Category Archives: Windows Phone

Windows Phones, Lumias

Interesting piece on the latest Windows Phones. Microsoft continues to struggle in finding their place in the smart phone world. It is too bad, because personally, I think they are fantastic overall.

“Microsoft Sacrifices Lumia 950 And 950 XL For A Stronger Surface Phone”

Announced in October 2015, and released a month later, the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL smartphones have not set the world alight. The first ‘out of the box’ Windows 10 powered smartphones occupy a curious pivot point in Microsoft’s plans. What do they tell us about the direction of Microsoft and how it will approach mobile in 2016?

Between them they represent the end of a line of smartphones that stretches back to Nokia’s 2011 decision to go with Windows Phone rather than Android, They also represent Microsoft’s future attitudes to smartphones as a single element of a wide range of Windows 10 powered devices all living on the same code-base, all sharing information, applications, and data, through Microsoft’s cloud-based services.

The two handsets build on past glories, and point the way towards a potential future. Unfortunately it is a very unclear future. With CEO Satya Nadella focusing on Microsoft’s software and cloud services it means that much of the functionality that made Windows Phone a commendable choice in the past is no longer exclusive to the Lumia handsets. You can run Microsoft’s cloud services on iOS and Android easily, and in terms of process and workflow there’s little difference between Windows, Android, and iOS.”

Read it here

Interesting Microsoft Purchase of Windows Phone App Maker

I normally get what is needed from my Windows phone Outlook, but some searching and sorting type of improvements would not be turned down.

Microsoft Acquires Email Startup Acompli to Give Outlook a Mobile Advantage

“Microsoft has acquired the mobile email startup Acompli, the tech giant announced today on its website.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the tech news site Re/code reports that Microsoft paid over $200 million.
Acompli makes an email client for Android and iOS designed to make common but sometimes complex tasks—such sorting messages, sending typical responses, and finding attachments—much easier to accomplish on mobile devices. But even though it runs on devices from competing companies—Google and Apple—the app seems like a good fit for Microsoft. The product has long been focused on selling software to large companies—Microsoft’s bread and butter—and it already plugs into Microsoft’s primary email server software, Exchange.”

http://www.wired.com/2014/12/microsoft-acquires-new-age-email-app-acompli/

I love Windows 8.1 Cortana

It’s becoming a love affair. Once I started actually texting, setting up reminders via Cortana and making calls with her as well, I knew all bets were off. Siri who?!

But seriously, Cortana’s voice sounds surprisingly nice & clear, and the search is extremely fast – you do not even have to click a button after a few words are spoken. As soon as there’s a pause, she is off on Bing finding information or working the Apps per the given commands. Of course, you need to access Cortana in the first place. I was clumsily going through Internet Explorer on my Windows Nokia Lumia 1020. From there you can hit the tiny microphone to begin voice search functions. Basic search and some other functions were all doable with the previous version that was built into Bing. But now there’s a full App for Cortana. However, I either missed the prompt to add to my Start screen upon the Windows 8.1 update (very possible) or it was not offered. The easy fix is to add it: swipe left to open the alphabetized Apps list, go to “C”. Hold Cortana down for 2 seconds, then select “pin the start”. For me, Cortana is downright critical as my Lumia is not only fun, it’s a work phone!

You CAN just hit the search icon itself on the phone (the icon to the right of the Windows Start button), but I do like to have the App on the scree – it has news headlines flashing through periodically, which is useful.

So, after above is done, I held the start screen Cortana for 2 seconds, then dragged the App upward. For me, it belongs on top. Others may want it down further, but consider: Cortana can send texts, make calls, set reminders, set alarms, search for movie theaters or restaurants, and … tell you a joke. And more.

Open Cortana. Press the microphone to start. Before having fun, you may need to answer a few questions (your name, your interests, depending whether it’s been used or not), then that is all – speak clearly and concisely. Happy searching & functioning! Of course, you still type, the old fashioned way. This may be needed, if you’re at a loud concert for example.

Siri may be able to do some or all of this (not sure), especially with the new Apple releases coming out soon, but the bar has been set VERY high.

Lumia 920 Freezes

I had this problem too with my brand new Lumia 920 (AT&T service). I was getting a completely frozen phone, with the Lumia logo on the screen along with the black background. This was very bad, as I actually use this Windows 8 phone for work! OK, I use it for play as well, but I really need it for technical alerts emanating from my Windows servers and overall network infrastructure. I read on a Microsoft forum that using a certain button combination may help to restart it. And indeed holding the Volume button along with the Power button at same time eventually worked.

But wait, there is more …

Many are already having this issue, it seems, as I found on various Microsoft and Nokia forums. The primary recommended solution, however, either confuses people or does not work. So, the other solution given was “take it back to the store for replacement”. No, save yourself the trouble. Read on.

The first time I tried holding the volume button and power button simultaneously, I held the upper (top) volume part along with the power button. This did nothing, the screen was still frozen stiff. For some bizarre reason, pressing the lower (decrease) portion of the volume and power simultaneously did work, but not the upper (increase) volume. It is probably coincidence, but I am not certain. Also, the recommended 10 seconds hold did not work either, so for good measure, I increased the time: Hold both lower Volume (decrease) AND power buttons for a full 20 seconds. You should get a vibration from the phone. Trust me, this is a good sign. HOWEVER, give it an additional 10-20 seconds to refresh before you start panicking.

One last thing: to troubleshoot, I had removed my SIM before trying the above solution. I was hoping for some sort of miracle cure by doing this, but it did nothing. So, even after the above restart of the Windows 8 phone succeeded and a correct reinsert of the SIM Card, I got a “no SIM found” type of message. What now? I could see the screen, internet (WIFI) worked, the Apps all worked, so … reboot. Yes, I held the power button for a few seconds then slid the screen downward to restart. Voila, now the SIM card is recognized and everything is working well.

My Lumia 920 has been good since this all occurred.

Before using this Lumia 920, I was using the Lumia 900 for about 6 months. I never encountered this particular freeze or total lock up of the phone. I love this Lumia 920 phone, and love Windows 8 but I hope this particular Lumia 920 or Windows 8 screen freeze issue is patched soon! I want this phone to succeed.