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



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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15 Best SNES Games On Nintendo Switch Online



Nintendo Switch Online has an awesome collection of old-school games sure to get your nostalgia running on overdrive. Here are some of our favorites.

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Zoom Just Added New AI-Powered Features, Here’s What They Do



Zoom is also adding an AI-assisted auto-framing system called Intelligent Director to its Zoom Room system. This one relies on a multi-camera setup and picks up the best camera angle to depict a person in a video conference. The company says it paves the way for a “more equitable meeting experience for remote and in-person attendees.” Interestingly, Zoom is borrowing the idea of huddles from Slack, which itself introduced video chats to huddles last year that look a lot like Zoom. Introduced earlier today, Zoom Huddles is a video-centric virtual coworking space with a healthy bunch of collaboration features.

Zoom also wants to offer its very own email inbox and calendar so that users don’t have to jump between the video calling platform and other apps. The result of those ambitions is Zoom Mail, which is now available to all users as a client that can be connected to your existing Gmail or Microsoft inbox. Additionally, if you want Zoom’s very own email service, the company is also offering something called Zoom Mail Service with its very own hosting, but it is limited to paid customers only. Then there’s Zoom Calendar, which lives in the main sidebar and aims to replace rivals from Microsoft and Google that are currently a part of your workflow.

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How To Schedule Or Automate iPhone’s Always-On Display



Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are the first iPhones with an always-on display. The setting is enabled by default in currently-available iOS builds, but you cannot schedule or automate iPhone’s always-on display. That changes with the latest iOS 16.4 beta, adding an option to automate the feature.

That sounds exciting, but here’s a caveat. Since iOS 16.4 is available as a release candidate to registered developers or public testers, you might find getting your hands on it challenging. Even if you decide to download it to automate your iPhone’s always-on display, you might experience some performance issues or bugs, ranging from worse battery life to iOS crashes. 

Nevertheless, if you’re sure about trying the new features, head to the Apple Beta Software Program page and follow the instructions to install the latest iOS 16.4 beta, which has a new feature to schedule always-on display on the iPhones.

Automate always-on display using Focus Filters

Two ways to automate iPhone 14 Pro’s always-on display in iOS 16.4 are via Focus Filters and Shortcuts. First, let’s discuss the steps in enabling the feature via Focus Filters.

  1. First, head to the Settings app on your iPhone and tap Focus.
  2. Create a new Focus by pressing the plus icon in the top right corner. Select Custom from the available options and name the Focus mode. Tap on Customize Focus and head to the next screen.
  3. Swipe down and select Add Filter under Focus Filters.
  4. Under System Filters, select Always On Display. Ensure the Filter is enabled and tap Add in the top right corner.
  5. Now, under Set A Schedule, do one of the following things.
    1. Enable Smart Activation, which applies the Focus Filter at relevant times of the day based on your app usage, location, and other metrics.
    2. Select Add Schedule and set when you want the Focus Filter to be active, enabling the always-on display.

You’ve successfully linked the always-on display to the Focus mode, which will now be active during the schedule you set. 

Set up a Shortcut to activate always-on display

You can also connect your iPhone’s always-on display to a Shortcut.

  1. Head to the Shortcuts app and press the plus icon in the top right corner.
  2. Select Add Action and locate and select the Set Always On Display option through the search bar at the top.
  3. By default, the Turn and On buttons activate the always-on display when you access the Shortcut.
  4. Tap Done in the top right corner.
  5. Accessing this Shortcut will trigger the always-on display.

Now that you know how to schedule or automate always-on display on your iPhone, here are a few things to remember. Currently, the feature is only available in iOS 16.4 beta, so regular users can’t access the feature. Although Apple is expected to release iOS 16.4 as a stable build for everyone soon, we can’t give an exact date. Second, using the always-on display might deplete your iPhone’s battery faster than usual, which is normal.

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