Microsoft virtual assistant app will head to iPhones, Android this year
Microsoft will be making Windows 10 more useful to smartphone owners, by making it easier to set up their desktop and mobile device to connect together and share files. The added mobile support is also supported by a second announcement that the Cortana virtual assistant will be available to download and use on other platforms than Windows Phone, with both iOS and Android set to receive access in the future.
Carriers will be unable to delay Windows 10 for Mobile update releases
Microsoft will be attempting to make Windows 10 for mobile devices more secure than Windows Phone has been previously, by excluding device manufacturers and carriers from the process entirely. The software giant will be directly applying patches to smartphones running Windows 10 Mobile, potentially eliminating some of the operating system fragmentation that occurs when carriers delay the release of upgrades produced by manufacturers.
LG Lancet runs Windows Phone 8.1, includes HD Voice Calling compatibility
Verizon has unveiled LG's latest smartphone, the first running Windows Phone in a long time. An exclusive for Verizon Wireless, the budget-ranged LG Lancet is LG's first Windows Phone 8.1 device, and will have the honor of being the first Windows Phone smartphone on Verizon to be compatible with HD Voice Calling, thanks to its inclusion of Advanced Calling 1.0.
Desktop-style apps on mobile unlikely to woo switchers, but still points new direction
Although Microsoft is lagging as very distant third in the smartphone space, it has not yet given up on the hope that it can eventually gain some market traction. At its Build developers conference last week, the Redmond software giant revealed the shape of things to come from its smartphones in the near future. The most intriguing features demonstrated for Windows 10 on smartphones was Continuum, its new desktop mode for a smartphone connected to a monitor, keyboard and mouse. Although it hasn't been revealed in its final form, Continuum promises to reconfigure a Windows 10 smartphone interface on-the-fly so that users can interact with its apps in a desktop environment much as they would do with a PC. Is it a game changer?
Iconia Tab 10, Iconia One 8 tablets launched at Acer event
Acer has revealed two new Iconia tablets as part of its device launches today, as well as bringing one smartphone to the United States for the first time. The Iconia Tab 10 is a tablet aimed at education, the Iconia One 8 offers advanced touch capabilities, and the Liquid M220 smartphone running Windows Phone 8.1 will be arriving in Microsoft Stores in the coming months.
Lumia 540 Dual SIM has 5-inch 720p display, quad-core 1.2GHz processor
Microsoft has unveiled a Windows-based smartphone that seems to be a slightly improved version of the recent Lumia 640 for emerging markets. The new Lumia 540 Dual SIM shares much of its specifications with last month's smartphone launch, but it does include a few useful changes, such as a higher-resolution front-facing camera and, as the name suggests, the ability to use two SIM cards.
Amazon adds Android tablet support to Prime Instant Video app
Amazon has finally allowed Android tablets access to Prime Instant Video. Previously only available to iOS devices and, since September last year, Android smartphones, tablet users can now watch the same Prime Instant Video content via their device, reports Android Police. Prime subscribers need to install the dedicated Prime Instant Video app from the Amazon Appstore before watching shows.
Video game inspired artificial intelligence assistant part of Microsoft's broader plan
Microsoft has broader ambitions for its Windows Phone voice-enabled assistant "Cortana." As part of an upcoming initiative slated for later in this year, not only will the voice recognition technology arrive on the desktop with Windows 10, it will also be seen on Android and iOS as a standalone app, according to Eric Horvitz, managing director of Microsoft Research. The company had previously given a vague suggestion that it would come to alternative operating systems, but no details were provided until now.
Launches on other platforms could join Windows Phone MixRadio update this summer
MixRadio, the rebrand of the Nokia Music streaming service known to Windows Phone users owning Lumia devices, is being tested on Android and iOS. Fresh from being transferred to Line after being acquired from Nokia by Microsoft, MixRadio is now performing a private beta of the app for the other two major mobile platforms, suggesting it could be heading to users sooner than initially thought.
Lumia 640 XL has larger screen, better cameras than Lumia 640
Microsoft has added two more mid-ranged devices to its Lumia device roster. The Lumia 640 has a five-inch 720p ClearBlack IPS display, with the Lumia 640 XL boasting a similar-resolution 5.7-inch display, and though they both have similar core specifications and share the same name, the XL version has a few more extra changes.
Phone features expandable storage, claims of Windows 10 upgrade possibility
At today's Barcelona Mobile World Congress, Acer unveiled the Liquid M220 smartphone, the company's first Liquid smartphone to run on the Windows Phone 8.1 operating system. The phone is a four-inch device, at 223 pixels per inch, and is aimed at the entry-level consumer.
Windows Phone holds steady at one percent; BlackBerry not counted in survey
The latest Good Technology Mobility Index Report on the mobile enterprise space, based on a survey of Good's customer base for its own enterprise-level email services, shows iOS gaining ground by taking away share from Android in calendar Q4 2014, with the former growing by four percentage points to hit 73 percent share of global enterprise activations. Android fell by the same amount to 25 percent, while Windows Phone held steady at one percent.
Smartphones joined by trio of Kazam Windows tablets
British smartphone producer Kazam has introduced a number of new devices ahead of next week's Mobile World Congress. The Trooper range of Android smartphones has been bolstered with six new models, with the company also preparing to show off three Windows tablets and two Windows Phone devices at the Barcelona-based tradeshow.
Lower-specification Windows Phone devices could gain feature-limited WIndows 10
Microsoft is still working on allowing owners of lower-specification Windows Phone devices to use Windows 10. Concerns that owners of smartphones including the Lumia 520 would miss out were allayed by a Microsoft executive, though it appears that they may miss out on some of the functionality expected to arrive within the mobile operating system.
Spotify adds darker theme, Your Music, new Browse option to Windows Phone app
Spotify has updated the Windows Phone version of its music streaming app, bringing it in line with the Android and iOS apps. Using a darker theme and an updated user interface, the app now includes Your Music, allowing users to manage their favorite tracks and albums, while the Browse function is said to offer more localized and personalized content, such as playlists based on the time of day.
Nokia Lumia 635 goes on sale through Sprint
Sprint has started to sell the Nokia-branded Lumia 635, the first on the network running Windows Phone 8.1. Equipped with a Snapdragon 1.2GHz quad-core processor accompanied by 512MB of RAM, a rear 5-megapixel camera, and a 4.5-inch 480x854 display, the Lumia 635 is being sold on Sprint for $7 per month over 24 months under Easy Pay, or a full price of $168.
Budget Lumia 435, Lumia 532 have similar entry-level specifications
Microsoft has unveiled two Lumia smartphones destined for emerging markets. The Lumia 435 is claimed to be the company's "most affordable Lumia," complete with a four-inch 800x480 LCD screen, while the Lumia 532 is slightly more expensive -- and while it packs the same display, it switches out the 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor for a quad-core version.
Pixi 3 smartphone runs Windows Phone, Firefox OS, and Android
Alcatel OneTouch is preparing to show off two different types of mobile device at CES next week. The Pixi 3 are said to be a collection of smartphones capable of running three different mobile operating systems on the same hardware, while the Watch is said to be an "affordable" round-faced smartwatch at a "fraction of the cost of competitors."
Works with iOS, Android, Windows Phone: crash reporting, analytics, beta distribution to be unified
Microsoft has announced through a blog post that it has acquired HockeyApp, a mobile analytics and app-distribution service similar to Apple's Testflight. Originally launched as a web-only service in 2011 that allowed iOS, OS X, and Android developers to collect crash reports and manage beta distribution, the app now offers such services for Android, iOS and Windows Phone developers, and will continue to operate as Microsoft works on integrating HockeyApp into the Applications Insights service in Visual Studio Online.
Bitcoin payments into Microsoft Account performed by BitPay
Microsoft is embracing Bitcoin, by allowing users of its services to pay using the cryptocurrency. US customers are able to add funds to their Microsoft Account using a Bitcoin wallet, which can then be used to may payments in the Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox stores, as well as paying for subscriptions for Xbox Live and Xbox Music.
Microsoft brings Cortana to France, Germany, Italy, Spain
Microsoft is bringing the Cortana virtual assistant to more countries in Europe. An update as part of the Windows Phone Developer Preview Program rolling out today will grant access to Cortana in France, Italy, Germany, and Spain. Released as an alpha version, Microsoft warns many of the advanced features will not be available, such as flight tracking and some reference data, but the team is working to add localized content for each language, along with a slightly tailored personality.
TV From Sky app goes live on PlayStation 4 in UK
British broadcaster Sky has added its streaming app to the PlayStation 4. Named TV From Sky instead of the usual Sky Go brand, the app provides online access to a number of live Sky television channels, as well as a wide selection of on-demand and catch-up TV shows via the console, for subscribers of the satellite television service.
Smartphone manufacturer lost money on Windows Phone devices
Huawei will not be making Windows Phone devices for the foreseeable future, an executive has revealed. In an interview, head of international media affairs Joe Kelly claimed the smartphone manufacturer failed to benefit from either of its two Windows Phone launches, and that competitors who also use the mobile operating system are facing similar issues.
Social media changes mark first official move away from Nokia banner to Microsoft Lumia
Microsoft is making the shift away from the Nokia brand name official, as it's confirmed that the company is shifting to Microsoft Lumia for future devices. The change in names was first brought up back in September as part of an alleged leak of an internal document that dropped the Nokia name, along with mentions of Windows Phone from devices.
Doodles can be added to photos and shared with friends, sign in improvements
Microsoft has announced the new 2.24 update for Skype for Windows Phone today, bringing some small improvements to the application. In addition to the tweaks, the program had a significant feature appended to it. Users now have the ability to create drawings, or doodle on pictures to share with friends and family members.
Cortana issues public transport notifications, local concert suggestions
Cortana, Microsoft's virtual assistant for Windows Phone 8.1, has been updated with two event-related changes. WMPU reports the service will now show notifications for when a user's favorite music acts are performing nearby under "Concert Watch," while WP Central notes users in the US and UK can now benefit from public transport notifications, including delays, outages, and advising of the best time to head to an appointment or event.
Google officially extends app refund window from 15 minutes to 2 hours
Google has extended the opportunity to receive a refund from purchases in the Google Play Store to two hours. Android Central notes the support page for the store has been updated to show the upgraded refund period for apps and games, up from the previous 15-minute limit. It is understood that Google offered the longer refund window to some customers over the last few weeks, and has only just made the policy official recently.
Leaked document also claims Windows Phone to be replaced by Windows brand
Microsoft may start producing mobile devices without the Nokia branding by the end of this year. An alleged leaked internal document from Microsoft Mobile, the Devices and Services arm of Nokia acquired by the company, apparently shows that both the Nokia and Windows Phone names will be replaced on new smartphones with Microsoft and Windows respectively.
Update for Lumia devices will include 4K video capture, Dynamic Flash
Microsoft has detailed the version of the Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 heading onto its Lumia smartphones. On top of the expected new additions, including wider resolution support, Live Folders, and the Cortana virtual assistant, the Lumia Denim update includes some Lumia-specific extras, with the majority of new features relating to photography, though some functions are said to be dependent on the phone's hardware.
Rear 10MP PureView camera used in Lumia 830
Part of a launch of three smartphones at its IFA event, Microsoft revealed the Lumia 830. Offering a 5.5-inch 1280x720 display, the Windows Phone device is billed by the company as an "affordable flagship," with the aluminum-framed smartphone packing a rear 10-megapixel PureView camera aided with various camera app functions in the accompanying Lumia Denim software update.
Now possible to use the same language for apps for all three mobile platforms
A compiler company called RemObjects has created a new front end for its own Elements compiler called Silver that allows developers to write code hooking into APIs and frameworks outside iOS, letting them write native apps for iOS and Android. The project has also been made to work with both the Fire IDE and .NET, allowing Windows Phone developers to use Swift through the Visual Studio IDE. While not a universal write-once-run-anywhere solution, Silver could prove to be a boon for small developers who want to create Android and Windows Phone versions of their iOS apps written in Swift.
Shuffle play mode now available for Windows Phone 8.1, free version supported by ads
Subscripiton music streaming service Spotify has announced that it is bringing its free listening experience to Windows Phones beginning today. In today's software update, owners of phones like the Nokia Lumia 920 or the HTC One (M8) for Windows can now partake in the Spotify experience, with a few limitations. As with the expansion into a free version for Android and iOS in December, the offering is supported by in-app advertising.
Apple, Google, Microsoft required to delete Secret from customer phones or face fines
A Brazilian judge has ordered Apple, Google, and Microsoft to remove Secret, an app used for anonymously sharing information with others, from citizen's phones. The unusual ruling requires both Apple and Google to delist Secret from the App Store and Google Play, with Microsoft ordered to do the same for the Windows Phone-equivalent Cryptic, as well as deleting it remotely from mobile devices in the country.
Windows Phone version of HTC One M8 uses same specifications as Android original
HTC has launched the Windows Phone version of its One M8 flagship at an event in New York. The HTC One (M8) for Windows is a metal-clad smartphone with the same specifications as the Android original, including an identical five-inch 1080p display, quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor clocked at 2.3GHz, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of expandable storage.
HTC One M8 for Windows Phone shares physical appearance with Android model
Images for what is believed to be the Windows Phone equivalent of the HTC One M8 have leaked, showing what could be HTC's latest foray onto the platform. Said to be called the One M8 for Windows, the displayed smartphone appears to be identical in physical construction to the Android version of the device, except for a Windows Phone logo on the back.
Blackberry launches 1.1 version of BBM for Windows Phone
BlackBerry has officially released BBM for Windows Phone, taking it out of beta. The new release implementes a number of bug fixes and speed improvements that the company gathered during the beta phase. The 1.1 version of the app allows users to engage in BBM Chats with one or many contacts, with the ability to share pictures, voice notes, contacts and location. Features like BBM Voice, Channels, and location sharing are still yet to be added.
Twin leaks point to two HTC smartphone launches in coming months
A pair of leaks for HTC smartphones have surfaced, for Android and Windows Phone devices. One leak includes photographs of the A11, a variant in the Desire range said to use a 64-bit system-on-chip, while another appears to reiterate earlier rumored specifications for a version of the HTC One M8 running on Windows Phone instead of Android.
Update to Windows Phone introduces Live Folders, improved Xbox Music app
Microsoft has made the upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 available to download for developers. The software update, which introduces a number of changes to the mobile operating system, can be downloaded by developers enrolled in the Windows App Studio program today, ahead of a rollout to all compatible Windows Phone smartphones in the future.
Usage begins mirroring device ownership
For the first time, global usage of Android devices has surpassed that of iOS, according to Net Applications tracking data. iOS slipped from 45.61 percent in June to 44.19 percent in July, while Android advanced from 43.75 percent to 44.62. Windows Phone has made some more marginal progress, growing from below the 1 percent mark in April to 2.49 percent.
BBM for Windows Phone includes chats, excludes BBM Voice, Channels
BlackBerry has made its BlackBerry Messenger app available to download in the Windows Phone store. Previously only available as a closed beta on the platform, and already out on iOS and Android, the version offered is still in beta, though BlackBerry has taken the time to make BBM fit in with the Windows Phone user interface styling, and some features don't appear to have been included.
Cortana available in beta for UK, Chinese markets, alpha in Canada, India, Australia
Microsoft has formally announced its upcoming update to Windows Phone 8.1, one it will be releasing to developers next week. The GDR1 update, leaked earlier this week, introduces a number of new features and other improvements to the mobile operating system, as well as expanding the beta program for the Cortana virtual assistant to five new countries after its initial United States launch.
Superman and Tesla Lumia smartphones said to have surfaced in internal Microsoft meeting
Two more smartphones may launch from Microsoft's phone division in the near future, according to a report. Two Windows Phone devices were allegedly revealed during an internal meeting chaired by Microsoft devices head Stephen Elop, with one smartphone described as a "selfie" device with a five-megapixel front-facing camera sensor above a 4.7-inch display.
Windows Phone version of HTC One M8 may have same specifications
HTC may be preparing to release a version of the One M8 smartphone running Windows Phone instead of Android, according to rumors. Report sources claim the smartphone producer will be returning to Windows Phone again, effectively re-purposing the One M8's hardware and accessories, with the device apparently said to be given the name HTC One W8.
Microsoft CEO confirms future convergence of operating systems in conference call
Microsoft is still planning to unify its operating systems in the future, CEO Satya Nadella has confirmed. As part of the conference call with analysts following its latest quarterly financial results release, Nadella advised that Windows 9 will be a version of the operating system which will work with universal apps, namely apps which work across multiple platforms and devices.
Nokia Lumia 530 has four-inch display, $115 price tag
Microsoft has unveiled its first Lumia smartphone since it acquired Nokia's Devices and Services division. Still labeled under the Nokia branding, the Lumia 530 is an entry-level Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone with a four-inch, 854x480-resolution display and a low price point to help it compete against other competing low-specification devices running on Android.
Lumia Cyan adds Windows Phone 8.1, updates Nokia apps
Microsoft has started to roll out the Cyan software update for Lumia smartphones, bringing Windows Phone 8.1 to the smartphone range. At the same time, a report claims that some new Lumia devices being sold no longer give the option to set Google as the default search engine, restricting users to instead primarily search using Microsoft's own search engine, Bing.
Beta test ahead of official launch, some features like Voice to be added later on
Users of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) are going to able to use the service on a new mobile platform. Today, BlackBerry announced that the messaging service has made its way to Windows Phones, starting off with a limited run in beta. The company wants to focus on providing an introduction to the program with its first release.
BlackBerry Messenger commences private beta on Windows Phone store
BlackBerry has put the BlackBerry Messenger app in the Windows Phone store, though it is not available to everyone. The listing, which follows the earlier BBM launch on iOS and Android, hints at a near-future release of the messaging app on the platform, though according to CNET, the app is being tested in a private beta ahead of its launch, with only whitelisted users able to install the app from the store.
Microsoft India tweet points to imminent Windows Phone 8.1 update release
Windows Phone 8.1 could be shipping to smartphones next month. A posting on Twitter by Microsoft India states the Windows Phone 8.1 update will "roll out to existing Windows Phone 8 users during the first two weeks of July," suggesting that features such as the long-awaited Cortana virtual assistant may reach consumers in the near future.
Pioneer announces Dolby Atmos-enabled Elite speakers, Elite SC series receivers
Pioneer has announced a new dedicated line of Dolby Atmos-enabled Elite speakers and Elite SC series of home theater receivers. Dolby Atmos technology was first established for cinema use, and the collaboration with Pioneer aims to offer a multi-dimensional sound experience. Dolby's partnerships will not stop at Pioneer, with Dolby Atmos branded Blu-ray and streaming video services to be launched this fall.