It wasn't that long ago that then-Windows chief Steven Sinofsky stated that three years was a good time frame for new Windows releases. But since his ouster, Microsoft has put the pedal to the metal, and the new Windows sheriff has apparently thrown the old playbook in the trash, where it belongs. Now Microsoft will ship Windows updates whenever it can, and the faster the better.
It is the unspoken, secret truth that everyone following Apple v. Samsung knows: Boiling barely below the surface, this wide-ranging patent infringement case is really about Google and its dominant Android mobile OS. And this week, for the first time, we find that Google actually offered to help Samsung mount its defense against the litigious Cupertino firm that is bristling as Android steals away its two biggest markets.
It's been an interesting month for Windows Phone, what with the release of Windows Phone 8.1 and the announcements of several new handsets. How have these developments impacted Windows Phone usage for the month? As always, AdDuplex provides an interesting peek at which Windows Phone handsets are used the most.
While evaluating the Cortana virtual digital assistant in Windows Phone 8.1, I've begun wondering how voice technology will evolve, and whether it will finally take its rightful place alongside other computing interaction techniques. Once the purview of science fiction, voice technology is finally going mainstream, and while Cortana is only step on the road to acceptance, it's a big one.
One of the more eagerly awaited new features in Windows Phone 8.1 is the ability to project the handset to display to a secondary screen via wireless Miracast or wired USB technologies. This feature works much like screen projection in Windows 8.1, and is useful for those that need to show their Windows Phone handset to others in real time.
While most people who have upgraded to Windows Phone 8.1 (in the United States at least) seem to be enjoying the new Cortana virtual digital assistant, some miss the secondary search features—like Local Scout, Bing Music and Bing Vision—that used to be available from the Bing Search interface in previous Windows Phone versions. No worries, as each of these features is still available in Windows Phone 8.1.
Microsoft announced on Monday that it will complete its $7.4 billion acquisition of Nokia's devices and services businesses on Friday, April 25, 2014, just days from now. The once mighty device maker will be rolled into Microsoft's corporate hierarchy and will continue as a semi-autonomous affiliate called Microsoft Mobile.
As a major new part of the Windows Phone 8.1 upgrade, Internet Explorer 11 isn't just numbered to appear similar to its tablet-based sibling in Windows 8.1. No, this is the real IE 11, with the same InPrivate browsing, Reading View, settings sync, and improved standards support you've come to expect on your other devices. But the similarities don't stop there: You can now navigate the web using many of the same techniques you use on a tablet.
Available now on Verizon Wireless—and coming soon internationally as the Lumia 930—the Nokia Lumia Icon is a perfect combination of size, screen, camera and capabilities, and the single best smart phone on the market today. If you were on the fence about this device or perhaps disappointed with its plastic-feel Lumia 928 predecessor, you're good to go. The Lumia Icon is the real deal.
With Microsoft expecting to complete its acquisition of Nokia's devices and services businesses within days, the firm has begun alerting customers, partners, suppliers, and others that deal with Nokia about how this change will impact them. Among the changes is a new name for the parts of Nokia that will be subsumed by Microsoft.
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 anyone 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.