Thurrott Daily: October 27

Thurrott Daily: October 27
The good news: My Kangaroo PC arrived today. The bad: I can’t play with it until I get home from Vegas.

What else is happening today? Well, I’m flying to Las Vegas tonight. In the meantime…

Um, Microsoft did not keep Surface Book’s coolest feature a secret

According to Gizmodo, the Surface Book’s coolest feature–it’s detachable screen—was also its best kept secret.

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Not exactly. I tweeted about this device days before it was released.

Potential rumor on the new hardware: 14-inch Surface 2-in-1 with Retina-class screen, dual GPUs, keyboard base with ports. Is it real? Hm.

Here’s what I was told by a source, only slightly edited. As you can see, it was clearly a removable screen:

This is Microsoft’s 2-in-1 laptop. It’s super hush-hush (only 100 people in the company have seen it) and they want it to be a big surprise at the October event. It will have a keyboard base, which will house dual GPUs. When the larger SP4-like tablet is docked, it’ll utilize the power of the [other] GPU and could effectively act as a device to replace a desktop. The design will be somewhat controversial, as it’s quite different: something along the lines of a rubber tank tread-like system that deploys when the keyboard is opened, to maintain friction on a flat surface. Expect a resolution on the tablet display that outclasses any of Apple’s current tablets or laptops (5K?), and it will be able to easily drive a pair of external 4K monitors. They’re planning that people’s minds will be blown, and will likely be costly as an aspirational device. I don’t think there will be a dock, as all the needed ports will be on the keyboard’s base.

Windows Phone’s big problem isn’t lack of apps, it’s dead apps

Tom Warren may be on to something. In the Windows phone community, we’ve often complained about a lack of apps. But there’s a new problem: Existing apps are disappearing.

Windows Phone is now five years old and it’s still facing new challenges. Over the past year developers haven’t flocked to Microsoft’s platform to improve its app situation. Instead, more and more high-profile apps have actually disappeared.

Mint’s removal this week is the latest, angering Windows Phone fans, but it’s not the first, nor will it be the last. American Airlines, Chase Bank, Bank of America, NBC, Pinterest, and Kabam have all discontinued their Windows Phone apps in the past year.

I see dead apps. Not good.

Julie Larson-Green is back at Office

Recode reports that Julie Larson-Green, once Steve Sinofsky’s right-hand-woman at first Office and then Windows, is now back at Office. Actually, she’s running Office.

Microsoft plans to hand over the reins of Microsoft Office to longtime executive Julie Larson-Green, according to sources familiar with the company’s plans.

Kirk Koenigsbauer, the corporate VP who had been leading the company’s Office efforts, will shift to a role within the unit headed by chief marketing officer Chris Capossela, the sources said.

Larson-Green, who has been serving as chief experience officer for Microsoft’s services group, will keep those duties and add responsibility for the teams that develop mainstays like Word, Excel and PowerPoint, as well as newer apps such as Sway.


Motorola claims the Droid Turbo 2 has shatter-proof screen

Motorola says its newly-announced Droid Turbo 2 uses a technology called “Moto Shattershield” that makes the screen unbreakable. Here’s the statement I received:

Every two seconds, a smartphone screen cracks. It’s time for a change.

Today, we are proud to announce a “world’s first” innovation directly from our labs: Moto ShatterShield – a 5-layer system technology that guarantees your smartphone screen won’t crack or shatter.

The new Moto ShatterShield™ technology will be available exclusively on DROID Turbo 2 at Verizon Wireless in the U.S.

Turn an old laptop into a Chromebook

I haven’t been able to test this yet, but it seems like a good idea:Neverware is offering an installable version of Chrome OS (essentially) called CloudReady that lets you turn an old Windows laptop into a Chromebook.

Google is (finally) bringing podcasts to Play Music

I’ve always wondered why Android didn’t have an in-box podcast solution. I guess Google has been working on that for a while, however. Recode reports:

Google is getting ready to open a dedicated home for podcasts on its Google Play hub. Today the company is letting podcast creators upload shows to Google Play Music, its streaming service; it says listeners will be able to listen to those shows “in the coming months.” It will be, remarkably, the first native app for podcast listening on Android in the content market where Apple carries disproportionate weight.

Elias Roman, co-founder of the streaming service Songza, whose main schtick was building these contextual playlists before Google acquired it last year, now a product manager for Play Music, told Re/code that podcasting was always in Songza’s roadmap. Google accelerated it. “Our goal is to serve content that makes what you do every day better,” he said.

Play Music will run the podcasting service on both its subscription offering and free tier.


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