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By Rich Woods
Microsoft releases Edge Dev build 90.0.803.0 with minor improvements
by Rich Woods
It's that time of the week again, as there's a new build of Microsoft's Edge browser out in the Dev channel. The one announced today is build 90.0.803.0. As usual, there's not a whole lot that's new, and it's all about some minor new features.
We actually got the first Edge 90 build three weeks ago, so that puts us at just a few weeks away from it being released to the Beta channel (that's set for the week of March 16). The company improved latency when inking on PDFs, added Single Sign-On for Mac, and there are a few other things that are new. As for this build though, here's the list of new features:
And of course, there are fixes and known issues. Here's what got fixed for improved reliability:
Here's what got fixed for changed behavior:
Finally, here's the list of known issues:
As always, you can manually update your browser by going to Settings -> About Microsoft Edge. If you don't, your browser will be updated in the background at some point.
Samsung now promises four years of security updates for Galaxy devices
by João Carrasqueira
Longer-lasting software support has long been one of the factors pointed out when talking about the advantages of iOS compared to Android. In recent years, we've seen an increasing amount of effort from some companies to keep devices updated, with Google itself offering three years of feature and security updates for its Pixel devices.
Now, Samsung is trying to take things a step further by offering a minimum of four years of security updates for its Galaxy devices. Depending on the device you have and how old it is, security updates may be rolled out on a monthly or quarterly basis, but either way, getting security updates for four years is a welcome boon if you want your devices to last longer.
This isn't just a benefit for the latest devices coming out this year, either, nor does it target just flagships. Samsung provides a decently long list of devices that will be eligible for the extended security update period, going back to the Galaxy S10 and Note10 families, the Galaxy A series, and a wide range of tablets. Here's the full list provided by Samsung:
It's worth noting that this support period is even longer than what Google promises for its own Pixel phones - though it should be remembered that these are minimum support periods, and Google has supported some of its phones for longer than the minimum. Either way, if you happen to own or you're considering getting one of these devices, you may rest assured your phone or tablet will be kept safe for a while longer. This doesn't, however, include new Android feature updates, so you won't necessarily getting Android 12 or 13 when those versions are released.
Microsoft Weekly: Trying Edge, FPS Boost, and Windows 10 21H1
by Florin Bodnarescu
An FPS boost for Backwards Compatible titles on console, an acknowledgement of 21H1, and even some Edge updates at the forefront. You can find info about that, as well as much more below, in your Microsoft digest for the week of February 14 – 20.
Unlike previous columns, in which Edge news was relegated to the final section, this time we’re switching things around a little.
We’ll start with the Canary channel, which now allows testers to open Office files directly in the browser – similar to how you would open PDFs -, as well as introducing a Kids Mode (perhaps not too dissimilar to Kid’s Corner from the Windows Phone 8 days). The latter is aimed at children between the ages of 5-8 and 9-12, and allows the browser to make sure the little ones receive “friendly content” via Bing SafeSearch, among other protections that are put in place.
Over in the Dev channel, build 90.0.796.0 made its way to testers, adding SSO (Single Sign-On) support on the Mac, the ability to start typing to search as soon as the favorites and history menus are open, and suggestions from local browsing history when clicking on an empty address bar, to name but three.
Also in plan but not exactly tied to a specific version is a scoring system for websites to prevent annoying notifications, and a not to subtle nudge from Microsoft for Edge desktop users. The latter sees the Redmond giant suggest that folks download the mobile version of the browser on their non-desktop devices.
Although there were plenty of gaming-related announcements this week, one that is sure to please fans of backwards compatibility is something Microsoft is calling FPS Boost.
In short, its Xbox Series line of consoles (Series S and Series X) now has the ability to effectively double the frame rate of supported Backwards Compatible games with no extra work required from developers. Benefiting from this currently are five titles, - FarCry 4, Sniper Elite 4, Watch Dogs 2, UFC 4, and New Super Lucky’s Tale -, with more on the way. Of the five, New Super Lucky’s Tale goes all the way up to 120FPS, with the other tiles supporting 60FPS.
Staying a little bit longer on the software side, screenshots of Xbox game streaming on the web have leaked, Dandara and Lost Planet 2 are now free to claim as part of the Games with Gold program, Dirt 5, Pillars of Eternity 2, Code Vein, and others have arrived on Game Pass, and there are myriad Deals with Gold for you to peruse, including ones for Shenmue and Star Wars: Squadrons.
As far as first-party titles are concerned, Sea of Thieves now has Steam friends support, Japanese localization, and more, while Flight Simulator has received its third World Update with enhancements for the UK and Ireland.
Microsoft has also gone ahead and updated its Xbox Accessibility Guidelines, and released a $99.99 Xbox Wireless Headset with spatial audio support. Somewhat similar in design to the Surface Headphones, the accessory will be available starting March 16.
And finally, for those that were waiting, or indeed just curious, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout will be making its debut across the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S consoles this summer.
Windows 10 21H1
Among the other bits of news that this week brought, we also found that Microsoft indirectly confirmed the existence of the spring update for Windows 10, otherwise known under its 21H1 codename. The acknowledgement came by way of a Tech Community forum post detailing the fact that hardware certification will remain identical between 20H2 and 21H1, meaning the latter is likely to be a smaller update.
Microsoft did also release a 21H1 build, namely 19043.844 if you’re in the Beta channel or 19042.844 in the Release Preview channel. If you want to start testing this forthcoming version, here’s a short rundown of what settings you need to change.
But if you thought the company would release builds tied to a specific version only, you’d be mistaken, as the firm additionally pushed out build 21318 - from its ever-nebulous vNext branch -, which landed in the Dev channel. After being burned with Sets – which was definitely going to be in Redstone 5, until it definitely wasn’t -, the company is a lot more careful about which features it declares will ship with which variant of Windows 10. However, this build does bring in the ability to paste as plain text in clipboard history, as well as a sizeable array of fixes.
In other operating system news, the Windows 10 Team 2020 Update is now starting its rollout in Germany and The Netherlands, Microsoft has announced the latest version of its standalone Office product, Office 2021 – can’t have Office 2022, otherwise that would be much too consistent with the previous naming scheme -, and a couple of optional updates for Windows 10 version 1909 and 1809 have also showed up.
For those interested, the Surface Duo can be had for just $10/month on AT&T if you trade in a phone, and the device just got its February Android security patch. Microsoft stated no customer data was accessed during the Solorigate cyberattack. There’s now an app called Journal from the Microsoft Garage. Microsoft Launcher also started out in life as a Garage project. The unified Office app is now available for iPadOS devices. Logging off
We wrap up this week, and indeed the column, with a selection of dev-related news.
For one, arguably the biggest news this week was the arrival of .NET 6 Preview 1. Released as the next step in the company’s goal of unifying the various and disparate developer solutions, we’ve essentially reached the midway point of the unification that’s set to be complete with .NET 7.
Among its new features, .NET 6 has a multi-platform App UI that’s built on top of Xamarin, with the focus being on “faster developer experiences”, control themes, and of course, performance. ARM64 support, WinForms and WPF support are also key targets, with initial support already being added for Apple Silicon ARM64 chips.
Moving on to app samples, there’s now one called TwoNote for the company’s Surface Duo emulator, with the Redmond giant also eyeing easier development for its Power Platform.
Regarding the latter, this will be done via what the company is allegedly working on, the low-code language dubbed Power Fx. Due to the naming scheme, ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley stated that this may just be targeted at Excel users.
Missed any of the previous columns? Be sure to have a look right here.
Edge Canary now gives you the option to open Office files in the browser
by João Carrasqueira
Image credit: Leopeva 64-2 (Reddit) Microsoft is working on a new feature for its Edge browser, which will allow users to open Microsoft Office files directly in the browser, instead of downloading them. The feature was spotted by Reddit user Leopeva64-2 in Edge Canary, but even if you have the latest version, you may not see it just yet, so it looks like it's being enabled gradually for users. Our test devices don't seem to have the feature just yet.
If you're one of the chosen ones, you can enable the feature in the download settings page of the browser, where you'd usually choose your default download folder and the like. The option is called "Quickly view Office files on the web using Office Viewer", and what it does is, instead of downloading a file to your PC, it will send it to Microsoft and have it open in the corresponding Office web app, though in a sort of view-only mode.
Image credit: Leopeva64-2 (Reddit) The feature could have a couple of uses, such as extra protection if you're worried about the file being infected with malware. It could also be useful if you just want to quickly look at a document and don't need to save it to your PC, or if you're using a PC that doesn't have Office installed for whatever reason. Plus, you can save files to your OneDrive directly from the Office Viewer, should you want to keep them for later.
Another change spotted by the Reddit user in the latest Edge Canary build is the ability to sort the items in a collection by the date when they were most recently used. It's a small improvement, but it could make it easier to get back to a recent task.
Seeing as the new Office Viewer toggle isn't even available for all Edge Canary users just yet, it may be some time before it becomes available for everyone else. In any case, it's interesting to see Microsoft continually expanding the feature set of its browser to help it stand out from its many competitors.
By Abhay V
Microsoft nudges users to try out Edge mobile via prompts in the desktop version's settings
by Abhay Venkatesh
Edge Dev Microsoft is serving prompts on the desktop version of its Edge browser urging users to download the mobile app. While the prompt sits in the Settings area of the browser and isn’t a disruptive one that breaks your workflow, it seems to be a generic banner regardless of whether you have the mobile version of the browser installed or not, or if you have history and tab sync turned on across devices.
After a year of making its Chromium-based Edge browser available to the general public, the firm finally rolled out history and open tab sync with Edge 88, bringing the ability for users to sync their open tabs across devices. Coinciding with the desktop release, the Redmond firm also rolled out support for syncing history with the mobile versions of the browser.
Edge Canary The prompt seen today seems to urge users to try out cross-device sync by either serving a download link for the mobile version of Edge or automatically turning on sync for those that already have the browser installed. The banners are different on different versions and likely cycle through. From our testing, all versions of Edge on Windows 10 – Canary, Dev, Beta, and Stable – seem to serve the banner, which in some ways is an advertisement for its mobile offering.
The browser does not avoid displaying these banners for users that have the mobile app installed and sync enabled for the same account that is being used on the desktop. These ads also seem to be absent on macOS devices.
Microsoft’s push to get more users to adopt the mobile versions likely stems from the fact that the offering has not seen nearly as much popularity on mobile as compared to the desktop. StatCounter’s browser market share report for January 2021 suggests that Edge on mobile occupies less than 0.5% of the global share on mobile. In contrast, a NetMarketShare report for desktop browser share puts Microsoft’s Chromium-based offering at second place as of October 2020.
Therefore, it will be interesting to see if the Redmond company doubles down on serving ads for its Android and iOS versions of Edge in more areas on Windows 10. Currently, the Search UI still displays ads for Chromium-based Edge as Edge Legacy nears its end, even if the former is set as the default browser.