Windows Phone Weekly Digest: July 19, 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."

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Satya Nadella (Image credit: Windows Central)

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When Microsoft announced last week that they will be laying off 7800 employees, most of which are in the phone division, the techie talking heads began shouting that the sky was falling and that Windows Phone was dead. Rest assured that this is not the case.

Terry Myerson, Microsoft's head of Windows and devices, confirmed this week at their Worldwide Partner Conference in Orlando,that new premium Lumia Windows 10 phones are coming 'soon'. While Myerson failed to provide any detail on the timing, some are speculating that an announcement may be made at the IFA trade show in Berlin in early September.

If that weren't enough, Microsoft's Satya Nadella hammered the point home in an interview with ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley the next day. Long story short, he said that if OEMs decide not to make Windows phones, then Microsoft will. Nadella stated:

"If no OEM stands up to build Windows devices we'll build them. There will be Lumia devices. So I'm not afraid of saying, okay, it's all about the OEMs, or it's all about the ecosystem. It's about Windows. It is about the overall health of Windows and being grounded in any given day's reality, but having ambition of where the market is going versus being bound by current definitions."

Still, it isn't out of the realm of possibility that, despite every effort, Windows Phone fails. Our own Jason Ward explored this scenario and how Microsoft's Phone Companion app could be their Plan B.

In the meantime, Microsoft is plugging away. They were recently awarded a new patent for the 3D Touch system that was supposed to be feature on the company's cancelled McLaren smartphone. Rumor has it that 3D Touch is still part of the long-term plan.

Other notable items:



July 29 is slowly creeping up, and just ahead of the Windows 10 launch, Microsoft brought its Office Mobile apps out of beta preview status.

The very same day, we got some clarification on just which devices will require Office 365 subscriptions in order to use the Office Mobile apps. The Office Mobile apps for Windows 10 will only require an Office 365 on PCs and large tablets, which is great news for anyone with a Windows phone or a tablet that is 10.1 inches or smaller.

The Office suite weren't the only Microsoft apps in the news. Their Stop Restart App was put out to help Windows Phone users determine whether or not they need a critical update that fixes random reboot issues.

Microsoft also pushed out updates to the Alarms & Clock app, Skype on Windows Phone, and several Windows 10 Mobile core apps.

They also released Xbox Avatars, a new universal app for Windows 10 that lets you customize your avatar. We went hands-on with the desktop version.

One of our favorite photo apps, Fhotoroom, was updated with new effect algorithms and bug fixes.

And Dropbox for Windows Phone got a significant update, bringing with it video streaming, a recent files tab, referral invitations, and more.

Other notable items:



Age of Empires: Castle Siege for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 got updated to version 1.10. Most notably, the update beefs up the Henry V character, but it includes several other additions as well. The historical strategy game also was released for iOS, with a Windows 10 version expected in August.

Bird Climb, an endless jumper that saw some success on iOS and Android, hopped over to Windows Phone.

Some other birds, this time of the angry variety, are preparing to battle some pigs. Angry Birds 2, the official full sequel to Rovio's mega-hit, will be released on July 30, with press events scheduled for New York and San Francisco two days before.

The addictive confectionary craze, Candy Crush Saga is now available on Windows 10 as a universal app. It was also announced that the hit puzzle game will come pre-installed on Windows 10 for a limited time. More of King's titles are also on their way.

Other notable items

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

Seth Brodeur