Sony is considering launching at least one Windows Phone handset in 2014, sources claim, as Microsoft courts potential partners to bolster support for its "third platform" OS. Sony, which has been building exclusively Android-powered smartphones for several years, is in the midst of negotiations with Microsoft about adding a second ecosystem to its range, insiders tell The Information, which could potentially launch with VAIO branding rather than the Xperia brand its existing phones carry.
Microsoft last night sent out an email to some of its Windows Phone users informing them of some good news. They will get 20GB of additional SkyDrive storage for one year, in addition to the 7 free GB that SkyDrive users already get. The holiday gift only applies to "Windows Phone Enthusiast Users".
This week the most powerful camera phone on the planet - so to speak - has recieved a software update from Microsoft. The Nokia Lumia 1020 with its beastly back-facing camera will be rolling with Lumia Black, the newest in Nokia-based Windows Phone software - as soon as this afternoon for users across the United States. The firmware piece of this equation appears - for now - to be hitting the Lumia 1520.
Microsoft's video-selling kingdom has arrived in Xbox form for their mobile devices in the Windows Phone 8 Xbox Video app. This app takes on all the abilities of the Xbox One's Xbox Video app, delivering you access to your account on the go. This app allows you to both buy and watch videos on your smartphone, adding these videos to your account that you can then watch on your Xbox One as well.
Windows Phone 8.1 will gain a Siri-style virtual personal assistant in an update expected in the first half of 2014, sources claim, with the new version also said to bring the much-anticipated notification center. Currently being internally tested though not expected to be publicly detailed until BUILD 2014 in April, The Verge reports, the update will supposedly see Bing search replaced with Microsoft's "Cortana" digital assistant, details of which leaked earlier this year.
Microsoft appears to be considering a shift in strategy. The shift, assuming they move forward, would be one that would have them acting a bit more like Google. That is to say, giving Windows Phone and Windows RT to device makers for free and looking to supplement with advertisements and subscription revenue. Details here come by way of The Verge who are reporting the free versions are under "serious consideration" by Terry Myerson.
After an approval at the hands of the United States Department of Justice, the Microsoft acquisition of Nokia's hardware and services departments has been given the thumbs-up by European Union antitrust regulators. This is the last large approval the companies needed before they moved forward with the acquisition - they'll now be free to roll out the merge at full speed.
This week the Windows 8.1 (formerly known as "Blue") software update continues to roll out as it has for the past several weeks, making way for the same sort of push for Windows Phone devices this spring. What's just appearing this week for news on the generation after this one is the likes of "Threshold", a system that'll further combine the powers of the Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and Xbox One software environments. This update series, as it were, will be delivered in the spring of 2015.
It would appear that the first appearance of the Nokia Lumia 520 as the most common smartphone in use across the world earlier this year was not just a fluke. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Instead we're seeing this device continue to grow in popularity, quite likely because of its relative low cost and common smartphone abilities - not to mention the fact that it comes in a variety of fabulous colors.