Windows Phone Weekly Digest: December 27, 2015

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 Phone

Windows Phone

The Lumia 950 and 950 XL received their first firmware this holiday week. The MICROSOFTMDG update brings with it stability and performance boosts, improved SD memory support, and fixes for a couple of known camera and 4K video issues.

Microsoft's head of marketing, Chris Capossela, may have inadvertently confirmed the existence of the Lumia 650, which up until now, has only been rumored. When asked by ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley when the phone would be released, Capossela replied that a formal date had not yet been announced.

Windows Central has been reporting on the Lumia 650 quite a bit, and we've teamed up with @PhoneDesigner to create these exclusive renders of it. The designs are based on internal Microsoft slides and represent some of the key features of the Lumia 650.

AdDuplex's latest numbers indicate that Windows 10 Mobile is now installed on nearly 9 percent of all Windows Phones. Following the release of the Microsoft's Lumia 550, Lumia 950, and Lumia 950 XL, the first group of phones to come with the new OS pre-loaded, the percentage of Windows 10 smartphones rose from 5.7% in October to 8.8% in November.

Despite the encouraging numbers, Microsoft's Chris Capossela believes that Windows Phone needs a 'spiritual equivalent' to the Surface, which has redefined what a tablet can be.

Capossela, who appeared on the TWiT network's Windows Weekly said:

"We need some sort of spiritual equivalent on the phone side that doesn't just feel like it's a phone for people who love Windows," he said. "It's got to be a phone where it's like, 'Wow, that's a real shock or that's a real breakthrough, and (for an Apple customer) that's going to make me pause before I buy my 17th iPhone.' And we need time to actually go build that."

Other notable items:

Apps

Apps

After spending some time beta testing this month, the makers of Hike Messenger launched a new version for Windows Phone. The 3.5 update sports a new interface, along with the ability to share files and documents, group chat with up to 500 people at a time, and more.

Microsoft pushed out a quick-fix for the Equalizer app on the Lumia 950 and 950 XL. An update from last week had caused the Equalizer to constantly crash.

TED, the group known for their engaging talks and videos, has released an official app for Windows 10 PC and Mobile. TED fans can now search, watch, listen, and download content directly from the source.

File sharing service 4shared launched a new universal app for Windows 10 PC and Mobile as well. The app is still in beta, so expect some bugs.

Speaking of bugs, it looks like pretty big glitch has affected in-app purchases across all versions of the Windows Store. Many desktop and mobile developers, as well as users of their apps, have taken to Microsoft's support forums to report that previously-purchased items are disappearing and not reflecting that they have indeed been bought.

We'll be sure to keep you posted on this one.

Other notable items:

Games

Games

ZeptoLab, the crew behind mobile mega-hit Cut The Rope, released their latest game, King of Thieves on Windows 10 PC and Mobile. The game has you exploring worlds and looting other players' wealth to become the top dog. Compete online, join guilds, and run through player-generated content.

One of our favorite shooters, Sniper Fury, got an update for the holidays. The patch adds a new mission in Dubai, some brand new enemies to face, and a special limit-time arsenal of festive firearms.

Asphalt 8: Airborne was updated with new Area 51 tracks and the Lamborghini Egoista supercar.

The developers of Subway Surfers came out this week to explain that a bug was to blame for the game's mysterious absence from Windows 10 Mobile.

"Unfortunately we encountered a bug for Subway Surfers specifically on Windows 10. We chose to not make the game available with that bug as it is not a level of polish we are comfortable with. We are working as fast as we can to solve the issue. Sorry for the inconvenience."

While Subway Surfers has surely been missed by Windows 10 Mobile users, there is a fix on the way. So hang tight.

And Gameloft has released their mythological fighting game Gods of Rome for Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile.

Other notable items:

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

40 Comments
  • Ah yes, there is alot of negativity in the air towards the Windows 10 project and its mainly due to the fact that Microsoft is a software company. However given the trends and progress of this project, 2016 is going to be a great year for Microsoft. Nothing WOW really about Apple increasing screen size, nor is there anything spectacular about chrome book. All eyes on Microsoft. They are doing the desirable.
  • Apple has already done their WOW stuff years ago and are riding the wave of that public goodwill. MS has to generate the same thing.
  • 3D touch is more wow than anything Microsoft has done in decades. It's the damned right click for touch devices. How brilliant is that? On the other hand, Windows Land brings us the entirely useless Continuum and the even more useless and highly impractical video authentication. Bloody amazing and that's coming from someone who is unfortunate enough to own multiple Windows devices and never having given Apple a cent of his money.
  • But Surface > iPad
  • "But Surface > iPad"   As a tablet, not so much.
  • We have had right click on mobile devices for years! You never used the long press function? Apple as always reinventing the same old wheels lol Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I'd like windows phone to differentiate themselves enough so that they get attention, windows hello it's very decent, but there's no advertising for it, the camera is now only slightly better than that of their rivals and lots of impressionable minds are being told that the 950/XL are terrible phones, when in fact the only thing that is less than brilliant idea the OS that is slightly messy at this point
  • I give Microsoft 3 months to stabilize the new OS. Another 3 months to start closing the app gap. Then yet another 3 months to fix bugs in the porting of those apps. Lastly another 3 months to make funeral preparations for Android and Apple.
  • It definitely needs to stabilize in order to dominate it's rightful market, the enterprise.
  • Yeah.
  • That'll never happen Posted via the Windows Central App for Android on my Frost Nexus 6P
  • And another three months after that to completely shut down their phone division.
  • Many have picked up on Chris Capossela's "slip" about the 650. Paul Thurrott, who knows Chris and was one of the interviewers, has said Chris was referring to the 550 and got his numbers confused.
    So in true Windows Phone/Mobile spirit do we take Paul at his word? Or shall we go screaming off into the night screaming "it's here ("Coming Soon").
    Personally I'm going to sit back and see how soon the Daniel Rubino Signature Edition 650 will appear....better still the 5.5" 650XL.
  • But the 550 is out for purchase sooo.... I wonder where the confusion is :P.
  • That was the impression I got.... And I watched the interview a couple times. The 650 was mentioned a couple times prior to Mary Joe's question.
    So its going to be an interesting spring.
  • No firmware update for me yet
  • Still no firmware for my Lumia950xl uk sim free direct from MS, why should we have to wait for carrier to improve camera?
  • Still no 950,950xl in singapore !
  • I'm in Canada for two weeks and cannot get one.
    Will be back to Brazil in 10 days and they will be no 950 in Brazil too.
    What is wrong with this phone?
  • It's from 7 to 8 all over again. MS will rule. If not with 10, it'll be 11. Or 12. Or 13. Etc. In the meanwhile, I'll go back to Android to join their community where Android is the best, Android here, Android there. ****, I hate fanboys, whatever they're obsessed with -.-'
  • Right on bro... Sorry I don't know how to +1 your comment as the windows central app for windows phone doesn't have that feature (how ironic)...
  • Speaking of which.... December is ending and still no news about W10M rolling out to WP8/8.1 devices... Is reneging promises becoming the new MS forte? Just a casual thought....
  • You may want to read last week's summary article as it was announced that Windows 10 for phones is delayed and will be released in early 2016.
  • Yaaaay its delayed... Now that is a relief
  • Tell me about it. And people will say oh Windows 10 is new right and etc and its in beta except it is not and it has supposedly been for the last 5 years and nothing has happened in the last 5 years except decrease market share and a massive app gap Posted via the Windows Central App for Android on my Frost Nexus 6P
  • Isn't that the truth even edge doesn't seem useable(wonder how long they've actually been working on it cause at this point no web dev cares) but yet they believe in webapps(my guess running ie11 code) as a backup when the web browser should be the last thing you need to use
  • As a disenchanted WP user I'll give another perspective of the problem... Not only there is the vicious cycle of app gap (developers don't build apps as people wont buy WP, and people won't buy WP as no development of apps going on), there is also the problem of negligence for current users who already took the bait: No exclusive apps from MS (RIP Nokia), the existing MS apps suck big time with no clear roadmap for even catching up with similar apps in android &iOS. And top it with the recently rectified OneDrive fiasco, whose effects of maltreatment still echo on the internet till this moment as an a demonstration of how a well established firm as MS is destroying its legacy and rendering itself as yet another IBM, the company that once was dominating the PC landscape and MS came out as the cool replacement for.
    WP will crash, WP will burn, and we'll be here watching and reminiscing on the days it meant something.
  • Don't forget the apps that Microsoft just kilted off downright. Rest in Pieces, Sweet Photobeamer. You were one of the few things that I really liked about this phone.
  • 650xl 13mp 5,7"???
  • Given that the 640 is excellent and is quite successful in terms of sales , it would be interesting to see the new 650 . I think it should be a success as well
  • Do anybody know if Twitter is planning a Periscope app for WP?
  • The 650 on the picture with its metal sides looks much more premium then even the 950 . No XL wanted for me .
  • Would surface phone come with like 1050 specs, not just iphoners, SGnote users could even change sides as its most popular phone right now.
  • MS should made a deal with Xiaomi. Look at their phones specs and prizes! Designing another Lumia model is just a money loss.
  • I wonder how much power-hungry this upcoming surface phone is (look at what happened to asus zfone, killer phones but the battery performance, wahahaha, well this phone is popular in ph) . The specs, design, concept are great and innovative, but still using a 1991 old-age battery technology!!  There's so many new battery technology out there that are far superior than lithium-ion capabilty and have longer life. MSFT should apply this to their sfphone. Once they applied it, it should turn like these, surfaceP-great specs, performance, design, concept, and battery life(using new technology!!). hahahahaha... Plus using new intel atom socs, then later, use the new intel 3DXpoint technology(hoping ^)!!!! 
  • The "In app purchase" that is broken is why i can't buy premium in apps correct? Because now is the first time i'm buying something in the store, so i choose paypal, then it wants me to enter my full adress, but the list options only show US states and can't choose my country... Is this the problem mentioned earlier or do i have another problem? Thanks for the help.
  • Is the New OS crap?I'm mean that as a genuine question.
    The Os haven't been smooth since Win7(Mobile). I had Lumia 1020,it froze often and overheated a few times. I don't want to make another mistake by buying the 950 if it's bad,or If I need to wait for it to get good.
  • Folks Satya Nadella CEO of Microsoft said there will be 3 types of Windows smart phones 1=Budget, it looks like the new lumia 550 fits that type. 2=Windows fan Enthusiast. it looks like the 650/650XL fits that type and the 3=Business Type. Folks the Surface smart phone protypes that are now being tested could be Microsoft's business class smart phones. I predict there will be 2 Surface brand smart phones an ARMS CPU version and an Intel CPU Surface Pro smart phones that can run MS Universdal Apps and and also run some Desktop PC Win 32Programs. Many People will buy the Intel CPU surface smart phone because it will be a pocket PCsmart phone hybrid
  • "And we need time to actually go build that."
      I don't know what his definition of "time" is, but that doesn't sound good. I think a lot of us hoped and assumed that such a phone was already well into development. I think a lot of us need to have that phone within a year.   If all we get are the compromise phones - 550, 650 etc - during 2016, then it's going to be a rocky year. It's going to be hard for Microsoft to retain people like us.
  • Nice phone