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By Abhay V
Microsoft releases manual update packages for removing Adobe Flash from Windows
by Abhay Venkatesh
Back in September, Microsoft reminded users about the removal of Flash from the Edge browser and Windows, stating that the company will release an optional update for the latter this fall that will remove Adobe Flash Player completely from the OS. As promised, the Redmond giant has made that optional update available for download through the Update Catalog (spotted by BleepingComputer).
The knowledge base article is KB4577586 and the update is called “Update for Removal of Adobe Flash Player” followed by the version number of the OS for which the package is designated for. You can head to the Update Catalog here to download the update package for your preferred version. The packages are available for all currently supported Windows versions – including LTSB versions – and the related Windows Server versions.
It must be noted that the package can currently be downloaded only via the Update Catalog for manual installation. The Redmond firm noted in the announcement earlier this year that it will begin releasing this very update via other channels such as Windows Update as a recommended update after Flash Player reaches the end of support on December 31, 2020.
Additionally, users that currently install KB4577586 manually do not have an option to uninstall or roll back the update and will have to perform a clean installation of the OS to be able to reinstall Flash. The company has also stated that it will be removing all APIs, group policies, and interfaces that are used for managing Flash later next summer.
Image credit: BleepingComputer Interestingly, folks over at BleepingComputer noticed that installing the update did not get rid of Flash both on Edge and in the OS. The publication has reached out to Microsoft to request clarification. It is not clear if the firm will release another manual update package before serving it to all users through the usual channels.
By Rich Woods
Microsoft earnings: $37.2B revenue with big Surface and gaming growth
by Rich Woods
Today, Microsoft announced its earnings for the first quarter of its 2021 fiscal year. Overall revenue grew by 12% (12% in constant currency) over the same quarter last year for a total of $37.2 billion. That's broken up into Productivity and Business Processes with $12.3B revenue and 11% (11% CC) growth), Intelligent Cloud with $13B revenue and 20% (19% CC) growth, and More Personal Computing with $11.8B revenue and 6% (6% CC) growth.
In the Productivity and Business Processes department, it was led by 9% increase in Office Commercial products and cloud services, including 21% (20% CC) growth in Office 365 Commercial. The other piece of products and cloud services, the products, declined 30% as more businesses move to the cloud.
For consumers, Office products and cloud services revenue grew by 13%, and Microsoft 365 Consumer subscribers are now at 45.3 million, a 27% increase. LinkedIn revenue grew by 16%, and sessions grew by 31%. For Dynamics, products and cloud services revenue grew by 19% (18% CC), driven by Dynamics 365 revenue, which grew by 38% (37% CC).
As usual, Azure drove the growth in the Intelligent Cloud section. All Server products and cloud services grew by 22% (21% CC), and that includes a 48% (47% CC) growth in Azure. Server products actually declined 1%.
For More Personal Computing, Windows OEM revenue actually declined by 5%, but that actually includes 31% growth in non-Pro revenue, so there was also a 22% decline in Pro revenue. Windows Commercial products and cloud services grew 13% (12% CC).
Surface revenue saw a big boost, with a 37% (36% CC) increase. For this and the increase in Windows non-Pro revenue, Microsoft attributes increased PC demand. Gaming revenue increased by 22% (21% CC), including a 30% increase in Xbox content and services. Finally, search advertising revenue, excluding traffic acquisition costs, was down 10% (11% CC).
By Abhay V
YouTube's mobile apps get player UI updates, gesture to toggle full-screen, more
by Abhay Venkatesh
YouTube today announced a bunch of new enhancements making it to the service’s mobile apps that improves usability and adds a few new features. These improvements include a new gesture for switching to a full-screen view, additions to the video player and the Video Chapters feature, and much more.
The first of the improvements is to the recently introduced Video Chapter feature that lets creators segment videos into parts for easier viewing. The firm is adding a nifty new list view for chapters that lists them all with preview thumbnails that let users easily navigate to their desired section of the video. This negates the need to scrub through the chapters on mobile devices to locate users’ desired segments.
There are a bunch of improvements to the video player itself. An icon to toggle Closed Captions is now present on the player, saving users the effort of navigating to the menu and turning them on. The icon is accompanied by the autoplay toggle that is now being moved to the top from below the player. Another addition is the ability to switch between elapsed time and a countdown timer for the video timestamp by simply tapping on it. While some users might have had this feature for a while, it looks like the addition is being made widely available.
The firm is also adding a new gesture. Now, users can swipe up on the player to toggle to full-screen, just like the swipe down gesture to toggle out of the full-screen view. There are new suggested actions that show up at the bottom to prompt users to rotate their screens or use the VR view, depending on the video. The company says that it is working to add more suggestions in the future.
Lastly, the search giant is adding ‘Bedtime Reminders’ to aid users in limiting their app usage before heading to bed. The digital wellbeing feature is being added to the list of current controls that offer break reminders and notification controls.
The features are rolling out to the YouTube apps for Android and iOS starting today.
By Ather Fawaz
Facebook launches 'cloud-streamed' games for Android phones and PCs but eschews iOS
by Ather Fawaz
After reports started surfacing last week that Facebook is launching a dedicated gaming app, the firm has almost made good on that promise. Today, Facebook has launched a cohort of 'cloud-streamed' games that are playable via the Facebook app on Android or the desktop on a modern browser. Like traditional cloud-based gaming services, these games will be available to play right out of the box, without the need to download and install them separately. But while the venture seems like a take on a cloud-based gaming service, Facebook insists that it is not a spin-off or its own take of the same:
The service will be launching in beta today on Android and Web here. This first array of games includes renowned titles like Asphalt 9: Legends, Mobile Legends: Adventure by Moonton, PGA TOUR Golf Shootout, Solitaire: Arthur’s Tale, and WWE SuperCard. Facebook has promised that Dirt Bike Unchained will be added sometime in the future, along with other titles. Cross-play between games with integrated Facebook Login and the downloaded version of the same game will also be enabled.
For the first time, you will also be able to customize your own avatars and player names that will show up when you're playing these games. This means that instead of your profile picture and full name appearing representing you, the custom avatar and player name will. Facebook is also launching Cloud Playable Ads on Android and iOS in the United States, which will now support interactive demos from a game’s native code. Some changes to the Gaming tab have also been introduced to improve user interaction and engagement.
These new cloud-streamed games will run in tandem with the usual HTML5 games that over 380 million people play each month on the website currently. And it is supposed to be a seamless switch between the two formats. However, there's one caveat for now; these apps can run on Android mobile devices but Apple devices rocking iOS and iPadOS aren't supported due to certain problems with App Store guidelines.
This will leave support for iPhones and iPads an inclusion for the future, if at all. Apropos this, the Vice President of Facebook Play, Jason Rubin remarked, “We’re not on iOS right now, which is a big problem for us. We are barred from having Facebook launch the browser and play the game.” He further added that "Apple treats games differently and continues to exert control over a very precious resource."
By Rich Woods
OnePlus announces its first Snapdragon 4 and 6 series devices under the Nord brand
by Rich Woods
OnePlus Nord N10 5G Today, OnePlus announced the Nord N10 5G and the Nord N100. You might recall that the company unveiled the first Nord. That Nord never came to the United States, but OnePlus did promise that a Nord was coming. Now we know what it meant.
Pete Lau, Founder and CEO of OnePlus, said, "OnePlus’ mission to share better technology with the world means that we strive to make cutting-edge technology more accessible to a wider range of users. The OnePlus Nord N Series represents the next step in our strategy to expand our smartphone offerings to more price points. Now even more users can get a burdenless experience without sacrificing quality."
Powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 690 chipset, the Nord N10 5G is squarely a mid-range device. But even though it's a mid-range device, it still packs some premium features, such as its 6.49-inch FHD+ 90Hz smooth display and Warp Charge 30T support. It has 6GB RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 4,300mAh battery.
As for the camera, it's a quad-sensor setup with a 64MP main lens, a 119-degree ultra-wide lens, a macro sensor, and a monochrome sensor. It also has a 16MP front camera. The Nord N10 5G comes in a Midnight Ice color, and is coming to Europe starting at £329. North American pricing is coming later.
OnePlus Nord N100 And then there's the OnePlus Nord N100, which comes with a Snapdragon 460 chipset, 4GB RAM, and 64GB of storage. It's got a 6.52-inch 60Hz display, a 5,000mAh battery, and 18W fast charging. It comes in Midnight Frost, and is coming to Europe for £179 with North American pricing coming later.