Best Of The Web For Windows Users - 1 - 7 March 2015

This week there were two big events that took place in Barcelona and San Francisco. First, there was the Mobile World Congress where Microsoft and other companies launched many new mobile devices. Second, there was the Game Developers Conference where Microsoft revealed new exciting details about the future of Xbox and about their upcoming DirectX 12 API. We have a lot of exciting news to share in this week’s recap:

The Best Tech Related News

These articles are this week's most important news in Microsoft's ecosystem:

Microsoft unveils 5-inch Lumia 640 and 5.7-inch Lumia 640 XL - Stephen Elop took the stage to open the Microsoft MWC 2015 event and right off the bat unveiled the Microsoft Lumia 640. After a brief intermission for a Windows 10 demo, Elop came back to unveil the larger Microsoft Lumia 640 XL. Both phones will launch Windows Phone 8.1, but Microsoft's intention is to bring them and other modern Lumias to Windows 10.

Microsoft: no flagship Lumia until Windows 10 is ready - While Microsoft was unveiling new low-end Lumia handsets at the Mobile World Congress, the software maker continues to skip the high-end market. In an interview with The Verge, Microsoft's director of phone marketing, Neil Broadley, confirmed that the company is waiting on Windows 10 before releasing any new flagship hardware.

Microsoft Reinvented the Keyboard — Yes, the Keyboard - Microsoft unveiled the Universal Foldable Keyboard: a thin, lightweight keypad that folds down the middle. Unfold the keyboard and it automatically powers on and connects wirelessly to Bluetooth-enabled phones or tablets. The battery lasts upwards of three months on a single charge, according to Microsoft.

Office for Mac 2016 hands-on: a vital upgrade, with some kinks to work out - It's thus good to see Microsoft nearly finished with a long-awaited update that brings the OS X and Windows versions of Office closer together in style, while adding integrations with Microsoft's OneDrive cloud storage. A preview version of Office for Mac 2016 was released this week, and there's enough to give Mac users reason to look forward to the final bits, and reminders of bugginess that can afflict Microsoft software for the Mac.

Windows 10: A closer look at Cortana integration with Spartan (with video) - Spartan is the company’s take on what modern-browsing should be, a competitor to Google Chrome and Firefox, and the default browser in Windows 10. Spartan includes a number of neat little features, including a reading mode, extensions, annotation abilities, and Cortana integration. You can view a demo of its Cortana integration, in the video below.

Microsoft confirms that Spartan will be in the next Windows 10 preview release - At Mobile World Congress, Microsoft confirmed that Spartan will be included in the next preview release of Windows 10. Many were hoping that Microsoft would release a build in February but alas, it is now March which means that the last release came in late January.

Plethora of screenshots from Windows 10 build 10022 leak - Images of build 10022 have shown up online but don't show much besides a few new icons. As you can see from the images in this post, there is nothing overly exciting in this leak but you can see some of the newer icons that are part of Windows 10.

Exclusive: DirectX 12 Will Allow Multi-GPU Between GeForce And Radeon - One of the big things that we will be seeing is DirectX 12's Explicit Asynchronous Multi-GPU capabilities. What this means is that the API combines all the different graphics resources in a system and puts them all into one "bucket." It is then left to the game developer to divide the workload up however they see fit, letting different hardware take care of different tasks. DirectX 12 will support all of this across multiple GPU architectures, simultaneously. What this means is that Nvidia GeForce GPUs will be able to work in tandem with AMD Radeon GPUs to render the same game – the same frame, even.

Xbox caters to Twitch and YouTube streamers with upcoming Windows 10 app - Microsoft has big plans to bring gaming on Windows 10 and Xbox One closer together. One key to that strategy is the Xbox app the company announced back in January, which lets you access Xbox Live features from your PC. And after checking out a demo of the app at GDC in San Francisco, one thing is pretty clear: Microsoft is trying to tap into the booming market of Twitch game streamers and YouTube personalities.

Phil Spencer Announces Developer Tools to Bring Games to Billions - At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox at Microsoft, shared the next step in the company’s plans for a unified vision for gaming across Windows 10 devices. And, it’s all about developers. This news article shares the details that were shared with game developers at GDC.

Microsoft Wants To Buy Social News Reader Prismatic - Microsoft has been busy snatching up startups to fill out its mobile apps portfolio, and it looks like it could be buying one more. According to multiple sources, Prismatic — an app that recommends news articles to users based on what their connections are reading and liking — is on the block, and Microsoft is the front runner to get it.

Microsoft announces partnership with Deutsche Telekom to promote devices and services - Windows Phone's growing marketshare in Europe could get a further boost as Microsoft has entered into a strategic partnership with Deutsche Telekom.

Microsoft HoloLens receives a blow as designer Mike Ey killed in hit-and-run crash - The Microsoft HoloLens project took a blow recently when project designer Mike Ey, 30, was killed in a hit-and-run incident in Redmond. More details about this sad news, can be found in this article.

The Best Tech Tips & Guides

We would like to share several tips and guides from other websites in the tech blogosphere:

How to Easily Extend Your Home Network with Powerline Networking - Running new wires and physically extending your home network in existing construction is a hassle at best and a nightmare at worst. You don’t need to fish cable and tear up dryway to run new cable; you can use your home’s electrical wiring as a high speed home network. How-To Geek shows you how!

It's Been a Fun Ride, But I'm Done Water Cooling My PC - Lifehacker’s chief editor has decided to quit using water cooling for his PC and in this editorial he shares his reasons for doing so and what he has learned while using this type of cooling.

How to Install Windows 10 on Mac Using Parallels 10 Virtual Machine - In this guide you’ll find instructions to install the Windows 10 Technical Preview on a Mac using Parallels 10.