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Posted on Aug 23, 2018 in Newsletter, Welcome | 0 comments

TWT Newsletter NG – Issue 63 – PC sales on the rise and new Windows 10 features for smartphone owners

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TWT Newsletter NG – Issue 63

Hi {name}, welcome to the August 2018 TWT Newsletter

As the sweltering heat wave continues here in Europe, perhaps your PC is getting neglected as you enjoy the better weather, or perhaps you prefer to hide inside with an air conditioner and get some computing work done? Perhaps you’re on the other side of the world to us and enjoying cooler weather anyway? Whatever your situation, thanks for taking time out to read our latest newsletter. This month we ask, is the decline in PC sales now over? We also look at an upcoming feature that should appeal to those of us who use smart phones and Windows PCs.

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In this months issue:-

Are PC sales on the rise again?
Tip of the Month – Google Maps is great on the desktop
Free Utility of the Month – Shairport4w
Windows Store app of the Month – Microsoft Sticky Notes
The “Your phone” app is coming to Windows 10 – Great news for smartphone users

 

Are PC sales on the rise again?

In the last few years we’ve been told over and again that PC sales are declining. There are several reasons for this but it mainly boils down to the rise of tablets and smartphones as multi-use computing devices and the relative maturity of the PC as a home computer. It’s now perfectly possible to have a ten year old PC that still carries out all the computing tasks you need and if your computing needs are really light, a smartphone might be the only pocket sized PC you actually need.

Over the past two years, however, it seems that PC sales are on the rise again. Reports from all the major PC manufacturers suggest that sales in 2018 exceeded those in 2017 by around 1.4 percent. Is this the start of a revival in the PC market? Perhaps, but let’s consider what’s driving these extra sales.

According to market research firm Gartner, much of the increase in PC sales could be attributed to business customers. Here, Windows 10 is driving new hardware purchases. The new OS is now well established, business customers who may have been holding off on upgrading now have more peace of mind that the OS is stable (though they might want to hold off installing the very latest updates, as we talked about in June’s newsletter).

Furthermore, support for Windows 7 ends in 2020. After this time, just like Windows XP, using Windows 7 becomes considerably more dangerous as no more security updates will be released for the venerable operating system. In a world of increasing cyber threats, no sensible business would want to use an operating system that’s no longer supported, so phasing in Windows 10 now is a sensible move so that any teething issues can be overcome well before the deadline.

Home PCs still face stiff competition

In the home market, the PC still faces fierce competition from the likes of tablets and smartphones. Microsoft were too slow to recognise this shift from a single device ecosystem to a multi-device one. No longer is the home PC the only way to connect to the internet and access e-mail and social networking, increasingly affordable phones and tablets can do that too.

That’s not to say the home PC is going away, of course. There are many work related tasks that are difficult or downright impossible to do on a phone or tablet. These days, it’s about finding the right device, or combination of devices, to suit your computing needs.

Microsoft announces the Surface Go

Recognising that the market for affordable, compact tablet computing devices is likely to keep growing, Microsoft have just announced a new addition to the surface line of tablet/laptop hybrids, called the Surface Go. Small and light, at just 774 grams (1.7 pounds), the plucky little device boasts 4 gigabytes or RAM and 64 gigabytes of solid state hard drive storage for just 399 US dollars. Spend a little more ($549) and you can up the spec to 8 gigs of RAM and 128GB of storage.

Unlike Microsoft’s earlier attempts at more affordable Surface hardware, the Surface Go runs the full version of Windows 10, rather than the cut down version specially for ARM processors that previous tablets were equipped with. Fresh from the factory, the Surface Pro will only allow you to run Windows Store apps, but this setting can be changed easily if desired. 

While we haven’t had our review unit from Microsoft just yet (perhaps it’s lost in the post?) veteran Windows journalist Ed Bott called the Surface Go “the best cheap PC ever”, comparing it favourably to its big brother, the Surface Pro.

With Netbooks and iPads muscling in on the lower end PC market, Microsoft clearly isn’t about to concede here like it did in the mobile phone space. Windows might lack many of the apps that are available on iOS or Android, but it has the richest number of apps designed to run in laptop or desktop mode of any operating system, making it a very attractive choice for students or mobile professionals. Of course, there’s no shortage of game titles on Windows either, with a richer variety than either iOS or Android (especially if you buy a game controller).

While it’s unlikely that PC sales will ever be as prolific as they were at their peak in 2011, the PC is clearly not going away. Post PC is a myth and as we confidently predicted in the past, we’re now in the multi-device era.

 

Tip of the Month – Google Maps is great on the desktop

If you’re a smartphone user you have probably used Google Maps to navigate in your car, or to find your way around a new city. Don’t forget though, that Google Maps works really well on your PC too. Simply type “maps.google.com” into the address bar of any desktop web browser.

With more screen space you can view more of a map at a time. With street view mode you can take a virtual tour around any area using your mouse, again taking advantage of the bigger display available on a PC. Remember to access street view at any time, right click on any point of the map and choose “what’s here?”. A picture will then come up at the bottom of the browser window, click on this to go direct to street view.

No matter if you’re exploring your own neighbourhood or checking out somewhere new, Google Maps is really great on your Windows PC, give it a go!

 

Free Utility of the Month – Shairport4w

If you like to play music on your phone, this handy little utility could make it easier to listen to your jams while you work at your PC. Run this app and your PC will turn into a Shareport/AirPlay compatible device. That means, using any iOS phone, you can wirelessly stream music to your PC. Great if your PC has a good set of desktop speakers. In the latest version of the app, you can even record snippets from your phone, useful if you have a favourite podcast that you need to archive.

Grab a copy of Shairport4w by visiting this page.

 

Windows store app of the month – Microsoft Sticky Notes

There are all kinds of fancy ways of reminding yourself about important tasks when you’re working with your PC. You can tell Cortana to remind you, or you can use an app like Wunderlist. Sometimes though, for an urgent task that needs completing in the near future, a simple sticky note is the best way.

Now, you can save money on packets of sticky notes and avoid them falling off your monitor by using the Microsoft Sticky Notes app. Just like the app that came with Windows 7, this modern version of the app lets you write a simple sticky note and place it anywhere on your screen. The sticky note stays prominently on your desktop until you delete it, just like a real sticky note would.

If this sounds like the kind of app that would be useful for you, you can download it from the Microsoft store here.

 

The “Your phone” app is coming to Windows 10 – Great news for smartphone users

New features for Windows 10 keep coming in, so fast that we struggle to keep up. While this constant influx of new features does have its down-side, as we discussed in June’s newsletter, it does also mean that Windows users are treated to new and often useful features on a regular basis.

One exciting new feature that Microsoft recently revealed is a new “My Phone” app. In our lead article this month, we talked about how the PC is now just one device in your electronic eco-system, so any development that helps your devices work better together is always to be welcomed. The new My Phone app brings some features to the Windows desktop that Mac users have enjoyed for some time now.

In its most basic form, the Phone app will allow you to manage photos and videos on your phone from your PC. While users have been doing this for many years using tools like Windows Explorer, the Phone app will place this functionality into an easy to use app that will work well on both touch systems and a standard desktop.

There’s more to the phone app than just juggling your selfies and video clips however. Depending on your model of phone, Microsoft will integrate its texting and notification features into Windows. That means, if you’re working at your desk, you will get your phones notifications pushed to your screen. Furthermore, no more picking up your phone and prodding at the tiny on screen keyboard when you want to send a text, you will be able to do that using your PCs full size keyboard. This can be a huge time saver, if you have a lot of texts to send for any reason, typing them out on your PC is much faster, plus it’s easier to copy and paste information or web links while using your PC.

Not only that, but information sent to you in a text message can easily be extracted and used on your PC. This can be particularly useful if you’re dealing with a company and need to reference text messages they send you, or even include them as evidence in a complaint, for example.

We’re really looking forward to the new “Your Phone” App. as Desktop diehards ourselves, we spend a lot of time working at our desk, and being able to speed up tasks normally done on a tiny phone screen is a real boon to us. Even if you only occasionally work on your PC, the new phone app could come in useful and will be a great edition to the next Windows 10 update.

That concludes the newsletter for August. On behalf of everyone here at Top-Windows-Tutorials, I’d like to thank you all for your continuing support. The TWT Newsletter will return on the 10th September 2018 and will bring you more tips, tricks and techniques to help you get the best out of your PC, be it Windows 7,  Windows 8 or Windows 10. We hope that you found this newsletter informative and useful. If you did not then please let us know why, you can contact us by visiting this page. If you have enjoyed this newsletter, feel free to pass it on to all your friends and family, or better still encourage them to sign up for their own copy. Until next month, keep checking Top-Windows-Tutorials.com, and enjoy happy, safe and stress-free computing!

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