Child protection laws prevent Cortana from interacting with kids under 13 years old
Here's something interesting -- if you're planning to purchase a Windows Phone device for your child who's not yet 13-years-old, be aware that the Cortana voice assistant software will give him or her the silent treatment. The revelation came in a Microsoft forum post in which a father asked why Cortana was telling his daughter she needs to be older to use that feature.
Microsoft and Nokia clear all remaining hurdles in mobile unit sale
It took a bit longer than anticipated -- regulatory hurdles require a lot of jumping and maneuvering, especially when it's on a global scale -- but just as originally planned, Microsoft now owns substantially all of Nokia's Devices & Services business (essentially the company's mobile division). The transaction also includes an agreement to license patents to Microsoft, Nokia announced.
Only a few days remain before Microsoft closes its acquisition of Nokia's mobile business
If things had gone exactly to plan, Microsoft would have tied the knot with Nokia by now. However, red tape is sometimes sticky business, especially when it's coming from all directions. Regardless, Microsoft today announced that it's completed all the necessary steps to finalize its acquisition of Nokia's Devices and Services business (mobile handsets and such, in other words). The transaction will be complete on Friday, April 25.
Xbox One is selling well, though not as well as Sony's PlayStation 4
Microsoft let the world know that it's sold 5 million Xbox One consoles since launching back in November of last year. That's a strong start, expecially compared to the Xbox 360, the latter of which saw 60 percent fewer sales during the same time period when it launched many moons ago. However, Xbox One console shipments haven't been keeping up with Sony's PlayStation 4, which has notched 7 million unit sales to date.
After more than 12 years of service, Microsoft finally pulled the plug on Windows XP by ceasing to support the operating system last week. However, Microsoft did promise to keep doling out updates for its Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) software, including the version that runs on XP, but in doing so, the Redmond outfit only made things worse. That's because the latest MSE update is causing some XP machines to freeze up and run slow.
Make your Windows XP-using friends/family members read this important PSA
Microsoft has officially pulled the plug on support for Windows XP. That’s it. Finite. Done. No more. Don’t expect to see any future patches, services packs, fixes, hotfixes, critical updates, anything — if you’re one of the one-fourth of desktop users or so who are still running the antiquated operating system (yes, there’s that many of you), you’re about to enter the Wild Wild West of computing.
An all-in-one keyboard with an integrated touchpad
It's been 20 years since Microsoft released its first keyboard. Called the "Microsoft Natural Keyboard," the Redmond outfit went after the ergonomic category with a curved design intended to reduce or prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and other stress injuries associated with typing at awkward angles. Two decade later, Microsoft is adding to its peripherals line with the All-in-One Media Keyboard (N9Z-00001).
Windows Phone 8.1 Preview is available for developers
Wondering if Microsoft's Cortana virtual assistant software will live up to the hype? You can find out by downloading the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview, which is now available for third-party developers. This isn't intended for the general public, though if you just can't shake that curiosity and want to be one of the first to try out the new software, you can apply the update without writing apps. Here's what you need to know.
A smaller size Surface device may be in Microsoft's future
The neat thing about Microsoft's non-RT Surface gadget is that it's not solely a tablet, but also a full-fledged notebook PC, provided you connect it to a keyboard. Would the dual-form factor approach work on a smaller size display? Perhaps we'll get an answer to that question, as Microsoft is rumored to be working on a "Surface Mini" to compete against the iPad mini and other 7-inch class tablets.
Well, that's it folks. Support for Windows XP officially ended on Tuesday, marking the end of a run that lasted nearly 13 years. Some will inevitably cling to the dead operating system, though as PC shipment data shows, many have also chosen to migrate rather than risk running an abandoned OS. As a final reminder to those who have yet to upgrade -- and perhaps as a fitting homage -- Microsoft created "Escape from XP," a fun (and free) time waster that's available to play on modern browsers.