Microsoft, which first flirted with smartwatches through its Smart Personal Object Technology (SPOT) initiative all the way back in 2004, is rumored to be on the verge of re-entering the smartwatch market. A new report suggests that the company could launch a wearable device within the next few weeks.
Microsoft is not the only company to have pinned high hopes on Windows Live Tiles and been let down. The user interface element that has come to be associated with Windows 8’s well-documented alienation of desktop users has been at the center of a patent lawsuit since 2012. A little-known Portland, Maine-based company named Surfcast, which inhabits the obscure realm of “operating system technology” design, suddenly shot to attention a couple of years back, when it filed a lawsuit against Microsoft, accusing the latter of infringing on one of its patents with Live Tiles. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) on Monday gave its final written decision in an inter partes review (IPR) of patent 6,724,403 (the “'403 patent”) and sadly for Surfcast, Live Tiles are just as difficult to make money from as ever.
Over the past month or so, Microsoft’s $2.5 billion acquisition of Minecraft developer Mojang has spawned many debates (including our inaugural Maximum Debate article) about its merits and long-term viability. The long-term strategic rationale for the deal may not be readily apparent — if one exists at all, that is — but it’s probably safe to say that bringing Minecraft to Windows Phone is the immediate objective, a fact that is borne out by a recent tweet by the game’s lead developer Jens Bergensten.
Talks reportedly initiated by Minecraft creator Markus Persson
Microsoft’s rumored acquisition of Sweden-based Minecraft developer Mojang could be worth as much as $2.5 billion, according to a Reuters report published Friday. This is considerably higher than the $2 billion figure reported by the Wall Street Journal, which was the first news outlet to claim that such a deal was in the works when it published a report, citing “a person with knowledge of the matter,” on Tuesday.
HTC One M8 for Windows will land at T-Mobile this fall
It came as a bit of a surprise when Microsoft and HTC announced a cloned version of the One M8 handset running Windows Phone 8.1 software. After all, it's HTC's flagship Android smartphone, and by porting it over to Windows Phone 8.1, HTC claims it marks the first time that an iconic flagship device has been offered on multiple operating systems. But what about multiple carriers? Well, you can add T-Mobile to the list of wireless carriers getting the One M8 for Windows.
Sometimes the Windows Phone platform gets forgotten or otherwise overlooked by developers. Such has been the case with Spotify, which has been serving up free tunes to Android and iOS users for some time now, but hadn't extended the same courtesy to Windows Phone. Well, that changes today -- Spotify has finally brought the free mobile music experience to Windows Phone users around the globe.
You can run Microsoft Office on multiple platforms, and the same goes for some of the other products and services the Redmond outfit offers, such as OneDrive and Skype. With that kind of attention being paid to cross-compatibility, might we expect Microsoft to release its Internet Explorer browser on other OSes as well? Not in the near future. As it stands, Microsoft isn't planning to port IE over to Android or iOS in the mobile space.
In case you haven't been paying attention, the Windows Phone Store is growing and expanding into a legitimate contender right before our very eyes. By Microsoft's count, the Windows Phone Store now boasts over 300,000 apps and games, with over 2 billion app downloads to date. Sure, that's only a fraction of the available apps on Android and iOS, but it's a big fraction.
Little by little, the Windows Phone platform is being fleshed out with a bigger and wider variety of apps. For you photography fans, Adobe Photoshop Express is now available for Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 8.1 devices as a free download. For casual edits, this means you no longer have to export your photos to your PC for Photoshop-style touchups and the like -- just use your Lumia device instead.
iPhone thefts are down as a result of kill switch technology in iOS 7
One of the debates in the mobile phone industry is whether or not so-called kill switches can actually reduce smartphone theft. Well, early indications suggest that they do. Authorities in New York and San Francisco -- two locations where smartphone theft is a growing epidemic -- say they've seen a drop in iPhone robberies since Apple implemented its Activation Lock feature in iOS 7.