Posts Tagged Microsoft
Both Samsung and Microsoft today have announced that they are joining the Wireless Power Consortium. In doing so, the companies will adopt the Qi wireless charging standard. Samsung already belongs to, and in fact co-founded, the Alliance for Wireless Charging group; however, the A4WP agreed to work with the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) last month in order to make wireless charging a less fragmented system.
For Samsung, this is interesting as it shows they are willing to utilize another wireless charging standard. For Microsoft, however, it is a no-brainer since Nokia’s handsets utilize the WPC’s Qi wireless charging system. The WPC, A4WP, and PMA all have different standards, but this deal can move the three closer together in creating an overall cohesive experience for wireless charging.
Hit the break for the full press release.
PISCATAWAY, N.J., March 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) announced today that Microsoft and Samsung Electro-Mechanics have joined its board. The WPC board drives Qi’s adoption across mobile devices, cars, infrastructure, accessories, and products as the leading standard for wireless charging worldwide.
“Microsoft and Samsung Electro-Mechanics are important players in furthering Qi’s adoption in more devices, cars, products, and places,” said John Perzow, Vice President of Market Development at WPC. ”Qi leads the way in wireless charging with the fastest advances in inductive and resonance technology while ensuring compatibility with the entire 40+ million strong Qi ecosystem. That means that today and tomorrow, Qi products will continue to have the best features and will always work at any Qi charging spot, in the home, office, car and public locations.”
As Microsoft and Samsung Electro-Mechanics join the WPC board, WPC’s membership continues to significantly grow in the past few months, with new members including IKEA, ZTE Corporation, Aircharge and many others. This growth continues the development, advancement, and adoption of the Qi specification.
Mobile carriers around the world including Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile, China Mobile, NTT DoCoMo, O2, and Telefonica, are contributing to the adoption of Qi by selling tens of millions of phones integrated with Qi wireless charging. Consumers can now choose from over 60 mobile phones, tablets and accessories, including the Samsung Galaxy S5, S4, and S3; LG Google Nexus 4; Google Nexus 7; Nokia Lumia 1520 and 1020; LG Optimus G Pro; and HTC Droid DNA.
Qi is the only integrated wireless charging solution available in vehicles. Qi is integrated in the 2014 Jeep Cherokee; the Toyota Avalon, Prius, and Harrier; and Ssangyong Chairman. Recently, Audi unveiled its updated Phone Box center console featuring Qi. Daimler has also announced that Mercedes-Benz will be introducing Qi compatible charging for phones and tablets in its cars in 2014. CE4A, a working group of leading automobile manufacturers, made Qi the wireless charging choice for Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volkswagen, and Porsche.
The Qi standard ensures interoperability, regardless of manufacturer or brand, and offers simplicity, convenience and flexibility. Qi is backed by more than 200 leading companies of the WPC, and continues to grow as the global leader in wireless charging.
Come comment on this article: Samsung, Microsoft join the Wireless Power Consortium to adopt Qi wireless charging
Not sure if unexpected (or just refreshing?), but Microsoft has released an open source Office 365 SDK for Android. What does this mean? Well, now developers can start building Android apps using the SDK to pull data from Offiice 365. Everything from Exchange contacts, emails and calendar entries, to SharePoint lists, folders, and files, will be accessible from other apps, should the developer bake Office 365 compatibility into their apps.
Right now, the SDK is available in developer preview, but interested devs can get a jump by heading over to github to learn more. Cheers.
The Xbox One SmartGlass app has always been pretty good, but there were always a couple of things holding it back in comparison to other versions. Namely, Android users never had the ability to receive a notification for new messages as soon as they come in. They were instead forced to check manually, which can be a drag.
But today’s update changes all of that as Microsoft has finally added push notification support, so there should be no excuse for you missing your friends’ cries to come play Titanfall when it drops March 11th. Push notifications weren’t the only new thing Android users got in today’s upgrade, though.
Microsoft has added the ability to unsnap a snapped app without having to use the remote feature. You also get a tweaked friends list that automatically shows your favorites at the top, much like the full-sized app now does on the Xbox One following the March upgrade. Microsoft has also cleaned the activity feed up a tad. Finally, you can now access all your own GameDVR clips with a new menu option instead of having to jump into your profile view.
You should be looking for version 2.2, which is only available for devices running Android 4.0 or higher. It’s just 14MB large so you shouldn’t have much of a problem grabbing this one over your 3G or 4G connection. Find it for free in the Google Play Store right here.
[via Xbox One Daily]
Google and Samsung are worried about the consequences of a successful takeover deal between Microsoft and Nokia. According to a new report by Bloomberg, Google and Samsung held a talk with China’s Ministry of Commerce regarding licensing fees, citing two goverment officials familiar with the matter.
The two companies asked the Ministry of Commerce to ensure that the Microsoft-Nokia deal would not result in higher patent licensing fees, specifically in wireless technologies, that will remain under the control of Nokia. In addition, two other companies, Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp., have expressed their concern regarding this matter. The companies have asked the regulators to set conditions on the deal.
Microsoft and Nokia announced the deal back in September 2013 after Nokia lost its market share to Apple and other Android competitors. Microsoft will purchase Nokia’s hardware business while keeping most of the patents under Nokia’s control.
Come comment on this article: Google and Samsung worried about Microsoft-Nokia deal
If you worship at the BlackBerry altar and are in dire need of a cloud storage service that isn’t Dropbox, Box or Mega, today’s your lucky day. Now you can dump your files in Microsoft’s OneDrive by way of a newly released BlackBerry 10 app. Like the Android and iOS versions before it, this OneDrive app lets you automatically upload your photos and videos as well as share your files with far-flung cohorts. Just be mindful of your limits: OneDrive (which went by “SkyDrive” before Microsoft got hit with a lawsuit) offers up 7GB of free storage to new users. That’s still better than the 2GB that Dropbox gives away gratis, but Box and Mega offer 10GB and 50GB of free space, respectively. Choose wisely… or sign up for all of them and surrender yourself to the cloud.
Filed under: Mobile
Source: BlackBerry World
One of the big surprises at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in the previous week was Nokia’s official launch of its X series. The Nokia X, X+ and XL run a forked version of Android, which comes with the Android Open Source Project at the core, plus a Microsoft and Nokia services layer. This results in a user experience and ecosystem markedly different from the usual Android device.
Meant as a midrange smartphone, the Nokia X is said to be a gateway to higher-end Microsoft Windows Phone devices — the tiled Metro user interface and services, after all, are all from Microsoft. You would not find the official Gmail, Google Maps, Google Play Store or other parts of the Google Mobile Services (GMS) on the X. However, at the XDA Developers forum, a Spanish developer who goes by the handle Kashamalaga has recently found a way to install Google apps and services on the Nokia X. Surprisingly, Nokia was actually reportedly pleased about this development.
@KashaMalaga This is awesome! Very excited to see progress is being made – we actually really like @xdadevelopers— Nokia Developer Team (@nokiadeveloper) February 28, 2014
Update: The tweet seems to have been taken down, for some reason. Has Nokia perhaps changed its mind?
Nokia does not offer any official reason why it is “excited” with this progress. However, from both a developer and business perspective, this actually has advantages. Here are some possible reasons why:
Nokia X has piqued developer interest. With its Android fork, Nokia is trying to attract app developers who are focused on building for the two top platforms today: iOS and Android. Nokia X actually requires developers to port their apps into the platform and include these into Nokia’s own app marketplace, especially if apps will require a different set of APIs (as opposed to Google’s, for example).
The ability of Nokia X to run Google services means that the device and its AOSP underpinnings is no different from other Android devices, and it should be easy enough to build apps for the platform, as well.
Nokia X is likely to be popular among the custom ROM community. Android users would usually build a cult following around a device, even if it’s not the most popular or most powerful around. If the Nokia X were found to be able to be customizable enough to replace the Microsoft services with GApps, then the community will find a way to turn the Nokia X into a full-fledged Android device. When Nokia was considering Android before its Windows Phone switch, this already generated some interest, especially among those who are fond of Nokia’s hardware.
All the buzz is good for Nokia — and Microsoft, too. Considering there are hundreds of different Android phone models out there, not all of these get enough interest to warrant an active community of developers and enthusiasts. With the Nokia X already getting this much attention even before it is officially out in the market, it’s guaranteed to be a popular model for custom ROMs and modding. And perhaps it’s an implicit wink to users who want Nokia’s hardware, but don’t necessarily want Microsoft services on their device. If it can be rooted and flashed with GApps, then why not?
It’s a win-win situation for Microsoft, Nokia and mobile users, and Nokia is clearly at an advantage here.
The post Google apps on the Nokia X: Good for Nokia and Microsoft? appeared first on The Droid Guy.
A new report this morning suggests Microsoft is readying their Xbox Live platform for Android and iOS to also encompass mobile gaming. Microsoft recently posted a Software Engineer job listing, noting the new position will help build an “extensible and scalable” cross-platform offering. The service is believed to act much like Google or Apple’s current social gaming initiatives.
It seems the goal here s to make Xbox Live a touch more social, and offer better discoverability across mobile platforms. This doesn’t mean you’ll get to play Xbox games on your handheld, though; instead, it’s believed to be meant as a tool for social gaming. Find friends, challenge others, even discover online multiplayer games.
While that’s currently offered from both Google and Apple, those services lack one key feature an updated “Xbox Live for Mobile” would pick up on. With a third party involved, true cross-platform functionality would likely exist. The social aspect of Asphalt 8 on your iPad would be the same as your Nexus 5. Currently, both game platforms are propriety to their brand.
It’s believed Microsoft wants to bring Developers back into their fold, too. The simpliciy of an API for games to be on a social Xbox platform would be easy enough for Developers, and a change from Microsoft’s current rigorous certification process. Of course, asking that mobile Developers bring their iOs and Android games to Xbox also has the added benefit of bringing in new Developers while winning others back. We like the idea of Xbox Live becoming more social, we’re just not sure we want any console tie-ins, which is likely one of the bigger pushes with such a move.
Source: The Verge
Today Microsoft has released the Office 365 software development kit for Android. With it, the company wants to invite developers to access Office data inside their apps. The SDK provides APIs granting permission to call upon SharePoint lists and files, along with Exchange calendars, contacts, and mail. The preview is available for download straight from GitHub.
The SDK requires Android 4.0.3 or higher to run, and Microsoft has shared an introductory blog post to get you started.
- GitHub Releases Awesome App For Android, Lets You Keep Up With Your Projects On The Go
- BGR Says Microsoft Is Working On Office For Android Tablets Due Out In November, We Hope It’s True
- Microsoft OneNote Updated With New Formatting Options, Support For Office 365 Notebooks, And More
- [New App] Microsoft Office Mobile Lands In The Google Play Store: Office 365 Required, Tablets Need Not Apply
Microsoft Makes The Office 365 Android SDK Available For Download was written by the awesome team at Android Police.
Windows and Android are such good pals, they’re quite literally inseparable on a number of dual-boot devices. Aside from some old community-driven projects, however, the relationship between Google’s mobile OS and Windows Phone hasn’t blossomed to a point where they’re officially comfortable sharing a smartphone. Well, they better pencil in a bonding session, because The Times of India reports local manufacturer Karbonn is set to launch the first such dual-boot handset by June. With the ink now dry on a deal with Microsoft — presumably a WP license agreed behind closed doors at MWC — plans are to offer a range of split-personality devices with professional and tech-savvy types in mind. Perhaps they’ll run Windows Phone 8.1 right off the bat, too, given the new version’s broader hardware support, and show that you needn’t create mutant advocates to tempt consumers one way or another.
Source: The Times of India
Microsoft Reportedly Building A Platform To Extend Xbox Live Gaming Functionality To Android And iOS Games
Microsoft has already dabbled around with expanding the Xbox Live experience to mobile devices, but if a recent report from The Verge is to be believed, the company may be about to ramp up its efforts significantly. Our good friend Sources, who is familiar with Microsoft’s plans, claims that Microsoft is building a platform that would extend Xbox Live functionality to Android and iOS. Instead of using Google Play Games or Apple’s Game Center to track achievements, find other players, and compete with one another, you would be able to use Xbox Live instead.
- Android Gets Its Very Own Official Xbox LIVE App From Microsoft- In Other News, Pigs Now Fly
- Microsoft Continues To Show Android Love With Its First Game For Android: Kinectimals
- [New App] Microsoft Xbox SmartGlass Released: Cross-Platform Goodness For Console Gamers
- Microsoft Bringing Xbox Music To Android – Unlimited Streaming For Subscribers, No Offline Mode [Update: The App Is Live]
Microsoft Reportedly Building A Platform To Extend Xbox Live Gaming Functionality To Android And iOS Games was written by the awesome team at Android Police.
The past week has seen a couple big announcements from Samsung regarding their Knox security architecture, like the ability to run apps outside of Knox yet receive benefits of secured data and Common Criteria certification. To really help users capitalize from their Samsung devices, Samsung has announced yet another development for Knox, support for a variety of Microsoft services.
In working with Microsoft, Samsung is now able to offer users the ability to use Microsoft’s Workplace Join to Active Directory, the Windows Intune cloud-based mobile device management solution, Windows Azure cloud platform and Microsoft Sharepoint. For organizations that rely heavily on Microsoft services, this should open the door to deployments of Samsung devices within the enterprise.
The partnership with Microsoft to make these services available to Samsung devices running the latest version of Knox makes Samsung the first Android platform to get this level of access.
Samsung’s full press release is below.
SAMSUNG WORKS WITH MICROSOFT TO ADDRESS ANDROID ENTERPRISE SECURITY AND PRODUCTIVITY NEEDS
Samsung KNOX™ mobile security platform to support Microsoft Workplace Join, Windows Intune, Windows Azure and Cloud Printing of Microsoft Office documents
Friday 28th February, 2014, Barcelona, Spain – Samsung Electronics announced today that Samsung KNOX will now support Microsoft’s Workplace Join to Active Directory and the Windows Intune cloud-based mobile device management solution in addition to Samsung’s Cloud Printing solution, which uses both Microsoft Windows Azure cloud platform and Microsoft SharePoint.
These Microsoft technologies will improve security and productivity for workers using Samsung KNOX-enabled devices, Samsung’s end-to-end secure mobile platform solution which is designed to provide advanced data and privacy protection for enterprise workers.
Injong Rhee, Senior Vice President of KNOX Business Group, IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics said: “Samsung developed KNOX as a secure and complete mobile platform for the enterprise and we continue to evolve it to protect and respond to ever-changing enterprise mobility and security challenges. As a proud and long standing Microsoft partner, we are delighted to be able to offer their Workplace Join users with the full security and support that the Samsung KNOX platform offers. We are also pleased that Microsoft has enabled device management through Windows Intune, enabling enterprise IT managers to take full advantage of the management capabilities offered by Samsung KNOX.”
Workplace Join The Samsung KNOX platform is the first Android implementation to provide full support for Workplace Join to Active Directory, introduced by Microsoft in Windows Server 2012 R2. Offered on the latest Samsung mobile devices, Workplace Join will be available on all Samsung KNOX devices in the coming months.
Workplace Join enables users to register their devices of choice with their company to allow access to corporate resources. By controlling access to corporate resources, IT administrators can manage risk while helping users remain productive. As a seamless experience for end users, Workplace Join offers a second factor of device authentication through Active Directory.
IT organisations will gain the stronger authentication that enterprises demand for access to sensitive resources. With the integration of Workplace Join into the Samsung KNOX platform, enterprise IT administrators can be assured that employees that bring their own Samsung mobile device will be able to be strongly authenticated and allowed access to corporate resources.
Bob Kelly, Corporate Vice President, Cloud & Enterprise Business Development, Microsoft said: “In line with our commitment to serve enterprises and users in heterogeneous IT environments, we are pleased to work with Samsung to bring Microsoft’s trusted, cloud-enabled, enterprise BYOD capabilities to Samsung devices. Like Windows device users, Samsung mobile customers will now be able to take advantage of seamless authentication for access to enterprise resources, and Enterprise IT will be able to manage those devices and users through the cloud with Windows Intune. We are also excited to see Samsung use Windows Azure and Office 365 cloud capabilities to give users a smartphone printing experience that rivals desktop and laptop printing results, with Samsung Cloud Printing. We see many opportunities to collaborate with Samsung in the future to continue providing enterprise-grade solutions for BYOD environments.”
Windows Intune Microsoft’s Windows Intune provides first class support for Samsung mobile devices supported with the KNOX platform. By implementing management APIs provided on the Standard platform, IT administrators can comprehensively manage Samsung mobile devices via the Windows Intune administration console and enable device access in high security environment, KNOX.
Samsung Cloud Printing with Windows Azure Samsung Cloud Printing uses the Microsoft Windows Azure cloud platform and Microsoft SharePoint to provide PC quality printing experiences on mobile devices. Mobile users will be able to easily print documents directly from their smartphone, with results that will be indistinguishable from a printout of the document from a desktop or laptop computer.
Come comment on this article: Samsung partners with Microsoft to access Windows services using Knox
Microsoft enterprise tools now accessible with Samsung’s security platform
Samsung has today announced that it has been working alongside Microsoft to bring some of its enterprise services to Knox. Going forward accessing Microsoft Workplace Join, Windows Intune, Windows Azure and Cloud Printing of Microsoft Office documents will all be possible on Samsung mobile devices secured with Knox.
Knox becomes the first Android platform to get access to Microsoft’s Workplace Join, which will be available on devices in the coming months. It’s also a pretty big deal to see Samsung device users able to access Office 365 documents and cloud printing through Samsung’s own platform. The two have been partners away from mobile before now, but it’s still a pretty big deal to see them co-operating in mobile enterprise like this.
You’ll find the full press release after the break.
At MWC, Android and Chrome boss Sundar Pichai spoke, touching on a variety of topics. According to him, the recent news of Google’s work with Samsung is far less exciting than we’d like to believe, and he longs for an Android powered smartwatch. As for Microsoft and their Nokia X — he’s as confused as we are.
With regard to Samsung, he dismissed talk that there would be any radical new product design, or other interesting work being done. Pichai insisted their newfound bromance was “more boring” than we anticipate, but does lament that Samsung used Tizen on their new wearables. He said he would rather they have used Android, so we just hopes they’re sorry they didn’t when that new Android wearable OS comes out next month.
With regard to Microsoft’s Nokia X devices — because let’s not kid ourselves, it’s a Microsoft phone — he took the opportunity to brag Android up. “This shows that when we say that Android is a free operating system, we do not lie, it’s true” said Pichai. He did admit that Microsoft’s efforts aren’t quite clear to him just yet, though. Pichai said he couldn’t see Microsoft’s intentions “very clearly”, which tells us Google is as caught off-guard as we were.
There were other tidbits Pichai noted, but nothing really interesting. He said we’d not see a new Nexus handset before the second half of 2014 (duh…), and that the Galaxy S6 will run Android (more duh). He also re-iterated previous comments about Google’s WhatsApp intentions, saying “Google has never made an offer for WhatsApp. This information was completely false.” We’re big fans of Pichai, so when he talks, we listen. We just wished he spoke more.
- Android leadership: Andy Rubin out, Sundar Pichai in
- Sundar Pichai: Google I/O 2013 will return focus to the developers
- Sundar Pichai: 70 million Android tablet activations
- Pichai stays put at Google, Microsoft chooses Nadella as new CEO
- Android chief Pichai says there was no WhatsApp offer from Google
It’s been a long time coming, but Skype’s revealed that folks can finally sign up for service using a Microsoft account. Skype believes this feature is perfect for users who perhaps want the least amount of logins possible, and it also points to Microsoft’s two-step verification as a benefit for having such an account. Meanwhile, the Windows Phone app has been updated with a number of security improvements, plus an indicator which lets you know when the person on the other side is typing. As part of the integration with its parent company, Skype will now require a Microsoft account (like the one used to set up your WP device) when registering for a new account through the application. This new version is only available for Windows Phone 8, however — as you might recall, support for the app on earlier versions of the OS was cut off months ago.
Via: The Next Web
Microsoft Details a Bit of Windows Phone 8.1, Will Run on Existing Snapdragon-powered Android Hardware
While we may not be the biggest fans of Windows Mobile at DL, this news affects many folks who like to enjoy a taste of everything from different companies. This week at MWC, Microsoft listed out a few details for the upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 release, stating that the OS could be flashed to any existing Android hardware, as long as it was powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 200, 400, or 400 LTE chipset.
While the idea is great for consumers, Microsoft wanted to make sure users were aware that dual-booting the two would be unsupported, though. And for those looking to pull some ROM flashing trickery through developer forums, Microsoft also said that would not be possible.
In addition to just running on Android hardware, Windows Phone 8.1 would bring support for moving applications to an SD card, which is important for budget devices with less onboard storage. Microsoft also announced that 8.1 would remove the requirement for hardware to feature capacitive buttons and a dedicated physical camera button, meaning that Windows Mobile will now support onscreen buttons. If you ask us Android-lovin’ folk, that’s a step in the right direction.
Windows Phone 8.1 is scheduled for launch sometime this Spring, with Microsoft’s Build conference happening on April 2.
Via: PC Mag
Microsoft Details a Bit of Windows Mobile 8.1, Will Run on Existing Snapdragon-powered Android Hardware
While we may not be the biggest fans of Windows Mobile at DL, this news affects many folks who like to enjoy a taste of everything from different companies. This week at MWC, Microsoft listed out a few details for the upcoming Windows Mobile 8.1 release, stating that the OS could be flashed to any existing Android hardware, as long as it was powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 200, 400, or 400 LTE chipset.
While the idea is great for consumers, Microsoft wanted to make sure users were aware that dual-booting the two would be unsupported, though. And for those looking to pull some ROM flashing trickery through developer forums, Microsoft also said that would not be possible.
In addition to just running on Android hardware, Windows Mobile 8.1 would bring support for moving applications to an SD card, which is important for budget devices with less onboard storage. Microsoft also announced that 8.1 would remove the requirement for hardware to feature capacitive buttons and a dedicated physical camera button, meaning that Windows Mobile will now support onscreen buttons. If you ask us Android-lovin’ folk, that’s a step in the right direction.
Windows Mobile 8.1 is scheduled for launch sometime this Spring, with Microsoft’s Build conference happening on April 2.
Via: PC Mag
Nokia has launched its Nokia X line, which runs a forked version of Android that features Microsoft services and APIs. Could this be a good “Plan B” for Nokia and Microsoft?
It’s official: Nokia has announced its Nokia X series, which comes in three variants: the X, X+ and XL. Nokia X is basically Android without the GMS part. Nokia has “forked” Android by using the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) as the platform’s base, then adding a services framework that will run Microsoft’s and Nokia’s own APIs, for location, in-app purchases and notifications API.
Some say this fork has been several years in waiting, given that Nokia did consider switching to Android as its main platform before Stephen Elop and Co. announced the shift to Windows Phone in 2011. Interestingly enough, the launch of Nokia X comes at a time when Microsoft is finalizing the acquisition of Nokia’s mobile services division. Quite soon, Nokia will be integrated into Microsoft. Should it matter that Nokia is running Android at the core of its mid-range smartphone series?
More Microsoft than Google
Wait, are you sure this is an Android phone?
The big deal with Nokia X is that it is essentially Microsoft instead of Google. “The Nokia X takes people to Microsoft’s cloud, not to Google’s cloud,” said Stephen Elop, former CEO of Nokia, and now head of the company’s mobile services division. He said that Nokia X presents an “essentially different but complementary opportunity to introduce a new family that strengthens our affordable [devices] family.”
Nokia X will be a “feeder” device to Windows Phone. It is priced competitively against entry-level Android devices by major brands, starting at $122 for the base X model. This is is a step above the Nokia Asha series, but still cheaper than the entry-level Lumia.
Nokia X does not come with the familiar widgets-and-icons interface of the typical Android launcher, but will come in Metro-style tiled layout. Microsoft’s cloud also includes Outlook, OneDrive, Skype and Office 365, instead of the usual Gmail, Google Drive and Hangouts, for example.
Why Android is Good for Microsoft and Nokia
Credit: IBTimes UK
Given this, users should find it easy to upgrade from the Nokia X to a higher-end Lumia device — the interface is highly similar to Windows Phone. Additionally, integration with Microsoft services makes the migration path easier from Nokia to Windows Phone. Elop said the phone will not be marketed as an Android device, but rather as “an affordable phone”. It just so happens that the phone runs Android.
At least this is the assumption. Microsoft and Nokia are banking on users being dependent on its own services rather than competing services by Google. Therefore, this presents an opportunity for growth rather than competition.
If anything, Nokia’s adoption of Android means that Microsoft is willing to be neutral when it comes to dealing with device makers, even if these are partners or even subsidiaries. Take the case of Google and Motorola, for example. When Google acquired Motorola, this caused tension between the search company and the various manufacturers that ran Android — primarily Samsung. Google was seen to be extending favoritism. From the perspective of the subsidiary, meanwhile, it would want better support and faster updates for its own devices, lest it feel alienated by its owner. (With Google selling Motorola to Lenovo, it’s now all good with Samsung.)
Either way, the platform owner also owning a mobile device maker does come with these tensions. Nokia’s adoption of Android would be seen as a way for Microsoft to still have some platform-neutrality, if only in terms of the core operating system running on Nokia’s devices. With the Nokia X, the likelihood of other manufacturers calling out Microsoft for favoritism could be minimized. Meanwhile, Nokia won’t need to be coddled by Microsoft — they can simply shift focus on their own Android fork efforts if Windows Phone becomes too limiting for the mobile division’s needs.
It’s all about the ecosystem
“I’ve got my kids brainwashed: You don’t use Google, and you don’t use an iPod,” said Ballmer sometime in 2011.
Now here’s where the idea of “Plan B” comes. Microsoft is a distant third ecosystem compared with iOS and Android, commanding only about 3.5 percent of market share in smartphones. The competition in attracting developers can be as tough as attracting users. Why ask developers to build for yet another platform when developing for both iOS and Android consumes quite a lot of effort in itself.
This might seem counter-intuitive, especially given Microsoft’s push to unify its development platform for mobile (Windows Phone) and desktop (Windows 8). However, Android’s development platform is now seen as standard by other platforms as well, including BlackBerry, Samsung’s Tizen and newcomer Sailfish OS, among others. Support for the “hundreds of thousands” of Android apps out there might be as important as running the ecosystem and managing the services layer that comes with it.
Even Elop admits that Windows Phone is seen as lacking in terms of apps, even if popular apps have found their way to the platform. Will this be a good way to combat the stigma of a supposedly small ecosystem?
It’s the best of both worlds for Microsoft and Nokia. I wonder if more devices running a Microsoft-focused Android fork — or at least Windows Phone running Android apps — will be the norm in the future.
The post Forking Android: A good ‘Plan B’ for Nokia and Microsoft? appeared first on The Droid Guy.
A couple of years ago, we would’ve said that the day Nokia announced an Android device was the day Hades froze over. The hour has come, however, and it’s only slightly chilly this morning. The Nokia X is the company’s inaugural Android-based devices — three of them, in fact — although it’s been tweaked a little bit to fit Microsoft’s and Nokia’s preferences. The devices are known as the X, X+ (pictured above) and XL (pictured after the break), each of which differed by only a small number of factors; and at a cost of 89 euros ($122) for the X, 99 euros for the X+ and 109 euros for the XL, the family fits roughly in-between the Asha and Lumia series in terms of pricing and functionality. The X will be available immediately in growth markets (sorry, enthusiasts in the US, Korea and Japan, it won’t be heading to your neck of the woods through official channels), while the X+ and XL will come later in the second quarter and will come in white, black, cyan, green, red and yellow. %Gallery-slideshow181410% %Gallery-slideshow181409%
‘Nokia X takes people to Microsoft’s cloud, not Google’s.’
Today at its press conference in Barcelona for MWC 2014, Stephen Elop of Nokia introduced the Nokia X and X+, two new low-end devices running Android. Both phones have a 4-inch display and iconic Nokia design, with the Nokia X+ having better internal specs and an SDcard slot.
The devices are built on AOSP, but do not use any of Google’s services. As Elop said at the press conference, “Nokia X takes people to Microsoft’s cloud, not Google’s.” It leverages Nokia’s HERE Maps, Outlook.com, Microsoft OneDrive and Skype among other apps to fill in the gaps left by removing Google’s cloud services.
Of course because it runs Android, Nokia is making it simple for Android developers to move over their apps to the Nokia store for download on the Nokia X and X+. The process is said to be very simple, according to Elop, and if users want to take things into their own hands the phones will also support sideloading of apps from the internal storage or SDcard.
Now that Nokia is merely one of Microsoft’s tentacles, it would be pretty weird if it finally introduced an Android phone, right? Well, that’s exactly what’s about to happen, according to a spate of leaks. The device is said to be called the Nokia X, and allegedly resembles an Asha handset while running a forked version of Android. That raises a lot of questions, like whether there’ll be any Google content and, if not, where the heck your apps will come from. Luckily, we’re here at MWC in Barcelona to blog all those answers live, so come back right here for all the news!
Microsoft is on a roll at its MWC event today. Shortly after announcing updates to Windows and Windows Phone, the company also told us that it’s now trying to make its mobile platform more flexible for operators and manufacturers and is now working with a whole bevy of new manufacturing partners. Among the notable companies on the list are LG, Lenovo and ZTE, in addition to several companies in India, such as Xolo, Karbonn and Lava. Some of the listed companies (such as LG, Huawei and ZTE) have worked with Windows Phone in the past, but today’s revelations show that those companies haven’t completely turned away from Microsoft — or have returned to the fold.
Says Microsoft VP Nick Parker, “we’re open for business on Windows Phone to anyone who wants to build one.” The company is extending its arms out to more partners by providing more options; for instance, Parker told us that Microsoft is now working with operators on possible white label devices — phones that are branded by operators but built by other manufacturers. Additionally, Microsoft also announced that any company can build a Windows Phone using Qualcomm’s Reference Design; interestingly, this means that Android-based hardware could potentially be reused for Windows Phone.
These changes announced today will certainly add more appeal and higher volume to the platform around the world, especially in emerging markets, and is a good way for Microsoft to indirectly address growing concerns that its upcoming acquisition of Nokia’s device division would limit the interest of outside manufacturers.
Microsoft has made a few announcements related to Windows Phone 8.1 this afternoon in Barcelona. While we don’t expect to see the new update in its entirety until April, we got at least a few satisfying nuggets of info today. First, we’re going to see a lot more flexible support for hardware: 8.1 will be able to support more Qualcomm chipsets, such as Snapdragon 200, 400 and 400 LTE; it will come with TD-LTE, TD-SCDMA and SGLTE support, the ability for phones to use dual-SIM, apps on microSD and virtual softkeys instead of capacitive keys. Devices won’t be required to have a hardware camera shutter key anymore, either (but it’s still offered as an option anyway). Additionally, we’ve been told that devices currently on Windows Phone 8 will be able to get an update to 8.1, so it’s fortunately backwards-compatible to some degree.
With the new update, Microsoft is going to introduce support for dual SIM devices, which is huge in developing areas of the world. As part of this support, WP8.1 will offer Live Tiles for each SIM, as well as the option to link messaging tiles together for both. Microsoft is also going to be compatible with Qualcomm’s Reference Design (QRD), and VP Joe Belfiore brought a Snapdragon 200-powered Windows Phone reference device to show it off. Unfortunately he couldn’t show it off to us personally, since there were a few things he didn’t want us to see, but it’s refreshing to see such sweeping hardware opportunities; this opens up more ability for growth in global market share.
Microsoft VP Joe Belfiore made an announcement that will come as a solid addition to the Windows Phone app ecosystem: Facebook Messenger will be making its way to the platform sometime in the next few weeks. No specific date was given, since it’s still in the works, but we’re told that it’s progressing well enough that Belfiore could announce it. More updates from Microsoft as we get word.
At this point it’s a forgone conclusion that Microsoft is going to enter the digital assistant space in order to keep pace with Android and iOS. Its offering, code named Cortana (after a Halo character), is reportedly set to debut as part of Windows Phone 8.1, which we’re expecting to get a glimpse of at Build. While the final shape of the app has yet to be confirmed, recent leaks hint that it will borrow heavily from Siri and Google Now, blending what many see as the best features of each. According to the Verge, Cortana will replace the standard Bing search and feature a circular animated icon as its primary UI element. The icon will use the highlight color you’ve chosen and bounce around the screen or frown when you ask it a question. In addition to offering visual indications of its “emotional” state, Cortana will feature a Siri-like personality that can greet you by name.
Cortana’s central repository of information is called called Notebook, which will store your location, personal info, calendar and contact data, as well as track your behaviors. Over time it will adapt to individual users, but it will also include robust privacy features that will require you to specifically allow Cortana to store data and will even allow you to edit or delete that information after the fact. For example, if you allow it to access your email, Cortana can watch for phrases that about meetings or appointments and automatically add reminders.
In addition to your locally stored data and Bing, the virtual assistant will also be able to tap third-party sources of data like Foursquare. If Microsoft is aggressive in opening up Cortana to third-party apps and services that could give it a leg up on Siri and Now. Especially if it moves quickly to bring the new tool to its other platforms: namely Windows and Xbox.
Source: The Verge
If you’re using Microsoft’s SkyDrive for your cloud storage needs, don’t be concerned about the incoming update. SkyDrive will now be known as OneDrive, with the Android app seeing an update. Not only new in name, the app has a sightly tweaked interface, as well as some tricks to get free storage.
Microsoft is changing the name of their cloud storage in response to a lawsuit filed by Sky Broadcasting in the UK. We’re sure you can see the correlation in naming, and it confused consumers as well. Sky operates all their entities by placing “Sky” in front of whatever it is the service does. A judge ruled that the cloud storage solution from Microsoft was close enough to cause confusion for users, some of whom thought Sky Broadcasting actually operated SkyDrive, and called them with questions and complaints.
If you don’t use SkyDrive, you’ll get 7GB free just for signing up. Each person you successfully refer to OneDrive gets you 500MB, up to 10 people (5GB). Using the auto camera backup feature will get you an additional 3GB. Really, if you use OneDrive as you would, say, Google Drive — you end up with 10GB storage, free and clear. If you end up referring enough people, it’s 15GB out the door. Not bad.
The app is of course renamed, but is also seeing a UI update. It’s nothing too drastic, but Microsoft clearly took the opportunity in changing their name to make some wanted changes. OneDrive is similar is look and feel to other cloud storage solutions, so it’s really a matter of preference. That 10GB free might persuade you, if you need more virtual storage.
VIA: Play Store
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Microsoft had a slight run in not to long ago about the name of its cloud storage solution. A small legal issue stemming from UK TV broadcaster BSkyB led to the need to alter its name and branding. Now what was once SkyDrive, you will now find OneDrive. The new rebranded app has been released now for Windows, iOS and Android.
The changes won’t mean a heck of a lot to previous SkyDrive users. Microsoft assures the public that all your content still remains under the new name branding. The re-released OneDrive does offer up some new goodies for the Android side of things. You can automatically upload your photos and videos to OneDrive using camera backup. Sounds like Dropbox and Google Drive. The updated app also offers improved support working with Office Mobile for Android and OneNote, larger thumbnail viewing and the usual dose of bug fixes and performance improvements.
With OneDrive you get 7GB of storage for free out the gates, but Microsoft is also taking a slight Dropbox approach to earning more. Every friend you refer to OneDrive will net you 500MBs of free storage, upto 5GBs. You can also earn another 3GB of free space for just trying out the camera backup feature.
On the downside though, it seems like many users of the Android app are pushing 1 and 2 star ratings because they can’t login to OneDrive after the branding change and slow upload speeds of photos. If you are a former SkyDrive users and wish to check out the new OneDrive just hit the Play Store below.
In case you haven’t heard, Microsoft recently announced plans to give SkyDrive a name change to OneDrive. Microsoft would have you believe it was because of a desire to pursue a new marketing angle that allows them to advertise “one” place for all your stuff, but those of us geeky enough to have deeper knowledge know it’s because Microsoft was pressured by British Sky Broadcasting on grounds of branding confusion.
None of that matters, though — it’s OneDrive now, and it’s the same service it’s been since Microsoft introduced it. That said, today’s announcement doesn’t simply bring a sweeping branding change for those of us on Android. An upgrade to the OneDrive app also brings us a new feature that will automatically backup photos that have been taken with your phone’s camera, just in case you need peace of mind knowing your photos are safe should anything ever happen to your phone.
Beyond that, Microsoft is also giving users extra space on top of the 7GB that comes standard. You can get up to 5GB of free storage, though you’ll need to have some friends sign-up with ugly referral codes in order to hit that. You’ll get 500MB for each friend, so even if you only get a few you’ll have a bit more space to work with. There’s also 3GB of extra storage waiting for you just for using Microsoft’s photo backup option, so be sure to set that up if you need the extra room.
While those of us in Android land would naturally gravitate toward Google Drive, Microsoft doesn’t have a bad alternative on their hands. I personally use OneDrive for storing and managing my Xbox One GameDVR clips, and I can’t say it’s been bad — it’s been quite the enjoyable experience, actually. If, for whatever reason, Google Drive isn’t doing it for you and you’re looking for a suitable replacement not named DropBox, this is not a bad place to start. Give it a shot by finding it in the Google Play Store.
A few weeks ago Microsoft announced that SkyDrive would now be known as OneDrive. Today that became a reality, and OneDrive is now official. For people who were already using SkyDrive that won’t really be a big change. Their service will automatically be upgraded, and existing apps will continue to work.
Hit the break for more info, the Play Store download link, and a gallery of screenshots!
There are a few changes to the service, however. Users of OneDrive will be able to earn additional storage, similar to how Dropbox works. Users can get a referral bonus of up to 5GB, which consists of 500MB for each friend you refer to OneDrive. You can also get an additional 3GB of storage by using the camera backup feature in the mobile version of the apps. If normal storage plus that extra storage still isn’t enough, users can sign up to a monthly payment plan for even more.
The Android app for OneDrive is also being updated. It will now include automatic camera uploads. The new app also has a new user interface.
Come comment on this article: Microsoft launches OneDrive along with new Android app
Android app gets camera backups in the process
A quick heads up for anyone using Microsoft’s brand of cloud storage, that today sees the big switch over to OneDrive. The Android app has been updated to reflect the new name and add camera backups, and you can now earn free space in a Dropbox style fashion by referring folks to boost your own GBs.
The big name change came about following legal action involving UK TV broadcaster BSkyB, and so Microsoft has been forced to remove the reference to sky from it’s cloud locker. There’s a bunch of other stuff included in the big changeover that affects folks on other platforms, and our buddies over at Windows Phone Central have the handle on what’s going down.