According to the Verge’s unnamed sources, Microsoft is preparing to ship Windows Phone 8.1, and the update is set to bring many features Windows phone users have been clamouring for.
The first is a Notification Centre which can be accessed by swiping down from the top of the screen, much like iOS and Android. A short swipe will reveal quick settings, while a longer swipe will reveal the full notification history – a nice touch and differentiator from the other mobile operating systems.
The next feature is the rumoured Cortana Voice Assistant agent, which will replace the existing Bing search and will work with both voice and text input. It will be similar to Google Now, with a conversational element and the ability to learn location context and data from the phone and will be able to automatically remind you when a meeting is nearing and how long you’ll need to reach an appointment.
Anvid Erdian, a Nokia Indonesia Product Manager, has told local publication Okezone.com that private social network Path would "… soon be present (on Windows Phone). Soon. Wait time is it.”
Okezone suggests the app will arrive in a matter of days and will join recent popular arrivals like Instagram and Vine.
The app has already been officially announced for Windows Phone as far back as August, but a release date was not announced at the time.
Anvid also said BBM may make its way to our OS, saying:
"We present the application of fame and see if the application is much in demand by the public. And we see enough fuel demand, there is likely to be present in the Windows Phone.”
NokiaPowerUser reports on a tip from a claimed Verizon insider that the Nokia Lumia 929 will be released on the 21st November on Verizon, a day earlier than the Nokia Lumia 1520 on AT&T.
They also say the Nokia Lumia 2520 for Verizon will be released on the same day, and may be paired with the 929 for $199 in a similar deal as available on AT&T.
With Verizon’s share of the non-iPhone US smartphone market much bigger than AT&T’s, and with the NL 929 being a much more pocketable device than the 1520, we may see the handset sell a lot better than the AT&T handset.
If our US readers have a choice, which one will you pick? Let us know below.
evLeaks has been busy today, and besides revealing that Goldfinger and Moneypenny would be WP8.1 handsets, he has now also tweeted the features of two additional handsets.
He revealed one of the handsets will be a new imaging flagship like the Nokia Lumia 1020, presumably featuring some of the new technologies as described in this post here.
The other handset will feature a Siri-like voice assistant. This last tip is quite odd, as we assumed all WP8.1 handsets will come with Cortana, but this may be a specially featured handset like the Moto X which does not need to be woken to accept voice commands.
Are our readers ready for the deluge? Let us know below.
In a report in DNAIndia an anonymous Microsoft exec confirmed Microsoft is planning to launch its own Microsoft-branded Windows phone soon.
Microsoft Director Vineet Durani of the Windows Phone Business Group confirmed the existence of such a project, saying:
“We are waiting for regulatory clearances on the Nokia deal to merge the devices and hardware business, with Microsoft’s software business. The Microsoft-branded phone is under review, but in the meanwhile we continue to work with our partners like Huawei, Samsung and HTC for Windows OS handsets.”
Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s handset business will only complete some time in Q1 2014 if everything goes smoothly, and according to reports the two companies are prohibited from working together as if the deal is already done, suggesting the new Microsoft handset is a solo project reminiscent of the Surface.
A render of the earlier leaked Nokia Lumia 1820
As we have seen from the recently leaked set of code names, Nokia product train keeps chugging along, and NokiaPowerUser has received a tip which may provide a bit more info on two of those 5 rumoured devices.
According to their tipster:
Lumia 2020 will be the name of Nokia’s rumored 8-inch Tablet. This Tablet will run on Snapdragon 800 and will have a 1080p resolution display. It will be faster and have higher PPI display than Lumia 2520 and will come with stylus support. This Tablet and Nokia’s next imaging flagship Lumia 1820 with metal unibody and Lytro-style camera will be unveiled during MWC in 2014.
The 8 inch tablet is of course no surprise, having already been widely leaked, but the welcome news that it will have a 1080P screen is. Hopefully stylus-support will also mean more special Nokia sauce apps designed to take advantage of this.
We believe a small 5 inch 1080P Nokia Windows Phone handset is coming to Verizon, but NokiaPowerUser has received a tip suggesting such a handset may also be coming to the rest of the world also.
The device is said to have similar styling as the Nokia Lumia 925, including the metal chassis, and will be powered by a Snapdragon 800 processor.
The rumour is still far from verified, but if true would answer the prayers of many Windows Phone users who want a powerful handset, but who still wish to use their phone single-handed.
Would our readers appreciate having the choice between a 5 and 6 inch handset, or does one extra inch hardly make a difference when you go beyond 5 in any case? Let us know below.
We have just gotten use to the code name Bittersweet Shimmer (which is an orange-like Crayola colour) but according to ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley that code name was all a ruse, and the software update which is paired with GDR3 will in fact have a much simpler name, Nokia Black.
She revealed this information on the Windows Weekly podcast last week, saying Bittersweet Shimmer was in fact a code name for a code name.
Its good to see Nokia step back from the game in which they get bloggers to memorize increasingly ridiculous code names, a practice which Google of course continues to enjoy.
Which name do our readers prefer? Let us know below.
Paul Thurrott recently posted a rumour which suggests the next major version of Windows Phone would lose the back button, ostensibly because users found it confusing but likely to make the OS more suitable for use as a tablet operating system.
It seems the mere rumour of an upcoming assassination of the back button has mobilized protestors, who have taken to Microsoft’s Windows Phone user voice site to complain.
Windows Phone user Dev Jaykrishnan has posted the above suggestion, saying:
Don’t lose the Back Button in Windows Phone 8.1
I get that some people don’t get how to use the Back Button. Don’t disable it though. It’ll look awkward for those of us who have older models to have a non functioning button. Make it an option to disable it in the settings ! Please don’t make it a mandatory feature!
Reader Dhillon posts:
Please don’t remove the back button from hardware specs
Please don’t remove the back button from Windows Phone hardware spec
We are use to it
And its really helpful and makes multitasking an ease
We don’t want to have a feel like iOS
Windows Phone is unique and we love it, so please keep those three CHARMS intact
Back, Start and Search Button
There are some pretty valid reasons why not having a back button would be a bad idea.
evLeaks leaked the code-name, and now sources have passed along some of the specs of the rumoured Nokia Batman to the Verge.
Apparently the device will have many similarities with the Nokia Lumia 625.
The handset will be a lower-end smartphone, with a large screen, just like the 625, and will have similar specs.
It will have a 5 megapixel rear camera and VGA front camera. It will come supplied with Nokia Pro Cam and Smart Cam and is expected to debut later this year to join the Nokia Lumia 1520 and Lumia 929 in stores.
If the details are real one wonders how Nokia expects to differentiate the handset from the Nokia Lumia 625.
Via The Verge.com
Microsoft insider MSFTnerd has posted an interesting rumour on twitter.
He claims Terry Myerson, newly promoted executive vice president of operating systems, has decided to slowly merge Windows RT and Windows Phone over the next 2 years.
The feat will apparently be managed by 3 regular General Distribution Release updates per year.
As an early move in that direction, Microsoft is also rumoured to be merging the Windows Phone and Windows 8 store.
The question that remains is if Windows Phone and Windows RT’s UI will also be merged, or if Microsoft will end up having different user interfaces for different screen sizes.
The rumoured move, and Myerson’s promotion itself, is indicative of the increasing importance of mobile – while people have to use laptops and desktops to get work done, they prefer using their phones, which is a dangerous trend for a company like Microsoft who’s dominance is tied to the former.
Do our readers think this is a good move, and is Microsoft moving fast enough? Let us know below.
Chinese website CtechCN.com claims to have some new tasty rumour titbits for Microsoft’s Cortana Voice Assistant.
According to their sources the voice assistant will offer one feature we have not seen yet on other operating systems. The service will be able to recognize users by their voiceprint and unlock the handsets just for them.
CtechCN claims this is more convenient that fingerprint unlock, but I am not too sure of this, as saying Open Sesame to your handset 5 times an hour can I am sure get quite tiring.
The handset will also offer a new feature that is now coming to the market for Motorola and the iPhone. The device will be able to accept voice commands even with the screen off, similar to Motorola’s Moto X handset. That device however uses a special chipset, making CTechCN wonder whether this Windows Phone 8.1 feature will be reserved only for the latest handsets.
They also report that, like Telme, Cortana will be extensible by 3rd party developers, and that developers will know more about the system by December this year.
Do our readers think Microsoft is on the right track? Let us know below.
Xero is teasing us with more screen shots of what appears to be a render of the Nokia Lumia 1820 handset.
The screen shot shows the lock screen, and what appears to be Microsoft’s rumoured Siri competitor, Cortana, waiting for input, and clearly accessible from the lock screen.
The render also shows the Lumia branding , which will replace the Nokia brand on the handset.