The Microsoft we’ve seen at Build this week is fighting fit. We should have known, because last week’s launch of Office for iPad showed how new boss Satya Nadella is already changing the company: Microsoft wants to be awesome on every device, whether it runs Windows or not.
That doesn’t mean Microsoft is giving up on Windows, of course - and this week we saw the latest moves to undo the damage of the original Windows 8 launch. Build delegates were treated to details of Windows 8.1 Update 1 - Nadella’s new broom clearly hasn’t reached whoever names Microsoft’s products yet - which runs on more modest hardware, boots directly to the desktop, and should be less annoying for desktop and laptop users. It isn’t perfect, but it’s an awful lot better. If Microsoft had shipped it rather than Windows 8.0, the world might be a happier place.
Microsoft’s vision is of a single ecosystem across all kinds of devices, and we saw more of that this week: DirectX 12 graphics and Windows apps are coming to the Xbox One, and the latest Kinect is coming to Windows. But for our money the most interesting new technology was Windows Phone 8.1, which introduces Cortana. Cortana, named after the Halo character, is a very impressive virtual personal assistant that’s a kind of cross between Siri and Google Now. As Michael Rougeau explains, Cortana will be a beta at first but “Microsoft plans to unleash the full version in the US, the UK and China in the second half of 2014.”
You may not think that there's much difference between the 5-inch, 441ppi screen on the Galaxy S4 and the 5.1-inch, 432ppi display on the Samsung Galaxy S5. Both sport the same 1080 x 1920 resolution and boast Super AMOLED technology to ensure a bright, colourful display, but the Galaxy S5 has been shown to perform way above its predecessor. Read more
Apple's iOS 7.1 operating system has seen the lowest app crash rates yet, according to newly-published research, but it's still higher than apps running on Android. According to Crittercism, apps on iOS 7.1 crash a meagre 1.6% of the time, which is the best performance ever for iOS. However, devices running Google Android 4.0 and up experience apps crashes just 0.7% of the time. That means, for every app crash on Android, there's more than two on iOS devices. Read more
Amazon's set-top box isn't just a long time coming: it's elegant, powerful and scary for the competition. The box itself is about the size of two CD jewel cases stacked on top of one another, yet it's fairly powerful as set-top boxes go, with a quad-core processor, a discrete GPU and 2GB of RAM. Read more
In 2004, anyone with 2MB of online storage thought they were pretty hot stuff - so when Google announced a free web-based email service with a staggering 1 gigabyte of storage, everybody looked at the date - April 1 - and figured it was an April Fool joke. Some joke. Today, Gmail is the world's favourite email system. Read more
TechRadar has teamed up with Nikon to give you the chance to win the great Coolpix P7800 premium compact camera. The compact sits at the top of Nikon's Coolpix line-up. It's good enough to be your only camera, or it would make the perfect go-anywhere sidekick for a DSLR owner. For a chance to win, just answer one simple question.
Provided you can live with certain aesthetic compromises, the G500s could offer you every bit as good an experience that you would get from the likes of laptops £100 more costly, such as the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Lite, which didn't actually perform as well as we expected.
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This high-performance headset usually costs £129.99, but right now you can pick it up from Amazon for less than £50. Ideal for portable devices, the AKG K451 has soft ear pads for comfort and is super light weight with a unique 3D axis 2 folding mechanism for easy transport and storage.