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All posts tagged Android

Chromebook will run Android Apps. That’s right.

Chromebook will be able to connect to the Google Play Store and install Android Apps. This was big news on the Google Chromebooks blog on May 16th 2016 and then we didn’t really hear about it again until CES 2017 last month.

The news at CES was about specific Chromebooks supporting this feature: the Samsung Chromebook Plus / Pro & the Asus Chromebook Flip to name two.

Chromebook getting Android Apps - First News

Not All Chromebooks are created Equally

CES showed us that if you are thinking of buying a Chromebook, and you have an Android phone, then you are going to want to examine carefully which of the new Chromebooks are going to support this feature. (I find it hard to imagine an iPhone owner with a Chromebook but stranger things have happened).

Furthermore, this might not be an out-of-the-box feature; according to the official pages of the Chromium project only 3 Chromebooks currently support this (although there is a list of those which will support it in the future, sort of an Ikea “coming soon” ticket).

To get the feature, your Chromebook may need to work in Developer mode. After testing this on a brand-new Lenovo (intel inside) Chromebook, I could enable this thru Developer Mode and access the Google Play Store once but since reboot I have not been able to replicate the scenario. Since then, I discovered this how-to from Google which means retesting this.

Chromebook - Android App Play Store

The Warptest POV

This is a bold and sensible move by Google. Running Android apps on Chromebook is going to make for an interesting and more competitive market. Android phone owners are finally going to have one more reason to make their main productivity device a Chromebook.

Will Android apps run in virtual machine or emulator like Google’s Arc Welder? If not, then Android apps are going need to look and act different from a floating phone / tablet app on a laptop screen. This implies that the next major release of Android Studio will allow Developers to build one app for both platforms with responsive UI. For now, the instructions on optimizing your Android apps are here.

Sound familiar? It should because this is the foundation of Microsoft’s UWP. The Universal Windows Platform has allowed Microsoft Developers to build once and deploy across device types. Admittedly the Microsoft suite of devices is more diverse but this has been a pivotal part of their success.

Chromebook - Android Apps sounds like UWP

Is this another knock Google for copying Microsoft post? No. A recurring theme in this blog is that competition stimulates innovation and emulating ideas is at worst a homage. Why reinvent the wheel?

Can Google emulate this success? Will this push greater Chromebook adoption amongst Android phone owners?

Will Android developers see the value of investing in building “Universal” Android Apps or not? What do you think?

Android Infuriation & The Google Play Store

I got Android Infuriation recently after testing a new app. After uploading it to the Google Play Store and getting approval I let our Support know they could prepare tablets for a group of end users to try. They called me back telling me about a third of the tablets, all the same model & Android version, were displaying this error, “Device is not suitable for the application”.

Android Infuriation - Nougat

ISSUE: When installing to Android from the Google Play Store there is a bug with devices that may be the same model and OS version as another device you just installed on.

Android Infuriation - Play Store

WORKAROUND:


1 Change the device language from settings.
If this does not resolve the issue then:
2 Settings > applications > all applications: clean cache for Google Play Services & Google Play Store
3 Open the browser on the device and try downloading the app from https://play.google.com/apps (My Apps)
3 If this reports that the application will be installed soon then go back to the Play Store application and check there under My Apps
If not then in the browser go to https://www.google.com/android/devicemanager and allow it to locate the device then retry step 3 from the beginning
4 Go back to settings > language and return it to your original UI language.

You should be smiling right about now.

The Warptest POV

This is the sort of infuriating bug that can lead to an overfull swear-jar or worse still, packing it all in for an iPhone.


About the only thing worse than this, is when you can’t get your PC to recognize the phone / tablet connected via USB. That’s an Android Infuriation fix for another time. Here’s a link to an earlier one that was a tough nut to crack too.

Feel free to drop me a line in the comments with any other tech problems you need help with.

Microsoft Clip Layer Is The Latest Garage App…

Clip Layer is a great Android app from the Microsoft Garage, Redmond’s worldwide experimental projects lab that delivers a slew of interesting apps and resources.

Microsoft Garage - Clip Layer

The Garage is all part of Microsoft’s cross-platform leadership strategy, delivery apps to all mobile platforms. Clip Layer is one of these apps.

Why would Microsoft do this other than the reasons laid out in the link above?

Consider that Microsoft allegedly $5 to $15 on every Android device sold and

approximately $2 billion a year on patent royalties.

Nuff said?

What Problem Does Clip Layer Solve?

Android allows app developers a highly granular approach to in-app permissions. In this case the developer can disable select-copy-paste even at web view level. Along comes the app user and sees a vital piece of information and bang! No way to easily copy from the app and paste elsewhere. At best the user can take a screenshot but a graphic is not text.

Clip Layer allows the user to grab, clip and copy any text from any app, even when blocked. If the app is running, then just hit the home button to ignore those app permissions and copy that much-needed information.

A simple and elegant solution.

The Warptest POV

I hear those screams of outrage:

  • How dare Microsoft run roughshod over the app permissions set by other developers?
  • Worse, how is Google allowing Microsoft to get away with this kind of crap?

On the one hand, you’re right. At least until you are that user who wants to copy something and is blocked. On the other, Android allows developers a lot of freedom including geo-blocking apps which doesn’t stop users from changing their location to access the app (Microsoft has been known to geo-block their apps too).

I searched for specific criteria in Play Store Acceptance criteria officially making Microsoft the bad guy for circumventing copy blocking but, didn’t find it. Most people using this app won’t have nefarious intent, just a desire to share information. Why would you block that and why would you want to annoy your app users that way?

So, Android users take Clip Layer for a spin and see how it helps you. A modest award for the most creative use shared in the comments. Game on!

The Microsoft Universal Folding Keyboard …

The Microsoft Universal Folding Keyboard has arrived and today I unboxed it and took it for a test drive. It retails for $99 on the Microsoft US Store, uses Bluetooth and can pair with two devices on iOS, Android or Windows devices.

Microsoft Universal Folding Keyboard - dimensions

The link above also had updated drivers for connecting the keyboard to Windows 10 (32 and 64 bit).

Unboxing…

The Microsoft Universal Folding Keyboard is all about a perfect marriage of design and function and this starts with the box. Gone are the days of excessive boxing. Microsoft has designed the box with a Surface ethos, the box and the keyboard close magnetically.

Microsoft Universal Folding Keyboard - box closed

Microsoft Universal Folding Keyboard - box open

Once opened, the instructions are on the inside face. Ikea et al, see these instructions and learn. One day all instructions will be this way.

The keyboard works simply and elegantly, open is on and closed is off. It’s light, portable and the tactile response of the keys is as good as the keyboard on a Lenovo Yoga or Asus laptop. Folded it’s probably slimmer than the wallet in your pocket.

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The Warptest POV

The Microsoft Universal Folding Keyboard is elegant in its design, sturdy yet sleek. It’s made for one thing and one thing only, for the road warriors, those urban commuters for whom space is a premium when travelling but those who need a physical keyboard.

Every single person who tried this today fell in love with it on first touch. I have thick fingers and so my concern was obviously this wasn’t going to work for me. I may never be a violinist with my hands but I can make this keyboard sing.

One of my testing team took the phone in the photos above, my Lumia 820 and walked thru our offices while I typed all the way to the front door of our offices, about 35 to 40 meters and was amazed to report my typing kept coming thru. Now I doubt I’ll ever need a use case like that but it was impressive.

If you need a portable keyboard, then the Microsoft Universal Folding Keyboard is the one for you. Of course, no kickstand on your iPad, Android, or other device. You’ll need more than two hands or some kind of MacGyver solution.

 

This ad has nothing to do with this post but hey, kickstands.

I’ll be doing a follow-up when the Lumia 950XL arrives with its kickstand case.

So if the plane, train or bus is how you get from A to B and you need to just keep on typing, then go checkout the Microsoft Universal Folding Keyboard and let me know what YOU think.

Microsoft Cross Platform …

3 Words that didn’t necessarily come together in past years and yet over the last couple of years, the dominant player in all things cross platform has been Microsoft.

Windows Phone Microsoft Apps
Google Play Store (Android) Microsoft Apps
Apple iOS Microsoft Apps

Microsoft had already become a major app developer for iOS and Android, not just on Windows Phone. Since then Skype, the full Office suite (including Outlook) has landed on both platforms, OneNote, Bing search, OneDrive and others, and today Microsoft announced two more high-impact cross-platform apps: –

  1. Cortana, Microsoft’s personal assistant (already on Windows Phone and soon to be on Windows 10) will arrive on Android and iOS later this year.
  2. Windows 10 will come with the Phone Companion App which will allow your smartphone (iOS, Android or Windows Phone) to work seamlessly with Windows 10.

The various reports explain that Cortana will not have the full feature set available on Windows Phone for now.

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Are Microsoft Giving Away The Farm?

Some Microsoft users are acting shocked over the apparent desire at Redmond to take all that is unique on Windows Phone, Office, Windows or Visual Studio and deliver it wrapped in a pretty bow onto iOS and Android.

There is a feeling that any of the added value (especially) that Windows Phone had with Cortana et al is drastically diminished.

Firstly, everything that is happening is in keeping with Microsoft’s mission statement and ambitions. I was writing about this predicted trend back in 2012/13 here and here. In fact some might state that this agenda prompted Cyanogen to actively embrace Microsoft services on their already unique Android.

No one should be surprised about Microsoft making these moves to be a strong presence on every layer of consumer and business technology: frontend (Web, Mobile and Desktop), Productivity, Cloud Storage and Apps (OneDrive and Azure).

Now factor in a word that keeps cropping up on this blog ecosystem: Microsoft Cross Platform is about creating an ecosystem that is not limited by platform, device or Operating System.

The Warptest POV

Nutshell, I’m strongly in favor of this philosophy. As a testing professional, cross platform can be a nightmare to support. More browsers, more operating systems and versions can make for endless test cycles but looking beyond testing, Microsoft is competing across the board by building this ecosystem.

Apple continues with their gated community philosophy and Google continues to compete by restricting their services and apps from Microsoft consumers wherever possible. Microsoft has become a champion of Open Source with .Net, plans Universal Apps for Windows 10 ported from iOS and Android.

The real added value of Cortana on iOS and Android is not just the presence of Microsoft search, service or app on those devices: the Microsoft Band, Redmond’s smartwatch is the only fully cross platform device of its kind on the market and with Cortana integration this makes it a more attractive option for consumers looking for a smartwatch with apps, “AI” and phone integration.

Microsoft BUILD conference also paid strong attention to the anticipated stronger integration between Cortana and apps. It seems that Microsoft Cross Platform is about total coverage.

So to the people feeling like Microsoft gave away the farm, I suggest that someone in Redmond’s strategic business department is an avid reader of Sun Tzu’s Art of War.

What do you think?

Windows Phone Had A Big Splash At BUILD 2015…

…As mentioned in my previous post, Microsoft blew the crowd at BUILD2105 away by announcing that the Universal App concept would include bringing iOS and Android apps aboard Windows Phone.

Many speculators on the subject had feared the worst that Microsoft would opt for a kludge solution: running an Android emulator or VM even to allow native Android apps to run on Windows Phone.

Instead Microsoft included iOS and Android apps by allowing Developers to recompile their code as Universal apps, on all Windows 10 devices.

Means, Motive and Opportunity…

How is Microsoft planning to do this?

Windows Phone as part of Universal Windows Platform

The Universal Windows Platform layout with thanks to Microsoft Blogs

Microsoft’s vision for Windows 10 across devices allows iOS and Android apps in through Project Astoria (Java/C++) and Project Islandwood (Objective C/C++); these are the Universal Windows Platform Bridge toolkits for reusing existing codes from these mobile platforms with small code changes.

Islandwood already has a signup for interested Developers and cites importing XCode into Visual Studio whilst Astoria mentions publishing and earning via the Windows Store.

This is a much more elegant solution than the other option but, where does it leave the existing, dedicated Windows Developers, especially those working with the Windows Phone SDK?

Whilst the graphic (top left) shows that development on Windows Platform of Universal apps (Windows 8, 10 and even classic 32 bit apps) persists one has to think about this strategy.

Windows Phone and Windows 8 suffered from certain big ticket apps either not investing in the platform or deciding not to maintain their Windows Phone versions. Microsoft would annually announce deals made to bring some of these apps onto Windows Phone but Smartphone platforms live or die based on app parity.

It is a hard sell for teens to adopt Windows Phone with apps like Snapchat who not only refuse to develop a Windows Phone app but actively and aggressively block 3rd party apps. That said, over the last months whilst several apps (e.g. some US Banks apps) were pulled from the Windows Store there had been some very interesting apps released. One example is the Marc Cuban funded Cyberdust a Snapchat killer that released supporting iOS, Android and Windows Phone. IMHO this was a startup getting it right and I know of several others who are moving to Windows Phone in fields like social video chat, livestreaming and others.

The truth is that the app parity situation is not as cut and dried as many would have us believe.

In addition, Microsoft have opted for three major strategies of late:

  1. The Microsoft Lumia phones released have been designed to target lower pricetags. There has been no talk of a high-end flagship Windows Phone of late. This seems to be a strategy designed to flood the market with a greater number of low end devices.
  2. Much of the unique value proposition of Windows Phone was in Cortana and Office on mobile. Office is already fully cross-platform and Cortana seems to be heading for Android if not iOS too.
  3. Microsoft has leveraged itself as a major app developer for iOS and Android, and not just Windows Phone; in some cases these are apps not yet developed for Windows Phone e.g. Office Delve and PowerBI Mobile.

You can compare for yourself: –

Microsoft apps on Windows Phone

Microsoft apps on Android

Microsoft apps on iOS

The picture is a confusing one and it leads one to wonder what Windows Phone developers took away from BUILD2015.

The Warptest POV

After speaking to several Windows Phone Developers there are those who feel disgruntled after their strong commitment to development in Windows Phone SDK. They don’t necessarily see the ROI of continuing to work with the SDK when they can just write Android or iOS apps and then recompile them as Universal Apps. In a nutshell they stuck with Microsoft through the challenging times of Windows 8 and now one of them told me he felt “thrown under the bus for the greater good…”

The truth is that Microsoft needs to keep the faith with its existing Developer community as much as it needs to entice users with apps that are on iOS and Android (and their developers) but the question is how?

The challenge is not just marketing to individual developers but StartUps and Enterprise companies with apps too. These apps won’t just need recompiling but maintaining after the fact.

Terry Myerson of Microsoft discusses some of the challenges here but it takes one of the biggest Windows Phone developers, Rudy Huyn on his blog to explain why Windows Phone Devs shouldn’t feel that the ground has shifted under them.

In a nutshell, Project Astoria and Islandwood are not seamless and many of the APIs used in iOS and Android will need serious effort to work on Windows Phone. This is only the beginning of the journey and if anything, Windows Phone Developers just became a much more valuable asset in getting this done and as Huyn states, Developers are no longer Windows Phone Devs.. they are Windows Devs.

Ultimately, In the Game of Phones who is winning and who is losing? Users will benefit and so will the Developers and the App creators: Startups, individuals or Enterprise will end up with Universal Apps across a complete ecosystem.

The one factor unmentioned is what Tim Cook and Larry Page feel about this development?

Especially the notoriously draconian Apple and Google who doesn’t miss a chance to continue feuding with Microsoft (more often than not) when it comes to mobile.

So between all this and the fact that Windows Continuum for Phones will require new hardware, we can expect more new apps and almost certainly new, high-end Windows Phones from Microsoft.

In the Game of Phones nothing ever rests and Microsoft may have just won the crown if they invest in their Dev Community building and evangelism even more. Now, it’s time to do the same for the consumers to show why Windows Phone is worthy of them.

 

 

iOS vs Android Isn’t Just About Devices…

The fight for market share plus the hearts and minds of users is often decided by a singular, killer feature.

According to the outstanding Hillel Fuld in a post on this subject, one such deciding factor is the absence of any decent Notification Center on Android.

Allegedly this is resolved with Android Lollipop that takes leaps and bounds to solve this, especially through the Lock Screen.

Android Competitive Edge - Lollipop 5.0

The Story So Far…

To get to your messages, calendar and so on took more effort on Android than the Lock Screen access that iOS provides.

After spending time testing on both iOS and Android devices I can agree that in a one-click vs multi-click slap down, the one-click will win every time. This basically meant a loss of the Android competitive advantage to iOS from the first look you get at your screen.

Thus far, none of the Android devices I have access to update to Android Lollipop so I can’t attest to whether Google’s solution delivers.

Since writing this I have had a chance to go hands-on with Android Lollipop and to attempt to help a couple of users with issues they encountered after the upgrade. I was hard pressed to find the settings for said lock screen and several other features and they seemed to lack any granularity. In a nutshell the user was unable to configure certain features to suit their needs.

The Warptest POV

If you don’t want to wait for Lollipop, fear your device may not get it any time soon or simply don’t want to upgrade there is hope.

The answer to Apple’s competitive edge over Android ironically comes from Microsoft.

Yes you don’t need to check your eyes, Microsoft is indeed a big producer of Apps in the Google Play Store:

Android Competitive Edge - Microsoft Apps

In this case Microsoft (specifically the Microsoft Garage) created Next Lock Screen which offers you a highly configurable Lock Screen including access front and center to messages, calendar, email and calls; all this and more.

After taking it for a test ride the only question I have is, “What the heck were you thinking Microsoft, NOT releasing this for Windows Phone too?

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Yes it’s that good. So Google, start thinking nice things about those clever folks at Redmond for giving you back the Android competitive advantage, especially for non-Lollipop users.

I’m giving Next Lock Screen a strong recommendation but don’t take my word for it, check it for yourself and decide.

Frankly, if you are an Android phone owner, I would be looking at all the apps Microsoft has to offer you. Yes, they’re that good.

 

 

 

Microsoft Universal Apps…

… The concept of one app developed and working cross-platform: phone, tablet, desktop is something of a Holy Grail and Microsoft delivered on this promise last year.

With Microsoft Universal Apps a Windows Phone user is able to install the same app on their Windows 8 laptop / desktop.

Not all apps have released Universal App versions yet but many have.

Microsoft Universal Apps - Skype for Windows Phone

Microsoft Universal Apps - Windows 8 Store

Note the Universal App symbols for Skype and eBay in both screen captures.

Was this Just An Iteration?

When you are Agile you start to see iterations in everything but last week Microsoft released major news at the Connect (): event which made me think Redmond has a firm grasp of Agile process.

 

Microsoft Universal Apps - News Summary

Yes those are the faces of amazement because besides the obvious fact that Microsoft made its flagship core technology Open Source cross-platform and allowed non-commercial users to develop for free, Visual Studio just iterated into a platform you can develop apps for Android and iOS on.

In one flavor or another Visual Studio supports development for just about all the main platforms mobile, desktop and server.

The Warptest POV

If you are still singing the “Microsoft is doomed” song I suggest you go sit in the corner with your blankie and suck your thumb because that’s about as serious as anyone is going to take you now.

This is the biggest news in the development arena I can think of in recent years and in doing so Microsoft Universal Apps iterated outwards, fulfilling their potential.

Universal App no longer just means an App for all Windows devices, it may just mean an App that is truly universal. An App built across all devices and Operating Systems and developed in Visual Studio to boot. This could be the end of the Developers Grail Quest …

 

Microsoft Universal Apps - the holy grail

Microsoft Universal Apps - Visual Studio

The hard decision that many Start-ups have to make about which platform to develop for first seemingly just vanished in a puff of smoke.

So if this news excites you (and it should) then you can find the .NET Core 5 code here on Github that’s right, Microsoft really gets it, they are using Github for this.

So if you are a developer get excited and get cracking because the news here only scratches the surface.

 

Of The Several Windows Phone Conversations I Had Recently…

… The conversations ran the gamut of “Windows Phone has no apps…” to even “Microsoft doesn’t make a smartphone, come on”.

The phrase that best applies after demonstrating the phone and apps was suspension of disbelief.

Windows Phone - Morpheus

With this in mind I decided to list these apps here, you might recognize a few of them from iOS and Android too…

Yes, these apps are on Windows Phone too…

My constraints on this task were: –

  • Look primarily at branded apps i.e. apps created by the same company or brand.
  • List MIA apps or those still not on Windows Phone
  • Give special attention to noteworthy App developers who create 3rd Party versions of popular Apps.

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SPECIAL MENTION

Developer Rudy Huyn is responsible for bringing fantastic 3rd party implementations of many popular apps to Windows Phone ahead of the app itself arriving:

 Windows Phone - Rudy Huyn Apps

MIA

Zula App: the incredible collaboration / productivity app is rumored to be coming to Windows Phone.

AirBnB

Dropbox

Buffer: given the quality of 3rd part apps available to Windows Phone users, Buffer seems in no hurry to deliver their own app.

Instagram Hyperlapse

Google+ and other Google web services but special mention goes to the YouTube App for being a case study in how not to do things.

Get Taxi: they really need to play catchup with Uber who DO have a Windows Phone app.

Snapchat & Secret… well maybe we’re just fine without.

The Warptest POV

In a nutshell, there is much more to Windows Phone than meets the eye and not just the UI.

Windows Phone gets a strong Warptest recommendation as more OEMs are launching Windows Phones for all budgets, use cases but also for app parity.

So get out there and try Windows Phone for yourself and let me know what you discover….

Yo A New Mobile App Is Making Waves…

The app is elegant in its simplicity, you pick a person from the app and they receive a Yo.

The big news is that Yo apparently has received $1.2 million in investment for this and many of the newspapers, tech bloggers and public have unleashed a Snarknado online and in print against the app.

Yo - Snarknado

Why you no like this app?

This is just a small sample of the comments and reviews that Yo is getting online:

Yo - Comments

The app seems simple and has left people puzzled about the buzz behind a one-shot app; both about the absence of features and how they secured funding.

Perhaps the most favorable coverage comes from Techcrunch who seem to have a more open minded grasp of the potential behind Yo.

Many of the people I’ve been reading who have taken issue with Yo and its funding are serious Startup entrepreneurs who sweat blood and tears to secure investment for amazing products and seem quite fairly frustrated at an event that could have negative ramifications for future funding.

The Warptest POV

What does Yo really do? I pondered this over a double espresso this morning. Should I be taking this app at face value?

Yo screengrab from Google Play Store

Yo - screengrab

When all else fails I look at the psychology and at the people involved.

What does Yo really do? It provides a solution to the signal : noise ratio in our existing digital modes of communication. Just getting someone’s attention to begin one on one engagement via email, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp etc is a challenge of monumental proportion. Assuming that Yo is adopted by many more people then this might be the use case.

It’s worth considering that in a world where the buzzwords of Lean Startup and Agile Methodology are so popular, Yo has managed to out-Lean and out-Agile everyone else. With Facebook Messenger and Foursquare’s Swarm just two examples of the new trend of splitting features into standalone apps, has this app delivered a first iteration based on this model?

If you consider that and then look at the people, one of the investment players is allegedly the CEO of Mobli, a company whose product is a cross-device, social platform for photo and video sharing.

Is it going to somehow tie into Mobli and offer users the ability to send a Yo to a friend and then share or exchange photo or video from Mobli as another one of these “feature as a standalone apps”?

Only time will tell but whether you are an early adopter of Yo or not, I would be keeping a close eye on the app to see if it is a fad or an app with much greater potential.

Oh, and Yo if you are reading this where is the Windows Phone love? You certainly have the investment to make this happen now, right?

UPDATE

Since this post Yo moved rapidly to release the Windows Phone version of the app and apparently an API and a Hackathon.

21/07/2014: Earlier today I got a tweet from a good friend suggesting I add an update to this post regarding current events.

A couple of weeks ago as the rain of missiles out of Gaza intensified over the South of Israel and spread northwards to threaten and encompass almost 2/3rds of the country, a pair of talented developers, Ari Sprung and Kobi Snir built on Yo to provide smartphone users everywhere (and not just Israel) the chance to receive Red Alerts of missiles launched at their cities. This provided an early warning to allow the 15 to 90 seconds (depending on distance from the launch site) to get to a bomb shelter or other safe cover but also exposed the frequency and geography of the situation to those outside Israel who chose to use this.

The story was picked up by ABC.

On a personal note, my hat is off to the pair of developers for using their imagination and skill to leverage an app many dismissed as frivolous into a public safety application. Well played guys.

It seems that as the founders of Yo say, it is about the context. New use cases are about your context and imagination.

Nokia Launched Five Devices At MWC

By now this is yesterday already but the significance of these devices and some other news reaches out into the heart of the mobile landscape and shakes things up.

Those who discounted Nokia’s ability to affect the mobile industry due to irrelevance or Microsoft buying them might wish to rethink their position.

Nokia Did What?!??

Suggestions of a dual-SIM Lumia Windows Phone aside on Sunday, Nokia announced additions to each of their existing platforms and 3 new Android devices branded as the Nokia X series.

Nokia Family of Devices

With thanks to Nokia Press Releases

The common thread running through the announcement was that regardless of platform these internet enabled devices will support Microsoft services including: –

  • Bing Search on the basic Nokia 220
  • OneDrive on the Nokia Asha 230
  • Skype, OneDrive and Outlook.com on the Nokia X, X+ and XL Android devices

Clearly Nokia did something different with these Android devices: –

  • Nokia has proven that forked Android is possible with these phones built on Android Open Source Project; that’s right, no Google services.
  • Nokia ensured these phones have a similar Metro look to the Lumia line and are (by the skin of their teeth) priced below their Windows Phones (the X costs 89 Euro).
  • These phones will not even use Google Play for Apps, instead going to the Nokia Store.
  • Expect big-ticket apps like Facebook, Twitter, Swiftkey, Vine, Viber, Spotify and WeChat.
  • Microsoft services will be the default except where Nokia Apps exist. So forget about Bing Maps, you’ll be using Here Maps and Nokia Mix Radio.
  • Blackberry fans everywhere pay heed, BBM is coming to Nokia X and Windows Phone Lumia (later other Windows Phones).
Nokia X - Android

With thanks to Nokia Press Releases

The Warptest POV

The big question is how did Nokia pull this off with Microsoft? This is speculation but the conversation between Microsoft and Nokia may have gone something like this,

“You know we have been researching Android as a fallback option if negotiations fail…”

“We do and we want to know if you insist on pressing ahead with a Nokia Android phone even if the deal goes ahead?”

“Yes but we want to make this a forked Android. Android without all the Google services…”

“So Microsoft still gets its royalties and Google ends up out in the cold? No shuttering YouTube Apps or restricting CalDav?”

“Exactly, and we are prepared to go one better. Imagine all Nokia devices that have internet deferring to Microsoft services like Bing or Outlook.com except if we have a Nokia App.”

“You know this idea is really starting to grow on us. What would make this cost effective?”

“What if you were able to remove the more severe hardware restrictions on Windows Phone, sign more OEM partners and we would then have a way of producing cheaper hardware and dropping prices for the consumer?”

“You know Stephen, some days I think it’s a shame you ever left Microsoft.”

“Thanks Steve… It’s good to be back.”

Why a Vodka-Martini moment (in the title)? Recall in Casino Royale when Daniel Craig’s 007 is at the card table attempting to take Le Chiffre to the cleaners? He takes the time to order a very specific drink from the barman which is so enticing that it pulls in several other players who also order the same drink. This allows Bond to reassert his dominance at the card table subtly and also annoys Le Chiffre.


I’ll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.

Microsoft Had A Few Surprises For Us Today

So no guest appearance by Cortana, no Surface Watch or Windows Frames glasses but instead there were several significant pieces of news.

The chances of an astounding unveil of Microsoft Wearables was slight and would have indicated a drastic change in all things Redmond. (sigh)

Microsoft - Surface Watch

What Actually Happened?

Joe Belfiore of Windows Phone fame presented an impressive list of things to look out for, including some market statistics showing Windows and Windows Phone in a favorable light.

So, what were the significant points and why?

  • Windows Phone 8.1 Confirmed including a slew of Enterprise features.
  • Windows Phone with Dual SIM support: this is certainly significant for the Enterprise user both the jet-setter and as a good solution for the BYOD crowd. Windows Phone will allow Live Tiles for both SIMs so users will be able to access and use their personal or work SIM from the same “desktop”.
  • Support for Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 and 400 series chipsets, with options that support all major cellular technologies
  • Relaxation of hardware requirements: until now OEMs were obligated to make handsets for Windows Phones with the 3 hardware buttons; making production a pricey business. With this change the cost of OEM Windows Phone production just dropped. De facto OEMs can use Android handsets for Windows Phones.
  • Microsoft announced 9 new OEM Windows Phone partnerships. It’s a fair assumption that these partnerships were sealed after much negotiation on the previous point.
  • No new devices were mentioned but just the announcement of Dual SIM (and new partners) means new devices are on the way.
  • (Windows 8.1 was mentioned but I think I’ll save that for another post.)

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The Warptest POV

The rumors of Windows Phone running Android Apps might have been as a result of some of the big Android players that Microsoft was courting in the OEM deal. Hopefully this drives a stake thru the heart of what can only be described as a desperation play.

What is clear from the press event is Microsoft is aggressively pursuing a greater market share of the Smartphone market in 2014 and the consumer is going to benefit from a variety of new devices.

Most significant was the absence of any mention of hot, big league apps turning up in the Windows Phone Store except Facebook Messenger. With Path, Waze and Instagram (beta) following Vine and others onto Windows Phone, which apps are left? Perhaps we will see Secret or Telegram join Windows Phone in 2014 but do these have the same added value as the aforementioned apps?

In reality, it’s not about any specific app for Windows Phone anymore. It’s about seeing these apps appear in the Windows Phone Store at the same time as their iOS and Android counterparts.

Clearly big things are happening for Windows Phone in 2014. I’ll be checking the Microsoft stock ticker, how about you?