Anyone with a Windows Phone will know most of the saga to do with the YouTube client on Windows Phone. The service is, of course, owned by Microsoft's big rival, Google and, not surprisingly, the latter is being a stickler for detail in terms of the former's client obeying the letter of the law when it comes to displaying and downloading (or, rather, not downloading) video content. And adverts. The row has dragged on and spanned multiple client versions and, at the time of writing this, it's still broken. But in truth, is a client needed at all?
Today's news that Microsoft has entered into an agreement to buy Nokia's Devices & Services business is generating a great deal of debate and a range of responses. Ultimately, the key question is why? The simple answer? As with almost all acquisitions, it is all about the financial figures and the long term strategy of both companies involved in the transaction. However, the timing has been driven by the Nokia Board of Directors, and the upcoming 2014 recommitment date that dates to the original February 2011 agreement between the two companies.
The thinking goes something like this. As an entity, Microsoft calls Stephen Elop into a smokey room, asks him to leave the company to become CEO of Nokia, stop all the Finnish OS developments and switch the company to Windows Phone. Elop will then proceed to make a decent (but not profitable) line of handsets, drive the stock price down, and allow Microsoft to buy Nokia. At which point Elop will be brought back into the bosom of the Redmond family to be handsomely rewarded. Really? Really!?! Lets come back to the real world shall we?
Microsoft recently started rolling out the second software update for Windows Phone 8 in the form of the GDR2 software update, but rumours about what's in the third software update, GDR3, have been around since the spring. In this feature, we round up the rumours that have surfaced so far, including details of what is likely to be one of the first GDR3 devices, the six inch screened, "phablet" sized, Nokia Bandit/Lumia 1520.
When Microsoft previewed Windows Phone 8, one of the promises it made was that existing apps would work on the new platform and, with a handful of reasonable exceptions, that promise was kept, an impressive achievement given the underlying changes in the platform. However, the reverse is not always true, as some Windows Phone 8 apps will not run on Windows Phone 7.x devices. This feature takes a look at the stats behind this Windows Phone platform app compatibility.
Developing apps that run across platforms is an area with a number of key players. One of those is the Unity middleware gaming engine. I wanted to find a bit more about the history of Unity and Windows Phone, so I caught up with Tony Garcia (Unity's Executive VP of Business Development), and his team at this week's Unite 2013 Conference in Vancouver.
Phone design is, as always, something of a compromise, with features often being axed for physical or economic reasons - after all, the phone which had everything would be heavy, bulky and expensive. So I can usually see behind the product announcements, into the minds of the design teams. But as a consumer, I have to make the same cold hard choices as everyone reading this feature. And, as sometimes happens, it seems that the older of two devices isn't necessarily inferior. Below, in this heavily updated article, following the release of the Nokia Amber update for the Lumia 920, I make the case for it against its more recent sibling/successor, the Lumia 925.
The mobile phone market is constantly in flux, and part of any manufacturer's strategy is what happens next with its handsets and its customers. Looking at Nokia's handset line-up of smartphones and feature phones, its next move could really benefit the Windows Phone ecosystem, as well as see it establish Microsoft's platform in the low-end market.
One of the key benefits of Google Now for Android is that it offers contextual information about you, where you are and where you've got to get to. OK, there's extra movie, and sport and flight stuff too, but that's all handled in Windows Phone with live tiles for the specific applications. What I wanted to show here though, was setting up a core of your Start screen to show much the same information as Android's famous Google Now system.
Most of the Windows Phone 8 stable of devices have been updated through the various versions of the OS, over the air, and with all content staying intact. But what, I wondered would be the experience of someone coming to Windows Phone 8 GDR2, with Nokia Amber, for the first time? In other words, what does a totally fresh install of this latest version of Windows Phone look like? Here's my walkthrough, with comments.