7 Days is a weekly roundup of the Editors' picks of what's been happening in the world of technology - written with a dash of humor, a hint of exasperation, and an endless supply of (Irish) coffee.
What a week it’s been. There’s been almost no end of exciting news, intriguing insights and spicy rumors from all over the tech world – but don't worry that you might have missed something, because 7 Days is here once more to walk you through what’s been happening, and bring you up to speed.
Our journey begins this week with Intel, which confirmed plans to launch its eighth-generation 'Coffee Lake' Core-series processors later this year.
Qualcomm unveiled new chips supporting the emerging 802.11ax Wi-Fi standard, which is designed to better support scenarios in which multiple users connect simultaneously to devices and access points.
"Unlimited" has been a major buzzword across the US mobile market this week, as carriers have introduced new plans to attract the attentions of new customers:
- Verizon Wireless reintroduces unlimited data plan
- T-Mobile ups the ante with its ONE unlimited plans
- AT&T to also offer unlimited data plan, starting at $100 per month
In one of the week's more unusual developments, HMD Global - which now manufactures Nokia-branded mobile devices - held a curious Facebook Live stream celebrating the classic Nokia 3310, fuelling rumors that the ancient device may somehow be 'resurrected'.
If you're feeling nostalgic about the 3310, make sure you check out our Flashback feature from September.
Akamai delivered its latest State of the Internet report, in which it found a startling rising in DDoS 'mega attacks' around the world over the last year.
And in yet another major security embarrassment for the company, Yahoo has been contacting users whose accounts have been compromised in a 'forged cookie' attack, as it admitted that the source code it uses to generate cookies had been stolen.
During his election campaign last year, US President Donald Trump - with typical eloquence - noted that "the security aspect of cyber is very, very tough", along with some further incoherent ramblings. Over in the UK, they're well aware of the challenges of cybersecurity.
Indeed, the government is now preparing to provide cybersecurity skills training for teenagers to prepare them for future digital threats, with £20 million of funding available. Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth II opened the UK's new National Cyber Security Centre on Tuesday.
Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith called for a 'digital Geneva Convention' this week, in an effort to form a unified front against the growing threats of cyber crimes, particularly given the rise of 'state-sponsored' attacks.
Meanwhile, Microsoft announced that it will comply with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation across all of its cloud services by May 2018.
It's been an interesting week for Windows 10, with a range of new devices popping up in recent days.
Among them was the Chuwi Hi13, which aims to offer a much more affordable (and less powerful) alternative to Microsoft's Surface Book range. Its display is identical in size and resolution to the Microsoft device, and it even offers pen support - but it costs over a thousand dollars less than the Surface Book.
Details and images emerged of Lenovo's new Miix 320, a low-cost Windows 10 detachable device, which will include optional 4G LTE connectivity.
The tiny GPD Pocket has a 7-inch 1920x1200px display with an Intel Atom x7 processor, 4GB RAM and 128GB storage, as well as a wide selection of ports, including USB-C and HDMI. This week, the Windows 10 mini-PC smashed through its Indiegogo crowdfunding goal in just a few hours.
Those looking for something a bit bigger and more powerful might be interested in the new-generation Razer Blade, unveiled on Tuesday. It has Intel's latest 7th-gen processors, optional 4K touchscreen, 16GB RAM as standard, and Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB GDDR5 VRAM, along with up to 1TB of storage, priced from $1,899.
Microsoft's Surface 3 - for which production ended last year - made an unexpected return to retail in the UK this week, priced at £419.99 for the 4G LTE model with 2GB RAM.
The UK's 'Brexit' referendum decision weakened the value of pound sterling against the US dollar, increasing the cost of doing business in the UK for many international companies. Microsoft quietly increased the prices of its Surface Book there this week by up to £400, while Surface Pro 4 prices rose by up to 12%.
It seems that Microsoft is trying to soften the blow of those price hikes by offering free two-year insurance and Office 365 with its devices there in a limited-time offer, worth up to £299.
Microsoft wasn't the only company to announce Brexit-related price increases this week. Sonos is also raising its UK prices by up to 25%, saying that its "existing pricing has become unsustainable".
A year and a half ago, the city of Munich, Germany, came to the realization that its deployment of Linux had been... well, a bit of a disaster. This week, city authorities took steps to change its digital strategy, ditching Linux in favor of Windows 10.
Over in the US, Microsoft opened registrations for its Build 2017 developer conference, which will be held in Seattle, Washington, from May 10-12.
Microsoft is also making it easier for developers and businesses using its HoloLens mixed reality headset to share their view of the world with a new 'spectator view' function.
Outlook.com Premium - the company's ad-free webmail experience - is finally out of preview, and available to all US customers for a special promotional price. Meanwhile, Amazon quietly added support for Outlook.com calendars to its Alexa digital assistant.
It's been a long time coming, but Microsoft has finally started a limited rollout of its Focused Inbox feature to some users of its Windows 10 Mail app. The feature has been available on iOS and Android for months.
For perhaps the first time since switching to its monthly update cadence, Microsoft delayed its latest Patch Tuesday updates, due to a "last minute issue". The company won't roll out those updates until March 14 - but that will leave some of its customers at risk from unpatched vulnerabilities for several weeks.
As Neowin was first to report earlier this week, Microsoft announced its new Windows Insider Program for Business, in an effort to encourage more organizations to 'co-create' Windows 10 with the company, and to help them better prepare for new versions of the OS.
A bug discovered in Windows 10 Mobile allows anyone to view the photos you've taken on your device. It's not yet clear when that bug will be patched.
Microsoft said this week that it intends to continue flighting Windows 10 Mobile builds "beyond the release of the Creators Update", which is expected to arrive in April. We had a read between the lines of that commitment to consider what the future may have in store for Windows 10 Mobile.
Things don't look particularly encouraging for Windows phones these days. AT&T has now dropped its entire range of Windows phones from its website...
...while Cricket Wireless is selling the Lumia 640 - one of the company's most impressive low-end handsets - for just $9.99. It's also continuing to sell the Lumia 635, which is now almost three years old, for $19.99.
And just three months after its exclusive launch on T-Mobile, the carrier has now slashed a third off the price of its flagship Alcatel IDOL 4S with Windows 10. That's officially a 'special offer', but it comes just a few weeks after T-Mo cut the same handset's price by 8%.
Over in Japan, NuAns - which launched one of the most stylish and distinctive Windows 10 Mobile phones - has dropped Microsoft's OS in favor of Android for its new NEO Reloaded handset.
HTC confirmed that it is ending development of new low-cost Android phones, focusing instead on premium devices in the future. Considering that its most recent budget device was the Desire 650 - which has a three-year-old Snapdragon 400 chip - that seems like a sensible decision.
Having apologized for the blunders it made with its crowdfunded Hawkeye handset, ZTE has now cancelled the whole project, after it reached just 7% of its $500,000 Kickstarter goal.
In happier news, ZTE is preparing to launch a new handset at Mobile World Congress (MWC) this month, with support for gigabit LTE speeds.
Lenovo is also getting ready to unveil its new Moto G5 and G5 Plus at MWC in Barcelona - but the surprise was ruined by leaked images and specs of the new devices.
And Huawei's new P10 flagship, which will also be formally announced in Barcelona, was also prematurely revealed in a range of colors this week. Huawei will be unveiling its new Watch 2 at MWC too.
Vernee is lining up a new Android handset - the first with MediaTek's new flagship-class deca-core Helio X30 chipset. The device will be available with a monstrous 8GB of RAM.
Ahead of its anticipated launch this month, Samsung's new Galaxy Tab S3 with S Pen made an unexpected - and unofficial - appearance a few days ago.
While Samsung's new Galaxy S8 flagship won't make its debut at MWC, the company is expected to reveal its official launch date for the device there.
Google's February security patches for Android made their way to more of Samsung's devices this week:
And the Android 7.0 Nougat update is also making its way to more devices in various parts of the world:
- Android 7.0 rolls out to Galaxy S7 and S7 edge on T-Mobile US, starting with beta users
- Nougat expected to reach Galaxy S6 and S6 edge before the end of February
- EMUI 5.0, based on Nougat, heads to Honor 8 in the UK
- HTC One A9 on Sprint gets a taste of Nougat
Meanwhile, Google officially deprecated Android 2.3 Gingerbread and 3.0 Honeycomb on Thursday with its latest Google Play Services update.
After a jury found that Google's unlicensed usage of Java APIs in Android was covered by 'fair use' provisions last year, Oracle has filed a fresh appeal in its seven-year battle against the company, calling Google's "copying... classic unfair use".
Could Apple's next iPhone have an OLED screen? Apple reportedly signed a new deal with Samsung for 60 million OLED panels, fuelling rumors that the new iPhone will move away from LCDs.
Apple also joined the Wireless Power Consortium, giving rise to speculation that future iPhones will include wireless charging support.
Microsoft added Touch Bar support on Apple's new MacBook Pro devices with its latest Office for Mac update this week.
Apple announced details of its next Worldwide Developer Conference, which will be held in San Jose, California in June. Registrations will open next month.
Apple also released its first trailer for Planet of the Apps, a "groundbreaking new series about apps and their creators", which looks absolutely terrible.
Gartner's latest smartphone market data revealed that BlackBerry is effectively dead, with a statistically insignificant 0.0% share of the global market. Unsurprisingly, Windows phones didn't do much better in Q4 2016, with just 0.3% share, leaving iOS and Android to share over 99% of the market between them, with Android continuing to dominate sales.
Moving into the world of gaming, Microsoft has cut $50 off its Xbox One S prices this month, reducing the cost of its consoles to as little as $249.99 in the US.
Microsoft also released a new Xbox Insider Preview, build 15038, to the Alpha ring on Friday, including various fixes and known issues.
Xbox Live Gold members can now get Project Cars and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed in Microsoft's latest Games with Gold promotion. You can also find out about the latest Deals with Gold discounts here.
Microsoft revealed on Monday that its Forza gaming series has generated over $1 billion in sales since its launch more than a decade ago. Over 2.5 million copies have been sold of the newest game in the series, Forza Horizon 3.
However, Microsoft also revealed that Halo Wars 2 won't be getting a physical disc release for PCs in the United States, contrary to its earlier statements.
Ubisoft revealed that its new virtual reality game, Star Trek: Bridge Crew, has been delayed again. The voyages of the starship Aegis won't begin until May 30 - but it may just be worth the wait, as the company said that the game will also let players serve aboard the original starship Enterprise, which featured in the first Star Trek series over 50 years ago.
If you're a PlayStation fan, but you've found the PlayStation 4's lack of portability to be a problem, you might want to consider the new PlayBook 4 S. The PS4 Slim has been crammed into a (very chunky) laptop form factor, giving you gaming on the go for $1,495.
Sony is giving PS4 owners in the US a week of free access to its PlayStation Plus service - but those in Europe will have to wait longer, and they'll only get a few days of free access.
Sony also announced that it is discontinuing its PlayStation Now service on the PS3, PS TV, PS Vita, and a range of Sony and Samsung TVs from later this year.
The biggest update so far for Pokémon GO arrived this week, bringing a huge range of new additions to the popular mobile game.
Half-Life 3 confirmed! Oh, wait - no... it's really not. In fact, it emerged this week that Valve staff enjoy a bit of occasional trolling to wind up the fans about the long-rumored, but non-existent game.
YouTube star PewDiePie found himself in hot water as Disney and YouTube severed their ties with him following the use of racist imagery in some of his recent videos.
Our odyssey around the tech world nears its end in the Dutch city of Bodegraven, where authorities are testing out new traffic lights for smartphone-obsessed citizens. The new system includes special illumination features for those who are constantly looking down at their phones as they walk.
But our journey ends this week with OnePlus, and its bizarre, cringeworthy 'Lick of Love' campaign for its latest phones.
We've got an awesome giveaway for our readers around the world this week. You could win a Nintendo NES Classic Edition console, an extra controller, and a retro-fabulous Controller Messenger Bag!
All the details, including how to enter, can be found on our giveaway page - so enter now... and good luck!
Before we wrap things up for another week, let me first highlight a couple of extra bits around the site that I hope you’ll enjoy reading.
In This Week in Science, Gabriel Nunes took a closer look at some of the latest developments across the scientific world, including new data released to the public in an effort to help them analyze it in the search for new planets.
And four years after its launch, we had a Flashback to the original Surface Pro, looking back on the release of the Intel-powered Windows 8 machine, and seeing how well it's stood up to the test of time.
Stay tuned to Neowin in the days ahead for what’s sure to be another exciting week, filled with official news, lots of updates, and plenty of insights from around the world of technology.
For now, though, there’s lots more to read across the site – including all sorts of interesting discussions over on our forums.
From all of us
on the Neowin team,
have a great weekend!