Microsoft is about to hit it big with one of China's top smartphone manufacturers: Xiaomi. It has announced today a multi-faceted deal with the company including sales of patents, cross-licensing arrangements, and software pre-installation, expanding its OEM partnerships and its services' worldwide reach while also providing Xiaomi with the support it needed to enter more markets.
Microsoft will be selling 1500 patents to Xiaomi — it's not clear whether these came from the Nokia acquisition, its many other acquisitions, or ones that it originally filed for. Regardless, according to Wang Xiang, senior vice president at Xiaomi, this should beef up Xiaomi's arsenal of patents and should, theoretically, make it easier for the company to enter Western markets with lesser friction from other patent holders. Read More
Have you ever wished that your complex word processing software had a simple search function to let you know where the hell it put the word count? It does, and it's called Google. But say you don't want to pop out to another program to do so. That's the idea behind "Tell Me," a feature introduced into the latest versions of Microsoft's various Office programs. It's essentially just a search box with a few predictive tricks to help users find some of the less obvious features. Today it comes to the Android versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Read More
The Skype for Business App SDK was announced at Build 2016 a couple of months ago, but it's only now available for download. So developers of both Android and iOS apps can finally start working on integrating Skype's messaging, audio calling, and video calling into their own apps.
The first leg of this initial SDK release is "remote advisor," a solution that lets app developers enable the "guest meeting join" capability to let guests start communicating with companies that already have a Skype for Business Server and an active Skype for Business Online service. In other simpler words, companies that are already using Skype for Business can now update their mobile apps to give their users and customers the option to talk to them via said apps. Read More
A wave of dread washed over fans of Sunrise Calendar when it was acquired my Microsoft in 2015, and indeed that dread was justified. Microsoft ended update support for Sunrise in late 2015, and now we know when the app will shut down for good. The big day is August 31st, so you'll have to find an alternative before then. Read More
SharePoint has millions of users, but none of them are connecting to the service through a mobile app. That's because Microsoft hasn't yet released one. Users have had to settle for working through a browser instead.
That's now changing. Read More
Today Microsoft had a bunch of OneDrive-related announcements to make, but what we care about is the Android app. Fortunately, the company didn't leave us hanging. Read More
While Google continues to improve the Drive suite experience on Android, Microsoft is making headway with Office on Android. All three apps (Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, in case you need a reminder) have gotten updates, adding features and improving editing tools on touchscreens.
Word has two major new or improved features in this release. The first is a better experience when inserting a table into a document. Before, configuring a table was a finicky and fiddly mess, equivalent to painting a tiny model soldier with pins and needles in your hands. With this update, inserting a table is much easier; the cells are bigger by default, with a resize handle at the bottom right to quickly resize the table. Read More
Microsoft's Office Lens scanning app is really good at what it does and that might be why they don't bother to update it too often nowadays. But this is one of those special times when it has gotten some love from the good people in Redmond. The headlining feature is getting to OCR handwritten text in scans, but I assure you that there is a bit of a catch. More practically useful is the other new feature, the option to rotate your scans.
So what's the deal with getting OCR on scans of handwritten documents? Well, for the uninitiated, OCR refers to methods for parsing letters from images. Read More
Microsoft's SmartGlass app is a smartphone-based manager for the Xbox One, and it gets some surprisingly frequent love from the developers for a product intended for a direct Google competitor. The latest beta version is a significant bump, 2.4 to 3.16, though the changes aren't immediately obvious beyond a few cosmetic adjustments. The new user interface moves quite a few elements around, and if it isn't completely "material" then at least Microsoft is trying to make it look like an Android app instead of a tiny Xbox window. Read More