Windows Phone 8.1 update introduces native Passbook support

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 14, 2014

Microsoft today released a developer preview of its forthcoming upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 software update and one outlet has spotted an interesting new feature allowing folks to import Passbook items into the Microsoft Wallet app.

Announced at WWDC last summer, Passbook lets you store coupons, boarding passes, event tickets, store cards and more into the stock iOS Passbook app and sync these items across other iOS and Mac devices through iCloud.

Apple has envisioned Passbook as an iOS feature, but several Android apps now support the feature, like PassWallet. And now people on Microsoft’s mobile platform will soon be able to use Passbook on their Windows Phone devices as well… Read More


Microsoft finally unveils its Siri competitor ‘Cortana’

By Cody Lee on Apr 2, 2014

It’s been nearly three years since Apple unveiled Siri on its iPhone 4s, and Microsoft finally has its answer to the digital assistant: Cortana. Named after a virtual character in the company’s popular Halo gaming franchise, the feature is powered by Bing and offers a mix of Google Now-ish and Siri-like characteristics.

We first got a glimpse of Cortana earlier this year courtesy of a developer leak, but Microsoft officially unveiled her this morning at its Build Developer Conference in San Francisco. The assistant will ship alongside several other new features in the Windows Phone 8.1 update, expected to launch in the next few months… Read More


Meet Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Siri

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 3, 2014

The Windows giant Microsoft will be introducing its upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 update at the Build conference next month.

With it comes Cortana, a Microsoft-branded personal digital assistant that includes functionality provided by Apple’s Siri and Google’s Google Now voice-activated assistants.

It also has a few nice features not provided by Apple so perhaps competition from Microsoft (and Google) will prompt the iPhone maker to roll out new Siri features sooner than later. The Verge has an exclusive look at Cortana’s interface and some of its features, here are the highlights… Read More


Microsoft officially launches its $200 iPhone trade-in bait

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 27, 2013

Forbes on Wednesday reported that Microsoft will be extending its existing $200 iPad trade-in offer to Apple’s iPhone as well. Sure enough, today the promotion has gone live. It’s part of Microsoft’s running #timetoswitch Windows Phone and Windows 8 campaign that encompasses television, print, online and social media channels.

Similar to the iPad promotion, the Windows giant has partnered with recycle firm CExchange to lure would-be switchers into bringing in their existing iPhone handset in good working condition for up to $200 credit, redeemable against Microsoft Store purchases… Read More


Microsoft to trade-in your iPhone if you switch

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 25, 2013

Microsoft has been running its #timetoswitch campaign for some time, to mixed results. The multi-pronged effort spans television, print, online and social media channels as Microsoft positions Windows Phone as the next big thing.

Part of that effort is a recent iPad trade-in campaign seeking to steal sales from Apple by inviting iPad users to trade-in their tablet for up to $200 in Microsoft Store credits. That’s just the tip of the iceberg: Forbes writes today that Redmond is prepping to add the iPhone to the promotion… Read More


New Microsoft ad touts Lumia 1020 camera, mocks iPhone users

By Cody Lee on Aug 22, 2013

My how the tables have turned. Five years ago Apple was running its ‘I’m a Mac’ ads, attacking the perceived weaknesses of PCs running Microsoft’s Windows software. And now we have Microsoft making ads that attack Apple products.

The Redmond company’s latest in a series of Cupertino-bashing commercials pits the 41MP camera of Nokia’s Lumia 1020 against that on the iPhone 5. And as you can imagine, the spot paints iPhone users in a not-so-favorable light… Read More


In the aftermath of the Apple deal, HopStop for Windows Phone gets discontinued

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 22, 2013

Last Friday, Apple confirmed it had snapped up HopStop, the brains behind a transit-navigation app which provides detailed subway, bus, train, taxi, walking and biking directions. The move should complement Apple’s troubled mapping solution as the company works toward folding HopStop’s high-quality public transit data into its in-house Maps app.

Though an important capability, Apple initially felt content with third-parties tackling the transit navigation puzzle. Be that as it may, it’s now come to our attention that the Windows Phone app has rather unceremoniously been pulled following the HopStop acquisition.

File this one under the ‘business as usual’ drawer: Apple similarly pulled Chomp for Android after acquiring the app discovery engine back in February 2012Read More


Here’s why Apple dropped the ball in Russia

By Ed Sutherland on Jul 16, 2013

Russia is one of the BRIC countries mentioned alongside Brazil, India and China as areas where demand for smartphones is increasing rapidly. Yet, recently, the last of Russia’s big-three carriers stopped selling the iPhone, leaving it up to resellers and Apple’s new online store to meet demand.

Why are Russian carriers saying no to the iconic handset – and adopting competitors, such as Samsung and Microsoft? The answer could be as simple as 1-2-3… Read More


Microsoft reorganizes as Nokia unveils new 41MP phone

By Cody Lee on Jul 11, 2013

Seemingly taking a page from Apple’s playbook, Microsoft announced a major reorganization this morning. It’s calling the move ‘One Microsoft,’ as it looks to rally behind a single strategy as one company, instead of a collection of separate divisional strategies.

The company says that moving forward, it will continue to release new devices and services. And this new approach will allow it to innovate with greater speed, efficiency and capability in a “fast-changing world,” while helping them execute better than ever… Read More


IDC: Apple, Android own 92% smartphone volume, Windows Phone beats BlackBerry

By Ed Sutherland on May 16, 2013

Just days after rival research firm Gartner released quarterly sales for iOS and Android, rival IDC today announced similar numbers for shipments of smartphones. Combined, iOS and Android maintained their stranglehold on the smartphone market, accounting for more than an astounding 92 percent of shipments during the first quarter of 2013.

In a surprising move, shipments of the Windows Phone smartphone operating system surpassed the BlackBerry OS, putting Microsoft in third place behind Android and iOS. I bet you didn’t see that one coming… Read More


Windows Phone ad sees iPhone and Android owners trading insults at wedding

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 29, 2013

Despite the massive marketing blitz, Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform has managed to regain but a fraction of market share lost to iOS and Android in years past. Figuring it could take a page from Samsung’s marketing handbook, Microsoft on Monday published on its YouTube channel a new Windows Phone commercial which takes a mandatory jab at Apple’s iPhone and its Siri digital personal assistant while also poking fun of Gorilla-sized Android devices from Samsung. The funny ad is aimed at boosting Microsoft’s and Nokia’s stagnant sales of Lumia handsets in the United States… Read More


Apple claimed $3 out of each $4 top app stores made in Q1

By Ed Sutherland on Apr 9, 2013

In the latest sign of the importance apps play in smartphone adoption, more than thirteen billion downloads were recorded during the first three months of 2013, according to a Monday report.

The survey of the four leading app stores also found Apple, Google and others earned $2.2 billion from apps, an eleven percent increase over the final quarter of 2012.

Whereas Apple leads in terms of revenue – and by a large margin, too – Google’s Play Store, thanks to a large installed base of Android devices, has the upper hand in terms of download count. Specifically, the App Store collected 74 percent of the revenue of top app stores, while Google Play led registered 51 percent of apps obtained… Read More


Chart: how US mobile landscape changed in 7 years

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 21, 2013

Research firm comScore today released a comprehensive report on mobile landscape in the United States and elsewhere and one particular chart stands out as another example of how the smartphone market is a duopoly between iOS and Android, with Apple and Samsung increasingly taking industry’s profits at the expense of – well, pretty much every other handset maker out there.

Spanning 2005-2012, the chart paints an accurate picture of platform dynamics when it comes to the competitive market for connected mobile devices… Read More


Vevo wants to become the next MTV, launches always-on broadcast channel

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 12, 2013

Today at SXSW, Vevo announced a 24/7 channel coming to your traditional television via the Roku set-top box and the Xbox gaming console, but also to the Vevo web site and mobile platforms like Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, Microsoft’s Windows Phone. As you know, Vevo streams official music videos licensed from record labels, both through its web site and via a dedicated YouTube channel, where most of its 52 million monthly uniques come from.

Vevo’s mobile apps will be updated with an around-the-clock curated experience of original programming, including live concerts and television shows. The experience is being described as multicast, meaning everyone gets to watch the same programming at the exact same time, regardless of the platform they’re accessing it from. Vevo TV will even feature a 24-hour schedule of static programming blocks, just like your regular dumb-ified tube… Read More


This year, smartphones should outship feature phones for the first time

By Ed Sutherland on Mar 4, 2013

It has already happened in the United States and now comes word 2013 will mark the date when smartphones outsell simpler so-called feature phones globally. More than 918 million smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone will ship this year, for the first time outnumbering feature phones.

According to research firm IDC, a nice 50.1 percent of mobile phones shipped this year will be smartphones, most destined for China. However, that small lead should widen greatly by 2017 as more emerging nations increase adoption of the powerful mobile devices… Read More


Is Apple losing its coolness edge to Microsoft and Android?

By Ed Sutherland on Feb 21, 2013

In the contest for coolness, the amorphous concept potentially driving young consumers to smartphones, tablets and other devices, Apple has some competition. While the iPhone maker is seen as cooler now than previously by 60 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds, even more people point to Android as the king of cool.

Even more surprising is Microsoft apparently isn’t your father’s software giant. The Windows maker – long viewed as buttoned-down and behind the technology curve – has revamped its image, thanks largely to the firm’s smartphone and Surface tablet… Read More


Poll: my next cell phone will be…

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 21, 2013

These days, it’s all but impossible to escape Apple hate speech. You know who to blame: big media. I mean, stock manipulators played even the credulous Wall Street Journal. It’s not just WSJ – or NYT or Reuters, for that matter.

Anti-Apple Forbes hit new lows with clickbait headlines like this one or this one. And as crazypants analysts voice their concern regarding “Apple’s lack of a strategy in the lower-end phone”, they at the same time continue to hallucinate about a happiness or time travel machine from Apple.

And all of them get an assistance from traffic-hungry journalists like Dan Lyons whose write-ups sound bitter and idiotic. But in spite of all that FUD talk, Apple is demolishing Android in every metric that matters. None of this frenzy should matter when considering your next cell phone.

But real life can be a bitch and with so much negative publicity mounting ahead of Apple’s earnings report, no wonder some of the faint-hearted fans are beginning to question their faith in the California firm. I know where my heart stands, but I want to know one thing: do you know where your heart stands? So, what’s your next phone gonna be? Read More


Microsoft launches free natural disaster helper app

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 16, 2013

Available now as a free download on Windows Phone, Android and iPhone, HelpBridge is Microsoft’s new mobile app that everybody should have on their handset, just in case. Should you, God forbid, ever find yourself at the epicenter of a large scale natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy, the software will help you connect with those that matter to you most.

As a bonus, you can also use HelpBridge to rally everyone around one cause – that is, donate your money, time and resources to support relief and rebuilding efforts. The above clip shows off the Windows Phone version of HelpBridge, but you get the idea… Read More


AT&T confirms ‘best-ever’ sales of iPhone and Android smartphones

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 8, 2013

Ahead of its earnings call pertaining to calendar 2012 fourth-quarter results scheduled for January 24, carrier AT&T just announced, reporting ‘best-ever’ sales of Apple and Android smartphones. The Dallas, Texas wireless company sold a record ten million smartphones powered by Apple’s and Google’s platform during the holiday quarter of 2012 as Android and iPhone sales hit all-time highs. The figure beats the year-ago quarter when AT&T moved 9.4 million smartphones, 7.6 million of them being iPhones.

The “best-ever quarterly sales of Android and Apple smartphones”, according to AT&T Mobility President and Chief Executive Officer Ralph de la Vega, came down to an average of 110,000 smartphone sales each day. “These are the industry’s most valuable postpaid subscribers with average revenues twice that of non-smartphone subscribers”, he noted… Read More


Samsung passes Nokia as the world’s top phone brand in 2012

By Ed Sutherland on Dec 18, 2012

The cellphone industry has a new king. South Korea’s Samsung is #1 in the market, unseating the Finnish-based Nokia after fourteen years. As 2012 wraps up, Samsung is responsible for 29 percent of all cell phone shipments, up from last year’s 24 percent.

Conversely, Nokia slips to #2, dropping to 24 percent of the market, a fall from 30 percent posted in 2011. Nokia’s departure from a top spot it held since 1998 is largely due to the predominance of smartphones, an area where Samsung thrived and Nokia faltered, according to the hardware research firm iSuppli… Read More

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