Posts with tag windows phone
A couple weeks ago, we reported on a rumor that Windows Phone 8.1 would be arriving on April 14th. Today is that day and it’s confirmed – the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers has been released through Microsoft’s Preview for Developer program, meaning anyone with a Windows Phone developer account (even a free App Studio account) can download and install this update just like you would any other update.
According to one of my contacts, the update is split into two parts: the first part is a pre-update, if you will, that presumably contains some bugfixes for the existing Windows Phone 8 OS while the second part is the actual Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview update.
Windows Phone 8.1 contains many new features such as VPN support, more tile customization options and most notably, Cortana. If you’re interested in the update, all you have to do is get your phone developer unlocked and install the Preview for Developers app – but be aware that once you update, there’s no going back to a stable OS.
Review coming soon!
Says the leaked documents
Yesterday, Microsoft showed off Windows Phone 8.1 during the //BUILD/ 2014 Day 1 keynote. The speakers stated that the build would be arriving for developers sometime later in April but didn’t leave any specifics.
Neowin has acquired an internal email that may help shed some more specifics on when the build will be arriving. While there was an earlier build of Windows Phone 8.1 released to Microsoft Connect partners, it wasn’t deemed the gold master because there were a few extra bugs that had to be fixed. This pushback seems to have resulted in the new release date of April 14th with the build being signed off on April 8th.
An important thing to note is that the leaked Neowin email refers to an “adaptation kit” which is for OEM partners to tailor Windows Phone images to their devices and may not mean that ordinary developers will get the build at the same time the OEMs do.
The Lumia 635 is the successor to the Lumia 521 and will be available on T-Mobile. Like the 521, it’s a budget device aimed at the no contract market but it does include LTE support, something that Stephen Elop mentioned during the keynote this morning. It’ll also come with a 4.5″ screen and a quad-core processor which is a considerable upgrade from the 521.
But if you’re still rocking a Lumia 925 or 521, T-Mobile will be releasing the Windows Phone 8.1 update for those devices too. And it’ll also be available for people who own the MetroPCS version of the Lumia 521, as MetroPCS is now owned my T-Mobile. Unfortunately, owners of the Lumia 810 are once again going to be left out in the cold as the press release makes no mention of that device.
The devices and updates are coming to T-Mobile “this summer” with no specific dates or price points mentioned.
Cortana, what's new?
As expected, Microsoft has officially announced Windows Phone 8.1 on stage at the BUILD opening keynote speech today. Although Windows Phone 8.1 has been designated as a minor point upgrade, in actuality Windows Phone 8.1 is a large upgrade to the platform, bringing some of the most commonly requested features and bits of functionality into Microsoft’s floundering mobile phone platform.
While we’ve seen a lot of this before already, the biggest bit of new news came from Windows Phone’s Cortana functionality. Cortana, for those who don’t know, is Microsoft’s take on an intellectual voice assistant on Windows, akin to Siri on Apple iOS and Google Now on Android.
Cortana is incredibly intelligent, keeping track of a held conversation in a way that Siri for example has yet to truly grasp – commands can be treated as sort of threads, so if you say “What’s the weather in Boston, MA?” for example, you can amend that in the next command by saying something like “What’s that in Kelvin?” – for you scientists who just need to know what the weather’s like in Kelvin.
Meanwhile, Cortana can also keep reminders outside the Cortana UI itself. Ask Cortana to remind you to tell your wife something, and a reminder will pop up next time you text, call, or Skype with your wife. It’s very smart, and a welcome addition to the voice assistant family – something I hope will make its way to some competitor’s platforms before long.
Other than Cortana, Windows Phone 8.1 provides several other impressive new features. There’s a new lock screen customization UI that allows developers to create unique new lock screen designs. Picking up the personalization trend and running with it, Microsoft has also integrated a sort of unique wallpaper support in the platform that allows you to transplant images onto live tiles. It’s kind of odd, but it creates some unique and interesting customization options.
Microsoft has also integrated Internet Explorer 11 support into Windows Phone 8.1, as well as a bunch of other updates to integrated applications, such as Settings and Calendar. The keyboard has been updated to allow for Swype-like usage with swiping instead of tapping on the individual letters. Windows Phone 8.1 is slated to ship to new phones beginning in April, and will ship as an update to existing Windows Phone 8 devices (we hope) in the “next couple of months.” Good luck.
Customer Experience Team still working
According to popular Microsoft blog WPCentral, Microsoft has completed work on the Windows Phone 8.1 core, bringing the product – which is expected to be officially announced at Microsoft’s BUILD developer conference – one step closer to finalization.
According to WPCentral, the Windows Phone 8.1 team is still hard at work on other elements of the operating system; the Customer Experience Team in particular is still working on fixing some lingering bugs, blocking the operating system from being eligible for RTM (gold) status just yet.
Looks to make Windows more attractive
In one of the most unexpected pieces of news since forever, we’re hearing confirmation today that Microsoft will be participating in an effort to release dual-boot Android/windows Phone hybrid devices starting this calendar year. The root of this confirmation comes from Karbonn, an Indian-based smartphone manufacturer, Chairman Sudhir Hasija, who claims that his company has been in discussion with Microsoft about the project for some time now and that dual-boot smartphones will be coming within the next six months.
But before that will start, Karbonn will begin selling their first line of Windows Phone-exclusive smartphones by June. These phones should ship with Windows Phone 8.1 out of the box and will be the result of an effort by Microsoft to, as Hasija has said, ease “regulations and… open[ing] up its platform for other players.”
Microsoft has seen only limited success with its Windows Phone platform, capturing less than 5% of the smartphone market. This comes in stark contrast to the overall success of the Windows Mobile line prior to the unveiling of the iPhone in 2007, a product that largely dominated the marketplace in its time.
It's almost time
It’s been a while since we’ve heard nary a word regarding Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s smartphone business, but today we’re hearing an update on how that’s are going at last. According to Nokia, the company hopes to have e division sold off to Microsoft and the deal finalized by the end of March at the absolute latest.
Nokia has provided a full statement today regarding the news:
Nokia would like to stress that recent developments in India related to ongoing tax proceedings are not expected to affect the timing of the closing nor the material deal terms of the anticipated transaction between Nokia and Microsoft, announced on September 3, 2013.
The transaction is still expected to close in the first quarter of 2014, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, irrespective of the proceedings in the Indian tax case.
Nokia has just recently announced the Nokia Lumia Icon flagship smartphone for Verizon, bringing a high end Windows Phone smartphone to America’s largest cellular network.
The merger has begun
Microsoft has been largely silent regarding their upcoming Windows Phone update, originally dubbed “Windows Phone Blue” – now predictably called Windows Phone 8.1 – but their silence has been broken, if not by choice. Major new leaks coming from a variety of sources have not only confirmed that Windows Phone 8.1 is real and coming, but has also revealed a partial feature set, a plethora of new screenshots, updated applications, and – perhaps most notably – a sign that Microsoft is actively going ahead with their long rumored plans to merge Windows Phone and Windows RT.
Read more to find out what Microsoft has in store for the future of Windows Phone.
Two birds, one stone
Two stones, one stone – that’s the entire premise of this Xbox Music pass deal. For a limited time, if you buy a $99 one-year subscription for Xbox Music in the Microsoft Store, Microsoft’s willing to throw in a Nokia Lumia 520, totally free of charge. While the Nokia Lumia 520 is a fine, if slightly lackluster smartphone on its own, you might be swayed by the low, low price tag of “free” if you were already in the market for a low end smartphone.
Otherwise? Xbox Music is decent, if slightly underrated, and the Nokia Lumia 520 is undoubtably a low end smartphone meant to appeal to only the most basic of would-be smartphone customers. But if you’re interested, head on over to the Microsoft Store and have at it.
Closed for business
Nokia is saying goodbye to both Symbian and MeeGo today as the company’s new policy banning application and update submissions to the Nokia Store went into effect yesterday. What does this mean exactly? Well, not a whole lot for a whole lot of people – but if you’re one of the few, one of the proud, and one of the brave who still enjoys a Symbian or MeeGo device, it means that you’ll receive no new applications or updates for your smartphone on Nokia’s official Nokia Store.
The company of course made this decision to better focus on their Windows Phone and Asha efforts, however we wouldn’t be surprised to see the end of Asha before long if this Microsoft/Nokia deal ends up going through (which it very much looks like it will be). Good game, Symbian – you had a good run.
Let's wait for //BUILD/ 2014
From within the halls of Redmond come a couple of Windows Phone 8.1 rumours that we’ve heard of before: the notification center and the Siri-like assistant, codenamed “Cortana” after the assistant in Halo. Microsoft is currently testing Windows Phone 8.1 privately and it sounds as if these features have been integrated into Windows Phone and not just test apps as we’ve seen earlier.
The new notification center will be implemented similar to how it is on Android or iOS – that is, you make a long swipe in from the top of the screen to access it. A short swipe off the top of the screen will trigger a quick settings panel which presumably lets one toggle settings such as screen rotation, airplane mode, volume settings, etc.
Cortana is set to replace the existing Bing Search and can be interacted with speech or text. Acting similarly to Google Now or Siri, it will learn from the things you do with your phone to help better get the information you want, and will also feature conversation interaction which begs the question: What will Cortana say if you ask about the best place to hide a body? Silliness aside, Cortana will also remind you about upcoming appointments ala Google Now.
Other changes coming in Windows Phone 8.1 include multiple volume profiles and Bing Smart Search to bring Windows 8.1-style search to the phone. Enterprise people are also in luck as the update finally brings VPN support. There’s also a bit of separation going on, as the Music+Videos hub will be splitting into two separate apps named — you guessed it — Xbox Music and Xbox Video. The People hub is also getting some extensions with deeper Twitter and Facebook integration.
Microsoft is believed to be talking about Windows Phone 8.1 come //BUILD/ 2014. Will we see a Windows Phone 8.1 release through the Preview for Developers program? We will see in the coming months.
Source: The Verge