Thurrott Daily: January 25

Posted on January 25, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Mobile, Windows Phones, Xbox, Xbox One with 18 Comments

Thurrott Daily: January 25

Tech tidbits from around the web.

1/25/2017 8:54:28 AM

Note: I meant to post a ton of this yesterday, but ran out of time with appointments in the afternoon. So here’s a quick catch-up, plus some new stuff. –Paul

Thurrott.com is going to Africa!

As we revealed on Tuesday’s episode of First Ring Daily, Brad I will be traveling to Nairobi, Kenya next week to join Microsoft at its NexTech Africa event. We’ll be at the show for two days and then have an all-day safari scheduled for the next day. Expect shenanigans. And more info soon.

Xbox Insiders Program will have four rings. I think

Neowin reported on a post to Microsoft’s Xbox forums that has since been taken down. So assuming their cut and paste skills are accurate, here is what is happening:

Xbox One Update Preview Alpha – The first Preview ring, this group typically receives 2-3 new system updates per week during a Preview Update wave. Preview Alpha is the cutting edge, and users in this group receive access to new features and fixes as soon as possible at the expense of potential bugs.

Xbox One Update Preview Beta – The second Preview ring, this group typically receives 1-2 new system updates per week during a Preview Update wave. Preview Beta users receive frequent system updates and early access to new features and fixes, with somewhat less risk of encountering bugs.

Xbox One Update Preview Ring 3 – The third Preview ring, this group typically receives 2-3 new system updates per month during a Preview Update wave. Preview Ring 3 users receive infrequent system updates, and is suited for users who want early access to new features and fixes with less risk of encountering bugs.

Xbox One Update Preview Ring 4 – The fourth and final Preview ring, this group typically receives new system updates about once per month. Preview Ring 4 users receive system updates which are almost ready for public release, and thus receive the fewest system updates and are least likely to encounter bugs. In some cases, Preview Ring 4 users may also receive updated versions of the current publicly released build incorporating new fixes.

This is needlessly complex. And I don’t understand how/why they only allow some Insiders to see new builds. Just open the fricking thing up, guys. Seriously.

Norway v. Windows phone

A report from digi.no (translated) says that Norway is phasing out Windows phone like the rest of the planet:

Over 100 Norwegian municipalities are dependent on Windows-based smartphones in health and care services.

Gerica now admits that there are some challenges that mobile app only supports Windows Phone 8 and later. Now it starts to get hard to get hold of Windows Phones.

We have an ongoing dialogue with Microsoft. They are trying to reassure the market that 3-4 producers have plans to create Windows-based smartphones continues Johansen.

He does not seem particularly convinced.

“Will Samsung beat Microsoft to market with an ultimate mobile device?”

That doesn’t matter in the slightest. What matters is whether Samsung beats Microsoft in the market.

All Chromebooks debuting in 2017 and beyond will run Android apps

As many have reported, a small addition to a Chromium Projects page reveals some useful new info:

All Chromebooks launching in 2017 …. will work with Android apps at a time to be announced in the future.

So there you go. No need for a full post, right?

Google releases final Android Wear 2.0 Developer Preview

From the Android Developers Blog:

Today, we are releasing the fifth and final developer preview for Android Wear 2.0. In this release, we have added iOS support and included a number of bug fixes and enhancements. Apps compiled with this preview are now ready for final submission to the Google Play Store, so it’s time to publish your apps. As Android Wear 2.0 approaches its final release in early February, we would like to thank you for your continued feedback during the developer preview program. Your input has helped us uncover bugs as well as drive critical product decisions. Thank you!

Android Instant Apps starts initial live testing

And speaking of the Android Developers Blog

Android Instant Apps was previewed at Google I/O last year as a new way to run Android apps without requiring installation. Instant Apps is an important part of our effort to help users discover and run apps with minimal friction.

We’ve been working with a small number of developers to refine the user and developer experiences. Today, a few of these Instant Apps will be available to Android users for the first time in a limited test, including apps from BuzzFeed, Wish, Periscope, and Viki. By collecting user feedback and iterating on the product, we’ll be able to expand the experience to more apps and more users.

“Windows 10’s new power slider lets you improve battery life or performance”

Or, as Microsoft notes, it doesn’t do anything at all.

Report suggests Chromebooks are still just 3 percent of the PC market

I cited this data in a recent article about Chromebooks, but it’s good to look at the source.

The statistic depicts the number of worldwide Chromebook unit shipments by region in 2014 and forecasts the figures for 2015 and 2016. In 2014, a total of 5.7 million Chromebooks were shipped around the world, with 4.82 million units, representing some 84 percent, in the United States alone. In 2015, Chromebook global sales are expected to reach almost 7.3 million units, a 27 percent increase from the previous year.

Hugo Barra is leaving Xiaomi

I always liked this guy when he was at Google, and I had expected him to spearhead Xiaomi’s push into the United States. I guess that is no longer happening, as Reuters explains.

Hugo Barra, the most prominent global executive at China’s Xiaomi, has left the smartphone maker citing health concerns and a new job, dealing a fresh setback to a firm that is struggling to recover ground ceded to rivals.

In a post on Facebook on Monday, Barra, Xiaomi’s vice president in charge of global operations and the face of its international expansion, said he was leaving the company after three-and-a-half years for a new project based in Silicon Valley.

“The last few years of living in such a singular environment have taken a huge toll on my life and started affecting my health,” Barra, 40, said in the Facebook post. “Seeing how much I’ve left behind these past few years, it is clear to me that the time has come to return.”

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