Microsoft Unveils New Surface Pro 4, Lumia Phones, and Surface Book Multi-Mode Laptop in NYC

Sitting second row for Microsoft’s unveiling of their new hardware line up, the WiFi is already slaughtered, and cell phone networks are melting down. It’s frustrating being detached from the wider social media world, but the buzz surrounding this event makes sense. Microsoft has never put together such a complete line up of products and services to show off before.

Chatting with others around me, everyone seems to be here for a different product category. Lumia fans, Surface fans, XBox Fans, Band fans, Microsoft has a lot riding on bringing these various teams together. Not just internally, as their company wide reorganization seems to be working, and we’ve recently seen a bit more product synergy between departments which used to feud. We’re looking at a company now trying to bring their diverse customer base together. Taking individuals who might turn to Microsoft for a single service or solution, and exposing them to a more comprehensive ecosystem.

They’ve made a lot of progress recently in re-establishing their reputation as a services company, providing apps on every platform. That doesn’t unseat the need for Microsoft and partners to find opportunities to continue pressuring the hardware market. While Windows is the dominate force in PC sales, they represent a much smaller slice of the mobile market. The timing on this event actually works in their favor, as tablet sales for Android and iOS are starting to cool off, Windows slates are in a good spot for consumers to replace both laptops and tablets with a single purchase. To continue moving towards one unified operating system environment, Windows needs to blur the lines between phones and tablets, as much as they did between tablets and PC’s.

One of the first major announcements to follow that theme came from Facebook, building out a new suite of universal apps for the entire Windows 10 platform. Continue reading “Microsoft Unveils New Surface Pro 4, Lumia Phones, and Surface Book Multi-Mode Laptop in NYC”

Microsoft Laying off 7800 Employees, Streamlining Phone Portfolio

Rumors have been swirling that a Microsoft phone shakeup was in the works. Recently sparked by internal discussion of “touch choices” facing Microsoft, and how the CEO Satya Nadella might completely scrap the Windows Phone line of products to focus on moving Microsoft apps to iOS and Android.

For fans of Live Tiles, thankfully that doesn’t seem to be the case in light of a new employee memo from Nadella.

Microsoft will be moving forward with new phone hardware, but will be reducing the number of offerings. The Lumia line is kind of a mess leading up to the release of Windows 10. Currently consumers can pick from 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900, 1300, and 1500 series phones made within the last year. It’s a confusing collection with lots of product overlap.

In the near term, we will run a more effective phone portfolio, with better products and speed to market given the recently formed Windows and Devices Group. We plan to narrow our focus to three customer segments where we can make unique contributions and where we can differentiate through the combination of our hardware and software. We’ll bring business customers the best management, security and productivity experiences they need; value phone buyers the communications services they want; and Windows fans the flagship devices they’ll love.
-CEO Satya Nadella

This year we got an early glimpse at the future of this strategy with the entry level Lumia 640 and 640XL. Now it seems very likely we’ll see Microsoft whittle down this collection to six individual phones. Entry level, mid-range, and flagship. At each of those three tiers we’ll probably see a “normal” sized phone and a “phablet” with the XL designation.

Though industry layoffs are always  a sad story, fans of the platform can certainly benefit from more focus. You can read Nadella’s full email below.

Continue reading “Microsoft Laying off 7800 Employees, Streamlining Phone Portfolio”

Verizon Surprises Lumia Icon Owners with Denim Update

***UPDATE: We now have a full review of the 4K video quality embedded below!***nokia lumia icon denim update verizon wireless somegadgetguyComing down the pipe this morning, if you happen to own the oft neglected Nokia Lumia Icon, you’re in line for a BIG update.

Jumping the line over all the missed updates and patches, skipping over the Lumia Cyan firmware, VZW will be skipping directly to Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 with Lumia Denim. Go directly to GO, Collect $200. Fantastic.

In the updates arms race between AT&T and Big Red, Windows Phone users have been left out in the cold of late. The Lumia 1520 phablet still a ways behind it’s international brethren, but now Icon owners have a little something to brag about.

We’ll be tearing into the new Lumia Camera app soon, as we can’t wait to try out the new 2160/30p shooting mode.

lumia denim  camera exposure somegadgetguy

An OTA should be pushing out soon, but if you don’t want to wait (and you don’t mind completely wiping your phone) you can use the Lumia Software Recovery Tool.

You can see our real world benchmark test of the Icon shooting UHD video below!

Microsoft Doubles Quarterly Surface Sales, Moves 9.3 Million Lumias

Microsoft CEO Satya NadellaDuring their earnings call, Microsoft had some good news for their hardware divisions.

Redmond managed to more than double their revenue on the Surface line up of tablets, reaching $908 million over last quarter’s $400 million. Lumias also had their best quarter yet moving 9.3 million phones, built largely on the popularity of low cost handsets. In all the Devices and Consumer Hardware division revenue grew 47% over last quarter to $10.96 billion.

However, following restructuring costs and Nokia’s hardware integration, Microsoft’s stock is down $0.11 a share.

While it’s not earth shaking news, it is positive growth, and any positive traction in this market means we’ll be seeing more competition moving forward. Fingers crossed this means we’ll see new Microsoft Branded Lumia phones sooner rather than later.

Microsoft Earnings Report

microsoft earnings

FFC VLOG: #ListenWithLumia at the Firefly 2014 Music Festival! (Shot on Lumia 1520)

I had an AMAZING weekend thanks to the Lumia and Mix Radio crews flying a bunch of fun folks out to Delaware to hit the Firefly 2014 music festival!

Four days of live music and fun. I had a blast hanging out with amazing people and making some new friends. Here’s my recap of the weekend!

App Review: Nokia Refocus for Windows Phone – Shoot first THEN make sure your subject is in focus!

nokia refocus logoLike something out of a bad CSI re-run:

“Zoom into that flower. Enhance. See if you can clean up that focus.”

It’s a trip that we can now do things kinda like that. Refocus turns your Lumia into a Lytro style camera. Hold your camera steady for a couple seconds as the camera scans a scene, and then you can choose what to focus on later. We’re now officially living in the future.

Let’s take a look!

Refocus on the Windows App Store.

Here’s an example of how Refocus works. The flower pic I showed in the video can be embedded, allowing you to play with the focus points in a web browser.

AT&T Locks Exclusive on Nokia Lumia 1520, Will Sell Lumia 2520 Tablet too!

lumia 1520 04AT&T and Nokia have been pretty tight since the first Lumia 900 hit the USA. It seems whenever Nokia drops cutting edge hardware, it’s likely that AT&T will have first crack at it.

It’s now been officially announced that Nokia’s newest handset, the Lumia 1520 phablet, is destined to be on Big Blue’s LTE network. This will also give AT&T the most robust collection of Phablets on the market with the Lumia standing along side the Galaxy Note 3, the LG Optimus G Pro, and the HTC One Max.

It was also announced that AT&T will be carrying the Lumia 2520 Windows 8.1 RT tablet, which will be one of the more affordable tablets to include LTE when it’s released later this year.

No pricing or availability as of yet, but at least now you know so you can plan for your holiday phone and tablet shopping.

lumia 2520 20

(via AT&T)

App review: 6tag brings a near perfect Instagram experience to Windows Phone 8

6tag instagram client windows phone 8 app review lumia 1020 somegadgetguyThe lack of an official Instagram app for Windows Phone has long been held as proof of the lack of quality apps for the WP8 ecosystem. “I mean, windows phone doesn’t even have Instagram? AmIRite! High five!”

The problem with not developing an app for a popular service? Someone might develop that app in your absence. There are a couple different solutions for getting pics off of your gorgeous Lumia camera, and on to Instagram’s servers. As of today, my favorite is now 6tag.

Developed by Rudy Huyn, who has produced a number of popular apps for Windows Phone, including mobile 9Gag and Wikipedia clients, 6tag offers up every feature and filter of available on Instagram with a Windows Phone twist.

6tag instagram client windows phone 8 app review lumia 1020 somegadgetguy screenshot 1

All of the favorites are here. Upon logging in, you’re presented a page full of square pics from all the people you follow. The same interactions are available, being able to like by double tapping the pic for example. To leave a comment or tag someone in a photo, you swipe across the photo to get access to these other options. It keeps the photo stream a little more focused on photography, and it looks a little less cluttered. Plus lateral sliding squares is just so Metro.

6tag instagram client windows phone 8 app review lumia 1020 somegadgetguy screenshot filters

Pics and videos can be uploaded and edited using the same tools and filters as you would find on the official Instagram app. Happily, all of the sharing services are also included, giving you one touch sharing to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, and Flickr. Unlike the official Instagram app, Huyn also included sharing support for VK, the second largest European social network behind Facebook.

You can also access your likes and lists of people who have liked and commented on your pics. If I have a complaint here, it’s that the live tile doesn’t seem to update those likes very often. I’ll jump into the app and be surprised that my pet picture recently got a dozen likes. It’s a small smudge on an otherwise great experience.

6tag instagram client windows phone 8 app review lumia 1020 somegadgetguy profile

6tag is free to use, but ads are served on certain screens like your profile or when commenting.

It really is unfortunate that Instagram continues to ignore Windows Phone. Some of the most camera phone passionate consumers are Nokia fans, and Instagram is excluding a base of potential users who have sided with a company producing some of the best cameras ever built into smartphones. Seriously. No Lumia 1020 pics?

Of course, this means an industrious developer can step in to fill the void. Until we get that official app, 6tag will do just fine. Plus if you use instagram, you can find me there as SomeAudioGuy.

6tag on the Windows Phone app store.