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HP debuts a tablet for artists at Cannes for some reason

HP chose the Cannes festival as a way to draw attention to its latest creativity-oriented high-end laptops and hybrid tablets. The most interesting device is the Spectre x2, a Surface Pro-like tablet with a detachable keyboard and stainless steel kickstand. HP is targeting Windows Ink users and other graphics pros with the 2.5-pound tablet, which has been significantly updated from the last model with an Ink-certified, pressure sensitive stylus, 3,000 x 2,000 pixel 12.3-inch touchscreen and detachable, full-size keyboard.

It should be no slouch in the performance department, with a 7th-gen (Kaby Lake) Core i7 processor, 360GB M.2 SSD and Intel Iris Plus 650 graphics that can support two 4K external monitors. The battery will run up to 8 hours, or a bit less if used for video playback. Other features include HP fast charge, Bluetooth 4.2 and 802.11ac 2×2 WiFi, and dual speakers “custom-tuned” by Bang & Olufsen. The Spectre X2 will arrive in June in the US and most of Europe starting at $1,599 (€1,599).

Another model that might make your back-to-school wish-list is the Envy 13. Intel is pitching it as a sort of Macbook Air replacement, as it features similar specs like a Full HD display, 128GB SSD, Core-i5 Kaby Lake Intel CPU, and Intel Iris graphics, all in a 2.7-pound package. That laptop is also coming to the US and Europe in June for €899 ($899).

If you’re looking for a bit more power and a bigger screen, the Envy 17 might be worth the price. It’s got 16GB of RAM, a Kaby Lake Core i7-7500U processor, a 17.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 pen-enabled touch display and NVIDIA discreet graphics — albeit a lowly 940MX chip (why HP?). Other specs include a 1TB 7,200 RPM HDD (again, why?), Bang & Olufsen-tuned dual speakers, a Windows Hello-supported IR camera, all in a hefty 6.73 pound package. That model, also set to arrive in the US and Europe next month, starts at $1,099 (€1,099).

Finally, HP outed a new Envy x 360 15.6-inch convertible with a fully rotatable scren in both Intel and AMD flavors. Highlights of that model including powerful processor options (Kaby Lake Core i7 or i5 CPUs, or AMD A9 and A12 models), a 1,920 x 1,080 toushcreen that’s Windows Ink compatible, Intel HD or Radeon R7 graphics, a Hello Windows Full HD IR webcam with integrated dual array digital microphones, and 1TB of (spinning) ATA HDD storage.

The battery is good for 8 hours and 45 minutes on the Intel model and a bit less on the AMD for video playback, which is enhanced by the Bang & Olufsen speakers. While it can be converted into a tablet by flipping the screen around, your arms would get pretty tired considering the 4.76 pound heft. Both models are coming next month starting at $749 with an AMD CPU and $899 if you go Intel.

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Windows 10 included password manager with huge security hole

There's a good reason why security analysts get nervous about bundled third-party software: it can introduce vulnerabilities that the companies can't control. And Microsoft, unfortunately, has learned that the hard way. Google researcher Tavis Ormandy discovered that a Windows 10 image came bundled with a third-party password manager, Keeper, which came with a glaring browser plugin flaw -- a malicious website could steal passwords. Ormandy's copy was an MSDN image meant for developers, but Reddit users noted that they received the vulnerable copy of Keeper after clean reinstalls of regular copies and even a brand new laptop.

A Microsoft spokesperson told Ars Technica that the Keeper team had patched the exploit (in response to Ormandy's private disclosure), so it shouldn't be an issue if your software is up to date. Also, you were only exposed if you enabled the plugin.

However, the very existence of the hole has still raised a concern: are Microsoft's security tests as thorough for third-party apps as its own software? The company has declined to comment, but that kind of screening may prove crucial if Microsoft is going to maintain the trust of Windows users. It doesn't matter how secure Microsoft's code is if a bundled app undermines everything.

Source: Monorail, Tavis Ormandy (Twitter)