Look who's showing up fashionably late to the Windows Phone party. It's Dropbox, which is now available as an app download for Windows phones and tablets. According to Dropbox, this marks the next phase of its partnership with Microsoft -- the two somewhat joined forces in November of last year to ensure that Dropbox and Microsoft Office would work well together, and also be widely available.
It's been a battle for Microsoft to increase its Windows Phone market share, which sits at a distant third place behind Android and iOS. By the numbers, only around three out of every 100 smartphones is running Windows Phone, so it's no wonder app developers take their sweet time developing updates. That's also true of Spotify, which just unveiled a refreshed experience for Windows Phone users with what it claims is the best looking version yet.
Microsoft recently revealed some interesting stats and trends about Windows and Windows Phone, and among them is a tidbit that Windows Phone app developers may want to pay attention to. As it turns, most Windows Phone app downloads come from so-called "low memory" devices. On Windows Phone 7.x devices, low memory refers to having 256MB or less of RAM, and 512MB or less on Windows Phone 8.x handsets.
You can now add money to your account using Bitcoin
After spending all that time collecting hardware and setting up virtual coin mining machines, you're now ready to cash in, but where can you spend your cryptocurrency? We've seen a rise in the number places accepting Bitcoin over the past year, and believe it or not, Microsoft has now jumped on the bandwagon as well. Sort of, anyway. You can now use Bitcoin to add money to a Microsoft account, and in turn buy apps and other digital goods from its online stores.
Rock out with your Windows Phone or Windows device out
It wouldn't be fair to call Microsoft a Scrooge, not when the company is rolling out a pair of sweet deals for the holiday season, one of which includes 100 free albums. The caveat? You have to be a Windows or Windows Phone user. If you are, you can claim your 100 free albums from Microsoft by installing the company's Music Deals companion app. These aren't crappy albums, either.
When Microsoft acquired Nokia's smartphone business for $7.2 billion earlier this year, part of the negotiated deal was that Microsoft could continue to use the Nokia branding for the next decade. Now just two months after officially closing the deal, Nokia is dead to Microsoft, now just a reminder of where it doesn't want to be in terms of market share. With that said, meet the budget-focused Microsoft Lumia 535, the company's first branded handset.
Whether you thought it was a great deal or not, Microsoft has announced that its acquisition of Minecraft developer Mojang is now official. Back in September, it was announced that Microsoft would purchase Mojang for $2.5 billion. A decision that generated some discussions as to whether or not this was a good deal for Microsoft.
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.