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Last straight line before Windows 8.1.

With a forecast of release by October 22nd, 2013, Windows 8.1 arrives at big step, with its procession of “novelties”.

Windows 8.1 publicity (Clic to search on Amazon.com)

Windows 8.1 publicity (Clic to search on Amazon.com)

Start button, new size of tiles, until four applications in parallel (according to the size of the screen), here is for the visible part. Lets add to it more personalization (start screen with notifications, animated background screen), possible starting up on the desktop, filters on applications, improved search, new applications…

 

Of new devices.

With the release of Windows 8.1 will come the second generation of Surfaces… Surface 2 and Surfaces 2 Pro.

Microsoft Surface 2 (Clic to search on Amazon.com)

Microsoft Surface 2 (Clic to search on Amazon.com)

Although RT disappeared from the title, the Surface 2 will have this version of the OS (that is Windows RT 8.1) and will work with a NVidia Tegra 4.

The Surface 2 Pro will turn under Windows 8.1 with a new generation Intel Corie I-5 (Haswell).

Office, SkyDrive (200 GB) and USB 3.0 for everybody 😉

Without counting the possibility of adding it a “Surface Docking Station” supplying three USB 2.0, an USB 3.0, a connections Ethernet, an audio entry and the possibility of connecting it two screens… Of what to transform a Surface into real Desktop PC.

Still let us note the project “Remix”, a keyboard dedicated to the mix of pieces of music, usable with the musical applications (whith one on Xbox Music).

Let us hope that they will receive a better welcome than the previous generation, considering the biggest maturity of the OS and the most rand count of applications (100 000). Personally, only the price holds me 🙂

Source (EN): TabletPC Review: Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2.

Other manufacturers announce too of new devices (tablets, cross, etc.) for the release of Windows 8.1… With always persistent rumors around a Nokia tablet (Sirius or Lumia on 2520). It will be necessary to wait on October 22nd to know more about it.

Source(EN): TabletPC Review: Nokia Sirius.

 

Of new uses.

With all this, also move forward the Xbox One and of “new uses”: Cloud Gaming. What is it?

Xbox One Cloud Gaming (Clic to search on Amazon.com)

Xbox One Cloud Gaming (Clic to search on Amazon.com)

Cloud Gaming (or PROTIP project to Microsoft) allows to play since a Xbox One on a PC, a tablet or a Smartphone. The game being stored “on-line” the “power” of the terminal does not enter in account… Understand all the same broadband (we do not still know if the storage is on-line or in WAN). Microsoft have already run Halo 4 on Nokia Lumia 520 (understand bottom range Windows Phone 8). I hope that this kind of thing is going to succeed 🙂

 

Conclusion:

Things continue to move in the Microsoft ecosystem. Although there will be no independent games on Xbox One before 2014, this more and more coherent set Windows/Windows Phone/Xbox is always very attractive for the .Net developer I am… And there are new and interesting things to be made 🙂

Microsoft moves forward its pawns…

Yesterday, September 4th, 2013, Microsoft announced the acquisition of the mobile division of Nokia.

Nokia connecting Microsoft

Nokia connecting Microsoft

Here we are, it is made… So far both entities worked jointly on Windows Phone, now the Finn integrates the American Publisher to strengthens his division “Device” and appropriates the “trademark” Nokia (as well as Lumia). But this acquisition raises numerous questioning:

  • The future of the “brands” Nokia and Lumia ?
  • What about the “low-cost” Asha and the classic telephones ?
  • What reaction of the other manufacturers (HTC, Samsung) ?
  • An impact on “light” tablets (Surface RT) ?
  • “fan” of Nokia are going to follow ?

On one side the other manufacturers of Windows Phones are kept (in a way) by agreements of patents concerning Android… To leave Windows Phone would have an impact on their margin… On the other hand, for the users also, it is better to have the choice so much at the level of the price, of the size, the characteristics (and of a possible attachment in a brand). Finally, this commits only me 😉

Source (FR): MonWindowsPhone: Microsoft acquires Nokia

For the moment, we have the beginning of answer on behalf of Nokia (Fr): MonWindowsPhone: Nokia what changes

 

Without counting the risks of losses of skills at Nokia (voluntary departures of staff as for Sun during its repurchase by Oracle), this acquisition is not made without game of musical chair at the hierarchical level. These were quickly cleared up by Steve Balmer (a good thing):

  • Stephen Elop returns at Microsoft to take care of a division specialized in the hardware beside Julie Larson-Green.
  • Juha Putkiranta handles the integration of Nokia within Microsoft.
  • The marketing will be centred a brand and a strategy of advertising unified (Tami Reller and Mark Penn).

Source (Fr): MonWindowsPhone: Microsoft Nokia changes

 

Microsoft and Nokia are going to have a lot of work… Especially as Microsoft has already begun a big internal restructuring to open up its divisions and favor the collaboration and the research.

Humor: Entreprise Organisations

Humor: Entreprise Organisations

Roughly, its the end of branches (Windows, Windows Phone, Office, etc.) divided up and with their own structures of management, Microsoft is reorganized in 4 poles: OS, Applications, Cloud and Devices, and transverse functions (Marketing, Finances, R&D, etc.). Nothing on “Green It”… But the Twitter feed of “Microsoft Green” still active…

As synthesizes it Steve Balmer, the company groups together around a unique strategy (One Microsoft).

Source (Fr): Developpez.com: Microsoft restructuration

 

Conclusion:

 

The medium and long-term impact of these evolutions on the Windows ecosystem and especially the impact for us, developers, in term of longevity of the technologies, the products and the technologies remains to see. Especially for the “rich” period: Surface 2, debates on Windows RT, the Xbox One release, Windows 8.1 update… I can’t wait that things settles that we see clearly there a little more 🙂

Nokia diversify its Windows Phones

Nokia is very active with his Lumia series and diversifies the Windows Phone offer.

 

Having developed the bottom of the range with Lumia 520, and having updated Lumia 920 with Lumia 925 (identical but lighter), Nokia brought out two new models.

Amazon.com: Nokia Lumia

Nokia Lumia 1020 (clic to search in Amazon.com)

First of all, Lumia on 1020, a new high-end Smartphone finally equipped with the PureView 41 mpx sensor, arriving finally at the level of 808 PureView (that is two years to migrate the technology of Symbian to Windows Phone).

The size and the inside are globally the same that Lumia 925 and 928 (that is 4.5 inches). So that it changes, it will be necessary to wait for a major update of Windows Phone to include new components.

PureView Lens Zoom

PureView Lens Zoom

The real “novelty” (808 PureView unveil this technology for 2 years), it is this sensor’s technology (41 mpx camera with optical stabilization, 6 lenses, x3 zoom, LED and Xenon flash). We have a real Photophone there 😉

Amazon.com: Nokia Lumia

Nokia Lumia 625 (clic to search in Amazon.com)

Then, Lumia 625, a middle range Smartphone (thus affordable) but endowed with a big screen of 4,7 inches (one of the biggest under Windows Phone since HTC Titan and Samsung ATIV S).

 

Conclusion:

As a result, the Lumia series has a large number of models and confirms the commitment of Nokia in Windows Phone, what is a good thing. And especially they “urge” Microsoft to develop the OS. The users and the developers can benefit from it 🙂

The inconvenience it is because Nokia swallows up a little the Windows Phone market (at least in Europe), the blow we speak less about others (HTC, Samsung, Huawei), what is it’s a pity especially for HTC who makes very good Smartphones!

Windows Phone 8, the first flagships.

With the release of Windows Phone 8, new Smartphones come on stage.

 

But exactly, what brings Windows Phone 8 compared with Windows Phone 7.5?

For the software part, it’s about Windows 8 compatible components, the native support of C/C ++ (for the applications), Windows 8 towards Windows Phone 8 (Modern UI) simplified application ports, multitasking, Internet Explorer 10, lounges (sharings of tasks, calendar and discussions), the child world (restricts mode), Smartglass (allows to command the Xbox), Xbox Video, Xbox Music and of new screen resolutions.

For the hardware part, the addition of the support of two cores processors, NFC and microSD cards.

Here is for main lines. Globally, the OS (operating system) is rather complete, reactive and the display has the advantage to be original with compared with the competitors. Over and above the fact that the virtual keyboard is very pleasant of use.

 

The phone renewal cycle having made me miss the release of Windows Phone 7, I waited until 8 to have it one (and I suffered with my old Windows Mobile 6.5 😉 ). On the other hand, I prefer to wait that my phone is exhausted to renew it, that makes less wasting and scheduled obsolescence.

 

Nokia Lumia 920 PureView.

Nokia Lumia 920

Nokia Lumia 920

As a lot of people, I had Nokia phones before the advent of Smartphones. This brand was always synonymic of quality, reliability and longevity. Unfortunately, Nokia badly lived the passage in Smartphones for various reasons. Then there was their alliance with Microsoft and the choice of Windows Phone. Since then, I am rather impatient to have Lumia between hands. I found 800 well but some “hardware” were missing. 900 which is arrived later and as I could renew my phone filled (by losing the design of 800) this aspect but arrived at the same time as the last one Nokia under  Symbian OS, 808 PureView and his hallucinating photo sensor (47 Mpx) and especially a few months away before the theoretical release of Windows Phone 8 (which meant the release of ” superphones ” and the support of the PureView technology: the integration of an image stabilizer). Without counting the rumor which eventually comes true: Windows Phone 7 would have no update towards Windows Phone 8 but an intermediate version 7.8. In brief, it seemed urgent to wait. What I made.

And Nokia announced Lumia 920. Return in the design of 800 there bigger ( 4,5 inches), the characteristics resuming almost all that Windows Phone 8 spĂ©cifications (except MicroSD slot), everything to please. I have still hesitated when it went out becauses of tests which questioned the photo quality (in good conditions). But it turned out that was mostly a software problem which would be corrected. Then, the PureView sensor is a 8,7 Mpx (against 47 for 808). 8,7 it’s already sufficient. All that without counting induction load peculiar to Nokia and the software suite of very good quality of the Finn (Maps, Drive, Music, Care, Panorama, Intelligent Photo). Its big weakness it’s the relatively high weight (185 g) but that we forget it fast.

As a result, I took it and I do not regret:

  • An excellent network quality (very good network catcher, support of H + and 4G).
  • Videos are of a quality exceptional (thank you the stabilizer) and the photos of very good quality.
  • The screen is magnificent (and solid, my son made him enjoy twice the stone floor and he went out as a charm there), his touch is pleasant and the seizure is very precise.
  • The browsing in Windows Phone 8 is fluid and pleasant.
  • The GPS is precise and allows good navigation so on foot as by car.
  • The diary synchronized with Outlook, the on-line storage by SkyDrive or the fast notes by OneNote are practical.
  • Office to consult or modify documents is very practical.
  • Fusion of the phones, e-mail, social network contactes… We are connected 😉

The entertainment is also very present thanks to Live Xbox, in Xbox Music+Video and in Store. The autonomy is not outdone: until two days in normal use (not bad for a Smartphone). In brief, delighted with my Windows Phone 🙂

 

HCT Windows Phone 8X.

HTC Windows Phone 8X

HTC Windows Phone 8X

HTC always made good Smartphones, whether it is for Windows Mobile or the first waves of Windows Phone 7 and 7.5 (without speaking other platforms), always with a high quality and characteristics so complete and a top of the range that possible.

Moreover, further to her experiment with the HTC 7 Mozart, my wife is rather attached to this brand.

Her choice concerned to the 8X. A little smaller (4.3 inches), much lighter (130 grams) and very pleasant to the touch, it offers a little bit different experience from Nokia (what is very well, we are far from the uniformity of the first bakery of Windows Phone 7).

Less strong in video, it makes almost equal game on the rest in term of support of the Windows Phone 8 features.

In the use, I find it less good at the “network” level (catching signal) and the software offer on behalf of HTC (especially at the level of the navigation).

On the other hand it is better on the sound thanks to the system Beats Audio (high definition sound), although Nokia possesses more regulations at this level.

 

Conclusion:

In two points…

  • Thanks to our different tastes my wife and I chose two different Smartphones but which are everything very good two 😉
  • These two Smartphones are both good “flagships” at the release of Windows Phone 8 and at the use they do not disappoint, on the contrary.

It is promising and let’s hope that it lasts 🙂

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