It might not look hot and happening from a distance, but once you start following Microsoft closely, interesting nuggets of information always keep rolling in. Last week, Microsoft posted record results for Q2 beating the pundits and announced that it has sold over half a billion Windows 7 licenses to date.
Instagram and Skype are about to land on Windows Phones, rumors about a new version of WP7 showed up, more details of Windows 8 app store emerged, part of Bing maps to be powered by Nokia and more. Read on for some of this week’s best Windows app news and updates.
Microsoft’s quarterly earnings stood at $20.9 billion, a 5% rise year over year. One of the key component of the bottom line, revenue from the sale of Windows licenses, was down by six percent, mainly due to slowdown in PC sales. Thanks to Kinect, the Xbox division’s revenues were up 15%. With a whole bunch of Windows 8 licenses to be sold this year (hopefully) and Kinect for Windows, I’m sure things are looking bright and dandy for the rest of the year.
The computing world has embraced Windows 7 with open arms. Despite arguably being the most user friendly operating system, IMHO Windows 7 hasn’t sold enough copies as it should have. 525 million is a huge number, no doubt, but if you take into account a prolonged global economic slowdown and tanking PC sales, the numbers don’t match up. With Windows 8 on the way in the next few months, sales of this beloved OS of recent times is about to fall.
Making its stand clear, albeit being not so wholehearted about it, Microsoft proclaimed that the company opposes SOPA in its current form. Current form is the keyword here. Plagued by decades of rampant piracy, one should not expect MS to stand idly when it comes curbing piracy.
It’s an open secret that Microsoft restrained itself from crippling pirated copies of the OS to prevent the perpetrators from embracing Linux (and other alternatives). While not willing to carry a torch to promote SOPA, they are praying quietly that a bill of this sort should pass sooner rather than later.
Fans of mucked up photographs rejoice! Instagram, the hugely popular photo sharing app with some crazy filters might land on a WP7 next to you before it hits the Android market. Now that Android is the largest smartphone platform in the world, the news should sound sweeter than ever.
As someone who has explored developing for both Android and WP7, a great IDE and lack of fragmentation might be the reasons behind this decision. What one should hope is for the trend to continue, that’s when the momentum starts building up.
Editor’s note: As a fellow dev, I can attest to the ease of developing for the Windows Phone platform. You can’t fault MicroSoft’s dev tools — they have a long track record of producing brilliant dev platforms.
As I reported earlier, Skype is about to make a splashing appearance on your Windows Phone. The “late 2011” milestone is long gone and now Microsoft is promising that a release is about to happen soon. Deeper integration with the OS is not going to happen until “Apollo” is released. But, after so long, we will it lap up happily.
To be frank, I have never used Bing Maps (or Bing for that matter). But, if you are one, you might start seeing the word Nokia showing up in your maps real soon. This co-branding is widely credited to Microsoft’s relationship with Navteq. Owned by Nokia, Navteq supplies 3D maps and StreetSide map views to Bing.
What makes this news interesting is the fact that Nokia’s name will show up in all devices using Bing Maps. Meaning, a Blackberry user will witness Nokia’s name ever so often the maps app is launched. It would be interesting to see how Nokia’s competitors are going to react!
Mango (WP 7.5) for sure has made a name for itself. Without a predictable release cycle like Android and iOS, it’s a bit disheartening to see fewer updates about impending versions of the OS. Rumors state that the next version is titled “Tango” and will allow users to create folders in the homescreen in addition to better Windows media player controls.
The Verge reports that with Tango, Microsoft might allow Windows Phones to have just 256 RAM. The current requirement is a minimum of 512 MB. At a time when Android phones are beginning to sport gigabytes of memory and quad core processors, this move sounds preposterous.
Some cool screenshots and details of the Windows store emerged last week. Prices of apps start from $1.49 and can go all the way up to $999 (expect some I am Rich apps real soon!). Demo versions of apps will be available for users to evaluate before making the purchase. Once bought from the app store, you can install apps in upto five Windows 8 PCs.
If you are a Windows developer or very much interested in checking out some cool screenshots, do visit this link.
Share Your Thoughts!
What news from the Windows universe grabbed your attention in the past few days? Share your thoughts and insights in the comments section. Thank you so much for reading!