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printed July 24, 2014
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Skype for Android Makes Finding Friends Easier

Yesterday, 11:14 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Skype today announced version 5.0 for the Android platform and added one big feature: the ability to cross-integrate contacts between Skype and the phone. Skype 5.0 can scan the local phone address book for other registered Skype users and will then automatically add them to the Skype app's people list. Skype will also be able to sync the Skype address book with other Microsoft services to make sure it finds and adds all possible Skype users. Android users will be able to turn this feature off if they wish, or pick and choose which contacts are added to Skype. Users' actual phone number will not be shared as part of their public profile. Skype said similar features will soon appear in its apps for other platforms, such as iOS and Windows Phone.


Microsoft Intros Entry-Level Lumia 530

Yesterday, 7:04 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Yesterday, 7:48 AM

Microsoft today revealed the Lumia 530, a new entry-level Windows Phone that succeeds last year's 520. The device features the same colorful design language common to Lumia models and includes interchangeable rear shells for personalization. The Lumia 530 runs Windows Phone 8.1 with Cortana, MixRadio, and HERE Maps. The 530 features a 4-inch 854 x 480 display, is powered by a quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 200 processor, and includes a 5-megapixel camera. Connectivity is limited to HSPA at 21Mbps, but it includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and aGPS. System memory is limited to 512MB and storage is limited to 4GB. The Lumia 530 supports microSD cards up to 128GB and will be sold in a dual-SIM variant in select markets. The Lumia 530 will be available globally and begins shipping in August. The target price point is about $130. T-Mobile is the only U.S. carrier to voice support for the 530, which it said will go on sale later this year.


Microsoft Downsizes, Kills off Nokia X

Jul 17, 2014, 7:49 AM   by Rich Brome

Microsoft today announced a sweeping company-wide re-organization that includes major changes to the mobile device business acquired from Nokia. Of Microsoft's 18,000 layoffs today, 12,500 are within the former Nokia units. Microsoft will combine the smartphone and feature phone units, with the feature phone operations continuing "for maximum efficiency with a smaller team." Nokia's Android-based Nokia X lineup will be abandoned. Select future models will be reworked to run Windows Phone to address new low price points for Lumia. Existing Nokia X phones will be supported, but the software will not appear in any new phones. The company will focus primarily on Windows-Phone-powered Lumia phones, and tablets. In an open email to employees, Stephen Elop explained that "the role of phones within Microsoft is different than it was within Nokia. Whereas the hardware business of phones within Nokia was an end unto itself, within Microsoft all our devices are intended to embody the finest of Microsoft’s digital work and digital life experiences, while accruing value to Microsoft’s overall strategy."


Nokia Rolling Out Windows Phone 8.1 To Lumias

Jul 15, 2014, 10:13 AM   by Rich Brome

Nokia today began rolling out automatic updates to Windows Phone 8.1 for all Lumia devices that currently have Windows Phone 8. The update includes all new Windows Phone 8.1 features from Microsoft, plus several new enhancements specific to Lumia devices. Lumia devices will gain updated Nokia Camera apps, plus Nokia Device Hub, which intelligently tracks accessories used with the device. The Lumia 1520 and Icon phones will gain Nokia Rich Recording and Dolby surround sound video capture, plus Screen Share. Standard Windows Phone 8.1 features include a more customizable home screen, Action Center quick settings, Wi-Fi Sense for automatically connecting to free hotspots, and the Cortana voice assistant. The update will roll out to all eligible devices "in the coming weeks."


Microsoft Commits Anew to Creating Great Mobile Devices

Jul 10, 2014, 9:52 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella today sent an email to employees outlining his thoughts on the company's future. Much of the email centered on what Nadella believes should be a renewed focus on improving productivity through software and services. Nadella did spare a few words, however, to discuss the company's hardware strategy. "Our Windows device OS and first-party hardware will set the bar for productivity experiences. Windows will deliver the most rich and consistent user experience for digital work and life scenarios on screens of all sizes – from phones, tablets and laptops to TVs and giant 82-inch PPI boards," said Nadella. He suggested the company continue to invest in new technologies, such as speech, gesture, and pen input, as well as entice developers with greater opportunities across is range of products. "Our first-party devices will light up digital work and life. In addition, we will build first-party hardware to stimulate more demand for the entire Windows ecosystem. It also means we will responsibly make the market for Windows Phone, which is our goal with the Nokia devices and services acquisition." Microsoft closed its purchase of Nokia's cell phone business earlier this year. The company's latest Windows Phone device is the Lumia 635, which reaches T-Mobile later this month. Further, Windows Phone 8.1, the company's latest operating system, will begin to see widespread distribution to existing devices in the weeks ahead. Nadella didn't announce any specific new hardware or features for Windows Phone.


Microsoft Publishes Video Tuner App for Windows Phone 8.1

Jul 9, 2014, 10:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today released a video-editing application for the Windows Phone platform. Video Tuner, which requires Windows Phone 8.1, lets budding Christopher Nolans fine-tune their videos with a wide range of tools. Video Tuner includes filters, supports music soundtracks, and offers basic edits such as trim, crop, rotate, mirror, and flip. Video Tuner also lets users adjust playback speed, as well as adjust exposure, contrast, saturation, and volume. The app includes dedicated publishing tools for Vine and Instagram, too. Video Tuner is free to download from the Windows Phone Store.


Samsung, Dell, Intel, Others Form Internet of Things Consortium

Jul 8, 2014, 9:29 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today announced that it and several other companies have created a group called the Open Interconnect Consortium. The OIC's goal is to create a connection protocol for what is commonly referred to as the Internet of Things. Some of the other companies include Dell, Atmel, Intel, Broadcom, and Wind River. The group is focused on delivering a specification, an open source implementation, and a certification program for wirelessly connecting devices, such as smartphones, tablets, PCs, and various other bits of gear. The group will first target hardware common to homes and home offices, such as thermostats and refrigerators, and will expand from there. The OIC is competing with a similar group supported by Qualcomm and Microsoft.


Microsoft Adds More Features to Skype for iPhone

Jul 7, 2014, 7:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft's Skype team today announced yet another update to its mobile application for the iPhone. Skype version 5.2 adds several new features, including new support for voice messages, which are automatically added to text conversations. The app makes it easier to view contact profiles, which reveals details such as mood, name, birthday, location, and so on. Skype 5.2 also allows users to add participants to existing conversations. Skype completely overhauled its iPhone app in mid-June. Skype for the iPhone is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Nokia to Buy Illinois-Based SAC Wireless

Jul 2, 2014, 9:19 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Nokia today said it plans to acquire SAC Wireless, a telecommunications equipment installer located in Shaumburg, Illinois. The company has about 450 employees and works with wireless network operators in the U.S. Nokia said it believes the acquisition will help it win business in North America for its telecommunications gear. Nokia sold its handset division to Microsoft earlier this year and now runs its networking and HERE Maps businesses. Nokia didn't say how much it will spend on SAC Wireless.


Microsoft Joins Qualcomm-Backed AllSeen Alliance

Jul 2, 2014, 7:25 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft has joined the AllSeen Alliance, an effort backed by Qualcomm to provide a standard for connecting the Internet of Things. The alliance already has 50 companies on board, including LG, Panasonic, and Sharp. The group's goal is to make it easy for devices to interact with one another by devising a single standard through which they can communicate. Qualcomm's rivals, however, are prepared to form their own group, according to unnamed sources cited by Reuters. The competing consortium may launch as soon as next week, and will seek to create its own standard for connecting the Internet of Things. Apple has already announced HomeKit, its own protocol for connecting smartphones and tablets to devices around the home. Further, Google recently released an SDK for its Nest thermostat, which will eventually allow smartphones, tablets, and other apps to interact with Nest. Multiple standards may make it more difficult for consumers to find devices that work with one another. Reuters didn't say which companies are going to support the competitor to AllSeen.


Microsoft Boosts OneDrive, Outlook.com Security

Jul 1, 2014, 10:52 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today revealed it has taken steps to further protect user data by encrypting some of its key services. Moving forward, Microsoft's Outlook.com email service is protected by Transport Layer Security encryption for both inbound and outbound mail. As long as the recipient's email service also supports TLS, emails will be fully protected as it travels between the two email servers. Microsoft also added encryption to its OneDrive cloud storage service as accessed both from desktops and from mobile devices. OneDrive uses Perfect Forward Secrecy encryption, which makes it more difficult for hackers to decrypt connections. Last, Microsoft announced a new transparency center, which will allow governments to access Microsoft code in order to ensure its integrity. Many companies are taking security more seriously in light of the data-gathering practices revealed last year by Edward Snowden.


Skype Adds Cortana to Windows Phone App

Jun 26, 2014, 11:26 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Skype today updated its mobile application for the Windows Phone platform and added support for Cortana, Microsoft's virtual assistant. Windows Phone 8.1 users can now use voice commands to launch Skype conversations. The updated app also adds notifications to the Action Center, jumps from 19 languages to 51 languages, adds message editing, and improves fast-resume times when multitasking. Skype is free to download from the Windows Phone Store.


Google Updates Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides

Jun 25, 2014, 2:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today rolled out updates to its core productivity apps associated with Google Drive. The chief new feature is the ability to edit Microsoft Word documents - online or offline - natively with no need for plugins or conversions. Google Docs users will be able to make whatever edits they need to Word documents and send them back as Word files. Google Drive also brings Slides to mobile devices for the first time. Android smartphone and tablet owners can now create, edit, and interact with slide presentations on their mobile devices. Another new feature is called Suggested Edits. Using a new tool called Commenting Access, document owners can give others the ability to add comments or suggestions to documents, but not the power to make actual edits. This leaves the document owner in control. Last, Google has given Drive a performance boost both on mobile devices (Android and iOS) and the web. Google says Drive now takes advantage of background syncing so files load faster, and the cloud-based storage service delivers search results quicker, too. The new versions of Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides will be available in the Play Store and iTunes App Store beginning today.


Microsoft Reveals Nokia X2 Android Phone

Jun 24, 2014, 7:08 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jun 24, 2014, 7:14 AM

Microsoft today announced the Nokia X2, a low-cost smartphone that runs its modified version of Android. The device follows three other Android handsets announced by Nokia in February. The X2 has a 4.3-inch ClearBlack display, dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 200 processor with 1GB of RAM, 5-megapixel main camera and VGA user-facing camera. Microsoft said the X2 will have three basic home screen configurations, including one that resembles Windows Phone with colorful, resizable tiles; one called Fastlane, which prioritizes access to recent apps and calendar events; and one that incorporates Windows Phone's ability to pin select items to the home screen. Though the X2 runs Android, it ships with Microsoft services on board, including Outlook email, Bing search, Skype, OneDrive, and OneNote. The Nokia X2 will be offered in a wide range of colors, and features interchangeable rear shells. Its target price is about $135. It will initially be sold in emerging markets with support for two SIM cards. Microsoft didn't say if or when a single-SIM version would become available.


Microsoft Now Taking Preorders for Lumia 635

Jun 23, 2014, 12:16 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft recently began accepting preorders in the U.S. for the Lumia 635. Microsoft is asking $99 for the AT&T model and $129 for the T-Mobile model, both off contract. The 635 is an entry-level Windows Phone 8.1 handset.


Microsoft Doubles Free OneDrive Capacity to 15GB

Jun 23, 2014, 10:17 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jun 23, 2014, 10:23 AM

Microsoft today overhauled its cloud storage service OneDrive and is offering more storage for less money at all price points. To start, Microsoft has increased the standard, free 7GB storage amount for all OneDrive users to 15GB. Microsoft's move puts OneDrive inline with Google Drive, which also offers 15GB for free. Customers who need more than 15GB in OneDrive can buy more if they so choose. Microsoft is asking $2 per month for 100GB and $4 per month for 200GB (previously $7.50 and $11.50, respectively). Further, Microsoft is increasing the OneDrive capacity available to all Office365 subscribers (professional, home, student subscriptions) to 1TB. The increases are all automatic and will go into effect next month.


Nokia Camera App Updated with New Features

Jun 23, 2014, 7:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft has released a new version of the Nokia Camera application for its Lumia-branded smartphones. The revised app carries over several features previously seen in the beta version, including continuous autofocus for faster focusing. The app also adds surround sound in video capture mode; revises the camera roll, which now supports inline playback of videos, cinemagraphs, smart sequences, and Refocus images; and integrates more tightly with Creative Studio and Nokia Video Trimmer for editing photos and videos. Last, the app includes support for Living Images, which adds motion to photos when viewed in the camera roll and Nokia Storyteller. Nokia Camera is free to download, but requires Windows Phone 8/8.1 and the Cyan system update. The continuous focus and Living Images features are limited to the Lumia Icon, 1520, and 930.


Samsung, Nokia Field Their Own Android Launchers

Jun 19, 2014, 11:41 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung and Nokia have both recently made available launchers for Android devices that serve as alternatives to their normal approach for home screen behavior. Terrain (pictured) comes from a Samsung-sponsored developer and is free to download from the Google Play Store. It features a customizable sidebar that can be used to house all the owner's favorites, including apps, web sites, contacts, and so on. The launcher includes interchangeable cards that can hold separate apps, shortcuts, and data. Terrain also includes a phone search tool that it claims is faster for finding things stored on the device. Terrain's main goal is to help Android users personalize their handset in ways the stock Android tools don't allow for, while streamlining the experience and making it quicker to reach apps and services. Terrain was built using HTML5 and the company is offering developers an API so they can contribute their own cards to a Terrain-backed store, which will launch later this year. Similarly, Nokia released Z Launcher as a limited beta. (Nokia offers several Android handsets, which are now being sold by Microsoft.) Z Launcher is a learning launcher that adjusts what it shows the phone owner on the home screen throughout the day depending on their pattern of behavior. For example, in the morning Z Launcher will present apps such as email and the calendar, while in the evening it will present apps such as Facebook and Spotify. Nokia says Z Launcher improves its predictions over time. Further, Z Launcher includes a gesture search tool that lets users initiate searches from the home screen by tracing letters on the glass. Z Launcher can be downloaded directly from Nokia.


Google, Microsoft Commit to Smartphone Kill Switches

Jun 19, 2014, 11:20 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google and Microsoft today indicated they will add theft deterrent tools to their respective mobile platforms. The commitment comes after major cities, including New York and San Francisco, saw significant drops in iPhone thefts during the first few months on the year. Apple added kill switch tools to the iPhone when it introduced iOS 7 last September. Google has yet to spell out the specifics of its kill switch feature, but Microsoft said it will add a kill switch to all devices running Windows Phone 8 and up. The Windows Phone tool will allow owners to: remotely wipe personal data from the phone; render the smartphone inoperable; prevent reactivation without the owner's permission; reverse the inoperability if the phone is recovered; and restore user data if the phone was erased. These functions will be added to Windows Phone's Find My Phone tool. Microsoft said it will have the tool ready before the July 2015 deadline set by the CTIA for implementing such features. Lawmakers have been urging phone makers and carriers to add these tools for well more than a year. The CTIA Wireless Association, which lobbies for the wireless industry in Washington, voluntarily set up a timeline for theft deterrent tools which are to be added to all new phones by next year. The commitments from Google and Microsoft should help speed up those efforts. The long-term goal is to reduce the number of smartphone thefts, which are popular targets due to their value.


Microsoft Pushes Third Update to WP8.1 Preview

Jun 12, 2014, 2:01 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today made a third system update available to devices running the Windows Phone 8.1 preview. The update tweaks battery life, improves device compatibility, and adds APIs. The update is free to download over the air.


Skype 5.0 for iPhone Now Available

Jun 12, 2014, 9:10 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today released Skype 5.0 for the iPhone. It had originally said the app would appear next week. Skype 5.0 has been rebuilt from the ground up and includes both a new design and new features. It is free.


Outlook Web App for Android Available to Limited Phones

Jun 11, 2014, 7:35 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today followed through on a promise it made earlier this year to deliver an Android version of its Outlook Web App. Outlook Web App is an email application that offers all the features and functionality of Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync technology. Microsoft released a version of OWA for iOS devices last year. OWA for Android is different from the Outlook.com web mail client that Microsoft already offers to Android devices. Instead, it is a business-class piece of software that allows mobile professionals to choose an Android device and still benefit from Microsoft's email service. Though the app is now available from the Google Play Store, it is only compatible with a very small number of handsets. According to Microsoft, it requires Android 4.4 KitKat or higher, an Office 365 for Business email account, and a device considered to be "small" or "normal" as defined by the Android operating system. Devices and accounts that meet these criteria can download and install Outlook Web App on their Android phone for free.


Microsoft Details Skype 5.0 for iPhone

Jun 9, 2014, 1:34 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Skype today announced a major new version of its mobile app will be available to the iPhone beginning next week. Skype 5.0 for iPhone has been rewritten from the ground up, according to Skype, and is the most significant launch for Skype on iOS since the first version of the app. Skype says the new app is five times faster than the old version; offers smooth scrolling within and transitions between conversations; improves group chat support and will deliver messages whether or not users are online; and is better at syncing notifications and read receipts between devices and platforms. Skype says the new iPhone app will be available in about a week, and will be followed with a separate version for the iPad.


Microsoft Improves Facebook Messenger for Windows Phone

Jun 5, 2014, 3:15 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today announced the availability of a new version of Facebook Messenger for Windows Phone. The revised application adds a couple of new features, including support for groups. The app lets Windows Phone owners create, name, and organize groups, as well as set group photos and pin them to the Start screen. The app reduces the complexity of sending photos within messages, which Microsoft says now requires but a single tap. Messenger offers quick access to the photo gallery, as well. The application received some stability improvements, too, and optimizations so it consumes less mobile data. Facebook Messenger for Windows Phone is free to download from the Windows Store.


Nokia Buys Australian RF Filter Company

Jun 5, 2014, 7:14 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Nokia today said it has acquired Mesaplexx, a company based in Australia that develops radio frequency (RF) filter technology. Nokia says Mesaplexx's technology will help it improve its Flexi-branded base stations. Nokia claims it may be able to reduce the size of its Flexi products by as much as 30% using Mesaplexx's RF filters. It will also be able to reduce the cost of each base station, reduce the power consumption of each base station, and minimize radio signal loss in any given cell. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Nokia recently sold its handset business to Microsoft, but still maintains its networking and HERE Maps businesses.


Microsoft Releases File Management App for Windows Phone

May 30, 2014, 3:51 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today announced the immediate availability of Files, a file management application for Windows Phone handsets. The application lets Windows Phone owners access files stored on their phone's internal memory and SD card; browse, search, and launch files; share single or multiple files at a time; create folders; and copy, move, rename, and delete files. Files for Windows Phone can be downloaded for free from the Windows Store. It requires Windows Phone 8.1.


Microsoft Updates OneDrive for Windows Phone

May 27, 2014, 7:43 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft recently pushed out a small update to OneDrive for Windows Phone devices. The newest version of the app makes it possible to open files from OneDrive in other apps. OneDrive, Microsoft's cloud storage app, is free to download and use.


Microsoft Updates Windows Phone 8.1 Preview

May 14, 2014, 12:14 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today issued a small update to the developer preview of Windows Phone 8.1. According to Microsoft, the update makes a handful of changes based on developer feedback and improves the overall performance and stability of the operating system. Microsoft didn't specify if any new features were added, or what exactly was fixed. Those who've installed the developer preview of Windows Phone 8.1 can download and install the system update beginning today.


Microsoft Officially Kicks Off Sales of Windows Phone 8.1

May 14, 2014, 11:53 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft began selling the Nokia Lumia 630 today, marking the official availability and launch of Windows Phone 8.1. Both the Lumia 630 and Windows Phone 8.1 were revealed by Microsoft and Nokia during the former's Build developer conference in April. The 630 is for sale in Asia first, with Europe and the U.S. to follow. It replaces the Lumia 520 and will be sold as the Lumia 635 in the U.S. The timing of the Lumia 635's arrival in the U.S. is unknown at the moment. Windows Phone 8.1 adds a wide range of new features to Microsoft's smartphone platform, including the Cortana virtual assistant, space for more Start screen Live Tiles, and a notification center. Most existing Windows Phone 8 devices will be upgraded to Windows Phone 8.1 this summer, though a developer preview of Windows Phone 8.1 is available to download for free.


Microsoft Targeting June 24 for Windows Phone 8.1

May 12, 2014, 4:25 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft may launch Windows Phone 8.1 as soon as June 24, according to support documents published by the company. Microsoft's Windows Phone support site suggests June 24 will be the in-service date for Windows Phone 8.1, or the first date the new operating system becomes available to the general public. The company said it will support the operating system with updates for a minimum period of 36 months following its release. Exact availability for the new operating system will depend on device, carrier, and region. Microsoft has already made a developer preview of the operating system available for free. Windows Phone 8.1 adds support for more Live Tiles on the Start screen, the Cortana virtual assistant, a notification center, and the Word Flow keyboard.


Internet Corps Push FCC to Keep the Internet Open

May 7, 2014, 7:03 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

A collective of 150 technology companies, including Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo, today sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission pleading with the agency to reconsider its current net neutrality proposal. As proposed, the agency would permit what amounts to fast lanes for companies that pay broadband companies extra fees. In their letter to the FCC, the signees call this idea a "grave threat" to the internet. "Instead of permitting individualized bargaining and discrimination, the Commission rules should protect users and internet companies on both fixed and mobile platforms against blocking, discrimination, and paid prioritization. Such rules are essential for the future of the Internet. This Commission should take the necessary steps to ensure that the internet remains an open platform for speech and commerce." Earlier today, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel voiced her own concerns about the proposal, and asked the FCC to delay its vote on the rules. The FCC is scheduled to vote at its next meeting on May 15.


Microsoft Updates OneDrive for Android and On the Web

May 6, 2014, 3:57 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today released a significant update to its OneDrive cloud storage service. The Android application, which now stands at version 2.5, lets users share files and folders through an invitation, link, or through other apps. OneDrive also lets users update their viewing and editing preferences, select multiple files for download, and move/sort files and folders. The desktop version of OneDrive gains expanded views of photos, assignable cover photos, and direct video publishing to Facebook. OneDrive for Android is free to download from the Google Play Store. It offers 7GB of online storage at no charge, but users can pay for more storage if they wish.


Google Releases Docs and Sheets Apps for Android and iOS

Apr 30, 2014, 11:53 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Apr 30, 2014, 12:06 PM

Google today made available stand-alone Google Docs and Google Sheets applications for mobile devices running Android and iOS, including smartphones and tablets. Previously, Docs and Sheets were bundled inside the Google Drive application. The free applications allow users to create, open, and edit documents and spreadsheets; share documents with others; work online or offline; and add/respond to comments. Documents and spreadsheets will automatically be saved as they are created and synced to users' online Google Drive for safekeeping. Google Docs and Google Sheets for Android and iOS are free, though Google does charge nominal fees for online storage. Google said its Google Drive product can still be used to organize and open/edit Docs and Sheets, as well. A mobile slideshow presentation app will be available soon. Google continues to offer QuickOffice, which can be used to open/edit Google documents, as well as Microsoft Office documents.


Nokia Names New CEO, New Strategy

Apr 29, 2014, 7:19 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Nokia's board of directors have elected Rajeev Suri to the position of President and CEO of Nokia. Suri, who has been with Nokia since 1995 and has led its network business from 2009, will take his new role on May 1. Nokia sold its Devices and Services business to Microsoft on April 25. With the sale complete, Nokia is reorganizing itself into three main businesses moving forward: networks, HERE location, and technologies. The networks unit will continue to support network operators in their expansion of LTE, as well as prepare for the internet of things by creating low-power connectivity products. Nokia's HERE location unit will target cars, wearables, and business-side analytics. Nokia's technologies group will continue to research, develop, and patent new technologies and license them to other companies. "I am honored to have been asked to take this role, and excited about the possibilities that lie in our future," said Rajeev Suri. "Nokia, with its deep experience in connecting people and its three strong businesses, is well-positioned to tap new opportunities during this time of technological change. I look forward to working with the entire Nokia team as we embark on this exciting journey." Nokia no longer makes mobile phones.


Microsoft Exploring How to Brand Phones Moving Forward

Apr 28, 2014, 10:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today said the company has not yet decided what it will call its new smartphones now that it has absorbed Nokia's Devices and Services business. Answering questions today, Microsoft's device chief Stephen Elop said, "Microsoft Mobile is not a brand that will be seen by consumers." He explained that particular name was created for legal purposes only. "The Nokia brand is available to Microsoft to use for its mobile phone products for a period of time, but Nokia as a brand will not be used for long going forward for smartphones. Work is underway to select the go forward smartphone brand." Nokia's networking business and HERE Maps businesses remain a separate company still in Finland. To-date, Nokia's Windows Phone devices have born the Lumia brand name. "Now that we are One company, the marketing and product folks will lay in the plans for the shift to a consistent brand. We are being thoughtful to do it in a way that accrues benefit to Microsoft and to Lumia." Microsoft completed its $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia's handset business, including 25,000 employees, on April 25. In addition to developing the Windows Phone 8.1 platform, Microsoft will now also make its own smartphones.


Microsoft Completes Acquisition of Nokia's Phone Biz

Apr 25, 2014, 7:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Apr 25, 2014, 7:22 AM

Nokia today announced that it has completed the sale of its handset business to Microsoft. The deal, first announced last September, is valued at $7.2 billion. The companies had to make some last-minute adjustments to the terms of the deal. Notably, Nokia was forced to exclude its manufacturing facilities in Chennai, India and Masan, Korea. Nokia has agreed to use the Chennai facility to manufacture devices for Microsoft as needed, but it will close the Masan facility. Microsoft gains several top Nokia executives, including former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, Jo Harlow, Juha Putkiranta, Timo Toikkanen, and Chris Weber. Nokia remains committed to its networking business, and Microsoft is now officially a maker of smartphones. Elop will head Microsoft's phone business and said, "At our core, we are passionate about building technology that will change the world. From the early vision of Microsoft of placing a PC in every home and on every desk, to Nokia connecting billions of people through mobile devices, we have empowered generations. We are committed to continuing our support for feature phones, the Asha family, and the Nokia X family of devices." Elop called today's handover the first step in a new, long-term journey.


Microsoft Lets Windows Phone 8.1 Access PCs Remotely

Apr 23, 2014, 12:52 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today released a beta application that will let Windows Phone 8.1 devices remotely access and control Windows computers. Windows Phone 8.1 itself has not been widely distributed to new and existing hardware, but it is available for free to registered developers. Anyone can register for the developer preview edition of Windows Phone 8.1 and install it on their Windows Phone 8 device. With the WP8.1 preview and the Microsoft Remote Desktop app installed, users can connect to a remote PC and access and interact with their Windows machines. The app includes support for Windows 8 touchscreen gestures, and can be used to open files, run apps, and more. According to Microsoft the app is secure, so it can be used by businesses, and connections can be managed by a simple dashboard. The app also supports high-definition video streaming and sound streaming from the PC to the smartphone through the network. Microsoft Remote Desktop is free to download from the Windows Phone Store. Microsoft has offered a similar tool to Android and iOS devices since last year.


Microsoft Joins Power Matters Alliance

Apr 22, 2014, 7:42 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Power Matters Alliance today welcomed Microsoft as its newest member. Microsoft will join the PMA in its goal of developing interoperable wireless charging products. By joining the PMA, Microsoft also now has access to its specifications for wireless charging technology. This is significant because Microsoft will complete its purchase of Nokia's handset business later this week and use that technology in future products. The PMA joined forces with the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP) earlier this year, bringing together two of the three competing standards for wireless charging. The PMA claims to have the largest installed base of wireless chargers and accessories, though many of today's smartphones, including those sold by Verizon Wireless, support the competing Qi standard.


Motorola Solutions Agrees to License Microsoft Patents

Apr 21, 2014, 11:36 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Motorola Solutions has signed a patent-licensing agreement with Microsoft that will allow it to use Microsoft's intellectual property in its Android and Chrome devices. Neither Microsoft nor Motorola Solutions identified the patents at issue, nor the cost of the licensing agreement. It is important to note that Motorola Solutions is not Motorola Mobility. Motorola Solutions makes enterprise-grade mobile products for businesses, some of which run Android and/or Chrome. Just last week, Motorola Solutions agreed to sell its enterprise business to Zebra Technologies for $3.45 billion. Motorola Mobility is currently owned by Google and makes Android smartphones. Motorola Mobility is on deck to be divested by Google to Lenovo in the months ahead. Motorola Mobility has staunchly refused to sign a licensing agreement with Microsoft, as it believes its own patents cover the disputed technologies.


Microsoft's Acquisition of Nokia to Close April 25

Apr 21, 2014, 9:42 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Apr 21, 2014, 9:48 AM

Nokia will finalize the sale of its handset business to Microsoft on April 25, the company said today. The deal, first proposed last September, has Microsoft acquiring the Devices & Services business from Nokia, which will retain its network business and HERE Maps business. The transaction has already been approved by regulators in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, and has been approved by the boards of both Microsoft and Nokia. According to Microsoft there are a few changes to the agreement: Microsoft will manage the Nokia.com domain name and social media sites for a year; Nokia will transfer 21 employees from Nokia's Chief Technology Office in China to Microsoft; and Microsoft will no longer acquire Nokia's manufacturing plant in Korea. Once the sale is complete, Microsoft will officially become a manufacturer of smartphones, putting it more directly into competition with Apple and Google.


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