Thurrott Daily: May 3

Posted on May 3, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Cloud, Hardware, iOS, Mobile, Windows 10, Windows Phones, Xbox, Xbox One with 0

Thurrott Daily: May 3

The view from my mobile office today.

I’m flying today. Here are some tech tidbits from around the web.

5/3/2016 1:02:07 PM

Microsoft’s E3 briefing is set for June 13

I received my invitation to Microsoft’s E3 briefing, but since it will be broadcast live, I’ll probably do this one remotely. The event—which I was told will include some kind of hardware announcement—is set for June 13 at 9:30 am PT/12:30 pm ET.

In addition to the briefing, Microsoft is awarding 500 Xbox fans with “a one-of-a-kind ticket for E3 week, the gaming industry’s biggest showcase.” The Xbox FanFest Ticket will include:

  • Entry into the Xbox E3 2016 Briefing on Monday, June 13th, 9:30 am PDT, in downtown Los Angeles
  • A custom-built backpack filled with gaming swag
  • Access to play all-new exclusives and our biggest blockbuster games coming this holiday
  • The chance to meet some of the industry’s top developers, leaders and influencers
  • Even more surprise events during the week

How this will happen remains a mystery for now. But stay tuned to the Xbox Fanfest page for more info.

Hey, that’s what I said

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told the Puget Sound Business Journal this week that to remain relevant, Microsoft needed to “pivot” as technology trends change.

“Microsoft caught the technology trend and rode it very well, but what I’ve come to realize is it’s one thing for companies to catch inflection points and ride them – whether it’s Amazon, Facebook, what have you,” he said. “The real test when that wave ends. The wave you caught that made you successful will come to an end. The question is what’s the next act.

Sounds familiar, since I just wrote about Apple and Google capitalizing on that next wave at Microsoft’s expense.

Hey, that’s what I said, part 2

The Register tackles an issue I openly pondered about recently too: How will Intel’s mobile chipset retreat impact Microsoft and Surface phone?

Intel’s retreat from mobile chips is one of the biggest disruptions to the Wintel relationship in Microsoft’s 35-year business relationship with the chip giant – if not the biggest of all.

Microsoft developed its clever and courageous strategy around two things: adaptable, portable apps (Universal Windows Applications) and multimode computing (Continuum). UWA apps can run on Xbox consoles and ARM tablets and phones, while Continuum allows a device to adapt itself into a fully fledged desktop. Only UWA apps can do the multimodal Continuum trick today. Continuum without the legacy support only goes so far. The UWA APIs are a subset of full-fat Windows.

Continuum today is like Samuel Johnson’s view of women preachers “… like a dog’s walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.”

Intel doesn’t kill Continuum, but it makes the combined multimodal/portable proposition much less attractive and unique. Without Intel’s support, the Surface Phone looks about as attractive today’s Lumia 950 models, which are far behind their Android counterparts in terms of app availability and quality.

Totally agree. Well, not about the Sam Johnson quote. But that is pretty funny.

Can Microsoft Follow Amazon’s Cloud Trajectory?

I’ve written a lot about how I feel that Azure and cloud computing are Microsoft’s future, and that seems to be happening. So will Microsoft’s cloud offerings follow the lead of Amazon? Fortune tackled this question courtesy of analysts from Merrill Lynch.

Merrill Lynch downplayed slower Windows Server revenue growth, which worried other Microsoft watchers after last week’s earnings call. Instead, the company’s report focused on what it sees as possibly stronger revenue and gross profit in Microsoft’s overall “Intelligent Cloud” business.

The Intelligent Cloud category lumps together software that runs on customers’ own servers, including the Windows Server operating system along with Microsoft’s Azure public cloud business. Azure aggregates a ton of computer servers, storage, and networking that customers can rent and pay for as needed. Microsoft Azure runs in Microsoft owned-and-operated data centers around the world.

Microsoft has established itself as a strong (although still distant) number two player to Amazon in public cloud computing. But it also still makes crazy money off its Windows-and-Office cash cows.

Microsoft quietly sold its stake in Caradigm health venture with GE

Mary Jo Foley reports:

Microsoft has sold its stake in Caradigm, a joint healthcare venture it had formed with GE Healthcare in 2011, for an undisclosed amount.

Why? No one is saying. It must be because Americans are so healthy.

HP announces redesigned portfolio of Windows 10 PCs

I missed last week’s HP reviewer workshop for these and other PCs last week because I wanted to see my son off for his senior prom. But HP just announced some new consumer PCs.

Today HP Inc. unveiled a redesigned Pavilion portfolio of Windows 10 PCs in a bold color palette featuring new convertibles, notebooks and desktops ideal for students and families that will begin rolling out this month.

This new portfolio lights up Windows 10 features like Windows Hello, which is biometric authentication that can provide instant access to your Windows 10 devices. It’s a much more personal, convenient and secure way to login to your device. The HP Pavilion x360 comes with an optional touchscreen that will allow for taking advantage of Windows Ink, a Windows 10 feature that will be available this summer in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

The new HP Pavilion PCs feature updated color options allowing for more personalization, audio expertly tuned by B&O PLAY, the latest 6th generation Intel Pentium or Intel Core up to i7 processor options and vibrant displays for an immersive computing experience. The HP Pavilion convertible and notebook PCs are thinner and lighter than the previous generation. They also feature Prismatic Lithium ion battery cells to maintain long battery life and offer HP Fast Charge, which can charge the PC up to 90 percent in 90 minutes even when powered off.

Google is adding a one-handed mode to its Android keyboard

Following hot in the footsteps of the release of Microsoft’s Word Flow keyboard for iPhone, Google is adding one-handed functionality to its Android keyboard too. Tech Times reports.

Google Keyboard 5.0 is now available and has a whole lot of improvements worth of a whole number change.

With the latest version of its keyboard app, Google has overhauled the user interface and folded more functionality into the mix. For starters, users can shift the shape and the size of the keyboard on the fly and with one hand.

I’m not seeing it yet, but I can’t wait to check this out.

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