As Microsoft has released numerous preview builds of Windows 10, testers have been able to provide feedback and make suggestions via the UserVoice website. In two weeks, this feedback system dies completely.
The killing of UserVoice actually took place on 30 October, but the site remains accessible until 16 November -- almost coinciding with the expected release of Threshold 2. Before you start to panic that Microsoft is killing the feedback that has been provided, there is a contingency plan.
Hot on the heels of a new desktop build, Microsoft has now released Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview Build 10549 to Fast ring Windows Phone users. While there are a fair number of improvements and new features, there is also a serious problem for anyone upgrading from Build 10536 -- although there is a work around.
So that’s the bad news, what's the good? Riding the current wave of interest in diversity, this build includes diverse emoji; a recognition of the fact that there are many hues of skin color. There are improvements to the messaging app -- although no Skype integration just yet -- and to Cortana, but that's not the end of the story.
Windows 10 devices were responsible for over 50 percent of all Windows Store downloads in September, according to the latest Windows Store Trends update from Microsoft. The new operating system had been installed on over 100 million devices by the end of last month, increasing its reach to more than 110 million devices earlier in October.
That is not the only piece of good news, as Microsoft also says that Windows 10 gets two times better user engagement and four times the revenue per user compared to Windows 8.x. The most popular category of apps with Windows 10 users is games, which makes up just shy of 45 percent of all Windows 10 downloads.
Microsoft appears to have learned from its mistakes. Its first wearable, the Microsoft Band was a cheap and cheerful affair -- although there wasn’t really all that much to be cheerful about in all honesty. Today the company unveiled the second edition of the Band, and the look is in line with the leaked images from a couple of weeks ago.
With the latest version of the Band, Microsoft has gone back to the drawing board and come up with a design that is sleek and stylish, and features a curved screen. The health and fitness tracker is nicely rounded, and the curved display is strengthened with Gorilla Glass 3. There are now no fewer than 11 built in sensors, including a new barometer for measuring altitude.
Chatter on Twitter suggests that Google will be present at Microsoft's grand "Windows 10 Devices" event tomorrow, and it would announce Android apps support for Windows 10 Mobile devices. Bolstering the theory is the two company's seemingly improving relationship, the biggest testament of which was up on display when the two recently agreed to drop 20 patent lawsuits they had filed against each other. If it indeed true, what does it mean for Microsoft's mobile operating system? Revival.
It's no secret that Android and iOS are the two dominant mobile operating systems out there -- whether you like it or not. Windows Phone has been playing catch up ever since its inception -- quite literally as Microsoft was late to arrive in the mobile operating system party. Perhaps it didn't get the memo. This race left the company's mobile operating system non-beneficial for mobile developers to make apps for it. And how can you blame them? Windows Phone had less than 5 percent of market share. So a majority of these developers never made apps for Windows Phone.
The long-anticipated Skype Messaging app is finally here. That is, if you have a Windows Phone smartphone, and just happen to be running Windows 10 Mobile developer preview. The company quietly released the new messaging client on Sunday.
The Skype Universal Messaging app, as evident in the screenshots and descriptions, comes with a user interface that seems very similar to the built-in messaging app on Windows Phone 8.1 and above. The app, as you would expect, also offers a quick option to do voice calling.
When Tomb Raider was released in 1996, the heroine, Lara Croft, was a sex symbol for computer nerds. While the graphics were archaic by today's standards, the well-endowed character looked real enough for gamers. Heck, Angelina Jolie eventually played her in the film.
Today, Square Enix announces that Lara Croft will be titillating mobile gamers on iOS, Android, and surprisingly, Windows Phone too. Will you buy the all-new Lara Croft GO game?
Stop the presses! People don’t like it when things are rubbish! A new study shows that while we are more attached to our phones than ever, they are an increasing source of frustration and problems. Users have become less tolerant of issues with hardware, bad experiences with customer services, and crashing apps.
The study -- entitled It's Complicated: Mobile Frustrations & Churn -- also found that faulty handsets and poor customer services would be enough to drive nearly a third of people to a new carrier or handset manufacturer. Interestingly, the study also threw up a few surprises, including the revelation that not many mobile users are bothered about photo and video quality.
Satya Nadella is a man with a formidable challenge. Microsoft CEO's predecessor, Steve Ballmer, squandered the company's mobile fortunes. From smartphone platform leader a decade ago, the software-and-services giant is a category also-ran in 2015. Microsoft has no independent mobile platform future. The war is over. There remains this: Making alliances with old enemies to preserve existing territory, while using the foothold to reach into new frontiers.
Made available August 5th, Outlook for Apple Watch is a very smart move and metaphor for what went wrong on Microsoft mobile platforms and what has to go right to preserve and extend the legacy applications stack. While Windows 10 makes its way to Lumia devices, the future is Android and iOS and how the company supports them with contextually meaningful cloud-connected apps and services.
The move to bigger iPhones is arguably the best decision that Apple has made in recent years. Consumer demand has been extremely strong from launch, proof being that Apple was able to match Samsung's shipments in Q4 2014 and post record sales quarter after quarter. The result? Record earnings.
The strong iPhone sales also translate into a strong market share. In Europe, Apple's handsets are gaining ground across all five-largest local markets, at the expense of either market leader Android or third-place rival Windows Phone, according to a new report from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.
Microsoft can focus on Windows 10 Mobile now that Windows 10 is officially available to PC and tablet users. While we do not yet know exactly when the software giant plans to introduce the new version of its smartphone operating system, we do have an idea about which Lumia handsets will be the first to receive the coveted software upgrade.
Windows 10 Mobile will be available to virtually all smartphones that run Windows Phone 8.1, partly because the system requirements are pretty much the same. The Lumia devices that will get the software upgrade first are newer handsets that either sell well at the moment or are positioned at the top of the lineup.
There is nothing more frustrating about Windows Phone than finding out that one of the services that I have to use on a daily basis does not have an app in Store, nor is there a third-party offering available. The poor developer support is one of the main reasons why I switched to iPhone 6 Plus late last year, after using Windows Phones exclusively for nearly two years straight.
However, in the case of some services, at least there is hope. Slack, the communication tool that we use at BetaNews, does not currently have a Windows Phone client, but the company behind the service is actively working on one, showing off an early build on Twitter.
In an impromptu Q&A on Twitter, Microsoft's Joe Belfiore has revealed more about how Continuum will work on Windows 10 for Phones. He started off by saying that it is a very high-end feature and will require new hardware as it uses dual screens.
Continuum is part of Microsoft's drive to make a uniform experience for Windows 10 users across a range of different devices -- from desktops and laptops, to tablets and smartphones. Belfiore shared pictures of a Xiaomi Mi4 showing how Continuum allows windows to be moved from a desktop to mobile display, giving a tantalizing glimpse of what's to come.
Microsoft really is going all-out with its Windows 10 campaigning in the week and a half before launch. The latest carrot to dangle tantalizingly in front of would-be upgraders is the news that Cortana, Microsoft's digital assistant, is spreading into new markets. When Windows 10 launches on July 29, Cortana will be available in the US, UK, China, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain.
Today, Microsoft says that the tool will be made available to Windows Insiders in Japan, Australia, Canada (English), and India in the coming months. Cortana will continue to spread around the world launching in Brazil, Mexico, and Canada (French) by the end of the year. If you were wondering, there's a very good reason that Cortana is not available everywhere from day one.
Running out of space and having to shift files and apps to a memory card is a familiar scenario for smartphone users. It's also something that affects tablets, and with the imminent release of Windows 10 talk has turned to how Microsoft's latest operating system with handle things.
The company had previously said that, just like Windows Phone, it will be possible to install apps to an SD card on tablets which have limited space. That said, this is a feature that will be missing from Windows 10 when it launches in eleven days. Microsoft has taken a last minute decision to delay the feature as it's not quite finished.