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.
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Microsoft today announced the latest entrant to its low end ("affordable") Lumia device portfolio. The Lumia 430 Dual SIM is the company's lowest cost Windows Phone device to date, with an announcement price of just $70 (equivalent to a UK high street PAYG price of around £40). Key specification include a 4inch WVGA (480p) screen, Snapdragon 200 processor (Dual-core 1.2Ghz), 1GB RAM, 8GB internal memory and microSD card support, 2MP fixed focus main camera and VGA FFC, and a 1500 mAh battery.
At the Microsoft press event at MWC this morning, it announced the Lumia 640 and 640 XL, with 5" and 5.7" 720p screens respectively, though both are firmly in the mid-tier category. Even so, the specs are easily enough for a full Windows 10 experience, when it ships later this year. The Lumia 640 XL will be available this month, with pricing starting at €189, while the Lumia 640 will be available in April, with pricing starting at €139.
Today at MWC, Acer joined the modern (8.1) Windows Phone fray, with the 4"-screened Liquid M220, a strictly budget model expected to retail at 79 Euros. Acer says "It is the right moment for Acer to join the Windows Phone eco-system with its growing popularity and consistency across phone and PC devices.” Quotes and some details below.
Last covered here back in December 2014, Microsoft's integral OneDrive client has been updated again, with v4.7 available right now and offering advanced text finding, even within photos (thanks to server-side OCR), multiple account support, PIN protection and cross-folder photo albums, and more. In addition, Microsoft has announced a new public API for OneDrive, enabling developers on all platforms to start using the cloud service from within their applications. See below for more.
If you're feeling lucky(!) and brave(!!) and want to play with the next version of Windows on your smartphone then note that Lumia 630, 635, 636, 638, 730, and Lumia 830 owners can install the Windows Insider application and be served up what's definitely an early beta of Windows 10 for Mobile. It's not recommended for use on your primary device, of course.
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).
In the middle of the (UK) night, Microsoft quietly launched its first Microsoft-branded Windows Phone, the Lumia 535, firmly hitting the low end 'affordable' sweet spot with a 5"-screened device that contains nothing surprising to AAWP readers but which should surprise plenty of newcomers to Windows Phone in the shops.
Also announced today at IFA 2014 was the official name and contents for the next major Lumia software release - Denim. Based on Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1, Denim also offers some Lumia-only features, quoted below.
At IFA 2014, as expected, Microsoft has launched the Lumia 730 and 735, with the former Dual SIM and nominally for Eastern and Asian markets, and the latter with LTE capability for Western markets. Highlights include a lower mid range starting price yet with 4.7" screen, wide angle 5MP front camera (for selfies) and 'Nokia' build quality.