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Microsoft’s Surface Duo smartphone to be released next month

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microsofts surface duo smartphone to be released next month

Microsoft has revealed that its first smartphone for four years, the foldable Surface Duo, will be released in the US on September 10 for a colossal $1,399 (£1,072). 

The mobile device, first announced last year, unfolds to reveal two displays which can be used individually or together as a single 8.1-inch screen. 

However, the Surface Duo doesn’t sport a truly foldable screen like that of Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, as it has a hinge down the middle of the two displays, allowing it to close like a book. 

The device, which was unveiled by Microsoft in October, does not have 5G connectivity. 

Microsoft has begun taking orders for the dual-screen Android device in the US, although a release date for the UK and the rest of the world has not been confirmed. 

The Surface Duo will be a new rival in the foldable phone category, going up against the devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X.  

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Microsoft Surface Duo is displayed in New York. Microsoft is back to selling smartphones for the first time since it abandoned its mobile business more than four years ago

Microsoft Surface Duo is displayed in New York. Microsoft is back to selling smartphones for the first time since it abandoned its mobile business more than four years ago

Microsoft Surface Duo is displayed in New York. Microsoft is back to selling smartphones for the first time since it abandoned its mobile business more than four years ago

Microsoft calls its Surface Duo – its first phone since it abandoned its mobile business in 2016 – ‘the perfect balance of productivity and mobility’. 

‘It’s thin, it’s sleek, it’s probably one of the sexiest devices we’ve built,’ said Panos Panay, Microsoft’s chief product officer, during an online briefing this week.

‘I’m not trying to reinvent the phone, but I do believe this is a better way to get things done.’  

The Surface Duo consists of two 5.6-inch screens that rotate around a central 360-degree hinge for use in a range of positions.

Microsoft Corp's Surface Duo phone. The device is powered by Google's Android operating system and starts at $1,399

Microsoft Corp's Surface Duo phone. The device is powered by Google's Android operating system and starts at $1,399

Microsoft Corp’s Surface Duo phone. The device is powered by Google’s Android operating system and starts at $1,399

The two screens provide two separate displays or can form one complete 8.1-inch display like any tablet – albeit with a gap in the middle due to the hinge. 

The idea is that users can enjoy a tablet-sized screen for work and multitasking while being able to fit the device in their pocket.  

Surface Duo is supposed to be a tool for getting work done with its productivity apps, similar to how many business users employ dual-monitor setups with PCs.   

CEO Satya Nadella, for instance, uses one screen to take notes and the other to read a book on Amazon’s Kindle app.

In Microsoft’s Teams chat app, a video chat occupies one screen while the other screen displays chats. 

And in Microsoft’s Outlook email app, clicking a link in the body of an email opens the link on the opposite screen, so the user can continue reading or responding to the email.

Users can also lie one screen flat and use an attachable Bluetooth keyboard to resemble a conventional laptop. 

Microsoft is pitching the Surface Duo as a more useful tool than a conventional smartphone

Microsoft is pitching the Surface Duo as a more useful tool than a conventional smartphone

Microsoft is pitching the Surface Duo as a more useful tool than a conventional smartphone 

When opened like a book, the Surface Duo is a slim 4.8 millimeters thick, making it what the company says is the thinnest device on the market. 

‘With two screen connected by a revolutionary 360-degree hinge, Surface Duo brings together the best of Microsoft and Android to re-imagine productivity on the go,’ the company states on its website.   

Microsoft maintains that the Surface Duo is not a phone, despite the fact it makes phone calls, but part of its Surface range of ‘two-in-one’ laptops. 

‘Make no mistake, this is a Surface device,’ said Panay at the Surface Duo’s launch event back in October.

‘We know scientifically you’ll be more productive on two screens – but it has to be elegant. It has to fit in your pocket.’          

Microsoft has previously had success with its Surface devices, which come with detachable touchscreens allowing the device to double as a tablet.  

Microsoft has not released a mobile phone since 2016, when it appeared to give up on the category amid intense pressure from Apple and the wide range of phones running Google’s Android operating system. 

The company began taking orders Wednesday for the Surface Duo, a new dual-screen Android device that costs $1,399 and begins shipping in September

The company began taking orders Wednesday for the Surface Duo, a new dual-screen Android device that costs $1,399 and begins shipping in September

The company began taking orders Wednesday for the Surface Duo, a new dual-screen Android device that costs $1,399 and begins shipping in September 

The last Microsoft-made phone was the Lumia 650, revealed in February 2016, which ran the now defunct Windows 10 operating system.   

Microsoft is now pitching the Duo as a more useful tool than a conventional smartphone, since it enables users to multitask with two separate apps or web pages at a time.     

Microsoft also revealed the Surface Neo last October, which is similar to the Surface Duo but has a larger screen, although it doesn’t have a release date. 

The Surface Neo has two screens connected with a 360-degree hinge for seamless opening and closing of the device. And the notepad may have two separate screen, but Microsoft has designed it to let users to spread a single screen across for a larger view

The Surface Neo has two screens connected with a 360-degree hinge for seamless opening and closing of the device. And the notepad may have two separate screen, but Microsoft has designed it to let users to spread a single screen across for a larger view

The Surface Neo has two screens connected with a 360-degree hinge for seamless opening and closing of the device. And the notepad may have two separate screen, but Microsoft has designed it to let users to spread a single screen across for a larger view

The Surface Neo has two 9-inch screens that unfold to form a substantial 13-inch display.

It’s equipped with a pen that attaches and charges magnetically on the back and a magnetically attached keyboard that folds over onto one screen creating a laptop-like device, just like the Surface Duo.  

Microsoft hopes the lack of a novelty bendy screen won’t hold back the Surface Duo and Surface Neo when they are released into what is becoming a crowded foldable device market. 

Following the release of its £1,800 Galaxy Fold last September, Samsung released the smaller Galaxy Z Flip, which has a screen that folds up like the ‘clamshell’ phones of the 1990s and 2000s. 

Instead of adopting a single folding screen, as Samsung does, Microsoft chose to connect two displays on a hinge because it allows for sturdier glass. 

It’s likely Microsoft has not mastered the same screen-bending technology as its competitors, however. 

Pictured, the Huawei Mate X smartphone. Unlike the Surface Duo, the Mate X has foldable glass down the centre

Pictured, the Huawei Mate X smartphone. Unlike the Surface Duo, the Mate X has foldable glass down the centre

Pictured, the Huawei Mate X smartphone. Unlike the Surface Duo, the Mate X has foldable glass down the centre

Pictured, Samsung's foldable smartphones. Left, the Galaxy Fold and right, the Galaxy Z Flip

Pictured, Samsung's foldable smartphones. Left, the Galaxy Fold and right, the Galaxy Z Flip

Pictured, Samsung’s foldable smartphones. Left, the Galaxy Fold and right, the Galaxy Z Flip

Other foldable phones on the market include Huawei’s Mate X, which features an 8-inch screen.

While the Galaxy Fold and Mate X both fold down a vertical crease, the Galaxy Fold’s display is on the inside of the device when folded, while the Mate X display becomes the exterior covering. 

Motorola’s Razr, meanwhile, is an update of its pocket-sized flip phone from the noughties of the same name, which folds down a horizontal crease in the middle.

WHY DID MICROSOFT DISCONTINUE ITS WINDOWS PHONES?

Microsoft started gutting its phone business in 2016, making thousands of job cuts and the decision to drop the company’s mantra ‘mobile-first, cloud-first’.

One key problem for the company was the lack of apps on the mobile platform.

In April, Facebook deserted Windows Phones. Skype and WhatsApp had also withdrawn their services from phones run on Windows.

The operating system dipped to a 0.3 per cent of the market share by the end of Microsoft’s third financial quarter in 2016.

Critics have claimed that the apps available on Windows phones pale in comparison to their iOS and Android counterparts. 

In June 2019, it emerged that Microsoft advised Windows 10 Mobile users to switch to Android or iPhone. 

The Surface Duo will be the closest thing to a Microsoft phone that users will be able to get their hands on upon its release in late 2020.  

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Average worker gets ‘career burnout’ at age 32 – and 59% say they do MORE hours working from home

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average worker gets career burnout at age 32 and 59 say they do more hours working from home

Long hours, extra work and the feeling of having to ‘always be on’ are making people experience career burnout by an early age of 32, a new survey reveals.

Approximately 59 percent of the respondents blamed it on working long of hours, noting the increase started when they transitioned to remote employment due to coronavirus lockdowns – some have worked an extra 59 hours in five months.

Other responses include not taking enough days off, pressure to complete more tasks and just under half of the participants dealing with burnout have quit their job because of the exhaustion.

However, the survey found that those who fall in Generation Z are already worn down because of the ‘always on’ work culture.

Long hours, extra work and the feeling of having to ‘always be on’ are making people experience career burnout by an early age of 32, a new survey reveals

Long hours, extra work and the feeling of having to ‘always be on’ are making people experience career burnout by an early age of 32, a new survey reveals

The study, commissioned by The Office Group, asked 2,000 people about their feelings towards work and what factors may play into their exhaustion.

The results show that a majority are burnout – and the average is the young age of 32.

Previous research has shown that the feeling typically starts around 35 and peaks when an individual is in their 50s – but this was before millions of Americans began working from home.

The coronavirus started making its way through the US earlier this year and by April many had transitioned from the office to their homes – and the new survey reveals it has taken a toll on some.

Approximately 58 percent of the respondents blamed it on working long of hours, noting the increase started when they transitioned to remote employment due to coronavirus lockdowns – some have worked an extra 59 hours in five months

Approximately 58 percent of the respondents blamed it on working long of hours, noting the increase started when they transitioned to remote employment due to coronavirus lockdowns – some have worked an extra 59 hours in five months

Approximately 59 percent of respondents said they are putting in more hours now than before the lockdown and one in three blamed their exhaustion on the stay-at-home protocol, StudyFinds reports.

When asked to give details about why this time has been difficult, 31 percent reported feeling obligated to burn the night oil since their office is now home.

There was also 27 percent who said they miss the socializing with colleagues.

Dr. Sarah Vohra said: ‘With almost a third of people saying lockdown has brought them closer to burnout, there is no question the pandemic has greatly impacted the nation’s collective mental health.’

‘Companies must put defenses in place and guard against elements which might cause stress and anxiety, and looking forward, they must make robust changes to ensure employees are protected, particularly during times of uncertainty.’

Along with working more hours, 39 percent of respondents blamed their exhaustion on not taking enough days off and 47 percent said the feeling stems from always having to be “on” while working.

What may come a surprise to some is that just under half of the participants said they have recently quit their job because they have been battling with burnout.

What are common signs of burnout and how can you treat it? 

Burnout is a feeling of complete exhaustion and can make you withdraw from other people and develop a cynical attitude – especially towards your work. 

Burnout can cause you to delay tasks that would have once been easy. In severe cases, burnout might make it hard for you to function at all. 

When you’ve reached the point of burnout, it’s probably going to take more than a few new holes to fix the issue. You may need to take significant steps to reduce the amount of stress you’re facing and also draw on support from other people, including health professionals. 

The Beyond Blue Support Service can help point you in the right direction. For other specific ways to cope with stresses at work, check out our Heads Up website.

You can find support services and advice for healthy ways to cope with stress here

Source: Beyond Blue 

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Orphaned chimpanzees are found to face lifelong setbacks, study reveals

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orphaned chimpanzees are found to face lifelong setbacks study reveals

A new report suggests that chimpanzees who lose their mother can face lifelong setbacks.

Scientists studying chimps in Ivory Coast’s Taї National Park found that male infants who lost their mothers, even as juveniles, had fewer offspring and were less competitive as adults.

Chimpanzees are raised almost exclusively by their mothers and stay with them until they are teenagers, a rarity in the animal world. 

The researchers believe that, even when offspring are old enough to take care of basic necessities themselves, their mothers are still teaching them advanced foraging techniques and social skills necessary to thrive.

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A new study suggests orphaned chimpanzees face lifelong setbacks, even if they were juveniles when they lost their mothers. Researchers believe chimps learn advanced foraging techniques and social skills well into their teen years

A new study suggests orphaned chimpanzees face lifelong setbacks, even if they were juveniles when they lost their mothers. Researchers believe chimps learn advanced foraging techniques and social skills well into their teen years

A new study suggests orphaned chimpanzees face lifelong setbacks, even if they were juveniles when they lost their mothers. Researchers believe chimps learn advanced foraging techniques and social skills well into their teen years

A team with the Taï Chimpanzee Project and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology kept full demographic records and collected fecal samples to determine paternity on members of three distinct communities for more than 30 years.

They found that male orphans still failed to thrive even if they lost their mother when they were juveniles.

The team, whose work was published in Science Advances, believe mother chimps teach their young valuable lessons into adolescence. 

They may know where to find the best food, said lead author Catherine Crockford, ‘and how to use tools to extract hidden and very nutritious foods, like insects, honey and nuts.’ 

Studying several communities of chimps in Ivory Coast's Taї National Park for more than 30 years, the scientists found that male orphans had fewer offspring and were less competitive as adults

Studying several communities of chimps in Ivory Coast's Taї National Park for more than 30 years, the scientists found that male orphans had fewer offspring and were less competitive as adults

Studying several communities of chimps in Ivory Coast’s Taї National Park for more than 30 years, the scientists found that male orphans had fewer offspring and were less competitive as adults

Access to more nutritious food may be why chimps and other great apes have relatively larger brains than other primates. 

WHO’S SMARTER, A CHILD OR A CHIMP? 

Most children surpass the intelligence levels of chimpanzees before they reach four years old.

A study conducted by Australian researchers in June 2017 tested children for foresight, which is said to distinguish humans from animals.

The experiment saw researchers drop a grape through the top of a vertical plastic Y-tube.

They then monitored the reactions of a child and chimpanzee in their efforts to grab the grape at the other end, before it hit the floor.

Because there were two possible ways the grape could exit the pipe, researchers looked at the strategies the children and chimpanzees used to predict where the grape would go.

The apes and the two-year-olds only covered a single hole with their hands when tested.

But by four years of age, the children had developed to a level where they knew how to forecast the outcome.

They covered the holes with both hands, catching whatever was dropped through every time.

 

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‘Offspring gradually learn these skills through their infant and juvenile years,’ Crockford said.

‘We can speculate that one reason offspring continue to travel and feed close to their mothers every day until they are teenagers, is that watching their mothers helps them to learn.’

Co-author Roman Wittig speculates mothers might be passing on social skills rather than survival tips.

‘Again a bit like humans, chimpanzees live in a complex social world of alliances and competition. It might be that they learn through watching their mothers when to build alliances and when to fight.’

There is good news for orphaned chimps, though.

In January another study from the Planck Institute found more than a dozen orphaned chimpanzees in the Tai Forest had been adopted by unrelated members of their community.

Both males and females devoted large amounts of time and resources to protecting the young, seemingly in a show of chimpanzee altruism.

‘Some adoptions of orphans by unrelated adults lasted for years and imply extensive care towards the orphans,’ Planck Institute researcher Christophe Boesch told Live Science

‘This includes being permanently associated with the orphan, waiting for it during travel, providing protection in conflicts and sharing food with the orphan.’

Boesch said he was particularly surprised to see males involved in rearing the adopted infants, since parenting is the purview of females.

‘Some of these adult males go really far in adopting a motherly role, carrying the baby on their back, sharing a nest, helping babies to climb trees, really caring a lot.’

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Coronavirus: Alarming video reveals virus-laden particles created by singing

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coronavirus alarming video reveals virus laden particles created by singing

Researchers in Australia believe singing, especially in a choir, could spread coronavirus via airborne droplets. 

The findings come from a slow-motion video with special LED lighting which shows how otherwise invisible particles shoot from the mouth of a singer. 

During an experiment, a person was asked to sing a popular scale and some sounds, such as ‘do’, ‘fa’ and ‘ti’, forced particles out at up to six metres a second (13 mph). 

More than half of droplets produced by coughing travel at this speed, or faster, while only 15 per cent of particles created by talking travel at this pace.   

Researchers suggest that extra precautions should be taken to mitigate against the extra dangers posed by group singing. 

This includes rehearsals with fewer people, wearing face coverings while singing and extreme social distancing.

During an experiment, a person was asked to sing a popular scale and some sounds, such as ‘do’, ‘fa’ and ‘ti’, forced particles out at up to six metres a second (13 mph)

During an experiment, a person was asked to sing a popular scale and some sounds, such as ‘do’, ‘fa’ and ‘ti’, forced particles out at up to six metres a second (13 mph)

During an experiment, a person was asked to sing a popular scale and some sounds, such as ‘do’, ‘fa’ and ‘ti’, forced particles out at up to six metres a second (13 mph) 

A recent piece of research found the amount of particles produced is the same, but did not account for speed. 

This finding led researchers to believe singing was just as risky as talking, but the new research indicates singing poses extra risks. 

For example, the quantity of particles produced when singing could saturate the air inside a room, making social distancing pointless. 

A study from the university of New South Wales, Sydney, found the majority of particles produced during singing travel at less than 0.5 m/s.

However, they are spewed in all directions and are likely to not settle and drift on air currents. 

In a room with air conditioning or a fan this would see the infectious particles stay airborne for long periods of time, travelling vast distances.  

For the study, the singer remained at a relatively subdued sound range of between 66 and 72 decibels.

Singing in a choir has been heavily linked to previous superspreader events. Outbreaks at choirs in Berlin, Amsterdam and Washington were so severe that 75.6 per cent, 78.5 per cent and 86.9 per cent of people in attendance tested positive for COVID-19, respectively (stock)

Singing in a choir has been heavily linked to previous superspreader events. Outbreaks at choirs in Berlin, Amsterdam and Washington were so severe that 75.6 per cent, 78.5 per cent and 86.9 per cent of people in attendance tested positive for COVID-19, respectively (stock)

Singing in a choir has been heavily linked to previous superspreader events. Outbreaks at choirs in Berlin, Amsterdam and Washington were so severe that 75.6 per cent, 78.5 per cent and 86.9 per cent of people in attendance tested positive for COVID-19, respectively (stock)

Researchers in Australia believe singing, especially in a choir, could spread coronavirus via airborne droplets. The findings come from a slow-motion video with LED lighting which shows how invisible particles shoot from the mouth of a singer (pictured, diagram of the set-up)

Researchers in Australia believe singing, especially in a choir, could spread coronavirus via airborne droplets. The findings come from a slow-motion video with LED lighting which shows how invisible particles shoot from the mouth of a singer (pictured, diagram of the set-up)

Researchers in Australia believe singing, especially in a choir, could spread coronavirus via airborne droplets. The findings come from a slow-motion video with LED lighting which shows how invisible particles shoot from the mouth of a singer (pictured, diagram of the set-up)

‘It is also worth noting that some degree of variability is expected in the number of droplets expelled between different individuals, and due to other parameters, such as loudness, notes, consonants, and duration of each note sung,’ the researchers say in the study, published today in Journal of Infectious Diseases. 

Singing in a choir has been heavily linked to previous superspreader events. 

Outbreaks at choirs in Berlin, Amsterdam and Washington were so severe that 75.6 per cent, 78.5 per cent and 86.9 per cent of people in attendance tested positive for COVID-19, respectively.  

‘The data presented combined with high infection rate among the choir members points towards the possibility of airborne spread of COVID-19 during singing events,’ the researchers write.  

The study is the latest in a string of scientific papers investigating the danger singing poses in regard to the transmission of Covid-19.

Researchers at Lund University, Sweden studied the amount of particles emitted when we sing and found loud and consonant-rich tunes, such as Happy Birthday, spread a lot droplets into the surrounding air.  

SAGE WARNED GOVERNMENT ABOUT SINGING DURING CRISIS 

The Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) earmarked live musical performances and choirs were one of the more risky events for Covid.

This was why music venues, indoor theatres and concerts were the very last amenities to reopen following lockdown.

In a report submitted sometime in June, SAGE said it had reviewed a number of international studies and found evidence to suggest that singing can produce more aerosols, or droplet nuclei, than normal talking or breathing.

Covid-19 is spread through respiratory secretions, which can take the form of large droplets or smaller aerosols.

These are either inhaled directly or transferred by the hands from surfaces where they have been deposited.

The document says that the smaller the particle, the further it can advance into the respiratory tract.

The authors said: ‘There exists some evidence to suggest that singing can produce more aerosols than normal talking or breathing; it may be more akin to a cough.

‘Singing for any appreciable amount of time therefore may present a risk for the creation of infectious aerosols and allow for infection transmission.’ 

The authors added: ”Therefore, at the present time the safest way for groups to sing together is to i) sing outside, ii) use the 2m rule to socially distance and iii) avoid face-to-face positioning.’

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