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.
The app-gap is still not a thing of the past for Windows Phone Store, but, fortunately, things are getting better. There already are lots of third-party alternatives -- some of which are quite good -- to many prominent apps. And, thanks to the functionality enabled by Windows Phone 8.1, it is possible for more types of apps to launch, like Fitbit and Microsoft Remote Desktop.
The biggest progress, however, is made when well-known developers launch their apps on the platform. This week Windows Phone scores big, as both language-learning app Duolingo and computational engine WolframAlpha make their appearance in Store.
Windows Phone is a very polarizing operating system; some hate it, while others love it. I fall into the latter, but I struggle using it, as I place a high value on app availability. It is for this reason that I use Android; there are many quality apps for Google's mobile operating system.
Unfortunately, fragmentation has plagued Android; many users are stuck on outdated versions of the operating system, as manufacturers and carriers abandon phones. The only way to avoid such a problem, is to buy a Nexus device, such as the fabulous Nexus 6. While Android beats Windows Phone on the app front, as of today, Microsoft's mobile operating system beats Google's regarding updates. You see, every Lumia device running Windows Phone 8.x will be getting an upgrade to version 10!
Windows Phone is a fantastic mobile operating system, hindered only by a lack of apps. To be more specific, Google's lack of support makes Microsoft's mobile operating system a non-starter for many. Hell, my colleague Joe Wilcox recently declared his disdain for the platform, even though he loves the hardware. It's unfortunate, really.
Today, Microsoft officially announces the Lumia 535 -- notably missing the Nokia branding. The first handset featuring "Microsoft Lumia" branding is a low-end affair that will do nothing to sway Windows Phone detractors, or woo users of the popular iPhone. Instead, it represents affordability and style, targeting cost-conscious consumers in emerging markets.
Over the weekend I started to seriously review my photos from Comic-Con 2014. Goddamn, there are some good ones—each and every one taken with Nokia Lumia Icon, which is essentially identical to the 930 model reviewed by colleague Mark Wilson. He panned the device because of Windows Phone 8.1; I'm in love because of the camera. But sometimes love is lost, and regretted. My sister has the Icon now.
I lug around iPhone 6, which camera by every measure that matters to me is inferior but one—startup shooting speed. Apple's shooter can't compete with the Icon. Fanboys will disagree, but, hey, they always will. The difference isn't fewer megapixels—eight compared to 20—but the intelligence and usability baked into camera and editing apps, lens, sensor, and choices the device makes when auto-shooting.
As you may know, HTC One (M8) launched as a Verizon-exclusive in late-August. Shortly after its introduction, both AT&T and T-Mobile revealed that they would too carry the Windows Phone, but at a later date. The former was the first to get it, last week, but now you can also buy it from the magenta carrier.
While things were pretty clear about the cost of buying One (M8) for Windows from AT&T, T-Mobile left this information for the day when it is actually available through its stores. Luckily, if you have waited this long, you will not be disappointed.
Since taking control of Nokia's Devices & Services business in April, Microsoft has introduced a couple of important new Windows Phones. We have the replacement of the popular entry-level Lumia 520, called Lumia 530, and the much-awaited successor of two year-old mid-ranger Lumia 820, dubbed Lumia 830, as well as two in-between offerings, Lumia 730 and Lumia 735.
Under Microsoft's leadership, there appears to be something fresh for everyone looking to be part of the Windows Phone world, except up-to-date versions of Lumia 1320 and Lumia 1520 phablets. And, next week, we will see the software giant unveiling yet another Lumia Windows Phone, this time, perhaps, even featuring its own branding, instead of Nokia's.
NFC payments are all the rage nowadays, in no small part thanks to the support that Apple Pay is receiving from financial institutions and iPhone users, and raving reviews from the media. Naturally, this may tempt you to give NFC payments a go, to see what all the fuss is about. But what if you have a Windows Phone? Apple Pay is obviously out of the question. What can you do then?
As you may know, Windows Phone supports NFC payments out-of-the-box, thanks to a feature known as Tap to Pay. Like Apple Pay it leverages the built-in NFC chip in your device. The only thing standing between you and paying through it is its lack of support. However, there is another way you can make NFC payments with your Windows Phone, and that is by using the Softcard app, which just arrived on the platform. Here is what you need to know about it.