Monday, April 30, 2012

Microsoft and Barnes & Noble join forces for e-reading advancement; settle litigation.

According to a communiqué issued today, Microsoft and Barnes & Noble (BN) seems to have settled the patent litigation that opposed them in the creation of a new company called Newco. The aim of the partnership is to "accelerate the transition to e-reading, which is revolutionizing the way people consume, create, share and enjoy digital content." From now on, "Barnes & Noble and Newco will have a royalty-bearing license under Microsoft’s patents for its NOOK eReader and Tablet products. This paves the way for both companies to collaborate and reach a broader set of customers."

Microsoft will make a $300 million investment for approximately 17.6% equity stake in Newco. BN will own approximately 82.4% of the company. The result of this partnership will be the availability of a Nook app for Windows 8. Most importantly, in terms of content, "the inclusion of Barnes & Noble's College business is an important component of Newco's strategic vision."The formation of Newco and our relationship with Microsoft are important parts of our strategy to capitalize on the rapid growth of the NOOK business, and to solidify our position as a leader in the exploding market for digital content in the consumer and education segments,” said William Lynch, CEO of Barnes & Noble.

For his part, Andy Lees, President at Microsoft said, “The shift to digital is putting the world’s libraries and newsstands in the palm of every person’s hand, and is the beginning of a journey that will impact how people read, interact with, and enjoy new forms of content,”. He also added, “Our complementary assets will accelerate e-reading innovation across a broad range of Windows devices, enabling people to not just read stories, but to be part of them. We’re at the cusp of a revolution in reading.”

Read the full statement

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Microsoft cuts app purchase in Zune and disable access to pre-Mango phones..

Don't go into panic mode. There's really nothing to worry about. According to Microsoft, most people use the Marketplace web interface and their device to purchase and download apps. As such, there's no reason to keep that option in the Zune PC software. Next time you run Zune on your computer, it will inform you of changes made to the software and ask you to restart - the software, not your computer. Do that and you'll see that you no more have access to the Windows Phone Marketplace. 

Second part of the announcement is about the requirement to run Windows Phone 7.5 to access Marketplace. Most phones out there already upgraded or come pre-loaded with Microsoft latest version of the OS. Some users out there seems no to have made the jump to 7.5. In a few weeks, those will start getting errors when attempting to access Marketplace. Wait no more and plug your phone to your PC and Zune will offer to upgrade your phone.

There's more info on the Windows Phone blog post.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New Facebook app to be released soon.

The Facebook for Windows Phone team posted an announcement about the upcoming version of the Facebook app to Marketplace. According to the post, the team has been hard at work putting together the features users has been asking for. Therefore version 2.5 of the app will finally see the ability to "Like" comments.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Skype out of beta. Supports landline but no background calls.

Skype for Windows Phone is officially out of beta since yesterday. Version 1.0 now lets you makes calls to landline phones and mobile phones using Skype credit. Video calls in portrait mode is also supported as well as managing your contacts and 18 additional languages.
Unfortunately, this new version still does not support working in the background. So you won't be able to receive calls while using another app on the phone.

Marketplace download link.
See it in action:

Source: Skype

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Poll: Would you buy a current Windows Phone knowing that your chances to get an upgrade to Windows Phone 8 are slim?

Answer the poll below by selecting an answer(s) and clicking the cast button. Or click here to vote online at Vizu:

Would you buy a current Windows Phone knowing that your chances to get an upgrade to Windows Phone 8 are slim?

Poll not working? Click here to vote online at

1000's more polls are available at where you can see what the world thinks.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bing Translator app updated.

Bing Translator app lets you use your Windows Phone camera to translate such things as road signs, menus, etc. Almost anything that has text that you cannot understand. Better yet, and very useful when travelling, Bing will let you interact with locals by translating whatever you say and render it into the local language or the language that you want.

This is the download link.

See it in action:
<a href=';mkt=en-us&amp;src=SLPl:embed::uuids' target='_new' title='New Translator App for Windows Phone Powered by Bing Available for Free Download'>Video: New Translator App for Windows Phone Powered by Bing Available for Free Download</a>

Announcing Windows 8 editions.

This is an interesting post over at the Windows Team blog about the different upcoming editions of Windows 8. Does that mean that Windows 8 is just around the corner? I don't know, but now I know the upgrade path to Windows 8 from Windows 7. As Brandon LeBlanc writes in his post, the official product name of for the x86/64 bits is - drum roll - Windows 8.

 Devices like PCs and Tablets powered by 32/64 bits processors will come in two flavors: Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro.

Windows 8 is probably the edition most of us will use. It will include features such as an updated version of Internet Explorer, Task Manager, better multi-monitor support and, my preferred one, the ability to change language on the fly.

Windows 8 Pro, you must have guessed by now, is intended for tech enthusiasts and businesses. Windows 8 Pro is the equivalent of Windows 7 Ultimate and include all the features of Windows 8 plus encryption, virtualization, PC Management and Domain connectivity.

The other edition of Windows 8 is Windows RT. You probably heard about it as Windows on ARM or WOA. This edition will be installed on devices powered by ARM processors. Windows RT is the only edition of Windows that will natively include Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

Want to learn more? Read more on the Windows Team Blog.