If you missed it: Threshold screenshots, Windows' future, Surface Pro 3 tips, console wars, and Android loveWritten by Mark Wilson on July 13, 2014 - 03:15AM @MarkWilsonWords
We're always interested in what’s coming up next, and this is certainly true when it comes to the successor to Windows 8.x. Threshold is still on the fairly distant horizon at the moment, but there's already a lot we know about what to expect from the release -- not least that there will be a far more traditional look to the Start menu. There's also a tantalizing screenshot that shows how far thing have comes -- at least in terms of build number. Windows Phone users have Windows Phone 8.1 GDR 1 to look forward to, and it is looking as though it could make an appearance as early as next week.
It might seem a little early to start thinking about the holiday season, but there is already talk of a console battle between the Xbox One and PS4.It looks as though the decision to release a cheaper, Kinect-free version of the console could be paying off; if you're still considering upgrading from your Xbox 360 to an Xbox One, perhaps a $75 promo code will help to sway you. If you're in the mood for giveaways, you might be interested to learn that Microsoft is handing out a huge collection of ebooks completely free of charge.
Xbox One users are now able to download trial versions of games, test them out, and upgrade to the full version without the need to redownload. Let's just hope that with all of the new downloads that are likely to come as a result of this change that the servers are up to the task -- earlier this week, Xbox Live went down, affecting people's ability to make purchase and download content.
Next on the cards we have Kinect for Windows v2 which will make an appearance this coming week, and it will be exciting to see what developers are able to come up with for it. We've already heard about Kinect-like capabilities coming to the Nokia McLaren (the probable successor to the Lumia 1520) in the form of 3D Touch and this is another promising and intriguing use of touch-free technology.
Things are looking good for Windows Phone handset sales if predicted shipment figures are to be believed, but rumors are still flying around that Microsoft could be on the verge of releasing an Android handset. Speaking of Android, Microsoft continues to cause upset by releasing apps for iOS and Android before Windows Phone, even if it is just by a day or two.
Microsoft's most recent hardware release, the Surface Pro 3 is proving popular with reviewers and a buyers alike. If you've got your hands on one, you might want to take a look at our collection of tips that could earn you an impressive performance boost. You've probably noticed how quickly the new Surface wakes from sleep, and this week we learned how it works. Surface Pro 3 owners already have a firmware update to download to fix wifi issues, and there were also updates released for old Surface devices. Fahad, the latest addition to the WinBeta fold, shared his Surface experiences.
Things are still very much up in the air about the Surface Mini. One moment we're hearing that production lines are rolling and we could see the device some time this summer, and the next the story has changed to suggest that we might not see the Mini until 2015.
Looking to the future, Satya Nadella's email to Microsoft employees promises that the company will focus on "reinventing productivity and platforms […] and build great digital work and life experiences with specific focus on dual use". A couple of newly revealed patents could shed some light on upcoming features of desktop and mobile operating systems -- rich presentation taskbar buttons and adaptive icons. Oh… and there's also a robotic butterfly that reacts to mood changes. But your guess is as good as ours on that one!