Based on a new letter to suppliers that was circulated around a couple of days ago and by looking into the letter, it is now confirmed that the new name of Nokia Oyj is now Microsoft Mobile Oy.
‘Please note that upon the close of the transaction between Microsoft and Nokia, the name of Nokia Corporation/Nokia Oyj will change to Microsoft Mobile Oy. Microsoft Mobile Oy is the legal entity name that should be used for VAT IDs and for the issuance of invoices.’
Today, at the annual Build developer conference, Microsoft announced the very highly anticipated Windows Phone 8.1.
Here’re the key enhancements coming with Windows Phone 8.1:
- New Action Centre
- New interactive Lock screen experiences
- 3rd medium column of Live Tiles to all screen sizes.
- New Homescreen background
- Cortana digital assistant powered by Bing
- Support for enterprise VPN and S/MIME
- Updated Calendar w/ week view
- WiFi Sense app: Let you automatically connect to free public hotspots
- Independent volume controls
- New calling screen
- New shape writing on WindowsPhone 8.1 keyboard
- Internet Explorer 11 with in private browsing
- New enhancements to the WP 8.1 Store, including personalised suggestions
As part of their new push for 2014, Microsoft is making it a lot easier for OEMs to use Windows Phone in their phones.
There will no longer be pre-approved OEMs, and any company can use Qualcomm’s reference design.
Microsoft also announced 8 new OEMs, including:
Karbonn, Solo, LG, Foxconn, Gionee, JSR, Lenovo, Longcheer, Xolo
Together with existing OEMs HTC, Samsung, Nokia, Huawei and ZTE the OEMs present 56% of all smartphone OEMs, which Microsoft of course hopes will translate into a significant increase in Windows Phone sales, which is currently dominated by Nokia.
At Mobile World Congress 2014 Microsoft announced dual-SIM support for Windows Phone.
In what they called a “Total control Dual SIM experience” users will have dual Phone Live tiles, Dual Messaging Live tiles and the ability to link messaging tiles.
Microsoft did not announce it, but the first device with this feature is expected to be the Nokia Lumia 635.
The Bing Team recently announced a comprehensive update for their existing Bing apps on Windows Phone (Bing News, Bing Finance, Bing Weather, and Bing Sports) and introduced 3 brand new apps: Bing Food & Drink, Bing Health & Fitness, and Bing Travel. Bringing the of offering of Bing Apps to 7 great apps. The ability to sync between your Windows PC or Tablet and your Windows Phone is a great way to seemlesly keep up to date on all your devices.
Bing News - The beautiful, photo-rich Bing News app makes it easy to stay up to date on the news that matters most to you. Designed for Windows Phone,the News app lets you easily choose your favorite news sources. Swipe through for a quick read of the headlines. Go deep with personalized coverage of the topics you’re passionate about. Or, search the day’s stories from your choice of trusted sources from around the world.
Bing Finance - The Bing Finance app helps you stay on top of fast-changing market conditions so you can make the most informed financial decisions. Designed for Windows Phone, the Finance app puts your watchlist at your fingertips. Swipe through informative charts for a quick read on the day’s events. Quickly check exchange rates on the go using the Currency Converter tool.
Bing Weather - The Bing Weather app helps you prepare for the latest conditions with hourly, daily, and 10-day forecasts. Designed for Windows Phone, the Weather App features beautiful weather images and maps, easily customized to track conditions for the places you care about. Catch the forecast on your Live Tile, check radar maps, and view historical details so you’re always aware of weather on the way. Note: Some features may not be available in all markets.
Bing Sports - From NBA season to the upcoming MLB season, Wimbledon and NCAA March Madness, Bing Sports takes you there! The app makes it easy for you to keep up with all the sports and teams you care about. Swipe through the app to get an overview of the top headlines, scores, schedules, standings, and statistics across all the major sports around the world. Personalize the experience so you can track the leagues and teams that interest you with Live Tiles, Scoreboards, and Game Summaries.
Bing Food & Drink - The Bing Food & Drink app makes it easy to explore recipes, choose wine and cocktails, and learn how to make your next meal a taste-tempting success. You’ll enjoy beautiful photos, easy to follow instructions and helpful tools such as a shopping list and collections. Keep your shopping list synced across your devices. Share your recipes, shopping list or collections with family and friends. An indispensable companion, the Food & Drink app will have your kitchen sizzling.
Bing Health & Fitness - The Bing Health & Fitness app helps you stay on top of health and fitness trends and provides the tools you need to support a healthy lifestyle. Designed for Windows Phone, the Health & Fitness app brings together great fitness, nutrition and health content, along with trackers, tools and other features. Set your daily calorie goal, record what you eat and get nutritional information for over 300,000 foods. Choose from hundreds of workouts and exercises with step-by-step instructions, photos and video. Use the GPS tracker to record your time, distance, pace and calories burned while you walk, run, bike and do other activities. Enter symptoms to get information on possible health conditions with the Interactive Symptom Checker. Keep your tracker data synced across your Windows 8 devices.
Bing Travel - The Travel app, powered by Bing, provides you with destination guides, user travel photos, expert reviews, daily trip ideas, hotel listings and much more, all from the convenience of your phone. Check airport arrivals/departure status and pin a flight you are tracking to your start screen. Make last minute flight bookings after comparing the best price from multiple providers. Use the new Nearby feature to find inspiring photos, attractions and more around you right now, whether at home or on your travels.
Microsoft created Windows Phone App Studio Beta as a powerful but easy-to-use tool to help hobbyists, enthusiasts and new developers create content-based apps from end to end, all within a web UI.
To date 350,000 developers of all skill levels have used Windows Phone App Studio Beta, resulting in 300,000 projects and 20,000 apps published to Windows Phone Store.
Today Microsoft released a significant update with some enhancements for Windows Phone App Studio Beta.
So what is new?
A redesigned UI. We looked at the most-used actions and streamlined the workflow, so the tasks you do most often are faster and easier to execute.
A touch-enabled UI to help support your App Studio development work on a variety of form factors and browsers.
A rebuilt emulator, which now supports dynamic text updates, so you can see your changes on the fly.
New features: Image conversion from JPG to PNG, full-screen image rotation, and a more fluid integration of sections and data sources, increasing the usability of the apps you create.
Better structure, readability, and performance of the source code that you create using App Studio Beta. Source code structure is now based on MVVM.
New templates for businesses, for building apps quickly that showcase company and product info.
Ability to generate a full Microsoft Visual Studio project containing both a Windows Phone and a Windows 8 version of your app, to make your app available through the Windows Store on Windows 8 and Windows Phone devices.
Also known as the General Distribution Release 2, the GDR 2 is the latest software update for Windows Phone (WP) 8 operating system. For Nokia handsets, this was called the “Lumia Amber update,” which included few system enhancements and software add-ons such as the Smart Camera App, FM Radio, and Nokia Glance Screen. It started rolling out this Q4 of 2013 in some regions and selected handsets over-the-air. If you are thinking of upgrading your handset to this new update, yet you’re curious about its key features, read on below as we list down all the details you need to know about the WP8 GDR 2.
Inclusion of ‘Data Sense’ Internet Usage Tracker
[Image Credit Windows Phone Central]
Similar to Android and iOS devices, the Data Sense tracks your mobile internet usage by displaying your real-time amount of data transfers via Wi-Fi or cellular network (3G/4G LTE). You can also set your monthly data limit to compensate your existing subscription and avoid unexpected charges. For instance, if you’re in the UK and you have a base tariff subscription with 100 MB data from O2, you can set the system to prevent internet transfers if you exceed beyond the specified cap. It will automatically block your online activities such as web surfing, mobile streaming, and app downloading.
Google Account Support
Last year, the search engine company dropped a bombshell that it would stop supporting its Gmail and Google calendar services via Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync (EAS), starting in January 2014. This will prevent users from accessing events, emails, and contacts associated to their Google accounts. With GDR 2, users can now overcome this threat by actually integrating the support into their WP handsets. Although as of the moment, there’s still no news if the developers are working on a solution to bring the search engine’s Cloud Drive services into the WP ecosystem.
HTML 5 Runtime for Internet Explorer
[Image Credit webmonkey.com]
The native Internet Explorer mobile is not supported by Flash, which restricts users to play video and audio files embedded in websites. With the HTML 5 browser add-on included in the GDR 2 update, it’ll enable media runtime in your WP Internet Explorer app, similar to the experience you get in PCs.Just to give you an idea, the browsers found in iOS and Android platforms are HTML 5 runtime-capable.
Smart Application Management
[Image Credit Smartphonezero.com]
Since the Windows Phone 7 version, the system allows you to multitask by holding down the back arrow soft key on your handset. But, it only allows you to switch from your actively running applications, and doesn’t give you the ability to close a program. In this system update, you’ll be given an (x) virtual button on the upper right side of each of your apps from the multitasking panel. It may be a minor and unnoticeable improvement, but having the power to close a running application will save you battery.
Enhanced Messaging and Voicemail
In the past, you can’t directly play WAV audio files sent to you via email or multimedia messaging, since it only supports MP3 formats. That has been fixed with this OS update as they’ve included more codecs associated with messaging and voicemail that supports WAV files. The GDR 2 will also improve issues regarding the inability to send group messages.
Knock-Knock Screen Gesture
[Image Credit Mynokiablog.com]
Similar to the LG G2’s ability to wake the screen by double-tapping the display, this software update has included the same gesture. This will result to better user experience and will save your phone’s sleep/wake button from getting over used. However, some users might struggle with this option as they need to tap the exact region of the locked screen quickly to bring out the slide-to-unlock display.
Fix for the Secondary Storage Bug
The update also resolved the issue with the micro-SD card support through an easier option of transferring files from internal to the secondary storage (and vice versa). Moreover, you can now delete your temporary and hidden files from the internal and secondary memory to free some space. Unfortunately, Microsoft still doesn’t allow you to move your installed applications on your micro-SD card just like the Android.
These are the seven features packaged on the GDR 2 update. It may be minor improvements, but overall, it will make your mobile computing seamless and more efficient. Have you noticed other features we’ve missed?
About the Author
Jennifer Birch is a British tech writer and a proud power user of Windows Phone. She sports a Nokia Lumia 1020 and she’s in love with its superb imaging power. Follow her at @WrittenByJenni and read her feature stories on Techie Doodlers.