Cortana, Microsoft's digital voice assistant named after that hologram lady from HALO, didn't exactly set the world on fire. Most Windows users I've seen treat it like an annoyance to be avoided, instead of an integral part of the system, as Google's Assistant and Apple's Siri have become. But based on its latest corporate purchase, Microsoft might be taking another stab at voice-powered interaction.
Back in August, we reported Microsoft was getting ready to kill its digital assistant on Android within the year. Microsoft preferred to embed Cortana into its Office applications instead of having it compete with Alexa and Assistant. As a consequence, the app no longer works on mobile devices and can't be used to access previously created content.
Microsoft bought Skype back in 2011, and we all know how the software turned out: It's become a bloated, buggy piece of software that's next to impossible to shut down on Windows. Fast forward ten years, and Microsoft is looking to buy yet another successful communication platform. The company has its eyes set on Discord for more than $10 billion.
Despite its long-standing acclaim as the keyboard app to beat on Android, SwiftKey hasn’t played nice with Google’s own Pixel 4 and 4 XL since back when they launched in 2019. The handy swipe-to-delete gesture has been broken on the two phones for over a year, and it's only now that the app is gearing up to patch it. If the latest update to SwiftKey beta is any indication, a proper fix for the issue is just around the corner.
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LastPass changed its pricing on March 16, 2021, making its free tier a much less attractive option. But thankfully, there are many alternatives that basically replicate LastPass's features 1:1, so if you're not ready to pay a fee for a service that used to be free, you can simply switch to the competition. Here are a few password managers that should be the most familiar if you've used LastPass before, complete with instructions on how to switch.
Microsoft has been all about cross-platform compliance as of late, and nowhere is that more crucial than in the Office suite. According to a new leak, some of the Office apps available on the Play Store will soon respect Android's system-wide dark mode setting, and adjust their interfaces accordingly.
Whether you're working from home or spend a lot of time commuting, active noise-cancelling headphones help isolate yourself from unwanted noise. Although Bose and Sony get most of the attention, some other contenders are very relevant. Microsoft's first-generation Surface headphones are a great alternative, despite having been replaced with a more modern version. They traditionally sell for $250, but you can get them for just $111 on Woot today.
Everybody should use a password manager. Whether you only have five online accounts or 500, it's important to use unique, hard-to-guess credentials for every single one. If you reuse passwords, a breach from one of your accounts could help hackers get access to your whole online life. Password managers simplify and safeguard that process. There are tons of great options to choose from, and we've curated a list of eleven of our favorite solutions.
Microsoft released its first Android phone back in 2020, the Surface Duo. It's the only modern Android device with two side-by-side displays (not counting the add-on cases for various LG phone), and even though it's still a questionable buy at its new $999 retail price, Microsoft plans to sell it in more regions this year, starting with Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany on February 18.
Sitting on the cutting edge of novelty gets real expensive, real fast. Take the Surface Duo — software from Google, hardware and some integrations from Microsoft. It's a remarkable dual-display device, but costs too much and, furthermore, is difficult to finance. But if you're able to plop a chunk of change down for it, the Duo is available on Amazon for $400 off right now.