Архив метки: Xbox Live

Microsoft And Nokia Team Up To Take Back The Low End


Say a prayer for Android. Nokia’s new Lumia 710 Windows Phone, a $49 smartphone aimed at the feature-phone set, is about to change the way carriers sell – and customers see – cellphones. Forget LTE, dual cores, and all that flummery. Microsoft and Nokia are essentially buying a few million people stuck in the 20th century a new cellphone and they’re doing it in a way only the world’s two finest proprietors of technology to the masses could.

On the surface, the Lumia 710 is redolent of the bargain basement. The amateurish (but rugged) protruding buttons and a rubberized back are a direct attack against the carbon-fiber power slabs that most carriers are flogging while the OS is all animation and pop, aimed at a market that’s used to constantly moving images associated with ad-clogged web pages and Xbox dashboards. It is, to quote Ren and Stimpy, a jolly candy phone, priced to move and ready for the anything but iPhone crowd who, whether by dint of economics or aesthetics, don’t go much for Nexii or RAZRii either.

If you’re thinking that I’m suggesting the Lumia 710 is in any way bad or too “mainstream,” think again. Nokia and Microsoft were – and, to an extent, still are – on the ropes. Convinced for too long that their vaunted N-series was still lounging in high Olympus while it was really playing-second fiddle. It took Elop and his “sell-out” to Microsoft – whose money is helping subsidize this handset – to remake the brand.

The 710 is what Nokia does best: solid, acceptably-specced hardware at a price that’s approaching free. I would equate these phones with the long-dead Wing and Shadow, two “feature-smartphones” Microsoft belatedly tried to foist on a public salivating for the iPhone and the Nokia 5310, a music phone that circulated for a few years in the wake of the app phone revolution. Those were phones aimed at the low end at a time when the low end was looking up.

These past few years have changed the way we think about phones and, although there are cheap Android and iOS phones to be had for under $100, Nokia is really aiming at parents who may be buying their kids a new cellphone (the Xbox Live app is a huge deal) and out-of-work folks who are looking for a real smartphone experience for not a lot of money. Microsoft and Nokia excel at this.

I won’t estimate sales in the millions for this model, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a slow and steady trickle of phones like the 710 in the next few years. If Microsoft knows anything it’s that low-end, commodity hardware is just fine to showcase their software and if Nokia knows anything it’s low-end, commodity hardware is a great base on which to build a business. Nokia didn’t get huge by selling the Nokia N810. They got rich selling Neo’s 7110.

That said I also feel that this is a real and credible threat to Android. A single OS provider the size of Microsoft sending out updates to an entire line, from low to high, is increasingly seeming more credible than newcomer Google pumping out Ice Cream Sandwiches and other updates to the older phones that they clearly consider dross. Microsoft, through the execrable Windows Mobile platform, learned how to code to the lowest common denominator.

Claim chowder or not, 2012 is the year of WinPho.

Microsoft And Nokia Team Up To Take Back The Low End

Microsoft Debuts SkyDrive App On Windows Phone And iOS


Microsoft doesn’t seem to have much in the way of cross-platform animosity any more. Case in point, the company’s SkyDrive team recently launched both a Windows Phone and iOS version of their SkyDrive online file storage application.

SkyDrive is the latest in a line of Microsoft applications that have made an appearance on iOS, with others including the (rather nice) Xbox Live app and Kinectimals.

Aside from the obvious stylistic changes, the WP7 and iOS versions pack the same functionality. Setup is dead simple: if you have a Windows Live account, then you also have a SkyDrive account just waiting to be filled with documents and silly photos. All it takes is a quick log-in to be able to start storing and sharing your myriad files online.

Users can upload files, organize them into folders, and share them with friends and colleagues. Navigating through SkyDrive is pretty straightforward too, so even the most stubborn file sharers should have an easy time getting into the swing of things.

SkyDrive is a pretty notable addition to the Windows Phone marketplace, as similar online file storage services like Dropbox and Box.net haven’t yet found their way to Microsoft’s mobile OS. The iOS version is a tougher sell considering all of the available alternatives, but it could be a great solution for certain use cases. If you’re constantly juggling multiple phones for example, having SkyDrive installed could be one of the quickest ways to get files from a Windows Phone to an iPhone. Sadly, Android hasn’t yet felt the SkyDrive love, so people looking for a more comprehensive solution should choose their cloud-based file dump carefully.

Microsoft Debuts SkyDrive App On Windows Phone And iOS

Microsoft Files More Patents For Dual-Screen Swiss Army Knife Slider Phone


I could swear that I’ve had a dream about this before, or at least written about it*, but it looks like Microsoft beat me to the patent office. On September 22, Microsoft filed the “Mobile Communication Device Having Multiple, Interchangeable Second Devices” patent, which basically describes a slider-style phone that has replacement components to swap in for the slider keyboard.

What’s cool is that the mobile phone should be able to communicate with any of the secondary devices, whether they’re docked in the phone’s little slide-out drawer or not. Within the picture, you can see a QWERTY keyboard, an Xperia Play-style gaming controller, an extra battery, and an alternate screen. Though they aren’t included in the drawings, Microsoft also included “expansion storage devices, solar panels for charging a battery of the first device, or for directly powering the first device, or medical sensors (surface thermometers etc.)”

The patent goes on to say that “the game controller and keyboard can each comprise a speaker and a microphone to enable mobile phone handset operation. The first device can simultaneously communicate with one or more of the multiple second devices.”

In other words, Microsoft wants to make your phone a Swiss army knife. And the possible implementations of this are pretty far reaching. The game controller is an obvious choice — throw a kickstand on the phone and you have yourself a nice little portable gaming station. And with the Xbox Live integration baked into Windows Phone Mango, it’ll definitely be worthwhile. But something as simple as an extra battery (or possibly solar panels) can make a huge difference in the way we use our devices.

Granted, lots of phones allow for interchangeable batteries, but none let you pop ‘em in to the slider dock. Most of the time you’re trying to get into that back panel while you’re on the go, and the process becomes super tedious. So much so that you, like myself, may actually use the phone less just to avoid it. This technology has the potential to make one of the bigger problems in the mobile world (battery life) a little less difficult.

Of course, Microsoft and others apply for patents all the time, and many of them sit untouched in a vault unless some competitor brings the technology/design to market. However, I’ve been keeping up with some of the latest Microsoft patents and it’s become clear that this detachable dual-screen slider dream is obviously a focus over at Redmond. We’ve already heard about a patent that improves the design of a slider phone to make the keyboard and screen sit evenly. But past that, Microsoft also filed a patent* in July that again describes a mobile phone with a detachable second screen, wherein both components can communicate with each other, detached or not. In fact, some of the same drawings are duplicated within that patent and this most recent one (like the image displayed on the right).

This obviously isn’t proof of anything, but it’s surely a sign that Microsoft is thinking long and hard about this idea.

[via Joystiq]

Launch Date:
April 4, 1974


Microsoft, founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, is a veteran software company, best known for its Microsoft Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software.

Starting in 1980 Microsoft formed a partnership with IBM allowing Microsoft to sell its software package with the computers IBM manufactured.

Microsoft is widely used by professionals worldwide and largely dominates the American corporate market.

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Microsoft Files More Patents For Dual-Screen Swiss Army Knife Slider Phone

Microsoft Demos Xbox/Windows Phone Link With Giant Cats


Microsoft’s been touting Windows Phone 7′s Xbox Live functionality since day one, but it’s always felt just a little lacking. You can look at your cute little avatar and play games that bump up your gamerscore, but where’s the connectivity with the Xbox experience we saw in demos like this one?

It would appear the folks in Redmond aren’t quite there yet, but a demo at their GamesFest in Seattle on Monday morning shows us that the idea hasn’t fallen by the wayside yet.

Microsoft and the Kinectimals team showed off a novel method of moving a furry friend from within the Kinectimals Xbox game onto a Windows Phone. Players who have grown fond of the pets on their Xbox can have the game generate a QR code that can be scanned by the Kinectimals mobile app. While on the phone, players can take photos with the camera and strategically their pets in them for kicks.

When players grow tired of carrying their little digital tiger around, the app generates a similar QR code that gets scanned by the Kinect camera and the pet gets reimported into the game. Geekwire has the whole demo on video, for those having trouble imagining it:

The Kinectimals connection is part of Microsoft’s plans to strengthen the ties between their immensely popular Xbox Live platform and Windows Phone 7. Frankly, it’s about time: it’s one thing for Microsoft to use the Xbox Live brand to garner their mobile OS some gamer cred, but it’s nigh-useless if that experience doesn’t deliver. As WPcentral points out, the only other game before Kinectimals that featured any sort of integration with its home counterpart was Full House Poker, which allowed gamers to transfer their winnings between play sessions.

Between today’s demo and the concepts they’ve already come up with, Microsoft is looking at potentially owning a large part of the mobile gaming space if they can just get their A-game on.

Microsoft Demos Xbox/Windows Phone Link With Giant Cats