Phone Scoop

printed November 28, 2015
See this page online at:

Home  ›  OSes  ›


News Our Review Phones Forum  

Windows Phone is the smartphone platform and OS from Microsoft. Like Google does with Android, Microsoft only makes the software, allowing various hardware manufacturers to make the phones that run Windows Phone. Windows Phone replaced the older Windows Mobile (Professional and Standard editions.) Windows Phone competes directly with iOS and Android, offering most of the same OS features.

by:  Microsoft

Microsoft Pushing Cortana to iOS Beta Testers

Today, 9:20 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft has made good on its promise to make Cortana available to iOS devices. The company polled Windows Insiders earlier this month to gauge interest in the idea and received enough feedback that it has begun rolling out Cortana in beta form to those interested in testing. Cortana is Microsoft's virtual assistant, which first debuted in Windows Phone 8.1. Cortana for iOS can be used to track flights and calendar appointments, set reminders and alarms, and monitor packages. Microsoft said testers will not be able to launch Cortana with the "Hey, Cortana" catch phrase, but most other features are intact. Cortana testers will still be able to interact with Siri, Apple's own personal assistant. Eligible beta testers will receive an email with information on how to download the app. The beta software is being distributed through Apple's TestFlight program, which functions apart from the iTunes App Store. TestFlight allows beta-class apps to be installed on iOS devices. Typically, iPhone apps can only be installed directly from the App Store. TestFlight limits beta testers to a maximum of 2,000. Cortana is already available to Android devices.

Microsoft Lets Android Owners Compare Apps

Nov 23, 2015, 8:35 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft has released a new tool aimed at helping people switch from an Android smartphone to a Windows smartphone. AppComparison, an app for Android handsets, scans the device for apps and then finds the corresponding Windows apps. If the app can't find exact matches, it suggests the Windows Phone equivalent. For example, since Google Drive is not available to Windows Phones, the AppComparison tool points people to Microsoft's OneDrive app instead. The idea is to show Android owners which of their favorite apps are available to Windows handsets. The app also shows off some of the most popular Windows Phone apps in the Microsoft Store. Microsoft's AppComparison tool is free to download from the Google Play Store.

Jolla Announces Layoffs Amidst Restructuring

Nov 20, 2015, 10:36 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Jolla today said the company is restructuring its finances and laying off the bulk of its employees. Jolla was launched by former Nokia employees and created Sailfish OS and several phones and tablets. The idea was to offer an alternative to Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. Sailfish was built from Nokia's old Moblin and Maemo Linux platforms. Jolla Chairman and Co-Founder Antti Saarnio says Sailfish OS is commercially mature and ready to be licensed to other hardware makers. Jolla has burned through most of its cash, however, and needs to take time to regroup. The company will let go of the majority of its employees while restructuring its debt, although it insists the layoffs are temporary. "In Finland we have very good laws for corporate restructuring. These enable the continuation of businesses through debt restructuring, which gives a company more time to take care of its financial liabilities," said Saarnio. "I believe that through this program Jolla can turn its business to be profitable in the future. Sailfish OS is a very valuable asset and worth fighting for." Saarnio claims Jolla has several large and small OEMs considering Sailfish OS for their own hardware. He did not suggest how long it might take for Jolla to get its finances back in order, nor when it might re-hire its employees.

Microsoft Delivers Another Preview of Windows 10 Mobile

Nov 19, 2015, 8:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft has made Windows 10 Mobile Technical Preview build 10586 available to Windows Insiders. This build focuses on cleaning up bugs, according to Microsoft. For example, Microsoft resolved an issue that corrupted the Start screen. It also made it possible to set memory cards as the default storage location and cleaned up corruption issues that renamed memory cards. Messaging and Skype have been improved with conversation-loading fixes. The camera button on phones that have them should be working once more. Last, apps and games should download from the Microsoft Store more reliably. There are still some known issues in the preview, but Microsoft says the build performs well. Windows 10 Mobile is nearing public readiness. Microsoft has said the operating system will reach consumers in December. This week also marks the launch of the first Windows 10 Mobile smartphones. Microsoft has made the Lumia 950 and 950 XL available from its web site, and AT&T is selling the Lumia 950 in stores starting Friday.

Microsoft Taking Orders for Lumia 950 XL Online

Nov 16, 2015, 12:44 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft is allowing U.S. consumers to order the Lumia 950 XL, unlocked, from its web site for $649. Microsoft lists a ship date of Nov. 25 for orders placed today. The 950 XL comes with a free Microsoft Display Dock (while supplies last), which transforms the handset into a full PC when attached to a keyboard, mouse, and display. The 950 XL is the larger brother of the 950. It has a 5.7-inch quad HD screen, Snapdragon 810 processor with 3GB of RAM, 20-/5-megapixel camera arrangement, and a 3,340mAh battery. It runs Windows 10 Mobile and is compatible with the LTE networks operated by AT&T and T-Mobile in the U.S.

Microsoft's Lumia 950 Hits AT&T Stores November 20

Nov 16, 2015, 9:49 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Nov 16, 2015, 10:15 AM

AT&T today said the Microsoft Lumia 950 smartphone will be available online Nov. 17 and in stores Nov. 20. The 950 is the first handset to run Windows 10 Mobile. Some of the core features include a 5.2-inch quad HD display; Snapdragon 808 processor with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage; 20-megapixel main camera and 5-megapixel front camera with 4K video capture; and a QuickCharge 3,000mAh battery. AT&T is offering a handful of financing methods for the Lumia 950. First, AT&T will sell it for $149.99 with a two-year contract ($45 activation fee req'd). Second, AT&T will sell it via monthly installments with an AT&T Next plan ($15 activation fee req'd). Customers can get the 950 for $19.97 per month with a Next 24 plan, $24.96 per month with Next 18, or $29.95 per month with Next 12. The full retail price is $599. The Lumia 950 will be available in matte black or matte white. The smartphone works like a PC when paired with the Microsoft Display Dock HD-500 (sold separately). AT&T did not say if or when the Lumia 950 XL will go on sale.

Microsoft's Android-App-Porting Tool May Be Shelved

Nov 16, 2015, 8:01 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft has dialed back efforts to port Android apps to the Windows 10 platform, reports Windows Central. In April, Microsoft announced plans to allow app writers to port iOS, web, Win32, and Android apps to the Windows 10 platform. The Android tool, called Project Astoria, is an emulator and not an actual port. This means Android apps would run in a software container on Windows devices, rather than on the device natively. Windows Central says Project Astoria forums have been silent for several months and Microsoft hasn't responded to Astoria-focused questions for some time, even to those under NDA. Moreover, recent Windows 10 Mobile Technical Previews have stripped out the Android subsystem. When asked for comment, Microsoft said, "We're committed to offering developers many options to bring their apps to the Windows Platform, including bridges available now for web and iOS, and soon Win32. The Astoria bridge is not ready yet, but other tools offer great options for developers." Microsoft didn't expressly say Project Astoria has been cancelled, but the Android port is clearly no longer a priority. The idea behind all these app-porting tools is to get more apps onto Windows-based handsets. One of the major critiques of Windows mobile phones has been the poor app experience when compared to Android and iOS devices.

Apple Releases Third Beta of iOS 9.2

Nov 10, 2015, 1:29 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released iOS 9.2 Beta 3 to developers and public testers. The beta operating system further refines the code so it runs smoother. iOS 9.2's biggest feature includes a change to the Safari View Controller, which now supports third-party Action Extensions for pop-up Safari windows. The updated OS also adds support for AT&T's NumberSync calling feature. The beta is free to download and test ahead of the general public release.

Latest Windows 10 Preview from Microsoft Fixes Bugs

Oct 29, 2015, 11:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today released another technical preview of Windows 10 Mobile. Rather than stuff the release with new features, Microsoft said it focused on cleaning up bugs and improving performance. Chiefly, build 10581 will allow people to upgrade from earlier preview builds without first reverting to Windows Phone 8.1; testers can go straight from 10549 or 10572 to 10581. Microsoft resolved an issue that prevented "Hey, Cortana" from functioning on the Lumia 930 and 1520; made it possible to select photos for sharing through third-party messaging apps; and tweaked text prediction and auto-correct. Microsoft says battery life should be improved, as should video recording and visual voicemail syncing. The Windows 10 Mobile technical preview is not for consumers and is for testing purposes only. Microsoft is expected to release Windows 10 Mobile to the general public in December.

Microsoft's Joe Belfiore Taking Leave of Absence

Oct 21, 2015, 8:53 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Joe Belfiore, one of the chief driving forces behind Windows Phone, is taking a break from his job at Microsoft. Belfiore plans to take a leave of absence from November through mid-2016, during which time he will be focusing on his family. Belfiore has often been seen on stage demonstrating Windows Phone features, and he played a prominent role in bringing Windows Phone 7, 8, and 8,1 to fruition. Belfiore says Microsoft is supporting his time off. "When the trip is over, I'll be right back at it," said Belfiore in a post to his personal Facebook page. "I'm proud to have spent the last 25 years working for a thoughtful and considerate company here at Microsoft. I'll be back at Microsoft in my same job working on Windows next summer." Belfiore's work in shaping Windows 10 Mobile has likely run its course as the platform nears final release. Windows 10 Mobile is expected to arrive in December, shortly after Belfiore begins his leave.

Microsoft Pushes Windows 10 Mobile Preview Build 10572

Oct 20, 2015, 5:18 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today made a new technical preview of Windows 10 Mobile available to fast ring members of the Windows Insider program. As with the previous build, interested testers will need to downgrade to Windows Phone 8.1 before installing build 10572. (Microsoft says beginning with build 10575 and up, users will be able to once again go straight from one preview to the next.) The new build takes advantage of Cortana to push call and text notifications from the phone to Windows PCs as well as handle text replies. This function requires Cortana to be up and running on both machines. Build 10572 integrates Skype across the messaging, phone, and Skype video apps, and now supports animated GIFs and message/call history search. The build further refines Cortana, which can be used to track movie and event reminders, as well as book Uber rides. Offline maps can now be saved to memory cards; the photo app supports local favorites and more editing functions; and storage settings have been improved in a such a way that the user experience is more consistent between phones and PCs. As always, Microsoft warns that the technical previews are not for primary handsets and are for testing purposes only. Microsoft is expected to release Windows 10 Mobile to the general public in December.

Microsoft May Give Windows 10 Mobile Payments

Oct 20, 2015, 2:05 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft is weighing what to do with the mobile wallet app that's part of the Windows 10 Mobile platform. The operating system already has a basic wallet app (since Windows Phone 8) for storing credit card and loyalty card data, but it stops short of making mobile payments. Joe Belfiore, corporate VP of Microsoft's operating systems group, said, "Windows is going to have a wallet concept. You've seen it on phones before. We're going to continue to iterate it. We're going to think about the range of payment scenarios." Belfiore did not say if or when any type of mobile payment service might launch, nor what technology it might rely on. However, the spec page for the recently announced Lumia 950 says the smartphone includes "secure NFC for payment." When asked exactly what that referred to, Microsoft told Phone Scoop, "We have nothing to share." Belfiore admitted that mobile payments are not easy to implement. "[Mobile payments] is just one of these things that is a massive network of complexity," Belfiore said. "I think the biggest challenge is, what effect will cause enough of the right things to align that you’ll get a good experience with all the places that you want it to happen in?" Apple, Google, and Samsung all offer mobile payment platforms that vary a bit in how they function. Despite support from handset makers, carriers, retailers, and financial institutions, mobile payments have yet to go mainstream. Even so, it would behoove Microsoft to make sure its smartphone platform can compete with the industry leaders.

Share   Comments

LG Lancet Drops Windows Phone for Android

Oct 16, 2015, 1:32 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today revealed a new variant of the LG Lancet that runs Android rather than Windows Phone. The Lancet first reached Big Red earlier this year with Windows Phone 8.1 in tow. The LG Lancet for Android, as it is officially called, may be the first handset initially released for Windows Phone later re-released with Android. The device runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop and comes with LG's signature features, such as KnockOn and QuickMemo. The Lancet for Android features a 4.5-inch screen, 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, 8-megapixel main camera, 8 GB of storage, and support for memory cards up to 128 GB. The Lancet is a budget-friendly phone. The full retail price is $120, though Verizon is offering the phone for $5 per month with a financing plan.

Skype Adds More Moji Content

Oct 16, 2015, 8:17 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Skype today updated its mobile and desktop apps with a new round of Moji content. Mojis are short video clips pulled from popular movies and television shows. The new additions include clips from Pitch Perfect 2 and Furious 7, and more from BBC and Universal Studios. Skype says it added a new movie studio to its clip roster, and gave the Mojis selector new tabs for sorting between popular and favorited clips. Beyond the Mojis, Skype says it added a handful of new, traditional emoticons for the Halloween season. The expanded Moji selection is available on Windows desktop, Mac, iOS, Android, and Skype for Web.

Skype Lets People Invite Non-Users to Conversations

Oct 15, 2015, 10:20 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Skype today made it possible for users to invite anyone — including those who do no have Skype accounts — to participate in text and video conversations. Invites to individual or group conversations are shared via link, and can be sent through email, WhatsApp, Messenger, Twitter, or any other app. This new Skype feature is available to Skype for Windows, Mac, and the web on desktops to start. People who've downloaded Skype to their iPhone or Android handsets can also join conversations via invites even if they haven't sent up an account. Skype said the new feature is avail be in the U.S. and U.K. first, and will be rolled out to other regions over time.

Microsoft Pushes Another Preview to Windows 10 Phones

Oct 14, 2015, 1:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today made Windows 10 Mobile Technical Preview build 10549 available to testers in the Windows Insider program. Microsoft says a bug in the new preview mandates that devices first downgrade to Windows Phone 8.1, rather than install from the most recent technical preview (10536). People already using one of the technical previews can revert to Windows Phone 8.1 using the Windows Recovery Tool. Once WP8.1 is loaded and the Windows Insider app is re-installed, Fast Ring subscribers can update to 10549. The new build makes improvements to Cortana and the messaging application, and adds a more diverse set of emoji. Microsoft said it has resolved some bugs impacting the previous build, such as the camera, notifications, screenshots, and apps stored on memory cards. Microsoft also notes that pinch-to-zoom should work properly within maps, and some ringtone behaviors have been smoothed over. As always, the technical preview includes some known issues, and Microsoft warns that the build is for testing purposes only and not meant for consumers. Microsoft is expected to release Windows 10 Mobile to the general public in December.

Windows 10 to Reach Phones In December

Oct 7, 2015, 8:47 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft has revealed via its Facebook page that Windows 10 Mobile will be made available to a handful of Lumia phones in December. The initial list of handsets on deck to receive the update include the Lumia 430/435, 532, 535, 540, 635, 640/XL, 735, 830, and the Lumia 930. Microsoft said the devices will need to be running the Lumia Denim update to Windows Phone 8.1 in order to install Windows 10 Mobile. The Lumia 950 and 950 XL, available in November, will be the first handsets to ship with Windows 10 Mobile.

Hands On with the Lumia 550

Oct 6, 2015, 1:51 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Oct 6, 2015, 2:04 PM

The 550 is Microsoft's new affordable Windows 10 phone. It has a remarkably low price for a device with an HD screen. How "affordable" does it feel in person? Read on to find out.

continued ›

Hands on with the Lumia 950 and XL

Oct 6, 2015, 12:56 PM   by Rich Brome

The Lumia 950 is Microsoft's flagship phone for Windows 10. It continues the Lumia line while showcasing the new, unified Windows 10. Not only can it run the same Universal apps that run on Windows 10 desktops, it can transform into a desktop computer itself with a dock accessory, running the same apps in desktop mode. It has high-end features and classic Lumia design. So how is it in person? Read on to find out.

continued ›

Microsoft Announces Affordable Lumia 550

Oct 6, 2015, 10:04 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Oct 6, 2015, 10:46 AM

Microsoft today revealed a new, affordable Windows phone called the Lumia 550. For just $140, it offers a 4.7-inch HD display, 4G LTE, 5-megapixel camera, front camera, and Windows 10. It uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 processor. A version for US networks was not immediately announced. It will be available in December for $139.

Lumia 950 is Microsoft's Flagship Windows 10 Phone

Oct 6, 2015, 9:52 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Oct 6, 2015, 10:48 AM

Microsoft today announced the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, its own flagship phones for its new OS, Windows 10. The phones support Windows Continuum for an optional full Windows Desktop experience when connected to a desktop monitor. The two models are similar, differing mostly in screen size; the 950 has a 5.2-inch screen, while the larger 950 XL has a 5.7-inch screen. Both screen offerings are OLED and Quad-HD resolution, the best available. Leveraging OLED technology, the phones also offer Lumia's low-power Glance notification display. Both phones also sport 20-megapixel cameras with Zeiss optics, triple-LED flash, optical image stabilization, and a dedicated camera button. Both phones also come with 32 GB of internal storage, plus a memory card slot supporting up to 2 TB. The phones are powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 or 810 processors, with liquid cooling. The phones also sport USB Type-C connectors with fast data transfer and fast charging. A new Microsoft Display Dock accessory enables Windows Continuum. The Dock connects to the phone via USB-C, and to a desktop monitor via HDMI or DisplayPort. It also has tree USB ports for keyboard and accessories. Connected to the Dock, the phone can be used as a full Windows desktop running desktop versions of Windows Universal apps, including Office and Outlook. When using the Dock, the phone can access files on USB storage. Both phones will be available in November, for $549 and $649, for the 950 and 950 XL, respectively.

continued ›

Facebook Commits to Windows 10

Oct 6, 2015, 9:13 AM   by Rich Brome

Microsoft today announced that Facebook is building Windows Universal apps for Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. The new apps will run natively on Windows 10 for Mobile phones.

Share   Comments

Microsoft Slips Up, Posts Lumia 950 and 950XL to Web Site

Sep 30, 2015, 7:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft revealed a few details about the unannounced Lumia 950 and 950 XL smartphones on its UK-based web site. The phones will be the first to ship with Windows 10 Mobile on board, Microsoft's new operating system. The web site lists only a couple of specs. Shared features include 20-megapixel cameras with Zeiss optics, 32GB of storage, and support for 2TB memory cards. The 950 sports a 5.2-inch quad HD screen, while the 950 XL offers a larger 5.7-inch quad HD screen. Microsoft is expected to announce the handsets in full at an event in New York scheduled for Oct. 6.

Microsoft Makes Inviting People to Meetings A Breeze

Sep 24, 2015, 1:24 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft's Garage lab has churned out another productivity-minded application, this time for the iPhone. Invite is an iOS-first app that purports to simplify the process of inviting others to meetings. The process is straight-forward. The organizer picks a time that works for him or her and then invites potential attendees through their email address. Attendees will get an email (or a notification if they have Invite installed) and can respond with times that work for them. Once all invitees have responded, the organizer can pick the time that works for the largest group of potential attendees and set the meeting time. After the meeting time is set, it is added to respondents' calendars. Microsoft says Invite will work best for those with Office 365 subscriptions, but it also functions with Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo mail. The app will be available to the iPhone first, followed by Android and Windows Phone.

Microsoft's Groove Music Now Works With Sonos

Sep 16, 2015, 9:42 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today updated its Groove Music service with support for Sonos. This means Groove subscribers can now listen to their music via Sonos speakers in their home. Microsoft launched Groove earlier this year, which is available across XBox and Windows devices, and Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. The $10 monthly fee buys ad-free access to 40 million tracks. Users can create their own, custom radio stations, and Groove supports music libraries uploaded to OneDrive, including tracks purchased via iTunes. The Sonos app is available separately. Groove Music is free to trial for 30 days.

Skype Bringing 'Mojis' to Mobile Apps

Sep 15, 2015, 10:25 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Skype today revealed a new way for people to enliven their messages with what it calls Mojis. Mojis are short video clips pulled from popular movies and television shows such as The Muppets, Despicable Me, Bridesmaids, Pitch Perfect, and Jurassic Park that can be added to conversations. The clips contain famous and oft-used sound bytes or catchphrases from the movies and shows for their entertainment value. Some if the first content providers include Universal Studios, Disney Muppets, and BBC. Skype said it is working with other studios to bulk up its library of Mojis for Skype users. Mojis will be available to the Android, Mac, iOS, and Windows versions of Skype through an app update.

Microsoft Releases New Windows 10 Mobile Preview

Sep 14, 2015, 6:53 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today made a new version of the Windows 10 Mobile Technical Preview available to Windows Insiders. The fresh operating system, build 10536, contains a wide array of bug fixes and performance tweaks, as well as a handful of new features. For example, build 10536 brings back the Insider Hub and mobile hotspot; updates voice input with support for Japanese and Indian English; resolves two-factor authentication issues and Start screen load problems; and fixes the quiet hours / do not disturb function. The photos app adds a folder view and brings faster photo viewing and context menus. Last, the build brings one-handed mode to phones of all sizes (not just large handsets). Microsoft warns that there are still a number of bugs plaguing the preview. For example, the camera app may no longer automatically upload images to OneDrive. Otherwise, Microsoft is pitching build 10536 as a much more stable and complete rendition of the operating system. The Windows 10 Mobile Technical Preview is available to Windows Insiders in the Fast Ring. Users will need to update their devices twice — first to Build 10514, then to Build 10536 — before the new preview is fully installed. Microsoft has yet to say when it will make a final version of Windows 10 Mobile available to the general public, though it has scheduled a media event in New York City on Oct. 6. It is possible Microsoft will share such details during that event.

Alcatel to Build Windows 10 Handset By Year's End

Sep 11, 2015, 7:45 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel OneTouch said it will release a smartphone with Microsoft's Windows 10 Mobile platform before the end of the year. "We are very supportive of the Windows ecosystem," said Steve Cistulli, Alcatel OneTouch's senior vice president for North America, to CNET. Cistulli did not provide any details about the phone, other than to say it will be inexpensive and sold through at least one U.S. carrier. Microsoft has yet to launch Windows 10 Mobile.

Microsoft Still Working Through Windows 10 Mobile Builds

Sep 9, 2015, 2:12 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today said new builds of the Windows 10 Mobile Technical Preview are on the way, even if they are rolling out slower than the company hoped. In a blog post, Microsoft explains that it encountered several large issues that forced it to reset its approval process three times over the past several weeks. The issues were significant enough that they would have impacted daily usability of the preview. Now that it has resolved the three issues, Microsoft said it is moving toward finalizing a new build that it should be able to distribute before too long. Windows 10 Mobile is widely expected to arrive in the next few weeks. Microsoft didn't say if the issues have pushed back the anticipated launch date of the mobile operating system.

Microsoft Adds Disney Anywhere Content to Movies & TV

Sep 8, 2015, 7:46 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today announced a new partnership with Disney that adds content from the Disney Movies Anywhere service to Microsoft's Movies & TV video service. Microsoft says users who connect their Microsoft Movies & TV account with a Disney Movies Anywhere account will automatically see content cross-populate their libraries. All content will be viewable via the Movies & TV app on Windows Phone handsets, in addition to Windows 10 PCs and the Xbox. Similarly, movie purchases made via Microsoft Movies & TV will automatically be made available through Disney Movies Anywhere, allowing users to view the content (Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars) across multiple devices in whichever app they prefer. For example, users will be able to start a movie on one device and finish watching it on another, or download for offline viewing. Microsoft said users who marry their Microsoft Movies & TV and Disney Movies Anywhere accounts will receive a free copy of Monsters, Inc.

WhatsApp Web Reaches iOS; Windows Phone App Updated

Aug 20, 2015, 7:30 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

WhatsApp has extended its WhatsApp Web functionality to iOS devices. It previously only supported Android, BlackBerry, and Windows handsets. With WhatsApp Web, users are able to send messages from their desktop browser in addition to their mobile device. Setting it up requires users to scan a QR code from within the WhatsApp application on their handset. They are then able to unlock the browser-based desktop client, where they'll be able to message their WhatsApp contacts. In addition to expanding WhatsApp Web to iOS, WhatsApp also updated its Windows Phone app. The app adds quite a handful of new features. For example, users can mark chats read or unread, as well as set custom notifications, vibrate alerts, and ringtones for individual conversations. Contact Cards are now easier to integrate into WhatsApp's contacts database for quicker replies. The app adds a significant number of new emoji and the ability to adjust the emojis' colors. Last, the app makes it possible to set limits on the app's mobile data usage. WhatsApp is free to download from the Windows Store.

Samsung Note 5, S6 Edge+ Play Better with Others

Aug 13, 2015, 10:31 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung's Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge+ offer a few new applications to make connecting to other devices and sharing content easier. The phones include a new feature called HD Live Broadcast, which lets owners stream live video from their Note 5 or S6 Edge+ directly to others or the public YouTube Live. The live YouTube broadcasts can be viewed from any phone, tablet, or PC. Samsung also debuted a connectivity tool called SideSync 4.0. This lets the Note 5 and S6 Edge+ connect wirelessly to PCs for sharing files, responding to text messages, or answering calls. SideSync 4.0 is compatible with Windows 10 and Apple OS X.

Share   Comments

Microsoft Pushes New Preview Build of Windows 10 Mobile

Aug 12, 2015, 12:26 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today made available a new build of the Windows 10 Mobile Technical Preview. Build 10512 is available to fast ring Windows Insiders members first. This build makes a number of stability and performance improvements to the beta OS. Some specific fixes include the ability to set the lock screen image from within the Photos app, as well as improvements to Latvian and Chinese input, the Kids Corner tile layout, and reliability of Data Sense notifications. Microsoft said it modified the shape writing algorithm so it is less aggressive in suggesting contact names over common words, and Microsoft resolved an issue where the camera wouldn't launch when the phone was in a locked state. The build resolves some incoming text message notification problems, and touch screen response issues. While the new build repairs a wide range of bugs, a number of issues remain, warns Microsoft. For example, mobile hotspot and two-factor authentication don't work in this particular build. The Windows 10 Mobile Technical Preview is not meant for most people; it is a test version of the operating system made available to developers and enthusiasts wishing to trial the software ahead of its general release later this year. Windows 10 is expected to arrive this fall.

Microsoft Open-Sources iOS App Porting Tool

Aug 6, 2015, 1:32 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today said its Windows Bridge for iOS application is moving to open source. Windows Bridge is the tool developers need to port iOS apps to the Windows platform. It can be used to create Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 desktops apps for now, but will support the mobile versions of these two operating systems later this year. Microsoft said it wants to rely on the open source community to put Windows Bridge through its paces and contribute code and/or bug fixes as needed. Windows Bridge for iOS is being released as a technical preview and will see a full release in the fall. Microsoft is expected to offer Windows Bridge for Android in the fall as a beta app. Microsoft hopes developers will bring their Android and iOS apps to the Windows Platform, which may help address the app gap.

Nokia Makes HERE Sale to Audi, BMW, Daimler Official

Aug 3, 2015, 7:27 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Nokia today formally announced the sale of its HERE Maps business unit to a consortium of three German auto makers. Audi, BMW, and Daimler have agreed to buy HERE Maps for $3 billion. Nokia has been shopping the business unit since April, soon after it announced plans to acquire Alcatel-Lucent. The three car makers will act as investors in HERE, as well as customers of the mapping business and suppliers of data. Nokia said HERE-branded mobile apps will continue to be available to Android, iOS, and Windows devices. Nokia expects to complete the sale during the first half of 2016. Once finalized, Nokia will have two business units: its telecommunications equipment unit and its technology unit.

Motorola Owes Microsoft $14.5 Million Over Patent Spat

Jul 31, 2015, 7:19 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

An appeals court has sided with Microsoft and upheld a 2013 verdict that says Motorola has to pay Microsoft for refusing to license standard-essential patents at fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory rates. This particular case began in 2010, when Microsoft sued Motorola for failing to pay it patent-licensing fees for technology found in Motorola's Android smartphones. Motorola filed its own lawsuit in return, in which it sought some $4 billion to cover royalties for technology in Microsoft's Xbox and Windows devices. Even though Microsoft sued Motorola, Motorola was still required to license its own patents to Microsoft at fair rates. Two separate courts determined in 2012 and later 2013 that Motorola's $4 billion demand far exceeded what's considered fair and reasonable. Therefore, Motorola violated its agreement with Microsoft and Microsoft was thus awarded $14.5 million in damages for breach of contract. This week's decision, reached by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, verifies that Motorola must pay the damages.

Microsoft's 'Send' App is More Messaging than Email

Jul 22, 2015, 10:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today released a new email application called Send. The idea behind Send, developed by Microsoft Garage, is to let people send quick messages to one another while still harnessing the power of corporate email. Send messages strip out headers, subjects and footers, and look and feel more like text messages. Even so, they are backed by companies' Office 365 email servers and can be viewed and/or responded to via Outlook. "These are the sort of quick emails you send to the people you care about at work—your boss, your teammates, and sometimes partners or customers outside your organization. You're usually busy or on the go when you send them, and Send is specifically designed for this get-in get-out scenario," explained Microsoft in a blog post. Microsoft knows co-workers often need to reach one another and don't always have phone numbers on hand. Office 365 integration means the corporate email directory is available to Send users, making everyone easy to reach. Send is available to corporate and education iPhone owners and will soon reach Android and Windows Phone. Microsoft said it hopes to expand Send's availability to more platforms/devices over time.

BlackBerry to Acquire AtHoc

Jul 22, 2015, 8:07 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

BlackBerry today said it has agreed to acquire AtHoc for an undisclosed sum. AtHoc provides secure crisis communications for businesses so they can push critical data in real-time during business- or life-threatening events. The AtHoc service can send alerts to any device, including iOS, Android, Windows, and Macs, as well as radios, IP phones, digital displays, and even sirens or speakers. Homeland Security and the Department of Defense are among AtHoc's customers. BlackBerry said it will integrate AtHoc's offering into its own portfolio of enterprise communications services. The deal gives AtHoc global reach to expand its business and helps round out BlackBerry's business offerings. BlackBerry said it expects to complete the deal during its fiscal third quarter.

Audi, BMW, Daimler to Buy Nokia's HERE Maps

Jul 21, 2015, 11:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jul 21, 2015, 12:03 PM

A consortium of three German automotive makers has agreed to purchase HERE Maps from Nokia for about $2.71 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. Sources familiar with Nokia's plans say Audi, BMW, and Daimler (Mercedes) have fielded a winning bid for the mapping division, which Nokia put up for sale earlier this year. By divesting the business unit, Nokia's chief remaining business will be providing telecommunications equipment to network operators. The car companies will run HERE Maps together, and plan to invite other car marks to invest in a stake if they wish. The three German car makers beat out Uber and private investors, which were also interested in HERE. Nokia bought mapping company Navteq in 2007 and rebranded its product HERE Maps. HERE Maps is a free app available to Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. Nokia did not confirm the Journal's story.

Microsoft's Hyperlapse App Now Works with All Lumias

Jul 20, 2015, 7:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft recently updated its Hyperlapse time-lapse application for Windows Phone and Android devices. The Windows Phone version of Hyperlapse is now compatible with all Lumia handsets. It had previously not worked with older devices running the Qualcomm S4 processor (Lumia 520, 620, 720, 920, 925, and 1020). Microsoft also updated the Android version of Hyperlapse. At launch in May, Hyperlapse for Android was released as a limited, closed beta. It is now available to all Android users for free. Hyperlapse can be used to stabilize shaky footage or to create fast-moving time-lapse videos. The app supports multiple playback speeds (between 1x and 32x) and can import existing video files from the phone's camera roll. Hyperlapse app is available from the Windows Store and the Google Play Store.

Subscribe to Phone Scoop News with RSS Follow @phonescoop on Twitter Phone Scoop on Facebook Subscribe to Phone Scoop on YouTube Follow on Instagram


All content Copyright 2001-2015 Phone Factor, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Content on this site may not be copied or republished without formal permission.