Microsoft Has 3 Surface Phones for 2017 But Nothing Till Then

Even as Microsoft continues to work on their Windows 10 Mobile OS, the hardware side has been lagging behind. After acquiring Nokia’s handset business for a massive sum 2 years ago, Microsft really hasn’t done much with it. In fact, according to the latest rumours, it looks like the first set of new Microsoft phones won’t be coming till 2017. This also comes as Lumia, Nokia’s brand, has seen new handset releases grind to a halt.

According to the source, the new Windows phones coming in 2017 will take up the Surface branding from their popular line of tablet PCs. Microsoft is trying to take the time to get the hardware right and re-enter the phone space with a fresh lineup. The 3 new Surface phones will target the Consumer, Enterprise and Prosumer market segments respectively. This is in line with Microsoft’s simplification of their hardware to better target customers.

For now, Windows 10 Mobile fans will have to content themselves with OEM handsets. The delay will give OEM partners a chance to test out the waters without any first-party hardware to worry about. On the flip side, if OEMs don’t jump into the game, Microsoft may lose even more marketshare and face a much tougher jump back into the market.

Windows 10 Mobile Will Not Come to All Lumia Phones as Promised

With news that Windows 10 Mobile will be coming to the Lumia line of phones, people were eagerly awaiting the update after what could only be considered a lackluster of support and empty promises for windows 8 mobile. Sadly not everyone will be able to enjoy this as it has now been revealed that windows 10 mobile will not be coming to all the Lumia phones as it was previously promised.

What does this mean? If you are one of the unlucky ones you will end up with a phone that will permanently stuck on Windows Phone 8. If you own one of the following phones, you will be given the option to update to windows 10 sometime soon on your phone:

  • Lumia 1520
  • Lumia 930
  • Lumia 830
  • Lumia 730
  • Lumia 735
  • Lumia 640
  • Lumia 640XL
  • Lumia 635 1GB
  • Lumia 636 1GB
  • Lumia 638 1GB
  • Lumia 540
  • Lumia 535
  • Lumia 532
  • Lumia 435
  • Lumia 430

While the age of some Lumia phones may seem like a good reason to stop supporting them, the pressure to get their mobile platform correct seems to be building with expectations that Windows 10’s united platform would help save a platform that many consider almost invisible on the modern market.

The real problem people have is the broken promises that seem to be spewing from Microsoft. Firstly there is a long list of phones running Windows Phone 7 which were never upgraded to 8, leaving them with a broken and unsupported mobile OS and doing the same to Windows Phone 8 users question if the mobile system is as dead as it’s been reported.

Windows Phone Won’t Be Getting Ported Android Apps

Microsoft is known for their software, with Windows 10 being offered as a free upgrade, with everyone from offices to the Pentagon. Windows 10 isn’t the only software Microsoft hopes people will pick up. Windows 10 mobile was destined to be great but recent sales and rumours could see the mobile phones ending. One of the issues for Windows 10 mobiles bad sales was the small number of apps you can find. Now it sounds like one of the last hopes for the mobile OS could also be gone.

In hopes of boosting sales, Microsoft was working on a project to port android apps across to the windows mobile operating system. The hope was that any phone you can get on android could instantly be accessible, Project Astoria was there to help make the phones more appealing.

The project has now been terminated, with Microsoft Directory Kevin Gallo writing that they had received “a lot of feedback that having two Bridge technologies to bring code from mobile operating systems to Windows was unnecessary”. This doesn’t mean they’ve given up hope for mobile operating system, with plans to bring iOS based app to the app store and Android through their purchase of the company Xamarin. Xamarin is known for their ability to write software once and deploy to all major mobile operating systems, Windows phone included.

Windows Phone Market Share Falls

Microsoft’s entry into the smartphone market has been extremely challenging due to the popularity of Android handsets, and Apple’s loyal user base. Despite the company’s best efforts to hone a user-friendly operating system, it’s really struggled to make an impact. Unfortunately, Windows Phone users are a niche, and many app developers like Snapchat refuse to support the platform because of the small community. This makes sense because it’s not financially prudent to use resources for such a small market share. It’s such a shame because the Windows Mobile operating system doesn’t require a huge amount of power, and is quite intuitive.

According to the latest research from Gartner, Windows Phone global shipments have more than halved in the last year. More specifically, handset sales in Q4 2015 fell to 4.4 million units, which equates to a market share of 1.1 percent. This is a huge reduction from the 2.8 percent share in Q4 2014. Overall, smartphone shipments grew by 9.7 percent but this is the lowest recorded figure since 2008. I’m not surprised by this, because many users are content with their current model, and don’t see the need to upgrade.

Gartner research director Anshul Gupta said about the data:

“Low-cost smartphones in emerging markets, and strong demand for premium smartphones, continued to be the driving factors,”

“An aggressive pricing from local and Chinese brands in the midrange and entry-level segments of emerging markets led to consumers upgrading more quickly to affordable smartphones.

“For Samsung to stop falling sales of premium smartphones, it needs to introduce new flagship smartphones that can compete with iPhones and stop the churn to iOS devices.”

Fellow research director Roberta Cozza added:

“Android benefited from continued demand for affordable smartphones and from the slowdown of iOS units in the premium market in the fourth quarter of 2015.”

An an ideal world, I’d love to see more users give Windows Phones a try, but I doubt it’s going to happen as low-cost Android devices offer compelling value. I’m not entirely sure what Microsoft can do to change the future of their mobile operating system given its current market position.

Bitter Former CEO Steve Ballmer Calls Microsoft Profits Bull****

Steve Ballmer loves having a pop at his old company. The former Microsoft CEO – but still a majority shareholder – takes any opportunity to put the boot into his successor, Satya Nadella, as he did recently when dismissing the company’s aim to create a new generation of universal apps that run on phones, tablets, and computers alike.

Now, at a shareholder’s meeting on Wednesday, Ballmer lost his temper with Nadella, shouting that Microsoft’s key strategy “won’t work” and calling its financial reporting “bull****,” according to Bloomberg.

“They should report the revenue, not the run rate,” Ballmer said during the meeting, calling the use of the run rate to supposedly obfuscate the real figures “bull****.”

Microsoft refused to rise to Ballmer’s inflammatory posturing, with Chris Suh, General Manager for Investor Relations for Microsoft, saying, “We enjoy a regular dialogue with Steve, and welcome his input and feedback, as we do from our other investors.” said.

Ballmer seems bitter that the company he left flailing after an unsuccessful 12 months at the helm is thriving without him – Windows 10 is the company’s most successful operating system yet – and resents Nadella for changing the strategies he put in place, such as his plans for the Windows Phone.

But even when he’s happy, he does love a good shout, that Ballmer…

Image courtesy of Computer World.

Microsoft Admits Nokia Deal Failure – 7800 to Lose Jobs

It was coming. Microsoft has announced that up to 7,800 employees of its phone division could be made redundant, implicitly admitting to the failure of its $7.9 billion purchase of Nokia in 2013. The move follows the company’s decision to write down $7.6 billion-worth of losses due to the floundering of its smartphone division.

Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s smartphone operations – the premier developer of Windows Phones – two years ago was met with a degree of confusion from commentators and even some resistance from within the company itself, with current CEO Satya Nadella famously opposed to the deal.

“I am committed to our first-party devices including phones,” Nadella wrote in an e-mail to employees that was later posted online. “However, we need to focus our phone efforts in the near term while driving reinvention. We are moving from a strategy to grow a standalone phone business to a strategy to grow and create a vibrant Windows ecosystem that includes our first-party device family.”

“They were hoping to quickly be able to hit the jets and double or triple market share over what they had,” Frank Gillett, analyst for Forrester Research, says of Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s phone division. “And it didn’t happen. It’s the last disappointment of the previous generation of Microsoft’s leadership,” he says, referring to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, the instigator behind the deal.

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information.

Is Microsoft Preparing to Kill Windows Phone?

Rumour has it that Microsoft could be set to write off the majority of its Nokia acquisition this week. In 2013, Microsoft purchased Nokia’s smartphone division, taking over development of the Windows Phone-running Lumia handsets. The deal seems to have been in peril of some time, with Microsoft warning investors that the smartphone division was at an “elevated risk of impairment” – meaning that its market value is less than the money invested in it – back in April this year.

Microsoft filed the following statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on 23rd April:

“Declines in expected future cash flows, reduction in future unit volume growth rates, or an increase in the risk-adjusted discount rate used to estimate the fair value of the Phone Hardware reporting unit may result in a determination that an impairment adjustment is required, resulting in apotentially material charge to earnings.”

The Nokia acquisition was one of the last actions conducted by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer – an effort to keep the company entrenched in the mobile market – but the move was known to have been opposed by current CEO Satya Nadella.

Reports suggest that Microsoft could write-down the Nokia deal, which cost the company $7.9 billion, as early as Wednesday (1st July). When Microsoft finalised the Nokia deal in 2013, it carried $5.5 billion in goodwill – effectively the difference between purchase price and tangible assets – which seems to be the likely figure to be written down.

A write-down of such a massive amount is a huge admission of failure on the part of Microsoft. Winding up its mobile division entirely, or selling its remains on again, is certainly not unforeseeable.

Thank you ComputerWorld for providing us with this information.

BitTorrent Wants to Offer More P2P Freedom on Mobile Devices With New App

BitTorrent just announced a new mobile app named Shoot that is based around P2P connectivity between individuals. While this sounds good to some people, others may think that this is a new means to start a piracy war on mobile devices. I mean, come on? Secure Peer-to-Peer connectivity on mobile devices and BitTorrent? What’s next, The Mobile Bay?

The company may have good intentions for releasing their new Shoot app to anyone looking to transfer photos and some big videos on the go, but I’m fairly sure the app will not be used exactly for what they have in mind. BitTorrent Shoot is said to be based on their Sync technology already available on all major mobile devices.

“Shoot allows you to send photos or videos directly between mobile devices, no matter what device you use or what network you’re on. Based on BitTorrent Sync technology, large items are no problem. And since files move directly between people without going through the cloud, it’s all fully private to you and the recipient.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOaOycHcNO0

BitTorrent Shoot is available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone and allows 3 sends for free. If you like to send more, you have to couch up $1.99. A good thing about it is that you can receive an unlimited number of files, even if you haven’t bought it. So what do you think? Is it really worth its price?

Image courtesy of BitTorrent

Microsoft Killing off Facebook Integration

Microsoft have taken a strange move in their plan of development.

The business giant, Microsoft is killing off one of the key selling points of the Windows Phone operating system. Facebook integration. Microsoft first launched the Windows Phone operating system in 2010 as the first to feature deep integration with Facebook contacts and the news feed. It was a unique feature, but due Facebook updating their Graph API, Microsoft have now been forced to shut down all of their Facebook Connect features.

Microsoft note that Facebook contact integration in Outlook.com, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone will now no longer work. “Contact information for the Facebook contacts shown will no longer be updated with information from Facebook,”Microsoft state. The changes go even further than just the much loved Facebook contacts integration though. Microsoft’s social connector for Outlook 2013 is now rendered useless, and the company’s Office 365 Outlook Web App will no longer pull in any Facebook information.

I can imagine a lot of Windows phone users will have a lot to say about this rather dramatic and un forewarned change. I know several Windows phone users and they all love the facebook contact integration feature. I highly suspect they will not be best pleased with the change.

Thanks to TheVerge for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of wallpapers111

Microsoft Announces Cortana for Android and iOS

Microsoft has finally confirmed that Cortana, voice assistant will be made available on both the popular platform, Android and iOS. It is available only for Windows 10 Preview and Windows Phone devices and in order to make it truly competitive, this major step of releasing the product for the devices running Android and iOS is necessary. It works like any other voice assistant such as Google Now or Siri, but it will have limited functionalities on the new platforms as it will be released as a standalone application and will not have access to root / core services, however, the basic functionalities should not get trimmed. The features that are going to be missing initially are toggling system settings and launching specific applications via voice commands.

Microsoft has announced that their voice assistant will be released on Google’s Android platform at the end of the month of June, but the users of iOS will be witnessing the offering later this year.

Microsoft has made a tricky step by making its voice assistant available on the more popular platforms, let us hope that it turns out well. We currently do not have any more information of the roll-out dates, but we will keep you up to date as soon as we do.

Xbox One System Update Adds New Features

The best manufacturers nowadays are the ones who really listen to their customers and what they want to see in products. Microsoft seems to be one of those manufacturers, at least from what we can see in the latest Xbox One system update. It apparently introduced a set of fan-requested features on their latest console.

So what did the company introduce in this update? Let’s have a look:

  • Voice Messages
  • Power On/Off from Xbox One SmartGlass
  • User Selectable Power Mode
  • Dedicated Servers for Party Chat

From what we see, Microsoft focused on providing users with power options to suit everyone’s needs and achieve that balance between having a super-responsive console and a power-saving device. This is nothing new, since it was first introduced a month ago. But this update is said to alter the initial setup experience on the console to enable users to select the preferred power mode.

A second feature added in the update, one that Microsoft points to having 4k votes on their feedback website, refers to the SmartGlass app found on Windows, Windows Phone, iOS and Android devices. The latest update enables the app to turn the console on and off when having both devices connected to the same network.

Microsoft looks be expanding its Party Chat feature as well by rolling it out to more users. The feature was only available to preview members up until now, but Microsoft looks to be expanding it over the coming weeks.

Last but not least, the update brings the highly anticipated Voice Messages feature. This will allow users to send voice recordings to both Xbox One and Xbox 360 friends and parties from the messages app. Pretty cool that Microsoft actually listens to their users and adds what they want to see in future updates, huh?

Thank you Xbox Wire for providing us with this information

Microsoft’s High-End Lumia Windows 10 Phone in the Works

Windows Phone fans, Rejoice! It has been reported that Microsoft is working to bring two new High-end Lumia Windows Phone devices. These will be running on Tech Giant’s new OS called ‘Windows 10’ with ‘Continuum’ feature baked in.

The more premium Lumia device is codenamed ‘Cityman’. It is supposed to be powered by Qualcomm octa-core processor (possibly Snapdragon 810 chip) coupled with 3GB RAM and 32GB on-board storage which can be expanded using MicroSD card. It will be shipped with 5.7″ Quad HD display and 20 MP rear camera and 5 MP on the front. All of it is backed up by a big 3300 mAh removable battery.

The other Lumia device is codenamed ‘Talkman’. It is supposed to be powered by Qualcomm hexa-core processor ( like Snapdragon 808 on LG G4 ) and backed up by 3000 mAh removable battery and the rest of the internals are same as what ‘Cityman’ is to offer. This device might be slimmer than Lumia 930 (  9.8 mm ).

Both the Lumia devices will carry a Triple-LED flash, each LED will have different shade or ‘tone’ which will allow the camera to take pictures which are much more natural to look. Although there aren’t many details of what’s special feature these devices have to offer but we will keep you posted as soon as we do.

The market has been full with Apples and Androids lately, so something new is definitely required. What do you think about this move, should they just move on by dropping the Windows platform or do you think its a good OS? Let us know about your views in the comment section.

Thank you UnleashThePhones for providing us with this information.

Google’s Mobile Search Now Gives Priority to Mobile Enabled Websites

Google announced in February that they were going to optimize their mobile phone search results. Today their developers released that update. When you search Google on a mobile device the search results will be different. The search engine will now display websites that are optimized for mobile devices higher in the rankings. You will see sites that are capable of being read on mobile devices with smaller screens rather than you having to tap and zoom about on the website to see the content.

The change will only affect users on mobile devices and Google notes that it only affects individual pages and not the entire site.

This does create a problem for web developers though;  If the website does not support mobile devices then they may see their Google rankings drop. If you’re a web developer then Google have a tool that allows you to test individual pages and another tool for the whole website.

You can use the individual page tool here and you can use the whole website tester here. You can also expedite the process by using Fetch as Google with Submit to Index, and then your pages can be treated as mobile-friendly in ranking.

Thank you The Google Webmaster Blog for providing us with this information.

Microsoft’s Band Gadget Finally Lands on the UK Market

Having a desk job is extremely stressing and messes with your body, this is why doctors recommend a minimum of 30 minutes workout per day. This helps relieve stress and keep you in shape both physically and mentally. But why not track your activity and health with the latest fitness and health bands on the market?

If you are living in the UK and wanted the Microsoft Band, the company appears to have started to offer it for a price tag of £169.99. The band seems to help keep track of activities such as heart rate, sun exposure, stress levels, calories burned and quality of sleep.

The Band connects to any iOS, Android or Windows Phone device via its companion app and offers customizable workouts. Whether you want to burn a lot of calories or just want to have a balanced diet, the Band and its app are available to help you with that.

Also, Microsoft’s gadget can be controlled with commands sent to Cortana, the company’s personal assistant and Siri’s rival. Is this why Cortana aims to arrive on the iOS and Android markets in the near future? Will Microsoft’s personal assistant squeeze its way into other mobile operating systems and offer integrated support in other applications too? We don’t have the answer for the latter questions, but time is bound to reveal the answer to that.

As far as the Band is concerned, you can order one from retailers such as Amazon, Harrods, Currys, O2 or even Microsoft’s Store itself. How do you find Microsoft’s health and fitness gadget? Are you planning on acquiring one yourself?

Thank you TheNextWeb for providing us with this information

Video courtesy of TheNextWeb and image courtesy of Digital Trends

Android Trade-in Program Launches Today at Apple Retail Stores

Today Apple is launching a trade-in program for select non-iPhone smartphones at its Apple Retail Store locations. The program will allow credit towards an immediate purchase of a new iPhone model for users who trade in their select Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry phones.

Apple is aiming to drive more business from people who will trade in their current working devices to get something better. The standard Apple iPhone trade-in program was first started in 2013 and last year opened up to include iPads. Now the program is accepting select Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry devices for in-store credit to users immediately buying an iPhone. The program is so far only available in the US, France, Italy, and the UK.  You can check if your store has the program on its individual store page. The online Apple Reuse and Recycling Program is now open for users to trade in a Windows notebook or desktop for an Apple Store gift card.

Source: 9to5 Mac

Firefox OS Set to Enter the US and Other Developed Markets in 2016

Mozilla has developed its Firefox OS in order to target low-cost smartphone markets all around the world. Its recent statement claims that the company is considering to enter more developed markets next year.

Mozilla has stated a project with US, Japanese, South Korean and Spanish carriers to get ready for shipping high-spec smartphones starting from 2016 onwards. However, the more developed markets for smartphones are currently owned and heavily competed by Apple, Android and Windows Phone. But Mozilla seems to be taking a rather strange and out of fashion approach.

Flip phones and sliders would be the main attraction and key feature of these new Firefox OS phones, as stated by Andreas Gal, chief technology officer at Mozilla. He stated that customers like the older form factors of mobile phones and this is the main cause of why they are stuck with older operating systems.

“Development of feature phones has essentially stopped, said Gal. “This project will bring a modern smartphone OS into this market.”

The project has been announced on Sunday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, pointing out that Verizon Wireless, KDDI, LG uPlus and Telefonica will be the first carriers to start shipping these new smartphones next year.

Thank you Computer World for providing us with this information

Microsoft Band Update Adds Tiny Keyboard

Four months after its release, Band, Microsoft’s wearable smart device, has received its first major update. The update, in conjunction with Windows Phones, brings dictation mode, and a virtual QWERTY keyboard.

The dictation mode is powered by Cortana, Microsoft’s voice recognising personal assistant, while the keyboard uses the same Word Flow software as a Windows Phone. Though the keyboard is small, the smart software compensates for any mistakes, but those who struggle to type on the Band can rely on the effective voice recognition of Cortana for dictation instead.

Microsoft has also included a bike mode for avid cyclists that tracks heart rate, ride, elevation, speed, and distance. Plus, third-party apps are now allowed to utilise the fitness tracker.

Source: The Verge

WhatsApp Released for Desktop

WhatsApp is now available for desktop in the form of an in-browser web app, compatible for now only with Google Chrome.

Since WhatsApp requires an associated mobile phone number to log in, users need to scan a QR code from the web app using their smartphone to access the desktop version. The online version works in conjunction with Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone, but not yet with iOS devices  “due to Apple platform limitations”.

Since the WhatsApp is connected through your phone, it only works for as long as your phones does: if your handset loses battery life, the web app disconnects.

The WhatsApp web browser is available here.

Source: TechCrunch

Microsoft Announces First Non-Nokia Lumia Smartphone

Microsoft has announced it’s first non-Nokia branded Lumia phone. The Microsoft Lumia 535 is the first to carry the new Microsoft branding since their $7.2 billion acquisition of the Finnish company’s devices unit closed earlier in the year.

The new phone is a low-cost Windows Phone (obviously) that is billed to resemble where Microsoft is taking their mobile phone business over the coming years. The device features a 5-inch 960 x 540 pixel display, 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, and 1GB RAM, 8GB of internal storage (with a MicroSD card slot for expansion). The device also comes with front and rear 5-megapixel cameras.

The device will go on sale for around $130 in December.

Source: The Verge

Samsung Doesn’t Want to Pay Microsoft Anymore

Microsoft hasn’t had as much luck and success in the mobile sector as they had hoped for. Lucky for MS they rake in more than 5 times the money they make on their own phones in royalties from Android handsets. Yes, you read right there. Microsoft makes 5 times as much money from Android as they do from their own Windows Phone line. To put a number on it, Microsoft makes $1.6 billion on Android handsets every year.

After a lot of disputes between Samsung and Microsoft back in 2011, the two giants reach an agreement where Samsung would pay the royalties for the patents Microsoft held and at the same time share classified device information with Microsoft for the purpose of marketing and development. It wasn’t an issue at that time, as Microsoft wasn’t a hardware manufacturer themselves. In return, the fees would be lowered if Samsung could keep up specific sales targets for Windows phones.

This has however changed since Microsoft acquired Nokia and now Samsung doesn’t want to pay those fees anymore. Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia makes them a direct competitor and it would void the previous agreement according to Samsung. So they refuse to pay the huge bill and in return Microsoft wants another 7 million dollars in damages for the late payment.

One can surely see both sides of the story here. Samsung doesn’t want to be held to an agreement that’s no longer valid and would force them to share company secrets with a direct competitor. On the other hand, Microsoft wants the money that is rightfully theirs based on the patents they own.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Will the two giants reach another settlement outside of the courtroom, or will this be another lawsuit in the world of technology, like we’ve seen so many before.

Thanks to Reuters for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of AndroidAuthority

Microsoft Killing Off Nokia Branding, Calls it Microsoft Lumia

The brand the world over once knew as the biggest mobile phone manufacturer on the planet is gone. After Microsoft’s recent acquisition of the company, reports are swirling that Redmond is about to make the death of the Nokia brand official. ‘Nokia’ mobile phones will be replaced with ‘Microsoft Lumia’ moving forward. Technology site The Verge is reporting that process will start in France, with localised social accounts renaming through to the new moniker first and then a transition period over a few weeks for the rest of the globe. One things not for absolute certainty yet – we’ll have to wait for the official word before we know if Microsoft will be dubbing the Windows Phone devices to just ‘Lumia’, ‘Microsoft Lumia’ or ‘Microsoft’.

Back in 2013 when Microsoft finalised the acquisition, the then CEO of Nokia had stated that he didn’t expect Microsoft would be pushing the Nokia brand for an extended period of time. It would seem that this is indeed going to be the case, as it should be noted that many Windows Phone Store applications have in fact already removed the ‘Nokia’ branding from their application titles in recent months. The juggernaut that once was Nokia Mobile is after many decades finally coming to a close.

Thanks to The Verge for providing us with this information.

Windows Phone Store Is Now Home to over 300,000 Apps!

Wow that’s a big number, still not anywhere near ready to compete with Google and Apple but it shows that things are changing for Windows phones and Microsoft.

A spokesperson from Microsoft spoke with The Next Web and said:

“We have more than 300,000 Windows Phone apps today and the Windows Phone Store continues to grow. In the past year alone the Windows and Windows Phone app catalogue has grown 94%, while the number of active developers has grown by 50%”.

In 2012 the Windows Phone Store has a mere 100,000 apps to its name, now two years later that figure has tripled, impressive for two years. The Windows app market is growing at a rapid rate, more developers are moving onto the platform and more and more apps are sprouting up all over the place. In the last 6 months alone, 100,000 new apps were made for the Windows Phone Store. So maybe Windows Phone isn’t a dead platform after all, with rapid growth in apps and users with more phones accepting it as an OS, things are looking up for Microsoft and their Windows phones.

Thanks to Tweaktown for supplying us with this information.

Image courtesy of Tweaktown.

Windows Phone Store Gets BBM Beta After Reaching 10,000 User Sign-Ups in 24 Hours

BlackBerry’s popular messaging app, BBM, is stated to have reached the 10,000 sign-up number for Microsoft’s Windows Phone Beta in about 24 hours. This means that Windows Phone users running on Windows Phone 8 or above operating systems are now able to download the app from the Windows Phone Store.

The company has stated that it will release the app in beta form at first, but this does not mean it will lack features present on other platforms, such as the iOS or Android. It is said that BBM Chat, BBM Groups, Find Friends, BBM Feeds and even Pin to Start are available in the Windows Phone app.

Due to its lack of funds, BlackBerry has extended its service to other platform in order to monetize its products. We have previously seen Microsoft do the same with its mobile version of Microsoft Office, having it released for both iOS and Android ahead of its own Windows Phone operating system.

Also, BlackBerry has stated that BBM users decide on which platform they would like to see the service. Since most demand was previously for iOS and Android, Windows Phone fell short and did not receive the app. However, its addition to the Windows Phone Store will also benefit both users and the company, having users talk on their preferred messaging app and BlackBerry making a lot of money out of it.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Ubergizmo

Microsoft and Intel Release ‘Sharks Cove’, a Windows-based Microcomputer

Arduino and Raspberry Pi have apparently inspired everyone, including big name companies such as Microsoft. The corporate giant along with Intel and CircuitCo are said to have been working on their own little development board.

The outcome of their work is said to be a $300 / £176 board dubbed “Sharks Cove”, which is now available for pre-order. It is said to boast Intel’s Quad-Core Atom Z3735G clocked at 1.33 GHz and having a turbo speed of 1.83 GHz, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of storage space and a MicroSD card slot.

The board is said to be dedicated towards development of software and drivers for mobile devices that run on the Windows operating system. Devices such as smartphones, tablets and similar SoC might now have a small microcomputer building their new apps.

“At $299, this is a board that we believe will find a home with Independent Hardware Vendors (IHVs) and hardware enthusiasts alike. That price not only covers the cost of the hardware but also includes a Windows 8.1 image and the utilities necessary to apply it to the Sharks Cove. When you additionally consider that the Windows Driver Kit 8.1 can pair with Visual Studio Express and are both free with a valid MSDN account, the initial outlay for Windows driver developers is a lot less cost prohibitive than it once was.”

With all the excitement, did Microsoft and Intel ever consider the price? Coming in at $300, it is significantly more expensive than Raspberry Pi’s $35 / £20 board or BeagleBone Black’s $55 / £32 board. Even Intel-based MinnowBoard, compatible with both Linux and Android, is available on the market for just $99 / £58.

“The primary target usage of the Sharks Cove board is for development of subsystems for Intel Atom based Tablets and Mobile devices, but this development board can be used for any Windows or Android based system which uses the Atom processor,” cited on the Sharks Cove website.

While Microsoft, Intel and CircuitCo await for that audience, Raspberry Pi and Arduino will still be the primary choice for developers. The microcomputer might be a nice addition for Windows Phone developers, however a $300 price tag does tend to change your mind sometimes.

Thank you Wired for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Wired

Microsoft Bringing 40 Xbox Live Games To Windows Phone 8 Devices

Running Windows Phone 8 or 8.1? Well Microsoft has just updated the list of available Xbox Live games that are available for Windows Phone 8 users. The list of Xbox Games from Microsoft Studios that are being updated to support Windows Phone 8.X is rather long, as shown below. The requirements for running these games is that you have 512MB of RAM and run Windows Phone 8 or 8.1. Most of the games are “older” ones that were available on Windows Phone 7 but were awaiting a port to Windows Phone 8. Anyone hoping to find favourites like Dodonpachi and Tentacles will be disappointed…

  • Microsoft Solitaire Collection
  • Microsoft Mahjohng
  • Hexic
  • Shuffle Party
  • Rise of Glory
  • Avatar Gadgets
  • Microsoft Minesweeper
  • Halo: Spartan Assault
  • Breeze
  • Parachute Panic
  • Jet Car Stunts WP
  • Max & the Magic Marker
  • Farm Frenzy 2
  • AlphaJax
  • ilomilo
  • Crimson Dragon: Side Story
  • Fusion Sentient
  • Z0MB1ES (on teh ph0ne)
  • I Dig It
  • BulletAsylum
  • Harbor Master
  • Big Buck Hunter Pro
  • Game Room – Pitfall!
  • Lode Runner Classic
  • Hexic Rush
  • Mush
  • Game Chest: Solitaire Edition
  • Game Room – Asteroids Deluxe
  • Implode!
  • Game Room – Centipede
  • CarneyVale: Showtime
  • iBlast Moki
  • Cro-Mag Rally
  • Hasta La Muerte
  • Crafting Guide
  • Glow Artisan
  • Game Room – Lunar Lander
  • UFC on Xbox LIVE

Source: WPCentral

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Windows Phone Grows A Staggering 91% Year-On-Year

While the smartphone market has long been dominated by Android and iOS Windows Phone has been making strides in recent years. Between July 2014 and June 2014 Microsoft’s Windows Phone grew by a staggering 91% making it the fastest growing mobile platform right now. Microsoft also has the number two smartphone in 14 markets, most likely to be the Lumia 520 device given its huge popularity. Microsoft’s rapid growth is now translating into increased market share, increase app downloads and increased app revenue from its app stores. While Windows Phone is still dwarfed by Android and iOS there are many more device makers with plans to release new Windows Phone devices this year. it is also worth noting that with Microsoft now in control of Nokia’s handset division the competitiveness of Windows Phone Nokia devices is likely to grow too. Microsoft is currently planning to launch the final version of its Windows Phone 8.1 mobile OS by the end of this year, that OS arrived in its Developer Preview form back in April.

Source: Softpedia

Image courtesy of Microsoft

CD Projekt RED’s The Witcher Series Goes Free-to-Play on Mobile

CD Project RED are going mobile as they prepare their Witcher franchise for a free-to-play online battle arena title designed for smartphones and tablets. With the gaming community currently eager for their RPG epic, The Witcher 3, to be released on consoles and PC there are a lot of fans (myself included) who are dying for more adventures from Geralt and his buddies.

The Witcher: Battle Arena follows in the footsteps of other MOBA titles such as League of Legends and DOTA 2, by pitting gamers against each other or bots in a fight to the death. There will be eight playable characters at launch – Zoltan Chivay, Letho of Hulet, Eithne of Brokilon, Golem, Saskia of Aedirn, Philippa Eilhard, The Operator and Lorveth.

CD Project RED are a shining light in the developer community, harking at those who extort money through DLC and other shovelled in extras and their mobile game is a beacon of their awesomeness as it’s what they call free-to-play done the right way.

“Everything in the game is unlockable for free, just by playing the game. Our system is honest, well balanced and doesn’t keep you playing for ages to unlock something. If you want to get something unlocked faster, you can purchase it for a reasonable price. It’s that simple.”

The game will launch in the very near future, months before the official release of the Witcher 3.

[youtube width=”800″ height=”450″]http://youtu.be/eCAIOxBS3b4[/youtube]

Thank you Forbes for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of The Witcher.