Posts Tagged Microsoft
Cyanogen, the corporate arm of the popular CyanogenMod custom ROM, is on a roll. After a few high-profile hires from the world of aftermarket Android ROMs earlier this year, the company is after some more conventional hires for its leadership team, dipping their toes into the pool of corporate technology. This week they welcome Tyler Carper, formerly of HTC, Vikram Natarajan, formerly of OEM parts manufacturer MediaTek, and Dave Herman, formerly of Microsoft, Amazon, and Hulu, as new vice presidents.
Cyanogen Inc. Continues Hiring Spree With New Vice Presidents From HTC, MediaTek, And Microsoft was written by the awesome team at Android Police.
When news of the Microsoft take-over of Nokia’s mobile division first came out, people were both apprehensive and excited to see what would come out of this partnership. If the recently unveiled X2 is any indication, it’s an improvement over the previous models in Nokia’s X series but for an Android phone, it still has a long way to go before it can catch up with other brands.
Just four months after Nokia launched the Nokia X and XL, the introduction of the X2 seems to indicate that Microsoft was not too happy with their initial foray into the Android platform. While it still has the same vibrant colours that we’ve come to know from Nokia, these ones are shinier and has a translucent outer layer. It’s still plastic, but now it’s shinier. The current colours available are glossy green, orange or black, but later on, they will also be adding glossy yellow, white and matte dark gray.
In terms of its hardware, the X2’s processor is slightly higher, now with a 1.2 GHz dual-core Snapdragon 200 compared to the 1 GHz of the X model. The RAM has been doubled to 1GB as well. The X2 has a bigger 4.3 inch screen and has two buttons, one a home button (a new feature for the X series) and the back key is for showing the list of your recent or still-running app. The rear camera is nothing to sing home about at 5MP, but at least now they do have a front-facing camera as well so you can use it to Skype and video chat.
The UI looks like a cross between the custom Android look of the X series and the Windows Phone interface, but now with a dedicated Apps List page. The Nokia Store reportedly now also carries third-party apps but the implementation of it is still unclear. The X2 of course will be more expensive than the other X models, at around $135.
Microsoft today announced the Nokia X2, the successor to the original X released by Nokia, as was previously teased with Nokia Conversations blog post. Priced at just €99, it’s an affordable Android smartphone for targeted markets. The 4.3-inch display with Nokia Glance is joined by expandable internal storage, dual-SIM support, as well as apps and services from Microsoft.
Microsoft is making some major changes to OneDrive storage, more than doubling their free storage tier. Currently sitting at 7GB, free OneDrive storage will be raised to 15GB.
Microsoft Mobile has published a small teaser article on the old Nokia Conversations blog, revealing a countdown for June 24th. Not giving much away, the company teases that “summer brings out our inner glow… stay tuned to Conversations to find out what we’ve got in store”. We’re not entirely sure what the company will announce, but since it’s green (similar to teasers for the Nokia X) and we’re not expecting a new Windows Phone just yet, it’s possible we’ll see an X2.
A new report indicates U.S. law enforcement officials will announce today that Google and Microsoft will add “kill switches” to their operating systems for mobile devices. The kill switch is meant to serve as an anti-theft measure as it enables consumers to remotely lock smartphones and delete the data off of them if they are stolen. All three major producers of smartphone operating systems had been resisting calls to include the technology in their operating systems until last year when Apple finally cracked and included a kill switch in iOS 7. Since then, Verizon has added a kill switch to Samsung devices sold on their network.
The change in direction on the part of Google and Microsoft comes after new data shows thefts of iPhones in major cities has fallen dramatically since the implementation of the kill switch. In New York, thefts of iPhones are down 19 percent for January through May of 2014. In San Francisco the rate dropped 38 percent in the first six months after the iOS 7 launch compared to the prior six month period and in London the drop was 24 percent. In stark contrast, New York saw thefts of Samsung devices rise by more than 40 percent while San Francisco and London also saw increases.
According to San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, “These statistics validate what we always knew to be true, that a technological solution has the potential to end the victimization of wireless consumers everywhere.”
While Google and Microsoft move to voluntarily follow the path of Apple in implementing a kill switch, they may only be responding to what they see as inevitable. Several state legislatures and even the U.S. Congress are considering bills to mandate the inclusion of a kill switch.
Although consumers will still have the ability to turn off the kill switch, consumers will begin to see their newly purchased devices coming with the kill switch turned on by default.
source: PC World
Come comment on this article: Android to get kill switch following success of Apple implementation
The Android launcher scene might be getting a little out of control — even Nokia (whose X phones are now under Microsoft’s wing) is getting into the game. The Finnish firm has just released Z Launcher, a home screen replacement that gets you to frequently-used apps, contacts and sites as quickly as possible. The software learns your habits and surfaces the content you’re most likely to use based on where you are, what you’re doing and the time of day. It might put your calendar app at the top when you’re in the middle of the workday, or highlight Instagram when you’re out on the town. You also don’t have to dive into the app tray if you’re looking for something specific; you can draw an item’s first letter to bring up a narrow set of results.
Source: Z Launcher
The Nokia we used to know is no longer. In late April, the handset maker was finally folded into Microsoft’s Devices and Services business after more than six months of courtship. Nokia wasn’t ready to be assimilated without once last hurrah, however: It announced a trio of new devices at its new owner’s developer conference, Build. The Finnish company had always tried to cater to every demographic, so it was fitting that its last in-house handsets were the top-end Lumia 930 (a global version of the Icon) and the entry-level Lumia 630/635.
The 630 and 635, 3G and 4G variants of the same device, are joining an already-crowded lineup of affordable Lumias. They’re distinguished somewhat by launching with Windows Phone 8.1, the latest version of Microsoft’s mobile OS, but in the coming months, other WP8 handsets will catch up. That’s if curiosity hasn’t already driven you to update manually using the developer-account loophole. The 635 is yet to be released, but for now we have the almost identical Lumia 630. Other than offering the newest software, then, is the 630 Nokia’s best budget device? A worthy sendoff for the company? A save-the-best-’til-last-type deal? Spoiler’s in the headline.%Gallery-slideshow201318%
It’s no secret that Microsoft owns quite a few patents that they license out to anyone wanting to make an Android device. Microsoft has revealed a handful of these patents since they’ve begun filing lawsuits, but there’s no definitive list of just how many patents Microsoft uses in licensing negotiations.
However, a Chinese government agency has cleared up some of the mystery surrounding Microsoft’s patent portfolio by publishing a very comprehensive list of 310 patents thanks to a Chinese antitrust review that Microsoft was going through. The list describes patents ranging from Microsoft’s in-house developments, as well as patents they acquired through the Rockstar Consortium last year. 73 of the patents were listed as standard essential patents, 127 of the patents Microsoft claims are used in Android, and then there are 68 patent applications and 42 “non-essential patents.” Out of those 310 patents listed, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce decided that about 200 of the patents were vital to building an Android device. That’s pretty substantial.
Microsoft brings in a ton of revenue from licensing patents out to Android OEMs. Estimates put it between $1 and $2 billion per year, but it could be much higher. Up until now, we haven’t really known how much legal leverage Microsoft has over Android manufacturers, but thanks to this information (that Microsoft probably isn’t too happy about) we can just how useful a strong patent portfolio really is.
source: Ars Technica
Come comment on this article: Chinese government discloses long list of patents Microsoft leverages over Android manufacturers
Although Microsoft has a licensing agreement that cover over 70 percent of all Android devices sold in the US, the exact nature of the patents utilised by the Android ecosystem wasn’t divulged, until now. As part of the regulatory sign-off of Microsoft’s Nokia acquisition, China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) has published a list of 310 patents that highlight the technologies that Microsoft collects royalties on.
In the realm of virtual personal assistants, Apple has Siri, Android has Google Now, and Microsoft has Cortana. The last of these is the newest, currently only part of the Windows 8.1 developer’s preview, however that hasn’t stopped it garnering quite a lot of attention in the press. As a big Xbox and Halo video game series fan, I find myself wishing Cortana, who features as a major character in the games, would be ported to Android. Which poses the tantalizing question: Could Cortana be on Android devices one day?
I definitely seems like a long shot given that neither Apple nor Google seem content to bother supporting other mobile platforms with their respective assistants, however Marcus Ash, a Windows Phone Group Program Manager has said some interesting things about their aspirations with Cortana:
“We want to scale Cortana internationally and across devices. The Android/iOS question is interesting. We’re asking, would Cortana be as effective if she didn’t have access to the details on your phone? We’re still trying to get Cortana adopted on Windows Phone and figure out what it wants to become there. But we’re actively talking about this.“
If that’s not a “maybe”, then I don’t know what is. Perhaps damningly for Cortana, the Microsoft assistant is hardwired into using Bing as its search database, which would always struggle competitively against Google Now and its Google repository. Having said that, I’d still love to see them try, and at least we know the possibility is there.
Would you want Cortana on your Android device? Let us know what you think in the comments.
Microsoft has a new virtual personal assistant, Cortana, that is part of the Windows Phone 8.1 developer’s preview and is scheduled to formally launch later this year in the U.S., the U.K. and China. Currently, Cortana can be used by anyone willing to set their device to U.S. settings, an action that has proven to be popular in China. Microsoft does not seem to be content to making Cortana available in different geographic regions – they are also discussing making Cortana available on other platforms, including Android. In recent statements, Marcus Ash, a Windows Phone Group Program Manager, said,
We want to scale Cortana internationally and across devices. The Android/iOS question is interesting. We’re asking, would Cortana be as effective if she didn’t have access to the details on your phone? We’re still trying to get Cortana adopted on Windows Phone and figure out what it wants to become there. But we’re actively talking about this.
The thinking behind not limiting Cortana to Windows Phone devices is the same that causes Google to make many of their apps available for competing platforms, to become pervasive. A move to make Cortana available on Android is likely still a way off since she has not even been officially launched for her native Windows platform. Microsoft may want to spend some time working on making Cortana available on different types of devices, similar to what Google has been doing with Google Now, before working on competing platforms.
Come comment on this article: Could Microsoft’s Cortana find a way on to your Android device?
Experience is what matters, project manager tells search conference
An interesting couple of articles today from our sister site Windows Phone Central, regarding the possibility of Microsoft bringing its Cortana voice assistant (think Google Now) to other platforms, including Android. Of course, bringing Cortana to Android isn’t as simple as just saying “Hey, let’s bring Cortana to Android.” And Cortana project manager Marcus Ash does a great job explaining the thought process that goes into even considering such a move.
The video above is from the SMX Advanced search marketing conference in Seattle, and it’s absolutely worth a watch.
While Google Now is great for bringing you the information you need before you need it, for some, there’s still a need (or want) to interact with a voice controlled “personal assistant.” This is partly the reason Siri has grown into a sassy pop icon she is today, and why Microsoft introduced their own in-house personal assistant dubbed Cortana.
Only available via a developer preview for Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft is preparing the service for a worldwide debut later this year. As a major selling point to help get more consumers on board with Windows Phone, you’d think Microsoft would be hoarding Cortana all to itself. But in an interview with Search Engine Land, it appears Microsoft is actually open to the idea of bringing Cortana to rival platforms like Android and iOS. In an interview with Search Engine Land, Windows Phone Group Program Manager Marcus Ash mentioned,
“We want to scale Cortana internationally and across devices. The Android/iOS question is interesting. We’re asking, would Cortana be as effective if she didn’t have access to the details on your phone? We’re still trying to get Cortana adopted on Windows Phone and figure out what it wants to become there. But we’re actively talking about this.”
Ash also hinted at the possibility of Cortana arriving on desktops and vehicles, but because Cortana is still finding her identity on Windows Phone, it’s unlikely we’ll see her making a trip on over to the Google Play Store any time soon. With rival services being offered by Google and Siri, we have to admit it’d be nice to see a little competition in the personal assistant space. After all, options are good.
Continuing its surprising, but not unwelcome, expansion in to Android, Microsoft‘s Office team has announced the immediate availability of Outlook Web App for Android. But while this rather useful app will let you easily manage your work email and contacts, it has some rather steep requirements that will leave a lot of Android users out in the cold.
The most important requirement is that email accounts that will be used with OWA should be hosted on Office 365 for Business, not Personal, not Home Premium. That is somewhat not surprising considering OWA’s roots come from the enterprise-oriented Microsoft Exchange Server. However, it also won’t work on Outlook.com, formerly known as Hotmail to some, email addresses, though those may come at a later date. Second, it will only work on devices running Android 4.4 and higher and only those that fall under Android’s definition of “small” and “normal” sizes. In other words, OWA only works on smartphones and not on tablets, which matches the compatibility constraints of Microsoft Office Mobile.
Once you manage to meet those requirements, you will be able to take full advantage of everything that the app has to offer, including easy access to Outlook email, Calendar, and People. All using the distinct “Modern” look of Windows apps, of course, and eschewing the usual Android app conventions. In exchange, Microsoft is throwing in a feature that isn’t available on the app’s iOS counterpart. OWA for Android can sync with Android’s native Addressbook framework so that any change you do for that contact on the Android app will be reflected on Outlook and Office 365 for Business as well.
If you use Office 365 for work or pleasure, you can take OWA for Android for a spin. It’s free, as long as you meet the requirements. Do note that it is marked as pre-release, so expect some bugs and major changes along the way.
We knew Microsoft was gearing up to release their Outlook Web App onto the Play Store, and today it’s finally been made publicly available. The app has all of the features that were previously seen on the iOS version and will allow you to manage your Outlook inbox, calendar, and contacts. You’ll get also the useful clutter feature that Microsoft talked up, which separates the unimportant emails from your inbox and sticks them in a “clutter” folder. Pretty handy if you have a lot of junk coming into your inbox.
Hit the link below to grab the app for yourself.
Come comment on this article: Microsoft releases Outlook Web App for Android devices
[New App] Microsoft Continues To Support Android With The Addition Of Outlook Web Access App [Updated]
Update: Microsoft has stated in a blog post that support is limited to a select number of devices for this pre-release version. The company is opening up compatibility regularly, so if your device isn’t supported just yet, check back later.
When a Microsoft app comes to Android, chances are that it’s not going to be exciting (seriously, take a look at the list). This is not a jab at the competing tech giant.
[New App] Microsoft Continues To Support Android With The Addition Of Outlook Web Access App [Updated] was written by the awesome team at Android Police.
Microsoft’s Surface Smartwatch gets a test drive, shows several hardware sensors and multiple OS support
Over the weekend, a report surfaced about someone using Microsoft’s upcoming smartwatch in the wild. Fortunately for us, that means we get to know a little more about the details of the watch and whether or not it’ll still be available for our Android devices.
The report went into detail about the hardware of the Surface Smartwatch and mentioned that it has a rectangle screen, similar to the Gear Fit, instead of the square design like Android Wear devices. It also has enough sensors to cover just about everything you could imagine using it for, including a heart rate monitor, accelerometer, gyroscope, and GPS. Outside of the sensors, though, the hardware seemed a little disappointing, as it has a low resolution screen and the glass was flat, not curved to the wrist. This was clearly just a prototype design, so hopefully those small details are improved before Microsoft makes anything official.
As for platform compatibility, the Surface Smartwatch is going to work with nearly every device out there, including desktop operating systems like OS X and Windows 8, all major mobile devices (iOS, Android, Windows Phone) and even the Xbox One. I don’t think we’ve seen any smartwatch that’s geared towards being used with a game console, so that’ll be interesting.
What do you think about Microsoft’s stab at the wearable market? Do you think they’ll have better luck in this area than they have with smartphones?
via: Phone Arena
Come comment on this article: Microsoft’s Surface Smartwatch gets a test drive, shows several hardware sensors and multiple OS support
If you have an Xbox One and an Android device, chances are you also have the SmartGlass companion app installed. If so, the latest update from Microsoft might interest you just a bit, as it gives users better control over their TVs and DVRs as well as their Xbox Live accounts.
More than just a gaming console, the Xbox One is also billed as a multimedia entertainment appliance for your living room. It follows then that the SmartGlass app, which turns your Android smartphone or tablet into a mobile extension of that experience, becomes your wireless gateway to those features as well. In this update, Microsoft upgrades SmartGlass’ integration with Universal Remote Control as well as OneGuide. This means that you can view and manage your favorite TV shows right from your smartphone, or switch channels, record shows and view them from your tablet. All of this from the convenience of your mobile device without even having to look at the TV.
The update also improves the social gaming experience as far as Xbox Live account holders are concerned. Even when on the go, you can view friends’ profiles, compare your stats with them and receive notifications on your phone or tablet. In some cases, you can even watch game broadcasts directly from mobile. A bit unrelated to the app itself, Microsoft has also enabled the use of real names in Xbox Live, making it easier to find and see friends that you already know by name. Privacy controls also make sure that you can limit who sees your real name and even remove it altogether.
The update to Xbox One SmartGlass is now up on Google Play Store. This app is different from the older SmartGlass app for the Xbox 360, which was renamed appropriately and sadly does not share in the new features found in this update.
Hell might freeze over if this rumor turns out to be true. According to sources, the touch-first tablet version of Microsoft’s Office suite will be arriving on Android later this year, while it won’t be coming to Windows 8 devices until sometime in 2015.
This rumor both makes sense and at the same time doesn’t. Office is one of Microsoft‘s remaining strongest cash cows but, unlike it’s other products, it is one that is perhaps best served by being available everywhere. And by everywhere, that also means non-Windows devices, like iOS and Android. Microsoft Office Mobile is already available on Google Play Store, but it is limited to smartphone form factors. The tablet version is still coming, and if this tip is to be given credence, it will be arriving sooner than later.
On the other hand, Microsoft might look less confident and less credible by not prioritizing its own platforms. From a user’s perspective, it is almost understandable that Microsoft would want to be where the money is, so to speak. And in the context of mobile devices, the money is not on its own operating system. It is, however, not exactly reassuring from an investor and business point of view.
That said, it might actually turn out to be a smart move in keeping Office relevant today. While Microsoft’s productivity suite isn’t exactly faltering, a new generation of users are growing up not tied to the software’s idiosyncrasies, especially with that generation relying more and more on mobile devices and the cloud for their document creation and editing needs. Office, however, still maintains a foothold in part because of Microsoft’s proprietary file formats. With official Office apps that can be found on any and all significant platforms and devices, Office could pretty much keep Microsoft from falling into obsolescence in the mobile industry while the company tries to scramble to gain a hold of the market.
She was modeled after real-life personal assistants. She is the product of two years of work, and a large team of scientists and product managers. She has video game origins. She is Microsoft’s response to Siri and Google Now. She is Artificial Intelligence and proud of it. She is Cortana.
Microsoft release a touch-friendly version of Office apps (Word, Powerpoint, Excel) to iOS devices earlier this year, while making the bundled Office Suite a free download for Android users. There have been rumors floating around about when Microsoft would finally break down and release their office apps on another platform, especially on the Android side of the fence, but after the earlier announcement Android users were still left wondering when or if it would ever happen.
The newest rumors point towards something pretty odd, though. Microsoft may actually release touch-friendly versions of their office apps for Android before they see a launch on Windows 8 devices. Windows already has Microsoft Office, but it’s the traditional Office that’s built for a mouse and keyboard, so the experience isn’t quite what it could be. You’d think that Microsoft would spend some extra time and money prioritizing their own platforms, but apparently the thought of Android massive market share (and the potential revenue that offers) has decided which way they’re going to go.
These rumors say an Android version of those Office apps, built specifically for touch screens, will be released late 2014. The Windows 8 release? That’s pegged for a Spring 2015 release. We’re still only halfway through the year, so that could change between now and then, but Microsoft seems like they know where the money’s at.
via: Android Central
Come comment on this article: Microsoft Office Touch will likely be released on Android before Windows 8
Windows Phone users worried that Whatsapp’s devs might be enjoying their Facebook money too much to fix the app can now rest easy. Whatsapp is now back on the Windows Phone Store after a couple of weeks’ absence, and it even comes with new features, including chat backgrounds, better privacy settings and the ability to customize notification tones. Its devs pulled the app from the store after a lot of users reported having serious issues with update 3 for Windows Phone 8 that permanently disabled notifications or caused persistent errors. Just as Microsoft’s Windows Phone guy Joe Belfiore promised on Twitter, though, Whatsapp’s back and ready for more cross-platform messaging.
[Image credit: Luis/Flickr]
Source: Windows Phone Store
You no longer have to go searching app-by-app to find a buried file on your Windows Phone. Right on schedule, Microsoft has released its Files app; if you’re running Windows Phone 8.1, you can now dig through folders to open and manipulate documents stored anywhere on your device. The interface won’t compare to what you get on your PC, but it should be useful for offloading photos to an SD card or deleteing videos that are chewing up space. If you’re already running Microsoft’s latest and greatest mobile OS, you only have to swing by the Windows Phone Store to give the file browser a spin.
Source: Windows Phone Store
As more and more big names get into the wearables space, it seems that no one wants to be left behind. We just recently heard more rumors of Microsoft getting into the smartwatch game joining the likes of Motorola, LG and Samsung. Now it looks like HTC may be developing their own smartwatch as well, dubbed One Wear.
It’s weird to think that before Microsoft spent a few billion euros to acquire Nokia’s smartphone division, it didn’t sell Windows Phone handsets directly on its online UK store. Now that Nokia is officially part of the mothership, Redmond has begun getting its house in order and has made three Nokia smartphones available to buy direct. This means you can order the Windows Phone 8.1-powered Lumia 630 for £129, the Lumia 1320 for £329 and Nokia’s current flagship, the Lumia 1520, for £549. A quick shop around might let you pick up the two older smartphones for less, but if you’re looking to get a new Windows Phone direct from the source, Microsoft’s got you covered.
Source: Microsoft Store UK
Yet another company appears to be working on a smartwatch type wearables device and this time it is none other than Microsoft. Yes, the stalwart of the corporate world that has missed every stage of the evolution of smartphones is working on an initiative to get into the exploding wearables market that has been dominated by Samsung and Apple thus far. The market is young still, so it is not inconceivable someone could come along and take over the top spot. Microsoft’s effort appears to incorporate a few twists that could give it the competitive edge needed to unseat the market leaders.
The biggest factor could be the fact that the device will supposedly be cross-platform and capable of working with devices powered by Android, iOS or Windows Phone. That would put the Microsoft smartwatch in a unique position, though not inconsistent with some recent moves by Microsoft to be more cross-platform focused.
Supposedly the device’s monitors, notable a heart-rate monitor, will operate continuously as opposed to being called up only when the user requests it. Sources indicate the device will be capable of running for two days without a charge, putting it on par with Samsung’s Gear Fit.
Another decision that could set the Microsoft smartwatch apart from competitors is the position of the screen. Sources indicate it will be designed so the screen is worn on the inside portion of the wrist. The thinking behind this decision is to improve privacy over any notifications that may pop up.
Finally, Microsoft has used personnel from the Microsoft Xbox Kinect division to help with development of the hardware and technologies to be packed into the device. The Kinect division is considered one of Microsoft’s more successful hardware ventures, so the hope is the expertise of employees in that unit will translate to success for the smartwatch initiative.
Microsoft has declined comment regarding any of these rumors and no information has surfaced regarding a potential release timeframe. With Apple supposedly on their way to producing a smartwatch type device and several Android based manufacturers working on solutions, including a forthcoming wave of Android Wear devices, Microsoft will probably need to get the device to market in the next few months before the window closes.
Would you be interested in a Microsoft produced smartwatch if it worked with your Android device?
Come comment on this article: Microsoft readying cross-platform capable smartwatch
While Microsoft has yet to make anything official on the wearables front, we’ve seen plenty about their rumored smartwatch lately. From what we’ve seen so far, their offering will be a slim design that offers a slew of fitness features and also has a removable watch body that fits snuggly into a companion charging/sync dock.