One of the frustrations facing Windows Phone users -- much like Android fans -- is that when an OS update is announced it can be difficult to find out when, or indeed if, a particular handset will receive it. Carriers can take an age to release update to their customers.
With Windows 10 Mobile, Microsoft is making things much simpler by taking over the task of pushing out updates. This means users will no longer have to wait for their mobile carrier to get around to it. It's something that will help not only to ensure that as many people as possible are using the very latest version of the operating system, but will also help to stamp out a serious problem: fragmentation.
There is an obvious trend in the Windows Phone market of offering more and more affordable smartphones. That is because most users of the tiled operating system gravitate towards low-end devices come purchase time. So, naturally, when Verizon decided to finally include a new Windows Phone in its portfolio, big red did not stray from this path.
Verizon's first Windows Phone since the launch of HTC One (M8) for Windows, nearly nine months ago, is the LG-branded Lancet, which can be had for as little as $19.99 on a two-year contract. And it is not just cheap in this trim, but off-contract too.
While Android is the clear leader in the mobile market, in the enterprise space arch-rival iOS is the platform that actually comes out on top. Apple's iPhones and iPads make up 72 percent of all mobile device activations, while handsets running the green droid operating system have to make do with just 26 percent.
Unsurprisingly, it is iPhone 6 which sustains Apple's enterprise dominance, coming out as the most-popular handset in the enterprise thanks to it making up 26 percent of all activations between January and March. Apple's flagship is followed by Samsung's Galaxy S5. Together, the two leading vendors offer 28 out of the 30 most-popular devices in the enterprise.
Apple's latest iPhones continue to be in high-demand in Europe half a year after their launch, leading up to a market share boost on the old continent according to a new report from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. And it is happening at the expense of Android, which, while still the most-popular smartphone operating system in Europe, is seeing part of its local users fleeing to iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
In Q1 2015, iPhones claimed 20.3 percent of the European smartphone market, a 1.8 percentage points increase over Q1 2014. During the first quarter of the year, 32.4 percent of new customers were Android defectors.
Low-end Windows Phones make great first smartphones for those on a budget. They deliver a solid user experience, offer expandable storage, are dependable and feel fast, generally at sub $100 prices. The low cost also makes them good backup smartphones.
There are a couple of very-affordable, interesting Windows Phone 8.1 devices around, like Lumia 530 and Lumia 635, but Microsoft just added the newer Lumia 435 to its online store lineup. Should you get it?
In the world of wearables, Microsoft Band may not hold the same gravitas as Apple Watch or the various Android Wear devices, but the company is still trying to get more developers on board -- today launching the Microsoft Band SDK, following on from February's preview release.
With support for Windows Phone, Android, iOS, and full-blown Windows, Microsoft is clearly keen to appeal to as many developers as possible. This full SDK release offers access to all of Band's sensors -- as part of a push to get more third-party apps on the device.
Gartner predicts that currency devaluation will compel major computer manufacturers to reverse a longstanding trend. "PC vendors selling to Europe and Japan, where local currencies have fallen up to 20 percent since the start of 2015, have little choice than to raise prices to preserve profits" -- by as much as 10 percent, Ranjit Atwal, Gartner Research director, says in a statement earlier today.
Higher prices mean more consumers will do with leaner configurations, and many businesses will push back upgrades. All the while, PC makers will give customers less for more money. Atwal anticipates fewer features in new computers in affected markets and increased sales emphasis in "regions least affected by these currency effects".
Microsoft's final attempt to save Windows Phone: Introduces support for Android apps, lures iOS devs
Microsoft has a four-fold plan to close Windows Phone’s infamous 'app-gap' problem. At its ongoing developer conference, Build 2015, the Redmond-based company announces that it is making it easier for developers to bring their apps to the Windows Phone platform.
The first way is to entice Web developers to wrap their sites into apps and release them on the Windows Store. The second -- arguably, the least exciting -- is to make Windows apps the traditional way -- using existing Win32, .NET WinForms and other Windows development technologies.
Microsoft comes under fire quite often for seeming to favor Android and iOS over its own mobile platforms. Apple and Google's mobile operating system have been first in line for all manner of Microsoft apps and services, and it was much the same story with the mobile versions of Office.
Today Microsoft is taking steps to allay the concerns of Windows Phone users -- you have not been forgotten! Specifically, the company says that the preview version of Office Universal apps will, or at least should, be made available for Windows 10 for phones by the end of the month.
When I was a young man, I loved video games more than anything. Not only did I play the games, but I bought magazines about them and had fun discussing them with friends. Back then -- in the 80s' and 90's -- things were much simpler. You put in your cartridge, started the system and were playing in seconds. Nowadays, however, games take forever to load, are super complicated and offer in-game purchases. It can feel like a huge money-grab. Hell, sometimes you spend more time installing updates than playing the actual games!
When Microsoft Studios and 343 Industries released Halo: Spartan Assault last year, I was in heaven. The game was a throw-back to the glory days of gaming -- pick up and play. You shot stuff and tried not to die; a wonderful concept! Today, the follow-up to that game, Halo: Spartan Strike, sees release. You can download the game now for Windows, Windows Phone, iPad and iPhone. The best part? A paltry $5.99 price tag (and no in-game purchases)!
Microsoft releases new Windows 10 for phones preview to more Lumias, includes Project Spartan and new Outlook Mail
As promised two weeks ago, Microsoft is today releasing the Windows 10 for phones preview build across a larger set of Lumia phones. In a blog post, the company announces that it is seeding out the Build 10051 of the Windows 10 Technical Preview for phones to the Fast ring today. In addition to bringing support for more smartphones, the new build also brings along a number of new features, including Project Spartan, new Outlook Mail and Calendar apps, and more.
First up, let’s talk about the new features. Project Spartan -- the new browser from the Redmond-based company which recently made its way to the Windows 10 technical preview for desktops -- is now making its debut on Windows Phone handsets. “It uses our new rendering engine to give greater interoperability with the modern mobile web, and includes early versions of Reading View and Reading List”, says Gabe Aul, Windows Insider Guru, Microsoft. Project Spartan will not replace Internet Explorer 11 on your phone as the default browser but will exist side-by-side with it.
Today Facebook launches a new standalone website for its Messenger service. The separate interface means that it is now possible to chat with your Facebook contacts without having to visit the main Facebook website where you might run the risk of whiling away too much time reading through your timeline as well.
On mobile devices, Facebook has moved users to a dedicated Messenger app rather than allowing them to chat within the main app. By bringing the web-based version of the social network's chat tool in line with the iOS, Windows Phone and Android versions, Facebook has made chatting a distinct feature that can now be conducted completely separately in its own tab.
There is no end in sight for the Windows Phone app-gap. While lots of major titles have made their way to Store over the years, the platform has seen a number of high-profile offerings disappear altogether. Some developers are backing out, while others are getting in the way of third-party clients being made available to users. It's a sad state of affairs.
While NBC has released updates for both the Android and iOS versions of the app, Today is listed as no longer available in Windows Phone Store. Meanwhile, 6snap will no longer be available to users because Snapchat has a problem with third-party clients.
Microsoft has announced that mobile device management is now available in Office 365 for commercial customers. The feature is built into the office suite and allows administrators to control access to Office 365 data by Android, iOS and Windows Phone tablets and phones.
Security is very much at the heart of Office 365's mobile device management, and it includes a remote wipe feature. For businesses who have embraced the BYOD philosophy, this will bring peace of mind as it allows for the remote removal of Office and associated files even on personal devices.
Earlier in the month we reported that Apple was about to start offering gift cards as part of a trade-in program for people buying a new iPhone. The updated program has now gone live so you can take your old Apple device, or non-Apple smartphone to an Apple store, or mail it in to receive credit.
The credit can be used in store or online against the purchase of a new Apple device, and this program expansion is the latest move from Apple to try to tempt users away from other platforms. You can check online to see how much you can expect to receive for your existing phone and decide whether it's worth your while. Hint: it might not be.