Digitimes reports that Google is pressuring Asus to drop plans to release an Android tablet that runs both Android and Windows.
The search giant is supposedly unhappy that such tablets would disproportionately benefit Microsoft and Intel while cutting into Android market share.
While Digitimes does not mention them, we expect Google will be equally unhappy with dual-boot smartphones. We have recently heard that Karbonn is planning to release such a handset in around 3 months.
While Microsoft is trying to increase the penetrance of Windows phone by making it more available to consumers and OEMs it is not universally agreed that the dual-boot strategy is beneficial to Windows developers, due to the increased likelihood that users will use popular Android apps rather than exploring the growing Windows/ Windows Phone Store.
If true, do our readers think this may be a blessing in disguise? Let us know below.
Microsoft has applied for patents for two key features in Windows Phone platform. The first one in the unified calling experience where any 3rd party app can use phone’s calling UX with its own branding. The second one is the Kids Corner feature that allows you to create a new section in your phone specifically for kids that is isolated from the actual phone contents.
UNIFIED USER EXPERIENCE FOR MOBILE CALLS
Spotify today announced that it has acquired one of the largest music data company The Echo Nest. The Echo Nest provides music data solutions such as recommendation, playlisting, etc, to various companies including Nokia MixRadio and Microsoft’s Xbox Music.
Last year, Nokia and The Echo Nest announced a deal that enabled Echo Nest’s Music Discovery and Personalization solution in the Nokia MixRadio app, to be pre-installed on all Nokia Windows Phones. MixRadio’s primary feature Play Me, powered by The Echo Nest, and it provides one-tap access to a personalized streaming radio station based on each user’s artist radio stations, the songs they play, skip, or favorite, and everything else they do with music on their phones.
Not only that, but it can also scan the user’s desktop and mobile music collections for any music stored there too. All of this data funnels into their Echo Nest-powered Taste Profile, a unique understanding of each user’s taste(s) in music. We combine that detailed (anonymous) behavioral analysis with our understanding of the entire world of music, including the relationships between over 35 million songs by over 2.5 million artists in over 700 genres — all part of the largest database about music in the world.
Even though The Echo Nest will honor all its contractual agreements, the future of MixRadio and Xbox Music’s Radio feature remains a big question. Hopefully, Nokia and Microsoft can find a better partner soon.
Mohamed Tariq, an eight year old kid has developed a Windows Phone app and his app has been downloaded almost 500 times since its release. He developed a Windows Phone app called Kids Zone that aggregates online videos from popular cartoons, like “Tom and Jerry” and “SpongeBob SquarePants.” He used YouTube as the data source to make them into separate channels within his app.
Did he learn programming at his 3rd grade? The answer is ‘No’. Tariq went to Nokia DVLUP Day in Boston in November along with his father and he decided to join other novices in a class about App Studio. This result was his Kids Zone app.
Microsoft released Windows Phone App Studio Beta last year which allows hobbyists, enthusiasts and new developers to create content-based apps from end to end, all within a web UI in few easy steps. Microsoft recently revealed that 350,000 developers of all skill levels have used Windows Phone App Studio Beta, resulting in 300,000 projects and 20,000 apps published to Windows Phone Store.
Source: betaboston via: Windows team blog
After more or less ceding the market for cheaply streaming media from the internet to the TV, Microsoft appears to have finally responded by developing a dongle to Miracast enable older TVs.
The dongle, which plugs into an HDMI port, is Surface branded, and will presumably allow those devices to seamlessly stream their desktop, apps and other video to an HD TV, and was spotted passing through the FCC.
It is however likely the dongle will be compatible with any other Miracast-enabled devices, including possibly all our Windows phone 8-handsets, after the Windows Phone 8.1 update.
When Microsoft released their first GUI-driven OS, they also started selling mice, and it is good to see Microsoft finally acting to support their own technologies in the market.
Now how about some dongles to NFC enable our PCs?
We’ve been around for a pretty long time, and we have seen the rise and fall of Microsoft’s mobile ambitions, and our biggest complaints through the years have been the seemingly limited resources Microsoft devoted to Windows Mobile, which often saw kludgy products being released with obvious bugs and unnecessary limitations.
Now Steve Ballmer has admitted he would have liked to have another go at doing it better, saying:
“We would have a stronger position in the phone market today if I could re-do the last 10 years.”
Ballmer had previously said the distraction of Vista was the reason the company could not devote more resources to Windows Mobile.
He now said the proposed acquisition of Nokia Corp. was very important to that future for Microsoft, but that when it comes to missed opportunities, the answer was to pick up and try to catch the next wave.
This is of course where Microsoft is going with its cloud strategy, but for a company as well resourced financially as Microsoft, we see very few products in novel areas actually hit the market. Examples of overdue products from Microsoft which may miss the next wave include wearables, home automation, ebooks, self-driving cars and many, many more. It seems in many cases if a product does not look like a billion dollar market Microsoft does not think it is worthy of pursuing.
Do our readers think Microsoft is focussed enough on innovation, and committed enough to turning the excellent ideas of their Research division into products? Let us know.
Google announced Google Voice back in 2009 which gives you one number for all your phones, voicemail as easy as email, free US long distance, low rates on international calls, and many calling features. A recent patent application from Microsoft describes the same feature where a universal phone number is provided for a user with fixed line, mobile line, and internet communication methods. Microsoft already owns a great universal communication tool called Skype through which hundreds of millions of users make audio and video calls everyday. Any integration with Skype and this universal number concept should attract many users. Read the patent abstract below.
We already know lot of things about Microsoft’s Cortana voice assistant that will be part of the upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 update. Today, The Verge reported some new information regarding it. Here are them,
- Cortana is represented by a circle graphic that expresses what it’s doing by various animations like spinning, flipping, etc.
- You can set your name or nickname which Cortana will use to call you.
- There is a concept called Notebook which will allow the Cortana digital assistant to access information such as location data, behaviors, personal information, reminders, and contact information. It will use them to provide contextual information for you, similar to what Google Now does.
- Microsoft will demo Cortana during the upcoming Build developer conference.
Source: The Verge
Last year we reported that Microsoft-Nokia deal is in the second-phase of anti-trust investigation in China, as Chinese OEMs and regulators fear that Nokia’s patent fees for the China’s domestic handset vendors might go up after this deal gets over. Bloomberg then reported that local Chinese OEMs have asked regulators to make sure Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s handset business doesn’t result in higher patent fees on wireless technology.
Today, Bloomberg today reported that Google and Samsung have joined the Chinese OEM in expressing their concern about Microsoft-Nokia deal. They want to make sure this deal doesn’t result in higher fees on wireless technology patents that will remain with Nokia. The report also claimed that Google and Samsung fear that Microsoft will gain more power over the smartphone market and may abuse its patents.
Contrary to Samsung and Google’s concerns, Microsoft is always open to license their patents to other smartphone vendors under very reasonable terms. In fact, they have signed patent licensing deals with more than 20 Android OEMs and ODMs so far.
China’s Ministry of Commerce is conducting an anti-monopoly review and is likely to approve the deal, the officials said. The question is whether the ministry will demand the companies guarantee that the agreement doesn’t result in higher patent fees, the officials said.
PCMag reports that Microsoft may be preparing to drop the price of a Windows Phone license as much as 70%.
The news come via the CEO of Infosonics Joseph Ram, who said:
“We’re hearing Microsoft will drop the license fee quite a bit, as far as 70 percent, which will make their product more competitive in terms of price.”
Infosonics makes the line of Verykool handsets, which are sold in Latin America and also unlocked in USA.
“We’re seeing trends that Microsoft is working with major chipmakers to create the right ecosystem to be able to bring cheaper products to market,” Ram said. “It’s not going to be so difficult to bring an equally-priced product [to Android] with a Windows OS.”
The move may explain the arrival of low-cost OEMs like Longcheer and Gionee in China, and Karbonn and Xolo in India, who were recently announced as Windows Phone partners at Mobile World Congress 2014.
A Windows Phone 8 license is said to cost between $50 and $30, and a 70% drop could see the license cost as little as $6-$10.
Of course Android is still completely free, and making Windows Phone cheap seems like a half-measure.
Do our readers think Microsoft should go all the way? Let us know below.
Skype app for Windows Phone devices got updated to v220.127.116.116 in Windows Phone Store. Microsoft is improving the signup/sign-in experience for Skype users. All Windows Phone users signing up to Skype for the first time on their Windows Phone will now register with their Microsoft account, the same email and password users enter when they first set up their Windows Phone. You can now link Skype account and Microsoft account within this app.
Another cool feature in this update is the typing indicator on Skype for Windows Phone. Skype is including this for the first time on mobile, so now you can see when someone is typing a message to you. They have also made the ‘Mark as Read’ option for new messages easier to find – you can now find the option in the Recents list view.
- A new and simpler way to sign in to Skype. Just use the same Microsoft account you use for your phone. Already got a Skype account? Link it with your Microsoft account and we’ll carry your credit and contacts over.
- See when someone’s typing a message.
- General fixes and improvements.
Download it here from Windows Phone Store for free.
At MWC, Microsoft announced the widest hardware support for Windows Phone platform with support for new range of Qualcomm SoC’s starting from Snapdragon 200 in the bottom. Microsoft also announced that OEMs can use the Qualcomm reference design program for building Windows Phone devices. Even after 3 years of its release, Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform still runs only on Qualcomm SoCs. In the beginning years, it was reasonable to focus on one type of SoC to optimize OS performance. I think its time for Microsoft to support SoCs by different vendors. Here are some of the SoC vendors Microsoft needs to support to further widen their hardware support.
- MediaTek – One of the most popular SoC vendor for smartphones in emerging markets. MediaTek chipsets far outsells Qualcomm Snapdragons in China, India and other countries. Most of the OEMs Microsoft announced during MWC like Karbonn, Xolo, Gionee sells devices based on MediaTek. MediaTek offers SoCs which are cheaper than Qualcomm offerings with more or less same performance levels.
- Samsung Exynos – Samsung is now trying to use its in-house Exynos processors in more smartphones. Even their latest Galaxy S5 variant comes in both Qualcomm and Exynos variants since Samsung can sell Exynos variants at lesser price points with higher margin.
- Huawei’s in-house CPU – Huawei which is one of the leading smartphone vendors in the world is using its in-house CPUs in many of its products. They do it to sell their devices at lesser price points with higher margin.
- Intel – Intel, which is the undisputed leader in desktop CPU market is now coming back in the mobile market with chipsets LTE, etc,. Intel is now aggressively pushing its mobile chips among OEMs such as Asus.
Hopefully, Microsoft can address this expanded SoC vendor support issue soon. What do you think?
For most of today I have been running into issues sending and receiving mail from my Microsoft accounts, including our hosted domain at Outlook.com.
The issue appears on the desktop and on the phone, and I have seen reports from others with the same problem.
Are our readers affected by this issue? Let us know below.