Computex 2024: ASUS announces PCs with AMD Ryzen AI processors

Computex 2024: ASUS announces PCs with AMD Ryzen AI processors

At Computex, ASUS showed off new AI-powered PCs, including the Zephyrus G16 and ProArt portable studios powered by AMD Ryzen processors.

The new model lineup includes the 16-inch ProArt P16 clamshell and the 13-inch ProArt PX13 convertible powered by the latest AMD Ryzen AI 300 Series Processors, and the 13-inch PZ13 detachable based on the AI-enabled Snapdragon X Plus Platform.

ASUS ProArt p16 open and floating to the left

ProArt P16

If you want to shoot and edit in 4K, turn to the P16, powered by a 50 TOPS NPU integrated into the next-gen AMD Ryzen AI 300 Series Processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 graphics. With the PX13 convertible laptop and its 360-degree hinge, flip between laptop, tent, stand or tablet modes. The PZ13 has dual functionality as a tablet or a laptop, thanks to its magnetically attached full-size detachable keyboard.

The new ASUS ProArt AI laptop lineup is designed to empower everyday users, outdoor content creators and professionals to work from anywhere, faster. All three new models are Copilot+ PCs and feature the ASUS-exclusive StoryCube and MuseTree apps to enable smarter and more streamlined creative workflows, made possible by the power of fully-local AI. These powerful and intuitive apps allow users to quickly transform ideas and inspiration into creations, and efficiently manage their digital assets. The devices also include a dedicated Copilot key for quick access to your everyday AI companion.

Man looking at laptop screen showing mountains in background

ProArt PX13

Copilot+ PCs are the fastest, most intelligent Windows PCs ever built. Powered by silicon running at over 40 TOPS (Trillion Operations Per Second), they arrive ready to accelerate your productivity and creativity with the latest AI tools. There’s Recall, which you can use to find anything you’ve seen on your PC instantly. There’s Cocreator, which enables you to create artwork from text prompts. And there’s Live Captions, which can provide subtitles for any spoken audio in real-time, translated into English from more than 40 languages. It’s a whole new way to use a PC, and it comes equipped with all-day battery life and the highest standard of Windows security available to help you work and play longer and safer.

At its recent dedicated launch event, the new ASUS Vivobook S 15 (pictured above) became the company’s first Copilot+ PC, with the AI-enabled Snapdragon X Elite Platform.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G16 on a desk

Zephyrus G16

The ASUS Republic of Gamers also announced the latest version of its Zephyrus G16 laptop, now with a next-gen AMD Ryzen processor. With a built-in NPU for AI-accelerated tasks, a dedicated NVIDIA GPU and Windows Copilot, it’s ready for productivity as well as gaming, in an ultra-sleek thin-and-light package.

Head over to the ASUS pressroom for more information on these and other announcements from the company at Computex.

Source: Windows Blog






Microsoft Photos: Migrating from UWP to Windows App SDK

Microsoft Photos: Migrating from UWP to Windows App SDK

The Microsoft Photos App team recently released a major update, switching platforms from UWP to Windows App SDK. This blog post documents our experience switching platforms, including some impactful benefits and some interesting technical challenges.

The new Photos application is already fully rolled out to Windows Insiders and is now rolling out to Retail customers starting with version 2024.11050.3002.0 and above.

Concurrent Development & Replatforming

As one of the most frequently used apps, we’re continually releasing new features such as Slideshow, Background Removal and Generative Erase. Maintaining the ability to ship new features like these on UWP, whilst also progressing the platform switch to Windows App SDK was paramount. In simple terms, this meant all changes – both new features and Windows App SDK changes – had to go into our primary development branch. To do this with the least amount of disruption, we adopted some strategies to ensure code changes were compatible with both platforms concurrently:

  1. Parallel Pull Request build validation for both UWP & Windows App SDK app variants
  2. Conditional compilation (ifdefs) for similar but incompatible APIs
  3. Namespace aliases for equivalent Windows:: and Microsoft:: APIs
    #ifdef WIN_APP_SDK
    namespace WUXM = winrt::Microsoft::UI::Xaml::Media;
    #else
    namespace WUXM = winrt::Windows::UI::Xaml::Media;
    #endif
  4. Conditional inclusion of XAML source files since conditional compilation is unsupported

Processes & Integrity Level

In UWP applications, processes run at lowIL (low integrity level), also known as ‘AppContainer’, meaning certain APIs are restricted or could require additional user confirmation prompts. In Win32 applications, including Windows App SDK, processes generally run at mediumIL (medium integrity level), meaning the app has a higher privilege level.

Using Windows App SDK, we can now save an edited file in the same folder as the original file (e.g. “foo_edited.jpg”) without requesting the user to choose the destination folder.

Due to reasons including cross-platform compatibility and privilege checking, equivalent UWP APIs such as StorageFolder.GetFilesAsync can be orders of magnitude slower than their corresponding Win32 APIs such as FindNextFile. This is especially true for file system APIs, and when dealing with large photo collections spanning 100,000+ files, the performance difference could be significant – seconds vs minutes.

PhotosService.exe

Requiring users to wait several minutes to see all their media wouldn’t be a great user experience. To achieve acceptable performance with the UWP version of the Photos App, we used a multi-process architecture including both a lowIL primary process, and a mediumIL background process “PhotosService.exe” – a restricted capability only available to verified publishers.

Implementing this required significant complexity:

  1. Using WAP (Windows Application Packaging) to package both UWP and Win32 Applications for deployment
  2. Adding the restricted “runFullTrust” capability in the AppxManifest to allow the inclusion of a mediumIL executable in the package
  3. Building an IPC (interprocess communication) system using Named Pipes to allow RPC calls between two processes:
UWP Photos App Process Architecture

UWP Photos App Process Architecture

With the migration to Windows App SDK, this complex logic has been removed and integrated into a single process, dramatically simplifying our app architecture, and bringing improved performance due to the removal of interprocess communication.

One important point on the new approach is that Photos is still a multi-threaded application, and to receive File System notification events it was necessary to implement a headless window on a separate thread to isolate it from the XAML UI thread.

Windows App SDK Photos App Process Architecture

Windows App SDK Photos App Process Architecture

WebView2

Another huge benefit of Windows App SDK is the addition of WebView2, built upon the new Chromium-based Edge browser. The Photos App uses web tech in a few places, including with our cross-platform image editor used in both OneDrive and the Photos App. Some key benefits of WebView2 include:

  1. WebGL support enabling improved image rendering quality.
  2. Superior performance when sharing high quality images between the native and web layers using SharedBuffer.
  3. Supporting a more up to date version of Chromium, which carries the latest improvements and security updates.
  4. Allowing us to optimize the performance of our AI Service which requires sending pixel buffers back and forth from our Web Editor to our Native App for AI inference.

Maintenance and Support

As an Inbox app (included in Windows), we need to ensure Photos is running reliably for users across all supported versions of Windows. In Windows App SDK, most of the platform code is shipped as part of the WindowsAppRuntime package, in stark contrast to UWP where it’s all shipped as part of the Windows operating system.

The key difference between these two models is that users automatically get the latest platform updates to the Photos App on Windows App SDK, whereas in UWP they would have to wait for those changes to be included in Windows Update servicing patches.

In practical terms, this means we’ve often needed to use polyfills to patch bugs, re-implement missing APIs, or even disable features entirely on older OS versions. With Windows App SDK this is no longer needed, saving precious development time and reducing the testing overhead required for different OS versions.

Technical Challenges

ASTA vs STA

In UWP, the threading model was based on ASTA (Application Single-Threaded Apartment) which has a mechanism to protect the XAML UI thread against reentrancy. In contrast, Windows App SDK uses a regular STA model which requires some extra care when executing certain calls from the XAML UI thread, which could otherwise cause reentrancy and Stowed Exceptions.

For most of the cases the fix would be to re-enqueue the problematic call with the DispatcherQueue if it has to run in the UI thread. Another approach is to offload certain tasks to a background thread to decouple the re-entrant logic from the UI thread.

AutoPlay Support

One major feature of Photos is the ability for users to connect flash drives and mobile phone devices to import their media files. In Windows App SDK this feature has not yet been implemented, but there is a good alternative using Win32 shell APIs and desktop3:AutoPlayHandler.

This feature works by deploying and running a separated COM server process that handles autoplay activation and launches the Photos App’s import workflow.

Photos App Autoplay Architecture

Photos App Autoplay Architecture

Looking Ahead

Switching to Windows App SDK has allowed the Photos App to continue using the beautiful, cohesive, native user interface components included in WinUI, whilst adding the ability to directly call Win32 APIs and maintaining compatibility with the majority of UWP APIs. On the platform side, switching to Windows App SDK enables all Photos App users to receive the latest stability & performance improvements immediately, since the Windows App Runtime updates as a dependency of the Photos App package install.

Upgrading from UWP to Windows App SDK represents a larger change than previous Windows app platform updates, however the corresponding benefits significantly outweigh the development cost.

In the future we’ll be taking further advantage of Windows App SDK by having each Photos App window run in its own process – an architecture already used with overwhelming success in Chromium-based web browsers such as Microsoft Edge. Enjoy this sneak-peek of the upcoming performance improvements!

Resources

To learn more about getting started with WinUI & Windows App SDK visit https://aka.ms/windev and check out these videos:

Navigating Win32 App Development with WinUI and WPF | BRK241

How to create superior experiences with WinUI and WPF | BRK244

Source: Windows Blog






Computex 2024: Qualcomm keynote focuses on Snapdragon X Series

At Computex, Qualcomm focused its keynote on “The PC Reborn” and its Snapdragon X Series, which power a new category of Copilot+ PCs.

Copilot+ PC are the fastest, most intelligent Windows PCs ever built. Powered by silicon running at over 40 TOPS (Trillion Operations Per Second), they arrive ready to accelerate your productivity and creativity with the latest AI tools. There’s Recall, which you can use to find anything you’ve seen on your PC instantly. There’s Cocreator, which enables you to create artwork from text prompts. And there’s Live Captions, which can provide subtitles for any spoken audio in real-time, translated into English from more than 40 languages. It’s a whole new way to use a PC, and it comes equipped with all-day battery life and the highest standard of Windows security available to help you work and play longer and safer.

The Snapdragon X Series (Snapdragon X Elite and Snapdragon X Plus) can deliver up to multiple days of battery life and leading performance per watt efficiency to redefine interactions with PCs.

Head over to Qualcomm to find out more.

Source: Windows Blog






Computex 2024: Acer reveals latest Swift, TravelMate and Aspire C series

Computex 2024: Acer reveals latest Swift, TravelMate and Aspire C series

At Computex, Acer announced select series models in its upcoming lineup of laptops – such as the Swift 14 AI – and will include new generation AMD Ryzen AI 300 Series processors and a free update to Copilot+ PC experiences when available.

Stacked with more CPU and GPU cores made available in this class of AMD-powered PCs, and equipped with an ultra-efficient  NPU, the AMD processors deliver speed and performance on Acer’s new wave of AI PC offerings.

Copilot+ PCs are the fastest, most intelligent Windows PCs ever built. Powered by silicon running at over 40 TOPS (Trillion Operations Per Second), they arrive ready to accelerate your productivity and creativity with the latest AI tools. There’s Recall, which you can use to find anything you’ve seen on your PC instantly. There’s Cocreator, which enables you to create artwork from text prompts. And there’s Live Captions, which can provide subtitles for any spoken audio in real-time, translated into English from more than 40 languages. It’s a whole new way to use a PC, and it comes equipped with all-day battery life and the highest standard of Windows security available to help you work and play longer and safer.

Two TravelMate laptops open and floating side by side

TravelMate P6 14

AI-enhanced TravelMate business laptops also shared the spotlight at the event, with the P6 14 leading the charge with the latest Intel Core Ultra 7 processors with Intel vPro Enterprise. Built-in Intel Graphics and Intel AI Boost unlock new AI experiences, performance and power efficiency.

These new business laptops come with Copilot in Windows accessible through a dedicated hotkey.

The Acer TravelMate P4 series laptops include the 2-in-1 Acer TravelMate P4 Spin 14, as well as 14- and 16-inch clamshell models, all with new performance, security and device management features to support professionals and IT technicians.

TravelMate Spin P4 in tent mode

TravelMate P4 Spin 14

The TravelMate P4 Series PCs are designed to withstand the rigors of daily wear and tear without impeding performance, thanks to military-grade durability compliance. Acer Dust Defender helps minimize dust buildup internally, while privacy shutters and fingerprint readers for secured logins extend device protection.

Acer also announced the Aspire C Series desktops, powered by Intel Core Ultra processors. These PCs include AI-supported features such as Copilot in Windows – which leverages the power of AI to boost productivity and unlock creativity – and Windows Studio effects. Another addition: the Swift series models with new AMD Ryzen AI 300 Series processors.

Woman smiling at monitor during video conference call

Aspire C24 AIO

Head over to Acer’s Media Center and the Acer Press Room to find out more on these and other announcements the company made at Computex.

Source: Windows Blog






Announcing Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 26120.751 (Dev Channel)

Announcing Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 26120.751 (Dev Channel)

Hello Windows Insiders, today we are releasing Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 26120.751 (KB5037874) to the Dev Channel.

REMINDER: Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel will now receive updates based on Windows 11, version 24H2 via an enablement package (Build 26120.xxxx). For Insiders in the Dev Channel who want to be the first to get features gradually rolled out to you, you can turn ON the toggle (shown in the image below) to get the latest updates as they are available via Settings > Windows Update. Over time, we will increase the rollouts of features to everyone with the toggle turned on. Should you keep this toggle off, new features will gradually be rolled out to your device over time once they are ready.

Turn on the toggle to get the latest updates as they are available to get new features rolled out to you.

Turn on the toggle to get the latest updates as they are available to get new features rolled out to you.

Going forward, we will document changes in Dev Channel builds in two buckets: new features, improvements, and fixes that are being gradually rolled out for Insiders who have turned on the toggle to get the latest updates as they are available and then new features, improvements, and fixes available to everyone in the Dev Channel.

Changes and Improvements gradually being rolled out to the Dev Channel with toggle on*

[General]

  • This update includes a small set of general improvements and fixes that improve the overall experience for Insiders running this build on their PCs.

Changes and Improvements gradually being rolled out to everyone in the Dev Channel

[Copilot in Windows**]

  • As part of this update, we’re also evolving the Copilot** experience on Windows as an app that will be pinned to the taskbar. This enables users to get the benefits of a traditional app experience, including the ability to resize, move, and snap the window – feedback we’ve heard from users throughout the preview of Copilot in Windows. This model also allows Microsoft to more agilely develop and optimize the experience based on user feedback.
  • As part of the Copilot experience’s evolution on Windows to become an app that is pinned to the taskbar, we are retiring the WIN + C keyboard shortcut. For new devices that ship with a Copilot key, this key will open Copilot. For existing devices without that key, using the WIN + (number position for Copilot pinned to your taskbar) is a great way to open Copilot.

[Settings]

  • We are beginning to roll out a new Linked devices page under Settings > Accounts that allows you to manage PCs and Xbox consoles that you are signed in to with your Microsoft account. This settings page will only show on the Home and Pro editions of Windows 11 and if you’re signed into Windows with your Microsoft account.
New linked devices page under Accounts settings highlighted in a red box.

New linked devices page under Accounts settings highlighted in a red box.

Fixes for everyone in the Dev Channel

[Widgets]

  • Fixed the issue causing the WIN + W keyboard shortcut to not work correctly and open the Widgets board.

[Other]

  • This update brings Country and Operator Settings Asset (COSA) profiles up to date for certain mobile operators.
  • This update addresses an issue that affects the installation of a Windows update. It fails to complete. This occurs when you have to restart your device more than once.
  • This update addresses an issue that affects a device that uses an enablement KB (EKB). It might stop you from installing a new Windows update.

Introducing Suggested Replies in Phone Link for Android

We’re excited to announce the addition of a new feature to the Phone Link app for Android users: Suggested Replies. Powered by our cloud-based intelligent suggestion model, this feature is designed to make your messaging experience seamless and more efficient.

Suggested Replies as shown in Phone Link when replying to a message.

Suggested Replies as shown in Phone Link when replying to a message.

With Suggested Replies, you’ll see 3 contextually relevant reply bubbles to choose from when you receive a message. The feature is turned on by default, so you can start using it right away. Simply select a suggested reply and it’ll be sent immediately.

Suggested Replies are beginning to roll out to Windows Insiders across all channels with Phone Link version 1.24051.98 and higher.

FEEDBACK: Send us feedback in Feedback Hub (WIN + F) under Apps > Phone Link.

Reminders for Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel

  • Updates released to the Dev Channel are based off Windows 11, version 24H2.
  • Features and experiences included in these builds may never get released as we try out different concepts and get feedback. Features may change over time, be removed, or replaced and never get released beyond Windows Insiders. Some of these features and experiences could show up in future Windows releases when they’re ready.
  • Many features in the Dev Channel are rolled out using Control Feature Rollout technology, starting with a subset of Insiders and ramping up over time as we monitor feedback to see how they land before pushing them out to everyone in this channel.
  • Some features in active development we preview with Windows Insiders may not be fully localized and localization will happen over time as features are finalized. As you see issues with localization in your language, please report those issues to us via Feedback Hub.
  • Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel who want to be the first to get features gradually rolled out to you*, you can turn ON the toggle to get the latest updates as they are available via Settings > Windows Update. Over time, we will increase the rollouts of features to everyone with the toggle turned on. Should you keep this toggle off, new features will gradually be rolled out to your device over time once they are ready.
  • Because the Dev and Beta Channels represent parallel development paths from our engineers, there may be cases where features and experiences show up in the Beta Channel first.
  • Check out Flight Hub for a complete look at what build is in which Insider channel.
  • Copilot in Windows** is being rolled out gradually to Windows Insiders across our global markets. Customers in the European Economic Area will be able to download the Copilot in Windows experience as an app from the Microsoft Store (coming soon).

Thanks,
Amanda & Brandon

Source: Windows Blog






Announcing Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 26227 (Canary Channel)

Announcing Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 26227 (Canary Channel)

Hello Windows Insiders, today we are releasing Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 26227 to the Canary Channel.

Developers, please note that for a short period of time, we will not be releasing an SDK for builds we flight to the Canary Channel.

Changes and Improvements

[Copilot in Windows*]

  • As part of this update, we’re also evolving the Copilot* experience on Windows as an app that will be pinned to the taskbar. This enables users to get the benefits of a traditional app experience, including the ability to resize, move, and snap the window – feedback we’ve heard from users throughout the preview of Copilot in Windows. This model also allows Microsoft to more agilely develop and optimize the experience based on user feedback.
  • As part of the Copilot experience’s evolution on Windows to become an app that is pinned to the taskbar, we are retiring the WIN + C keyboard shortcut. For new devices that ship with a Copilot key, this key will open Copilot. For existing devices without that key, using the WIN + (number position for Copilot pinned to your taskbar) is a great way to open Copilot.

[Emoji]

  • We’re adding support for Emoji 15.1 which introduces a small number of brand-new emoji such as head shaking horizontally and vertically, phoenix, lime, brown mushroom and broken chain. Other changes for Emoji 15.1 include Unicode’s decision to revert family combinations to symbol-like shapes. Windows has chosen to stay with our existing style that use people in family combinations. We are also supporting the new directionality updates for person/man/woman walking, kneeling, with cane, running, manual wheelchair and motorized wheelchair. You can now select right facing or the original left facing orientation for these emoji.
New Emoji 15.1 that includes head shaking horizontally and vertically, phoenix, lime, brown mushroom and broken chain.

New Emoji 15.1 that includes head shaking horizontally and vertically, phoenix, lime, brown mushroom and broken chain.

Example of new directionality updates for person/man/woman walking emoji with right facing or the original left facing orientation.

Example of new directionality updates for person/man/woman walking emoji with right facing or the original left facing orientation.

Example of new directionality updates for person/man/woman in manual wheelchair and motorized wheelchair emoji with right facing or the original left facing orientation.

Example of new directionality updates for person/man/woman in manual wheelchair and motorized wheelchair emoji with right facing or the original left facing orientation.

[Settings]

  • We are introducing a new Linked devices page under Settings > Accounts that allows you to manage PCs and Xbox consoles that you are signed in to with your Microsoft account. This settings page will only show on the Home and Pro editions of Windows 11 and if you’re signed into Windows with your Microsoft account.
New linked devices page under Accounts settings highlighted in a red box.

New linked devices page under Accounts settings highlighted in a red box.

Fixes for known issues

[General]

  • Fixed an issue believed to be the underlying cause of some Insiders noticing stutters in some animations recently (dropping frames), particularly with Task View.
  • Fixed an underlying issue which could lead to some apps not starting on startup even though they were enabled as startup apps in Settings. It would show as Suspended in Task Manager, but not appear in the taskbar.
  • Fixed an underlying issue which could lead to the pop up asking for permission to use location not appearing, which could lead to app issues without location access.

[Windowing]

  • Fixed an issue related to showing tabs in Alt + Tab, which could lead to frequent explorer.exe crashes if you had a very large number of tabs.

[Widgets]

  • Fixed the issue causing the WIN + W keyboard shortcut to not work correctly and open the Widgets board.

[Other]

  • Fixed explorer.exe crashes impacting live captions and voice access.

Known issues

[General]

  • [IMPORTANT NOTE] We are investigating reports that some Windows Insiders in the Canary and Dev Channels are stuck on Build 26040 or Build 23620. The investigation is ongoing, however if you are impacted by this and really want to get onto the latest build in the Canary or Dev Channel today – you can download the latest ISO here and do a clean install and opt your device back into flighting in the Canary or Dev Channels.

Introducing Suggested Replies in Phone Link for Android

We’re excited to announce the addition of a new feature to the Phone Link app for Android users: Suggested Replies. Powered by our cloud-based intelligent suggestion model, this feature is designed to make your messaging experience seamless and more efficient.

Suggested Replies as shown in Phone Link when replying to a message.

Suggested Replies as shown in Phone Link when replying to a message.

With Suggested Replies, you’ll see 3 contextually relevant reply bubbles to choose from when you receive a message. The feature is turned on by default, so you can start using it right away. Simply select a suggested reply and it’ll be sent immediately.

Suggested Replies are beginning to roll out to Windows Insiders across all channels with Phone Link version 1.24051.98 and higher.

FEEDBACK: Send us feedback in Feedback Hub (WIN + F) under Apps > Phone Link.

Reminders for Windows Insiders in the Canary Channel

  • The builds we release to the Canary Channel should not be seen as matched to any specific release of Windows and features and experiences included in these builds may never get released as we try out different concepts and get feedback. Features may change over time, be removed, or replaced and never get released beyond Windows Insiders. Some of these features and experiences could show up in future Windows releases when they’re ready.
  • Many features in the Canary Channel are rolled out using Control Feature Rollout technology, starting with a subset of Insiders and ramping up over time as we monitor feedback to see how they land before pushing them out to everyone in this channel.
  • Some features in active development we preview with Windows Insiders may not be fully localized and localization will happen over time as features are finalized. As you see issues with localization in your language, please report those issues to us via Feedback Hub.
  • To get off the Canary Channel, a clean install of Windows 11 will be required. As a reminder – Insiders can’t switch to a channel that is receiving builds with lower build numbers without doing a clean installation of Windows 11 due to technical setup requirements.
  • The desktop watermark shown at the lower right corner of the desktop is normal for these pre-release builds.
  • Check out Flight Hub for a complete look at what build is in which Insider channel.
  • Copilot in Windows* is being rolled out gradually to Windows Insiders across our global markets. Customers in the European Economic Area will be able to download the Copilot in Windows experience as an app from the Microsoft Store (coming soon).

Thanks,
Amanda & Brandon

Source: Windows Blog






As Minecraft celebrates 15th anniversary, community shares how it shapes their worlds

Minecraft, the best-selling videogame of all time, has been celebrating its 15th anniversary this month.

From friendships to businesses, command blocks to creative masterpieces, Minecraft has shaped lives around the globe. Fifteen years of Minecraft means 15 years of building dreams and friendships. From saying wedding vows to quitting day jobs for pixelated passions, this game has been a cornerstone for countless adventures.

Head over to Source to read about the game’s impact on some of its community members.

Source: Windows Blog