Windows Mobile Weekly Digest: Plummeting sales, a Fenice refresh, and making it rain in a new way

There's a lot going on in the world of Windows Phone. So much, in fact, that it is sometimes tough to catch every important story.

Device rumors come and go. New apps join the Windows Phone Store, and your favorite app can get a big update with a new look or new features.

Therefore, every week we will compile a list of the Windows Phone news that you just shouldn't miss. Welcome to the "Windows Phone Weekly Digest."

Windows Mobile

Windows Mobile

This week, users on individual mobile carriers began to notice that their Windows 10 Mobile phones started showing 'typing...' in their SMS conversations, the same way apps like WhatsApp do. The mobile OS now supports "SMS chat" on networks that offer the service. Not only will you be notified when the other party is typing, but also whether or not they have read your message.

Windows Insiders who have installed build .63 should be warned about a data-eating bug that could run up your usage. The issue resides in the Messaging app and can be prevented by disabling the "Sync messages between devices" setting on your phone.

As for the upcoming Windows 10 Mobile Insider "Redstone" builds, it looks like the first phones to receive them will be the Lumia 550 and the Lumia 950 series.

A new firmware update, bearing version number 15503.21007, was made available for the Lumia 550. It is similar to the ones that rolled out to the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, but this one cannot be installed over-the-air, so you must get it through the Windows Device Recovery Tool.

The Xiaomi Mi 4 also received a firmware update. This one fixes bugs on versions of the phone running Windows 10 Mobile.

Microsoft recently detailed their plans to enable firmware updates for Windows 10 Mobile Insiders in order to make it easier to get new phone software in addition to OS patches.

Microsoft released their Q2 earnings report of fiscal year 2016 and the phone part of the report wasn't good. Although it was no surprise that Windows Phone sales were low, sales in the US actually hit an all-time low.

The old and low-end Nokia Lumia 520 was the most widely used Windows Phone in 2016, indicating the Microsoft's lowly standing in the smartphone arena. But this is neither unexpected, nor the end of Windows-based phones.

Other notable items:



The Store app for Windows 10 PC and Mobile was quietly updated without a changelog. However, one noticeable addition is a new music collections section that features selections curated by Groove Music editors.

The newest edition of the official Vine app boasts a new user interface that not only streamline's the design, but is also geared toward discovering other users to follow.

Following up on Microsoft's April announcement that Viber would be launching a universal app for Windows 10, Windows Central contacted the messaging service asking for an update. A PR rep for the company told us that they are "still working on the universal app for Windows 10, but were not able to give us a timeline for the release.

After making and appearance on Windows Blog Italia earlier in the week, Microsoft's new Ringtone Maker app was officially released in the Windows Store. The app is more or less a refreshed version of Nokia's ringtone maker, but it's good to see it back.

Fenice for Twitter, one of the best Twitter apps out there, was updated as well. Amongst the many bug fixes and new features, the app now supports Windows Hello authentication.

Other notable items:



The insanely popular Candy Crush Saga picked up 15 new levels in the form of a new episode.

"Continue the sweetness and delight with 15 NEW LEVELS in Candy Keep, a brand new episode! Tiffi is helping Sue the Skunk hide Candy inside her nest. But why? What are they planning? You better go and find out!"

Game Troopers' cash-crazy game Make it Rain: The Love of Money got a refresh on Windows desktop and mobile. This latest iteration has a new user interface, new options, additional items, and more.

And if you ever wanted to be a crime boss, but didn't wish to do the jail time, you may want to check out Godfather OL for Windows Phone. This RPG has you starting off as a lowly thug and working your way up to the top of the ladder of lawlessness.

Other notable items:

Be sure to weigh in on this week's news in the comments section. See you next week!

Seth Brodeur
  • Might want to check your dates there, mate. Jus sayin
  • Arrrrggghhhh release my update already!
  • Are the last remaining OEM's cancelling phones yet after this week?  We know that's next.  Who wants to fight Microsoft for less than 1% of the phone market?  By the time Windows 10 Mobile is released, it'll have fewer takers than Windows RT.   What a waste.
  • Microsoft is not canceling WP.
  • Nadella has no plan to raise the market share above 1%, so why not cancel it? Better now than later. No is going to bother porting their apps at this small a market share.
  • Even if it's only 1% why would they cancel? It's not a competition, it's a business. Plus Microsoft brought the first commercial smartphone ever, the Pocket Pc in 2002.
  • We need to get a notifications about every delay MS would do
  • 520 still being used? how is that bad? it was a budget phone and most people who buy one uses it till it drops. 60% of iphones are older than a iphone 5 is that bad? 6 months ago the 520 was a testament to affordable phones, now to suit a different agenda its bad?  The pedalling of the BS is too much I need my waders.  
  • Saw this on the web. iPhone 5 outselling 6, and a lot of people with 4's haven't 'Upgraded'. Apparently 6's are too expensive for the Differences' between it and the 5. Oh how I would love a ballon and a pin :)
  • I have two phones, a ML640 & my NL520. The 520 is still a testament to low end phones. Call me weird but what will help with Windows Mobile sales is to start bundling phones with other MS products - PCs, Tablets, XBox - and market the universal apps that correlate the two, esp and for those with continuum
  • It's going to take something. They need to show that Mobile is an integral part of Windows 10. I don't think that can happen until W10M is ready to launch. (yes, I know it has hit the new phones) That is when they're happy enough with it to roll out to the 8.1 phones.
  • F--- the Press.
  • Somewhat off topic but...Seth would you consider rewriting the opening bit. Not that it's bad, but getting old, worn out.
    Now back to Doom, Gloom, Speculation and our ever popular Rumors!
  • Somewhat off topic but...Seth would you consider rewriting the opening bit. Not that it's bad, but getting old, worn out.
    Now back to Doom, Gloom, Speculation and our ever popular Rumors!
  • Sorry, duplicate.
  • What we didn't hear is anything about the Alcatel OneTouch Fierce XL Windows 10 edition. Last report had it coming to T-Mobile US "in a couple weeks". That was "a few weeks" ago. I can't get any news from T-Mobile or Alcatel.
    Anybody else know anything?
  • No news may not be good news in this case. Hopefully they don't cancel it after last weeks numbers, but it would be hard to blame them if they do.
  • Your comment kind of prompted mine. I've been hitting my T-Mobile sources without anything concrete. The best I got was quoting "in a couple weeks".
    They already have the Android on MetroPCS, so maybe there's still hope.
  • Maybe they are waiting on Windows 10 Mobile to be released officially, but I bet they don't want phones sitting around not selling. Either way, the delays are just more negative press for Microsoft. Why would any OEM jump into this mess? The new Windows 10 Mobile will now have less support and excitement than Windows RT when it launched, ouch.  With the steady decline of PC sales, Microsoft could be left as a "Cloud Only" tech company at this rate.  (Yes, they have the #2 game console)  This shouldn't surprise anyone, since the cloud is Nadella's one area of expertise.  They'll sell cross-platform cloud based services to enterprises, while Google eats up that space with consumers.  At this point, does anyone think that running x86 apps on your phone with an Intel chip (Surface Phone) is going to make a difference?  To me, the only real hope was Android apps, but they quit on that initiative.  Maybe iOS apps will save the day, but iOS developers hate Microsoft and don't want the support problems for a tiny 1% market share.  I agreed with Microsoft moving in the bridge direction, but they needed to stay fighting with everthing they had for a 5-10% market share.  Now, at less than 1% market share (and dropping 50% per quarter), developers won't even be interested in a bridge.  Why bother?  But wait, "Mobile First" was about the experience and the software, not the phone, right?  However, the top mobile apps are dominated by the platform leaders, Google and Apple.  Microsoft moved their apps to other mobile platforms, but their mobile apps are don't top the charts.  Even if they do sell, they pay Google and Apple 30% of the revenue.  So the scorecard on Nadella's "Mobile First" strategy, is that they are losing on phone sales, losing mobile OS share (with OEM's), and their mobile apps aren't winning either.  People will continue to select their platform options first (like Apple Maps, and IE back in the day) even when other (and better) options are available.  Staying within the platform is just easier. With Windows phones disappearing faster than endangered species, the "Universal Apps" theory has dried up too.  If "Universal" apps only run on Windows based desktops (since their phones are gone), what's the point in making them?  You may love the guy all you want, but Nadella has failed in every aspect of "Mobile First".
  • Windows Phone was 4.4% globally and growing (slowly) when Nadella took over.    
  • I have a lumina 550 and it's a low budget phone, but I like everything about this telephone. It's great it does All the things I need. I don't need a whole bunch of stupid apps, but this phone does everything I wanted to do email text and phone calls. I love it. I am not a fanboy, but Windows Mobile 10 is great day. I see where it's going and it looks like the future is bright. I hope Microsoft continues to bill the platform and phone.
  • More like low/mid range phone, it outperforms my iPhone 5S in all things i do.
  • This is good to hear, might make the 650 a little more intriguing.
  • What gave you the hint?
  • Oh really? I'm still using it.
  • I'm sure they'll still be " out there" but as market shares drop developer support will start to drop . There is a thread here where developers are talking about the actual money made on apps on wm and its already horrible. Apps if  updated will not be up to date in comparison to there counterparts 
  • Who cares? The apps that I want are there. No update needed. 
  • 2year contract in canada sure. but is it? no.. everyone up here gets contracts. I dont have under over $900 to buy a phone outright.
  • Learn not to long ago that nero will be shutting down their pogoplug powered storage service