I am Still Betting on Windows Phone in 2015

Laugh if you will, tell me any of your reasons but I am still betting on Windows Phone in 2015! Toward the end of 2012 I upgraded my phone and my wife’s phone to two Nokia Lumia 822 Windows Phones without hesitation.  I previously had used a HTC Trophy Windows Phone 7 device and my wife was using an LG Fathom Windows Mobile device.  Over the course of the past two years there have been some ups and downs for Windows Phone 8 and as we were up for upgrade I questioned whether to stay with Windows Phone going forward.  There were a few things that factored into my decision to stay with Windows Phone.  First was the cost of the iPhone which even on Verizon Edge was going to be more expensive than I am willing to pay.  Second was the fragmentation of Android, finding an Android 5.0 device on Verizon is not the easiest thing and Verizon is not known for being speedy on software updates.  With Windows Phone at least I can upgrade to the newest software through the Preview for Developers. Third, I think Windows Phone will find its best success with Windows 10 as Microsoft merges the two together.

So what did I go with then?  I tracked down a Nokia Lumia Icon for me (The Icon is really the US version of the Lumia 930) Verizon did not have many left and I had to have them call around to find one.  My wife got the HTC One M8 for Windows which seems to be selling well as it was also in short supply.  I am very happy with both devices, my wife uses her phone more than any other device so this time around I wanted a phone that could keep up and it already comes with Windows Phone 8.1 so she is ready to go.  I went with the Icon so I can keep tabs on Nokia/Microsoft Mobile going forward and I was very interested in the camera.

Windows 10 is going to be a game changer for Windows Phone more than Windows Phone 8.1 was.  With Windows 10 Windows Phone and Windows RT will merge together meaning more consistency with small tablets and phones.  Combined with the programing being so similar to create apps that run on Windows and Windows Phone with Windows 10 I think we will see more apps, and better quality apps for both Windows and Phone.  I just have to stay in the game and see what happens going forward.

I know many of you are probably questioning my decision to stay with Verizon.  In the area I live in the US (Southwest) Verizon offers the best coverage in rural areas that I frequent often.  I have to give Verizon some credit that they did not just finally deliver Lumia Cyan but Denim as well putting the Lumia 822 and Lumia 928 ahead of all the other mobile carriers in the us with Windows Phone.  Verizon will be updating the Icon in early 2015 as well and now that I have one I will be waiting for Denim.

New Information about Lumia Cyan Windows Phone 8.1 for Verizon

Update: Verizon has done the right thing and then some.  They have released the next version of these updates, Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 and Lumia Denim for the Lumia 822 and Lumia 928.  This update will be coming out for the Lumia Icon in early 2015 as well.

There is finally new information about the Lumia Cyan Windows Phone 8.1 update for Verizon phones.  A Microsoft website (former Nokia website) has changed its status from under testing to under development.

Lumia Cyan Update under developement for Verizon

Lumia Cyan Update under development for Verizon

It is not clear exactly what Under Development means but I think it means that an update is finally getting close, hopefully before the holidays.  Many users of the Lumia 822, Lumia 928, and Lumia Icon have gotten impatient with Verizon on how long this update has taken and Verizon has been quiet about the whole thing.  I reached out to Verizon almost a month ago and did not get a reply.  Lets hope this means that this update is getting close.  Earlier this month T-Mobile made the Lumia Cyan and Windows Phone 8.1 updates available for the Lumia 521 and Lumia 925 and Metro PCS made that same update available for the Lumia 521 on its network.  Verizon is now the last one to have not released the update.  Lets just hope we don’t end up like Lumia 520 users on Cricket who blocked this update from those phones.

HP Announced End Of Life for webOS Cloud Services

That’s right HP announced End of Life for webOS Cloud Services for January 15, 2015 on the Palm Developer site.

HP webOS End Of Life

HP webOS End Of Life

The FAQ tells us more about what is being shut down including; Downloading and updating of apps, Restoring a device, Setup of a new device (or one that has been reset) and password recovery.

HP once had plans to put webOS on computers alongside Microsoft Windows and had released an HP webOS powered tablet.  I have to admit I was considering a webOS based smart phone before I bought my first Windows Phone.  I loved the OS but hated the keyboards on their devices.

HP has made webOS open source and LG now uses it to power their smart TV’s.

To once what could have been…

Fix the Lumia Windows Phone Blue Screen of Sadness

I have never come across this till recently but I now know how to fix the Lumia Windows Phone Blue Screen of Sadness (Blue Screen Of Death).  Maybe you have seen this, you try to start-up your Lumia Windows Phone and receive a screen with a sad face on it.  Either the screen is black with a blue sad face or the screen is blue with a white sad face like below.

Lumia Windows Phone Blue Screen of Sadness

Lumia Windows Phone Blue Screen of Sadness

I only have fixed this on a Nokia Lumia 521 however the process should be the same for all Nokia Windows Phones.  This will not work for Windows Phones made by other manufacturers.  To fix the issue you will need to download the Windows Device Recovery Tool. Once you have downloaded that install it and run it. If the app asks to update you will want to do it as it will support more devices and have bug fixes.  Once it has started you will want to click on My Phone Does Not  Start Up Or Respond.

Nokia Software Updater

Nokia Software Updater

Then a screen will show up prompting you to plug-in your phone into the computer.  You will want to do so and if the software does not automatically start your phone you can hold down the Power and Volume Down buttons (at the same time) till the phone vibrates and then release them.  This will reinstall Windows Phone on your device and it will delete any and all data on your phone.  It will take a while to download the firmware but getting your phone working again is worth it.

This resets my Nokia Lumia 521 back to Windows Phone 8.0 and I am now using the Preview for Developers to update it back to Windows Phone 8.1 for testing purposes.  I was able to fix the Lumia Windows Phone blue screen of sadness (Sad Face, Blue Screen of Death) but as always your results may differ.  I also want to state that I am not responsible if you brick your phone trying this.  This is not supported officially.  Good Luck.

Windows Phone 8 Update 3 and Nokia Black are Available for Nokia Lumia 822 After All

Despite a user on Reddit claiming that the Nokia Lumia 810 and 822 were not getting the latest updates from Microsoft and Nokia (he has since made an edit about the 822) the Windows Phone 8 Update 3 and Nokia Black are available for Nokia Lumia 822.  This was posted on many blogs and news sites even though it was bad information.  There is a lesson here, if you can’t seem to check out a story, you should not take it as truth.  Now let’s look at some facts.

Nokia has updated its Update Status page and now says that the updates are Available.  Verizon has also updated their Software Update page with a new PDF.

You can install Windows Phone 8 Update 3 and the Nokia Black Update today, Go to Settings, then tap Phone Update.  You will want to then tap Check For Updates.  It took a few tries at first to get it on my phone, my wife’s phone picked it up the first try.  The phone will give you prompts for you to follow.  Overall I like the update and there are a few nice features.  Below is a list of improvements.

According to Verizon the Windows Phone Update 3 and Nokia Black bring the following new features and enhancements.

– Driving Mode, when connected to a Bluetooth hands free device your phone can reduce distractions.

– New accessibility features, reading more of what’s on the screen

– Support for Bing Apps (you could download these from the store earlier

– New Multitasking features, now when you press and hold the back button there are close buttons for the apps

– There is now a Screen Orientation Lock (I am looking forward to this one)

– Updated versions of Nokia Apps (can be downloaded from the store) Include Nokia MixRadio, Here Maps, Drive+ and Transit.

– New Nokia Apps also available Nokia Camera and Nokia Storyteller (I have not been able to install these yet)

– Updated Glance, Now shows notifications, plus download Glance Background from the Windows Phone Store

Microsoft also states that the update has the following.

– Storage improvements so you can easily free up temp files

– You can share your phones internet connection with a computer running Windows 8.1 over Bluetooth

– Bluetooth improvements

– Custom Text message tones, you can even assign a special text message tone to one of your contacts

Verizon PDF for Nokia Lumia 822 Update 3 Black Update

Verizon PDF for Nokia Lumia 822 Update 3 Black Update

I suggest you install Windows Phone 8 Update 3 and Nokia Black for you Nokia Lumia 822 on Verizon today. Oh and thank you Verizon Wireless for being awesome.

The Future of Computing is Touch!

I firmly believe the future of computing is touch, but will that include the PC?  I know a few people who think touch computing is just a fad like 3D TV and will be gone soon.  I however think touch computing is here to stay but I think it will happen one of two ways.

The PC will adapt to touch computing and continue being dominant.  This is what I hope will happen.  I hope that computers like what we use today like laptops and even desktops will embrace touch interfaces and we will have powerful machines that we can interact with touch.  Now the mouse and keyboard will not go away as the mouse is more precise especially when using video and audio or even image editing programs and you need a keyboard for programing but lets face it most people use their computers to check email and Facebook, or to play flash-based games.  I think this gives the all in one device we are looking for instead of having to have multiple devices to take with us when we travel.

The second way is similar to what we see today.  Basic tablets like the iPad, or Android tablets will replace most computers in the home because they meet the needs of people who just check email and Facebook.  Lets get real here, most people do not really need all the power in their computer all the time and could make by with just a basic tablet.  I mean these tablets are just big smartphones and people use smartphones all day long for similar functions.

Now Microsoft is trying to position itself to be ready no matter which scenario works out.  If normal PC’s go the route of touch than I expect to see Windows RT go by the way side but if these less powerful media tablets start winning the battle (like the iPad and Android tablets) then I expect to see Windows RT further developed into something to compete with these devices and probably no longer contain a Desktop.  While Windows 8.X (Or whatever version we are on to by this time) will keep the desktop and rely less on the modern environment.  We could then see Windows booting straight to Desktop and maybe not containing the Start Screen at some point.  Again this is all speculation and just what I see as I look in from the outside.

Either way touch screen devices are here to stay in the home, now seeing them in business uses we will have to wait and see.  I see either way working out long-term for the future of computing what I do not see is computers staying in their traditional configuration (non-touch) and being as dominant as they once were, not in the home.  Again this will be different in businesses but for the home market computing is changing and its future is touch.

Saying Goodbye to Windows Phone 7

I had not planned on saying goodbye to Windows Phone 7 so soon but I have dropped my HTC Trophy and cracked the screen. I decided to live with the cracked screen for a few weeks now and I just need a new phone. I am a little sad as this has been a great phone, granted it probably would not have been my first choice but it was the only Windows Phone on Verizon Wireless. Now that Windows Phone 8 is here there will be three Windows Phones on Verizon.
The first phone I looked at was the HTC Windows Phone 8X, I really liked this phone but one thing hinders it for me, it only has 16 Gb of storage and does not support an SD card. This has been my complaint about my HTC Trophy so other than this the 8X is a great phone.
The second phone I checked out is the Samsung ATIV Odyssey, this phone reminds me of my old Samsung Omnia II and I really want a different design. Also, the Odyssey will not be out until sometime in December.
The third phone I looked at is the Nokia Lumia 822. This phone caught my attention, the City Lens app seems great and the Nokia Music app is awesome for a music lover like me. Plus it supports SD cards so I can take my music with me and have my phone be my mp3 player. This will be the phone I will get and I’m happy with my decision. It should be here in a few weeks and I will have a write-up on it then.
I’m so happy Verizon Wireless has some choices for their customers this time around and ill be happy to play with a new phone.

So I did get the Nokia Lumia 822 and it is a great phone, you can check out my unboxing on YouTube.

Why Microsoft needs to release a new Zune

Many of you out there remember the Zune.  I, in fact, own two of them.  The Zune set out to battle against the iPod in the portable music player and honestly, is smoked the iPod.  If it had been released earlier it would have become the number one player if not a solid number two.  The problem for the Zune was not that is was a bad product, the problem was that the market was changing.

As PDA’s had proven just what portable electronics could do, it was only a matter of time before they were combined with a cell phone.  Now the first smartphone was years before this but it was not until PDA makers started adding phone capabilities to their devices in the early 2000’s this smartphone really took off here in the US and even then it has taken a decade.

Microsoft had created something called Windows Mobile which would power many early Pocket PC and PDA devices and would be used for Smartphones as well.  Windows Mobile was really meant as portable productivity software and would never be a good media playing device.  Windows Mobile did include Windows Media Player but it was a pain to use without a stylus.   In fact, when Microsoft did get media players out on the market before the Zune they were based on Windows Mobile but used the Media Center interface.  (and were called Portable Media Centers)

Dell Axim running Windows Mobile 5

Dell Axim running Windows Mobile 5

Now Apple had won over most people with the iPod and I even had an 80 Gb iPod Video (which died the other day) Apple had really jump started a portable media player marked and dominated it.  Microsoft wanted a piece of the pie and created Zune but after the Zune was released Apple was getting ready to do something that would start to change things, they released the iPhone and then a little while later released the iPod Touch which used the same OS as the iPhone.

80 Gb iPod Video

80 Gb iPod Video

These iOS devices started something, people bought them and liked that they could download apps and expand the capabilities of the devices and they were still good media players.  Now people could have an iPod that did everything they wanted to a certain extent or a phone that was also an iPod.

Microsoft noticed and responded with the Zune HD which puts any iPod Touch to shame and still does.  It too had some apps you could download but the device never caught on and people did not develop for it, but it had started something that would change the company.

32 Gb Zune HD

32 Gb Zune HD

Many fans of the Zune HD had said that Microsoft needs to release a Zune Phone, and Microsoft denied that this would happen and would instead point to its Windows Mobile Smartphones and while Windows Mobile 6.5 was a good update it was still not enough.  But Microsoft would not let the Metro interface from the Zune HD die, instead, it remade Windows Mobile into Windows Phone.  And if you are like me you know Windows Phone is magical.  It has apps, it always works, it looks fantastic, and it is user intuitive more than any other Smartphone out there.

HTC Trophy running Windows Phone 7

HTC Trophy running Windows Phone 7

Microsoft did not stop there, however, now Windows 8 is soon to be released and it too has a lot of Metro interface in it.  In addition, Microsoft is releasing its own tablets called the Surface.  You look that this device and it is clear that Microsoft can create great hardware.  Also for the first time, you see all Microsoft products working together and really being better together but there is a whole.

Microsoft Surface running Windows 8

Microsoft Surface running Windows 8

The Zune was canceled long ago, and its services are being rebranded.  There is no portable media player today, and no PDA either.  The sad thing is I do see a market for one.  I volunteer with teenagers and I see one thing they all seem to have.  iPod Touch’s!  Let’s face it Smartphones are expensive and so is the data use, it is not something you want to give to your kid, but an iPod Touch is cheaper and uses WiFi, also the games on it are cheaper than other portable game systems.  The Zune HD was a step in the right direction but it was not enough of one but Windows Phone was.  I believe that Microsoft needs to bring back the Zune using the Windows Phone software.  I really think they could get in this market! (if they price it correctly remember parents are buying stuff like this for their kids and it needs to be marketed to these pre-teens and teenagers) Heck, I would buy one, a media playing device that can do everything my phone can. (I have a Windows Phone now)

So will Microsoft do this?  Well as the Zune brand has been killed it will not be called that but I think they could call it something else or make it more of a portable gaming device and use Xbox branding.  One thing is for sure, though, if they are considering it, they are not telling anyone.

Microsoft, please do this it would be awesome and I need a new media player.

Power Toys and Ultimate Extras for Windows 7 and Vista (XP Too) Part 3

The Power Toys for Windows XP were very popular to the point that Microsoft made you pay for the ones in Vista and called them Ultimate Extras, but unlike their XP counterparts they did not release a lot of the Ultimate Extras.

In Part 3 we will be looking at more utilities this time from Microsoft.

Utilities from Microsoft

1. Microsoft Security Essentials This is my new favorite antivirus software.  It is light weight, does not bog the system down and does a great job.  I highly suggest this for anyone’s home computer, non-profit, or small businesses.  It is available for Windows 7, Vista, and XP and you can learn more and download it here at http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/

Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 in Windows 7

Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 in Windows 7

2. SyncToy   This actually started as a Power Toy for Windows XP and has been evolved over the years into what it is today.  This tool is for synchronizing files between two different areas, whether on the same drive, different ones, or different devices.  This is a quick way to keep files synced and ready to go.  It is available for Windows 7, Vista, and XP and you can check it out and download it here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=C26EFA36-98E0-4EE9-A7C5-98D0592D8C52&displaylang=en

SyncToy in Windows 7

SyncToy in Windows 7

 

3. Windows Mobile Device Center   This software is for syncing files and information for Windows Mobile smartphones.  It works with Windows Mobile 6.5 and earlier.  Windows Mobile Device Center is available for Windows 7 and Windows Vista and you can learn more and download the 32Bit version here at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/en-us/downloads/microsoft/device-center-download.mspx And get the 64-bit version here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyId=4F68EB56-7825-43B2-AC89-2030ED98ED95&displaylang=en

Windows Mobile Device Center in Windows 7

Windows Mobile Device Center in Windows 7

 

4. Microsoft ActiveSync     The Windows Mobile Device Center is not available for Windows XP and this is where ActiveSync comes in.  ActiveSync is the older version of Mobile Device Center and it again works with Windows Mobile devices to sync files and information.  You can check it out and download it at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/en-us/downloads/microsoft/activesync-download.mspx

Microsoft ActiveSync in Windows XP

Microsoft ActiveSync in Windows XP

 

5.  Windows Virtual PC   This is great software to run operating systems in a virtual environment.  This new version of Virtual PC integrates very well into the Windows environment.  I have used this recently and plan to write more articles about it.  The awesome thing about it, this is available for all versions of Windows 7.  You can check it out and download it here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=2B6D5C18-1441-47EA-8309-2545B08E11DD&displaylang=en

Once you have it installed there is an update to remove the Hardware Virtualization need you can get here for the 32Bit version and here for the 64-bit version.

Windows Virtual PC in Windows 7

Windows Virtual PC in Windows 7

6.  XP Mode   This is a great feature.  This feature is only available for Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate.    Let’s say you have an older program that does not run in Windows 7.  Well if you install it in XP Mode you can have it run right off of the Windows 7 Start Menu.  Once you have XP Mode installed it runs out of Windows Virtual PC which you must have installed first.  Please note if you are going to set up XP Mode you need to install things in order, first Windows Virtual PC, then XP Mode then one of the updates above.    You can download XP Mode here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=FB633E9D-DDBC-4044-BB09-4F99E757064E&displaylang=en

XP Mode desktop In Windows 7 Ultimate

XP Mode desktop In Windows 7 Ultimate

7.  Virtual PC 2007   If you are using Windows Vista or XP and you want to run operating systems in a virtual environment then you can download Virtual PC 2007.  While it does not have all the features of Windows Virtual PC it still does the job well.  Also, Virtual PC 2007 supports running older operating systems.  If you want to check it out you can read more and download it from here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=28C97D22-6EB8-4A09-A7F7-F6C7A1F000B5&displaylang=en

Virtual PC 2007 in Windows Vista

Virtual PC 2007 in Windows Vista

8. Microsoft Mathematics    This program should have its own blog post.  This is the old Windows XP Power Toy Calculator on crack. You can do just about anything Math related on this thing.  Solve equations, convert units, graphing, trig, etc.  Best of all it is Free.  It uses the Tab and Ribbon interface from the Windows Live and Windows 7 programs.  You can install it in Windows 7, Vista, and XP (Please note that the .Net 3.5 framework must be installed for Vista and XP users).  You can learn more and download it from here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=9caca722-5235-401c-8d3f-9e242b794c3a

Microsoft Mathematics in Windows 7

Microsoft Mathematics in Windows 7

 

These are some great additions to Windows that add functionality and customization.

For Non-Microsoft Utilities check out Part 2.

For Communication and Games check out Part 1.