A number of new and interesting features are headed towards the Xbox One, but I'm going to ignore most of them. What has caught out attention is the ability to stream TV to Android devices using the SmartGlass app. The feature will join the Xbox One Digital TV Tuner in coming to various European countries in the months ahead. It will allow users to stream TV to other smartphones and tablets while continuing to play games on the Xbox One.
In case you've forgotten that Microsoft knows how to have fun (and I can understand why you would), there's a certain game console it produces that has sold millions (hint, its name is plastered across the top of this game's icon). Now the company is sharing more of its light-hearted side with Android users. Its latest release is a port of a Windows word-building game that goes by the name of Snap Attack.
Microsoft recently launched a beta program for its OneNote Android app, and a couple weeks later we are now seeing the first update hit devices. It happens to include a number of noteworthy enhancements. Primarily, the debut beta update introduces the ability to take handwritten notes with either a fingertip or stylus, a natural progression for a note-taking app geared at touchscreen devices.
Joining this change are a number of formatting options letting users tweak fonts, text size, and word alignment.
Microsoft may have its own smartphone platform, but when so many Xbox gamers walk around with Android phones in their pockets, it would be a shame to ignore them (or their wallets). So the company has rolled out another update to its Xbox One SmartGlass beta app, and this one introduces the ability to purchase games and add-ons for the console remotely. It's a nice feature for people who have run out to buy an Xbox One with or without Kinect.
Users of newer versions of Windows or just about any Microsoft web service might be familiar with the company's rudimentary two-factor authentication system. If it's been a while since you've logged in or you're setting up a new Windows device, it might ask you for a verification code, accessible from a backup email account. Of course that can be a pain if you don't remember the password for that account, or simply don't want to dig it out.
Every major corporation has to fire people at some point. But Microsoft's plan to eliminate 18,000 jobs this year is, to say the least, a big deal. The company announced its plans on a blog post titled "Starting to Evolve Our Organization and Culture," written by new CEO Satya Nadella. Former Nokia employees will bear the brunt of this downsize, with 12,500 office and factory workers from the Finnish phone giant being laid off.
What's the average temperature in Mysore, India in December? That's a rather specific question, and while I don't know why you would need to know this information at a moment's notice (unless you're cheating at trivia), Microsoft's latest Android app is prepared to help with that. The answer, it says, is 22 degrees Celsius. In American, that's a comfortable 72. Need to check out another location? Microsoft's Climatology app can handle that too.
The big question on everyone's mind when Nokia revealed the Android-powered X line was whether their new masters at Microsoft would continue the line after the acquisition. It looks like Redmond is ready for another lap around the Android pool, at least in conjunction with its extensively-customized software load, because Nokia just announced the X2 for immediate release. The 99 Euro ($135) phone is "available immediately in select countries globally." Both global and select, huh?
Update: Microsoft has stated in a blog post that support is limited to a select number of devices for this pre-release version. The company is opening up compatibility regularly, so if your device isn't supported just yet, check back later.
When a Microsoft app comes to Android, chances are that it's not going to be exciting (seriously, take a look at the list). This is not a jab at the competing tech giant.
You make a smartwatch, you make a smartwatch, and you make a smartwatch. In what feels like a reverse Oprah giveaway, every tech company in the game is apparently contemplating the idea of producing an intelligent wristwatch of their own. A new Forbes report suggests that Microsoft too is ready to throw its hat in the ring, and soon. What makes this interesting isn't the idea of a Windows Smartwatch OS.