Tech News

Microsoft Talks Windows 10 Subscriptions, Android N Is Nougat… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 01-07-2016

Windows 10 subscriptions are not coming (yet), Google names Android N Nougat, Apple bullies Spotify into submission, Amazon announces Prime Day on July 12, and a bonkers man builds a bonkers bazooka.


Are Windows 10 Subscriptions Coming?

Windows 10 is currently available as a free upgrade to anyone running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. Time IS running out though Act NOW to Keep Your Windows 10 Upgrade Free After July 29 Microsoft has confirmed that the free Windows 10 upgrade will expire. After July 29, a Windows 10 license will cost $119. We show you how to become eligible to install Windows 10 for free, even... Read More , with the free upgrade offer ending on July 29, 2016, a year after Windows 10 was first released. After that, Windows 10 will cost you at least $119.99. But will it also cost those who upgraded for free?

There has been much speculation about Microsoft charging a subscription fee for Windows 10 down the line. After all, Windows 10 has been designed to be THE final version of Windows The Latest Windows 10 Version Won't Be the Last One What is the latest Windows 10 version? How long is it supported? And why did Microsoft switch to a service model? Answers within! Read More , with updates allowing it to stay current for the next decade. So, Microsoft could start charging for updates from some point in the future.

This speculation has come to the fore again recently with the discovery of a file called “UpgradeSubscription.exe” in Build 14376. A right-click on the Properties reveals this is a “Windows Upgrade to Subscription tool.” Right now, nothing happens when the file is executed, but that might not always be the case.

ZDNet, which discovered the file, reached out to Microsoft for clarification on the nature of the file. The company issued a brief statement saying:

“The Windows Upgrade to Subscription tool, found in the latest Windows Insider builds, helps to manage certain volume licensing upgrades from Windows 10 Pro Anniversary Update to Windows 10 Enterprise. This binary file is not associated with the free consumer upgrade offering nor is it applicable to consumer Windows editions.”

That seems pretty unequivocal, at least as far as this file goes. However, we still don’t know what Microsoft’s longterm plans are regarding Windows 10. No one does. Which is something to bear in mind if you’re planning to upgrade to Windows 10 for free before the end of this month.


Android N Is Nougat Not Nutella

Google has finally announced the name of Android N, after months of teasing us with the various options, and even letting people suggest their own names. The clear favorite amongst fans was Nutella, but Google has instead opted to call the latest version of Android, Nougat. Which we can only assume was always on the cards.

What’s in a name? Nothing whatsoever, as this is just the name for a particular strain of Android, and it makes no difference whatsoever to the actual product. However, some Android names have stuck in the public consciousness more than others, with KitKat resonating particularly well. Which makes the decision to go with Nougat rather than Nutella a strange one.

Still, it’s the operating system that actually matter, and Android Nougat brings with it a host of new improvements. This includes improved battery life, and a split-screen multitasking mode. Google previewed Android N Read Samsung Galaxy S7 Reviews, Google Previews Android N... [Tech News Digest] Read reviews of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, Google launches Android N developer preview, experiment with Google's Chrome Music Lab, Steve Chen launches Nom, and YouTubers play real-life Hitman. Read More in March (read our full rundown here Everything You Need to Know About Android N Want to install Android N or just learn about the next Android version? We've got your back. Read More ), and it’s due for release to compatible devices later this year.

Apple Holds Spotify to Ransom

Spotify has accused Apple of using “the App Store approval process as a weapon” against it. According to Recode, this is due to Apple allegedly blocking Spotify from releasing a new version of its iOS app unless and until the music streaming service agrees to use Apple’s billing system.


The argument centers on Apple’s insistence that subscription-based services charge customers using its own billing system. This would be fine, if it wasn’t for Apple taking a 30 percent cut of all monthly fees paid in this way, which means Spotify would be handing $3-a-month to Apple for doing nothing other than offering Spotify on iOS.

Spotify previously got around this by passing Apple’s fees onto its customers (charging $13-per-month instead of $10-per-month), but after Apple launched a direct competitor in the form of Apple Music Getting Started With Apple Music — What You Need to Know After the purchase of Beats last year, Apple has finally unleashed its streaming music service upon the world. Read More , Spotify is justifiably less keen on playing ball. Which has now led to Apple refusing to allow Spotify to update its app, basically harming everyone concerned.

It looks like both companies are digging their heels in, and it’s likely going to be up to lawyers to sort out the mess.

Amazon Prime Day Launches July 12

Amazon has announced the date of its second annual Prime Day, with the huge sales event happening on July 12. There will be countdown deals available in the week running up to event, and on Prime Day itself 100,000 products will have their prices cut temporarily.


As the name suggests, Prime Day is only open to Amazon Prime subscribers, and last year’s inaugural event Amazon Prime Day Fails, Neil Young Hates Streaming, & More... [Tech News Digest] Amazon Prime Day disappoints, Neil Young throws toys out of pram, Twitter dashes off an update, Netflix grows in 2015, and a scarily good zombie short. Read More was responsible for an uptick in people joining the $99-per-year membership scheme. Last year’s event was held to commemorate Amazon’s 20th birthday, but was successful enough to persuade the company to turn it into an annual event Amazon Prime Day: Why It Is Going Annual & What Have We Learnt Was Amazon Prime Day just a glorified flash sale, or was it something more than that? Did customers come away happy with the experience? We find out. Read More .

The good news for those who haven’t yet signed up for Prime is that the 30-day free trials grant you access to Prime Day deals. Which is just one of the many benefits to joining Amazon Prime 10 Awesome Amazon Prime Benefits You've Probably Overlooked Free two-day shipping is just the beginning. Here are some notable Amazon Prime subscription benefits you may not know about. Read More . For those already in, Prime Day has its own dedicated page on the Amazon homepage.

Man Builds Bonkers Laser Bazooka

And finally, lasers can be both awesome and scary, in pretty equal measure (see lightsabers You Will Never Own a Real Lightsaber, Because Science Ever since filmgoers first saw the lightsaber in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, there has been demand for a real one. Unfortunately, science suggests real lightsabers are an impossibility. Read More ). And this new laser bazooka proves that assessment by being, yep, you guessed it, both awesome and scary. It’s awesome because, well, look at it! And it’s scary because it could take your eye out with ease.

Made by laser enthusiast Drake Anthony, this thing is a 200W laser cannon infinitely more powerful than any laser you will have been exposed to until now. And that’s the problem. Should this thing be legal to make and own? After all, not everyone is as sane as Drake Anthony. [H/T Engadget]


Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Do you think Microsoft will start demanding payments for Windows 10? What do you think of Google naming Android N Nutella? Which company out of Apple and Spotify is in the right? Will you be searching for a bargain on Amazon Prime Day? Would you ever want to own your own laser bazooka?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

Image Credit: Karlis Dambrans via Flickr

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  1. Tim
    July 11, 2016 at 2:22 am

    Nutella? you mean Nougat ;)

    appealingly, google ran out of spoons for their desserts, so they picked something else.

  2. john
    July 1, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    Amazing conspiracy theory, they say no subscriptions, yet you still say they are coming. Click bait website.

    • Dave Parrack
      July 1, 2016 at 7:49 pm

      There's no conspiracy theory here. I merely pointed out no one yet knows what Microsoft's longterm plans are. So, unless you do know, and can tell us right now, you're in the same boat.

      I also didn't say subscriptions are coming, I said they're possible down the line.

      As for the accusation of clickbait, no clickbait website worth their salt would have opted for a headline such as, "Microsoft Talks Windows 10 Subscriptions". That's an accurate portrayal of what happened, and of what the story is about. A clickbait headline would be something along the lines of "Windows 10 Subscriptions Are Coming, Probably".

      • Anonymous
        July 2, 2016 at 1:21 pm

        @Dave and john:
        MS, and to a lesser degree, Apple have been talking about going to a subscription software model for at least the last 5 years. There is no question about it, subscription software from M$ is inevitable. It may not happen tomorrow or next month. M$ senior management may not know the exact date when this will happen. Subscription software will be implemented in such a way that the only choice users will have is whether to sign up for subscription or to switch to an O/S without subscription, such as Linux.

        No matter how we dance around it or how deep in the sand we bury our heads, subscription software from M$ is coming. M$ wants its users to be lock in even tighter than they are right now.

  3. Anonymous
    July 1, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    Subscription? I'll roll back to Win 7 / Office 2003 if I have to...

    • Anonymous
      July 2, 2016 at 12:52 pm

      From what I've been reading here and on other sites, Microsoft is getting very aggressive about having users upgrade to Win 10. Users even report automatic, middle-of-the-night, stealth upgrades performed by MS without the users' permission or knowledge. To get away from subscriptions for sure, you may have to switch to Linux. Are you prepared to do that? :-)