At a pre-MWC press conference, Microsoft announced that it is expanding the range of hardware supported by Windows Phone, with a focus on low cost, high volume devices. The most significant addition is that of support for the Snapdragon 200 (8x10 and 8x12) SoC, which will enable the creation of a new generation of low end Windows Phone devices, but other highlights include the introduction of dual-SIM support and improved external memory (microSD) support.
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Microsoft has announced that it is now working with nine new Windows Phone 8 hardware partners as it seeks to "scale the platform" to higher volumes. The new partners include industry heavyweights LG, ZTE, Lenovo, and Foxconn, plus a number of smaller OEMs in the form of Gionee, JSR, Karbonn, Lava (Xolo), and Longcheer.
On Sunday, February 23rd, the day before MWC officially opens, Microsoft is holding a press and analysts media briefing, where it is expected to offer an update on the state of Windows and Windows Phone in the mobile space. The event kicks off at 12:00 CET (11:00 GMT). We'll be updating this story with our on-the-scene live coverage at the event takes place.
Following on from last week's Windows Phone Preview SDK leak, additional details about Windows Phone 8.1, drawn from an examination of the MUI strings (multi-language user interface) found in the filing system of the SDK's emulator, have been posted to Sinclairnat0r.com. Highlights include support for trusted NFC apps, the addition of app data to the built-in backup feature, and support for auto-updating of apps.
The Nokia Lumia Icon, a much previewed Windows Phone 8 device, was today officially announced by Nokia and exclusive operator partner Verizon. The device, a follow on to the Lumia 928, has a five inch, 1080p resolution, AMOLED screen and a focus on media capture with a 20-megapixel PureView branded camera with Carl Zeiss optics, LED flash, and quad omnidirectional microphones.
Details of some of the new features and changes in Windows Phone 8.1 have been posted to a thread on social news site reddit in what appears to be a NDA-breaking leak from a developer who has early access to the platform SDK. Items of interest include an updated Internet Explorer (based on IE 11), the introduction of VPN support, new storage sense and battery sense features, and many new app and system settings.
Microsoft today announced that it has named Satya Nadella as CEO and member of the Board of Directors with immediate effect. Nadella, an internal appointee who replaces Steve Ballmer, previously held the position of Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group.
The latest set of Kantar Worldpanel data, released today, shows the continued dichotomy between Europe and the US/China in terms of the sales of Windows Phone devices. Figures for the 3 months ending December 2013 indicate Microsoft's mobile platform has a 10.3% unit sales share in Western Europe, just under 5% in the US, and just 1.1% in China.
Nokia has released its Q4 2013 results, reporting an operating profit of €76 million (down from €439 million a year ago), with net sales of €6.109 billion (down 23% year-on-year). This is the last full set of results before the expected completion of sale of the Devices & Services division to Microsoft this quarter.
At the National Retail Federation (NRF) Annual Convention and Expo, Microsoft is showcasing a range of technologies aimed at helping retailers create digital platforms for their businesses (e.g. fulfillment systems, management of data flow and consumer insights, and more). On public show for the first time is the next generation of line-of-business geared mobile devices powered by Windows Embedded 8 Handheld, which is based on the Windows Phone 8 platform.