Tag Archives: Microsoft

New Driver Update for Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Offers On Screen Support for Surface Dial

By Radu Iorga

One more important device from Microsoft has received a major update this week, the Surface Pro 4. Microsoft Surface Pro 4 has on screen support for the Surface Dial, the famous round and rotating device that lets you interact with graphics and editing software better.

There are new drivers available for the Surface Pro 4, which activate the on screen support for the Surface Dial and improve the touch accuracy. Once the update is installed, you can place the Surface Dial directly on the screen and interact with a color picker or ruler, which will appear on the display. New drivers have been offered for Surface Dial Detection, Surface Dial Filter, Surface Digitizer Integration, Surface touch and Surface Touch Servicing ML.

The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is a fourth generation Surface product, launched 3 years ago. It’s got a Skylake CPU, more RAM and SSD than the predecessor and it comes with a 12.3 inch screen with higher resolution. Right now if you access the Microsoft Store, you will see the device is out of stock. Other retailers may have it, starting at $700, with 128 GB of storage and Core m3 CPU (no pen).

You can perform the download yourself through Windows Update or from the Surface Pro 4 Drivers and Firmware page.

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Microsoft Surface Book 2 Entry Level Version Now Available on More Markets

By Radu Iorga

In case you didn’t know there are also entry level versions of the Microsoft Surface Book 2. Those have started being available on more and more markets and the price of $1623 is being thrown around. Let’s see what the deal is.

Up until now you co go into the $2000s with an Intel Core i5 model outside the US, but now Microsoft is selling the entry level Surface Book 2 for just $1623 for a limited time. That applies to UK, Germany and France for example. The difference between this model and the $2118 model is the storage first and foremost. The entry level Surface Book 2 has just 128 GB of internal storage, comoared to the 256 GB of the $2000+ unit.

The Core i5 CPU is in the mix, of course, but there’s no dedicated GPU, so you may reconsider and maybe get a higher end Surface Pro or Surface Laptop. For those of you not familiar with the device’s versions, it comes in 13.5 inch and 15 inch diagonals, with British QWERTY, French Azerty and German Qwertz keyboards. There are Intel Core i5 or Core i7 CPUs inside and 8 or 16 GB of RAM.

Storage can go as high as 1 TB. If you ask me what I like about this product, it’s got to be that revolutionary hinge.

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Microsoft Patents Transparent Surface Dial

By Radu Iorga

Remember the Surface Dial? It’s a tool for creative types, like a rotary dial which is used for graphics and design purposes. It’s priced at $99 and lets you trigger tools in Photoshop, enlarge or resize screen items, plus more. Now there’s a new version brewing, according to a freshly leaked patent. Let’s check it out.

It seems we are dealing with a transparent Surface Dial here, that has been patented by Microsoft recently. The original unit was a sort of hockey puck shaped unit, but this new one with its transparency may increase the ease of use and functionality. The first unit was able to rotate, zoom in and generally provide multi model input. Usually it pairs up with a pen and hand gestures on a larger touchscreen.

The new patent proposes a partially transparent Surface Dial accessory, with an image transfer structure, that relays or transfers the content on the touch display to the top side of the Dial. This device will have a capacitive marker, which can be recognized by the touch display and it will visually present the content aligned with the image transfer structure from the Dial accessory.

For me the most useful part of this is graphics editing. Imagine drawing a game character and being able to zoom in on him, while using the transparent Dial as a magnifying glass of sorts and tweaking each beard hair of the character for example. Pretty cool, right? Use cases are endless and this may just start a trend with transparent accessories. I can also envision this being used in medicine somehow, on digital patient charts.

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Microsoft Edge Gets iPad Support, Still in Beta on iOS

By Radu Iorga

Microsoft has just released an update for the Edge browser it offers on iOS, with iPad support this time. The web browser remains in beta phase, but now it’s taken from version 41.10.1 (10.1.0) to version 41.12 (12.0.0). Let’s see what’s new.

First of all improved support for the iPad experience is here, plus the user sign in and sign out experience has improved too. Performance has received a bump up as well. Edge for iOS relies on a native iOS rendering engine, but it also offers features like accessing the Edge bookmarks and synced passwords. Then there’s the ability to easily push a web page to the desktop through the “Continue on your PC” function.

Only beta users have access to the browser right and I suspect a legit App Store finalized release is maybe weeks away. The Edge browser debuted on iOS and Android last October and the beta came in November. Back then it had no support for iPad or the unusual iPhone X format. That has been fixed now and for those of you who want to try it, you will need Apple’s TestFlight app.

I’ve been using that to try out games like Shadowgun before they were launched.

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Microsoft Brings Back the Back Touch for Surface Phone

By Radu Iorga

Microsoft seems ready to bring back a pretty old school input method, that involves touching the back side of a device. The so called “Back Touch” is being mentioned in patents associated to the potential Surface Phone.

It all started years ago, when the Microsoft user interface researchers hinted at a better use of a device’s back, aside from covering the battery. One could use the back surface of a phone as a touch sensitive area, in order to control what’s happening on the screen. It’s already happening actually, as the fingerprint scanner on quite a few smartphones can be touched and swiped on to pull down the notification area.

Microsoft doesn’t have a phone to currently implement the ideas, but it’s prepping the Andromeda. Christian Klein and other Microsoft researchers figured out that in some configurations a folded Surface Phone could offer a touch sensitive area on the back side. This lead to the creation of a patent for a “Gesture Language for a Device With Multiple Touch Surfaces”.

The patent mentions that there could also be a secondary screen at the back. It details a “surface that is opposite the primary display”. Scroll and swipe gestures are also mentioned, while the device is firmly gripped by the hand. I find this useful particularly for scrolling text or websites.

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