Best of the Web for Windows users - 9 - 15 October 2016

This week we have learned that the next major update to Windows 10 will debut in March 2017 and that it will focus on making the jumping between PC and smartphone easier than ever. Also, recent changes in Windows Insider builds suggest that other important features are coming. To learn more details, as well as other interesting news about products like Xbox One, HoloLens, Windows 10 Mobile and Skype, read this week’s recap:

Microsoft: the news of the week

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

Windows 10’s next major update to debut in March - Microsoft is planning at least two major updates to Windows 10 next year, and the first (codenamed Redstone 2) will likely arrive in March.

Windows 10 Redstone 2 will make jumping between PC and phone even easier - Microsoft is working on bringing a contextual user interface to Windows 10 that will pop up a notification telling the users that they are able to sync an app’s state from another device and continue exactl y from whe re they left off. This will be done with the help of Cortana, which will show a notification whenever there's an app available to sync states.

Five surprises in the latest Windows 10 Insider build and what they mean - Most of the changes in the latest Windows 10 preview release, build 14942, look like minor tweaks. But they point the way to more significant changes to come next year. Here's what to look out for.

Gartner: Global PC shipments fell 5.7% in Q3 2016, eighth quarter of decline in a row - Gartner estimates worldwide PC shipments fell 5.7 percent to 68.9 million units in Q3 2016, marking the eighth quarter of PC shipment declines. According to the firm’s numbers, this is “the longest duration of decline in the history of the PC industry.”

Instagram officially jumps from Mobile to Windows 10 PC - Now you can install the popular image sharing app right to your Windows 10 PC, Surface, or laptop. No Xbox or HoloLens, yet.

Xbox One + PlayStation VR = surprising success - the headset easily displayed games running on the Wii U and Xbox One and even showed a Windows desktop when plugged into a PC tower.

Xbox One sales beat the PS4 in the US for third month in a row - Microsoft's Xbox One sales appear to be picking up in the US. Xbox One was the top-selling console in the US during July, August, and September, according to the NPD group.

Might this be the canceled Microsoft Band 3? - A user the Windows Central forums has posted images of what appears to be a Microsoft Band 3 prototype, with waterproofing and a few other features.

HoloLens Availability to Expand Internationally - Microsoft announced that it is accepting pre-orders for its HoloLens mixed reality headset in six additional countries: Australia, Ireland, France, Germany, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

Microsoft Adds HP Elite x3 Smartphone to Windows Store, $799 - Microsoft has begun to sell HP’s Elite x3 smartphone at its Windows Store. The handset is one of the most powerful Windows 10 Mobile-based devices and the one of a few initially aimed at the business professionals on a company contract. The fact that Microsoft has started to sell the HP Elite x3 indicates that the smartphone is now available to general consumers as well.

This is NYPD's official crime-fighting phone - You may knock the unpopular Windows Phone platform, which commands less than 1 percent of the phone market, but the NYPD believes Microsoft was the most appropriate way to go. The department looked at Apple's iOS and Google's Android, but picked Windows Phone for its security features and the ability to remotely manage the thousands of devices in the hands of officers.

Windows Mobile and the enterprise Part I: Out of sight, out of mind - Microsoft has strategically sheltered Windows 10 Mobile in the enterprise while it waits for the current smartphone season to undergo a paradigm shift. How Microsoft waits for the imminent industry shift in mobile computing, however, is just as important as why they wait.

Skype for Linux 1.10 introduces video calls between Linux users - You’ll be able to make video calls but only to other users on Linux. Hopefully, it shan’t be too long until Microsoft rolls out support for calls between Linux users and users on other platforms.

Cool tips and guides

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

The Samsung Galaxy Note7 Recall Crisis: Explained - Where did it all go wrong? It’s a long road that the brand will walk and surely various agencies will get involved too, but for now, it’s safe to suggest that the Note 7 isn’t in our recommended list of smartphones.

What Sleep Tracking Apps Can and Can’t Tell You - Activity trackers and sleep tracking apps will happily give you stats on your sleep: How many hours you were in the sack, for example, and whether that sleep was good “quality.” But you can’t take those numbers at face value, and some of them are flat out wrong.

It’s time for laptop companies to switch to Precision Touchpad - Unfortunately, many PC OEMs haven't been equipping their laptops with Precision Touchpads. Microsoft's Surface Pros and Surface Books include them, as do a handful of others such as the Dell XPS 13 and HP's EliteBook Folio G1. But many others we've seen, such as the HP Spectre x360 and Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, use custom drivers, typically from Synaptics. As such, they can't take advantage of the new Windows capabilities.