Microsoft launches Word, Excel, and Powerpoint for Android phones in beta

Phoneapps

Microsoft has this morning launched the smartphone counterpart of its previously tablet-only word processing suite for Android. Microsoft’s Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps on the Play Store have now—appropriately—ditched the “for Tablet” part of their name, and beta testers now have access to these apps with smartphone support baked right in… Read more

Preview version of Microsoft Hyperlapse now available on Android, smoothing timelapse video

Timelapse videos are a great way to share experiences like cycle rides, hikes or road-trips, where you want to show all the scenery in a clip short enough that your friends will actually watch. But conventional timelapse video tends to look rather jerky – the problem Microsoft set out to solve with Hyperlapse.

The software is now available for beta-testing on Android, and early indications are that it produces impressive results – as you can see in the sample video above of a walk across London’s Millenium Bridge …  Read more

Microsoft announces new tool for effortlessly porting Android apps to Windows 10

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Microsoft announced today during its Build conference that it will release a tool for developers to port their Android apps directly to Windows 10 as “universal apps” that run on both phones and desktop computers. Developers will be able to feed their existing Java and C++ code into a new software package and have it converted to work on the upcoming PC operating system.

At least, that’s how Microsoft is pitching it, though the whole process is a bit more complex. Essentially Windows 10 will ship with APIs that mirror the expected behavior of many Android APIs, and this new conversion tool will help developers swap out Android code for matching Windows code.

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Nokia plans a second coming to right the Elop wrong and build Android phones

The Nokia Brand phone company that Microsoft subsumed may be on the verge of a comeback to phones if recent rumors prove true.  According to a recent report, the new/old Nokia will begin producing phones as soon as it is contractually able to do so and those phones unsurprisingly will run a flavor of Android.

Unlike other patent houses that do little more than license intellectual property, Nokia Technologies has designed new products and licensed them to other companies. So far, these ambitions have been small in scale. The division has released just two products — an Android program called Zlauncher and the N1, an Android tablet design it licensed to another manufacturer that is selling it under the Nokia name in China. Its return to the market is likely to employ a similar tactic.

But insiders said those two products are just the beginning.

“They have a lot of great stuff in development,” said Richard Kerris, a former Nokia executive who also consulted for the company until last year as part of his last startup.  “It gave me complete confidence that Nokia is a company that is not going away.”

While Kerris said he couldn’t go into specifics, he said people will be blown away if some of the stuff he saw comes to market.

If you consider Nokia’s N1 Android tablet, the first to use the newly popular USB-C type of interface, which apparently, it can release outside of its Microsoft agreement the rumor isn’t surprising. In fact, it is pretty obvious.

But this whole episode really stinks to me. Microsoft’s Stephen Elop moved to Nokia in 2010 from Microsoft. Within months, he wrote a frightening memo that the company had to shift courses and eventually move to Microsoft’s shifting phone OS which was as disastrous a decision as it could make. Then, as the value of the company was rapidly depleted based off of that poor decision, the smartphone part of the business with Elop in tow gets bought by Microsoft at a steep discount.

Now, a lifetime later in mobile phone years, Nokia is doing what it should have done a long time ago and move to Android. Perhaps there is still some life left in the company.  We’ll see. Read more

Two major carriers opt out of Microsoft’s deal w/ Samsung to pre-install apps on the Galaxy S6

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You may recall last month that Microsoft announced a major partnership with Samsung to include a number of mobile apps on the flagship Galaxy S6 out-of-the-box. While bundled apps may be considered bloatware for many consumers, the deal meant Microsoft’s Android apps would gain a lot of exposure for adopters of arguably the best 2015 Android smartphone. The results of that deal may vary, though, as two major carriers have introduced roadblocks to some of Microsoft’s apps for their versions of the Galaxy S6… Read more

Microsoft brings its OneNote scanner to Android with Office Lens preview

Office Lens

Microsoft is bringing its OneNote scanner app called Office Lens to Android after first launching on Windows Phone a year ago. Office Lens is similar to other on-the-go scanner apps letting you use your Android smartphone camera to capture information from receipts, documents, and other information around you. Office Lens is different, however, because it’s connected directly with OneNote, Microsoft’s cloud-syncing notebook service.

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Microsoft plans to bring Google Now competitor Cortana to Android devices, with focus on predictive intelligence

cortana

Microsoft is planning on making the next generation of its voice-recognition system, Cortana, available on Android and iOS devices sometime after the fall, reports Reuters. The focus, says the company, will be on an intelligent assistant that predicts the help you need, rather than simply responding to user requests.

Cortana could tell a mobile phone user when to leave for the airport, days after it read an email and realized the user was planning a flight. It would automatically check flight status, determine where the phone is located using GPS, and checking traffic conditions.

Google has of course long majored on this kind of proactive approach through its Google Now service, which aims to work out what you will want to know when, but Microsoft believes that integrating everything into the digital assistant is the future …  Read more

Google among hundreds of businesses urging US Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage

androidlove

Apple, Google, Microsoft and hundreds of other businesses have joined together to urge the US Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage across the country.

The companies have filed what’s known as an amicus brief, a way for parties not directly involved in a case to make an argument for or against a particular decision by the court. The brief argues that there is a sound business case for consistency across the country, explained counsel Susan Baker… Read more

Microsoft launches free Picturesque lock screen replacement for Android devices

Microsoft has launched a new lock screen replacement for Android devices called Picturesque. The app comes from Microsoft’s Garage division, which the company describes as “a 24-hour idea factory.”

Picturesque features a daily wallpaper from the Bing homepage (which you can change by shaking your phone), the ability to search the web and browse the results directly from the lock screen (also powered by Bing, naturally), along with a news feed, weather updates, app notifications, and controls for your camera and phone calls.

The free lock screen replacement is available from Google Play now. You can find the full description and feature set listed below:

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