Microsoft News Roundup: 1,000 days since Surface Neo, Windows 98, Xbox Game Pass on Samsung TVs, and more
Plenty of news broke this week, including an update to Samsung smart TVs that added Xbox Game Pass support.
Each week, several stories roll out in the worlds of Windows, PCs, and Xbox. While we cover the news as it comes out, it's easy to lose a story or two in the shuffle. To kick off every weekend, we gather the biggest stories in one convenient roundup.
This week we shared exclusive information about the now-dead Surface Neo, covered Apple's M2 MacBooks falling short of competing Windows laptops, and the European Space Agency upgrading the Mars Express spacecraft away from software made with an OS based on Windows 98.
While we cover some gaming news here, you can check out more stories in our Xbox and PC recap.
1,000 days since Surface Neo
1,000 days have passed since Microsoft unveiled the Surface Neo, the foldable device initially planned to run Windows 10X. Officially, the Surface Neo is postponed, but our senior editor Zac Bowden's sources say the device is dead.
"Microsoft’s official word on the status of Surface Neo is that the product has been postponed, but my sources tell me that the Surface Neo that was announced is dead and will never ship," said Bowden. "That vision, with an Intel Lakefield chip and two 9-inch displays in that exact chassis is dead, which honestly shouldn’t come as much of a surprise at this point."
The Surface Neo could come back in some form, such as a single screen foldable, but that's merely speculation. We have a poll running at the moment on if you'd like to see Microsoft bring back the Surface Neo with a single folding display.
Bowden breaks down all of the latest information in his piece on the Surface Neo.
M2 MacBook has a slow SSD
Apple recently launched its new 13-inch MacBook that's powered by an M2 processor. While the laptop has some impressive qualities, its SSD has been the target of criticism. Apple's decision to use just a single NAND chip on the base model M2 MacBook limited the top read and write speeds of the device.
Many outlets focused on the new MacBook Pro being a downgrade from the M1 MacBook on the SSD side of things, and rightly so. But the slower read and write speeds of the new computer also compare poorly to some Windows laptops.
The new 13-inch MacBook Pro's SSD speeds are much lower than the best Windows laptops with PCIe 4 SSDs, but also lack when compared to some devices with PCIe3 SSDs, such as the Surface Laptop Go 2.
Mars Express spacecraft updating from ancient software
The Mars Express began its journey to the red planet in 2003. The spacecraft houses the MARSIS instrument, which has been used to discover signs of liquid water on Mars. Now, the European Space Agency plans to push the instruments on the Mars Express to their limits with a software update.
“After decades of fruitful science and having gained a good understanding of Mars, we wanted to push the instrument’s performance beyond some of the limitations required back when the mission began,” said MARSIS Deputy PI and Operation Manager at INAF Andrea Cicchetti.
“We faced a number of challenges to improve the performance of MARSIS,” said Carlo Nenna. “Not least because the MARSIS software was originally designed over 20 years ago, using a development environment based on Microsoft Windows 98!”
While MARSIS does not run Windows 98, its software was built in a development environment based on the old operating system. Moving away from such old software should improve the capabilities of the tool by quite a bit.
Samsung smart TVs get Xbox Game Pass update
Microsoft is on a mission to have its Xbox Cloud Gaming available on just about anything with a screen. The company took a step forward to that goal this week with the rollout of the Xbox Game Pass update to Samsung 2022 smart TVs.
Samsung's new Gaming Hub application supports a variety of streaming services, including NVIDIA GeForce Now, Google Stadia, and Xbox Game Pass. Our piece on the news covers which models will receive the update and work with game streaming.
"We’re on a quest to bring the joy and community of gaming to everyone on the planet, and bringing the Xbox app to smart TVs is another step in making our vision a reality," said Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer.
"That’s why we’re excited to partner with Samsung, a global leader in TVs, on bringing Xbox to more players. Working with Samsung has helped us provide more access to gaming and enabled us to welcome new players into our thriving community."
Each week our experts review a wide range of hardware, games, and accessories. Here's what we looked at this week:
- Steam Deck Dbrand skin and screen protector review: Tricky to get on, but worth the effort
- Razer Barracuda review: Take this sleek gaming headset with you wherever you go
- IOGEAR UpStream 4K capture card review: Beginners steer clear
- Lenovo Yoga 6 (Gen 7) review: The most affordable Yoga shows how complete the convertible lineup has become
- GameSir X3 review: A gamepad for Android and Xbox Cloud Gaming that overcomplicates things
- Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak (PC) review — Combining the best of the old, and the new
- The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle review — An intriguing change of pace
- Xbox Design Lab (2022) review: Designing your dream controller has never been easier
- Let's Build a Zoo: Dinosaur Island (PC) review — Gene manipulation gets cozy
- PNY XLR8 (CS3140) SSD review: A great M.2 SSD that works brilliantly with PC and PlayStation 5
- Xbox Series X|S Controller review: Inching towards perfection
- XPG Alpha review: Affordable gaming mouse with a great PixArt sensor
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at firstname.lastname@example.org.