I’ve been blasting it all over social media. While I’m trying to keep my expectations in check, I’m really looking forward to Microsoft’s announcements tomorrow, where the company is expected to take the wraps off of a new Surface Pro, and where we fans of Windows powered phones will finally get some new flagship devices.
Specs have already leaked for the forthcoming Lumia 950 and 950XL, and from a hardware perspective they look like they’ll be competitive handsets with some novel new tech features.
Most interesting to me, will be how this Lumia team has refined the camera experience. It was the old Nokia devices group that ushered in an era of crazy high quality optics and larger sensors on our phones. Nokia was years ahead of the curve there, but manufacturers like LG and Samsung have largely caught up to older devices like the Lumia 1520 and 930 (which I’ve brought along to help cover this event).
For my money, the camera battle between the Lumia 950 and the LG V10 is shaping up to be the most brutal as LG is working on improving their audio, and providing manual controls for shooting video, both areas where older Windows Phones still compete really well.
I’m also very curious to see how Microsoft will address mobile security. More Android devices are following behind the iPhone in offering up a smooth fingerprint scanning solution for unlocking phones and initiating mobile payments. The rumors on the 950 don’t show a fingerprint scanner on board, but instead the Lumia will be offering up an iris scanner. While other phones have flirted with using the front camera to unlock a device based on your face, we haven’t yet heard of anything as sophisticated as examining the iris of your eye. Whether this will be used solely for unlocking the device, or if we’ll see it utilized for some form of mobile payments will be closely examined.
And of course, I’m always going to be interested in seeing what Microsoft does with the Surface. As this division has become a billion dollar brand all by itself, the Pro 3 was a very well received product. Will the Pro 4 be a spec bump and minor refinement, or does Microsoft have something craftier up their sleeves?
I’ve only been on the ground here in NYC for about an hour, and we’ll be getting the official answer to all of those questions tomorrow morning! Now I’ve got to hunt down a good slice of pizza!
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.
We’ve already spent some time with the international version of Microsoft’s newest budget phablet, but if you’re looking for a big screen at little price here in the States, AT&T just delivered a “Coming Soon” page for the Lumia 640XL.
Now official word yet on pricing or availability, but you can catch our full review, camera review, and speaker test below!
Microsoft Research has delivered mobile and desktop apps to help us smooth out video and create dynamic timelapse projects with fluid movement. Let’s take a look at Hyperlapse Mobile, and how it compares to Instagram’s Hyperlapse app for iOS!
Snapchat recently started aggressively policing 3rd party apps over privacy concerns, that some apps could intercept images which were meant to be disposable. This has been supremely frustrating for Windows Phone users however as Snapchat still has not developed a native client for Microsoft’s OS.
6Discover was meant to interact with one specific aspect of the Snapchat service, media and news distribution, and while Rudy Huyn is correct that his app likely does not interact with any sensitive or private user information, but he might be underestimating the nature of the licensing agreements that Snaphat had other companies sign in order to participate.