Windows Phone Stories May 25, 2016

windows-phone

Ten months after Microsoft wrote-off its Nokia acquisition, the company has now announced that it is effectively out of the consumer phone business. It is cutting 1,850 jobs, and setting aside almost a billion dollars to cover the costs of exiting the business.

Microsoft on Wednesday announced plans to streamline the company’s smartphone hardware business, which will impact up to 1,850 jobs. As a result, the company will record an impairment and restructuring charge of approximately $950 million […]

“We are focusing our phone efforts where we have differentiation — with enterprises that value security, manageability and our Continuum capability, and consumers who value the same,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft.

The company recently saw its market share fall below 1%. While Microsoft is – for now – insistent that it has a future in the corporate smartphone business, the reality seems doubtful …

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Windows Phone Stories July 17, 2015

cortana on android

Microsoft recently released its Cortana digital assistant as a beta app, and we’ve been able to get our hands on the preview. Apart from its Material-like design, the app looks, performs, and acts just like the Cortana on Windows Phone. You can ask it to set reminders, give you directions and weather information, or do simple arithmetic. It has its limitations and doesn’t feel quite as intuitive or in-depth as Google Now or Siri, but it has its uses.

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Windows Phone Stories July 9, 2015

blackberry-slider-clean

BlackBerry has snapped up a couple of Android-y domain names very recently. Logs show that BlackBerry Limited bought AndroidSecured.com and AndroidSecured.net on July 7th. This move, of course, adds more fuel to the rumors that the company is planning to launch a Google-powered smartphone in the near future.

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Windows Phone Stories May 26, 2015

cortana

Reuters reported back in March that Microsoft planned to bring its Google Now competitor Cortana to Android, and Microsoft has now officially confirmed this in a blog post.

Today, we’re announcing a Cortana application for Android phones and for iPhones which works as a companion to Cortana on your Windows 10 PC. The ‘Phone Companion’ app on the PC will help you install the Cortana app from the Google Play or Apple App Store onto your phone so you’ll be able to take the intelligence of Cortana with you, wherever you go […]

The Cortana companion will be available for Android phones at the end of June and for iPhones later this year.

While Microsoft is pitching the intelligent assistant as a companion to a Windows PC, it appears that most of the functionality will work in the Android app without the need for a Windows device, Microsoft saying that you can “make the same queries, ask the same questions” in the standalone app …  expand full story

Windows Phone Stories March 13, 2015

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 …  expand full story

Windows Phone Stories October 31, 2014

iPhone 6 Nexus

The latest numbers from Strategy Analytics reveal that Android was installed on over 8 of 10 smartphones worldwide in the third quarter, as the mobile operating system captured 84% global market share for the three-month period ending September. That figure arrives just one day after the research firm reported that Chinese company Xiaomi has become the third-largest smartphone maker in the world.

Android continued to be a dominant player in global smartphone operating system market share, increasing its lead over iOS by three percentage points compared to the year-ago quarter. Apple’s mobile operating system held 12.3% market share during the third quarter, trailed by Windows Phone (3.3%) and BlackBerry (0.7%). Other mobile platforms accounted for less than 0.1% market share. expand full story

Windows Phone Stories October 14, 2014

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:

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Windows Phone Stories October 4, 2014

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.

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Windows Phone Stories August 29, 2014

here

HERE, the competitor to Google Maps initially available only on Windows Phone, has arrived on Android for the first time. Initially, the beta version of the Android app will be limited to Samsung Galaxy smartphones.

The main claim to fame of the app is that it offers the ability to download entire regions or countries for offline use, in contrast to Google Maps which only allows you to cache areas you have viewed while online. HERE maps currently cover around 200 countries, though turn-by-turn directions are so far limited to about half of these …  expand full story

Windows Phone Stories August 19, 2014

htc-one-m8-windows-design

After several rumors, HTC has finally announced the release of a Windows Phone version of its highly successful HTC One M8. With the exception of its Microsoft-made operating system, this revamped handset’s hardware is a complete carbon copy of its Android-powered predecessor.

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Windows Phone Stories August 12, 2014

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The latest enterprise market share data from Good Technology shows that Android gained five points from iOS, hitting almost a third of the market at 32 percent while iOS fell from 72 to 67 percent. Windows Phone remains flat (and irrelevant) at just 1 percent. (BlackBerry data is not included as the company uses its own servers and activations are invisible to Good Technology.)

What’s particularly impressive about the numbers is that Good’s technology mostly connects mobile devices to Exchange servers and organizations that use Google services for enterprise, which are more likely to Android, aren’t being counted here…

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Windows Phone Stories July 28, 2014

Windows Phone to get sloppy seconds on HTC One M8

The HTC One M8 has been proclaimed as the year’s best Android hardware. After its initial release from HTC, Google developed a Play Edition of the device that ran stock Android. Now, just a few months later, the hardware looks to be recycled again, as The Verge reporter Tom Warren reported on Sunday that a Windows Phone version of the device will be launching later this year.

This proves interesting, as just a few days ago, a feature list of Windows Phone 8.1 lists “support for smart cases” on the change log. What does this mean you ask? Remember the smart (dot) case HTC launched alongside the M8?

Windows Phone Stories July 18, 2014

A little fun nostalgia for those of us old enough to remember featurephones …

If you’re as old as I am, you probably have fond memories of your first featurephone. They might seem prehistoric now, but some of them were very advanced for their time.

German website Curved has had some fun imagining what ye olde phones might look like running either Android or Windows Phone. They even show what Windows Phone would have looked like on an early Nokia monochrome LCD display.

Check out a few of the photos here, and the full gallery over on the Curved website.

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Amazon’s worst kept secret, an all-you-can-read Kindle eBook service, is now live. Dubbed Kindle Unlimited, this $10 per month subscription service grants its members unlimited access to over 600,000 ebooks and thousands of audiobooks. Highlights of the library include:

The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Harry Potter series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, Water for Elephants, Oh Myyy! – There Goes The Internet, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People… plus thousands of classics such as Animal Farm, To the Lighthouse and 2001: A Space Odyssey…

Kindle Unlimited members will also get free access to Audible’s library of over 150,000 audiobooks for 3-months. After which, you’ll presumably need to pay the standard rate of $14.95 per month.

Anyone in the U.S. can try Kindle Unlimited for free for 30 days by signing up for a free trial. All of this content is available on Android, iOS, Windows phone, and of course all Kindle hardware.

Full press release follows:

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Windows Phone Stories July 17, 2014

12,500 of Microsoft’s 18k job losses will be in Nokia Devices and Services division; will abandon Android X

If Nokia staff were hoping that the acquisition of the business by Microsoft would safeguard their jobs, their hopes were dashed today in a letter from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Nadella said that a major downsizing resulting in 18,000 lost jobs would focus on the Nokia Devices and Services division, where 12,500 jobs will go, most within six months.

The first step to building the right organization for our ambitions is to realign our workforce. With this in mind, we will begin to reduce the size of our overall workforce by up to 18,000 jobs in the next year. Of that total, our work toward synergies and strategic alignment on Nokia Devices and Services is expected to account for about 12,500 jobs, comprising both professional and factory workers. We are moving now to start reducing the first 13,000 positions, and the vast majority of employees whose jobs will be eliminated will be notified over the next six months.

The letter says that Microsoft will tackle the redundancies “in the most thoughtful and transparent way possible.” All employees losing their jobs will be offered severance pay, with job-transition help “in many locations.”

Windows Phone Stories July 15, 2014

 

nokia-lumia-900-running-android-4.1

Microsoft is reportedly blocking Google as a search engine option on some of Nokia’s new Lumia handsets. Windows Phone devices ship with Bing as their default search engine without an option to change platforms. Prior to Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s phone making division, the Finnish company provided users with an option to change a Lumia’s search engine via its web browser, but this appears to be gone from some devices.

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Windows Phone Stories July 2, 2014

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Nielsen study (via TechCrunchreveals that while we all spend much longer using mobile apps than we did two years ago, and we may have many more apps installed on our phones, the average number of apps we actually interact with in any given month hasn’t changed nearly as much.

While time spent using mobile apps climbed from 18h 18m in 2011 to 30h 15m by the end of last year, the total number of apps actually used only increased from 23.3 to 26.8. So we’re spending more time using pretty much the same number of apps …  expand full story

Windows Phone Stories May 28, 2014

Beats Music drops subscription price to $99 amidst Apple acquisition, Android app will stay around

Amidst the news that Apple is officially acquiring Beats for $3 billion, the service has announced a price cut. The subscription service now costs just $99 a year, down from $120. In addition, Beats users can now trial the service for free for fourteen days. The Beats Music app for Android also been updated to reflect these changes, alongside the usual performance tweak and bug fixes.

What’s New
Version 1.0.9:
* We’re stoked to announce that our no strings attached trial has been extended to 14 days to ensure everyone gets ample time to explore the full Beats Music experience.
* We’ve dropped the price of our yearly subscription to $99.99, down from $119.88.
* To top it off, we pushed tons of bug fixes so the whole experience runs smooth as silk.

Android users will also be happy to know that Apple has no plans to shut down the Android app just yet. In an interview with the Financial Times, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the Beats app for Android and Windows Phone will remain available.

Beats Music can be downloaded, for free, from Google Play.

Windows Phone Stories March 31, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 12.30.20

Kantar Worldpanel has released its latest report on smartphone marketshare for the last three months. Android share is up significantly compared to a year ago, with Kantar calling out two devices in particular for their contributions to this increase: the Moto G and the LG G2.

In the US, Kantar says that Android has a 55% share of smartphone OS sales share, up from 51.1% in February 2013, an increase of 3.9 percentage points. This compares favourably to iOS’ performance, which fell 4.9 points year-on-year to a 38.7% share. Incidentally, Windows Phone was the only other platform to grow in the US, rising from 4.1% in 2013 to 5.3%.

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Windows Phone Stories March 3, 2014

Microsoft reportedly working on a cross-platform Xbox Live for Android & iOS apps

Microsoft is considering taking Xbox Live cross-platform and allowing developers to integrate the service in iOS and Android games, according to a report from The Verge. The report cites a job listing from the company’s website seeking an engineer to work on “a modern framework that is open-source, lightweight, extensible and scalable across various platforms,” including iOS and Android. The report also cites its own sources reportedly familiar Microsoft’s plans to take Xbox Live cross-platform.

“New Devices and Gaming” is looking for passionate and experienced developers to join us. Your contribution will have direct impact on how we win back our game developers from our competitors. As a member of the newly formed team, you will have the rare opportunity to influence our planning and design from the beginning. We will create a modern framework that is open source, light-weight, extensible and scalable across various platforms including Windows Store, Windows Phone, iOS and Android. Working on the gaming technologies, you will collaborate with both internal partner teams across the company and external ecosystem partners to enable end-to-end gaming scenarios.

The idea, according to the report, is that Xbox Live would act as a cross-platform alternative to Apple’s Game Center and similar services, allowing users to earn achievements, manage friends and more through a single service across Xbox and mobile platforms. No details on specific features or when we might expect to see more.

There’s a dual-boot Android/Windows Phone smartphone on the way – we’re just not sure why

The Times of India reports that local phone maker Karbon Mobiles is launching phones that can run both Android and Windows Phone, with the first handsets expected to be available by June.

The company has just signed the licence agreement with Microsoft to make Windows-based phones and will put this along with its existing Android system to bring out the dual-OS phones in about six months, the company’s chairman Sudhir Hasija said.

While I can see the sense in a dual-boot laptop/tablet that can run both Windows 8 and Android, a dual-platform phone seems rather more of a ‘because we can’ gimmick. The explanation may be as simple as Microsoft waiving the license fee to help grow the platform, especially after Nokia announced its (kind of) Android handsets. Hasija commented:

Microsoft has eased the regulations and is opening up its platform for other players.

Karbon gets a cost-free talking point for its new handsets, Microsoft gets a bit more market share in a growth market. We’re just not sure what consumers get …

Windows Phone Stories February 24, 2014

nokia

Rumors of Nokia launching an Android phone seemed unlikely for a company acquired by Microsoft, but the company today announced not just one Android device, but three: the Nokia X, X+ and XL. The company’s flirtation with Android does, however, appear to be a token one – not that Microsoft is pleased.

The three budget phones are effectively hybrid devices. Not only have they been given an overlay designed to make them look like they are running Windows Phone, they aren’t even running a standard version of Android and won’t be able to run apps from the Google Play store …

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Windows Phone Stories February 20, 2014

We’ve already seen a few leaked press shots claiming to show Nokia’s much rumored Android smartphone and UI often referred to as the “Normandy” project. Today we get what appears to be the first shots of the device in the wild and better look at the device’s mix of Lumia and Asha design traits. The images above come from a thread on Coolaxap.com where leaked images of Windows devices have popped up before.

While nothing is official, recent reports said the device could debut as early as this month at the Mobile World Congress event that runs through February 27. We’ll be bringing you coverage from MWC next week and updates on Normandy as we find out more.  expand full story

Windows Phone Stories February 18, 2014

Ahead of its scheduled announcement at Mobile World Congress on Monday, Nokia is teasing what we expect to be its first venture into Android handsets.

What has been codenamed Normandy, an Android variant with a Windows Phone-like user interface seen on Nokia’s recent smartphones, is being branded as Nokia X according to information shared by evleaks and mirrored by Nokia’s promo (seen above).

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Windows Phone Stories February 10, 2014

normandyNokia could finally show off those Android-based “Normandy” smartphones we’ve been seeing surface lately. The company will debut its rumored fork of Android later this month at Mobile World Congress, according to The Wall Street JournalThe event kicks off in two weeks in Barcelona, Spain, and runs through February 27th.

Nokia, whose devices and services division was acquired by Microsoft last fall, had been working on the Android phones ahead of the acquisition, WSJ says. Nokia has been the primary handset maker for Windows Phone OS-based smartphones since dropping its own OS years ago, and even its Android fork borrows heavily from the signature Windows Phone design as seen in recent leaks. expand full story

Windows Phone Stories December 23, 2013

normandy

Perhaps one of the greatest “what could have been” stories in recent (tech) times is definitively the question of what Nokia would be like today had they gone with Android over Windows Phone? There’s little question Nokia’s fortunes might have changed dramatically and as a result, the fortunes of every other Android OEM not named Samsung.

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Windows Phone Stories November 18, 2013

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For all the things the Moto G may be, there’s little question that the Moto G isn’t the phone for the individual who cares most about smartphone photography. With a $179 price tag, we understand some compromises will have to be made and even if a 5 megapixel camera, f/2.4 lens and flash combination are present, we know some tradeoffs are at hand in overall quality.

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Windows Phone Stories October 4, 2013

samsung

Samsung is predicting a record $9.4B profit for Q3 in its latest earnings guidance, on estimated revenues of $53.9B. While both figures are estimates rather than confirmed results, Samsung’s earnings guidance is usually pretty much spot-on. If confirmed, this will build on the company’s record numbers in Q2.

HTC, in contrast, reported its first ever loss, as it warned back in July. Its revenue of $1.6B was lower than even its lower-end forecast, and it lost $101M – the company’s first ever loss in its 16-year history.

Bloomberg attributes the wildly differing performances to sales of mid-market handsets in growth markets like India and China.

While HTC has focused a revival on its flagship One handset and $12 million marketing deal with actor Robert Downey Jr., Samsung has expanded its range of mid-priced smartphones such as the Galaxy Golden and S4 Mini to capture sales in China and India …  expand full story

Windows Phone Stories August 15, 2013

Microsoft’s updated Windows Phone YouTube app blocked by Google

After Microsoft’s first attempt at a Windows Phone YouTube application was blocked by Google for violating the Terms of Service, this morning the company’s second attempt has also been blocked due to the same issue, according to The Verge. This is despite the two companies working together to build the HTML5 application.

The Verge posts the following quote from a Google spokesperson:

“Microsoft has not made the browser upgrades necessary to enable a fully-featured YouTube experience, and has instead re-released a YouTube app that violates our Terms of Service. It has been disabled. We value our broad developer community and therefore ask everyone to adhere to the same guidelines.”

Microsoft told TechCrunch that they are “working with [Google] to resolve the issue.”

We’ll update this post as more details arise.

Windows Phone Stories August 14, 2013

Image: gawkerassets.com

Image: gawkerassets.com

In the circles most of us hang out, it might seem incredible that featurephones – aka dumb phones – were still outselling smartphones until recently, but that was indeed the case right up to the first quarter of this year. The latest Gartner figures show that smartphones finally broke ahead in Q2, achieving 51.8 percent of worldwide phone sales.

Smartphones accounted for 51.8 percent of mobile phone sales in the second quarter of 2013, resulting in smartphone sales surpassing feature phone sales for the first time,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. Asia/Pacific, Latin America and Eastern Europe exhibited the highest smartphone growth rates of 74.1 percent, 55.7 percent and 31.6 percent respectively, as smartphone sales grew in all regions …

There was good news for both Samsung and Google in the figures …  expand full story

Windows Phone Stories May 16, 2013

Another instalment in Microsoft’s “Scroogled” smear campaign attempting to point out the downsides of using Google services. While Microsoft has released many ads attacking Gmail, search and other Google products as part of the 7 figures it plans to drop on the campaign, this one was apparently supposed to be an internal video for employees anyway.

Whether it was a controlled leak or not, the ad, which takes cues from one of Google’s own Chrome ads, has happened to make its way online right in the middle of Google I/O and it doesn’t appear that a take down notice is getting issued.

Google has responded to the ads several times calling Microsoft’s approach ‘misleading and intellectually dishonest.’ expand full story

Windows Phone Stories May 15, 2013

Google issues takedown notice to Microsoft over lack of ads on YouTube for Windows Phone (Update: Microsoft Responds)

Last week we showed you the native YouTube app Microsoft built for Windows Phone 8, but it appears today that Microsoft never had Google’s consent to produce the app.

Google reportedly sent Microsoft a cease and desist letter today, which The Verge has obtained, citing the lack of ads on the YouTube app for Windows Phone.

“Unfortunately, by blocking advertising and allowing downloads of videos, your application cuts off a valuable ongoing revenue source for creators, and causes harm to the thriving content ecosystem on YouTube.”

Windows Phone users will have to rely on third-party YouTube apps in the meantime until Microsoft and Google work things out.

Windows Phone Stories May 7, 2013

YouTube for Windows Phone updated with home screen integration, native support, more

Microsoft delivered a major update to its YouTube for Windows Phone 8 app today, which includes Start Screen integration with videos, playlists, and channels.

Previously, Windows Phone’s YouTube app was simply a web link to the mobile site limiting the possibility of much integration.

YouTube, which is of course owned by Google, is a fundamental app addition in the Windows Phone 8 catalog, which is probably one of the platform’s weakest areas.

Previously, Windows Phone users relied on third-party apps for native support.

Windows Phone Stories March 20, 2013

In a rather odd ad campaign spotted by GeekWire, Microsoft is running the kind of ad used by soap powder brands in the 1980s: showing owners of a competitor brand being converted to the wonders of the client’s product.

The datedness of the ad technique is not the only odd thing about the ad: it’s also pitching the Lumia 920 against the Samsung Galaxy S3, a handset just superseded by the S4. While the S4 is a relatively minor refresh, the high-profile nature of the launch means that those in the market for a new phone can hardly be unaware of it.

GeekWire also noted that while the ad is a relatively bold move by a company that has so far failed to make much of a splash with Windows Phones, Microsoft has stopped short of trying to take on the iPhone.

Windows Phone Stories November 11, 2012

From November 2011

November 2012

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Windows Phone Stories November 1, 2012

AndroidPolice just posted screenshots of a leaked version of Google Wallet, but the most notable tidbit does not concern the app at all: Google plans to launch a Google Wallet card.

The card acts and looks like a typical credit card, but it stores many credit cards into one, shiny piece of plastic. It also works practically everywhere. According to the screenshots, users order the Google Wallet card from their Google Wallet app for front-door delivery.

AndroidPolice noted the significance of a physical Google Wallet card:

The other important implication? The physical Wallet card could make carrier approval for Wallet a thing of the past unless you want to use tap payments. Google could publish a version of the Wallet app without NFC permissions that just allows you to switch between your cards, that could be installed on any phone (even iOS or Windows Phone, theoretically), and you just use the Wallet card for payments. That’s pretty cool. And could seriously reduce the chance of rival mobile payment systems of catching on. Google really does seem to have thrown a wrench in the works of the likes of ISIS and other competing systems.

As for the Google Wallet app, it will soon feature a “Wallet Balance” option for depositing or withdrawing money. Users will also have the ability to transfer money from person to person. Availability for these latest Google Wallet features only seem to hint at the Unites States, for now, but stay tuned for more.

A screenshot gallery is below.

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Windows Phone Stories August 14, 2012

Microsoft says SkyDrive for Android app will land in ‘just a few weeks’ [Photos]

Microsoft updated SkyDrive today and teased a new SkyDrive app that allows users to access, upload and share from Android devices.

Today, as part of making sure SkyDrive is available to all Windows customers, we’re excited to announce that an official SkyDrive app for Android phones will be available in just a few weeks. The Android app is similar to our mobile apps for Windows Phone and iOS and allows you to browse your SkyDrive, upload files to SkyDrive, as well as share SkyDrive files with “Send a link.” You’ll also be able to open SkyDrive files from other apps, as well as upload, save, and share to SkyDrive from other apps.

SkyDrive is a Google Drive direct competitor and cloud storage service that can upload and sync files to the cloud. It further lets users access those files from a Web browser or a local device, and it offers 7 GB of free storage for new users with additional storage available for purchase.

User-interface screenshots for the SkyDrive for Android app are above.

Go to Microsoft’s Inside SkyDrive page for more information.

Windows Phone Stories July 2, 2012

Nokia hints at Android fallback plan if Windows Phone continues to suck

A Nokia board chairperson admitted to a Finnish talk show recently that his company has a backup plan in case the Windows Phone 8 software continues to fail.

According to CNET (via Yle Uutiset), Risto Siilasmaa, who has only been with Nokia since May, hailed the 2011 transition from Symbian to Microsoft’s Windows Phone during Thursday’s interview on “Päivän Kasvo“. Despite the accolades, he said a “contingency plan” is in place should the current mobile operating system “fail to live up to expectations.”

Windows Phone 8 launched in June and barely grabbed 0.18-percent of the marketshare for the month, according to NetMarketShare findings. The prospects do not look good, but Siilasmaa expects the OS to hold its own. Meanwhile, the details of Nokia’s Plan B are unknown. 9to5Google thinks the mysterious backup plan certainly hints at Android.

Google’s mobile operating system could be Nokia’s only saving grace, but fierce competition from Samsung and HTC will make a much-needed recovery even harder for the fledging manufacturer.

Windows Phone Stories June 4, 2012

Microsoft announces ‘SmartGlass’ wireless streaming app for Xbox/Android

Microsoft just wrapped up its presentation at this year’s E3 event. While we did not hear anything about iOS support for its new cross-platform Xbox Music service, the company did confirm Xbox SmartGlass would come to both Android and Apple devices. SmartGlass incorporates at least some of Apple’s AirPlay-like features that enable users to send video from their mobile devices to Xbox Live and Windows 8. It would also allow phones and tablets to be used as a second screen for providing content related to video or games on Xbox.

Microsoft demoed the feature with Madden on Xbox. It allowed players to use their tablet’s touchscreen to draw plays. Unfortunately, Microsoft only mentioned support for Windows 8 mobile devices for the Xbox gaming features:

Microsoft announced ahead of the E3 conference a new software application called “SmartGlass,” which can be downloaded on Windows phones and Windows 8 tablets, as well as devices powered by rivals such as Apple Inc’s iOS and Google Inc’s Android operating systems… For TV, someone watching “Game of Thrones” on the “HBO GO” streaming service via Xbox could simultaneously browse websites about the show’s cast.

Windows Phone Stories April 30, 2012

LG abandons Windows Phones for Android, blames poor sales (Update)

 

UPDATE: An LG spokesperson reached out to PCMag and denied allegations that the company is abandoning the Windows Phone platform:

“No, we are not giving up on Windows Phone. Although we don’t have another Windows device in the pipeline at this moment, that is simply because demand for Android devices is so strong. […] We’ve maintained since the beginning that LG will support whatever operating system consumers want but at the moment, our priority is to get our Android devices to a level where we feel we’ve covered all the bases, to use an American analogy.”

During last week’s Q1 2012 earnings call, LG hinted it is abandoning Windows Phone hardware production to focus on Android, and now a Korean newspaper attributes the move to underwhelming sales and claimed Microsoft’s chief is immediately meeting with the manufacturer in coming weeks.

Microsoft Korea spokesperson Lee Seung-yeon told The Korea Herald that LG is dumping Windows phones due to poor retail performance and said Windows Phones barely stole 2 percent of the global smartphone market share.

The report also suggested Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer will attempt to remedy the split with LG during a May 22 visit to Seoul, Korea by engaging in business meetings with local industry representatives, including LG:

  • “’Ballmer, who will speak about the ‘new era of technology,’ will be staying for a day in Seoul,’ said a Microsoft Korea spokesperson Lee Seung-yeon. ‘We, however, don’t have the fixed details of his business meeting schedule as of now.’
  • An LG spokesman also said it is yet unaware of the meeting.
  • “Ballmer’s visit takes place shortly after LG Electronics’ executive said during an earnings conference session last week that the company is planning to focus on smartphones running on Google’s Android mobile operating system.”

LG makes a slew of Windows-based handsets, such as the Optimus 7. 

Windows Phone Stories March 26, 2012

Skatter Tech’s Sahas Katta wrote a blog post yesterday about his Windows Phone challenge experience and explained how he beat the contest using a Galaxy Nexus, but Microsoft employees withheld his prize “just because.”

Katta claimed he beat a “Get Smoked” Windows Phone challenge at the Santa Clara Microsoft Store yesterday. The assigned quest was to “bring up the weather of two different cities” faster than a competing Windows Phone user. Katta cold booted his smartphone as instructed, accessed his unlocked screen, and quickly viewed two separate weather widgets for San Jose and Berkeley that were luckily running on the device’s home screen.

Despite executing the task first, Katta was immediately told the Windows Phone “smoked” him:

I excitedly thought I won out of pure luck. However, I was quickly told that I lost. I asked for a reason and was told Windows Phone won because “it displays the weather right there.” That was rather unclear. I showed her my device which also was showing off the same information with two side-by-side weather widgets on the center home screen. After pressing for a better reason, I was told that Windows Phone won “just because.”

After trying to push for a real answer since I clearly won the contest by their rules, another Microsoft Store employee (possibly a manager) came by after noticing me asking more questions. Thinking on his feet, he quickly gave a ridiculous out-of-thin-air reason that I need to display the weather of different cities in different states and that “my phone could not do that”.

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Windows Phone Stories March 7, 2012

Microsoft is slinging mud at Google recently with bitter videos and critical advertisements, but the Internet giant is staying silent and has only thrown one thing at the Windows company: The “Google Search” app.

“Find better results using Google from your Windows Phone. Search the web faster and easier with the latest features: Google Autocomplete, My Location, and Voice Search,” announced the app’s description.

More information is available below.

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Windows Phone Stories November 16, 2011

Following a lengthy interview in October where he gave us insight into the future of Android and Google’s view on iOS and Windows, Android’s head of user experience Matias Duarte sat down with The Verge to discuss his work on Android and more specifically, Ice Cream Sandwich. During the interview Duarte elaborated on his competitor’s design choices, where he says iOS looks cartoonish and explains if it were “put on a website or magazine, you’d laugh at it, it would look childish”. Host Joshua Topolsky also calls him out for saying Windows Phone looks like “bathroom signage in an airport”, to which he didn’t comment.

Matias gave a few demos using a Galaxy Nexus, including one of live video chat effects like blurs and warps that alter your face in real-time. He also explained his view on photography features calling traditional features of point and shoot cameras such as white balance “crap”, saying “if it’s not immediately obvious, it’s something the machine should be taking care of for you”.

Duarte also defended Google’s choice to create the new Roboto font for ICS, which he also recently explained in a blog post, as well as addressed the controversy of ICS’s Face Unlock feature (which was recently tricked using a photo). expand full story

Windows Phone Stories September 29, 2011

HTC is doubling down on Windows Phone. Pictured above: The HTC Titan, powered by Windows Phone 7.5 ‘Mango’ and arriving to AT&T this Fall.

HTC, the embattled handset maker from Taiwan and the second-largest smartphone vendor in the United States, is doubling down on Microsoft’s mobile platform, seemingly to reduce its reliance on Google’s Android software which has been under heavy fire lately from Apple, Microsoft and Oracle over patents. According to ZDNet Asia, a HTC manager for Singapore said during the Windows Phone 7.5 Mango launch event:

We believe that Windows Phone 7 will eventually be better than other platforms and will give Android a run for its money.

Melvin Chua, the manager, also noted that the Windows Phone platform already accounts for nearly one-third (30 percent) of HTC’s overall sales. This subtle hint points to a possible 180-degree turn for the company that made fortunes by making and selling Android phones. It’s not terribly surprising, though. Their chairwoman Cher Wang recently went on record, saying the company discussed internally a mobile operating system purchase. “We can use any OS we want”, she was quoted as saying.

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Windows Phone Stories August 22, 2011

In the battle for mobile supremacy, Apple and Google are winning as competitors continue to lose ground, finding it increasingly difficult to compete with the strong iOS and Android ecosystems (can you say ‘duopoly’?), per latest survey from the NPD Group. The results came by tracking U.S. consumers aged 18+ who reported purchasing a mobile phone and exclude corporate purchases. In the June quarter, iOS grabbed 29 percent of the U.S. smartphone share versus Google’s 52 percent share. Both tech behemoths have grown their platform share at the expense of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion.

Cross-posted on 9to5Mac.com

RIM’s been on a serious decline amid poor sales and delays related to their QNX-based superphones. Their BlackBerry OS software share fell to just eleven percent in the U.S. Meanwhile, Hewlett-Packard’s webOS is in a state of limbo as the world’s leading computer maker announced intentions to exit the hardware business. Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 and Windows Mobile grabbed five percent of the market each.

The emerging prepaid market is the next battelground for iOS and Android. Google, however, has the first mover advantage here… expand full story

Windows Phone Stories August 18, 2011

Telefonino.net today leaked (via BGR) a bunch of upcoming Samsung devices. The mega-leak includes seven Android-driven phones and two tablets and three phones powered by Samsung’s own Bada operating system. Heck, the company is even working on their inaugural Windows Phone ‘Mango’ handset.

Starting off with tablets, the P6200 looks like the original Galaxy Tab successor. This seven-inch Honeycomb slate boasts a 1024-by-600 pixel Super AMOLED display plus front and back cameras for capturing video and conducting video calls. It will come in both WiFi-only and 3G HSDPA version.

As for the phones, Samsung appears to be going all out on the hardware front. Take the I9220, for example. This Gingerbreak phone runs a 1.4GHz processor, has an eight-megapixel camera and packs in a spacious, juicy 4.3-inch Super AMOLED display sporting a 1280-by-720 pixel resolution display, meaning it can render HD 720p video natively, without rescaling.

Then there is the I9210, another Gingerbread phone with a slightly larger 4.5-inch SuperAMOLED display, 4G connectivity and an eight-megapixel camera with LED flash. The sickest of them all has to be the I9250 superphone. Probably your next handset, it rocks a monstrous 4.65-inch SuperAMOLED display with native 720p resolution (1280-by-720 pixels), the obligatory five megapixel camera (what, no eight-megapixels?) and Android Ice Cream, the latest and greatest version of Android due for release in the fourth quarter of 2011. But wait, that’s not all – six more phones after the break. expand full story

Windows Phone Stories July 27, 2011

IMS Research put out a study estimating that some 420 million smartphones will be sold worldwide in the 2011 calendar year, or 28 percent of all handsets sold. The survey portrays Apple as making huge gains in the space, buoyed on the sales of 18.65 million and 20.34 million iPhones in their last two quarters – enough to garner a 19 percent share of the global smartphone market. Combined with Nokia’s slumping sales, Apple emerged as the world’s leading smartphone maker.

It remains to be seen whether Samsung, which is due to report its earnings Friday, will beat Apple’s smartphone sales (some say it will). IMS noted the fact that the company grew their share of global smartphone market from three percent in the first quarter of 2010 to 13 percent in the first quarter of this year. Samsung, as you know, sells phones powered by Google’s and Microsoft’s software in addition to their own operating system for feature phones, Bada. IMS’s Analyst Josh Builta says this of LG:

LG, despite being the third largest OEM in the world, has offered a fairly limited smartphone portfolio in recent years, a factor that resulted in the company reaching less than a three percent share of the total smartphone market in 2010.

However, Nokia’s fall surprised even the most seasoned watchers and is unheard of in this industry. Nokia, the Finnish phone giant, lost 16 percentage points of its smartphone market share, going from a 40 percent share last year to 24 percent in the first quarter of 2010. They shipped 16.74 million smartphones in the June quarter – a 34 percent annual decline – versus Apple’s 20.34 million units – a 134 percent annual increase. Nokia also killed Symbian and is only shipping the well-received but short-lived MeeGo-powered N9 to select markets. Here’s how the analyst described Nokia’s problem:

Clearly one of the key dynamics of the mobile handset competitive environment in recent years has been the inability of many traditional market leaders to recognize and adjust to the growing smartphone tier. The reasons for these failures vary and include everything from poorly designed and manufactured devices, unsatisfactory user interfaces, and portfolios that don’t offer products with a differentiating feature. These lapses have created opportunities for newer entrants to the market, which they have aggressively pursued.

Research In Motion fell from 20 percent to 15 percent in the same period, mind you. IMS sees one billion smartphones by 2016 as average selling prices drop and vendors release more inexpensive handsets. Smartphones then will account for one of every two mobile handsets sold, the research firm concludes.

Cross-posted on 9to5Mac.com expand full story

Windows Phone Stories June 1, 2011

The Asus Padfone has inspired what appears to be a cottage industry of phone-docking tablets in the making. Take a new docking accessory from ECS. Code-named Trinity, it’s the result of joint efforts by ECS and its partner ICE Computer. Unlike the Padfone which is a real tablet, the ECS solution is an intelligent docking station that can house various smartphone brands. It takes your phone’s video and outputs it via HDMI to the built-in display which is of the same 9.7-inch variety and 4:3 format as the iPad’s.

You also get an SD card slot, two USB ports and a front-facing camera. It’s a cross-platform play of sorts due to its ability to work with and house multiple smartphone brands, from Apple’s iPhone to Windows Phone and Android smartphones. Best of all, the gizmo should work with future iOS devices – including iPhone 5 – using “simple upgrades”. Expect the Trinity to hit the market in the fourth quarter costing $200 or less. Go past the break for a video introduction. via ITProPortal

(Cross-posted on 9to5Mac.com)

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