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Microsoft is positioning Always-Connected PCs as the future of business devices

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These days, Windows PCs with built-in cellular connectivity are still fairly rare. But Microsoft is on a campaign to change this, especially in the business space.


Credit: Microsoft

During Microsoft’s WinHEC (Windows Hardware Engineering Conference) 2018 events in Taipei and Shenzhen over the past couple of weeks, Microsoft execs have been evangelizing so-called “Always Connected” devices.

Always Connected devicesare ARM and Intel mobile PCs with LTE cellular networking built-in which may use either SIM or eSIM technology for managing that connectivity. Though the majority of PCs from Microsoft itself and its PC partners still don’t come with LTE built-in, Microsoft execs say they are anticipating this will change.

Microsoft’s Surface Go two-in-one laptop with LTE built-in is scheduled for release before the end of this calendar year, last we’ve heard. And recently, Lenovo unveiled the first PC running the Snapdragon 850 chip, its Yoga C630 WOS. Last week, Samsung followed suite with the Snapdragon 850-based Galaxy Book2. Qualcomm has made one of the main selling points of the Snapdragon 850 its improved LTE speeds, saying the new processor will speed things up by 20 percent.

When Microsoft first began touting the first Windows 10-on-ARM devices from its OEM partners last summer, officials treated Always Connected PCs as a unique category. But that narrative is shifting, said Erin Chapple, Corporate Vice President of Windows Server, Always Connected PCs and OS Platform Technologies.

“A ‘modern device,’ now, to us, is an Always Connected PC,” she said.

Constant connectivity becomes part of what Microsoft is advising its OEMs to build into new devices, the same way it espouses Windows Hello, far-field voice recognition and more, Chapple noted.

The company also is starting to get serious about pushing connected computing as not just a consumer nicety, but as a business necessity, Chapple said. “It’s still important to talk to consumers (about connected computing),” she said, “but the future opportunity ahead is commercial.”

(That said, Microsoft recently published a new page about LTE connectivity aimed at consumers.)

Microsoft’s pitch to businesses is that built-in LTE networking will allow them to shift to “network as a service,” rather than having to set up and run their own custom networks, Chapple said. Access to fast, reliable cellular networks as part of their computing experience will alow them to skip using untrusted public networks, she added.

Always Connected PCs were just one of the tracks covered at WinHEC. Other tracks included Windows Server 2019; Windows 10 in S Mode; security: fundamentals: such as AutoPilot, Modern Standby, etc.; and the intelligent edge. For the first time at WinHEC, women in tech was also a big emphasis.

Speaking of Windows 10 in S Mode, which Microsoft has been working to get OEMs to ship on PCs — especially Always Connected ones — there will be a new requirement in Windows 10 1809 (the October Update) for Windows 10 Pro in S Mode devices. Devices running Pro in S Mode will be required to have Internet Connectivity as an out-of-the-box requirement, and will require users to log in with Azure Active Directory if those devices are enrolled in AutoPilot, as officials noted at the Microsoft Ignite IT pro conference.

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The 12 Cheapest Productions Cars Ever Made

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Nobody said that a cheap car must be a terrible one, and the Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle is proof. Created before WWII and put into production under British management after the war, the VW Beetle went on to be one of the best-selling cars of all time, according to Autoweek. They are basic, small, and austere, but dependable, capable, and enjoyable cars to many.

The genesis of the car was in the idea of producing a “people’s car” for the German public, something the average German could afford to buy and use on the newly laid Autobahn highways. With plans interrupted by the war, German industry had been decimated and also needed economic activity to rebuild. Volkswagen commenced production to get its people behind the wheel, but also exported the cars to increase much-needed trade, and it became a success (via Hemmings).

In developed markets where the VW sold, it was often the cheapest car available. Thanks to its simple design and robust engine, people took millions of them home, even creating subcultures of fanatical drivers, and it continued to be made in 2003 in Mexico.

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Elon Musk Made This Video Game When He Was 12 Years Old. Here’s How You Can Play It

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In 1995, Musk was on his second day at Stanford University when he and his brother abruptly dropped out, dove into Silicon Valley’s emerging Internet boom, and started Zip2. This company provided city travel guide information to prominent online newspapers. Four years later, Compaq Computer Corporation bought that company for $307 million in cold hard cash and another $34 million worth of stock options (via Biography).

He immediately took that money and co-founded the online bank X.com, which later consolidated with Confinity to become PayPal (via Business Insider). In 2002, eBay bought PayPal for $1.5 billion. Musk pocketed around $175 million from that venture, turned around, and created SpaceX. See the pattern?

Musk was born in Pretoria, South Africa, in 1971. When he was young, his parents feared that he had a hearing problem (via Biography), but it wasn’t that he was intentionally ignoring them. Instead, he was getting so utterly wrapped up and focused on his own thoughts that he wasn’t aware they were calling out to him. He was later diagnosed with the autism spectrum disorder known as Asperger’s syndrome. Symptoms include not responding to their name and obsessive interest in certain subjects, both of which were present in Musk.

In 1979, when Elon was around eight years old, his parents divorced. He and his siblings went to live with his mother because, according to Musk, his father was a “terrible human being.” However, he also calls his dad a “brilliant engineer,” and believes he got his computer and engineering skills from him.

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The Best Cyber Monday Laptop Deals 2022

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The ASUS TUF Gaming F15 laptop was awarded as one of our preferred affordable gaming laptops of 2022, and Cyber Monday deals from Best Buy slash the price even further. Through the online retailer, this ASUS model falls from $1,079.99 to $699.99. Something about the removal of the comma makes anything seem like a much more reasonable investment! Another ASUS deal at Best Buy brings us the ROG Zephyrus 144Hz 14-inch gaming laptop with 16 gigabytes of RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 graphics chip for $500 off — that’s $899.99 rather than $1,399.99.

Directly through Lenovo, there are a few some impressive laptop deals. You can save a whopping $2,010.00 on the ThinkPad T14s Gen 2 14-inch in storm gray color for a grand total of $849. There’s over $2,200 to be saved on the same model,  but in black. Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 14-inch is 65% off — that pitches the price by $2,350.00 to $1,259.00.

Target’s only Cyber Monday specific deal is for the HP Victus 15.6-inch 144Hz gaming laptop, which was originally listed for $829.99 but has fallen to $589.99. That’s another gaming laptop that earned a spot on our best affordable gaming laptop rank. However, there are a number of unspecified sales and clearance deals that slash laptop prices by as much as $500 at Target, such as the Acer Aspire 3 15.6-inch laptop with 8 gigabytes of RAM for $249.99. 

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