Microsoft are tipped to bolster their Windows 10 offering by adding one of the most innovative and unique features found on the Apple MacBook range of laptops. It wasn’t too long ago that the Redmond-based tech giant pushed out the biggest Windows 10 download of the year so far – the May 2020 update – and rumour has it the firm are already hard at work at another big shake-up to the market leading OS. Last year Microsoft announced the Windows 10X software during the Surface event in New York – but not much has been heard about it since.
The operating system, which reportedly has been codenamed Windows Lite, was originally intended to run on dual screen devices such as the Surface Neo.
But Microsoft later said that they were planning to bring the OS to single screen devices first before rolling it out to dual screen gadgets.
Windows 10X is not meant to replace the desktop build of the market leading operating system, with both versions co-existing together.
And according to Windows Latest, sources have said that Microsoft are looking to bring some of the features of Windows 10X to the regular version of Windows 10 first.
Some of the Windows 10X features that look like they will be crossing over to the version millions already use include a new Start Menu, an Action Center and faster Windows Updates.
But it also looks like Microsoft will be adding the ‘Wonder Bar’ to the regular version of Windows 10.
Windows 10: Experts explain how to manage device updates
This is a UI that appears on dual screen devices when a keyboard is attached to one of the displays, allowing a user to deploy quick-fire touch controls.
And newly leaked images of an upcoming Microsoft keyboard appears to hint that the Wonder Bar is coming to the regular version of Windows 10 as well.
The Verge senior editor Tom Warren was one of those who tweeted out a picture of the leaked keyboard.
Warren posted: “Looks like Microsoft is improving the design of its dedicated emoji key. We’ve seen these keys before”.
Responding to this tweet, notable Windows 10 leaker Gustave M wrote: “That’s actually the [Wonder Bar] key, same icon you can see on 10X and the new upcoming touch keyboard in build 20185 and higher, behind a velocity flag. I don’t think it’s purely emoji, it will probably launch the [Wonder Bar]”.
When it is running on a dual screen device, the Wonder Bar is reminiscent of the Apple MacBook’s Touch Bar – however it looks beefier and chunkier.
Windows 10 could be getting a feature reminiscent of the Apple MacBook’s Touch Bar (Image: APPLE)
The Touch Bar offers quick access to shortcuts, and depending on the programme you use can offer specific controls for that app.
So, for instance the Touch Bar can be used for video editing in Final Cut Pro and a MacBook user can also tweak the shortcuts on offer to suit their needs.
Microsoft’s Wonder Bar will boast a range of functionality too, with it large enough to offer a virtual trackpad as well as mini video playback.
It will also offer quick access to emojis as well as a user’s clipboard.
If the Wonder Bar does end up coming to Windows 10 as rumoured, it remains to be seen how Microsoft implements it.
Could it just appear as a dedicated Window on-screen, with users having to use a mouse or a touch screen display to interact with the feature?
Or could Microsoft bring out new products for their Surface range which will include a touch display alongside a keyboard to support the Wonder Bar?
Keep your eyes peeled as this rumoured new addition could end up being a big feature heading to Windows 10 soon.
The first HarmonyOS-powered phone from Huawei to arrive in 2021
Huawei’s HarmonyOS was unveiled last year during the Huawei Developer Conference and there’s a report claiming that this year’s conference on September 10 will bring the HarmonyOS 2.0. Interestingly, the rumor cites Richard Yu himself, the company’s CEO. And the first phone with the in-house operating system will launch as early as next year.
A smartphone running the said OS already exists and will likely hit the market next year along with a number of new devices including PCs, tablets, smart wearables and other IoT products. In fact, the first smartwatch running HarmonyOS is expected to make a debut until the end of this year.
iPhone XR will reportedly be replaced by iPhone 12s in Q2 2021
Previously, conflicting information had emerged about iPhone XR’s future. We now seemingly know when it will be discontinued and which phone will replace it.
The iPhone 12s will supposedly be LTE-only
Samsung, LG experiment with virtual demo rooms of the future amid IFA conference
Tech events so far this year have made something clear — it’s not tough for giants like Apple and Samsung to go all-virtual with their launches. But one aspect of a typical tech event doesn’t translate to a computer or phones screen: the demo room. Samsung thinks it’s found a possible solution.
The company on Wednesday hosted a virtual Life Unstoppable event that coincided with the IFA electronics show in Berlin. It wasn’t a typical press conference like the company’s two Unpacked events held over the past month. Instead, Samsung used Epic’s Unreal Engine for games to build a virtual, 3D tour experience — a sort of choose-your-own adventure digital demo — for the media and its partners.
“Would we have done it if COVID wasn’t around? I’m not sure,” Benjamin Braun, Samsung’s head of marketing for Europe, said in an interview. “That is a different way of presenting new products that no one’s done before.”
The novel coronavirus, which has infected more than 25 million people around the globe, has caused companies to rethink their product launches. GSMA canceled Mobile World Congress, the world’s biggest mobile show, a week before journalists arrived in Barcelona in late February. Instead of phone launches over the past several months, Apple, Samsung, Huawei and OnePlus all held digital events or introduced devices via press release.
IFA, taking place in Berlin from Sept. 3 to 5, is the only big tech conference with an in-person component this year. But only 5,000 people can attend, far below last year’s level of 200,000. While Samsung isn’t attending IFA, it’s still hosting events, like Life Unstoppable, that coincide with the shortened convention.
Samsung’s virtual house
Participants of Life Unstoppable will navigate around a digital house that contains about two dozen different Samsung devices, ranging from its $3,500 waterproof, outdoor Terrace TV to its updated Galaxy Z Fold 2 foldable phone. The visit revolves around a 45-minute guided tour, but participants are able to branch off on their own to look at the back ports of a TV or circle back to the kitchen to check out the appliances.
Samsung noted that “every detail,” from the home’s artwork to the furniture’s fabric, “was carefully selected following meticulous research into the type of guests that would be visiting Samsung House, resulting in a truly immersive home environment.”
There’s also an augmented reality component that lets people see what the new products, like TVs, will look like in their own homes. And Samsung noted that immersive 8D audio makes visitors feel like they’re really in the home
During Life Unstoppable, Samsung unveiled a host of new products, ranging from a smart video projector called The Premiere to its Wireless Charging Trio pad that can charge a phone, watch and earbuds at the same time. Samsung also introduced a new fitness band, the Galaxy Fit 2; a low-priced 5G smartphone, the Galaxy A42 5G; and the budget Galaxy Tab A7 tablet.
While Samsung determined Life Unstoppable was the best format for IFA, Braun said, it may go a different route with CES and other trade shows.
“We constantly need to force evolution, force innovation, not only in our products but also in the way we present ourselves,” Braun said. “At some point, once COVID is under control and we’re back to potentially physical [events], then we need to rethink them as well. How do we merge the two?”
LG’s ‘virtual exhibition’ and IFA’s ‘Xtended Space’
Samsung isn’t the only company trying to make the best of a less-than-ideal situation by creating a virtual experience for regular show attendees to enjoy in lieu of IFA this year.
On Tuesday, LG launched its IFA “virtual exhibition,” demonstrating its latest product lineups within a realistic rendering of its usual IFA home — the Berlin Messe’s Hall 18.
First impressions show this to be an improvement to the usual in-person experience. No longer must you spend upwards of 30 minutes attempting to navigate the labyrinthine convention center with its many entrances and exits to reach the LG booth, and gone are the hordes of people that usually delay your journey even further.
But as you click through the virtual exhibition, you start to remember why attending these shows in person was important in the first place.
The cinema screening room in which you are supposed to be able to enjoy the deep blacks of LG’s latest screen technology doesn’t have quite the same impact when you’re viewing it through your own laptop or phone screen. The same is true when testing the sound quality of LG’s speakers and headphones in its virtual audio booth.
It’s hard to say how cool and effective LG’s rollable TV is without being able to examine it from all angles. Maybe it would help if you could navigate the exhibition in VR, which would allow for a more immersive, less static experience. Samsung said its Life Unstoppable home could be viewed in VR, but it was mostly designed for PCs, phones or tablets.
While LG and Samsung are offering their own takes on the virtual trade show, the wider event is also going online this year via a digital platform it’s calling IFA Xtended Space.
All the new phones, laptops, smart home gadgets and more from IFA 2019
Through an online hub, virtual attendees will be able to join live streams of keynotes, press conferences, panel sessions, presentations and virtual exhibitor presentations and match-making opportunities that will allow them to establish new business contacts. New products will even be presented in 3D, although it remains to be seen how easy it is to form a proper first impression of new tech without being able to touch it or hold it in your hands.
IFA’s organizers acknowledge that this year’s show won’t replicate the experience most regular attendees are accustomed to, but they believe its digital platform will offer something novel to people — whether they’re using it to supplement their in-person visit to the show, or to attend remotely.
“A digital platform can hardly compensate for a true on-site experience,” IFA Executive Director Jens Heithecker said Tuesday in a press release. “However, the IFA Xtended Space enables all those who are interested to know even more and those who cannot join the IFA 2020 Special Edition physically in Berlin to have a truly unique virtual experience.”