A bevy of Skype and Messaging-related tweaks and stories has prompted me to round these up in a single post, for completeness. Takeaways include the 'Messaging+Skype' experiment being officially ended and that Skype UWP now supports animated GIFs 'inline', but there's more below too.
Recent News - Miscellaneous
At the Windows Hardware Engineering Community event (WinHEC) in Shenzhen, China a few hours ago, Microsoft and its partners unveiled their plans for PCs and mobile devices running Windows 10. Most relevant to AAWP is that x86 emulation is indeed coming to Windows 10 on ARM chipsets (as was rumoured) - think running legacy x86 applications directly on a Windows 10 mobile device. Notice the lowercase 'm' since we're not exactly talking traditional phone form factors here.
Having teased this last week, we can now happily let you know that the AAWP Universal Windows Platform app is now formally available in the Windows Store, for mobile, tablet and laptop/desktop (of course). Featuring a choice of light and dark themes, in all sizes and aspect ratios, plus quick and smartly cached access to all our content, both static and interactive. And naturally you can run it on any Windows 10 phone, tablet or laptop.
Although Microsoft never gave an exact date for the start of the official Windows 10 Mobile upgrade for existing Windows Phone 8.1 users, it's fair to say that its hints were originally for late 2015 - which then slipped a little. However, at least Q1, 2016 was achieved, if only by a couple of weeks, with the arrival of Windows 10 (10586.164) for a whole clutch of devices, including the popular Lumia 640, 735, 830 and 930. There's an initial hurdle, presumably to make sure that only keener users get Windows 10, and then this will be replaced by the full 'pushed' update later.
Microsoft is pushing forwards at top speed for Windows 10 Mobile now, with a major new build for the Insiders community. See below for the official release comments. The focus in build 10512 (over the previous 10166, a month ago) is in the new core models and a long list of critical bug fixes. And yes, this build really is worthy of use day to day, in my opinion.
WinHEC stands for the Windows Hardware Engineering Community (WinHEC) and is where Microsoft and invited companies and 'experts' come together to 'educate, facilitate the exchange of ideas and give people a venue to share best practices and discuss future opportunities'. This year it was held on the 18th-19th March and details of what was announced (mainly around Windows 10 for PCs, tablets and phones) and discussed have been trickling out online. A summary is, we thought, in order.
At the showcase event in Redmond in the USA, Joe Belfiore has briefly demonstrated 'Windows 10' on phones, using a Lumia 1520, with updates to the Start screen, application list, settings, messaging experience, user input, and more. The key point, echoing the shared technical core announcement of Windows Phone 8, was the commonality of Windows across all devices. In this instance, the emphasis is on the consumer experience, exemplified by the arrival of numerous "Universal" applications that work across PC, tablet and smartphone (Office, Outlook, Calendar, People, Photos, Music, and Xbox, among others).
Following misunderstandings and mistranslations on other sites, we have confirmed details of what will be in the upcoming Lumia Cyan update in the camera department - so at least let's put the record straight.
Several months after the availability of the first Windows Phone 8 handsets, the promised Windows Phone 7.8 update for older devices (in this case, the Nokia Lumia 710) has started rolling out around the world, with the changelog listed below. It's a major update in terms of extra features and brings the new Start Screen features of Windows Phone 8 to the older Windows Phone 7.5 devices.
In a press release this morning, Nokia has revealed plans to "sharpen its strategy, improve its operating model and return the company to profitable growth". The company will be cutting up to 10,000 jobs by the end of 2013, closing its famed Salo factory in Finland, making a series of targeted investments around location and product experiences, making changes to improve the competitiveness of its feature phone business and making chnages to its leadership team.
Nokia also updated its financial guidance for Q2 2012, indicating that competitive industry dynamics are negatively affecting its smartphone business to a greater extent than previously expected. As a result non-IFRS Devices & Services operating margin will be below the Q1 2012 level of -3%.