Microsoft is doing everything possible to push customers to its new Windows Phone 8 operating system and convince them that it’s better than Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. This is no easy task, as Windows Phone has yet to make a dent in the market dominated by Google and Apple. According to Strategy Analytics, Microsoft phones will only account for 4% of the U.S. smartphone market in 2012.
Hoping to change that, Microsoft officially launched the latest version of its smartphone OS at the end of October, and according to CEO Steve Ballmer, soon you won’t be able open a magazine or watch TV without seeing an ad for the new Windows products.
At its launch, Microsoft highlighted a handful of the smartphone OS’s new features. For parents, there is the Kid’s Corner, a new limited mode for the phone that can be customized for your children. Data Sense monitors how much of your data plan is being consumed, then optimizes your data usage so you can get more out of it. Microsoft’s SkyDrive feature can be used to sync photos, videos and Office documents across multiple Windows devices. The OS also has added support for sharing-feature near field communication, over-the-air updates and support for quad-core processors.
Ballmer says the Windows Phone app store will have 46 of the top 50 apps from other stores, and announced that the new platform will include apps and games such as Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Jetpack Joyride, Cut the Rope and Pandora (all new Windows Phone 8 users will get one year of free music, no ads).
The first devices designed specificially for Windows Phone 8 should be available in stores and online starting in November.
The upcoming holiday season means there’s going to be a bunch of new releases for all you tech fans to look forward to in the next few weeks. The Apple iPad Mini, Microsoft’s Surface tablet and a line-up of Nexus devices from Google are just a few to look forward to!
Apple iPad Mini
The 7.85-inch iPad Mini is rumored to be available in Wi-Fi only, 3G and 4G versions, The device is expected to be showcased on October 23, meaning it will come in time for the release of super-fast 4G on October 30. There are also expected to be a staggering 24 variants of the iPad Mini, with two color choices in storage options ranging from 8GB to 64GB. The Mini will feature liquid-crystal display and a lightning connector, as well as dual cameras for FaceTime that will allow users to both snap pictures with the rear camera and engage in video chats with the front camera.
Microsoft Surface tablet
Surface will be launched on October 25 and customers can start already preordering the tablet from Microsoft direct. Microsoft engineers have claimed that the display offered by the Microsoft Surface is better than the iPad’s Retina display, as a result of its ClearType technology. Rumors have also been revolving around the possibility of a Surface smartphone.
Google Nexus devices
Google is expected to launch its next Nexus handset at the October 29 event, which could also be used to showcase the Android 4.2.
With three tech giants gearing up for big releases, it’s going to be a serious battle this holiday season. Who do you think will come out on top? Which release are you most anxiously awaiting?
Influential reviewers’ group Consumer Reports openly blasted the iPhone 4 in 2010 for having a faulty antenna that gave off spotty reception when the phone was held in a certain way… so readers were eager to hear if they’d recommend the new iPhone 5. Well, turns out… they like it!
Consumer Reports just gave Apple’s latest smartphone a thumbs-up , despite widespread public complaints about its mapping service. Despite admitting its mapping function fell short, they said laboratory tests confirmed that the new iPhone 5 deserves to be ranked among the best smartphones.
Chief Executive Tim Cook apologized last week for the mapping issues, and directed users to rival services run by Google Inc and others. The Maps service was created by acquiring companies and employing data from a range of providers including TomTom NV and Waze, and was at first billed as a highlight of the updated iOS 6 software.
Errors and omissions quickly emerged after the software was released. Misplaced buildings, mislabeled cities and duplicate geographical features were among the many issues. Users also complained about the service lacking public transit directions and street-view pictures.
Do you have an iPhone 5? Do issues with the Maps feature ruin your opinion of the phone, or would you still give it two thumbs up?
If you’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of Samsung’s Galaxy 10.1 tablet, pretty soon you’ll have your chance to get your hands on one.
In September, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh had banned U.S. sales of the tablet, pending the resolution of a patent trial between Apple and Samsung over vital technology used in tablet computers.
The jury ordered Samsung to pay Apple $1 billion, after discovering that many of Samsung’s products illegally used technology developed by Apple for its products. But the jury has now found that Samsung’s Galaxy 10.1 wasn’t one of the offending products. Thus, the court has removed the temporary Galaxy 10.1 sales ban against Samsung, allowing the South Korean company to finally sell the product in the United States. This could help Samsung in the pivotal holiday shopping season.
“We are pleased with the court’s action today, which vindicates our position that there was no infringement of Apple’s design patent and that an injunction was not called for,” said Samsung in a statement.
Samsung actually countersued Apple in court, claiming the iPhone 5 had infringed on some of the Samsung’s patents. These top two smartphone makers are currently locked in patent disputes in 10 countries.
The judge scheduled a December hearing to consider Samsung’s demand for a new trial.