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Showing posts from September 25, 2016

Microsoft’s Windows Mobile Hardware Plan Needs To Show Leadership

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With its commitment to further first party Windows 10 Mobiles yesterday, Microsoft set out its store for the future: first-party devices to provide differentiation. Its a similar vision to the one that brought us the original Surface and the Surface line’s eventual success.Microsoft will build new phone hardware to fill gaps left by third-party manufacturers.So how do the very business-focused rumours of the new Surface Phone fit with that goal? Not very well it turns out. HP’s Elite x3 currently offers everything an enterprise with Windows Mobile leanings could want from a high end phone. Acer’s Jade Primo offers a reasonable mid-range enterprise offering (although I’m far from convinced that any enterprise organisation would deploy devices from a consumer brand).From an enterprise offering what’s missing then is a Lumia 650 level device which supports Continuum and some form of biometric security. Doesn’t feel like this would be the right place to launch a new Surface Phone sub-bran…

With Andromeda Can Google Use Mobile Momentum To Break Windows?

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What’s the most popular operating system in use in the world today? If you said Android, you’re spot on, if you said Windows, that’s probably something of a surprise. However popular Android is, Google appears to have lost control of its platform, to the point where fragmentation, both in versions and also in forks, has run away with it and there’s no opportunity to put the genie back into the box.The rumours of a merger of Android and Chrome OS to create a new, all pervasive platform, sound like an attempt to build a new box. One that Google controls and one that leverages the best of both of its parent platforms to create a user experience that puts Microsoft on notice.Android is everywhere, it is powerful and somewhat flexible. Chrome OS is constantly up to date, supports larger screen sizes and runs fluidly on a variety of hardware. Between them they have the capability to create a single, viable alternative to Windows. Chrome OS is already outselling MacOS in several market segme…

Snapchat Spectacles: Look Past The Product

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Snapchat – now Snap Inc – made a seismic shift yesterday with its launch of its Spectacles product. A pair of sunglasses with an embedded camera which captures 10 seconds of video on request. The glasses themselves may or not be a success, but the concept is sound. Customers today, especially those who use Snapchat, but other social media service users too, expect to be able to visually capture everything that happens in their lives. That means selfies, foodies, and every other-ie that you care to think about.Snap’s Spectacles just make that easier and more pervasive, and whilst the glasses themselves aren’t particularly attractive they aren’t offensive. They’re also going to be incredibly cheap.I think that focus on doing something within the frame of an existing social network, for a particular set of tasks that Snap knows it uses thrive on, will be the difference between Spectacles succeeding and Google’s Glass dismal failure.Whereas Google’s product became irretrievably entwined w…

Microsoft All But Confirms Surface Phone, Commits To Windows 10 Mobile – Just Not For Consumers

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Presenting at Microsoft’s Ignite conference, Windows 10 Mobile Product Manager Alan Meeus committed the company to future first-party Windows Mobile devices, more or less confirming the future existence of a Surface Phone. However although the presentation made it very clear that Windows 10 Mobile was still a key part of Microsoft’s thinking, it also very specifically excluded any future consumer level interest.Business was very much the topic of the presentation, with lots of reasons why enterprise customers might choose to go with a Windows Mobile in future. The HP Elite x3 featured heavily in the presentation, as did items of enterprise interest. Excluding the consumer from the platform doesn’t feel like wise option though. Consumers influence corporate purchasing decisions where phones are concerned and with the deeper penetration of BYOD into enterprise it seems like Microsoft doubling down on a weak strategy.When Microsoft announced the Lumia 950 / XL as phones for the Windows M…

Can You Really Afford To Consider A Device Without Expandable Storage?

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There’s a growing split in the way manufacturers handle storage expansion in their devices and with micro SD cards having reached remarkable price to storage ratios you probably need to consider very carefully whether that non-expandable phone is really such a good buy.Here in New Zealand Apple charges an extra $200 to jump from the 32GB iPhone 7 to the 128GB version. A phone with 32GB on board and expandable memory can be upgrade with a 128GB branded Class 10 micro SD card for under $70.Buyers of Google’s Nexus 6P fare even worse, paying NZ$200 to go from 32GB to 64GB of storage. That extra 32GB bought as an micro SD card will set you back under NZ$10 right now.Now in the past the performance of the expandable storage has been called into question, however with most phones starting at 32GB on board, applications can be kept on internal memory and media, which is generally less performance sensitive, shunted off to the storage card.Of course if you’re going with Apple there’s little o…

Who Has The Biggest Surprise Lined Up For October: Google Or Microsoft?

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With Apple’s iPhone launch out of the way, attention turns to Google’s Pixel phone event next week. We already have a good idea of the main event – two HTC made phones carrying the Google branding and the new sub brand Pixel – we’re also seen today evidence of a new 4K capable Chromecast device, but the biggest news might just be Andromeda.Referenced with Nougat, some are speculating that Andromeda will see the merger of Android and Chrome OS to create a single platform for all mobile devices going forward. Given the work that Google has been doing to bring the Play Store to Android that’s probably a good guess. Will Google be ready to unveil this major change of direction within the week?Also being suggested for the Google event are a new network router with ground breaking WiFi performance and a Google Assistant speaker puck to compete with Amazon’s Alexa.Later in the month Microsoft has its Surface event and right now rumours are all over the place, with the biggest being that Micr…

Office 365 Approaching 100 Million Subscribers

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For anyone doubting Microsoft’s ability to transition its big money Office product to a subscription based cloud service, the company announced its latest figures for Office 365 subscribers – and with the 70 million commercial subscribers announced today and the 23 million consumer subscribers previously published  its a very healthy number indeed.With an average annual subscription to Office 365 costing $100 that amounts to an annual revenue of close to $10bn.However we’re still not entirely sure of the cost of acquiring that business. For example subscriptions through the Apple Store cost Microsoft 30% of its revenue, plus there are the costs of providing the 1TB of OneDrive storage it offers Office 365 subscribers, amongst others.Still, it sounds like a pretty profitable business for Microsoft, and as long as Office remains the business standard productivity suite it will likely remain that way. However in the same way that the US economy is reliant upon oil trading in US dollars, …

Windows 10 Hits 400 Million Installs

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Windows 10 hit a new milestone today, with Microsoft announcing that installs had now topped 400 million. That’s a slowdown from peak growth of about 30%, but given that the free upgrade offer ended since the last time that Microsoft reported numbers it hardly an unexpected one.With a limited number of upgrades likely to happen going forward (mainly enterprises with software assurance that effectively get the upgrade for free) future Windows 10 growth is going to be based on new PC sales in the main. There’s no sign that the fall in those sales is going to reverse any time soon though.Microsoft is still committed to hitting one billion Windows 10 installs, but its going to take a lot longer than the two years originally predicted. The latest figures suggest about half a million new installs per day (in itself a remarkable number) which means the next 600 million users will take around 1200 days – or more than three years – to get onboard.