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By Abhay V
Surface Duo begins receiving its first firmware update for 2021
by Abhay Venkatesh
Microsoft is rolling out a new firmware update for the Surface Duo, making it the first update in over two months. While the firm had been serving monthly updates for the dual-screened Android device, it skipped the December update owing to the holidays and reportedly due to a tricky bug. Today’s release brings with it a bunch of improvements along with the December and January Android security patches. What it does not bring is the Android 11 update, of which there is no information from the company.
As has been the case for the past few months, the Duo is getting improvements to address stability issues with touch, possibly still ironing out issues pointed out by early reviewers. There are also improvements to the UI stability, likely to fix crashes or issues with features like App Pairs and the overall stability of the software when moving apps across screens. The changelog is generic in nature and does not divulge much information about the details of the updates.
Here is the complete changelog of the January 2021 update that brings software version 2020.1211.85:
As usual, this release only applies to the unlocked version of the device and is rolling out gradually, meaning it will be a while before all users see the update hit their devices. Users that own the AT&T version of the Duo might have to wait slightly longer for these updates. Usually, updates for the carrier variant are served within a week, so the wait should not be too long.
The company is also slated to make the Surface Duo available to more markets soon. It will be interesting to see what the timeline is for the release, and if the device gets an update to Android 11 by then or even ships with the updated software in those regions.
Cloudflare Waiting Room will help sites deal with demand
by Paul Hill
Cloudflare, the firm that helps sites protect against DDoS attacks, has announced a new product called Waiting Room. The idea behind the service is to protect appointment registration websites from being overwhelmed by high demand. In the future, the technology could be deployed on concert ticket websites but in the current climate, Cloudflare is offering it to governments and medical organisations.
With the pandemic making people sick and causing economic chaos, health and government websites are seeing increased usage as people try to access financial assistance, government guidelines about the virus and health advice. If government or health organisation get more demand than they can handle they can deploy Cloudflare’s Waiting Room with no need to change any code.
Cloudflare said that creating a new waiting room is really easy and takes just five steps to create. Institutions choose a name for the waiting room, check the hostname which is pre-populated, choose how many active users can be in the application at any given time, the number of users allowed into the application per minute and the number of minutes users are allowed to spend in the application.
With these controls, the waiting room can seamlessly switch on and off based on the demand the website sees, and by limiting session times it ensures that people can get fairly quick access to the content they’re waiting to access.
Anyone who finds themselves in a queue will be told they’re waiting in a queue due to high traffic on the website. The page automatically refreshes the estimated wait time and provides a timestamp of when the site was last updated. This information lets people know why there’s a delay and how long they’ll need to wait.
Microsoft launches the Surface Laptop Go in India
by Anmol Mehrotra
Microsoft has announced the availability of Surface Laptop Go lineup in India. The Redmond giant unveiled the Surface Laptop Go lineup at the annual Surface event last October.
The laptop comes with Intel's i5-1035G1 CPU which is coupled with 4/8GB of RAM and 64/128/256GB of storage. The Surface Laptop Go also features a 12.4-inch 1536x1024 PixelSense display and a fingerprint scanner (though not on the base model). For connectivity, Microsoft includes a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port, a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port, a Surface Connect port, and a 3.5mm audio jack.
At the launch, Rajiv Sodhi, Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft India said:
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go will be available in India from 22nd January via authorised resellers and online partners like Reliance Digital and Amazon India. Microsoft is also offering no-cost EMI for up to 9 months starting ₹8,000 per month (~$109). The device will cost at ₹63,499 (~$870) for the base variant with 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage and will go up to ₹110,999 (~$1,521) for 16GB RAM and 256GB storage. However, both the base and the top variants are reserved for commercial customers. Individuals can either pick the one with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage for ₹76,199 (~$1,044) or they can go for the one with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage for ₹92,999 (~$1,274).
If you are planning to pick up the Surface Laptop Go then be sure to check out our review of the laptop.
By Abhay V
A possible new Surface Laptop 3 variant spotted passing through Bluetooth certification
by Abhay Venkatesh
Surface Laptop 3 Details of Microsoft’s rumored successor to the Surface Laptop 3 have been making the rounds on the web for a while now. Benchmarks of what were believed to be the Laptop 4 and the Pro 8 were spotted late last year. However, with the introduction of the Surface Pro 7+ – a refreshed version of the Pro 7 sporting Intel’s 11th-gen chips – aimed completely at businesses, it is possible that the Redmond firm is readying a version of the Laptop 3 as well that is aimed at businesses.
A new Bluetooth SIG certification listing (spotted by WinCentral) provides credence to that theory, as it mentions versions of the Surface Pro 7 and the Laptop 3 listed for certification on January 18. The descriptions in the listing also point to 13.5-inch and 15-inch models. Additionally, the model numbers specified in the certification for the devices coincide with a now deleted tweet from Twitter user cozyplanes. The “1950” model number was the rumored one for the Laptop 4. The certification listing contains models 1952, 1953, 1958, and 1959 – possibly pointing to two variants of the 13.5-inch and 15-inch devices each. The two Pro 7 models might also point to the recently released Wi-Fi-only and LTE versions of the Pro 7+.
Reports from last year suggest that the company is planning on equipping the 13.5-inch versions of the device with AMD processors for the first time, in addition to refreshes to the Intel variants. It is anyone’s guess if these devices will be called the Laptop 3+, or if there are plans to offer the new devices to consumers as well with the Laptop 4 branding.
The advantages of offering the Pro 7+ to businesses without any design and dimension changes include compatibility with older peripherals and accessories, without compromising on performance. However, with Surface Laptop sporting a more traditional form factor, it will be interesting to see what the company’s strategy is with that lineup.
By Steven P.
Surface Pro 7 + Pro Type Cover Bundle gets a $360 price cut on the Microsoft Store
by Steven Parker
Earlier this month Amazon was offering a decent discount on the lower end Microsoft Surface Pro 7 variant that was announced in October 2019, with pricing for the base i3 variant starting at $749. And while that deal has now ended, Microsoft has come with its own deal that knocks off $360 for its top offering of the Surface Pro 7 + Pro Type Cover bundle.
The device, which comes in Platinum or Black colors, has a 10th gen Intel Core i7 processor which is paired with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. You can choose from six Pro Type Covers that usually costs $129.99 or $159.99 depending on feature choice but are now all $50. For example, the configuration with the Surface Pro Type Cover with Fingerprint ID will normally cost you $2,059.98 on the Microsoft Store but it is now $1,699.98 so you will be saving $360 on the bundle.
In addition, you can also add the Kingston DataTraveler microDuo 3C Flash Drive which is designed for USB and USB Type-C compatibility and has a capacity of 64GB, to the bundle for free. There's also a bunch of other accessories that can be added with various discounts.
It's unclear how long this discount will stay live for, but if you were on the lookout for the top variant of the Surface Pro 7, now might be the time to act.