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Windows 10 Mobile's bootloader unlocker is now open source
by Muhammad Jarir Kanji
Image credit: HeathCliff74 (XDA) René Lergner, the developer behind Windows Phone Internals, is the reason behind quite a few impressive hacks and workarounds since the release of Windows Phone. Indeed, it's thanks to his software that we have seen gems like a Lumia running a custom ROM or Windows 10 on ARM on a Lumia 830.
Sadly, he's decided he can no longer commit to the project anymore, and will only be able to make sporadic contributions at best. As a result, Lergner - otherwise known as HeathCliff74 - has made Windows Phone Internals an open source project, and released the full source code for the tool on GitHub. Alongside this, he also promised to soon make available some of the preliminary tools he had used to create Windows Phone Internals.
While the move is certainly a welcome one, and would allow anyone to try their hand at furthering work on circumventing the bootloader on Windows phones, just how many would be willing to take up work on what is essentially a dead OS at this point remains to be seen.
Source: Windows Phone Internals via MSPoweruser
Microsoft Weekly: Gaming's at the fore, updates in store, inside Windows some more
by Florin Bodnarescu
It should come as no surprise that much like in previous weeks, the Redmond software giant’s campus was busy churning out news of all kinds these past seven days. From the heavier emphasis on gaming, to the hefty chunk of updates and indeed some Insider goodies, here is your Microsoft digest for the week of February 24-March 2.
Gaming's at the fore
The ever present and always growing backlogs were squeaking under pressure from a bunch of discounted games, future titles, and upcoming features.
Redstone 4 changes coming to Xbox One were finally revealed, with version 1804 confirmed to bring 1440p support, new audio controls, controller sharing and improved stream switching on Mixer, a better Edge UI, invitation request filtering for Clubs, and Tournament availability in Game Hubs. Furthermore, Xbox Live Gold users will be able to find their Games with Gold much easier, courtesy of a new dedicated tab. Alpha ring Insiders can grab build 17105 at their own risk, since it is complete with a few issues of its own. On the bright side, it also fixes some things, and there are known workarounds for the aforementioned issues.
But those need not be your focus if you don’t want them to be. Instead, Deals with Gold has a pretty compelling lineup of discounts for the Xbox One and 360. Among others, Blood Bowl 2 for example is a quarter of its full price on the One, and Sniper Ghost Warrior 2 enjoys and even higher 85% reduction in price for those on the 360.
A little split is the offering via Games with Gold as well, netting you a free copy of Trials of the Blood Dragon until March 30, if you’re on Xbox One. People still using its venerable predecessor can grab Brave: The Video Game, which is free until March 15.
Free is also your choice to subscribe to the Xbox Game Pass or not. However, this month’s lineup is quite good, seeing as for $9.99 you get access to Rise of the Tomb Raider, Super Lucky’s Tale – which recently got its first DLC -, Resident Evil Revelations 2, Oxenfree, Sonic CD, The Final Station, and Dovetail’s Euro Fishing on March 1. Probably the most high profile release also included is Sea of Thieves, which you can enjoy starting March 20. Rare’s maritime burglary simulator can also be had as part of an Xbox One S bundle.
That said, if silly pirate adventures don’t quite float your boat, there’s a modern interpretation of Age of Empires to give a go, or a shiny new Combat Tech variant of the Xbox controller to grab.
Not to worry, the beefy Xbox One X got some attention too. If you managed to grab a hold of it, but have some older games you’d like to play, good news: Crackdown, Fable Anniversary, Forza Horizon, and The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings will be enhanced to take advantage of the hardware. Luckily however, CSI won’t be doing the enhancing.
What else has happened this week? Why, updates happened.
Updates in store
The lifeblood of any ‘as-a-service’ model is the constant stream of updates. Though more akin to a creek than a stream, this week’s influx of changes was still noteworthy.
Office 365’s February update brought improvements to the Editor pane, the Resume Assistant, a StaffHub Now tab for workday insights, the ability to enforce naming conventions across Office 365 groups, and network diagrams in Visio Online. As part of the same wave, Microsoft Teams finally added guest access, whereby users can be added regardless of the email address provider they have.
Those who don’t have an Office 365 subscription and wish to use Teams may just be able to do so at some point in the near future. Microsoft is apparently thinking of adopting a freemium model for its “chat-based workspace”, which would mean dropping the subscription as a prerequisite.
But far be it for Microsoft to think at only a macro level, as evidenced by its Quantum Development Kit, which this week was updated with support for macOS and Linux. Sticking with things of reduced size, Intel’s Meltdown and Spectre-mitigating microcode for sixth-gen Skylake processors finally made its way into Microsoft’s Update Catalog.
Finally, for people with a Surface Laptop, a firmware update showed up and apparently improved reliability. Or was it battery stability? Not even Microsoft is all too sure about that.
Inside Windows some more
What Microsoft is sure about is its Windows Insider program, a new build from which rather unexpectedly dropped on a Tuesday.
Bumping up the build number to 17110, the latest iteration is part of the Fast ring and contains an array of features geared towards enterprise users. There’s the ability to run custom actions during the feature update install sequence, as well as the deployment of post rollback scripts in system context. The latter was implemented following feedback from enterprises stating that most of their users do not have admin privileges, and thus cannot run scripts in admin context.
Enterprise users taking advantage of the Docker Hub will also be able to acquire matching Windows container images for Server Core and Nano Server with the advent of build 17110. As you’ve guessed however, the build has its fair share of fixes and known issues.
Business users who are interested in deploying IoT solutions got some good news this week, with the announcement of an upcoming extension of the support cycle for the Long-Term Servicing Channel, and the addition of NXP chip support. These particular changes may affect a smaller portion of the Windows install base, but the following do not.
Currently, apps with a Graphical User Interface (GUI) can be published to the Store, but those with a Command Line Interface (CLI) cannot. This will change with the soon to be released version 1803, which will give Console UWP apps the green light for Store entry, and give all Universal Windows Apps broader access to the file system.
Until all that rolls around, there are users still on previous versions of Windows 10. Whether you’re running on Anniversary Update (1607) or Creators Update (1703), you’ll be greeted by build 14393.2097 (KB4077525) or 15063.936 (KB4077528), respectively.
The Fast Ring
Huawei unveiled its MateBook X Pro Windows 10 PC and we took a look at it. Lenovo showed off the Flex 14 and Yoga 730, also running Microsoft's latest OS. Microsoft expanded its collaboration with Xiaomi, centered around the cloud and AI. The Custom Vision service is now being offered in preview, along with an improved Face API and general availability of the Bing Entity Search. Office VP Javier Soltero has moved to a similar position on the Cortana team. Microsoft and Sunseap have signed a 20-year solar power agreement for the software giant's Singapore datacenter. Microsoft wants Congress to create data privacy and data use laws fit for the 21st century. Logging off
We end on a rather strange note with Microsoft’s ever more complicated approach of support for its mobile devices.
In one of the most bizarre will they / won’t they iterations to date, the Redmond giant has relisted its Lumia 550, 650, 950, and 950 XL handsets in the online store in the United States. For $139 you can have the lower-end 550, $199 nets you the Dual SIM 650, while the 950 and 950 XL go for $399 and $499. All pricing is for the unlocked variants.
How long these will be available to purchase is really anyone’s guess, as the Windows Mobile strategy seems to be as blurry as the Fluent Design app borders.
By Rich Woods
Microsoft confirms that there are no Windows 10 Mobile builds coming
by Rich Woods
Windows 10 Mobile is dead. We've known this for some time, even before Joe Belfiore confirmed it by saying that new features aren't a focus. Microsoft only sells two Windows handsets in its online store at this time, and no major U.S. carriers sell any.
So it should come as no surprise then, that the company won't be releasing any new Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview builds. The news was confirmed by Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc:
Remember, while there was a Windows 10 Mobile Fall Creators Update, it wasn't from the Redstone 3 branch like it was for PCs. Mobile was actually an extension of Redstone 2 called feature2, and it only contained a handful of minor new features.
Most devices that have been upgraded to, or shipped with Windows 10 Mobile are still supported with cumulative updates though. Every month, Microsoft regularly patches phones that are on the Anniversary, Creators, and Fall Creators Updates. The only version that's actually not supported is the original version of the OS, 1511.
Again, today's news really shouldn't come as a shock. We really weren't expecting to see anything new on the Windows 10 Mobile side of things, but now it's just been confirmed.
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Looking for a blast from the past? See the previous mobile devices threads:
By Hamza Jawad
Starbucks for Windows Mobile has been removed from the Store
by Hamza Jawad
More than a year ago, the Starbucks app was officially launched for Windows 10 Mobile. Today, it has been removed from the Store on Windows Mobile, adding yet another name on the long line of applications leaving the platform.
As noted by a Reddit user, current users of the app are logged out, and find themselves being redirected towards the mobile website when attempting to log back in. Interestingly however, the interface is quite different compared to the mobile application, and some users have reported being unable to locate the option to pay via their cards.
Notably, the Starbucks app for Windows Mobile wasn't launched globally. In fact, it was only made available to users from the U.S., the UK, and Canada. The application allowed users to order and pay for items using their smartphones. Moreover, it provided them the ability to earn rewards in the form of free food and drinks after a certain amount of purchases. Interestingly, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is currently part of the board of directors at Starbucks.
Ever since Microsoft announced that Windows 10 Mobile would no longer be a focus for the company - and even before then -, several high profile developers have abandoned Windows phones. The move is especially interesting in light of the rumors about a new 'Andromeda' device, rumors which have been emerging at an increasing rate over the past few months.
In any case, the tech giant hasn't cited any official reason for the removal of the Starbucks app as of yet, and users are seemingly being advised to access its capabilities via their web browsers.
Source: gilbyXIII (Reddit) via MSPoweruser