Phone Scoop

printed December 19, 2014
See this page online at:
http://www.phonescoop.com/oses/news.php?o=21

Home  ›  OSes  ›

Windows Phone

News Our Review Forum  

Windows Phone is the smartphone platform and OS from Microsoft. Like Google does with Android, Microsoft only makes the software, allowing various hardware manufacturers to make the phones that run Windows Phone. Windows Phone replaced the older Windows Mobile (Professional and Standard editions.) Windows Phone competes directly with iOS and Android, offering most of the same OS features.

by:  Microsoft


Verizon Pushing Windows Phone 8.1 to Lumia 928, 822

Today, 11:26 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Today, 11:28 AM

Verizon Wireless today made Windows Phone 8.1 with the Denim update available to the Lumia 928 and Lumia 822. Windows Phone 8.1 adds Cortana, adjustable home screen columns, and other features. The update is free. Microsoft said WP8.1 for the Lumia Icon is on deck for early 2015.


Microsoft Targeting January for Lumia Denim Update

Yesterday, 1:19 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today said that it will begin pushing the Lumia Denim system update to its Windows Phones en masse beginning next month. The update is already trickling out to a few phones in select markets, but all Lumia smartphones running Windows Phone 8.1 will see the update at some point next month. According to Microsoft, improved imaging is the most significant new feature of the update. Notably, the camera app should function much faster, especially on devices such as the Lumia 930, 830, 1520, and Icon. In addition to speed, the camera will gain a feature called Moment Capture, which records 4K video at 24 frames per second with each and every frame saved as an 8.3-megapixel image. Users can snag a single frame from the video as a stand-alone image if they wish. Another new camera function is called Rich Capture. With it, the camera takes over settings such as auto HDR, dynamic flash, and dynamic exposure so users can focus on getting the shot and not on futzing with the camera app. Microsoft also notes the camera app makes use of new algorithms to improve focus and exposure. The Denim update also adds live folders, SMS merging, and other improvements. Microsoft first announced Lumia Denim in September.


Microsoft Expands Xim's Sharing Abilities to TVs

Yesterday, 9:12 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft recently updated its Xim app and added compatibility with a wide range of media streaming devices. Microsoft first released Xim in October. It's a cross-platform app that allows people to easily share photos without requiring them to physically hand their phone to someone else. People use Xim to create a connection directly between devices for sharing photos from sources such as the camera roll, Instagram, and Facebook Today's update allows people to share photos not only with other phones, but with streaming media devices, including Chromecast, Apple TV, Xbox One, and Amazon Fire TV. Xim users need only connect to the WiFi network associated with the streaming media device for it to show up in the list of sharing options within the Xim app. Xims are impermanent, sort of like Snapchat, and expire after a short period of time. The updated Xim app is available from the iTunes App Store, Google Play Store, and Windows Phone Store.


Sprint to Sell Nokia Lumia 635

Tuesday, 10:23 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today said fans of Windows Phone will soon have the option to buy the Lumia 635 through several different Sprint brands. Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA will begin selling the Lumia 635 online on Dec. 23 and in stores Jan. 9 for $99. Sprint postpaid customers will have a shot at the Lumia 635 starting on Jan. 16, though pricing for the postpaid version has yet to be determined. Sprint says the Lumia 635 is the first Windows Phone 8.1 handset to grace its retail shelves. Moreover, it's the first Lumia Windows Phone to be sold by Sprint's prepaid brands. Microsoft first announced the Lumia 635 in April. It features a ClearBlack 4.5-inch LCD screen, interchangeable back panels, dual-camera with 5-megapixel main shooter, and Nokia apps. It is powered by a quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor and includes 512MB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, and support microSD cards up to 128GB.


More Banks and Retailers Sign Up to Support Apple Pay

Tuesday, 10:09 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple Pay has garnered more support from banks and retailers around the country, according to the New York Times. SunTrust, Barclaycard, and USAA have already agreed to support Apple Pay with their cards, and 10 more banks, including TD Bank North America and Commerce Bank, are adding support for Apple Pay beginning today. With the new financial institutions on board, a significantly larger percentage of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners can use Apple Pay to make mobile payments at participating retailers. More retailers are interested in Apple Pay, too. Staples will begin accepting Apple Pay at its 1,400 stores beginning today, and Amway Center, where the Orlando Magic basketball team plays, will begin accepting Apple Pay at concessions stands during games. Apple Pay uses an NFC radio embedded in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to power tap-and-go payments at more than 220,000 retail outlets around the U.S. iPhone owners use their fingerprint to approve purchases, which are secured thanks to unique codes assigned to each transaction. Apple Pay launched Oct. 20. Competing services, such as Softcard, are available to select Android and Windows Phones sold by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless.


Microsoft Testing New Gestures for Windows Phone

Monday, 8:10 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft recently made a beta app available that permits Windows Phone users to control their devices without touching them. The new Lumia Gestures Beta app lets users: answer a call by picking up their phone and putting it to their ear; mute their mic during a call by placing the phone on a flat surface with the display facing down; put the call on speaker by placing the phone on a flat surface with the display facing up; and silence incoming calls by flipping the phone display down. Some of these gestures have been available to devices from other OEMs, such as HTC, for more than a year. Microsoft didn't say if or when they will be added to Windows Phone handsets on a permanent basis.


BlackBerry Adds Message Retraction to Windows Phone App

Monday, 9:59 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

BlackBerry today made BBM 2.0 available to the Windows Phone platform. The updated app is now more in line with the Android, BlackBerry, and iOS versions of BBM thanks to several new features. For example BBM for Windows Phone now includes timed messages (which expire after they're seen/read) and message retraction (for recalling unread messages). BBM for Windows Phone also added a wide number of stickers for enlivening conversations. BBM 2.0 for Windows Phone is free to download from the Windows Phone Store.


Skype's Qik App Now Lets Users Save Videos to Camera Roll

Dec 12, 2014, 1:12 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Skype today announced a minor update to its Qik app for the Android and Windows Phone platforms. With the update installed, users will be able to save their Qik videos from the app to their device's camera roll if they wish. Videos can also be sent or deleted. Skype Qik is similar to Snapchat in that it allows users to send semi-ephemeral videos to one another. The videos are limited to 42 seconds in length and expire after two weeks. Qik also lets users pre-record five-second Qik Fliks, which Qik describes as canned video responses to use when there's no time to record a new video. The Skype Qik update is available to Android and Windows Phone devices today, and will be available to the iPhone in the near future.


Microsoft Offers Its MSN Apps to Android and iOS Devices

Dec 11, 2014, 9:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today expanded the availability of its MSN-branded apps beyond Windows Phone, adding them to the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store. The apps, which have evolved on the Windows Phone platform this year, include MSN Food & Drink, MSN Health & Fitness, MSN Money, MSN News, and MSN Sports. These five are available to both Android and iOS today. The MSN Weather app is available to Android today, too, and will be available to iOS soon. Of note, Microsoft said its MSN Health & Fitness app makes use of Apple's HealthKit tools, which will allow iPhone owners to track steps and other fitness goals. Microsoft has targeted Android and iOS aggressively this year with its own applications and services, including MS Office, its core productivity suite, and other utilities such as OneNote and OneDrive. All the apps are free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.


Sprint to Preload Uber on Most Android Phones

Dec 10, 2014, 4:59 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today said it plans to install the Uber application on most of its Android smartphones moving forward. Uber is a ride-seeking app that lets people discover and request rides. Sprint and Uber are offering new customers $20 toward their first ride when they create a new Uber account. Uber requires payment via credit card, but customers can use the app to keep track of their driver as he/she approaches, as well as see estimated costs for their ride. Sprint customers who don't have Uber preinstalled on their device are still eligible to receive the discount. Uber is available from the Google Play Store, the iTunes App Store, and the Windows Phone Store.


AWS-3 Auction Slows as Bids Near $42 Billion

Dec 9, 2014, 12:45 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The FCC today made another change to how participants in the AWS-3 spectrum auction place their bids. Before round 68, interested parties had to make bids on 80% of the licenses for which they were eligible. Now, companies have to place bids on 95% of the licenses for which they are eligible during each round. This change is in addition to one implemented last week, which divvied rounds into six 30-minute windows per day rather than four 60-minute windows. Total provisional winning bids for the auction have reached $41.954 billion, with most action now occurring for small and mid-sized markets. The highest single bid is for a 10x10MHz license covering New York City and Long Island, which totals $2.76 billion. The same spectrum block covering Los Angeles has garnered a high bid of $2.11 billion. The FCC's latest alterations signal again that the auction is winding down. Winners will be announced after the auction is complete.


Nokia Updates HERE Maps for Windows Phone

Dec 9, 2014, 8:49 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Nokia today announced an update to its suite of HERE navigation apps for the Windows Phone platform. HERE Drive+ gains 18 new languages with the update, including Algeria, Iraq, Cyprus, and Libya, making for a total of 118 supported languages. Nokia said HERE Maps, HERE Transit, and HERE City Lens also received updates, though they are limited to performance improvements and bug fixes. Nokia's HERE apps are free to download from the Windows Store. Nokia, and not Microsoft, makes and distributes the HERE apps, which are also available to Android devices.


Silent Circle Says Blackphone to Gain App Store

Dec 9, 2014, 8:23 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Silent Circle today announced a forthcoming update to its Blackphone that will add a privacy-focused app store. The storefront will only be available from the Blackphone and will feature apps to help users manage and maintain their personal or professional data. The updated PrivatOS operating system will also add a feature called Silent Spaces, which makes it possible for device owners to create multiple user profiles on a single device. Similar to Kid Mode in Windows Phone, Blackphone users can use Silent Spaces set up segregated user modes to make it safer to pass the device around to different people. Silent Circle said it will distribute the update to PrivatOS beginning in January. Silent Circle is run by security-minded firms. PrivatOS is based on Android, but is more secure. The Blackphone is the only device that operates PrivatOS. It offers encrypted calling, messaging, and email services for secure communications.


Cortana Says 'Hello' to Four New Countries

Dec 5, 2014, 8:11 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today made Cortana available in four more countries. Cortana is the voice-controlled personal assistant built into Windows Phone 8.1. Cortana only spoke English when launched earlier the year. Microsoft later extended Cortana to China. Now, the developer preview version of Windows Phone 8.1 offers Cortana in French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Microsoft is offering Cortana as a preview so developers in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain can add Cortana capabilities to their own apps. Not all of Cortana's features will be available overseas, says Microsoft. For example, flight tracking and transit data for smaller cities are missing. Microsoft was sure to adjust Cortana's personality for each of the four languages, so it feels more natural to native French, German, Italian, and Spanish speakers. Windows Phone users in those countries can try Cortana by installing the developer preview of Windows Phone 8.1. Microsoft said it will add more features to Cortana over time.


Sprint Says New Windows Phones On the Way

Dec 4, 2014, 7:37 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint reaffirmed its commitment to Microsoft's Windows Phone platform today after the HTC 8XT vanished from its web site. The 8XT and Samsung ATIV S Neo are the only Windows Phones Sprint has sold this year. Sprint said the phones are still available at a limited number of retail stores, but are no longer listed online. Sprint has not been Windows Phones' strongest supporter, but the carrier isn't ready to give up on Microsoft's mobile platform. "We do expect to bring new Windows Phone devices to our customers in the near future, and Sprint is committed to offering a variety of operating systems to our customers," said Sprint in an email to Phone Scoop. Sprint didn't say which Windows devices it will sell, nor when they might reach stores.


FCC Changes AWS-3 Auction Pace As Total Surpasses $40B

Dec 4, 2014, 2:51 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The FCC today altered how it is conducting the auction for AWS-3 spectrum as fewer bids arrive for each round. Before today, the FCC offered four one-hour bidding windows per day. Moving forward, the FCC is offering six 30-minute bidding windows, giving bidders less time to react to each round. Total bids for the auction now exceed $40 billion. The auction, which began Nov. 13, had an initial reserve of $10.56 billion. With the number of new bids slowing down, it is possible the auction could end soon. AT&T, Dish Networks, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and dozens of other entities are participating in the bidding.


Skype for Windows Phone Gains Granular Improvements

Dec 4, 2014, 2:41 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Skype today announced the availability of Skype 2.25 for the Windows Phone platform. The newest version of Skype adds several features, including giant emoticons and the ability to delete either individual messages or entire message threads. Skype says chats should load faster, and group chats should always show the most recent group avatar, even if the avatar was changed on another platform, such as a desktop. Skype also updated its Qik app for Windows Phone, which lets people send prerecorded video messages between phones. Skype and Qik are free to download from the Windows Store.


Microsoft Hands Off Nokia Phone App Store to Opera

Nov 18, 2014, 9:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today announced that Opera Software will soon provide the default app store for older Nokia handsets. Beginning in the first quarter of 2015, the Opera Mobile Store will replace the Nokia Store on devices running the Series 40, Series 60, Symbian, Asha, and Nokia X operating systems. The Nokia Store itself will close once all handsets are transitioned to the Opera Mobile Store, which is expected to be complete by July 2015. According to Opera, it has over 300,000 applications for Nokia's legacy devices. Old apps are updated often, and Opera says its 40,000 developers constantly produce new apps, too. Microsoft purchased Nokia's handset business earlier this year. It has committed to selling entry-level feature phones, but would rather concentrate on managing one app store (the Windows Phone Store) instead of two.


BlackBerry, Samsung Announce Security Tie-Up

Nov 13, 2014, 12:47 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

BlackBerry and Samsung today agreed to sell one another's security software. The joint effort is meant to help Samsung sell more phones and to help BlackBerry win more BES customers. Samsung's Knox security platform is embedded on many of its devices. It can be used to separate work and personal information, as well as secure that data on the device. BlackBerry's BES services allows businesses to remotely manage Android, BlackBerry, iOS, and Windows Phone smartphones. The companies think this partnership will appeal to businesses that want to use Samsung handsets for the Knox platform, but manage them via BES. BlackBerry's enterprise chief John Sims said the deal "isn't about one company displacing the other. This is about one and one makes three." BlackBerry's presence in the smartphone market has been reduced to practically nil in the face of stiff competition from Apple, Samsung, and others, while Samsung has long been making overtures to potential business customers.


Microsoft Debuts New Movie Creator App for Windows Phone

Nov 13, 2014, 11:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today announced Movie Creator, a new app for editing video content into finished pieces. The app lets Windows Phone owners combine up to 25 video clips, photos, cinemagraphs, and Living Images into a single project. Microsoft says the app allows users to trim video clips and move them around with ease. Some features include text cards, pan and zoom, and filters for added effects. The app includes pre-loaded themes to help with quick projects. Movie Creator lets people enhance their videos with music, too. Movie Creator, which is being offered as a beta, is free to download from the Windows Store. It is compatible with Windows Phone 8.1.


United's MileagePlus Cards Now Support Softcard

Nov 12, 2014, 12:43 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

United Airlines today announced that owners of its MileagePlus credit cards can now add them to their Softcard account and make mobile payments. The cards are backed by Chase bank, which is one of the handful of financial institutions supporting Softcard. In order to entice cardholders to sign up, United is offering 2,500 miles to customers who activate their MileagePlus card on Softcard by February 28, 2015. Further, United will add 500 more miles every month (up to total of 4,000 miles) to the MileagePlus accounts of cardholders who use Softcard at least once per month for mobile purchases. Softcard is backed by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless and is compatible with many Android smartphones and select Windows Phones.


Lumia 535 First Windows Phone to Wear Microsoft Name

Nov 11, 2014, 8:12 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today announced the Lumia 535, the first phone it has revealed without the Nokia brand since it acquired the company's handset division earlier this year. The 535 is a low-cost smartphone meant for emerging markets. It features a 5-inch qHD display, and two 5-megapixel cameras with one on the front and one on the back. The rear camera has an LED flash. The user-facing camera has the same wide-angle sensor found on the Lumia 735. Both cameras can capture FWVGA video. The phone is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 200 processor with 1GB of RAM. The 535 has 8GB of internal storage, but supports microSD cards up to 128GB. Microsoft will sell the Lumia 535 in single- and dual-SIM variants, but the phone only supports 3G networks (WCDMA at 42Mbps) and not LTE 4G. Other on-board radios include Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, and GPS. Like many Lumia phones, the 535 comes in a range of bright colors. It ships with Windows Phone 8.1 and the Lumia Denim system upgrade out of the box. The Lumia will be available in select markets beginning later this month. It is priced at about $135.


AT&T Says Samsung Ativ S Neo Owners Can Grab WP8.1

Nov 10, 2014, 2:09 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today announced that customers with the Samsung Ativ S Neo handset can update their devices to Windows Phone 8.1. The system update includes Cortana, expanded home screen panels, action center, new lock screen widgets, word flow keyboard and other improvements. The update is free and can be installed over the air.


HTC's One for Windows Reaches T-Mobile

Nov 10, 2014, 8:19 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile has begun selling the HTC One (M8) for Windows smartphone on its web site. T-Mobile is offering the device for $0 down with monthly payments of $24.40, or for $585.60 at full retail. The phone recently reached AT&T and it is already sold by Verizon.


Opera Scores Browser Deal with Microsoft

Nov 10, 2014, 8:08 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft has agreed to replace the Nokia Xpress browser on low-end and mid-range handsets with Opera's Mini browser. Moving forward, Opera Mini will become the default browser on Asha devices and feature phones bearing the Nokia brand. Both the Nokia Xpress browser and Opera Mini use server-side compression to help reduce data usage over mobile networks. Opera Mini has become very popular in India, where many Asha devices are still sold. Opera believes this distribution agreement will help it add approximately 100 million users in India and other emerging markets. Internet Explorer is the default browser on Microsoft's Windows Phone handsets.


Microsoft Outs New Office Apps for iPhone, iPad, Androids

Nov 6, 2014, 9:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today announced a major expansion of its core Office productivity suite across mobile devices. Microsoft is replacing the limited Office app for the iPhone with three brand new apps, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The apps allow iPhone users to create and edit Office content on their iPhones for free. Microsoft updated the iPad version of these three apps so there is continuity across them on the iOS platform. Further, Microsoft announced a new preview version of Office for Android tablets. This means most people will be able to work with Office documents on their mobile devices at no cost. Previously, Microsoft required a subscription to its Office 365 product. Moving forward, subscribers to Office 365 will have a more robust feature set, including advanced editing and collaboration tools, unlimited OneDrive storage, and Dropbox integration. Last, Microsoft said it is working on a touch-enabled version of Office for Windows 10. The new iPhone and iPad Office apps are free to download immediately. Android tablet owners can sign up for the Office preview beginning today.


Microsoft and Dropbox Announce Collaboration

Nov 4, 2014, 11:08 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Nov 4, 2014, 11:13 AM

Microsoft and Dropbox today announced a new partnership that will make it easier for smartphone and tablet owners to remain productive. They have agreed to integrate Office 365 and Dropbox for mobile and online document creation and storage. Android and iOS users will be able to access Dropbox from Office apps to get to their files and folders; edit Office files directly from Dropbox and sync them across devices; and share new or edited files from the Office apps using Dropbox sharing tools. Microsoft said it will update Office for Android and iOS with these new features over the coming weeks. Online sharing between Office and Dropbox won't arrive until early 2015. Interested users will need both an Office and a Dropbox account in order to access these tools. Dropbox will also make its application available on the Windows Phone and Windows tablet platforms in the coming months.


Lumia Camera App to Reach More Phones

Nov 4, 2014, 8:55 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today said it has updated a handful of its apps for Windows Phone devices. The Nokia Camera app is being renamed to Lumia Camera, though there are no changes to the app itself. The app is, however, being made available to the Lumia 830, Lumia 930, Lumia 1520, and Lumia Icon with the Lumia Denim Update, which starts rolling out later this year. The Lumia Cinemagraph app is receiving a minor update that makes the sharing function simpler and faster. Microsoft also noted that the app will no longer store Cinemagraphs on Nokia's web site and will instead keep them on Microsoft's OneDrive web site where they can be shared with social networks such as Facebook. Nokia said the new Cinemagraph app is expected to roll out early next year.


Windows Phone Owners Can Now Use Softcard

Nov 4, 2014, 8:42 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Softcard recently expanded to Microsoft's Windows Phone platform. Softcard, formerly Isis, is a mobile payment service backed by AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless. Windows Phone owners can associate a credit card from select financial institutions with Softcard on their phone and use it for mobile payments. According to Softcard, its app is accepted at more than 200,000 retail locations around the U.S. Softcard is free to download from the Windows Phone Store, but it requires a secure SIM card from AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon Wireless in order to function properly.


HTC's One for Windows Also Hits AT&T Nov. 7

Nov 3, 2014, 10:08 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today revealed availability and pricing details for the HTC One (M8) for Windows. The device, which is already being sold by Verizon Wireless, replaces the Android operating system with Windows Phone 8.1 but is otherwise identical. It has a 4-Ultrapixel camera, quad-core processor, 1080p HD display, and all-aluminum design. The device will be available online and in stores beginning November 7. AT&T is asking for $670 at full retail, $200 with a two-year contract, $33.60 per month with AT&T Next 12, or $27.92 per month with AT&T Next 18.


Microsoft's Lumia 830 Reaches AT&T Nov. 7

Nov 3, 2014, 10:02 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today announced that it will offer the Microsoft Lumia 830 online and in stores beginning November 7. The Lumia 830 was announced earlier this year. It runs Windows Phone 8.1 with Cortana and features a slim-and-light design. The 830 has a 5-inch HD display, quad-core processor, and 10-megapixel camera. AT&T is selling the phone for $450 at full retail, $100 with a two-year contract, $22.50 per month with AT&T Next 12, or $18.75 per month with AT&T Next 18. For a limited time, AT&T is offering a FitBit Flex wearable with the Lumia 830 for free. The FitBit can be used to track activity and sleep. It normally retails for $99.


Samsung Looking to Escape Paying $1B to Microsoft

Nov 1, 2014, 8:48 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung claims that if it honors a 2011 patent-licensing agreement with Microsoft it could be charged with collusion. The argument is the latest from Samsung, which owes Microsoft $1 billion in patent licensing fees, plus another $6.9 million in interest. Several technologies found in the Android operating system are patented by Microsoft. Nearly all Android device makers pay Microsoft to license those patents in their smartphones. Samsung agreed to do the same in 2011, though Microsoft cut it a bit if a break after Samsung agreed to continue to develop devices running Microsoft's Windows Phone platform. Part of the agreement entails Samsung sharing sensitive inside information with Microsoft. Samsung now contends that Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's handset business earlier this year puts them into direct competition. It says if it pays the licensing fees, it could be seen as colluding with Microsoft in violation of the law. Microsoft sued Samsung over the unpaid licensing fees earlier this year and believes it has a strong case.


Microsoft Debuts Health Platform and Wearable

Oct 30, 2014, 8:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today announced Microsoft Health, a new platform that's similar in basic approach to Apple's HealthKit and Google's Google Fit programs. Microsoft Health relies on a cloud-based service where consumers and the industry both store health and fitness data. The Microsoft Health application is available today for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone devices. It collects information from third-party apps and services and saves the data to the cloud, where it can help users manage their health and fitness goals. Microsoft Health doesn't combine data points from apps locally on smartphones, which both HealthKit and Fit do. Instead, the data is analyzed by Microsoft's Intelligence Engine online, which can be used to generate graphs, charts, and other ways to assess the data. For example, Microsoft Health can tell people which exercises burn the most calories, or calculate the quality of users' sleep. Though Microsoft Health works with select third-party devices, such as Jawbone Up, Microsoft announced the Microsoft Band wearable. The band was designed to be worn all day long. It has 10 sensors inside that track steps, calories burned, heart rate, and more. Together with the Microsoft Health app, the Microsoft Band offers guided workouts created by Gold's Gym, Shape, and others. The band also includes notifications for incoming calls, messages, or social networking updates. The Band is available from Microsoft's web site and retail stores beginning today for $199. Last, Microsoft is offering SDKs and APIs to health providers and app developers so they may hook their products into Microsoft Health.


Microsoft Makes Branding Change Official

Oct 24, 2014, 6:44 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today indicated its branding transition from Nokia Lumia to Microsoft Lumia is progressing as planned. Microsoft has slowly been rebranding apps, services, and web sites from Nokia to Microsoft. The company has now reached the point where its Windows Phone hardware will make the same change. The last smartphones announced to wear the Nokia brand are the Lumia 830 and Lumia 735 Windows Phones, which were announced in September. The company said the first Microsoft Lumia device will be announced soon, though it didn't share any details. Microsoft will, however, continue to sell Nokia-branded feature phones, such as the Nokia 130. Microsoft has licensed the Nokia name from Nokia for such devices. All its smartphones will use the Microsoft name moving forward.


Microsoft Opens the Garage Door, Releases Android Apps

Oct 22, 2014, 8:38 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today revealed Garage, a collective of Microsoft employees that is encouraged to tinker with apps and services for a wide range of platforms and products. Microsoft describes the Garage as "a community of interns, employees, and teams from everywhere in the company who come together to turn our wild ideas into real projects." Along with its public unveiling, Microsoft announced several Android apps created within the Garage that are available from the Play Store today. For example, Torque is an app for Android Wear that lets owners of such devices twist their arm to launch Bing (not Google) Voice Search. Another, Next Lock Screen, lets Android device owners see their missed calls, messages, and calendar appointments without unlocking their device. The apps are free to download starting today. Microsoft indicated more apps and products may emerge from the Garage, not just for Android, but for iOS, Windows Phone, and Windows, too.


Microsoft to Drop Nokia Brand from Smartphones

Oct 21, 2014, 8:27 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft indicated that it is prepared to drop the Nokia brand from its line of Windows Phones. Moving forward, the company will use the Microsoft Lumia name to refer to its phone hardware. Microsoft purchased Nokia's handset division earlier this year, but Nokia still exists as a separate company selling HERE Maps and telecommunications gear. Microsoft could not continue to use the Nokia brand indefinitely. Microsoft has already rebranded many of the old Nokia apps with the Lumia name, and told The Verge that it plans to begin rebranding its remaining Nokia properties in the weeks ahead.


Skype for Windows Phone Gains Drawing Feature

Oct 20, 2014, 9:32 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today issued an update to its Skype app for Windows Phone 8 and 8.1. The app has been refreshed with several new features, the foremost of which is the ability to create drawings within messages. Users can create their own pictures with the drawing tool, or annotate existing images and Bing Maps. The update makes it possible for users to select between their Microsoft account and their Skype account more easily. The app also improves resume times and adds support for HD screens. Skype for Windows Phone is free to download from the Windows Store.


Nokia Puts Color Pop Back in Creative Studio

Oct 20, 2014, 7:25 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Nokia today released an update to its Creative Studio photo editing app and added several features. First and foremost, Nokia returned Color Pop back to Creative Studio. Color Pop allows Lumia owners to turn their photos black and white with only select colors highlighted. The app also adds new support for PNG files and screenshots, and locks photos rotated 90 degrees to the new orientation. Creative Studio 6.3, which is an extensive on-device photo editor, is free for Lumia devices to download from the Windows Phone Store.


Microsoft Gives Cortana a Bit More Bing

Oct 17, 2014, 2:53 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today said it has added several features to Cortana, the voice-activated assistant built into Windows Phone 8.1. One of the new capabilities is called Daily Glance Evening Edition. At the end of each day, Cortana will show users the travel time to home and upcoming items on their calendar. Cortana will also begin to offer concert recommendations within 100 miles of the phone's location based on the owner's artists and Bing searches. Cortana will now more actively create and make available cards with flight information based on travel itineraries and Bing searches. Last, Bing adds location-based app recommendations. For example, Cortana might suggest visitors to Disney World in Florida download the Disney Expedition App. Some of these features need to be turned on in Cortana's Notebook before they'll function.


Twitter Integrates SoundCloud for In-App Audio

Oct 16, 2014, 4:03 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Twitter today announced a new feature that will allow users of its Android and iOS apps to listen to music/sound clips directly from their timeline. According to Twitter, the new Twitter Audio Card can be docked and allow users to listen to the songs or clips even as they continue to browse through their timeline. SoundCloud is the first third-party company to add support for the Audio Card, but Twitter said it expects to add more services over time. Twitter hopes more parters, artists, and creators will adopt the feature for sharing purposes. The feature is free to use within the Android and iOS versions of Twitter. Twitter didn't say if or when the feature might reach other platforms, such as Windows Phone.


Subscribe to Phone Scoop News with RSS Follow @phonescoop on Twitter Phone Scoop on Facebook Phone Scoop on Google+ Subscribe to Phone Scoop on YouTube Follow on Instagram

 

All content Copyright 2001-2014 Phone Factor, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Content on this site may not be copied or republished without formal permission.
2