Rumors

The Nokia-Microsoft deal is marching steadily to a conclusion as being approved by the United States, the European Union, and of course, Nokia's shareholders. However, China is still reluctant to give its word. Recently China's Ministry of Commerce has started a second round of probes into Microsoft's acquisition case. This time the government has a new emphasis: antitrust.

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Nokia’s first dual SIM Windows Phone is rumored to be codenamed “Moneypenny”. Dual-SIM phones allow mobile devices to carry and support two SIM cards. This dual SIM operation lets users use two services at once without needing to carry two different phones. Dual SIM devices are very popular in emerging markets, which is probably where we’ll find Moneypenny (aka the Lumia 630 and 635) offered. Now we’ve got a rumored screenshot of the display.

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Specifics emerge on new features for Windows Phone 8.1

Microsoft has successfully packaged and released Update 3 for Windows Phone 8, leaving only the 8.1 update, aka ‘Blue’, on the table for shipping. Expected to be reveled at Build 2014 in April, Windows Phone Central understands that 'M3' (Milestone 3), the escrow period and RTM dates have already been locked into place by Microsoft.

Today, The Verge has added to the story by detailing some new information to features already expected for the landmark release.

In an article published this morning, Tom Warren goes into more detail over the notification center and ‘Cortana’ the Siri-like personal assistant.

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The Twitter account @evleaks, which has proved to be a reliable source in the past, has today tweeted am alleged leaked screenshot of Windows Phone 8.1 "Blue." This screenshot shows virtual, on-screen capacitive buttons with the familiar back, Windows and search setup. Just like Android, you're looking at a black bar at the bottom of the screen with all three buttons present.

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The Chinese government recently lifted its decade-long ban on the selling of gaming consoles within the country, which has been in place since 2000. Console makers are expected to seize the opportunity and extend their war to another huge new market. According to reports, Microsoft will be the one to make the first move, bringing Xbox to China in September 2014.

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Microsoft made some radical changes to the Windows platform with the launch of Windows 8. Some consumers adapted to the new Modern user interface, while others struggled to move on from the Start menu, not effectively utilising the Start screen with Live Tiles and other functionality. According to latest reports, the company is looking to return the Start menu in a coming update.

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Nokia’s Lumia Black firmware, which will come along with Microsoft’s Update 3 OS bump, is due in "early 2014". It seems however that the Finnish company wants to make sure all is right with the firmware as they are offering customers early access to work out any bugs.

The proposal seems to be tied to using the ‘Feedback to Nokia’ app found under Settings. Users who have evidently competed the mini-survey are being contacted via email with the offer to test Lumia Black before anyone else gets it. The early-access beta program appears to be linked to Lumia 520 and Lumia 521 devices, although it’s not clear if other Lumias will have the same testing program.

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Just yesterday we reported on some forthcoming features in the popular messaging app WhatsApp. The new features, which include saving of videos to the device, were found in the private beta of the app. Soon after that article though, WhatsApp pushed out another update to version 2.11.322 and it now has the long coveted feature of attaching videos. We have verified that the new functionality is present.

The system for attaching videos is very basic. Users simply tap on the ‘Albums’ icon to browse their library of media, but instead of just photos, videos are now visible there as well. From that screen, users can just attach the video, which will then be auto-sent to the contact. It’s basic but it works and we imagine it will be refined a little over the next few betas. Limits for video size and length are currently not known.

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When WhatsApp isn’t pushing out public updates on a regular basis for Windows Phone, they’re busy jamming them out behind the scenes for their private beta. Looking at the latter, version 2.11.318 is making the rounds and it has been discovered that a few new features are on board. (The current public version is 312).

That’s good news as it means those features will be headed to the official, public version, presumably in a few weeks (or sooner).

So what’s new? Glad you asked as we have some screenshots and details.

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Although Windows Phone 8.1 is not expected until spring 2014, there is already talk about what comes after the next major Windows Phone OS. This morning, Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet has leaked some new information about some updates coming in spring 2015, specifically its codename: Threshold.

The name, originating from the Halo series, refers to a wave of updates for Windows Phone, Windows and the Xbox One OS in 2015 that will work on bringing those platforms closer together. This won’t be the final merging of Windows Phone and RT, which is expected to come at some point, but a wave up updates that will allow those platforms to “share more elements” including "high value activities".

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Going into Monday morning and the world is aflutter with talk of Microsoft’s User Voice feedback forum. Specifically, some user-requested features like a file manager, swipe to close an app (like on Windows 8) and storing apps on the SD card have been relisted as being ‘completed’.  The requests, submitted and voted by consumers, can only be closed by an administrator, in this case someone named ‘Mobile Guru’.

One of the requested features is “Add File Manager to Windows Phone”, which has had over 77,000 votes, another is “Allow a flick down to close applications like you can on Windows 8” while a third that is now closed falls under “Store apps & attachments on external storage and improve/provide micro SD support”.  All three are now listed as complete and are “available for Windows Phone 8”, though of course that is not true.

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Although both Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One are expected to sell well over the holiday period, there will always be those who pick sides, wanting to see who does better. Will Microsoft’s “one” system sway shoppers over Sony? Or will both consoles break even? In reality, it doesn’t matter as both systems will be around for years to come, but in terms of stock, Microsoft may have the edge over the PlayStation.

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There are some of us who require a mobile phone with multiple SIMs, whether this be due to having two numbers or be frequently traveling abroad with a local SIM on-hand to avoid extreme contract fees. Nokia has dual-SIM hardware available within its Asha line of low-end smartphones, but we're yet to see a Windows Phone support this feature.

That's about to change, account to a new tweet by leakster @evleaks with the codename "Moneypenny" being thrown into the mix. We previously looked at Moneypenny when both itself and "Goldfinger" were unveiled, the former reported to introduce Jedi hand gesture support.

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The time is nigh. Steve Ballmer announced his retirement plan not very long ago, leaving Microsoft quite little time to find the best candidate for its next CEO.

There have been rumors all around, highlighting key figures like Stephen Elop and Alan Mulally. Now a new round of rumors has arrived, saying that the board of directors at Microsoft has already made up their collective mind on this matter, and the decision is sort of surprising and not surprising at the same time.

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For Bluetooth and accessory fans, one big hole in the Windows Phone platform has been the lack of Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (LE) support (although Android lags here too). The Bluetooth LE standard allows newer hardware to connect using less energy for transmission, saving battery and allowing continuous background syncing. The most common example today is for Fitbit, which can sync to the iPhone constantly, keeping users abreast of their fitness status.

Recently, Nokia updated the 520, 620, 625, and 720 with the 'Amber' update and that firmware brought with it support for Bluetooth 4.0—so not all is lost. That update allowed the Adidas miCoach app to work with their heart rate monitor accessory. However, for those with the more premium 82x, 92x and 1020 devices, the question was when would we get the update?

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With the late night announcement from Nokia and AT&T about the pre-order for the Lumia 1520, due for release on Friday, November 22nd, “which color?” has become the hot topic.

The good news is if you pre-order through AT&T, you can nab yourself a yellow one. But if you want to get it through Microsoft via their Store, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Indeed, we’re hearing from a close source that yellow will be “scarce”, hinting at a possible shortage of the color.

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