Microsoft is keeping its promise of delivering Lumia Denim in the last quarter of 2014, as the firmware update is rolling out now. However, most devices which are slated to get it will only receive it starting early next year.
"The Lumia Denim update has started rolling out to a limited number of devices in selected markets, and will continue arriving in waves by device", says Microsoft's Adam Frasier. "A wider rollout of Lumia Denim to all Lumia smartphones running Windows Phone 8.1 is expected to begin in early January, following partner testing and approvals". I wouldn't be surprised if the roll-out ends very late in Q1 2015.
Nokia’s HERE suite of driving and navigation apps first made its appearance on Windows Phone, and although it’s now being developed for other platforms, for many it remains best associated with Microsoft’s mobile operating system.
However, now that Nokia is no longer tied to Windows Phone, the Finnish company’s interest in developing for that platform is waning, and it will in future be focusing on Android and iOS -- which have a much larger user base.
With Windows Phone still struggling to gain considerable traction, Microsoft is trying to boost its operating system's market share by focusing on the low-end of the market, which has real potential of attracting consumers, especially those in emerging markets. And, so far this year, Microsoft has introduced quite a few affordable Windows Phones, with the latest of the bunch being the still-Nokia-branded Lumia 638.
Lumia 638 is a new Windows Phone 8.1 handset that is designed for India. It is touted to be one of the most affordable smartphones with 4G connectivity available in this Asian market, which is sure to attract the attention of price-conscious local buyers. What else does it have to offer?
Windows Phone is a great operating system. If you disagree, you are wrong. Sure, it has frustratingly low app availability, including a lack of Google apps, but the underlying OS is wonderful. Live tiles are useful, and the UI is smart and attractive. Hell, the hardware is wonderful too, and it is often sold at very affordable prices.
Today, Microsoft and Sprint are joining forces to bring the Lumia 635 to Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile USA and Sprint's own network. Believe it or not, this is the first-ever Lumia handset for Boost and Virgin USA -- two of Sprint's sub-carriers.
Windows Phone started off as an easy to use smartphone operating system without many bells and whistles. Over the years, it has picked up more and more advanced features, reaching the point where it can now hold its own in a comparison against main rivals, Android and iOS. And Microsoft keeps adding to the list.
One area where Windows Phones have struggled -- against Android rivals -- is gesture-based features, like the ability to answer a call by holding the phone to the ear. (You can find that on some old Android devices, like Samsung Galaxy S3.) It is not a major feature by any means, but it is nice to have. Well, Microsoft is trying to catch up by introducing a new app, called Gestures, which enables (more) gesture-based features.
We've heard that 2015 could be the year of cryptocurrencies, and now it seems that Microsoft is getting in on the action ahead of the New Year. There is yet to be a formal announcement, but Microsoft now accepts Bitcoin as a form of payment for apps, games and other digital content.
The virtual currency can be used to make purchases in the Windows Stores, Windows Phone Store and the various stores that exist for Xbox. While Microsoft is yet to issue a statement about the acceptance of Bitcoin, a page has been added to its customer support site that gives some details.
Whenever I read about a company deploying a certain number of smartphones for internal use, it is usually Windows Phones which are given to employees. And Microsoft is the company that proudly does the official announcement on behalf of (or together with) its customer. This time around things are (very) different.
US airline United Airlines has announced that it will deploy iPhone 6 Plus to over 23,000 flight attendants, with the initial goal of giving them the ability to access company resources -- like email, Intranet, policies, and procedures manuals -- and also to handle retail transactions during flights.
When Fitbit launched its free, native app for Windows Phone 8.1 four months ago, it was a huge win for Microsoft which has in the past struggled to entice big names to its platform. The Fitbit app includes pretty much everything an owner of one of the firm’s activity trackers could want, including real-time and historical stats, automatic wireless syncing, activity and food logging, and the ability to pin the Fitbit Live Tile to your Start screen.
But where some companies simply port Android or iOS versions of their apps to Windows Phone and then forget about them, Fitbit shows just how committed it is to Microsoft's mobile platform by updating its app to introduce Cortana integration for easy voice-activated food & activity logging, as well as various other features.
What is Nokia doing after ditching phone-making? The Finnish company is focusing its efforts on more lucrative endeavors, like HERE. Even though nowadays the brand is mostly associated with Windows Phone, Nokia also brought its well-known mapping software to Android and ramped up its efforts to make the web version more attractive as well.
The result of the company's work to improve the online version of HERE is said to be "a better, faster and stronger here.com", which packs some interesting, value-adding new features. However, there is also something in store (no pun intended) for Windows Phone users, in the form of an update which is available for HERE apps on the platform.
If Microsoft wants Windows Phones to have a higher market share than the current 2.8 percent, it needs to step up its applications game.
The current state of affairs is simple: There are just not enough apps. Some apps have hundreds of fakes and rip-offs in the store, some available for Android or iOS are simply missing for Windows Phone and arrive half a year late.
Since its beta introduction to the US in the spring of this year Windows Phone 8.1's personal assistant tool Cortana has generated lots of interest.
It became available in the UK and China over the summer but now it's moving into the rest of Europe with native language versions for France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
The BBC has finally launched its sport app on Windows Phone, a long, long time after it was introduced on Android and iOS.
Of course, Windows Phone users aren’t exactly unfamiliar with the situation of waiting for an app to arrive, but at least it’s here now for sports fans with Microsoft-powered mobiles. So, what does it offer exactly?
"No one made any money in the Windows phone. We did not make any money from the Windows phone", Joe Kelly, head of international media affairs for Huawei, told the Seattle Times.
This statement comes several months after the China-based mobile device manufacturer said it was putting all future hardware developments for Windows phone on hold until further notice.
It’s the time of year when attention turns to buying gifts. Black Friday is now out of the way, but there's still Cyber Monday for you to stock up on low-cost presents for yourself and others. There are plenty of electronic devices vying for attention as companies try to tempt you into parting with your cash, but if you're the indecisive type, there's always the trusty fall-back of the gift card.
Keen to give you as many ways as possible to throw your money in its direction, Microsoft has launched Digital Gift Cards for Windows Phone. This is an app that does very much what you would expect, making it possible to buy and share gift cards from the comfort of your Windows Phone. But Microsoft isn’t stupid. The gift cards themselves are not limited to Windows Phone purchases -- they can be used to buy apps, games, movies and music from Xbox and Windows stores.
If you want to get a Windows Phone 8.1 device for cheap, chances are you are waiting for Black Friday or Cyber Monday to start to pick one up. And who could blame you? Microsoft as well as various retailers will have some nice deals waiting for you -- and millions of other shoppers -- then.
But why not get one right now? Microsoft has an amazing deal on Lumia 635, selling the smartphone -- in black, AT&T trim -- for just $39, off-contract. That is amazing value for the money.