Microsoft News Roundup: She-Hulk on a Surface Pro 8, WhatsApp Desktop update and Windows 8’s long-lost startup sound

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From She-Hulk using a Surface Pro 8 to Gmail optimized for the Surface Duo, we cover a wide range of stories here at Windows Central. To kick off each weekend, we’re rounding up the biggest news mixed in with some fun tidbits from across Microsoft’s land. Here are the highlights from this week.

Windows 8 missing startup sound revealed

Windows 8 comes with no startup sound. Well, maybe not commonly in most circles, but we certainly noticed. Jensen Harris, former director of program management for the Windows User Experience team, has discussed the missing startup sound at length in the past. In short, Microsoft had a chime for the OS but decided not to ship it. Since then, the Windows 8 startup sound has lurked in the shadows, unheard by everyday users. But not more. Harris played the sound in a recent YouTube video and detailed the creation process and why it ultimately never shipped.

We also learned that Microsoft has a Surface-specific startup sound. He too was never dispatched, joining the ranks of Canceled Surface Mini and many other products that never saw the light of day. Oh, what could have been.

In any case, the two startup sounds are now available as .wav files in case you fancy using them as your notification sound or in your latest TikTok video.

Gmail for Android now extends to Surface Duo

Gmail extending to Surface Duo 2

(Image credit: future)

Microsoft is optimizing many of its apps to take advantage of the Surface Duo’s dual-display design, but other companies haven’t been as quick to adopt the new form factor. This week, Google finally followed suit by updating Gmail for Android. The app can now span Microsoft’s two foldable screens. Just like Microsoft Outlook, Gmail displays a list of emails on the left screen and the contents of a selected email on the right.

With Android 12L on the way, more apps are expected to be optimized for foldables. This operating system is centered around devices with larger screens, many of which are designed for multitasking.

She-Hulk

Marvel's She-Hulk: Lawyer

(Image credit: Marvel/Disney)

Microsoft and Marvel superheroes have gone hand in hand for quite some time. Black Widow made a call with Windows 10 Mobile and Daredevil used a Surface tablet. Even Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man used Bing. This last example was technically from a Sony movie, but it was still a Marvel character. Now you can add She-Hulk to the hero list to use Microsoft products.

A new web ad features Jennifer Walters, aka She-Hulk, using a Surface Pro 8 and Windows 11. Chances are the ad will also appear on TV, although we haven’t seen it yet.

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The brief announcement also points out that you can download Disney+ on Windows 11 through the Microsoft Store. It’s remarkable because Microsoft hasn’t pushed the store so much in the past, at least with this kind of partnership. The Microsoft Store was revamped recently and has seen a much bigger push over the past year.

If you keep your eyes peeled, you’ll also see a Surface Studio in the first episode of She-Hulk.

WhatsApp Desktop now works when your phone is offline

WhatsApp beta on Windows

(Image credit: Facebook)

WhatsApp Desktop received a major update this week on Windows. No longer a web-based (Electron) application, WhatsApp Desktop seeks to deliver better performance and reliability. The app has also received a visual refresh, although it’s relatively minor compared to a new feature that’s now available. WhatsApp Desktop can now send and receive messages even if your phone is offline.

The feature, which was in beta for several months before the general release, helps the communication app compete with top WhatsApp alternatives. Importantly, WhatsApp Desktop remains end-to-end encrypted in this configuration.

Summary of reviews:

In addition to the latest news, our site is home to an ever-growing library of opinions from our experts. Here are all the gadgets, games and devices we reviewed this week:

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