Microsoft latest to mimic Snapchat with new Skype Qik ephemeral video messaging app

Microsoft has just joined the ranks of companies looking to capitalize on the success of ephemeral messaging apps like Snapchat. Through its Skype division, the company has launched a new cross-platform app for iOS, Android, and (of course) Windows Phone called Skype Qik. The premise of the application, as can be seen in the video above and screenshots below, is simple: you can record a quick video, and then share it to either one person in your address book or multiple groups of people.

By default, videos will expire after two weeks, and you can also un-send messages at any time. A cool feature of Skype Qik is the ability to pre-record various 5 second GIFs that you can send as instant replies. So, if you don’t have the ability to send a live video reply, you can just choose one of your pre-record defaults. The app is free today on the aforementioned platforms, and Microsoft says that updates, such as one for blocking iPhone contacts (that feature is available today on Android and Windows Phone), will come often to enhance the feature-set.

You can view some screenshots of the Android app in action below:

Read more

Samsung paid Microsoft $1B in patent royalties last year, but it now wants to void the contract

SAMSUNG

Samsung and Microsoft initially inked an Android patent licensing deal back in 2011, but since then, Samsung’s dominance in the smartphone has grown incredibly fast. The South Korean company, according to court documents that become public on Friday, is now saying that it no longer wants to pay the royalties to Microsoft.

Read more

OneDrive for Android updated with All Photos View and new file search features

OneDrive-Android-search

Microsoft updated OneDrive for Android today with some new features that change the way users view photos saved to the company’s cloud storage service. Bringing the app up to speed with its counterparts, the software maker added All Photos View to its mobile application, along with some new search features that make it easier for business customers to locate specific files.

Read more

Microsoft, Amazon, others reportedly eyeing Cyanogen for future smartphone software

06884218-photo-logo-cyanogenmod

CyanogenMod—which is probably the most well-known fork of Android—lets users customize their phone beyond what Google intends, and touts having as many as 12 million active installs across a variety of devices. But the company behind the famed alternative operating system is reportedly getting a lot of attention, notably from companies that would consider themselves some of Google’s biggest rivals.

Read more

In-Depth profile of Motorola tracks its rise and fall (and future)

9to5-image 2014-08-28 at 11.45.58 AM

If you want to learn what happened behind the scenes in the tumultuous world of Motorola in the past decade, Chicago Mag does an excellent in-depth feature of the company that is awaiting approval of its sale from Google to Lenovo. Some excellent bits:

Meanwhile, in arguably one of the worst decisions ever made by a major corporate CEO, Zander struck a deal with his Silicon Valley friend Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple. Together their companies created a Motorola iTunes phone, the first phone connected to Apple’s music store. “We can’t think of a more natural partnership than this one with Apple,” Zander said at the time. Named the Rokr, the phone launched in the fall of 2005. Jobs, who introduced it, called it “an iPod Shuffle right on your phone.”

Ouch, a Shuffle… Read more

Dropbox dramatically cuts pricing to compete, 1TB now just $9.99/month

Dropbox-Pro-Logo

Dropbox has today slashed its pricing and doubled the maximum storage space from 500GB to 1TB. Up until yesterday, you’d have been paying $500/year for 500GB; today you can pay just $120/year (or $99/year when paying annually) for a terabyte.

The new deal finally brings Dropbox into line with Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive, with Apple’s new iCloud pricing – which includes iCloud Drive – also looking to be broadly similar …  Read more

Microsoft is ready to challenge Chromebooks with a $200 Windows 8.1-powered alternative

HP-Stream 14

Microsoft appears to be gearing up to challenge Google’s Chrome OS by partnering with companies to release affordable Windows-based alternative notebooks. Pictured above is the HP Stream 14, a $200 laptop that feels a lot like Redmond’s answer to the Chromebook. From its 14-inch 1,366 x 768 display, to its modest AMD processor, all the way down to its 2GB of RAM, 32GB of flash memory (optional 32GB) and two years of cloud storage from Microsoft’s OneDrive — sound familiar?

Read more

Future Xbox One update will let you stream live TV to your Android smartphone or tablet

SmartGlass-Beta

Microsoft announced today that a new system update for its Xbox One game console will soon let users stream live TV to their smartphone or tablets. Set to arrive in the next few months, the Xbox One’s SmartGlass companion app will be equipped with the option to watch television via a local network connection without interrupting a gameplay session.

Read more

Microsoft’s Snap Attack word-building game will stretch your vocabulary

Snap Attack Microsoft recently released Snap Attack, a word-building game for Android that places players against each other in a beat the clock tournament challenge. Games consist of two and a half minute rounds, where players from across the globe compete with each other using colored movable word tiles to “snap” together words on fixed black letter tiles across the game board. Read more