Microsoft is finally bringing a notification center to Windows Phone in the next major update. Action Center, as it has been dubbed, works almost identically to the notification centers that appear on Android and iOS devices. Simply swipe down from the top of the screen to reveal a log of messages, emails and updates you haven’t checked yet. A bar at the top of the Action Center will feature a set of four customizable buttons for quick access. If you find yourself in the airport on a weekly basis, put Airplane Mode in the shortcut bar; if you’re constantly fiddling with the brightness settings, you can slide that to the top as well. Check out the video below and breathe a sigh of relief that Windows Phone 8.1 is finally catching up with the competition. More →
This year’s Mobile World Congress looks like it’s going to be jam-packed with intriguing new devices headlined by Samsung’s Galaxy S5, Sony’s Xperia Z2, BlackBerry’s first Foxconn-made phones and Nokia’s first-ever Android handset. There is one major absence from this year’s MWC that is rather surprising, however: Windows Phone. More →
A recent report suggested that Microsoft is seriously considering adding support for Android apps to both the Windows and Windows Phone platforms. As it turns out, however, Microsoft might be able to solve its app problem without turning to Google’s dominant mobile platform for help. More →
Is Microsoft getting ready to wave the white flag when it comes to getting developers to build apps for its own mobile platform? The Verge’s Tom Warren reports that Microsoft “is seriously considering allowing Android apps to run on both Windows and Windows Phone,” which would represent a major defeat of the company’s efforts to push more developers to make Windows Phone apps. In doing this, Microsoft would seemingly be following in the steps of BlackBerry, which has made it much easier for BlackBerry users to download Android apps onto their devices. More →
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Google is definitely blushing right now. One of the key features Apple introduced alongside iOS 5 was the Notification Center, a panel that aggregates notifications and other information into one simple list that can be dragged down and revealed from the top of a device’s screen. Sound familiar? That’s because the feature was unabashedly “borrowed” from Android. Companies “borrow” from each other all the time of course, and it looks like another major mobile platform maker liked Android’s notification interface so much that it decided to “borrow” it in an upcoming software release. More →
Samsung hasn’t put very much effort into selling its previous Windows Phone smartphone models that have launched over the past few years, but the consumer electronics giant will continue to build and launch new Windows Phones in 2014. Gadget leaker @evleaks on Tuesday posted an image of what he claims to be a Windows Phone 8.1-powered Samsung phone with the model number SM-W750V and the code-name “Huron.” The phone looks just about as unexciting as Samsung’s previous Microsoft-powered smartphones, and it’s seemingly headed to Verizon Wireless. More →
The chances of Windows Phone overtaking iOS in the United States are slim to none. In other countries, however, the story is much different. Jana Research recently conducted a survey among smartphone buyers in several key markets and found that Windows Phone enjoys strong popularity in countries such as India, Brazil, Kenya and South Africa. In fact, Windows Phone’s popularity in these high-growth markets is so strong that Jana thinks that “2014 could be the year that Windows phone establishes itself as the second most popular smartphone OS worldwide” behind Android. More →
As we’ve noted before, the key for Windows Phone is to not just get developers to eventually bring their apps over to the platform but to get them to develop apps for the platform right from the get-go. With that in mind, it’s heartening to see that Rockstar Games has released Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for Windows Phone just one month after releasing the game for iOS and Android. This is particularly important because for a long time it’s taken Microsoft several months — if not longer — to get key apps such as Instagram onto Windows Phone after they’ve already launched on iOS and Android. If Microsoft can keep narrowing the times between releases of important apps then it will go a long way toward closing the “app gap” that it faces with rival mobile platforms.
No, Windows Phone won’t be catching up to Android in terms of market share anytime soon. However, there is one key area where Windows Phone may at last surpass Android: It might soon generate more revenue for Microsoft than Android does. Beyond Devices takes a look at some of the latest numbers for Windows Phone revenues in Microsoft’s latest earnings report and finds that revenue generated from Windows Phone licensing has narrowed the gap with licensing revenue collected from Android handset manufacturers. More →
Windows Phone has made some impressive gains in terms of market share over the past year but Microsoft still has a ways to go toward filling in its app gap with iOS and Android. In fact, Microsoft is so determined to get more developers onto Windows Phone that it’s giving developers payouts of up to $100,000 to bring their software over to the platform. The bigger long-term problem for Microsoft is that iOS and Android are still the top destinations for up-and-coming developers who want to have the best chance of making money. Or put another way, Microsoft doesn’t just need to worry about the hot apps it doesn’t have right now but the hot apps it won’t have a year from now. More →
Microsoft has denied an earlier report suggesting that the company plans to pay out billions of dollars in 2014 in an effort to ensure that a number of top smartphone vendors release phones powered by the Windows Phone platform this year. According to plugged-in Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin, Microsoft has plans to dole out more than $2.5 billion this year to Samsung, Sony, Huawei and several other smartphone makers to guarantee that they build and launch a single Windows Phone handset each in 2014. The exact purpose of the funds was not detailed. While Microsoft has not denied that payments will be made, the company’s head of communications has gone on record in stating that Murtazin’s report is not accurate. More →
Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform is more than three years old now and its global market share still sits in the low single digits. The platform is starting to gain momentum in some markets thanks to Nokia’s low-end phones, but Microsoft wants to make sure that momentum doesn’t hit a brick wall when it finally takes over Nokia’s devices and services business. According to one insider, Microsoft will use its sizable cash reserves to give various vendor partners the push they need to keep building Windows Phones. And that “push” will apparently cost the company several billion dollars. More →
It doesn’t seem likely that Microsoft plans to give up on Bing anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean its customers are following suit. According to a tweet from Kantar Worldreport, Windows Phone users only resorted to searching with the default engine 52% of the time in Q4 2013. The rest are “actively avoiding the integrated Bing Phone search” and instead opening their browsers to search with Google. Bing might not be a dead platform, but when users are willing to expend more energy to use another service that provides similar results, it might be time to rethink your strategy. Kantar also claims that users are “quickly switching” to Google, so before long a majority of Windows Phone users will have deserted Bing.