Microsoft has been surprisingly generous when it comes to apps for Android, a platform it's technically still competing against. (Sort of.) Today the company launched an entire suite of Android apps to support its MSN/Bing web platform. All six of them tie directly into existing services: MSN Food & Drink, MSN Health & Fitness, MSN Money, MSN News, MSN Sports, and MSN Weather. They're all free to download in the Play Store right now.
"OK Google, what is Microsoft Garage?" Well, Rita, it's an idea incubator for Microsoft employees who like to dabble with things non-Microsofty in their spare time, like Android for example. They have a crush on us, but they still can't completely deny their allegiance to the quad colors of Redmond so they indulge by mixing in some Bing bangy bongiddy features. "Ah, thanks Google. Can you give me an example?" Sure Rita, that Bing Torque app they just released, though if you ask me, they need a copy editor for their Play Store listing: "It is like to have Microsoft’s Cortana running on your smart watch." That was a direct quote and it is like to read a torturous story for me.
There are multiple ways to go after users. One way is to come up with a catchy word (Scroogled), slur a competitor with it (Google), sell some shirts, and hope it sticks. An alternative approach is to introduce functionality that could potentially draw their interest. The latest Bing for Android update does just that. Now Bing supports downloading images found in search results, a feature Google previously introduced into its own search app only to remove it later.
Say what you will about Microsoft, but they've never let a little thing like a platform war get in the way of profits. The Bing search app for Android has been around for years, long enough for it to accrue more than a million downloads, and today it gets an update to bring it in line with the fancy pants brand re-launch - note the swanky logo.
On Android Bing isn't really a search app, it's more like a beachhead for a handful of Microsoft web properties.
Nokia has been struggling to keep up with the exploding smartphone market in the past years, and it was clear that something needed to be done.
MeeGo, Nokia's latest bet at replacing its aging Symbian system with a new, open sourced, Linux-based OS, has been in development since 2010, but no phones running this OS have been released by the company yet.
A few days ago, Harvard Business Review writer James Allworth posted on the HBR blog and argued that Google has effectively shot itself in the foot by making Android such an open system. To boil the 800 word post down, Mr. Allworth's argument is that the openness of the system has led to competitors taking the Google out of Android - namely, Baidu in China and Bing on Verizon. The issue is that Google's revenue comes from the ads on their services; consequently, a de-Googled Android would result in no income for Google.
The Samsung Continuum, announced earlier this week, is going up for pre-order tomorrow. This Galaxy S series phone is the first Android device with a secondary ticker screen providing access to updates, a-la Android top notification bar. Some consider it a gimmick, some think it could be really useful, but you can decide for yourself after watching this official intro video, complete with overly cheerful (with the exception of the guy who lost money in the stock market) folks that apparently have 0 time to look at their actual phones and rely on the tiny 1.8" display instead.
Some interesting details about Verizon's Samsung tablet that is set to take on Apple's iPad monolith have recently come to light. Droid-Life's insiders have let them know of a possible November 1st release date for the Verizon version, to coincide with the European release. This differs from the previously rumoured release date of November 14th on Sprint, so, just like with the Galaxy S phones, we may see a staggered release schedule from the big four in America.