Looking Forward to Windows Phone in 2015


As 2014 winds down, Windows Phone is at a crucial stage in its lifecycle. Again. Earlier in 2014, Microsoft closed the acquisition of Nokia’s hardware division and Windows 10 was launched in a Technical Preview form. Nokia’s acquisition, combined with the upcoming Windows 10-based version of the phone operating system, has perhaps resulted in a slight pause in release of true flagship devices that can compete with the latest versions of competing platforms, the iPhone and Android/Nexus lineup.

So, as we look forward to the early 2014 look at the combined Windows RT and Windows Phone OS based on Windows 10, what can Microsoft do to preserve and grow its share, both market share as well as mind share? Recently, some prominent writers have written in detail about why they are no longer using Windows Phone as their primary device. Key takeaways there were lack of proper support of the platform by the largest mobile network in the US, Verizon Wireless, as well as lack of key apps on the platform. Apps that include the likes of Slack, Trello, Snapchat, Tinder, etc.

I have my own reasons why I switched to using iPhone 5s as my primary device last year. I know Windows Phone 8.1 added Notification Center but many of the problems are still valid issues for those who care about top-end Windows Phone experience. For example, adding Action Center to store all notifications is a great start, but in order to take action on those notifications, you have to tap it which opens the app, and then you take action within the app. Android, and now even iOS to a certain extent, have actionable notifications and those need to be implemented on Windows Phone.

The broader issue with Windows Phone is that for the third year in a row, enthusiasts are made to wait for “the next version” for feature parity with iOS and Android. Meanwhile those two platforms, due to the incredible ecosystem which creates a great virtuous cycle, have implemented next-generation features that move the goal posts for Windows Phone. Also, this wait for the next version of Windows Phone only takes care of part of the problem plaguing the platform; app developers are still not flocking to the platform because in the US, where most of the innovative apps have been created in the recent past, Windows Phone is still languishing around the 3% market share. Forget Windows Phone, even choosing Android as the second platform to be supported by small developers, is hard (although that Android situation is changing slowly).

Here are some things to look forward to as yet another chapter opens for Windows phone (yes, the “p” is lower case, because rumors suggest that Windows Phone operating system will be merged with Windows RT and just called Windows 10):

Windows 10

There’s a lot of hope for Windows 10’s ARM-based OS version, the merger of Windows RT and Windows Phone. How will apps built for Windows Phone work on Windows 10? What about additional features in the OS which will create an unforeseen appetite both on the consumer side as well as on the developer side? Cortana has rightly won accolades for how well she works, but it has not moved the needle much for device sales. Granted, it is not fully launched yet, but still. Also, what else can Windows 10 do that iOS and Android don’t do, and more importantly, can Microsoft find something that Windows 10 can do which iOS and Android *won’t* be able to do?

Windows 10 Product Family
Windows 10 Product Family


One of the issues I had with Windows Phone when I got my iPhone 5s was the increased (and justifiable) focus by Microsoft on the lower end. They see their best market potential in markets which haven’t achieved smartphone saturation yet. In those markets, Microsoft has been able to sell their entry-level devices quite well. So Microsoft making “affordable flagship” a term for mid-range devices with some high-end specifications is completely understandable.

However, many customers in the developed markets would love to get a true high-end phone that competes well with the flagship iPhone and Android devices. The Lumia 1020, for example, has no successor yet. Yes, the Lumia 1520 is a great phone but there needs to be a non-phablet version of that device to make it appealing to the larger customer base.

Lumia 1520
Lumia 1520
Lumia Icon
Lumia Icon


Yes, Microsoft did create a bypass of sorts by making it possible for any “developer” to get direct updates of the software from Microsoft. Pretty much anyone can sign up to be a “developer” by signing into App Studio online, thereby making sure any enthusiast who cares about latest OS versions, will get it directly from Microsoft. That has helped reduce the angst among the enthusiasts but it is only one part of the updates customers need; firmware that makes devices work better, is delivered by the OEMs and via the carriers. Carriers have no real urgency to complete (or in some cases, even start!) testing and delivering the firmware to Windows Phone devices.

Could Microsoft come up with a way to deliver even more firmware directly? I mean, Windows on PCs get all updates delivered directly, and if Windows 10’s mobile version is going to be like “big Windows”, then I am optimistic that most of the updates could be delivered directly by Microsoft. Having said that, could Microsoft find a way, Windows 10 or otherwise, to deliver it without the need for the device to be a developer device?

Mind share

This is a really tough nut for Microsoft to crack. Much of the mind share these days is delivery via the Microsoft-averse tech blogosphere which has settled down on Apple and Google as being the only two players worth caring about. In order to win them over, Microsoft has to climb a virtually impossible mountain but as we have seen in the enterprise/cloud space, it is not impossible. A few crucial strategic moves on the Azure/Visual Studio side have made Microsoft somewhat of a darling in the same tech press, and Microsoft has to find a similar set of moves to make on the consumer side in order to increase their mind share. I say this because even Windows Phone 8.1 is an excellent operating system and there is a lot to love there, but if the writers who write at prominent tech blogs don’t care to use it, and worse, dismiss it, it does not help. I am not sure what those strategic moves could be, but Microsoft does need to make those moves so that the tech press actually cares about writing about Windows devices.

I am optimistic about Windows 10. I like the fact that there will be one OS for phones and tablets and I look forward to seeing some of the well-established Windows Phone apps get upgraded to be Universal and work on small tablets as well. But most importantly, I want to see how Microsoft expands Windows 10 to work as one OS across phones, tablets and PCs. There are many interesting applications of having one OS work across devices of all form factors and I am curious to see how today’s excellent phone applications work on my Windows tablets. On the phone side, I am looking forward to some nice high-end devices and some marquee apps releasing their Universal versions soon.

Here’s looking forward to another exciting year for Microsoft and Windows!

White Nexus 4 Announced; Goes On Sale In India For Rs.25,990

Google Nexus 4 is currently available for purchase only in Black color. We have also seen the leaked pics as well as the press shots of White Nexus 4. Today, the South Korean mobile phone manufacturer finally went ahead and announced the extremely popular Nexus 4 smartphone with a fresh coat of paint. As usual, this handset will be shipped with the latest Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) Operating System. Compared to the original Nexus 4, there are no changes in the specs of this device.

Dr. Jong-seok Park, president and CEO of LG Mobile Communications Company, said,
“Nexus 4 set the standard for Android 4.2 Jelly Bean smartphones. Nexus 4 White delivers the same Google experience to consumers in a stylish and attractive color option.”


Google Nexus 4 features a 4.7 inch WXGA display, sporting a resolution of 1280 x 768 pixels, Corning Gorilla Glass 2, 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor, Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) OS, 8 megapixel rear-facing camera with auto-focus and LED flash, Full HD (1080p) video recording and playback, 1.3 megapixel front-facing HD camera for video calls, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, 3G Connectivity and much more.

It also comes with a 3.5 mm audio jack, FM radio with RDS, 16 GB internal memory, no MicroSD card support, 2 GB RAM, Google Play Store, GPS with A-GPS, Bluetooth 3.0, DLNA Certified, HDMI support, Micro USB, USB 2.0, NFC (Near Field Communication), Wi-Fi Hotspot functionality, up to 12 hrs of talk-time, up to 565 hrs of stand-by time and a 2100 mAh Li-ion battery.

According to the press release, White Nexus 4 will go on sale in Hong Kong from May 29, followed by select markets in Asia, North America, Europe and the Middle East over the next several weeks. However, the new variant of Nexus 4 is already available for purchase in India through online retailers as well as brick and mortar stores. It comes with a price tag of Rs.25,990 (approx. $465). To get this handset, head over to Saholic.

Nexus 4 Now In Stock On German Play Store; Arriving The On U.S Play Store In A Couple Of Hours

Want to buy a Nexus 4? Get ready with your credit card then. The Nexus 4 from LG and Google is back in the German Play Store, and should be available on the U.S Play Store within the next couple of hours. The bumper is still out of stock in the German Play Store, so chances are it might not be available for sale in the U.S Play Store as well.

LG’s France Director had promised that the stock shortage of the Nexus 4 will be fixed by the middle of February, and it looks like the company has indeed managed to do that. The shipping time of the handset is a bit high though at around 1 to 2 weeks.

Also, chances are we might finally see the Nexus wireless charging orb up for sale on the Play Store soon, along with the accessories.

Via – Google+

LG Nexus 4 Hands-On Video Shows Off Android 4.2 with Quick Settings

LG Nexus 4 has to go down as one of the worst kept secrets of the year. We already had numerous leaked pictures and detailed specifications. Now, we even have a hands-on video of the handset.

Swedroid has published a two minutes video of the LG Nexus 4, which will be Google’s flagship handset for Android 4.2. The video shows LG’s first Nexus handset up close, and to be quite honest, it looks gorgeous. It is undoubtedly the best-looking smartphone that has come out of LG’s stables in the recent past. The video also gives us a brief glance of Android 4.2. We get our first look at Quick Settings. This feature will be accessible through a button in the notification bar, and as the name suggests, it will provide quick access to various frequently used settings. Check out the video yourself, and don’t forget to let us know what you think of the new Nexus handset.

Google To Hold An Android Event On October 29th

Today, Google has sent out press invites for an Android related event, which the company is going to hold on October 29th in NYC at 10AM.

The invite from Google contains a picture of Google Now welcome screen, with the line “The playground is open” written in the search bar. It might be possible that Google is opening up the Nexus program for other Android OEMs? Or maybe the company will work on adding AOSP support for all the existing high-end Android devices from various OEMs?

Google will also be unveiling a new Nexus handset at the event, manufactured by LG this time. The leaks and rumors suggest that the Nexus handset from LG will be known as the Nexus 4, and will pack a quad-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Krait processor, Adreno 320 GPU, 2GB of RAM, a 8MP camera, and a 4.7-inch IPS HD display. The new Nexus handset will also be accompanied by a new Android version, 4.2 in all probability, and hopefully, a 32GB variant of the Nexus 7.

For all unlucky souls like us, Google will also be live streaming the event at youtube.com/Android.

Microsoft is also holding an event on October 29th where it will be unveiling Windows Phone 8.

Sony’s Nexus Handset Pictures Leak?

Today, a couple of pictures of what is apparently the Nexus handset from Sony have made its way on Picasa. As of now, there is no way of confirming whether these pictures are real or are fake.

While there is no Nexus or Xperia branding on the handset, the picture of the handset showing off the stock Android 4.x home screen is enough to fuel the rumors that this might be the Nexus handset from Sony.

Earlier this year, Wall Street Journal had reported that Google will apparently be launching multiple Nexus handsets at the end of the year. Since then, rumors about the Nexus handsets were too far and few until October started. Since the beginning of October, the pictures and other details of the next Nexus handset from LG have made their way to the Internet, almost daily.

The lack of leaks and rumors as to the Nexus handsets from other OEMs suggested that there will only be one Nexus handset from LG this year, but the above pictures, if true, suggest that Google might just unveil multiple Nexus handsets this year.

As a religious Android follower, I doubt the authenticity of the above pictures. If there were indeed multiple Nexus handsets this year, some information would have leaked about them by now.

Via – Xperia Blog

Android 4.2 Gmail App To Feature Pinch To Zoom And Swipe To Delete/Archive A Message

With the launch of the next Nexus handset from LG coming closer, leaks have started flowing in almost daily. While we now know nearly everything about the next Nexus handset, what we don’t know is which version of Android it will run and what all new features it will bring on-board.

Today, the folks over at Android Police have managed to get their hands on the Gmail APK that will be included in Android 4.2. The latest version of the Gmail app brings with it one of the most requested and much needed features – the ability to pinch to zoom in an email.

Other than pinch-to-zoom, the new version of the app also includes the ability to swipe an email to archive it or delete it, which is thankfully user configurable and finally, the ability to mark an email as a phishing attempt. The Android Police guys managed to get the Gmail app work on their Galaxy Nexus running Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean without much of a hassle.

Sadly, they are not allowed to share the APK with the Internet, so we will have to wait until someone else leaks the APK or Google releases the Gmail app update in the Play Store.

Pictures Of Upcoming LG Nexus Phone Leak

Before October started, the rumor mill was surprisingly pretty silent about the next Nexus handset from Google. Thankfully, October had a explosive start in terms of Nexus rumors with the specs of the LG Optimus G based Nexus from Google leaking out.

Today, a bunch of blurrycam pictures of the LG Nexus handset has hit the Internet showing off the device running Android 4.1.2. The pictures of the LG E960 dubbed mako first made its way on XDA forums, before Android Central and other blogs got some more pictures of the device. In some pictures, the phone is inside a case probably to keep its design away from the prying eyes.

The pictures confirm that the next Nexus from LG will sport a non-removable battery, a 4.7-inch screen with 1280×768 resolution and on-screen navigation buttons. The handset looks like a mash-up of Galaxy Nexus and the Optimus G, and to me, looks pretty sleek and sexy. It is not clear from the pictures whether the back of the phone is made of glass or glossy plastic, though.

The FCC documents suggest that the LG Nexus will support only AT&T’s 3/4G LTE bands in the United States. Hopefully, Google will also release a penta-band version of the LG Nexus handset especially since the MD915 modem inside the handset is perfectly capable penta-band baseband.

Don’t forget to hit the sources below for more pictures.

Via – The Verge, Baraholka

Next Nexus Handset From LG; To Pack Similar Specs As LG Optimus G

Before October started, the rumors and information surrounding the next Nexus was surprisingly very low. However, October has had an explosive start in terms of Nexus news and rumors.  Taylor of Android and Me, and now, Paul of Modaco have got confirmed news from their 100% trusted sources that LG will be making the next Nexus handset. At the moment it is unsure whether there will be multiple Nexus handsets from multiple OEMs or not.

According to the tip that Paul and Taylor have got, the LG Nexus handset will sport specs similar to the LG Optimus G, which means that we may finally have a Nexus handset that is actually ahead in terms of raw power compared to other Android devices rather than being behind them.

Below are the rumored specs of the next Nexus handset from LG as posted by Paul  -:

  • The device is based on the Optimus G but doesn’t look the same
  • Updated Android release (currently 4.2)
  • Quad Core Snapdragon S4 processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 1280×768 True-HD IPS screen
  • On screen soft keys (of course)
  • 8 Megapixel Camera
  • No microSD slot
  • 8GB and 16GB versions only (at least initially)
  • Non-removable battery
  • Wireless charging built in
  • The retail name of the device is yet to be decided.

While a quad-core Krait and 2GB of RAM sound really good, only 16GB of internal memory and no microSD card slot sounds really bad. With the size of Android games reaching up to 3.5GB, and averaging around 1-2GB, 16GB is just not enough. I really hope Google unveils a 32GB variant of the handset as well, and skips the 8GB version since I doubt it will find many takers.

The handset is expected to be launched sometime in mid-November so there is still quite a lot of time left for leaks, rumors, blurry cam pics and the official announcement from Google itself.

Google/Samsung Working On A Exynos 5250 Powered Nexus Tablet Or Handset?

When Samsung announced the Galaxy S3 earlier this month, quite a few die-hard techies were disappointed with the SoC of the handset. The Exynos 4 Quad SoC inside the SGS3 is a beast in every sense, but it packs in 4 “older” generation Cortex-A9 cores instead of the latest Cortex-A15 architecture. The Qualcomm S4 (Krait) SoC is a custom Cortex-A15 competitor from Qualcomm, and even though it has two less physical cores, it manages to beat the quad-core Exynos and Tegra 3 in quite a few benchmarks pretty easily. The Exynos 5250 is Samsung’s Cortex-A15 dual-core based SoC, which is scheduled to arrive later this year.

According to some of the latest commits from Google’s Android git, it looks like Google and Samsung are preparing a new device that will be using an Exynos 5250 SoC. The other specs of this mysterious device also look impressive with a Wolfson WM8994 audio chip, a 720p display, ‘vithar’ GPU clocked at 533MHz, and a ‘S5K4E5/S5K6A3′ camera.

The Exynos 5250 just went into testing, and the early yields of the SoC are only able to scale up to 1GHz. Thus, the chances of the rumored Google Nexus tablet sporting the Exynos 5250 SoC do look bleak since its less than 2 months away from its unveiling. Samsung states that the Exynos 5250 SoC will be clocked at around 1.8-2GHz, so the yield of the SoC needs to improve before it goes into production. The SoC is scheduled to go into production sometime in Q3 of this year. It might be possible that the Galaxy Note 2 or even the next Nexus handset from Google will be sporting the above specs.

Via – Codeworkx