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Microsoft

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Microsoft xCloud setting up to challenge Google Stadia, stream Xbox games to Android devices

GDC 2019 has been one of more the exciting instances that I can recall in recent memory. Not only have there been some tantalizing game announcements – seriously, I freaked when I saw the Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 trailer – but some interesting happenings in the game space itself. Google announced Stadia, the follow-up to last year's Project Stream. Yet not to be outdone, Microsoft decided to shed some light on its upcoming cloud gaming platform and Stadia competitor, xCloud.

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Microsoft Band support ends May 31, some owners eligible for refunds

Microsoft entered the health device market in 2014, with the release of the original Microsoft Band. It had a 1.4-inch color display and 10 sensors — including heart rate, gyrometer, GPS, ambient light, UV, and others. A sequel was released the following year, though it was discontinued in 2016 with no replacement in sight. Now Microsoft is officially retiring the Band and shuttering all online services.

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Make photos into spreadsheets with the latest Excel beta on Android

Back in September, Microsoft teased an interesting new feature at its annual Ignite conference: Insert Data from Picture — a combination of OCR (optical character recognition) and AI (unicorn dust) that promises to convert pesky printed material into rows of editable Excel data (the office format of champions). Beta users of Excel for Android were supposed to get the feature "soon," which turned out to be five months later — it's now live, and works pretty well for a first iteration.

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Microsoft's answer to Chromebooks may be 'Lite OS'

Microsoft has tried for years to stop the rapid market share growth of Chromebooks. First, the company tried to optimize Windows has much as it could, allowing it to (somewhat) run on cheap Atom-based tablets and laptops. Microsoft later released Windows 10 'S', which couldn't run traditional Windows apps. Now it seems the company is going even further, by developing a whole new operating system — Lite OS.

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[Update: Now on MacOS] Native dark mode in Google Chrome for Windows 10 now available in Canary channel

The overwhelming demand for dark modes in apps is beginning to see serious results now, to the point where 2019 could be the year we see system-wide dark modes across all the major platforms. Windows 10 has already implemented this, but it relies on app developers to do their part, which Google is now doing for the Chrome browser.

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[Update: Now in stable version too] SwiftKey Beta automatic Incognito mode is here to save you from awkward predictions

Picture this: you have national security level web browsing to do, and fire up Incognito mode. However, unless you also remember to toggle your keyboard over to Incognito, it's still studying what you type to add words to its dictionary. If you can already see a potentially embarrassing situation brewing, worry no more, as the newest SwiftKey Beta picks up the ability to automatically switch itself to Incognito mode.

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Latest SwiftKey update lets you remove the Bing search button [APK Download]

Much like Gboard and its Google Search integration, Microsoft-owned SwiftKey added Bing as a search feature in its last big release, which we're sure wasn't a popular addition. Thankfully, a new update is now available that changes Bing search to a small button in the toolbar and allows you to remove it if you don't want it.

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BlackBerry, IBM, Microsoft, and others join Android Enterprise Recommended initiative

About a year ago, Google announced the Android Enterprise Recommended program. It includes a list of Android devices that are ideal for business use and comply with certain guidelines (running a recent version of Android, supporting zero-touch enrollment, etc.). For companies looking to deploy a large number of phones, Google also now has a set of recommended Enterprise Mobility Management providers.

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Microsoft releases Hummingbird, a personalized news app powered by AI

Everyone is trying to crack the curated news segment. From Google News to Apple News to Facebook and Twitter's algorithmic feeds, some of the biggest companies out there are doing their best to find the news you want to read, but if I'm being honest, few of them manage to do it. They get close, but I often find articles in my feeds that I have no interest to check. Microsoft is throwing its hat in the ring with a new app, Hummingbird, and my first-run experience with it has left me with the same mixed feelings.

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Microsoft Edge on Windows will soon be based on Chromium, just like the Android version

23 years after the first version of Internet Explorer was released, Microsoft has given up developing its own web browser — sort of. After a few days of rumors and speculation, the company confirmed yesterday that Microsoft Edge is being rebuilt, and the new version will be based on Chromium (the open source version of Google Chrome).

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