X series: Nokia’s first ever android smartphones

The Finnish-tech giant Nokia has announced its first-ever android based smartphones series– Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL, which are powered by Microsoft and Nokia services.

On the specification front, all three handsets are powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon Dual Core processor and are dual SIM. Popular messaging apps like BBM, Viber, Vine and Twitter come pre-installed.

Nokia X and X+ come with 4-inch 480×800 displays. Both have identical 4GB internal storage, with expandable support up to 32GB via microSD card, and are powered by a 1500mAh battery

While the Nokia X comes with 512MB RAM, the Nokia X+ comes with 768MB RAM. Both phones have a 3-megapixel rear camera, but no front shooter. Both the Nokia X and Nokia X+ will be available in bright green, bright red, cyan, and yellow, black and white.

On the other hand, Nokia XL comes with 5-inch 480×800 display. It sports a 5-megapixel camera, a 720p front camera, 768MB RAM and is packed with 2000mAh battery, while sharing other specifications with its siblings. The handset will be available in bright green, orange, and cyan, yellow, black and white. Colour availability may vary across regions.

All three phones come with 3G support and take Micro-SIMs instead of regular ones.

The Nokia X will go on sale immediately, starting at approximately Rs. 7,500.  Nokia X+ and Nokia XL are expected to roll out early in the second quarter, priced at approximately Rs. 8,400 and Rs 9,300 respectively.

Source: http://www.abplive.in/incoming/2014/02/24/article268162.ece/X-series-%C2%A0Nokia%E2%80%99s-first-ever-android-smartphones#.UwsmJeOSz5N

Apple Has Siri, And Microsoft Is About To Get Cortana

Microsoft has been in a state of “shut up and ship” with Windows Phone for more than a year now. While the company has released a few minor updates to Windows Phone 8, its feature set hasn’t changed significantly from when Microsoft first introduced the mobile OS in October 2012. The software giant refuses to discuss or acknowledge an upcoming update, Windows Phone 8.1, but a recent software development kit leak has highlighted the huge number of feature changes that will arrive in the coming months and put Windows Phone more on par with iOS and Android. One of the main feature additions is Cortana, a personal digital assistant named after Microsoft’s Halo game series.

Cortana first emerged after a Microsoft employee lost a phone running Windows Phone 8.1 last year. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s Windows Phone work have revealed to The Verge that Cortana will replace the built-in Bing search feature, which is currently launched through a dedicated hardware key, and acts as a digital assistant with a mix of Siri and Google Now functionality. We’re told that Cortana will take the form of a circular animated icon with the hue of your selected Windows Phone accent color, and will have a personality not dissimilar from Apple’s Siri. Cortana will animate when it’s speaking or thinking, and bounce around or frown with “emotion” depending on the queries involved. Cortana will be backed by data from services like Bing, Foursquare, and others to give it some of the contextual power of Google Now.

Central to Microsoft’s vision for Cortana is a Notebook feature that will allow Windows Phone users to control exactly what information is shared with the digital assistant. Notebook will allow the Cortana digital assistant to access information such as location data, behaviors, personal information, reminders, and contact information. We’re told it’s designed as a privacy feature to ensure Cortana doesn’t freely access information without a level of user control. While Cortana will learn things about users, it won’t store them in the Notebook without asking you, and any information that’s stored can be edited or deleted. Cortana will then use this information to provide answers to search queries by voice or text, and provide suggestions, alerts, and reminders. Cortana could greet you by name and ask if you need help or answer questions, much like Siri.

Through search queries and just general phone usage, Cortana will learn more about a user and offer to store personal data like home and work locations and general interests in its Notebook. Cortana will also react to messages or emails that contain phrases like “let’s meet tomorrow at 8PM” and ask if you’d like to set up reminders or calendar entries. Cortana can also provide guidance on weather, stocks, directions, appointments, and music that’s contextual based on location and other data. As Cortana is a digital assistant, it will also be able to manage a do-not-disturb feature, similar to iOS, that’s designed to mute notifications. An “inner circle” of contacts will allow Cortana to manage notifications and phone calls during “quiet hours” when notifications are muted.

Although the initial Cortana digital assistant that will ship in Windows Phone 8.1 will have a lot of capabilities, Microsoft will need to extend it to third-party apps and its Windows and Xbox devices to improve its functionality in the future. The real test of Cortana will be how well it works with voice commands and its ability to understand natural phrases and questions. Microsoft’s recent voice work with Xbox One is impressive, but it also requires that you follow a strict pattern of commands for it to work successfully. Microsoft will have to ensure Cortana is at least as good as Siri for the company to position this as a full personal digital assistant.

Source: http://malaysiandigest.com/technology/489213-apple-has-siri-and-microsoft-is-about-to-get-cortana.html

Hyderabad-born, Manipal-educated Satya Nadella named Microsoft CEO

Microsoft’s board on Tuesday named Hyderabad-born Satya Nadella as chief executive of the legendary tech giant that has given the world products which have become household names like Windows, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook Express. The announcement elevates Nadella, an offspring of the Indian system, to one of the highest-profile corporate jobs globally.

Nadella, 46, will be only the third CEO of Microsoft after founder Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, the man he is succeeding.

Capture

The elevation of Nadella, a company insider for 22 years (he recently joked that he has also been married for 22 years), was expected once heavyweight outsiders like Ford’s Alan Mulally and Nokia’s Stephen Elop dropped out or were passed up. The names of Google’s Sundar Pichai and Motorola’s previous CEO Sanjay Jha also briefly made the rounds, serving to highlight the intensity of PIOs breaking the glass ceiling, something that began some two decades ago, but has become more pronounced now.

In picking Nadella, Microsoft directors selected both a company insider and an engineer. It has often been noted that Microsoft was more successful under the leadership of Gates, a programmer and its first chief executive, than it was under Ballmer, who had a background in sales.

Satya Nadella now finds himself the head of an icon of American business that has struggled for position in big growth markets like mobile and Internet search. The company has correctly anticipated many of the biggest changes in technology — the rise of smartphones and tablet computers, to use two examples — but it has often fumbled the execution of products developed to capitalize on those changes.

It remains to be seen whether Nadella’s technical background, along with the closer involvement of Gates in product decisions, will give the company an edge it lacked during the Ballmer years. Microsoft said in a statement that Gates will “devote more time to the company, supporting Nadella in shaping technology and product direction.”

Relinquishing his role as chairman will allow Gates to spend over a third of his time with product groups at Microsoft, “substantially increasing my time at the company,” he said in a video made for the news of Nadella’s selection. Gates said Nadella asked him to make the change in his duties at Microsoft.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/software-services/Hyderabad-born-Manipal-educated-Satya-Nadella-named-Microsoft-CEO/articleshow/29869895.cms

White Xbox One rumoured for October

Microsoft is reportedly prepping a white edition of its Xbox One console for launch this October.

Reports that the company is planning on launching a white console emerged on forum NeoGaf and was subsequently confirmed by The Verge.

According to the reports, it will be the same console that was given to members of the launch team in November 2013.

Microsoft is believed to be prepping the white edition of the console for launch around October alongside the release of Sunset Overdrive.

There is also talk that Microsoft may launch a digital-only version of the Xbox One that comes without a Blu-ray drive.

Previous hints

Microsoft has already confirmed that it may launch a white edition of the Xbox One. When asked on Reddit whether Microsoft would launch a white edition of the console, Microsoft’s Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb said “maybe waaaay in the future”.

Pictures of the white dev version of the console emerged in July last year ahead of the console’s launch.

The Verge added that in addition to a white version of the console coming in October, Microsoft will also release the first major update to the console in March.

According to the website, the dashboard update will bring a number of fixes to the console and Xbox Live.

Microsoft has refused to comment on the rumours.

Source: http://www.t3.com/news/white-xbox-one-rumoured-for-october

Xbox One users will have to pay extra for Skype and gamer-gratifying DVR

Microsoft has released the first unboxing video of its forthcoming Xbox One console, along with details on its pricing policy. The bad news is that gamers will have to pay extra for some features, but on the plus side they get a free mono headset.

When the Xbox One was shown off for the first time, Microsoft’s Don Matrick, then president of Redmond’s interactive entertainment business and now CEO at Zynga, extolled the new features of the console. These include Skype, a gaming DVR system that lets you record gaming triumphs, NFL game streaming, and a system called Smartmatch that will find suitable opponents for players.

 

What he neglected to mention, and what Microsoft has now confirmed, is that all of these will require owners to pony up $60 a year for an Xbox Live Gold subscription on top of the console’s hefty $499 purchase price.

On the plus side, Microsoft is adding more hardware to the Xbox, as it showed in its unboxing video released on Thursday. Xbox One buyers will get a mono headset with microphone included for free – an item that would have set them back a whole $20 otherwise – as well as a free Xbox sticker.

During the unboxing video, Microsoft’s director of Xbox programming Larry Hryb, aka Major Nelson as his gamer tag reads, extolled the virtues of the new hardware. The controller now has “impulse triggers,” which will “change the way you game.” A 4k-compliant HDMI cable is also included, which given the $1,888.75 price Best Buy can charge these days could be a major saving.

The extras don’t seem to have impressed many and Xbox message boards are already starting to build up a head of steam from outraged gamers whining about yet another way that Redmond is shaking money from their pockets.

Sony was quick to put the boot in, as it did the day after the Xbox One launch by promising a cheaper, DRM-free console in the PS4. Shortly after Microsoft confirmed the subscription-locked features, Sony’s president of worldwide studios took to Twitter to point out that Sony would be giving features like in-game recording for free.

That’s slightly disingenuous, since Sony will now be charging $50 a year to play multiplayer games online, and the PS4’s $399 purchase price doesn’t include a motion sensor like the heartbeat-sensing Kinect from Microsoft.

But it’s still a cheaper bet than the Xbox One as a package. Microsoft must just be hoping that the Xbox One has the quality to win over buyers who are prepared to pay more.

Sourcehttp://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/08/09/xbox_one_users_will_have_to_pay_extra_for_skype_and_games_dvr/

Microsoft, Blackberry dramatically slash prices of Surface and Z10 to boost sale

According to the report, the two firms are competing hard with popular brands like Apple, Google and Samsung in the smartphone and tablet market.

The two tech firms Microsoft and Blackberry have reportedly cut down on the prices of their flagship products in an attempt to boost sales.

Microsoft has cut down the price to as much as 30 percent of its 32GB Surface RT to 279 pounds from 400 pounds in the UK and Blackberry has cut the price of the Z10 phone to as low as 49 dollars in US with a contract, down from 199 dollars, BBC reports.

According to the report, the two firms are competing hard with popular brands like Apple, Google and Samsung in the smartphone and tablet market.

Telecom analyst, Tony Cripps said that competing with the Apples and Samsungs of this world is tough, and it’s a difficult climate to put out high-end products when the market is so dominated by a couple of players.

Cripps said that for Blackberry it is a crucial decision as it has to regain market share in smartphones with its new BB10 operating system and added that Surface’s success is perhaps not quite as important for Microsoft but if they want Windows 8 to be a key driver for the future, they need to get it into the hands of as many people as possible.

Microsoft spokeswoman said that the company is seeing great success with pricing and cover promotions over the past several months on Surface RT in the US and other markets, the report added.

Sourcehttp://www.dnaindia.com/scitech/1861745/report-microsoft-blackberry-dramatically-slash-prices-of-surface-and-z10-to-boost-sale

Now, an app to sync music from various devices

A team of students from a UK university has developed the prototype of an app that allows an infinite number of devices to play music simultaneously.

The team from Exeter University has won a prize of 33,100 pounds to further develop the app, SoundSynk, in innovation at the Imagine Cup, a global student technology competition held in Russia.

SoundSynk connects phones and other devices through a so-called artificial mesh network, allowing them to play the same song on all devices in perfect harmony.

The team has so far tested it on 75 devices and hope the app will be available across all platforms in August, BBC News reported.

“With this technology, we can create hyper-local social networks. SoundSynk is the first practical use of this technology and we are all very excited about its future

applications,” said student Rob Parker.

The team, including Edward Noel, came up with the idea late on a Saturday night in February. They were playing Sweet Nothings by the DJ, Calvin Harris, on a laptop and they wanted to have it louder as they brainstormed.

“Being students we wanted to have a little rave but the volume was not sufficient,” Alex Bochenski said.

“At this point we did the age-old technique of lining up all of our phones, laptops, tablets and trying to play the song at the same time,” Bochenski said.

It didn’t work – but it sparked the idea of the app that would eventually see them beating teams from Slovenia and Thailand in the innovation category.

“We developed a prototype of the product in 24 hours for the regionals of the Imagine Cup,” Bochenski said.

Eighty-seven student teams from 71 countries competed in the worldwide finals of the Imagine cup sponsored byMicrosoft.

Sourcehttp://www.indianexpress.com/news/now-an-app-to-sync-music-from-various-devices/1142572/

Nokia pins recovery hopes on advanced camera smartphone

Nokia on Thursday introduced a new smartphone, the Lumia 1020, with a powerful 41-megapixel camera in its latest bid to catch up with rivals Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Apple Inc.

Tech bloggers responded enthusiastically, saying the camera quality was the highest in the market. But analysts questioned whether it was enough to help Nokia, suffering a fall in cash reserves after years of poor sales, survive.

“The hardware’s a beauty on this thing,” said tech website Engadget after CEO Stephen Elop demonstrated features including “floating lens” technology that adjusts for camera shake and six lenses that help produce sharper images.

The Finnish mobile phone maker is pinning its hopes for a comeback in smartphones on Microsoft Corp‘s Windows Phone – an operating system that is struggling to compete with Google’s popular Android system.

While regular mobile phones still account for the bulk of its shipments, smartphones are viewed as crucial for its long-term survival because of their higher margins and increasing demand for web access from mobile phones.

Jo Harlow, Nokia’s executive vice president in charge of smart devices, said the growing popularity of photo and video sharing meant more consumers will want better cameras.

“Taking pictures is in the top three things people do with a smartphone. It’s a relevant feature to be focused on,” she told Reuters. “To stand out you have to differentiate.”

The new Lumia’s 41-megapixel count far exceeds those of the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom, at 8 and 16 megapixels respectively. It is also higher than some compact cameras, although higher megapixels do not necessarily mean better photos as factors such as lens quality also affect the end result.

“The imaging capabilities here are extraordinary,” said Current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart.

But he added: “It’s still a Windows Phone … if somebody is looking for applications they’re still going to look at iPhone.”

Sourcehttp://news.yahoo.com/nokia-unveils-lumia-smartphone-41-megapixel-camera-152002963.html

Microsoft announces Xbox Live public beta featuring local currency payments

If you’ve always dreamed of paying for your Xbox 360 downloads with greenbacks instead of Microsoft Points, now is your chance. Microsoft on Friday announced a new Xbox Live public beta, and according to a post by Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb, the beta has a significant change: the ability to pay with local currency. Unlike previous betas, you don’t have to sign-up for this one on a Microsoft site. Instead, gamers in all 41 Xbox Live countries (except Japan) will see an Xbox Beta Program tile on the home hub of the Xbox 360 dashboard.

The new local currency switch for Xbox Live was one of our top picks for features we wanted to see in the new Xbox. The aging Microsoft Points system made sense in the early days of Xbox, since it allowed the company to use a single “currency” worldwide. But now with the widespread availability of digital stores that can handle local transactions like the Windows Store and the Windows Phone Store, it’s about time Microsoft Points disappeared.

Microsoft apparently heard our pleas—mixed in with millions of others, no doubt—and announced the switch in June. Microsoft Points will be retired in the fall most likely around the time the Xbox One becomes available in November. When the switch happens, anyone with Microsoft Points left over in their account will receive local currency “equal to or greater than the marketplace value” of the points, according to a Microsoft FAQ. Microsoft Points Cards will be redeemable through 2014; any points earned through Xbox Live Rewards will also transition to local currency.

Space is limited for the new Xbox Live beta so if you want in, you’ll have to sign-up fast. Once the spots are filled the beta will be closed to the public.

Sourcewww.pcworld.com/article/2043713/microsoft-announces-xbox-live-public-beta-featuring-local-currency-payments.html/

Microsoft outlines Xbox One’s new reputation system

Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox One will include a new reputation system that replaces the current star-based rating system on the 360. It will be designed to reward those that just play the game and are good participants while individuals that play against the spirit of the game or harass others will likely end up playing with people similar to them.

In an interview recently published by The Official Xbox Magazine, Microsoft senior product manager Mike Lavin noted the program isn’t based strictly on user-created ratings. Instead, it’ll take into account metrics like how often you are blocked or muted by other players and whether moderators have had to take action against you.

These scores are intended to be public so others will be able to see if you are a good, friendly player or a bad apple. But if you were planning to ruin another user’s reputation purely out of spite, think again.

That’s because the system doesn’t allow for such behavior partially because the score is adjusted over time and also because it actually checks to see if you’ve played against said player before you can complain about their in-game behavior. Users can still file a complaint but it won’t count for nearly as much, we’re told.

Similar systems have been tried in the past elsewhere but not on a network as large as Xbox Live. Whether or not it’ll actually be an effective measure against trolls remains to be seen considering the current star system isn’t very effective.

Sourcewww.techspot.com/news/53135-microsoft-outlines-xbox-ones-new-reputation-system.html/