microsoft Archive

Nokia Looking to Bring “New Category of Device Products” on the Market

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The moment Microsoft announced it will buy Nokia’s mobile division, the hopes and dream of millions of fans have crumbled into dust. Since the Finnish company has been back on the market with a new product, the N1 tablet rumors about Nokia’s comeback in the smartphone business have been popping up online like mushrooms.

However, Nokia’s fans may have a long time of waiting ahead if they want to grab the next smartphone entirely made by the Finnish company. The agreement with Microsoft forbids Nokia from entering the smartphone market until Q4 2016, so there’s more than a year until we’ll be talking about a real Nokia handset.

Microsoft Confirms Next Flagship Comes When Windows 10 Releases

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Microsoft launched two new Windows Phones yesterday during Mobile World Congress 2015 and while we were expecting that these would be another affordable smartphones, it’s still kind of disappointing for fans to not be able to get their hands on a high-end devices.

Unfortunately, the things won’t get better for those who want to switch to Windows Phone, but are still waiting for Microsoft to come out with a high-end smartphone. Multiple Microsoft officials confirmed after the announcement of Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL that the company will continue to focus on low-end smartphone market until Windows 10 becomes available.

Windows Is No Longer the Most Vulnerable Operating System in the World

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Windows is often referred to as the most insecure operating system in the world, pretty much because it’s targeted by the majority of malware infections out there, but as far as security vulnerabilities are concerned, Microsoft’s platform is no longer number one.

Statistics provided by GFI show that Windows security is getting stronger, so the leading place in the chart called “Top operating systems by vulnerabilities reported in 2014” goes to Apple’s Mac OS X. A total of 147 vulnerabilities were found on OS X, 64 of which were rated as “high.”

Microsoft reportedly planning Windows 10 event for January

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Microsoft will hold an event this January to show off the new features of Windows 10, according to The Verge. Although January is traditionally dominated by the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Redmond is apparently planning a standalone event later in the month to create some buzz for the new OS away from the confines of a busy trade show.

Some facets of Windows 10 were detailed earlier this year, but next month’s event will apparently be “more significant,” with Microsoft laying out its plans for phones and tablets, and possibly detailing a new Xbox One dashboard update. The Verge says Microsoft should formally announce the event before the year’s end.

Microsoft lets companies buy Surface tablets in bulk

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As often as Microsoft pitches the Surface and Surface Pro as tablets for getting work done, corporate customers haven’t had an easy way to order the devices by the bushel. We know that the process is now considerably smoother for eager large-scale adopters thanks to a ZDNet peek at a Commercial Order page.

“Commercial customers” can spring for large quantities of either slate model, along with an Extended Hardware Service Plan that bumps support to three years for North American buyers.

Microsoft isn’t saying just who’s eligible, although the order system is more likely to center on firms that are already comfortable buying all things Windows in volume. You’ll know how far it reaches if there’s a Surface at every cubicle on Monday morning.

Microsoft is singing the right tune with some wrong notes

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In an episode of Elementary, a TV reinvention of Sherlock Holmes, there is an audacious product placement for the Microsoft Surface tablet. Holmes, a techno-adept detective working in New York, whips out a Surface to do some quick research. He snaps on the keyboard with the same hearty click made famous in Microsoft commercials. Then the kickstand! The patented three-step maneuver is so distinctly set apart within the scene, there might as well be a blinking “Advertisement” notice across the sequence. (Holmes follows up by searching on Bing, turning the product placement into an ecosystem placement.)

I don’t know whether seeing a fictional genius using Surface helps sales, but if so, it’s not helping enough. The Surface slate is on the skids in retail, as are Windows 8 computers. It is perhaps not surprising that Microsoft’s retail users are slow to migrate from the familiar (PCs running Windows 7 and XP) to the unfamiliar (PCs running the radically different Metro interface, and a new product category in Surface). But swampy sell-through is definitely surprising financial analysts, some of whom are cutting Microsoft’s revenue forecasts.

Microsoft shows Surface prototypes, teases the tablets that might have been

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We already know a lot about the Surface tablet line’s birthing process. However, Microsoft has only really been comfortable with showing the finished product — until today. The company’s Panos Panay just gave The Verge a peek at some of the earliest prototypes and design decisions, some of which break from the officially rehearsed story. Microsoft had considered multiple PC form factors before settling on Surface, Panay says, and the tablets didn’t always have that sharp-angled design: the firm tried curved backs before deciding that the flat surfaces were more reassuring in users’ hands.

The concept of a keyboard cover appeared relatively soon into the design process, however, and it was mostly a matter of evolution as the all-important peripheral slimmed down and fleshed out. As for the future? While we weren’t expecting to hear very differently, Panay confirms that Microsoft is working on multiple future generations of Surface products. At least for now, this isn’t a one-off experiment.

Inside the Apple-Google War: It’s Personal

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The New York Times has a long, juicy look at what’s been going on behind the scenes with the ever-escalating conflict between Google and Apple. The cause for all the enmity, according to insiders? Ego.

When Apple filed suit against HTC earlier this month, it was clear that Google and Apple’s romance had turned sour. But the Times’ article, which draws on “interviews with two dozen industry watchers, Silicon Valley investors and current and former employees at both companies,” offers a sense of just how personal this battle is and always has been. The writers begin by summarizing:

“iPhone Killers” gird their loins for battle

As the launch of the 3G iPhone approaches, BusinessWeek reports that competitors face the same problem they did in July of last year.

“Most people want the iPhone, just as they want the iPod and not some other MP3 player,” says Gloria Barczak, professor of marketing at Northeastern University. “People want the real thing.”

The difference between now and then is that the real thing will cost less, at least up front. Higher costs for data plans and messaging actually means the 3G iPhone costs more over the life of the contract with AT&T.

Nonetheless, that new sticker price is putting pressure on rival carriers “to increase their own mobile handset subsidies, boost marketing budgets, and reduce prices on some services, analysts and industry insiders say—all likely to mean slimmer margins.”

Unfortunately, none of those business strategies are about the product and the user experience, which leaves it up to the handset makers to challenge the iPhone.

“We want to take the touch experience to a new level,” says John Wang, chief marketing officer of HTC. The Touch has sold more than 3 million units worldwide in the past year, which sounds great until you consider the iPhone has sold twice that many in the same period while limited to just a few countries.

Still, the Touch has sold more than the Centro. Palm’s last gasp has sold more than a million since its introduction in 2007, and the company is “confident” of reaching 2 million in 2008. Imagine what Palm could do if it actually created something new, instead of beating their dead horse of an OS at $99 a phone. Or maybe that’s not such a good idea.

The Sprint Instinct is new, though one could question its originality, at least in advertising. Sprint is spending $100 million in ads that compare the Instinct to the iPhone—the 2G iPhone, that is. Looking over reviews, they are mixed at best. At worst, Gizmodo lambastes web browsing on the Instinct as an “ABYSMAL failure of design.”

And regarding failures of design at web browsing, one could count the Blackberry firmly in that column, at least until the soon-to-be-released Blackberry Bold. Preliminary reports have a lot of good things to say about what will be the iPhone’s real competition among consumers, but that brings up the real question.

Carriers and handset makers had an entire year to get ahead of the iPhone, to create a true rival at a cheaper price. Now, a year later, they don’t even have the better sticker price.

Maybe you can’t beat the real iThing.

Source: Arstechnica.com