iOS

Here at Build 2013 we just wrapped up our first session with Sam George. His session was an introduction for developing on Windows Phone. While there won’t be anything brand new in terms of actual development, we did learn some interesting stats about the growth of the Windows Phone Store and how it differs with payments methods compared to iOS and Android. Fascinating stats for your next flame war after the break.

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According to a Nikkei report, Microsoft is set to look at introducing video game titles from the PC and Xbox platforms on the Apple iPhone. This is said to be on the table with a partnership formed between Redmond and gaming firm Klab. Nikkei claims that the titles will be brought across to iOS using Google's Android OS, which may mean we could well be seeing a wrapper utilised for original games.

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We're back at The Garage - essentially Microsoft's attempt to take Top Gear and spin it with the Office suite of products. Jeremy Chapman, Office Senior Development Lead and Amanda Lefebvre, Senior PMM of Office Web Apps both walk us through the new real-time co-authoring that's feature in the upcoming web version of Office.

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Windows Phone is performing well in Estonia, according to a report over on ZDNet. Mobile operator EMT states that Android is the most popular platform and sports a rather large lead over Windows Phone, iOS and competing mobile options. That said, Windows Phone is said to have more than 10 percent of the market, beating Apple sitting on 9 percent. Not only is Microsoft sitting firmly in second position, but we're even seeing some movement with iOS.

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Microsoft has unleashed its popular 365 Office suite onto the iOS platform and is available to iPhone owners who have an active subscription. Those who download the app will be able to view and edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents while on the go. The suite is fairly feature rich with SkyDrive support and more, but there's the absence of Outlook.

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Kantar Worldpanel has released a new report that shows Android leading in the US, but both iOS and Windows Phone are growing at a faster rate. Both platforms experienced an increase in sales of 2.3 and 1.8 percentage points respectively, while Google's mobile platform was reported at 1.4 (year-on-year). Good news for Microsoft and its continued struggle to establish itself in the competitive North American market.

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The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) has been accused by Android owners that the corporation is biased against Google's mobile platform with its iPlayer TV catch-up service. If you thought it was just the Windows Phone community battling hard against the BBC to get a worthy iPlayer solution available, you'd be wrong. That said, the BBC Trust has found that the corporation has not been biased against competing platforms to iOS.

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Latest figures released by Kantar Worldpanel shows that Microsoft is actually starting to perform rather well in the US, one of the more important markets for the company. So much so that the platform is growing at a slightly faster rate than Google's Android. Microsoft still has a tough mountain to climb to tackle both Android and iOS, but it would seem as though the third position is firmly in its grasp.

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By now the narrative that Windows Phone is finally starting to pick up steam with developer should be familiar. It seems as if every few days a few big titles get released to the Store, giving Windows Phone users a semblance of platform parity.

The app Countdown+++ is one of the most popular utilities on iOS due to its colorful simplicity. It’s what it sounds like, an app for entering in due dates for whatever topic you want, creating a countdown clock for you to periodically check. It’s one of the top 50 utility apps on the iPhone and maintains a strong 5-star rating from 4500 reviews. The fact that it is now on Windows Phone is always a welcome sight, as it allows iOS users to more easily switch platforms.

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Trader Media Group (TMG), parent of UK Auto Trader, is set to replace its iPhone arsenal with Windows Phones. It's said that Android will not be considered as it has too many security vulnerabilities. In an interview with Computing, TMG CIO Tim Jones revealed that the company has operated in an iOS ecosystem for the last five years, because the iPhone was the more mature smartphone available on the market. But now the group is looking at alternatives. 

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Gartner has released their data for smartphone sales and market share for the fourth quarter in 2012 and while the data is not conclusive by itself, it does show general trends in where the market is heading.

For Microsoft and partners the picture is most certainly better than it was one year ago, which is the good news. The bad news is the hill to climb to global relevancy is still as massive as ever, mostly due to the continued growth of Android (specifically Samsung) and iOS. Meanwhile BlackBerry (formerly RIM), is still bleeding heavily prior to its transition to BB10, showing a massive decline in sales.

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Alright, so Nokia has a good grasp on what the word exclusive means. But Microsoft takes a more liberal stance towards supporting other platforms. We’ve seen the big MS publish previously Xbox Windows Phone exclusive games to iOS before, such as Kinectimals and Tentacles. It always hurt, but we sucked it up and complained only in small doses.

Yesterday, another exclusive turned coat and migrated to iOS: Microsoft’s own Wordament. I had previously speculated that Wordament could function as a killer app, attracting gamers to Windows Phone with its highly addictive gameplay and smart design. That will no longer happen, but here’s the really bad news: Wordament on iOS is an Xbox Live title complete with real Achievements!

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Latest figures published by market research group Kantar has revealed that Windows Phone is on the rise across the board, excluding a number of markets where sales remain low. The Nokia Lumia 920, HTC 8X and Samsung ATIV S are all high-end smartphones that will be pushing the platform forward in 2013 with potential marketshare gain in multiple locations, but how has the platform progressed through 2012?

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In a recent interview Google stated they will not devote any resources to making apps for either Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8. They have also now ceased consumer support for ActiveSync.  Some are calling it ‘war’ while others passionately question if Windows Phone can survive without Google products and services.

The relationship between Google and Microsoft has always been somewhat hostile. In many ways the battle they engage in now can be seen as a kind of echo from a distant technological past. Google have dug in their heels and to some degree shown their true colours by declaring zero support for Microsoft’s newest operating systems, Windows Phone and Windows 8.

But does it matter and has anything really changed?

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Probably the toughest problem any new user faces when switching platforms is finding comparable apps on their new OS. Sure, we have the Windows Phone Central forums to help and we try to do what we can here, but Nokia has something even better.

Nokia, in conjunction with Xyologic, have teamed up to bring a site called Find your Favorite Apps (www.xyo.net/lumia) that allows you to name the platform you’re coming from (iPhone, Android), choose one of 15 supported countries and then the app you are looking to pick up. The service then searches database and comes up with what it thinks is the best choice. Heck, it even auto-creates a QR code for quick and easy scanning.

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The Windows Phone Store (previously the Windows Phone Marketplace) has been growing at a fairly steady rate since the platform launched back in 2010. The number of apps and games available to consumers to download (both free and paid) is still increasing, and the platform has passed the 100,000 app milestone.

Since Windows Phone is a smaller ecosystem than both iOS and Android, is it worth investing in app and game development? According to data from EEDAR's 2012 Mobile Syndicated Reports, Windows Phone is actually a valid option for developers when it comes to monetisation. According to the reports, Windows Phone users spend more funds in the Store than users on competing platforms.

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Windows Phone 8 Rooms feature

Windows Phone 8 brings with it many improvements to its social abilities, one such improvement is the inclusion of “Rooms”.

Taking some of the ideas from Windows Phone 7’s Groups feature and expanding it out, the new feature allows for powerful social interaction with a selection of your contacts. Windows Phone has always been a powerful performer with regards to its social networking prowess and Rooms is going to take that a step further.

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Have you ever felt like adding your music to the cloud and being able to stream it anywhere, on multiple platforms? To listen to your own music library wirelessly? There are a number of options available, iTunes Match probably being the most likely recommendation, but they’re restricted in some way or another. Cue the introduction of Jukebox (www.get-jukebox.com).

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Platform exclusivity isn’t what it used to be these days. Several Windows Phone-exclusive Xbox games have moved to iOS in the past, including Kinectimals, Tentacles, Rocket Riot, Max and the Magic Marker, and more. Microsoft has even published Halo Waypoint and Xbox Live companion apps for Apple's competing platform. We can now add WP7’s sole Japanese-developed exclusive to that list as well. Dodonpachi Maximum from CAVE hits iOS on October 26.

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