Microsoft could face a ban on importing handsets into the US after a ruling by the International Trade Commission. The ITC found that Microsoft had used technology for which InterDigital owns the patents without obtaining the relevant permission.
Microsoft plans to challenge the ruling, saying "we have a successful track record challenging patent assertion entities that misuse industry standards". It is not the first handset manufacturer to have been hit with legal action from InterDigital, and it could severely hamper future handset sales.
If you own a Windows Phone, I feel sorry for you. Why? Microsoft is showing a lot of love to Android and iOS lately, while neglecting its own mobile operating system. Hell, the company even seems to be embracing Apple Watch very strongly! True, Microsoft did release Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 10051 for the phones, but it was only for certain devices, and worse than that, it is an absolute train wreck. While it is a fun look to the future, it isn't something to be used as a daily driver.
If you did choose to install Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 10051 on your only smartphone, you may be regretting it. Before you move back to Windows Phone 8.1, you should try out the all-new Build 10052, which was released today. It is a bug-fix release that may solve your woes. Other than fixes, it appears to be a rather ho-hum affair.
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.
Windows Phone users are a special bunch. They have chosen to invest in the last-place mobile ecosystem. The reason they chose this route can be many things, such as Microsoft loyalty or having an underdog personality. The most sensible reason for choosing Windows Phone, however, is the potential low cost of ownership coupled with the well-designed user interface. It is a solid experience.
Of course, these users are very anxious to try the next version of the mobile operating system, Windows 10 for phones. When Microsoft released the Technical Preview of the OS last month, the list of compatible devices was so small, that many users of the non-compatible devices felt a bit jilted, and rightfully so. Today, Microsoft releases a list of devices scheduled to get the next version of Windows 10 Technical Preview for phones. To the delight of Windows Phone users, the list is much more extensive, but only includes Lumia devices.
When I first pondered leaving Windows Phone behind, I imagined it would be for an Android flagship. It made sense. Android is, after all, much more permissive, has way more apps, and is available in a larger variety of smartphone flavors. And Google is committed to improving the operating system, launching at least one major update a year. Also, I use a Google Nexus 7 as my every day tablet; an Android smartphone would be a perfect fit. But things change.
Apple finally came up with bigger iPhones last year, and the prospect of ditching Windows Phone for a new iPhone suddenly became irresistible. It didn't hurt that iOS 8 dropped some of the annoying restrictions of its predecessors. Ultimately, I ended up with an iPhone 6 Plus. And, after two years of Windows Phones, using Apple's phablet as my daily driver can only be described as liberating.
Meet the new Microsoft. Maybe the company really charts a new course under CEO Satya Nadella's leadership. Colleague Mark Wilson reports that even software pirates can upgrade free to Windows 10. Seriously? Reward the thieves who rob revenue from the platform's cradle? Hand robbers sacred possessions at the door? Give them the house keys and ask them to lock up after they take the tellie, silver, and jewelry?
Outstanding! I really am not being sarcastic, just pretending to be. The strategy is simply brilliant and too long coming, assuming nothing changes before Windows 10's summer release or Microsoft clarifies licensing rules to mean something different. Without even stressing a single synapse I can conjure up more good reasons for the upgrade plan than the fingers on my hands. But I'll keep the list a bit shorter for this post.
Mobile World Congress has wrapped up in Barcelona, Spain and now we're left to sort through the torrent of information that came out of the event. There were countless announcements made for all manner of mobile news, with new phones taking center stage in the midst of the chaos. Microsoft was prominent at the event, with several things to reveal.
There was the unveiling of the Lumia 640XL, a mid-range device that qualifies as a "phablet" with its 5.7 inch screen. It even comes with a 13 MP rear camera, a feature that the Lumia line is famous for. It's a step up from the Lumia 640, which is a scaled down version. The screen is still large at 5 inches, while the rear camera is a solid 8MP. Both phones are expected to be available soon via AT&T.
Despite my colleague Wayne Williams' eloquent suggestion that the naming conventions used for Lumia devices is part of the reason for the low uptake of Windows Phone, the platform still has a serious problem when it comes to apps. Whether there is a real problem or not, the perception is that Windows Phone -- or Windows 10 for Phones -- is rather lacking in the app department. Fear not... Microsoft has a solution.
Rather than pumping out a glut of new apps of its own, or encouraging developers to produce third-party apps, Microsoft is adopting a slightly different tactic. At MWC 2015 this week the Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL were revealed, but Microsoft also announced that web apps will be permitted in the Windows store. Could this be what app-hungry consumers have been waiting for?
My colleague Brian Fagioli was right to reject Microsoft’s laughable claim that Windows Phone is experiencing 'impressive growth', and to also brand the tiled mobile OS as a failure. Android and iOS completely dominate the mobile space, and Microsoft -- which owns the desktop -- is nothing but a bit player.
If you ask anyone why Microsoft has failed to succeed they will probably say "apps". The Windows Store has a fraction of the apps found in the Apple App Store and Google Play (aside from the main names, few of the many apps I used regularly on my iPhone are available on Windows Phone) and there are dodgy clones and fakes to be found throughout the store. But while that is definitely a factor I think the real blame for Windows Phone’s failure lies elsewhere.
It was something of a poorly kept secret, but this morning at MWC Microsoft announced the two latest additions to its range of Lumia handsets. News of the Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL had already crept out over the weekend thanks to a slightly premature news release that was later pulled, but now the handsets are official and "keeping you prepared for anything".
These may be fairly low-end phones, but there's one thing the handsets are prepared for -- Windows 10. The 5-inch Lumia 640 and 5.7-inch Lumia 640 XL will arrive with Windows Phone 8.1, but are in line for a Windows 10 upgrade. To increase the appeal of the phones, Microsoft is throwing in a one-year license for Office 365, 60 minutes of international Skype calls each month, and 1TB of OneDrive storage. But what about the specs?
Microsoft has released its earnings report for Q2 FY2015 (that's Q4 CY2014 for everyone else), revealing figures that closely match analyst expectations. The software giant achieved $26.5 billion in revenue, with operating income coming in at $7.8 billion. Gross margin and diluted earnings per share were $16.3 billion and $0.71, respectively. However, in after-hours trading, Microsoft's shares dropped by $2, or 4.28 percent, to $45 per share.
Microsoft has delivered some good news through its earnings report concerning its Devices and Consumer part of the business. Surface revenue reached $1.1 billion at the end of the quarter, which translates to a healthy increase of 24 percent over Q2 FY2014. Lumia sales topped 10.5 million, which, again, is better than the same quarter from a year prior as well as the previous quarter, Q1 FY2015. And the list goes on.
Twitter is my favorite social media site because it is easy to use. There aren't tons of privacy "gotchas" like on some other sites. I can log in, share my thoughts in 140 characters and be done. Best of all, the time line is basically chronological. On Facebook, I have no idea what the heck is going on -- the order of posts sometimes seem to be random.
So if I like Twitter for its simplicity, I should also want to Tweet without much effort too, right? Right. In a new update for Windows Phone, users can now send Tweets using Cortana. Will you use her to relay your social media communiques?
Microsoft has made lots of mistakes with Windows Phone. Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the biggest screw-ups is the lack of an upgrade path from Windows Phone 7 to the next major installment, Windows Phone 8. The software giant basically shot itself, and its mobile platform, in the foot there. But let's let bygones be bygones, shall we?
The reason why I am bringing this up now is that there's chatter about Lumia 532 being "Windows 10 ready". And it's not just a rumor, no. Microsoft's own landing page for the Windows Phone advertises this, when doing a search for the device. Strangely enough, some are taking this with a grain of salt, like it isn't obvious. But it is. Lumia 532 will get Windows 10. Microsoft isn't going to make the same mistake twice, otherwise it will kill the platform for good.
I have a confession; I love Windows Phone. I must whisper this, as Microsoft's mobile operating system has fallen out of favor with the tech community. Well, it was never popular to begin with, but lately, even fanboys have been jumping ship. It's hard to blame them, as there are many limitations to the platform; most notably apps. With that said, I still enjoy it.
If you are like me, and haven't yet given up on Windows Phone entirely, you are in for a treat. Today, Microsoft announces that Lumia Denim is officially rolling out for more devices this month. What does this mean? If you have a Lumia handset, better performance and new features are on the way.
Windows Phone is most-preferred by low-end smartphone buyers. In fact, Nokia Lumia 520 alone accounts for more than 25 percent of Windows Phones currently in use. However, for consumers in developing and emerging markets even a smartphone as affordable as Lumia 520 may be priced out of their budget.
Less-expensive options are needed for the platform to increase its user base, so, today, Microsoft announces its most-affordable Windows Phones yet -- Lumia 532 and Lumia 435. The two devices are designed to offer basically the same Windows Phone experience as their more expensive siblings, but at prices starting at as low as €69, before any local taxes and subsidies are factored in.