After using the Android and iOS counterparts, Facebook app for Windows Phone 8 feels rudimentary and out of place by comparison. Even though the interface takes some design cues from the operating system, it is not very intuitive, wastes too much screen estate and displays content in a visually unappealing way. The app would be rather nice, except 2010 has long passed.
Now Microsoft wants you to love the Facebook experience on Windows Phone 8, releasing a beta app that stands up against the Android and iOS alternatives. Gone is the infinite horizontal scrolling, now replaced by tabs that you might actually find useful. Swiping to the right reveals a tab to the left of the screen, containing a link to your profile, favorites, groups, friends, apps, settings, the usual policy information and a log-out button.
Windows Phone customers have options for driving apps -- both Bing and Nokia produce excellent solutions. Now one of the most intriguing options for Android and iOS is preparing for a push to the Microsoft mobile platform and impending competition with the existing solutions already in place.
Waze, which happens to be my GPS app of choice on Android, announces early beta testing on Windows Phone 8: "We are now opening a beta program for Windows Phone users and we'd like you to join" says the company in its announcement.
"Windows strength appears to be the ability to attract first time smartphone buyers, upgrading from a feature phone", Mary-Ann Parlato, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech analyst, says about the U.S. handset market for the three months ended in February. "Of those who changed their phone over the last year to a Windows smartphone, 52 percent had previously owned a feature phone".
End of story, or could be, if not for something else. Fifty-five percent of iOS buyers, and 51 percent for Android, are repeat smartphone purchasers. The two more popular platforms, while growing because of their larger bases, sell more to existing customers, which make up a more finite market. "With over half of the U.S. market still owning a feature phone, it’s likely that many will upgrade over the coming year, which will ultimately contribute to more growth for the Windows brand", Parlato emphasizes.
Honestly, gadget marketing doesn't get much better than this. Brilliant isn't strong enough to describe how fabulous and memorable is the new spot for Nokia Lumia 920. I showed the commercial to my wife, twice, and she laughed to tears both times -- and giggled for half an hour later.
If you watch nothing else today, make this video the one and only. I'm a sucker for good marketing, and this commercial works well on so many levels -- wedding setting, fanboyism and brilliant physical comedy -- I dare not dissect them and ruin the fun.
This is a question that I never thought I'd ask -- Is the hardware leaving Windows Phone 8 behind its fierce competition? In September last year, I asserted that "Windows Phone 8 is the best idea Microsoft has had in phone tech" after analyzing the new hardware requirements imposed by the software giant for its smartphone operating system. But as we all know eight months is a long time in the tech world.
This is a tough question to answer. After all, in January, BlackBerry unveiled the BlackBerry Z10 with pretty much the same hardware that was available for Windows Phone 8 at launch. Apple's iPhone 5 is also not far away in terms of specifications. So should Microsoft rest on its laurels and send the engineers on vacation? Well, no. As a smart man once said, "You can never have enough power". And even Windows Phone needs better hardware, although some die-hard fanboys would beg to differ.
Today, through its Beta Labs blog, Finnish maker Nokia announces a new experimental app for the Lumia Windows Phone lineup. Available only in a select number of markets, Nokia Chat for Windows Phone is designed to connect Lumia users with "friends who use Lumia, Asha, S40, and Symbian devices, and those using Yahoo! Messenger on other mobile devices and platforms".
Nokia Chat for Windows Phone is available to Lumia users in Australia, Canada, India, Nigeria, South Africa, New Zealand, United Kingdom and United States. The Finnish manufacturer promises to expand availability "to more countries in the near future". So what does Nokia Chat for Windows Phone bring to the table for us Lumia users?
I find that having children is an excellent excuse for watching movies like Ice Age, Up, Cars and more. After all, I would feel a bit silly watching those flicks on my own, as I do with scary movies like Paranormal Activity, thanks to a wife and kids who would not sleep for a week if they joined me in front of the screen.
Now Ice Age, and all of its classic characters, like Sid, Manny, Ellie, and Diego, are coming to your phone -- providing that you are using a Windows Phone 8 handset.
Audible, a leading choice in the audio book market and a company that was purchased by Amazon back in 2008, is now working with Microsoft to drum up new business for both entities with offers to both the PC and mobile platform. The Amazon subsidiary has long offered free book deals in a number of forms, including the many podcasts sponsored with its advertising.
Today Microsoft announces that customers of both Windows 8 and Windows Phone can grab a free audio book with no subscription or credit card required. "Audible has apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone that let you download and listen to books on the go. With over 135,000 titles from classics to New York Times bestsellers, you can enjoy endless hours of entertainment" says Microsoft's Kristina Libby.
The measure of a platform's success is applications -- and, contrary to Apple marketing, not how many but which ones. Windows Phone 8 gets a lift today with the addition of Tumblr, natively developed rather than homegrown like Facebook.
I don't have Windows Phone to test the app, but based on information Microsoft provides, all the basics are there -- posting photos from the camera, for example. There is voice recognition for dictating posts and support for animated GIFs.
If you own a Lumia Windows Phone and don't mind fiddling with experimental software then Nokia may have something available for you in the app store, kept away from prying eyes. Through the Beta Labs website, the Finnish manufacturer gives users the ability to grab and test software that is currently under development and not yet available inside Nokia's exclusive app collection on Windows Phone.
Beta Labs is not new -- in fact it was launched last decade -- but it is frequently updated by Nokia with new software iterations and apps designed for its devices. Some of you may have even spotted news stories discussing various experimental apps for Windows Phone, so let's take a look at what you can (and should) get on your Lumia today to enrich your user experience.
I am thinking about doing one of my weird experiments, by switching to Windows Phone for 30 days. This would be cold feet for me. I asked Microsoft for a loaner in December 2011 and was promised a device but never received one. So with the exception of scattered minutes inside the local Microsoft Store, I have little experience with the platform. That's not right.
This morning, I emailed the PR person who helped me more than a year ago, but the message bounced; perhaps she moved on to another job. Meantime, while figuring out whom to contact, I have a question for those of you using Windows Phone: Why? For others choosing (or switching to) something else: Why not? Your responses will be excellent start to this journey.
Fifth in a series. I'll admit it -- Nokia was a company I couldn't care less about a couple of years ago. I disliked the design, the high price and the bulkiness of its high-end smartphones, which then ran Symbian. At the time the Finnish manufacturer had the accelerator pedal mashed to the floor and was heading straight on a highway to oblivion, seemingly unwilling to steer the ship in the right direction. Android and iOS were the future and Symbian was the past. Then Nokia jumped ship to Windows Phone.
And that made a difference. As I embraced Windows Phone as my smartphone operating system of choice something happened. Nokia became interesting and appealing to me, so much so that I even bought a Lumia 920 little more than a month ago. And, to be honest, I'd never thought that one day I would own and love a Nokia smartphone. There's something about the Lumia 920 which feels right and makes the Finnish manufacturer fit perfectly into the Windows Phone picture.
Following the lead of a number of high-profile companies like Apple, Dropbox and Google, Microsoft has finally embraced two-step authentication. Two days ago, the company unveiled the feature which, in order to "help keep your account more secure", enables using security codes or application-specific passwords when accessing Microsoft services. Sadly, for Android and iOS users, Microsoft only offers a Windows Phone app, at this point, to generate security codes.
The app is called Authenticator and works with both Windows Phone 8 as well as Windows Phone 7.5 (ironically, it was the app that revealed Microsoft's plans to offer the security feature in the first place). This guide will show you how to enable two-step authentication for your Microsoft account and use Authenticator to generate security codes on your Windows Phone smartphone.
Have you ever heard the saying "Better late than never"? After a string of modest (and even disappointing) quarters, Nokia's Windows Phone bet is starting to pay off as Lumia sales finally show noticeable signs of improvement.
In Q1 2013, the Finnish manufacturer managed to sell a not-so-shabby 5.6 million Lumia smartphones, roughly two-thirds of which are Windows Phone 8-based devices such as the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820. Lo and behold, Lumia sales even surpassed those of the low-end Asha and Symbian smartphone series, with Nokia managing to move just five million of the former and 0.5 million of the latter. Considering the price difference between Windows Phone devices and Asha and Symbian-based ones, that is impressive.
If you are an avid LinkedIn user on Windows Phone 8 then you will certainly appreciate the latest update. The app has introduced significant improvements over its predecessor, ranging from a new live tile size, to speech recognition and expanded language support.
New versions of LinkedIn for Windows Phone 8 don't come often so any major update is likely to be the only one users will see in a while (a minor update for it appeared earlier this week, but without any noticeable new features or changes from the previous version other than, most likely, a couple of bug fixes and general performance enhancements). So what delights does LinkedIn 1.5 have to offer us? Let's take a look at the changes.