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Spec showdown

Which is the best? Surface Laptop vs. Spectre x360 vs. XPS 13

What to expect when you're expecting

What to expect from Microsoft's hardware event in China this week

The grass is greener

This $500 laptop from Acer is a great alternative to the best Chromebook

Limited Fix

There's now a fix for 'WannaCry,' but it's fairly limited

long-term strategy

Microsoft WILL release a Surface 'phone' — but it could take a while

Keep it secure

Try NordVPN for as little as $3.29 a month

Free Surface is the best kind of Surface

Want to win a Surface Laptop? Here’s how to increase your chances.

Surface Pro Refresh

Microsoft's 'Surface Pro 5' leaks ahead of official announcement

More Goodies

All the changes found in Windows 10 builds 16199 and 16193


4 things Microsoft needs to do to make Xbox Live more social

Big Brother will be watching

Dystopian abuse of Microsoft's powerful AI camera tech is inevitable

A home for Quick Actions

Microsoft is building a new Control Center for Quick Actions in Windows 10

Scaling Optimization

How to use DPI scaling in Windows 10 to fix blurry old apps

PC for normies

Windows 10 S can succeed because 'normal' people aren't Windows geeks

(Surface) pen meets laptop

What's the best way to use the Surface Pen on the Surface Laptop?

Windows 10 tip

Access Control Panel quickly from File Explorer with this nifty trick

More the Merrier

Microsoft purposefully aimed Surface Laptop at a very wide audience

Communication is key

Microsoft must manage expectations of Windows 10 S to avoid PR nightmare

A bright future ... or not?

What did Build tell you about the future of Windows 10 Mobile?

Wipe away the tears

What you need to know about the 'WannaCry' ransomware and Windows

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According to a comScore report, European smartphone owners accessing retail websites has grown by 43 per cent in the last year. The company used data across five leading EU markets - France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.  The study showed that the European mobile retail audience grew significantly over the past year, with 20 per cent of smartphone owners shopping while on the move.

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When the majority of us think about Kinect, we think about shouting “Xbox, Play” to get our Netflix movie rolling or we picture ourselves waddling around the living room trying to get our groove on with games like Dance Central. If we step outside the world of gaming, we can see how the Kinect for Windows SDK can be used in retail. To help us imagine the world for Kinect outside of gaming, Microsoft has released a video showcasing how the high tech accessory can be used in various retail scenarios.

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What’s better than a new Microsoft Store opening up? Nothing in our minds!

Microsoft just posted a bulletin on their site noting that a new retail store would be opening up at some point in the near future at the Burlington Mall in Massachusetts. Our friends over at Neowin claim the store will be opening September 19th, but we cannot find a source to confirm or deny that fact.

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Time zones, these things are magical. Yes they can be quite confusing, and even stealing a day from your calendar or adding one to it without you knowing. But occasionally the difference in time could result in something sweet. In this case today, Suning, Microsoft's official sales partner for Surface RT in China, will commence the retail ahead of everyone else.

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Earlier we reported that Suning (reads "soo-ning") gadget chain (a good equivalent of Best Buy in the US) is going to distribute Microsoft Surface tablets in China, making Suning the first ever third-party distributor of Surface globally.

Just a while ago, Suning sort of confirmed the rumor, and hinted at a bit more, by posting a very interesting update to its official account on Chinese social media website Sina Weibo.

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This morning in the Walt Whitman Mall located in Huntington Station, New York (that’s Long Island), Microsoft finally threw open their doors to a few hundred willing and able customers to their new retail Store.

We were there to cover it all and the mood was very exciting as Microsoft’s pre-show gave away a Samsung Series 9 laptop, Xbox 360 with Kinect and some other goodies to some lucky folks. The line to get in the store lasted well into 30 minutes post opening and the staff on hand did an excellent job.

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Microsoft has revealed the entire list of pop-up stores (or holiday stores) it plans to open throughout North America this coming holiday season. It's a positive sign to see Microsoft build a larger retail presence to combat its main competitor - Apple. 32 stores will open up shop in 20 US states, as well as shops in British Columbia, Toronto, and Alberta, Canada. 

With the imminent release of Windows 8, coupled with new Office, Surface tablets and Windows Phone hardware, there's plenty of opportunity for Microsoft to build on its branding revamp to a more simplistic and modern feel. It's a common thought that Microsoft has almost become a new company to what consumers have grown accustomed to.

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A few days ago, we visited London’s newest shopping mecca, Westfield to get a quick take on how much coverage Windows Phone is getting in the retail space. Much has been made about Windows Phone not having good retail exposure. We wanted to see if this was true and get a feel for how things look for Windows Phone in the UK's largest shopping centre.

Almost as soon as we entered the main concourse, we were surprised to find a full-blown ZTE promotional stand. Currently ZTE produce one Windows Phone, the Tango spec Tania, a device that’s somewhat hampered by having only 4GB memory it does make up for it with a generous 4.3" screen size. The stand was there primarily to promote a new Android phone but the Tania was along for the ride and being displayed right up alongside it.

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According to a tipster over at WPDownUnder, Microsoft may well be looking to unveil a flagship store in Sydney, Australia. The report suggests the software giant will open up a bricks and mortar store before 2013 to follow the US advancement.

WPDownUnder notes that should a UK store open its doors, it would spark the beginning of an alteration to the partnership with Arvato, a third-party outsourcing provider who manages Microsoft's online store in 31 countries.

With Microsoft soon to launch Windows 8, the Surface tablet range, and Windows Phone 8 ("Apollo") it makes sense for the company to look at ways to further engage with consumers directly. We've seen this with Windows Phone so there's no reason why we can't see a different Microsoft from the corporate beast what we've grown to love and hate.

Would you prefer to see the company expand globally with stores to combat competition?

Source: WPDownUnder

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According to a report over on El Nuevo Dia, Microsoft is set to open up an store in Puerto Rico by the end of 2012. The new store is planned for Plaza las Americas, a sizeable shopping complex located on the island.  

The software giant is also opening up new stores across the states, at locations including Boston and Orlando. Here's hoping they'll continue to expand beyond the borders, and maybe plonk one in merry ol' London to enjoy the constant downpour.

Source: El Nuevo Dia, via: MiWindowsPhone; thanks, Edwin, for the tip!

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It looks like Nokia is taking the competition seriously as they have evidently formed their own military, aptly called the Nokia Army.

And what good is a military force if it doesn't have its own app, amirite? So it shouldn't be too surprising to find the official Nokia Army app sitting proudly in the Nokia Collection, awaiting your orders.

Now some caveats: civilians are not welcomed for this app. You need to have proper ID to get in and that includes having a,,, or email address. Should you possess one of these, head to and get yourself registered and enlisted.

So what's the app for? Details are murky ("fog of war" stuff) but we can say that it's a "Nokia Tool for Nokia Army Team members to use when visiting and supporting retail in North America.". There should be little doubt folks, this is for Nokia's troops on the ground during Operation Rolling Thunder.

Download Nokia Army, should you qualify, here in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Over and out. Thanks, Jose, for the tip!

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In less exciting news, but still important, Microsoft is pushing the benefits and power of Windows Phone 7 for the retail and hospitality market--a large swath of potential business, including retail stores, grocery markets, shopping centers and more.

Microsoft will be appearing at the National Retail Federation’s 100th Annual Convention & Expo, demonstrating numerous apps to potential customers:

The demonstrations will showcase how Windows 7 enhances connected store, customer and operations experiences on the desktop as well as via an array of mobile and in-store devices, including smartphones, point-of-sale (POS) devices, self-service transactional kiosks, and informational kiosks, including digital signage.

For example, a retail customer’s connected experience is enhanced through the mobile shopping experience enabled by Windows Phone 7, as well as through engagement with Windows 7-based touch-enabled devices in stores.

One real life example they give is the app Tesco Real Food, available now in the Marketplace. The app is by retail giant Tesco, who have over 5,000 stores worldwide. The app is a mobile extension of the Tesco Real Food website for recipes, so nothing too exciting.  While some of this is boring and dry, it's these connections and technology demonstrations that gets Microsoft into stores, personalized apps for unique shopping experiences and basically noticed, so we're all for it.

Source: GoMo News

For example, a retail customer’s connected experience is enhanced through the mobile shopping experience enabled by Windows Phone 7, as well as through engagement with Windows 7-based touch-enabled devices in stores.
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Welcome to the Microsoft Store

Hey, so what if Microsoft borrowed an idea or two from other successful retailers. These things happen. It's good to see them getting the brand out there. And a Microsoft store is just the way to do it. Commercials are good, but you have to get products in customers' hands. And judging by the reaction the video above, it opening day either was a rousing success, or they were pumping in some good stuff.

Any of you guys and gals out there hit up a store yet? Let us know in the comments.

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There's been a good amount of speculation over what exactly will go into Microsoft's upcoming retail stores — and, rightfully, there's been a bit of laughter over the reported strategy of not actually selling anything. Then there's the report that Microsoft plans to set up shop right next to Apple stores in a few cities.

Gizmodo just scored a leak from the design company that reportedly is bringing all this together:

Essentially, Microsoft is taking the best elements from the Apple Store, Sony Style and other "flagship" stores. The main focuses are going to be Windows 7, Xbox, PCTV (Windows Media Center) Surface and Windows Mobile, revolving around this concept customer they call "Emily," who's basically a younger version of your mom, since they make all the buying decisions.

And, above, we see the concept for the Windows phones display. Nothing earth-shattering there. We're all used to seeing phones lined up like that in carrier stores. (And try not to read too much into the original Dash being shows as the Dash 3, m'kay?)

Hit up the Giz post for all the other deets. Including having birthday parties at the store.

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If you build it, they will come.

OK, so "Field of Dreams" this ain't. But the news that Microsoft has hired a VP of Retail Stores [via ZDNet] and intends to dive into the retail market means this is a whole new ball game for Windows and Windows Mobile.

First, the man behind the curtain: David Porter has been hired away from Dreamworks Animation SKG, where he was head of worldwide product distribution.

“There are tremendous opportunities ahead for Microsoft to create a world-class shopping experience for our customers,” Porter said. “I am excited about helping consumers make more informed decisions about their PC and software purchases, and we’ll share learnings from our stores with our existing retail and OEM partners that are critical to our success.”

Now, peddling the wares: We've, er, mentioned before that the sheer volume of Windows Mobile devices can be a wee bit overwhelming. And as Malatesta just pointed out, it's getting to the point where phone manufacturers and carriers aren't even mentioning Windows Mobile, as if it's an anchor dragging the user into the briny deep.

But imagine a place where you can go and interact (read: play) with the latest Windows Mobile phones and — this is important here — see firsthand how Windows Mobile and the new versions of Windows and its upcoming cloud services work together. Yeah, this is hardly groundbreaking stuff in the retail world, so scoff if you want. But until now, Microsoft has relied on others to show off the fruits of its labor. Sure, Microsoft made the operating system, but it's been up to the (ever dwindling) big-box stores and late-night infomercials to give you any sort of a good look at what you'll be using.

Same goes for Windows Mobile. We've all stood there in a carrier's store or at a kiosk in a mall, but you're on their turf. Microsoft bringing you into its environment means you see its products on its terms. We're well aware that nary a brick has been laid yet. But a proper place to showcase Windows 7 and (eventually) Windows Mobile 7 could do great things for what we hope and pray expect to be an entirely new way of doing business for Microsoft.

Update: Did we totally call this, or what? Microsoft's Robbie Bach, from Techflash:

"We have plenty of distribution. These stores for us are about building our connection to customers, about building our brand presence, and about reaching out and understanding what works and what improves the selling experience. Apple, you would think of it as a volume distribution play. You should think of ours as much more of a brand and customer relationship investment, more than anything else."

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Velocity 103 Availability Announced

Remember back in April when we showed you the Velocity 103 and how sweet it looked. Well today they are announcing the retail availability of it. It will be sporting Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional, Velocity Over The Air updates (Vota), and its own GUI. The Vota is something special because they built it on top of the Windows Mobile platform. What that means is that consumers no longer need to worry if they have the latest software because it can get pushed to them automatically through the network. Kind of like Windows Mobile Update except this one might actually get used. Velocity says that they can update pretty much anything that isn't core to WM.

If you want to take a sneak peak of the interface action check out the video, but remember to put your bib on as were not responsible for any drool covered keyboards. Other specs include:

-Odyssey Interface -Qualcomm msm7201 chipset -Gsm/gprs/edge and umts/hsdpa/hsupa -WiFi -TV/VGA out -2.0 megapixel camera -256 MB ROM 128 RAM

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