No one is a bigger fan of Xbox Music than I am, as witnessed by my free Xbox Music Field Guide e-book. But as any who has used the new Xbox Music app for the recently released Windows Phone 8.1 will tell you, this latest mobile app interface to the service has a bunch of issues. The good news? Microsoft knows about the problems and will fix them quickly. And it's going to make changes to Xbox Music on other platforms too.
Here's another interim update to Xbox Music Field Guide, the second edition of what used to be called Paul Thurrott's Xbox Music. This update adds a number of new sections of content, but is still quite incomplete.
As Windows Phone gets closer to the PC- and tablet-based Windows OSes, we're starting to see some neat integration bits. Key among those are the new settings sync features in Windows Phone 8.1, which let you sync key settings between your handset and your Windows 8.1-based PCs and tablets.
An often irreverent look at this week's other news, including the thudding sound of a Titanfall landing and not helping the Xbox One in the slightest, PS4 sales continue to outpace those of Xbox One, making Xbox One lemonade, Satya's one trick pony, non-universal app licensing changes, a Nokia tablet no one was buying anyway, Chrome Remote Desktop is not the best choice on Android, Microsoft loves Yahoo Mail, the scariest Michaels since Myers, and your chance to be a Glasshole.
A beta version of Twitter for Windows Phone 8.1 leaked this week, providing an answer to some questions I was just going to pose about social networking integration in Windows Phone. With this release, we can see a version of Twitter that works like the Facebook app for Windows Phone 8.1, one that integrates deeply with the system in a now-consistent way. And that's a good thing.
I'd like to provide an interim update on the Samsung Galaxy 5, something that sits between my first impressions article and my eventual review. The reason for this fairly unprecedented event is simple enough: Despite my initial middling response, this is in fact a very nice smart phone.
Among the many seemingly small but very useful changes in Windows Phone 8.1 is a rethinking of the ways in which you can interact with the various sounds that come out of your handset. Now, instead of a global volume control, Windows Phone 8.1 supports separate, custom volume settings for the ringer and notifications and for apps and media.
One of the big questions leading up to this month's expiration of support for Windows XP was whether the software giant would provide a last minute reprieve. As it turns out, it has, albeit secretly: I can confirm that Microsoft has drastically reduced the cost of its enterprise-oriented Custom Support Agreements (CSAs) for Windows XP, significantly lengthening the time frame in which these firms can continue using the ancient OS.
In the latest episode of Windows Weekly, Leo Laporte, Mary Jo Foley and I discuss the developer preview release of Windows Phone 8.1, Mary Jo's interview with Terry Myerson, a possible end to the Scroogled ad campaign, more Office news, Satya Nadella and Big Data, and a new Xbox One system update.
If you use Bing.com as your web browser home page, you will be interested to discover some new capabilities that let you add personalized news, weather, flights, and stocks right to the page. And if you're not seeing Bing.com regularly, this new functionality may make you change your mind.
Microsoft this week announced various improvements to Office Online, its free web-based office productivity experience. The firm has added new features to Excel Online, Word Online, PowerPoint Online, and OneNote Online. And it has added Office Online—gasp!—to the Chrome Web Store.
Google on Tuesday announced that it will launch a modular smart phone platform in early 2015, letting users pick and change out hardware components just as they do with software apps today. The plan, called Project Ara, could revolutionize a quickly maturing smart phone market if it unfolds as Google believes it will.
Windows Phone 8.1 includes a new and improved collection of "Sense" apps, utilities that take the guesswork out of using your smart phone. These include Battery Saver, Data Sense, Storage Sense and Wi-Fi Sense. And the first four of those can now be pinned to your Start screen for quick access and live updates.
With the move to Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft has dramatically improved the capabilities of its web browser in the Windows Phone 8.1 upgrade. Key among them is the ability to pin a web site to Start as a live tile.