Intel is building a Windows VR experience for the Winter Olympics

Intel is building a Windows VR experience for the Winter Olympics

Intel is building a Windows VR experience for the Winter Olympics

Intel says it’s planning to deliver a Windows Mixed Reality experience for the Winter Olympics next year. A company spokesperson appeared, in virtual reality, at Microsoft’s special Mixed Reality event in San Francisco this morning. While Intel hasn’t demonstrated exactly what it’s building, it will likely be similar to the VR broadcasts from NBC during the 2016 Rio Olympics.

NBC previously broadcast a range of events on the Samsung Gear VR headset, through a dedicated NBC Sports app. The Olympics are a good demonstration of the appeal of virtual reality video, with the ability to see a 360-degree view of sports. Microsoft is launching its Windows Mixed Reality platform on October 17th, with a range of headsets from PC makers like Acer, Dell, Lenovo, HP, and Samsung. Windows Mixed Reality is very similar to existing VR experiences from Oculus and HTC, and Microsoft will support apps and games from the Windows Store and SteamVR by the end of the year.

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Microsoft’s Beam game streaming app will be available for Xbox One Insider members

Microsoft’s Beam game streaming app will be available for Xbox One Insider members

Microsoft’s Beam game streaming app will be available for Xbox One Insider members

If you’re part of the Xbox Insider Program, formerly known as the Xbox Preview Program, you may have gotten access to Microsoft’s Beam app on Xbox One today. In addition to allowing users to broadcast streams, Beam also gives them the power to watch and chat with each other, similar to Twitch.

The app, due out this spring, will also allow users to browse game streams and earn “Sparks” and experience points as they watch. Sparks are an in-app currency that viewers use to unlock XP boosters, emotes, and more; XP, meanwhile, signify how much you’ve watched. One minute of watching will earn you two Sparks, while five minutes nets you 10 XP.

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Windows 10 S is going to confuse people

Windows 10 S is going to confuse people

Windows 10 S is going to confuse people

Earlier today, Microsoft held an event to reintroduce itself to teachers and students as a company providing innovative and compelling education products. The event promised to be narrowly focused on a large-scale market where price and ease of use trumped more frivolous considerations like design elegance, but Microsoft couldn’t help itself and also introduced the gorgeous new Surface Laptop. The connecting link between Microsoft’s suite of educational tools and the premium Surface Laptop? Windows 10 S, the operating system at the heart of both.

The dual role played by Windows 10 S at today’s event might pose problems for Microsoft down the line as prospective users struggle to figure out what exactly the S stands for.

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Acer’s monstrous Predator 21 X gaming laptop will cost $8,999

Acer’s monstrous Predator 21 X gaming laptop will cost $8,999

Acer’s monstrous Predator 21 X gaming laptop will cost $8,999

Gaming laptops are as much a contest of engineering bravado as they are an attempt at portability and practicality. Meet the case in point: Acer’s new Predator 21 X gaming laptop. Its components are excessive, and it is the first ever such machine with a curved display — a 21-inch, 2560 x 1080 resolution IPS display to be exact. We first saw the laptop back at IFA in August, and now we know the whole package will run you an eye-popping $8,999. Acer announced the price at CES 2017 today and says it will be available starting in February.

The Predator 21 X is of course hideous, with rough, protruding black and silver edges and a gaudy blue dragon stock graphic slapped above the keyboard. (The graphic is at least customizable.) It looks not too far off from a military laptop you’d see in the background of an action movie’s oversimplified hacking scene. But then again, you’re not buying the Predator 21 X for its looks. You’re buying the device for its sheer and absurd level of power, illogically stuffed into a package that’s only portable if you’re willing to carry around a 17.6-pound clamshell monstrosity.

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Microsoft is bringing the IntelliMouse Explorer back

Microsoft is bringing the IntelliMouse Explorer back

Microsoft is bringing the IntelliMouse Explorer back

Microsoft’s original IntelliMouse became a status symbol and a mouse that lived on for what seemed like forever. While Microsoft discontinued the IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 more than five years ago, fans of the mouse have been scrambling to stockpile them ever since. Microsoft is now bringing back the IntelliMouse with a new modern version that’s based on the IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0.

The new Microsoft Classic IntelliMouse has appeared on the company’s hardware page, priced at $39.99. Twitter user Olly Cripps originally noticed the listing, and it shows that the new mouse is wired via USB like the original. Microsoft is promising even more precise tracking with a DPI range of up to 3200 for the new Classic IntelliMouse. Fans loved the DPI range of the IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 and the design, so it’s understandable that Microsoft would bring this particular mouse back to life again.

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Microsoft is bringing the IntelliMouse Explorer back

Microsoft is bringing the IntelliMouse Explorer back

Microsoft is bringing the IntelliMouse Explorer back

Microsoft’s original IntelliMouse became a status symbol and a mouse that lived on for what seemed like forever. While Microsoft discontinued the IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 more than five years ago, fans of the mouse have been scrambling to stockpile them ever since. Microsoft is now bringing back the IntelliMouse with a new modern version that’s based on the IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0.

The new Microsoft Classic IntelliMouse has appeared on the company’s hardware page, priced at $39.99. Twitter user Olly Cripps originally noticed the listing, and it shows that the new mouse is wired via USB like the original. Microsoft is promising even more precise tracking with a DPI range of up to 3200 for the new Classic IntelliMouse. Fans loved the DPI range of the IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 and the design, so it’s understandable that Microsoft would bring this particular mouse back to life again.

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Steve Ballmer’s new project: find out how the government spends your money

Steve Ballmer’s new project: find out how the government spends your money

Steve Ballmer’s new project: find out how the government spends your money

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has launched a new project aimed at providing a comprehensive database of government revenue and spending. The website, called USAFacts, brings together a wide range of financial data from various US government sources, compiled by a team of economists, professors, and researchers over the last three years. The site went live on Tuesday.

In an interview with The New York Times, Ballmer said USAFacts aims to “figure out what the government really does with the money,” describing the site as “the equivalent of a 10-K for government.” The former Microsoft chief and current Los Angeles Clippers owner spent more than $10 million on the project, according to the Times, which was used to assemble a team of researchers in Seattle and provide a grant to the University of Pennsylvania.

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Microsoft’s Xbox One X price will start at $499

Microsoft's Xbox One X price will start at $499

Microsoft’s Xbox One X price will start at $499

Microsoft revealed its new Xbox One X console on stage at E3 earlier today, and now the company is announcing the price: $499. The new gaming console will debut on November 7th priced at $499, exactly $100 more than its main competition the PlayStation 4 Pro. The Xbox One X is more powerful at 6 teraflops of graphical power vs. the 4.2 teraflops found on the PlayStation 4 Pro, and it also includes an Ultra HD Blu-ray drive.

The $100 price different will still be a point of discussion for gamers interested in both Microsoft and Sony’s consoles. Sony is planning to hold its own E3 press conference tomorrow night at 6PM PT / 9PM ET, and its possible the company could announce its own PS4 Pro price cut to counter Microsoft’s more powerful console. Either way, games will be the key to the success of both the Xbox One X and the existing Xbox One S, and Microsoft has focused heavily on those at E3 today.

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PC shipments have now declined for 5 years in a row

PC shipments have now declined for 5 years in a row

PC shipments have now declined for 5 years in a row

The PC industry has been declining for years, but it just hit a big milestone. PC shipments have now declined for 5 years in a row, with between 260 and 270 million machines shipped during 2016 according to Gartner and IDC. Both firms’ estimates vary due to how they count convertibles and other form factors, but the overall message is that the market has hit five years of decline.

So what happens to the PC market now? While PC shipments briefly returned to growth in the US earlier this year, neither IDC or Gartner are predicting exactly what will happen to the PC industry. Gartner believes the PC market is stagnated and that “the market driven by PC enthusiasts is not big enough to drive overall market growth.” IDC on the other hand thinks the PC market is stabilizing. “The fourth quarter results reinforce our expectations for market stabilization, and even some recovery,” says IDC’s Loren Loverde. “We have a good opportunity for traditional PC growth in commercial markets, while the consumer segment should also improve as it feels less pressure from slowing phone and tablet markets.”

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Qualcomm is partnering with AMD to power a new line of Always Connected laptops

Qualcomm is partnering with AMD to power a new line of Always Connected laptops

Qualcomm is partnering with AMD to power a new line of Always Connected laptops

At Qualcomm’s conference on Tuesday, AMD’s corporate vice president and GM Kevin Lensing made a surprise guest appearance, announcing that the two companies were working together to power a new line of HP and Asus PCs, powered by Snapdragon 835. The Always Connected PCs are powered by gigabit LTE, to stay connected without relying on Wi-Fi.

AMD has had a lot of new releases this year, including the launch of the flagship desktop AMD Ryzen ThreadRipper in the summer and the Ryzen mobile chips with integrated Radeon Vega graphics launched in October. But the partnership with Qualcomm can be seen as the next big move for AMD, and a way for the semiconductor to challenge Intel.

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