Microsoft

(Rumor) Microsoft Surface coming to Europe?

(Rumor) Microsoft Surface coming to Europe?

surface_05

Today Hellshock (follow him!),  one of my Italian tweeps made an awesome discovery. The Italian Microsoft site has a link to Surface within the “Products” section.

Of course I checked that for Germany as well, and in fact it is there, too:

Screenshot (14)

Well, I know that this means nothing at the moment, but it is a sign that Microsoft will bring the Surface all over the World. Maybe Microsoft this time learned from their Zune HD, which was announced for the rest of the world, but never made it to Europe.

What do you think? Are we reading to much into it? Will you be excited?

Just leave a comment below.

source

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Windows, 0 comments
Post #200 or what exiting times we have with Microsoft

Post #200 or what exiting times we have with Microsoft

microsoft_logoI struggled with myself very long on what topic I dedicate this post with the anniversary number 200 and ended up with this article.

We all had already a very exiting year with Microsoft. Microsoft is fully in his “reimagine” phase, and the winners of this are we – as users, and as developers.

Windows 8

The year was starting for me with a key milestone: Windows 8 CP. A more fluid and fast alternative to the DP Microsoft released last year. And we finally had a good amount of apps (for a beta build). I felt really in Love with Windows 8 after using it only a few hours. Windows 8 is totally different. The Metro start screen will change the way how users will interact with their PC – also if it is non touchable.

I am currently running the final version of Windows  (RTM), and I love it to use more and more apps instead of visiting websites. It is way more fun to use a twitter app than to use their website, for example.

It is a change in the daily use of your PC, but most of the users that I personally know are exited about how easy it is to use a PC with apps. Sure, there are some people who will not be satisfied. That is not a bad thing. We all like different kind of things. But I am convinced that the majority of people will accept the Metro screen as part of their PC. Period.

For Developers it is amazing: no matter what language you are using right now, almost everyone can do Windows 8 apps. No matter if you are a Web Designer, used to Java, C# or C++, your app can be there on Windows 8! And you can even use more than one programming languages in one app.

In March this year I visited the CeBit, a trade fair that is for technology news here in Germany. I was amazed about the things I saw from Microsoft, but Germany is not a big target for the mobile/IT-industry- at least not shortly after the MWC. You can read my report about the CeBit here.

Windows Phone

Windows Phone is also an important point on our list. Microsoft´s mobile OS may not be blown up as iOS or Android – but we are satisfied with what we have! The OS is fast, does Average Joe´s daily doings way faster than the other two OS – without Multicore-CPUs!!! Microsoft demonstrated this with their “Smoked by Windows Phone” campaign, which was happening in several countries around the globe.

The best thing is: The OS will be getting even better! The existing devices will get an update with new functions, that will further enhance the user experience. And there will be the next generation: Windows Phone 8!  Windows Phone 8 will get a whole new core compared to 7, that will bring a lot more features, and for all that spec-driven users out there also multi-core support. Soon we will know more about it (I guess in September).

Xbox 360 and Xbox Live/Zune

Microsoft is also evolving the Xbox/Zune services as well as the Xbox OS itself. If you were one of the lucky one´s like me to enter the Fall 2012 beta update program, you know that it is getting better and better.  I am not allowed to go to deep into detail, but a few things have been announced, like IE for Xbox.

Xbox Live and Zune services will be merged together to further enhance our experience. Hopefully Microsoft will be providing more features to all countries, not only US. Best example is Zune Pass, which is still not available here in Germany. I don´t know what issues Microsoft has with the Germany system, but others like Deezer and Spotify were also able to solve those problems. Let us hope all the best for this.

And then there will be SmartGlass. Your Xbox companion – regardless which device you use. SmartGlass will be used to extend the experience you with your Xbox. Additional info for Movies, extensions for Games, and many many more.

Office 2013

I am also exited about the free-to-test-for-everybody Office 2013 Preview. Microsoft changed the programs into streamed applications. And they are performing very well (even with my slow 2 MBit/s connection). On top Microsoft released One Note MX, a Metro app for Windows 8 for those who use a WinRT tablet only. Get it today via the official Office 2013 website (for up to 5 PCs!). Skype integration is coming later this year via an “Office app”.  There are also further apps in the Office Beta Store.

Microsoft Account and connected Websites

Microsoft changed the formerly known “Live-ID” into “Microsoft Account”. You still have all service like before, with a new name. But there is more. Hotmail will be replaced with outlook.com (in Metro Style). outlook.com has also a “People” app, “Calendar” and of course your “Mail”. On top we now have a Metro “Messenger”. SkyDrive is the last one in this round. Also SkyDrive has been Metro overhauled an got new functions, like a url-shortening service, using skdrv.ms.

MSiccDev goes BizSpark

As some of you know, I am also developing for Windows Phone and will start with Windows 8 soon. I started to learn creating apps because there was no app for fishermen, and I needed a fishing knots app in the marketplace. I am currently planning on a big service for fishermen that targets Windows, Windows Phone and the Web. To get things done with a little help from Microsoft, I applied for Microsoft´s BizSpark program – an got approved last week! Stay tuned, soon I will reveal more information about the project. But it is great that Microsoft support startups. A special thanks goes to @AWSOMEDEVSIGNER (follow him!).

Final thoughts

I don’t know how you feel, but that was a pretty awesome year until now. Windows 8 is around the corner, and will bring new device factors like Microsoft´s surface. All big vendors announced at least one Tablet/PC-convertible. Windows Phone 8 will be the booster rocket for the phone OS version, the codename “Apollo” fits really nice in here.  Microsoft´s vision of “three screens, once experience” is getting closer and closer. And the best thing: we all can participate right now!

Posted by msicc in Bing, Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, 0 comments

My 2 cents to Microsoft’s “Metro” disaster

real_metro_icons

It has been very long that I blog from mobile now.

But in the last hours there is something going on that really gets me annoyed.

Due to a similar naming with the big German concern “Metro AG”, Microsoft is avoiding to name the new UI of all operating systems and services “Metro UI”.

Why are they doing this? They had serious conversation with the Metro AG. The Metro AG owns some big consumer electronic retail shops, which are branded “Media Markt” and “Saturn”. Get the point?

No? Then you are thinking like me. The brands have nothing in common with the naming. They have their own brand. Most of their customers even do not know that they belong to the Metro group.

Microsoft was pushing “Metro UI” to us, both customers and developers since the release of Windows Phone 7. The Metro AG didn’t complain about it. All the subways using “Metro” out there did not complain about it.

So why was MS not able to solve that? They are surely in a much stronger position than the Metro group. They are a big, big global player against a small local player… Was MS fearing that Metro group’s brands to block their new products? That is rather unlikely. They could not miss one of their key sources of revenue. So why MS did not played with their mighty muscles? We certainly never will know about that.

Also, not even the Logo of Metro group has something in common with the Metro UI.

I am sure a lot of us have promoted the UI as “Metro UI” to friends and customers.

Now we have to tell them it is the “Windows 8-style UI”. Do me a favor, speak it out loud. Just do it. You will see how this is nothing compared to “Metro UI”.

It was like the description: clear, easy, no junk around it, just the perfect name for their innovation.

I really hate the fact that MS is not using their whole power to serve this up. They do not need the brands of the Metro AG. But those brands need Microsoft to generate markable revenue.

What do you all think about this?

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, 4 comments

BinaerForceOne´s take on Windows Phone 7.8 vs. Windows Phone 8

Windows Phone 7.8 and 8 Start Screen

Windows Phone 8 Developer Summit is finally over and has many early adopters who recently purchased a second generation device left unsatisfied, to say the least. As an early adopter myself who bought a Nokia Lumia 900 about 8 days ago I can fully understand the rage that is going through the community. But I still have some common sense left that tries to find explanations for why Microsoft chose to take the decision the way they did.

First of all Windows Phone hasn’t been the top seller many of us would have liked to see it becoming ever since its release in October 2010. WP’s marketshare is still low enough that Microsoft is willingly taking the risk of pissing people off who already bought into their still new ecosystem. But who are those people who feel let down by Microsoft? Is it the average customer that has just jumped on the smartphone bandwagon? Or is it rather the tech savvy geek who is never really satisfied with what he currently owns and is always longing for newer, better hardware and more features? My assumption is that in at least 7 times out of 10 it’s the latter. And I bet that 3 or 4 of these 7 would have bought a newer device anyways when it hits the marketplace. Even if their current devices would have been upgraded to Apollo.

But why did Microsoft take that risk in the first place anyways? From my understand they didn’t even have a choice to take a different path. When they realised that Windows Mobile was going down big time, it was pretty much too late as Apple and Google already had taken control over the mobile market. What Microsoft needed to do was two things:

  1. Come up with something so different from everything else currently available and unique in many ways, that it would be noticed and gain some traction even though it would lack many features commonly available on competing platforms.
  2. They needed to do it as quickly as humanly possible in order to not let the already existing gap between them and their competitors become even bigger.

Besides the fact that hardware that was available when Microsoft began development of Windows Phone wasn’t by far as good as it is today and thus most definitely not even capable of running an NT based kernel, what was Microsoft supposed to do other than taking an existing and as being reliably proven system (aka Windows CE) and give it an overhaul?

From a business point of view it’s the only way that makes sense to me. From a consumer point of view though I have to admit that I’m of course not actually happy with what was announced yesterday. Even though I have to admit that it was a Summit meant for developers which of course unvealed mainly things relevant to these. It has yet to be announced what features both, WP7.8 and WP8 will bring to the consumers. I still believe that WP7.8 will not be all about the redesigned homescreen. Being a bit speculative here I assume that every single feature that Win CE and our single core Snapdragon CPUs are capable of, will be delivered with this update.

To sum things up: am I pissed off? Do I feel screwed by Microsoft (and Nokia)? Certainly. Does this mean I close my eyes before things that were pretty obvious and most definitely inevitable? Heck no! What Microsoft announced yesterday may feel like a slap in the face for many, but they couldn’t really have done it any other way. And as a matter of fact: I enjoyed Windows Phone 7.x and my Lumia 900 before yesterday. How the hell could that Summit have changed that? It didn’t. I still enjoy the experience of WP on my device. And I will continue to do so for as long as it may take until I can get my hands on a dedicated Windows Phone 8 device.

Just a quick last note before I save this post and have it published. Many WP users are pretty much concerned with the marketplace situation that is ahead of us. Sure, Microsoft promised that all existing apps will run just fine on Windows Phone 8. But what will happen to people who use Windows Phone 7.8 then?
Without diving too deep in technical aspects, Windows Phone 8, regardless of the new kernel, still supports XAML and C# (aka managed code) which was, is and will be absolutely sufficient for most apps. All these apps should run without any issues on WP7.x as well and thus certainly be available on this particular marketplace. Apps that make use of WP8’s newer hardware or are natively coded won’t run though. That again is speculation as there’s no WP8 SDK available right now to play around with. Once it’s available will see if there are differences or not.

That’s it, I’m done. Call me a blind fanboy, but I still believe Microsoft took the right decision. As unpopular and fucked up it may seem. Period.

Posted by dkp1977 in Microsoft, Windows Phone, 3 comments

Microsoft is preparing the real take-off of Windows Phone

wp8

Today at the SF Windows Phone Summit, Microsoft showed us a sneak peek how they are preparing the take-off of Windows Phone. First of all, according to Joe Belfiore, the following features are only a part. There will be more to come, as they did not show all consumer features.

A shared core to break into new Galaxies

Microsoft is porting over the whole Windows 8 core to Windows Phone. This leads to fantastic new possibilities, including new hardware specs:

  • Multi-core CPU support (dualcore and more!)
  • New screen resolutions: added 1280×768 (WXGA or 720p+) and 1280*720 (720p)
  • MicroSD card support
  • Internet Explorer 10
  • Wallet: enables your phone to be a wallet where you can store credit cards, coupons etc as well as carrier based billing for secure SIM capable endpoints. It enables also in-app purchases, so we will see more apps with premium content
  • Nokia Maps and Drive built in on all Windows Phones!
  • NFC wireless sharing between devices
  • Over the Air (OTA) updates for Windows Phone OS
  • 50 languages, Marketplace will be available in over 180 countries

A new cockpit

Microsoft improved the whole Start screen. What we know for now is that we will get more colors, and even more important, more tile sizes. You can watch the video below to get a feeling for what is coming:

Developers are taking seat in first row

Also for developers there is much more to come:

  • Finally Native code support (C, C++) which will lead to more powerful apps and games
  • In-app payments
  • Integration of VoIP and Video chat for all developers
  • Multitasking enhancements
  • Speech API´s
  • Cloud based compilation by Microsoft
  • Current apps will be recompiled by Microsoft for Windows Phone 8

Joe Belfiore announced already that the developer tools and coding sessions will be available later this summer.

Enterprise will be on board

  • Device encryption
  • United Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI)
  • Remote management
  • Company Hub and apps

Existing Windows Phones

Sadly existing Windows Phones are not able to work with Windows Phone 8. But there will be a 7.8 update for existing devices.

What we know until now: the Start screen will be ported. Still we do not know any more about the other features that will come, so please try to calm down. The update will bypass all carriers, so ALL Windows Phones will be updated to this OS version.

You can read the official announcement here.

I am excited. Really excited. How about you?

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Windows Phone, 0 comments

Windows 8 and Family Safety

Win8FamSafety

Today my 10 year old son asked me when I will let him play around Windows 8. So I decided to set up an account for him. (This post will be a how-to mixed with my personal opinion.)

First, I created an account for my son by going to control panel in the WinRT part of Windows 8. With a click on “Add a user” you can create a new account. To create an online synced account, use the Microsoft account (Windows Live ID) you created for your child.

addauser

After looking if it is an existing account, you will be asked if this is a child´s account. Check the option and click on “Finish”.

Finishadduser

After that, go to Desktop and open Control Panel, and choose “User Accounts”, where you click on “Family Safety” at the bottom left.

Now you can choose if you want to manage settings online or local. I recommend online, so you can change settings at any time easily via the web interface. My experience until now was that if you need to change settings, you are not there on your local machine.

FamilySafety

You will be redirected to the Family Safety page, where you will be able to “edit settings”.

You can set up a bunch of things there:

  • Web filtering
  • Web filtering lists
  • Activity reporting
  • Requests
  • Time limits
  • Game restrictions
  • App restrictions

First, in Web filtering, you can set up different options. As I want my son to be relatively free on the web, but protected, I use “Online communication”. So he is able to write E-Mails from Windows 8 Mail app or chat via the Messaging app. You can add additional options to the “Web filtering lists” option.

webfiltering

Activity reporting shows you an overview what you child is doing on the web and the PC.

“Time limits” is a handy tool to control how much your child is on the PC. This is available on Windows 7 as well as on Windows 8 RP.

timelimits

You can restrict the games to a matching age setting based on the USK recommendations with “Game restrictions”.

gamerestrictions

Finally, with” App restrictions” you can choose which apps your child is allowed to use. This counts for Metro apps as well as for Desktop apps.

apprestrictions

My conclusion:

Until now, there is nothing that has changed to the former Windows Live Family Safety, which you had to install with the Windows Live Essentials on your PC. The integration into the Windows 8 RP is done very well. Also if you are not familiar with this feature, the web interface is pretty self explaining. The options are pretty broad, from allowing nearly nothing (this will be for my 5yo daughter) to allow a lot for bigger kids. Microsoft has done a good job here, and there is clearly no need for any third party app.

I can only recommend all parents out there to use this feature – be it on Windows 7 or be it on Windows 8.

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Windows, 0 comments
Roundup of Xbox 360 E3 Event – a huge ecosystem to come by Microsoft

Roundup of Xbox 360 E3 Event – a huge ecosystem to come by Microsoft

Today Microsoft hosted a 90 minute event at this year´s E3. They talked about several things to come to our Xbox and even to our smart devices.

First I want to show off a list of all games that were presented by Microsoft and their partners:

•    Halo 4

•    Forza Horizon

•    NHL Gamecenter Live

•    NBA GameTime with NBA League Pass

•    ESPN will tur into live on your Xbox (if you are in the US)

•    Gears Of War Judgement

•    FIFA 13

•    Madden 13

•    Splinter Cell Blacklist

•    South Park

•    Dance Central 3

•    LocoCycle

•    Ascend: New Gods (only on Xbox 360)

•    Matter

•    Nike+ Training for Kinect

•    Resident Evil 6

•    Call Of Duty Black Ops 2

There is even more TV and Entertainment coming around the world, and today 35 of them where announced:

•    Absolute Radio – U.K.

•    Ameba TV – Canada, U.S.

•    BreakMedia – Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Singapore, South Africa, U.K., U.S.

•    Comedy Central Stand Up – U.S.

•    Comoyo – Denmark, Norway, Sweden

•    Corus Entertainment’s Franklin the Turtle – Canada

•    GameSpot TV – Australia, Canada, U.K., U.S.

•    Headweb – Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden

•    Indie Flix – U.S.

•    Machinima – All Xbox LIVE markets

•    Napster – Germany, U.K.

•    Nickelodeon – U.S.

•    Paramount Movies – U.S.

•    Picturebox – U.K

•    Quickflix – Australia, New Zealand

•    Rakuten ShowTime – Japan

•    Revision3 – Canada, U.K., U.S.

•    Rhapsody – U.S.

•    RTL XL – Netherlands

•    Slacker Radio – Canada, U.S.

•    SnagFilms – U.S.

•    Terra (Sunday TV) – Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico

•    The AOL On Network – Australia, Canada, Netherlands, U.K., U.S.

•    The Weather Channel – U.S.

•    The Whistle – U.S.

•    TOU.TV – Canada

•    TV3 – Spain

•    Twitch TV – U.S.

•    Univision – U.S.

•    Wuaki – Spain

•    Youzee – Spain

Until here, this is an announcement like we have expected. New Games, Apps and new Entertainment partners. What´s more you ask? Ok, here we go:

Xbox Music

Microsoft announced a Music service for Xbox, Windows Phone and Windows 8. They will call it simply Xbox Music. The service will include about 30 million tracks. Some of you might have been using Zune Pass, you will find similar features like Smart DJ there. No details were announced, so I expect there will be more to come.

Xbox SmartGlass

Xbox SmartGlass is an application for Windows 8, Windows Phone, and other portable devices that connects phones, PCs and tablets with your Xbox 360 console to make your entertainment smarter, more interactive and more fun.

During the keynote Microsoft announced the Xbox SmartGlass app. It will be just an app you download on your Windows Phone, your Android or iOS device and of course to your Windows 8 PC or tablet. It provides you airplaying features for apps, films, music and games.

Internet Explorer on Xbox

Other consoles have webbrowsers, yes. But no one has a browser that can be controlled by voice and SmartGlass.

Through the power of Xbox, the magic of Kinect and the intelligence of Xbox SmartGlass, you will be able to surf the Internet using your voice on your Xbox 360 and navigate using your mobile devices for an incredibly easy Web browsing experience on the television.

Xbox on Windows 8

Finally, Xbox will make its way also to Windows 8. The premium entertainment experiences that Microsoft will launch on Xbox will come to more than 180 countries. You will have a huge experience with the Metro apps for Video, Music, Games and Xbox SmartGlass. And of course Xbox Live will come to Windows 8.

Summary of this year´s event is that Microsoft is about to create a more huge ecosystem that Apple, Sony or Google are have created. With the unique Metro design language, the power of the Xbox and Kinect, Windows Phone and Windows 8 Microsoft will gain marketshare.

I bet we will hear some more about the upcoming Windows Phone version Apollo at 20th of June, when Microsoft is about to hold a developer summit to close the circle for this epic ecosystem we will live in.

You can read and view more here.

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, 0 comments

Recently announced changes to Microsoft Advertising are rolling out

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As I told you recently, also the Microsoft Advertising service will get some changes.

The changes are now in effect, and all small businesses are receiving a notification about that via email.

Here is the full e-mail:

We’re notifying you that the Microsoft Advertising adCenter Terms and Conditions have been updated. Also as you may have already noticed, we’ve made a change in our brand; Microsoft Advertising for search is now Bing.
About our change to terms and conditions
We’re enhancing our service to provide greater payment flexibility. An adCenter prepay option will be available in select markets soon. When prepay payment is available in your billing country, the updated Terms and Conditions will apply.
You do not need to do anything to accept these updated Terms and Conditions. By your continued use of adCenter services, you agree to these updated Terms and Conditions. To view the updated Terms, sign in to your adCenter account and click the Legal link at the bottom of any page.
Learn more about this update on our adCenter blog.
About our updated brand
You’ll begin seeing our new look in all of our customer communications as we move from Microsoft Advertising to Bing. There will be no changes to your account; however you’ll see more of Bing in your account communications and updates. Read our blog to learn more about our move to Bing!
For questions about your adCenter account, contact sales and support.
Sincerely,
Your Bing Search Advertising and Support Teams

However for developers so far nothing as changed. I was able to log in into pubCenter as usual and had full access to my account.

Posted by msicc in Bing, Microsoft, 0 comments

Internet Explorer coming to Xbox 360 with Kinect support

image

Today we learned from the verge that Microsoft is going to port the Internet Explorer over to Xbox 360.

Microsoft will extend the already existing Bing voice search with more functionality to open a full browser. The browser is said to be able to surf the whole web.

On Top of that Microsoft has also integrated Kinect gestures and voice controls. That is great, because on other living room online systems you always have to type in something. With the Kinect support, it will be easy to surf the web from your couch.

A lot of my friends, family and colleagues asked me if this is possible with the Xbox, so this seems to be another real big plus point for the Xbox.

I guess we will hear more about this at E3, taking place on June 5-7.

source: the verge

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Xbox, 0 comments

Changes to Windows Live and other Microsoft services

Windows-Live-crossed

Yesterday Steven Sinofsky blogged about the changes Microsoft is doing on the Windows Live brand name.

Windows Live was launched as brand back in 2005 as “a set of personal Internet services and software designed to bring together in one place all of the relationships, information and interests people care about most, with more safety and security features across their PC, devices and the Web.” The services itself have been under continued development since then.

Meanwhile Windows Live services are used by over 500 millions of people. Now Microsoft is starting to streamline the naming.

First, you no longer have a Windows Live-ID. You have now a Microsoft account. With this Microsoft account you can log in to all services like Mail, SkyDrive, Windows Phone Marketplace and others.

Microsoft recalls each single service. All services are losing their “Windows Live”-tag:

  • Windows Live Mail or Hotmail becomes Mail
  • Windows Live Messenger becomes Messaging
  • Windows (Live) Calendar becomes Calendar
  • Windows (Live) Contacts becomes People
  • FolderShare, Windows Live Mesh becomes SkyDrive

All services are still usable like most of us are used to. But with the great cloud integration on Windows 8 and Windows Phone, it only makes sense that Microsoft renames those services to fit the naming of both OS. All services will run as equally named apps. Check out the table below for more info:

changes-to-live-services

But that were not all changes Microsoft announced. Let us go next to Microsoft´s adCenter.  They recently announced that for Small and Medium businesses the service now is called simply “Bing”. As already stated by LiveSide.net, this is a real strange decision. Why are they calling the adCenter now only Bing? Bing is known as Microsoft´s search (decision) engine- so how does this fit?

Of course as I have a developer account for Microsoft Advertising. But it seems there is no change to it – for now.

Inside Xbox will be discontinued. It is a collection of news, game tips and tutorials, packed into a video series popping up on Xbox. For the moment, it is discontinued only in the US, Canada, Australia as well as New Zealand. In Europe, the future is uncertain, as Major Nelson, first class Xbox promoter from Microsoft, has no news to share from here. Head over to his blog to read more and even let him know how disappointing this decision is.

Change is happening, yes. But not all change is good, as you can see on this news roundup.

sources: Windows 8 Blog, LiveSide.net

Posted by msicc in Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, 0 comments