Archive for the ‘Windows Phone’ Category

We cannot, it seems, help but get carried away by voice assistants, and even though Microsoft joined the party extremely late with the introduction of Cortana earlier this year, the amount of hype it has generated for the software giant will certainly do Windows Phone’s cause no harm whatsoever. Having already been compared a dozen times to Google Now and Apple’s Siri, Cortana has had the benefit of watching and learning from both, but while the Halo-based voice assistant has clearly borrowed from its two longer-serving rivals in many departments, Siri is now looking to Cortana for inspiration.

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As most of you will be aware, Microsoft’s deal to acquire Finnish telecommunications outfit Nokia was recently given the rubber stamp of approval by the relevant bodies overseeing such takeovers, and even though ties between the two firms have been fairly close for years now, the software giant has gradually been integrating Nokia’s staff and product lines with its own business model. As a part of this ongoing process, Microsoft is said to be on the cusp of licensing the iconic Nokia brand, and according to leaked info, may opt for “Nokia by Microsoft” labeling on its smartphone line-up.

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Indian manufacturer XOLO has just launched what it claims is the world’s lightest smartphone. Running on Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform, the device combines its lightweight profile with a rather slick form factor, and with the company having just recently unveiled a Windows 8.1 tablet, those looking to invest in the Redmond’s ecosystem now have to very appealing new products to consider.

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There’s nothing worse than being out and about and finding out that your smartphone or tablet has suffered from total battery drain and will no longer function. A lack of battery power means that access to text messages, emails, navigation apps and even Facebook is no longer possible when on the move, and for a lot of you guys out there that will almost feel like life as you know it, has ended. Thankfully, Microsoft and British designer Adrien Sauvage can sympathize with that pain and have teamed up to create a pair of innovative wireless charging trousers that will ensure compatible mobile devices remain powered up.

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As a part of the Windows Phone 8.1 announcement, Microsoft finally took the wraps off Cortana, it’s ecosystem’s very own answer to Siri and Google Now. At the time, the software maker touted it as a voice assistant encompassing the best features of Apple and Google’s respective services, and such is the faith that the Windows maker has in Cortana, that versions for iOS and Android are now being prepared.

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Moving files around on smartphones is the kind of thing we’ve been arguing over for years. There are two schools of thought; one group of people think that seeing as our smartphones are basically little computers, we should treat them as such. That means file systems, directory structures and a file manager just like our computers. The other group of people thinks that we should take the opportunity to dump all that nonsense, hiding the whole thing.

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Even though the tiled nature of Windows Phone serves as a quirk, it’s also a hindrance to those who like their traditional wallpapers. Recognizing this, Microsoft has come through with a compromise in Windows Phone 8.1, allowing wallpapers to be spread across tiles in a neat, mosaic fashion. But there is still a conflict of interests between tiles and wallpapers thanks to fixed-color tiles, and with everything appearing a little too busy and cluttered, one developer has decided to create an app that renders these stubborn tiles completely transparent.

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Samsung and Google have already invested time and resources into the emerging smartwatch market, and with Apple widely expect to follow suit later on this year, Microsoft is also rumored to be planning a product line-up of its own. We’ve already seen patent filings to corroborate this notion, and now, a credible new report has offered some fresh details.

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Apple finally put the rubber stamp on its deal to acquire Beats Electronics, and immediately, Apple made some adjustments to the Beats Music streaming service app on iOS. The app is, incidentally, also available to those on Android and Windows Phone, although at this moment in time, limited to those within the confines of the United States.

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Having officially announced the acquisition of Beats Electronics, the official Beats Music app for iOS, Android and Windows Phone have seen a new pricing and trial structure with immediate effect. Although the app itself remains largely unchanged, the previous 7-day free trial of the premium service has now been pushed to 14 days, while the annual subscription has dropped around $20 to just $99 for the whole year.

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As of early last week, Samsung has taken over London Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 in a typically over-the-top ad campaign that has seen the entrance renamed “Terminal Samsung Galaxy S5.” On top of that, the place is awash with billboards advertising the Korean company’s most celebrated handset, and this exhibition is set to continue for another week yet. Before Samsung’s takeover, though, Nokia – now Microsoft – had quite a sizeable advertising stake in Terminal 5, and given the mobile industry rival, it’s no surprise that the Windows Phone giant has begun trolling Sammy’s efforts with a little campaign of its own.

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There’s nothing worse than being out somewhere far away from a charging facility with a mobile device about to cease functioning through lack of power. As such, most of us make provisions for this common eventuality, be it in the form of a spare battery, a USB cable, or a power pack that enables us to rejuvenate our mobiles by adding a few emergency droplets of juice. A new Indiegogo campaign offers a slight twist on the usual external charging hub with a peripheral that not only generates its own energy through your natural movements, but also keeps a log of how much you’re burning off.

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Windows Phone might not be as popular as the contemporary iOS and Android platforms, but that doesn’t mean that Microsoft has given up on it already. In fact, they keep making efforts to improve the overall experience for users of the Windows Phone platform. However, when something is missing the most basic elements, we see little to no hope there. A part of it – no, a fraction of it – might change since Joe Belfiore’s confirmation of a File Manager app around the corner for Windows Phone 8.1. In fact, he had some screenshots to back up his claim as well.

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Social apps often overlap each other. It’s the nature of the beast that if one service implements a useful new feature, several others will follow suit. On a day that has already seen Snapchat go all instant-messaging on us, Foursquare has announced Swarm, an app that helps you find close-by friends and discover things to do. The app represents a departure from the company’s check-in ways, and also throws down the gauntlet to a neat little feature that Facebook added to Paper only a week or so ago.

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When Microsoft detailed what would be part of its Windows Phone 8.1 update, one of the features that caught our eye was the introduction of ‘Project My Screen.’ Having the ability to display a smartphone’s screen output on a computer may not seem too exciting at first, but if you throw a touch-screen monitor into the equation, things start to get interesting. Unfortunately though, the PC aspect of the whole thing wasn’t quite ready, leaving eager tweakers to sit on their hands and wait.

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The developer preview Of Windows Phone 8.1 is now out there for all to try out and assess, and even though the Cortana voice assistant seems to be the main talking point, Microsoft has thrown in many more useful features besides. Along with the Action Center, wallpaper support and other such niceties, it looks as though the software giant has included support for Apple’s Passbook passes, which can be read and comprehended via Microsoft Wallet.

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In the earlier days of the modern smartphone, it was the new, casual games that really caught our attention, with the likes of Angry Birds and Cut the Rope really taking a stronghold. But as devices have improved considerably during the past few years, developers of famed PC and console apps have seen the mobile market as an important outlet, and joining the many classic titles to reach the mobile platforms, Age of Empires will soon be heading to the App Store, the Windows Phone Store, and Google’s Play Store.

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In the run-up to Windows Phone 8.1′s announcement at the start of April, we heard that Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Siri and Google Now, would take elements of both pre-existing voice assistants and combine them into the best all-round voice feature in the mobile industry. Since the BUILD dev conference, we’ve heard a great deal about how wonderful Cortana supposedly is, although until we’ve seen it up against its two major adversaries, there’s no telling just how it holds up. With the release of the developer preview of Windows Phone 8.1 today, though, we finally get to see first-hand if Cortana can compete with its more established peers, and the Cortana vs. Siri vs. Google Now video embedded below reveals all!

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You can now download Windows Phone 8.1 early. If you’re a non-dev and want to give it a shot, here’s how you can still download it.

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 movie is pretty much just around the corner, with the action film hitting the theatres on May 2. Tagging along is the mobile game with the same title, courtesy of Gameloft, to be released for the iPhone/iPad, Android and Windows Phone. Today, the game developer has released a new trailer for the upcoming title and given it a firm release date for all three platforms – April 17.

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