, there are likely to be more sales across the year. Firstly, geographical coverage will improve to whet the appetite, and secondly, 5G will come as standard on device; device shipments will most likely organically increase.

What will be worth keeping an eye on is the choices made by device manufacturers over the coming months as flagship models are pumped and hyped at industry conferences. Perhaps the most interesting element will be the ways and means by which the OEMs work with Qualcomm.

It has become widely accepted that the latest Qualcomm chipset features in the majority of flagship smartphone devices throughout the year. However, this year some OEMs will have a choice to make; to integrate or not to integrate?

Over the next few months Qualcomm will begin shipping both the Snapdragon 865 and Snapdragon 765 chipsets. The Snapdragon 865 is more powerful, though 5G is on a separate modem, potentially decreasing the power efficiency of devices. The Snapdragon 765 has 5G connectivity integrated, though is notably less powerful. Whichever chipset OEMs elect for, there will be a trade-off to stomach.

Looking at the rumours spreading through the press, it does appear many of the smartphone manufacturers are electing for the Snapdragon 865 and a paired 5G modem in the device. Samsung’s Galaxy S11, Sony Xperia 2 and the Google Pixel 5 are only some of the launches suggested to feature the Snapdragon 865 as opposed to its 5G integrated sister chipset.

5G might not have gotten off to the blistering start some in the industry would have been hoping for, but there is still plenty to come. With Mobile World Congress kicking-off in just over two months, there is amble opportunity for new devices to be launched prior, during and just after the event, while the iLifers will have all eyes cast towards September for Apple’s launch.

Source:
https://www.sunnewsonline.com/samsung-claims-5g-lead-after-6-7-million-shipments/

Continue Reading

Tech News

Sony apparently can’t keep up with demand for its image sensors

Published

on

By

If there’s one common denominator among most devices this year is that they all have multiple cameras. And we’re not just talking about just dual cameras: OEMs ranging from OnePlus, Nokia, Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi and even Apple have come out with phones that have triple, quad, or even penta camera setups. More cameras don’t necessarily correlate to a better camera experience, but it does unlock more features and versatility that is normally impossible for one single camera to pull off correctly. This versatility is what has prompted OEMs to pack in multiple cameras, increasing the demand for different image sensors. Because of this, Sony’s semiconductor division is quite literally hot on their heels — so much that they can’t seem to keep up with the ever-rising demand.

Mr. Terushi Shimizu, head of Sony’s semiconductor division, says that “judging by the way things are going, even after all that investment in expanding capacity, it might still not be enough” when it comes to manufacturing capacity for their camera sensors, and that “we are having to apologize to customers because we just can’t make enough”, as reported by Bloomberg. The reason? The demand for their cameras as well as the number of smartphones being manufactured in mass with multiple sensor arrays. Sony is the main camera sensor provider for most smartphone manufacturers, and most devices we use nowadays have at least one Sony-made sensor. So even though the demand for smartphones has plateaued on a global scale, the demand for image sensors has steadily increased. Sony is even working around the clock to manufacture its in-demand image sensors, running its chip factories constantly through the holidays to keep up with the demand. But even 24-hour operations are said to be insufficient. The demand has grown so much that semiconductors are now Sony’s second most profitable business, only surpassed by PlayStation.

Sony is the manufacturer behind the 48MP IMX586 sensor which was, very easily, the most popular flagship camera sensor this year, featuring on several devices including several Xiaomi phones (Redmi Note 7/7 Pro, Redmi Note 8, Xiaomi Mi 9 line, Redmi K20 Pro/Mi 9T Pro, Xiaomi Mi A3), the OnePlus 7/7T lineup, as well as on devices from Huawei, Oppo, Realme, Asus, Vivo, Motorola, et al. Its successor, the IMX686, will compete with Samsung’s 108MP behemoth head-on featuring a 64MP resolution and will be featured on 2020 phones such as the Redmi K30. Sony claims to have a 51% market share as of May 2019, and its share is expected to have increased by a few percentage points in the intervening months.

Source:
https://www.xda-developers.com/sony-demand-smartphone-camera-image-sensors/

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending

%d bloggers like this: