Windows Phone News | Page 269 | Windows Central

Spec showdown

Which is the best? Surface Laptop vs. Spectre x360 vs. XPS 13

What to expect when you're expecting

What to expect from Microsoft's hardware event in China this week

The grass is greener

This $500 laptop from Acer is a great alternative to the best Chromebook

Limited Fix

There's now a fix for 'WannaCry,' but it's fairly limited

long-term strategy

Microsoft WILL release a Surface 'phone' — but it could take a while

Keep it secure

Try NordVPN for as little as $3.29 a month

Free Surface is the best kind of Surface

Want to win a Surface Laptop? Here’s how to increase your chances.

Surface Pro Refresh

Microsoft's 'Surface Pro 5' leaks ahead of official announcement

More Goodies

All the changes found in Windows 10 builds 16199 and 16193

XboxLiveBook

4 things Microsoft needs to do to make Xbox Live more social

Big Brother will be watching

Dystopian abuse of Microsoft's powerful AI camera tech is inevitable

A home for Quick Actions

Microsoft is building a new Control Center for Quick Actions in Windows 10

Scaling Optimization

How to use DPI scaling in Windows 10 to fix blurry old apps

PC for normies

Windows 10 S can succeed because 'normal' people aren't Windows geeks

(Surface) pen meets laptop

What's the best way to use the Surface Pen on the Surface Laptop?

Windows 10 tip

Access Control Panel quickly from File Explorer with this nifty trick

More the Merrier

Microsoft purposefully aimed Surface Laptop at a very wide audience

Communication is key

Microsoft must manage expectations of Windows 10 S to avoid PR nightmare

A bright future ... or not?

What did Build tell you about the future of Windows 10 Mobile?

Wipe away the tears

What you need to know about the 'WannaCry' ransomware and Windows

< >

Pre-order: Surface Laptop

Windows Phone News

Microsoft today announced that HTC, Nokia, Samsung and Huawei will be key launch partners for Windows Phone 8 come this fall.

The new hardware for Windows Phone 8 includes multi-core chips, higher resolution displays including true 720P, NFC and encrypted storage. All four of the announced companies will be providing these high end devices around the world starting this fall.

In addition, Qualcomm (and only Qualcomm) will be providing the chipsets to power the new WP8 phones, which are expected to be dual-core with 1.5Ghz CPUs and feature 720x1280 displays.

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Microsoft today announced the expansion of voice over telephony (VOIP) for Windows Phone 8, enabling the integration of Skype into the phone OS in addition to any other 3rd party VOIP applications.

Come this fall users will be able to have Skype as well as any 3rd party VOIP clients fully integrated into the Windows Phone dialer and contacts, giving a near seamless user experience. Background tasks and notifications will be handled by the OS allowing VOIP apps to manage calls across cellular and data connections. In addition, Bluetooth connectivity will also "just work" with Skype and other VOIP apps.

Developers will appreciate the array of new APIs that allow them to “plug in” to the Windows Phone 8 VOIP system while maintaining application and system stability.

The announcement comes on the heels of the Windows Phone 7 app update and should alleviate current user cmplaints about Skype's limitations on the platform, which we've detailed in the past.

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Microsoft's Windows Phone 7.8

The question of what Microsoft would do for those current Windows Phone users who have generation 1 and generation 1.5 devices like the HTC Titan or the highly popular Nokia Lumia 900 for Windows Phone 8 has finally been answered.

Windows Phone 8’s main features involve new hardware like multi-core processors, NFC and higher resolution displays. Phones like the Lumia 900 cannot take advantage of these new features but Windows Phone 8 also brings additional changes to the Start screen which current users can take advantage of.

In able to ensure that current customers have the best and latest from Microsoft, the company is officially offering Windows Phone 7.8 as an OS upgrade. Windows Phone 7.8 will still be based on the CE kernel and won’t enable advanced Windows Phone 8 features like app and games that use native programming, but it will give current users the new Start screen and appearance of Windows Phone 8.

The new Start screen in Windows Phone 8 has three new elements, including

  • Variable tile sizes, including user customizable selection between small, medium and so-called “double wide” tiles
  • Removal of the “gutter” aka “the gap” known as the off-centered space to the right of the Start screen. The gutter was a carry-over from the Zune days but now Tiles will be evenly distributed on the Start screen
  • New tile colors – yes, while the 10 + 1 model of Accent colors for Windows Phone carried us for nearly two years, Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 7.8 will offer a wider selection of colors

Although not being able to directly upgrade to the new NT kernel of Windows Phone 8 may be a bit of a letdown for current users, the Windows Phone 7.8 upgrade should offer new Windows Phone users nearly the same experience considering their lack of advanced hardware.

Update: Nokia just announced Play To DLNA support, Counters for data information, Nokia Music 3.0 and Camera Extras for all current Lumia phones

Do you think it’s a fair compromise and are you satisfied? Let us know in comments.

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As expected, Microsoft today announced Nokia Map Technology as the core navigation of Windows Phone 8.

Featuring offline support,  NAVTEQ map data, map control for developers to integrate into their apps and full turn by turn directions, Windows Phone 8 will finally have a top line navigation system for free use.

As we mentioned previously, this mapping technology will be hardware accelerated giving a great user experience. 

Developing...

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Today Microsoft has officially unveiled Wallet for the forthcoming Windows Phone 8 OS.  Windows Phone Wallet combines two popular features into one, specifically near-field communication (NFC) support for transaction in addition to an account manager for your frequently used credit cards, frequent flier passes and other personal data.

The Wallet feature will be built into the existing “Hub Model” of Windows Phone giving users quick and seamless access to their personal financial data and enabling wireless near-field communication payments where such systems exist. The storage aspect of Wallet enables users to store payment instructions, deals, and loyalty cards.

Even more impressive is the fact that developers can add and manage items in the wallet, define payment instruments and interact with NFC, giving them yet another opportunity on the WP8 platform. Developers can also link to Wallet for in-app purchases, which is also a new feature for Windows Phone 8.

While Android has NFC payments via Google Wallet and Apple has introduced Passbook to handle and store personal information, only Windows Phone 8 combines both into a single feature accessible to all users with new Windows Phone 8 hardware.

Finally, transaction service Paypal is officially supported in Windows Phone 8 directly through Wallet, enabling users to avoid using credit cards or carrier-billing, giving them yet another option for external payments or new the new in-app payment system introduced in Windows Phone 8.

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Continuing our Windows Phone Summit coverage, we detail the new resolutions announced for Windows Phone 8: In line with earlier leaks and expectations, Microsoft has now confirmed that Windows Phone 8 will ship with 3 supported resolutions (2 additional). Specifically:

  • 480x800 (15:9)
  • 768x1280 (15:9)
  • 720x1280 (16:9)

The last of the resolutions, of course, is most desirable on a device because its full 720p resolution. That means no letterboxing -- you know, those annoying black bars on top and bottom.

Now you're probably thinking: What's with the two aspect ratios? We asked about this and it boils down to part costs and OEM flexibility. Let's be honest, OEMs targeting developing markets don't need or want to have the most expensive screen part. Nor do consumers in that market want to pay for one. So loosening on screen requirements is a win for a lot of folks.

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In the smallest kept secret, this morning in San Francisco, CA Microsoft announced details of the upcoming Windows Phone 8 operating system codenamed “Apollo”.

Accelerating what was started with Windows Phone 7, Microsoft is continuing down the path of “Mango” and building for the next generation of hardware.  As detailed by Joe Belfiore during a keynote speech, Windows Phone 8 is due out “this fall” and will contain many new features both for developers and consumers.

As expected, details on new device resolutions, multi-core CPU support, near-field communications (NFC) and native C++ development were given during the Microsoft sponsored Windows Phone Summit. While the software-development kit (SDK) was not released for developers, one is expected to be delivered by the end of summer where more technical guidance will also be granted.

The big focus for this morning is on the new architecture, the NT kernel, for Windows Phone and what it means for developers, OEMs and IT professionals. With Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 desktop based on the same core, developers can more easily leverage their apps by sharing overlapping code between the two platforms. Such a move should great enhance app development on Windows Phone as desktop developers will have to only engage in minor coding fixes to port their app to the new mobile OS.

Moreover, applications for Windows Phone 7.x will automatically run on Windows Phone 8 with little or no changes to the code of the app.  Apps coded on Windows Phone 8 will conversely run on Windows Phone 7.x as well so long as they don’t use native coding (apps coded with native C++ won’t run on Windows Phone 7.x since they use different APIs).

While plenty was shown off there is still plenty more that will come later this summer when the Developer SDK is released.

Developing...

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We're here at the Marriott Marquis for the Windows Phone Summit where Microsoft is expected to reveal details on Windows Phone 8, including new resolutions, current device upgrades, developer tools and more.

Join Daniel Rubino and Rafael Rivera live as we cover the Keynote speech and any follow up developer sessions.

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An update for the Skype has been released taking the Windows Phone app to version 1.2. The update fixes a handful of issues with the previous version and adds the following improvements.

  • All phonebook contacts with at least one number are shown in Skype contact list.
  • Ability to edit phone number in dial-pad before calling.

The update fixes cover issues involving calendar notifications ending Skype calls and instant messaging crashing the app. There still remains issues such as the app requiring a minimum of 512mb of memory on your Windows Phone, no Bluetooth support for audio or video calls, and answering an incoming call will end your Skype call.

The updated version hasn't appeared on the Marketplace just yet and we don't know if the Skype app was released for Marketplace certification or released from Marketplace certification. If the app has cleared certification, look for the update to be pushed out shortly. Otherwise, we're still looking at a few days, barring any issues with the certification process, until we see the v1.2 update.

In the meantime, you can find Skype for Windows Phone here at the Marketplace. It is a free app for your Windows Phone.

Source: Skype Blog; Thanks, Jay, for the tip!

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A sneak peek of what's beyond the escalator for Windows Phone 8

We're here in lovely (and surprisingly chilly) San Francisco for the other big Microsoft event this week--the Windows Phone Summit

During this one-day event, Microsoft are expected to show off bits of Windows Phone 8 aka Apollo. The big question though is what are they going to talk about specifically and what do we already know? We'll give your our thoughts and expectations below. Some of this we've been revealing over the last few weeks and hopefully you were clever enough to catch it.

  • Upgrades - Will Microsoft finally answer the question regarding legacy devices getting the new OS? Yes, they will. You should know our position on the matter, we detailed it back in April when we talked about a two-pronged approach. We're still standing by that position.
  • Resolutions - We told you there were four a few weeks ago but now we're confident that one of those were dropped. In short, besides the 480x800 display resolutions you'll also see the addition of 768x1280 and 720x1280.
  • A new UI? - Will the new Windows Phone 8 look like Windows Phone 7? For the most part we're betting on yes, it will look the same. There are some changes but if you were expecting it to look like Windows 8 desktop, we'd say calm your expectations.
  • Native development - Yup, expect some news in this regard for Windows Phone 8. We've heard from game developers that this optional path for app development will be discussed
  • Skype and VOIP - Microsoft are expected to talk about how Skype (and 3rd party VOIP apps) can be more deeply integrated into the OS
  • Nokia Mapping - Microsoft and Nokia have teamed up and not just for phones but back-end services. Their relationship goes deep with mapping in Windows Phone.
  • Windows 8 kernel - What makes Windows Phone 8 such a big deal is the expected switch from Windows CE to NT (and Win 8 PRT) for its core. This will have huge ramifications for app developers and as a technology philosophy for Microsoft. 

There is a whole list of other changes we're also expecting in Windows Phone 8 from Data Sense to NFC to all the enterprise tools (BitLocker) to removal SD card support. Windows Phone 8 should rival Windows Phone "Mango" in terms of new features both for consumers and developers.  

Whether or not Microsoft talks about all of that tomorrow remains to be seen. Our hunch tells us that since there's so much to reveal, Microsoft will show only some of Windows Phone 8 during the summit. That makes sense if you're trying to control the message and trying to ensure that the finer details are all absorbed.

The view from the Marriott Marquis last night

Regardless, you can tune in the official Microsoft live-stream of the event tomorrow. But you'll also want to keep a browser Tab open on Windows Phone Central too as Rafael Rivera and myself will be on hand here all day making sense of all the news as it comes out.

That means yes, we'll have a live WPCentral Podcast sometime tomorrow afternoon, numerous technical articles from myself, Rafael and Jay Bennett, some interviews and as much media as we can upload.

It all starts at 9:30am PDT/12:30pm EST and you'll definitely want to catch all of it right here on WPCentral.

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This evening at the Turbine Hall in Newtown, South Africa, Nokia and MTN announced the launch of the Nokia Lumia 900 in South Africa.

It will be available on MTN Anytime 200 for R369 per month on a 24 month contract. It also comes with a pitiful 75MB of bandwidth per month that you can use to check your email a couple times. The phone should be in stores across the country around the 28th of this month. Other contracts should be available but MTN is not releasing any details just yet.

We knew about the launch, but something that we hadn't expected was that there are 200 Limited Edition Batman phones available to the first 200 customers at a branch in each main city. So we suggest you get down to any of the following stores when it is available to snap one of those up: Morningside (Johannesburg), Gateway (Durban), Canal Walk (Cape Town) and Port Elizabeth.

Vodacom was the first service provider in South Africa to offer a Lumia device when it launched the Nokia Lumia 800. Since then they have also started offering the Lumia 710, but for some reason will not be stocking the Lumia 900. MTN is on the opposite end of the stick offering only the Lumia 900.

Source: MyBroadband

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While Microsoft took center stage yesterday with the Surface tablet, Nokia had an announcement of their own to make. We briefly mentioned this with speculation that Nokia might be a party to Microsoft's event but quickly learned that these were two separate events. Even though it doesn't deal with Windows Phones, we felt the need to come full circle with things.

Yesterday, Nokia announced that the Nokia 808 with 41 megapixel Pure View camera will be released in the U.S., unlocked, through Amazon.com. The 808 will run $699 and will be compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile networks.

There is still some speculation that we'll see the Pure View camera make the jump from the 808 to a Windows Phone later this year but for the time being, Pre-orders for the Symbian phone should begin later this week. You can sign up for notification here at Nokia.com.

Source: Nokia Conversations

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Those nice folk at Carphone Warehouse here in the UK dropped us an email this morning detailing their excitement following on from yesterdays Microsoft Surface tablet announcement.

According to Carphone Warehouse, the Surface will 'trigger a new tablet race' which is quite possibly true. With prices and dates still yet to be announced I hope that Microsoft either rectify that or at least keep up the hype with TV advertising etc.

With Carphone Warehouse being the largest independent mobile phone retailer in the UK, with over 800 stores nationwide, it is sure to push the Suface heavily. In its larger stores they already seem to sell as many tablets and notebooks as they do phones so I see the 'Surface' being a great marketing tool for them.

Graham Stapleton, Chief Commercial Officer at Carphone Warehouse, says,

“Microsoft’s first foray into producing both tablet hardware and software is an exciting addition to the market, which has been relatively quiet over the last few months. Today’s news is really going to shake things up. Microsoft’s Surface is going to appeal beyond the existing tablet community and draw in new tablet users, especially with the new Windows 8 software. Microsoft Office functionality and the dual-purpose cover keyboard should go down well with professionals who may have been put off by touch screen keyboards in the past.”

Graham adds that Microsoft has set the bar high. Noting that manufacturers are going to have to work harder than ever to innovate and convince the customer that their tablet can top this. There's little argument that the Surface is an exciting product and it's nice to see retailers get an early start at promoting the tablet.

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That keyword that everyone loves so much - FREE.  

Nokia are feeling generous and for the month of June are giving away Purity headphones by Monster when consumers purchase a Lumia handset. 610 and 710 buyers will get the in-ear Purity Headphones where as if you buy the Lumia 800 or 900 you will receive the HD on-ear Purity Headphones.

Considering the price of the devices and the fact that the headphones are worth up to £199 this really is a bargain and may do Lumia sales a world of good. It is just a case of heading over to www.nokiamonsteroffer.co.uk and following the simple instructions. The offer ends June 30th and you must be at least 18 years old and a U.K. resident to be eligible.

Nice idea Nokia.

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Is your Windows Phone a health risk?

Could your Windows Phone be a health risk? According to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (London, England) the health risk is a concern.

We've seen concerns over radiation exposure but the Society is more focused on neck and back pain as well as stress related illnesses that develops from poor posture.  Try as we may, we often end up hunched over our Windows Phones which isn't really good for the lower back.

A recent survey of 2,010 office workers conducted by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy which indicates that nearly two thirds of those survey continue to work on smartphones, laptops and tablets outside office hours. Society Chairwomen Dr. Helena Johnson views the results as a huge concern.

"While doing a bit of extra work at home may seem like a good short-term fix, if it becomes a regular part of your evening routine then it can lead to problems such as back and neck pain, as well as stress-related illness. This is especially the case if you're using hand-held devices and not thinking about your posture."

The survey concluded that workers are risking their mental and physical health by working more than two hours extra every night.

While the survey focused on time spend on our mobile devices for work purposes, it doesn't make any reference to time spent for entertainment purposes. Granted the stress of work isn't necessarily present when playing games or watching videos but the posture issues might be.

What brought the story stand out was that an HTC Radar was used to illustrate smartphone use. Which makes us wonder is it fair to group smartphones in with laptops and tablets? Is anyone using their Windows Phones for work issues for two hour stretches?  Outside testing apps and games, I typically use my Windows Phone to keep up with email, check a website, manage my appointments but only for short periods of time.  Any heavy lifting is done from a laptop or desktop.

So is this a legitimate concern or a problem that just isn't there as it relates to our Windows Phone?

Source: CSP.org Via: BBC; Thanks, everyone, for the tip!

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We overlooked an interesting feature mentioned last night at the Microsoft Surface tablet event. The Netflix app.

Microsoft showcased the Netflix app during last night's presentation saying it supported semantic zoom and that the Netflix app would be ready when Windows 8 launches later this year.

We're guessing that with SmartGlass you could start a Netflix movie on your Xbox console, pause it and resume watching the movie on your Surface tablet or Windows Phone. With the kickstand feature on the Surface, the tablet sounds ideal for mobile movie watching.

Details are still sketchy on how our Windows Phones will interact with the Surface and hopefully we will be able to shed a little light on things after tomorrow's Windows Phone 8 event. In the meantime, you can catch a brief glimpse of the Netflix app, in the full video of Microsoft's Surface announcement around the 14:25 mark.

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Although no live recording was allowed during the Microsoft-Ballmer reveal of the now famous Surface tablets, the Redmond company has gone ahead and put it online for your viewing pleasure.

The full video chimes in just under 48 minutes, so grab yourself your favorite beverage of choice and relax as you're shown what looks to be "the next big thing" in mobile computing.

We'll save our thoughts for later tomorrow but for now let's just say we're feeling pretty good about where Microsoft is heading.

Make sure to check out our other coverage on the Surface below:

Source: Microsoft

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While we aren't sure what the specs will be on the Surface tablets camera, Microsoft refers to the camera as a LifeCam, the branding for their webcams. This likely means the Surface will be loaded with the typical LifeCam software as well.

But here's an interesting aspect of the camera. It is positioned at a 22 degree angle and when you flip out the kick stand, you basically create a tripod for hands free recording.  This will be a nice feature for recording meetings, your child's birthday party, opening presents at Christmas and all the other situations where you need to have your camera stationary.

The Surface is also fitted with dual microphones for decent audio for your videos or audio quality for Skype calls. Based on the images we've seen on the Surface, it appears there is a front facing camera to help with those Skype calls as well.

It will be interesting to see if Microsoft goes beyond the typical laptop styled camera on the Surface.  Would it be too much to hope that Microsoft borrows HTC's 16mp BSI sensor from the HTC Titan II?

Source:  Microsoft

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The Surface website has... well... surfaced.

It launched shortly after Steve Ballmer introduced the new tablets to the world and is slowly becoming populated with details on the Surface.

You've got a gallery, video and downloadable spec sheet currently on the site. Hopefully, we'll see pricing and availability popping up on the Surface website.  As well as more details of what's in store with the Surface.

Just point your favorite browser to Surface.com for all the details.

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