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By Rich Woods
Unboxing the innovative new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga
by Rich Woods
Lenovo has been expanding its ThinkPad X1 lineup quite a bit lately, and the most recent addition is the ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga, which comes with a 3:2 display as opposed to the more traditional 16:9 display or even the newer 16:10 screen. When it was announced back at CES, you might have just thought it was a ThinkPad X1 Yoga with a titanium lid and a 3:2 display, but it's so much more than that.
There's a lot of engineering that went into making this product, because it's not just about trying out a new aspect ratio. This is about being good at both being a laptop, and at being a tablet. It's made to be light at just over two and a half pounds, and it's designed to be comfortable to hold with the display folded back.
It's just 11.5mm thin, so it's not much thicker than a lot of smartphones, and the keyboard is shallower too at 1.35mm. It's even got a haptic touchpad to save on space. Indeed, Lenovo pulled out all of the stops to get this thing to where it wanted it to be.
Rather than thinking of it as a 3:2 version of the ThinkPad X1 Yoga, I think of it as more of a convertible version of the ThinkPad X1 Nano, which is the company's ultra-light clamshell. Just like the X1 Nano, the X1 Titanium Yoga has lower-powered Intel 11th-gen processors, and just two Thunderbolt 4 ports.
Check out the unboxing video below:
Neowin Podcast Episode 19: Android, Windows, and iOS betas are here
by João Carrasqueira
Welcome back to the Neowin Podcast! On episode 19, we're talking about beta season - that wonderful time of the year for tech enthusiasts where major beta updates start to be released.
As we get deeper into 2021, we're starting to approach some big new software updates, and because of that, there are previews and betas rolling out that you can try out now. The most notable is likely Android 12, the next big Android update which brings along some UI changes and some potential new features - though some of them are hidden for now. Windows 10 is also getting updated to version 21H1 with some minor changes, and iOS is getting its mid-life update to version 14.5, which finally lets you unlock your phone with a mask on.
If you're interested in learning more about these updates, you can check out our coverage of them in the links below:
Google announces Android 12 How to install the Android 12 developer preview Microsoft announces Windows 10 version 21H1 How to start testing Windows 10 version 21H1 iOS 14.5 lets you unlock your phone with a mask on and change your default music player with Siri You can listen to the episode below, and the Neowin Podcast is available on iTunes - and apps that rely on its library - as well as Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon Music. And if you want to add it to your own podcast library, you can use this RSS feed:
Neowin.net · Episode 19 - Beta season is here Do you have a topic you'd like us to discuss on the podcast? Let us know in the comments!
The Framework Laptop is a modular and upgradable laptop coming this summer
by João Carrasqueira
Most laptops released nowadays, especially ultrabooks and lightweight form factors in general, tend to be hard to repair or upgrade for the consumer. Not only that but once you buy a laptop, it's very likely you're stuck with the ports and components you got at the start.
A San Francisco-based startup called Framework is looking to change that with its announcement of the Framework Laptop (via The Verge). This laptop promises to be not only easily repairable and upgradable, but it's also a fairly high-end machine at that. It's also relatively lightweight, weighing 1.3kg and measuring 15.85mm in thickness.
Out of the box, the Framework Laptop has a 13.5-inch display with 2256x1504 resolution, meaning it has the same 3:2 aspect ratio as Surface devices do. The specs also look promising with Intel's 11th-generation Core processors, along with options for up to 64GB of RAM and 4TB of NVMe storage. There's also a 55Wh battery, a 1080p 60fps webcam with physical switches, Wi-Fi 6E support, and a keyboard with 1.5mm of key travel.
What makes it stand out, though, is its modularity. Framework designed an "Expansion Card" system, where multiple ports on the laptop can be swapped out for something else. There are four bays for these expansion cards, and users can choose to have a USB Type-C port, USB Type-A, an "ultra-fast" storage drive, HDMI, and so on. These expansions can be swapped out to suit the user's preferences.
On top of that, most of the internals are also easily replaceable. Storage, RAM, and the Wi-Fi card are all socketed so they can be replaced, but the entire mainboard of the laptop can also be swapped out as new models come out with newer processors for increased performance. Not only that but parts that are heavily used, like the screen and keyboard, are magnetically attached and can be easily replaced by ordering new ones from Framework's website. Each component will have a QR code that lets users order new parts quickly. To cap it all off, Framework says it will provide an open ecosystem so other companies can create their own modules for the laptop and sell them through the Framework Marketplace.
Customers will have the chance to buy the Framework Laptop as assembled by the company running Windows 10 Home or Pro, or they can order a DIY kit so they can assemble it themselves and install their operating system of choice. In both cases, the laptop will ship with a screwdriver so users can always tinker with it later.
The goal is ultimately to extend the lifespan of consumer electronics by making it so that whole devices aren't thrown away when only a single component is no longer working well. The concept is generally very similar to the Fairphone 3+ we reviewed last year, but that was a phone, and it was a mid-range device at that, while this seems to be a product anyone might actually want to use.
The Framework Laptop is promised for release in the summer, and those interested can sign up to learn more as soon as more information is revealed.
By Rich Woods
Windows 10 is getting rid of the 3D Objects folder soon
by Rich Woods
One of the really big pushes around Windows 10 has been mixed reality. It started six months ahead of the release of the OS, when Microsoft announced HoloLens and a special version of Windows 10 called Windows Holographic. But that wasn't the end of the company's 3D ambitions, because a couple of years later, it actually added the Windows Mixed Reality shell into the OS.
Prior to that, the firm introduced an array of VR headsets that would start at $299, a very low price for the time. And around the same time, Microsoft introduced Paint 3D to Windows 10, and at the time, Paint 3D was actually planned to replace Paint.
Around this time, a folder called 3D Objects was added to the OS, because Microsoft truly believed that consumers would be interested in this stuff. And now, that folder is going away, signaling an end to the giant mixed reality push. The change showed up in yesterday's Windows 10 Insider Preview build (via Windows Latest), which was build 21322.
Sadly, Microsoft's mixed reality plans never took off, at least from a consumer perspective. In the enterprise, customers have found some important use cases for it, as we've seen from products like HoloLens 2 and newer Windows Mixed Reality headsets that are aimed squarely at businesses. But for things like Paint 3D and using the Windows Mixed Reality shell in Windows 10, it turned out that it didn't have the future with consumers that Microsoft thought it would.
AdDuplex: Windows 10 version 20H2 hits 20%, version 2004 still the most used
by João Carrasqueira
As we near the end of February, AdDuplex has released its latest monthly report on the usage share of different versions of Windows 10. As always, the report is based on data collected from 5,000 Microsoft Store apps that are using the AdDuplex SDK v.2 or higher. Around 80,000 PCs were surveyed, and the data was collected throughout February 24.
As more time passes from the release of Windows 10 version 20H2, the update is spreading to more users, and it grew by about 3.2% to reach 20% usage share. That's a nearly identical growth to what we saw last month, but it also means version 20H2 is spreading more slowly than version 1909 did a year ago. In February 2020, that update was already on 22.6% of Windows 10 devices.
In fact, version 1909 remains ahead of version 20H2 right now, with 26.8% of Windows 10 users still running that version, though this is a significant drop from the 31.2% usage share it had last month. The most used version is still with May 2020 Update, or version 2004, which even increased its usage share from 39.8% to 41.8%.
Older versions of Windows 10 only saw very slight changes in their usage share. The May 2019 Update (version 1903) dropped from 6.6% to 5.8%, and versions 1809 and 1803 both dropped a decimal point to 1.4% and 1.7%, respectively. Versions prior to that also dropped by 0.1% collectively, with Insiders conversely growing by 0.1% to reach 0.3%.
Looking at the data trends from the past few years, it's evident that version 20H2 is taking slightly longer to expand its market share than past releases have, but it's not a drastic difference. It should continue to grow steadily until version 21H1 is released in the next couple of months.