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┬áthird 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!

Intex Sense Budget Phone Launched In India For Rs.3690

Intex is one of the leading companies in IT hardware, consumer electronics and mobile phones. This company is popularly known for manufacturing entry-level feature phones in India. Intex recently launched the new Intex Sense budget phone. The stylish Intex Sense comes with a 3.2 inch touchscreen display as well as a 3 megapixel camera.

The Intex Application Store – WStore available in the phone is preloaded with 41 international and popular games including the Doodle Jump, Angry Birds, Gears of War, Guns & Glory, Need for Speed and Gogo Box.

Commenting on the launch, Sanjay Kumar, GM, Mobile Business, Intex Technologies (India) Ltd. said,

“We are a consumer oriented company and with every launch, we aim to address the changing needs of our customers. People in today’s time are looking for a phone that offers not only great features but also one that is dependable. When paired with numerous features and exciting applications such as weather forecasts, vocabulary, movie and books, INTEX SENSE offers a unique experience that is simply unmatched in the market at this price point.”

intex sense

The Intex Sense features a 3.2 inch touchscreen display, 3 megapixel rear camera with dual LED flash, 1.3 megapixel front facing-camera, 79 MB internal memory, microSD card slot, 4 GB microSD card bundled, 4.5 hours of talktime and 380 hours of stand-by time. This handset comes pre-loaded with some of the famous books, ranging from classic to fiction and from thriller to general science, etc. Additionally, the user can save upto 500 books in secondary storage of the phone.

The Intex Sense comes with a price-tag of just Rs.3690 (approx. $75). This handset will be available in black and white colors. You can easily get this device at 70 Intex Squares (exclusive retail stores) and several retailers across the country.

Budget ’11: Mobile Phones To Cost More

The Union Budget which was presented yesterday by the Finance Minister of India received mixed responses from everyone. The budget had it’s impact stated on the telecom sector too. According to the Indian Cellular Association, from now on all the Mobile Phone handsets that are directly imported into India will be expensive by about 5 per cent of their existing market prices.

Also, the mobile phone handsets which are manufactured in India will have their retail price tags raised by about one per cent. However there won’t be any change in the pricing of basic mobile phone accessories due to the Budget. According to Mr Pankaj Mohindroo, President, Indian Cellular Association – the increase in the price of Mobile handsets would pose a further concern for the mobile industry which is already facing a challenge from the unbranded and sub-standard Chinese mobile phones.

Mr Arshit Pathak, Managing Director of Kingtech Electronics which owns the G’Five brand phones has said that this increase in the mobile phone prices won’t affect the customer end price of their handsets and the company would absorb the price increase to benefit their customers.

via Hindu Business Line

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Ad Leaked

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, or the Playstation phone, has been one of the most awaited Android smartphones in the past few months. Ever since it was first leaked, it had the entire Android community excited.

We did get to know the exact hardware specs and other details a few weeks back, just after CES 2011 ended. Now, we have a leaked commercial for the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, thanks to DroidNYTT. It features an Android robot undergoing surgery in a shady alley to get a pair of thumbs, presumably to use the gaming controls on the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play. Not the best ad we have seen, but definitely cool.

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play comes with a 3.7 inch capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 854 x 480 pixels. It has a 1 GHz CPU and 512 MB RAM with an Adreno 205 GPU. It will run Android 2.3 Gingerbread and will come with exclusive games designed specifically for the Xperia Play. It is quite similar to the PSP Go in terms of design and form factor.

It will be unveiled officially by Sony Ericsson at the Mobile World Congress at February 2011. The exact launch and pricing details will be available then.

Check out the Xperia Play ad:

via BGR

Samsung Gem, Another Budget Android Revealed

Samsung has published some images and specifications of the Samsung Gem, another budget Android phone, on its website.

It has dimensions of 4.48 x 2.18 x 0.48 inches and weighs 3.85 ounces. It will have a 3.2 inch capacitive touchscreen display with a WQVGA resolution. It will be powered by an 800 MHz processor and will likely come with 256/512 MB RAM. It will also have a 3.2 MP camera and will come with the Android 2.1 Eclair OS with Swype for text input. We don’t know whether or not it will be upgraded to Android 2.2 Froyo or Android 2.3 Gingerbread. It also has Bluetooth 2.1, Wi-Fi, GPS and 124 MB internal storage with 16 GB microSD card support.

The Samsung Spica i5700 was one of the most popular budget Android phones in its time. However, it was soon superceded by the LG Optimus One. The Samsung Gem will compete with the Optimus One and the newly launched Optimus Me. Going by the hardware specs, it definitely offers a better deal. But it runs an outdated OS – Android 2.1 Eclair while the Optimus One and Optimus Me come with Android 2.2 Froyo. The Gem may be officially unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in February 2011.

Check out these images of the Samsung Gem:

Samsung Gem

Samsung Gem

Source: Samsung SCH-I100 Features

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Specifications and Images Leaked

Though the Xperia Play- the Playstation Phone – is supposed to be officially unveiled by Sony Ericsson at MWC 2011, not a day passes without some mention of the Xperia Play on the internet. It is easily the most anticipated Android smartphone of 2011. We have already given you a glimpse into the kind of processing power that the Xperia Play packs under the hood; now we have the exact hardware specs of the Xperia Play with us.

The Xperia Play is quite similar to the PSP Go, in terms of design and form factor. It will have a 3.7 inch capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 854 x 480 pixels.

It will be powered by a 1 GHz CPU and has 512 MB RAM. The graphics will be handled by the Adreno 205 GPU, just like the Xperia Duo.

The hardware seems a bit underpowered, compared to the dual core processor toting Android smartphones which were unveiled at CES 2011. The Xperia Play performs quite well though, atleast according to its Quadrant and Neocore scores.

The Xperia Play will support all Android games and will also come with a separate library of exclusive games by Sony Ericsson. It will run a heavily customized version of Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

Xperia Play

Xperia Play


The Xperia X10 Mini Pro’s Successor Leaked!

I don’t know what is with Sony/Sony-Ericsson. Almost all of their new products get leaked weeks before their official update, and for the most part, there is no fun in their official updates (which are tediously written and rather slow).


However, the folks over at Sony Ericsson have been up to promising things with their PlayStation Phone (the Xperia Play) up and coming with some rather nice features. The smaller cousin of the X10, the X10 Mini (and Mini Pro) packs quite a tight punch with its tiny screen and processor and is quite a popular phone. Thus, SE decided that it just needs to notch up the processor, run it off Gingerbread (Android OS 2.3), add some wicked fast graphics chips and let it run amok with Neocore and Quadrant to see just how fast a tiny computer can be.


It is extremely fast (if the leaked photographs are to be believed) with a Neocore framerate of 42.5fps and a Quadrant score of 1,533. The original leaker on the SE.it168.com forums says that it sports a 3-inch (320×480) multi-touch display, a 1GHz CPU and an Adeno 205 GPU. The pictures seem legit as the unofficial X10 blog rightly points out that the overall hardware layout seems similar to the previously previewed ANZU with regard to the button layout.


Is that excessively exciting? You bet! I personally use an X10 Mini Pro since I’m averse to large-screened phones (I have to take extra care of them) and really like a QWERTY solution. If this phone has a QWERTY slide-out keyboard, I know what my next phone will be the mini version of the PlayStation Phone!

Source: Unofficial X10 Blog.

Leaked: LG B, Slimmest Android Phone with a Superb Display

After the LG Optimus 2X, the dual core Android smartphone by LG, yet another Android phone by LG has been leaked. It is the second impressive device that LG will launch in 2011, probably at CES.

It is a very slim phone, slimmer than both the Apple iPhone 4 and the Samsung Galaxy S. Another feather in its cap: its 4 inch display is supposedly better than both the iPhone 4’s Retina display and the Galaxy S’ Super AMOLED display. It is both brighter and more power efficient than the other displays.

With the success of the LG Optimus One, and the hype surrounding the LG Optimus 2X and now the LG B, LG is finally getting its fair share of the limelight in the mobile press.


via Phandroid

Motorola Quench XT5 Launched in India; Priced at Rs 13990

Motorola Quench XT5The Motorola Quench XT5, one of the most awaited budget Android phones has finally been launched in India. It was launched today and is bundled with an Aircel connection.

The Quench XT5 runs Android 2.1 Eclair and comes with a 3.2 inch capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 320 x 480 pixels. It has a 600 MHz Qualcomm processor and comes with 256 MB RAM.

It offers 512 MB internal storage and comes bundled with a 2 GB microSD card. It also has a 5 MP camera with LED flash and comes equipped with GPRS, EDGE, 3G, Wi-Fi and GPS.

It is priced at Rs 13990 in India and comes with an Aircel connection. If you choose a prepaid connection, you get 9 GB free download for 3 months and 150 free Aircel to Aircel minutes. With a postpaid connection, you get 1 GB free downloads per month for six months.

If you aren’t keen on the camera, I think that the LG Optimus One would be a better option, as it runs Android 2.2 Froyo and will soon get the Android 2.3 Gingerbread update.

HTC to Launch the First 3D Android Phone in 2011

HTCRumor is that HTC is planning to launch the first 3D smartphone powered by Android in 2011. HTC has been one of the most successful Android partners and has delivered a lot of hits. However, some of its glory has been stolen by its competitor Samsung, with the Galaxy range of smartphones and tablets.

HTC was demonstrating mobile 3D technology at MWC 2010 in Barcelona. Now, it seems that it is planning to launch an Android smartphone with a 3D display at MWC 2011. Techradar, a tech blog, also reported that HTC had been advertising for a “display and camera design engineer familiar with 3D display and imaging technologies”.

Source: TechRadar