Microsoft will not deny that it'll block Windows 10 updates on Huawei laptops

Google's decision to block Android updates for Huawei smartphones continues to be making waves all over the world, but those who own Huawei laptops - such as the Huawei MateBook 14 - happen to be left wondering if Microsoft follows suit and block Windows 10 updates for Huawei laptops.

The concept that Microsoft would prevent Huawei laptops from installing important Windows 10 updates - and the security implications for users that entails - should be ridiculous, however with Google bowing to pressure from the US government, and Microsoft's silence on the matter, makes us fear that we could see an identical ban for Huawei laptops.

We contacted Microsoft to discover set up company is thinking about blocking Windows 10 updates for Huawei laptops, and that we got a rather terse statement that "we have nothing to share."

While that doesn't mean Microsoft will block Windows 10 updates, the truth that the company seems hesitant to deny it provides us concern.

Not being able to improve your Huawei laptop using the latest updates for Windows 10 will be a major blow for anyone while using devices. Huawei's laptops are pretty great - and regularly top good laptops list - but if they are able to no longer be updated, we wouldn't be able to recommend them.

It might be an odd option for Microsoft - because the company won't want unpatched and updated Windows 10 laptops out in the wild - so if the company does block Windows 10 updates (and remember this isn't confirmed either way at the moment), then it might be because of pressure in the Government, that has instigated the blacklist of Huawei due to security concerns.

Intel and Qualcomm are joining the ban

It's also emerged that other major hardware makers including Intel and Qualcomm will not supply Huawei with their products.

This could have major implications for future Huawei laptops, which so far run on Intel processors. With Microsoft's reluctance to say whether it will block Windows 10 updates, things aren't looking great for Huawei's laptops.

We've contacted Huawei for a comment and can update this story whenever we learn more.

posted by vorry at 14:34| Comment(0) | 日記 | 更新情報をチェックする


Windows 10 on ARM laptops could soon be far more affordable

Windows 10 on ARM laptops haven't made a lot of an effect so far, however they may soon become much more popular. That's aided by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8cx chip (as utilized in the world's first 5G laptop, which was unveiled at Computex 2019) and partly thanks to a lot more affordable 'always connected' notebooks.

Even the cheapest Snapdragon-powered laptops you can purchase today - like the Asus NovaGo - ran to $599 (around AU$860) at launch. In practice, they cost much more; at that time, the only real model available we're able to review cost $699, and more like £699 in the united kingdom,. There are therefore no real wallet-friendly options as such compared to traditional notebooks.

However, as WinFuture spotted, in an interview with Mobile Tech podcasts, VP of global product marketing for Qualcomm Don McGuire asserted there'll soon be cheaper Snapdragon hybrids and notebooks, with prices potentially dropping as low as $300 (around £240, AU$430). Apparently this will happen soon, and we might hear something about these more affordable products within the next few months.

Qualcomm's roadmap envisages a variety of devices pitched between $300 (around £240, AU$430) and $800 (around £630, AU$1,150), using the higher-end models while using aforementioned Snapdragon 8cx platform, and the more budget-targeted notebooks utilizing a lesser chip, that could be referred to as Snapdragon 7cx or similar.

This could represent a step down in power, with corners obviously having to be cut to save cash around the chip. Still, anticipation would be that this 7cx variant (or whatever it ends up being called) would remain powerful enough to run apps and also the OS smoothly.

Software side

Speaking of the operating system, further savings are possible if device manufacturers opt for Chrome OS rather than license Windows. Google's desktop operating-system far less resource intensive than Microsoft's, which might also be a weighty consideration at the lower-end.

McGuire established that PC makers would likely use hardware designs that may be equipped with both os's, commenting: "There will quickly be cheaper Snapdragon laptops available on both Windows and Chrome OS."

McGuire also said we ought to soon expect a lot more native ARM versions of popular apps (meaning they won't need to be emulated, and therefore suffer performance overheads), because the procedure for porting these over and compiling for ARM has become easier. As an example, he cited the fact that Microsoft is working hard on doing exactly this using its Office suite.

Naturally, Qualcomm may wish to paint a rosy picture of future Windows 10 on ARM devices, but things do appear to be picking up pace quite nicely.

With more powerful machines that use the Snapdragon 8cx backed by budget offerings having a lesser chip, and more native versions of popular apps hopefully within the pipeline, the always-connected PC's overall ecosystem has certainly started to look more promising.

posted by vorry at 15:21| Comment(0) | 日記 | 更新情報をチェックする


Windows 10's next big update (19H2) is likely to be released this week

Microsoft dreams of a future where its cloud empire dominates - in the computing and business world, in addition to game-streaming - and subscription revenue pours in at this type of gushing rate the accountants can barely keep track of the ever-spiralling-upward numbers.

But, the software giant's current slumbers may be dogged by nightmares instead of any sweet dreams of a heavenly cloud-based future. Microsoft's sleep is probably haunted by visions of poisonous little bugs skittering within the shadows, clustering around the occasional hulking queen of a showstopper that threatens to shred user files in her chitinous mandibles.

Yes, we're referring to Windows 10, which recently has been plagued by a truly alarming amount of bugs. This started with the infamous October 2018 Update and a doozy of the file deletion faux pas along with a raft of other 'small but serious' gremlins that caused the upgrade to really be put on ice for over a month (an unprecedented move with Windows 10 updates).

So Microsoft was careful to thoroughly test the following May 2019 Update, holding the upgrade within the final phases of bug squashing for a lots of time, and rolling it out very slowly and cautiously indeed. Quite rightly so, with apparent success as users subsequently flocked towards the upgrade (albeit with many being pushed by an impending support deadline, mind you).

Still, the rollout itself went well enough - certainly as compared to the previous one - only afflicted by some minor hiccups that are always likely to be present. However, it's in solving those little issues where Microsoft originates badly unstuck in September.

Fixing the fixes

At the start of September, some long-standing minor bugs (including compatibility difficulties with certain Intel storage drivers) were fixed by a patch Microsoft issued for Windows 10 May 2019 Update. The problem was that this cumulative update didn't just fix bugs, but introduced a replacement whereby Cortana suddenly caused high amounts of CPU usage.

Then your patch to repair this Cortana bug broke something else - the beginning menu and Taskbar. Oh, and it also caused audio issues in a few games, and broke internet connectivity for some folks.

If Windows 10 would be a china shop, Microsoft was flailing around between the shelves, and in its efforts to fix a broken spout back onto a teapot, cracked a jug by knocking it over with a stray elbow, before managing to send a set of plates crashing to the floor below in an unholy cacophony of shattering porcelain.

In a nutshell, the entire situation felt farcical, and was hardly helped when a subsequent bug 'fix' for Microsoft's built-in Windows 10 antivirus actually broke the majority of Windows Defender's scanning functionality.

So, following all of this, an unavoidable outcry ensued in the tech world, with serious eyebrows, questions and criticisms raised about Microsoft's QA and testing procedures for Windows. More about that in a moment, but perhaps most crucially with regards to the cumulative harm to Microsoft's reputation here, everyone sat up, shook its collective heads, and engaged in a witheringly slow handclap. At least according to a brand new report from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).

According to ACSI, customer satisfaction with software for PCs has dropped by 1.3% when compared with last year, with Microsoft slipping the most out of all software makers having a 3% decrease. The report further notes: "According to ACSI data, customer perceptions of quality have deteriorated significantly for Microsoft over the past year, as the manufacturer has encountered a host of customer issues with its Windows 10 updates."

Let's digest that again as it were. That's a significant deterioration in perceived levels of quality being delivered by Microsoft going by US consumers, thanks to the numerous difficulties with Windows 10 updates.

So Microsoft's reputation with the public is seriously slipping, at least according to this survey - although that's simple to believe, or perhaps blatantly obvious, arguably, given what we've witnessed of late. And even, once we mentioned, the tech community is drawing focus on Microsoft's testing procedures, something which you may have seen earlier this week.

Labors of Barnacules

As Ghacks reports, Barnacules - aka Jerry Berg, an ex-Microsoft senior software development engineer in testing, who parted with the company in 2014 - uploaded a YouTube video explaining how the software giant had changed its testing procedures when compared with five years ago.

The bottom line is, there was an entire team dedicated to just testing Windows back in Berg's days, divided into different subgroups (interface, networking, drivers etc) which all met up in daily meetings to go over glitches, and where they might come from, along with using automated testing - having a large number of different real-world PC configurations, including notebooks - to back up manually run testing.

Then, in 2014, everything changed when Microsoft laid off that dedicated Windows testing team (typically), and stopped testing on actual real-world PCs in support of using virtual machines (again, not exclusively - but mostly). And as we know, Microsoft also now relies on a small army of Windows Insiders testing beta builds of Windows 10 and providing feedback on bugs, and it has telemetry as a further resource (data obtained from users' Windows 10 machines regarding crashes).

However, catching bugs in this manner is really a much more haphazard pursuit: Windows Insiders aren't always that diligent, sometimes can't be bothered reporting bugs, and even when they do, those reports can be buried amongst a mountain of other feedback complaining about very minor things like suggestions or tiny tweaks for the interface. On top of that, working with the aforementioned telemetry data can be a notoriously tricky business, and bug details may be easily missed there.

The eminently reasonable-sounding argument therefore runs this new general scheme of things is really a much less cohesive, less thorough approach than using a dedicated team - and that's why we're seeing a lot more difficulties with Windows 10.

Presumably there have been considerable cost-savings made when that full-on Windows testing team was dismissed, and the new approach was introduced, but what's been the actual price of this change?

Whether or not any one of this speculation about Microsoft's changed internal processes is around the profit terms of this being the cause of the aforementioned gremlins, these bugs are undeniably present. And while most of them might be relatively minor, or confined to a narrow range of victims, some most definitely aren't (although Microsoft will certainly argue that lessons happen to be learned over the data deletion showstopper).

The truth is that Microsoft has evolved Windows over time, in the days where crashes were quite a regular occurrence, to the more stable era from Windows 7 onwards where blue screens became far, far rarer. But of late with Windows 10, that evolution and victory in the battle from the bugs seems to be going for a step backwards.

Enough where, coming back to that ASCI report, incidents like the calamitous October 2018 Update are resulting in the public thought of Windows to be seriously negatively impacted.

Although another question could be: how big a problem is the fact that, realistically?

What exactly are disaffected Windows users going to just do? Migrate to a different operating-system? That's a lot of effort, and comes packed with some considerable drawbacks, like not being able to play all of the latest PC games, or just being limited in your hardware choices with macOS (and issues like driver support with Linux).

Still, once we noticed in our recent piece about Google's Chrome browser finding yourself in danger to become Windows in that everyone uses it, but no one loves it: Mac and Linux really are a danger browsing the wings.

From ripples to waves

This bug-related reputational damage isn't nearly desktop operating systems, though. The wider public perception of Microsoft flailing around within an almost amateurish fashion could well possess a knock-on effect with regards to the amount of trust in the company, and all sorts of those future dreamy cloud products we mentioned at the outset could be subsequently affected...

Punter #1: "Are you going to try Project xCloud?"

Punter #2: "Nah, forget that. Microsoft can't fix a simple bug without causing two others, not to mention get smooth game-streaming right. Think I'll give Google Stadia a spin instead..."

There doesn't have to be any truth to that doubt - or whatever doubt may be expressed - of course. This really is about perception, not reality.

Along with the cloud, and drive with open source, among the big themes Microsoft continues to be pushing since Nadella took the reins would be that the company is listening to users, acting on feedback - putting to rest the pig-headedly insistent 'this is what you need' specter of Windows 8 - and indeed it's demonstrably done so for the better part.

And today the firm must pay attention to the voice from the doubting computing public as expressed in this recent survey - and indeed everywhere online - lest the trust in Microsoft's capability to execute without bungling begins to erode, and also the prevailing feedback heard down the road is the ever-louder noise of footfalls at risk of competitors.

In a nutshell: fix the fixing department. And fast.

posted by vorry at 15:26| Comment(0) | 日記 | 更新情報をチェックする




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