Microsoft has sent out invitations to Media for a September 30 event in San Francisco, where the company is expected to show off an enterprise technology preview of its next version of Windows, codenamed Threshold. The event is scheduled for 1 p.m ET.
Update: Microsoft announced their new OS on 30th September and called it Windows 10. Read the highlights from the announcement here.
Reports say, the company will talk in broad strokes about features aimed at corporate users for the next version of Windows, which people are informally calling Windows 9.
Windows 7 was one of the biggest releases for Microsoft. The Windows 8 wasn’t that impressive for the desktop users; thanks to the tiles and the No-start menu approach. With Windows 9, things are expected to change and provide better User Experience as well.
Microsoft also is expected to release a first public preview of the Threshold version of Windows Server at the same time, sources have said.
Windows Phone is going to be 4 years old now; and it could never take a stand and showcase a device running a platform which can compete with the best Android or an iOS device. This has definitely affected their market share; and of-course, impacted the Brand Nokia. The Nokia Lumia 1020 had a fantastic camera and the Lumia 910 introduced a good design. However, there was something really missing. I was even dreaming of running Android on the Nokia Lumia 1020. The Nokia Lumia 930 seems to be a fantastic phone that stands up in competition with other flag-ships in the league. With a high hardware specifications, great still camera and a brilliant design, this is definitely worth looking at.
Hardware, Battery and Design
The Lumia 930 has a 2.2 Quadcore processor with a 2GB RAM under the hood. This really helps to make Windows Phone really fast. With a snapdragon 800 series, loading apps and switching between them is pretty smooth. The front of the phone is a one-glass surface; the metal frame is stunning and the polycarbonate rear shell adds a soft touch and feel to the device. The polycarbonate material (variants) is available in Neon Green, Orange, Black and White colours.
The buttons on the right hand side are easy to reach and its good to see a shutter button on the phone. Having a button always gives you a good control; and of course, the quick access to clicking pictures even when the phone is locked.
The metal chassis and the slightly rounded corner edges gives a nice premium feel to the phone.
I would’ve just wished an easy way to take the sim tray out. The phone is quite chunky; but Yes. I love my phones to take some space. I do not really like those thin fabric phones which you often use it with a fear of breaking them. The base model of this phone also comes with a 32GB of disk storage and that’s impressive.
The Lumia 930 has a 2420 mAh battery. Windows Phones are always light on the battery; most of the phones stay a good day long. But with a quad-core CPU and a full HD screen on board, the Lumia 930 is a more power hungry device. That doesn’t mean its going to last just for 4 hours. It would pretty much take you through your day with just one full charge. If you are having any battery issues, charge your phone in cycles (100 to 0 and then 0 to 100). Do that for few days and your battery will slowly start to bed and give you much better battery performance. Also, try to use the charger which came along with your phone. That would help.
I now charge my phone once in two days with a normal usage (Here is a sample of my battery utilisation; check the screenshot towards your right). The phone also has a wireless charging built in; and thats fantastic.
Basically, this is one of the best constructed phones in the market today; In this department, I rate this phone a good 9 out of 10.
Display and Screen:
The Lumia 930 has a brilliant screen. It’s a 5 inch, full HD 1080 x 1920 AMOLED Screen. The pixel density is 441 ppi. It’s the brightest screen, which Nokia has ever produced. It’s sharp and renders the images smoothly. It produces some vibrant colours as well.
The Nokia Clear Black technology is a boon. I haven’t come across a phone that handles blacks and contrasts so well. This really helps text reading to be so crisp. The AMOLED screen helps with great colour reproduction and images look fantastic and colourful. Some may find it a little over-saturated; however, the Lumia 930 offers a great viewing angles as well. The key benefit of the OLED technology is when the portion of the screen is black, the LEDs are basically turned off giving you rich viewing experience and of course saves your battery as well.
I have always been a fan of display screens on the Nokia devices. This definitely makes it the best looking Windows Phone ever made. On the Display, I rate this phone a good 8 out of 10.
Camera and Pictures:
The camera is the best feature of this phone. It produces some fantastic sharp images. The sensor and the technology is a winner when you compare it with any of the other players in this range. The Lumia 930 has a 20 MP Pureview Camera built in, with optical image stabilizer and 4 directional microphones, which supports a 5.1 Dolby surround sound. It’s the first device in the market to do that.
The gradients and colors are pretty good as well. Shooting in low light doesn’t result in too much noise. You can of course, record a 1080p video as well. The sensor on the Lumia 930 is same as the one on the 1520. It may not be in the same league as the 41MP Lumia 1020, but it does take some great pictures. The camera is quick and gives you some manual controls to customise the shutter speeds and focus.
If you are looking at a handy phone, which takes best pictures, you should read no further. This is the best phone you can buy (The only other option would be the Lumia 1020, if you like the design and the rear bulkiness). In this department, I would rate it a 10 out of 10.
Here are some of the sample pictures and videos clicked with the Lumia 930.
Software, User Experience:
The Nokia Lumia 930 is powered with the Windows Phone 8.1. The OS has become even more personal and now allows customization on the start screen and the tiles. You can now change the background of these tiles and also resize them.
You have a new action center built in which gives you all the notifications and also access to toggle some settings. Its not as great as the Android notifications; but yes, these are something to do with the software and can get better on time. There is a battery saver app, Data Sense and Storage Sense to help you see what is exactly going on under the hood.
The Microsoft applications works the best. The built in IE browser is neat. Most of the websites load faster without missing any elements. I personally love how my office emails works with this platform. The Outlook integration is fantastic and even the LDAP search of directories work a charm. The Office, SharePoint and Lync applications work really smooth and gives a great user experience. I like the Bing Health and Fitness App as well.
Windows Phone also introduces Word Flow with shape writing; similar to the Swipe keyboards on Android which works really slick. The prediction of words are top-notch and its really fast. This holds the Guiness Record for the speed typing on a keyboard. Looks like this record is broken now.
Nokia MixRadio is another fantastic app which I love. Its a big relief for some of us here in India, where Pandora, Spotify or even Google Music doesn’t work officially. The Nokia Here Apps and Drive works great; especially with offline capabilities.
With the Nokia Cyan upgrade, you can now get an interesting camera experience with options like living images in the Gallery that is something like a motion image or GIFs. The Creative Studio also gives some great options for editing pictures or post process them. The Story teller is cool as well. It basically weaves a video of all the media, which you have. For example, Think of it as a good summary video made from your pictures and videos which you took at a recent vacation. Pretty cool indeed.
One of the top features would be Cortana as well. It surprisingly works great with contextual reminders, responds to questions and helps you with most of the commonly used tasks. I am still a fan of Google Now and its cards, maps integration and most importantly the support for English (Indian diction). Let’s be kind, this would definitely grow over time and get better. Cortana currently works only in the US> If you are outside US and want to enable the same on your phone, follow these steps to activate the same.
Sadly, these are the most cool features of this platform. The OS needs to evolve; and the apps need to take a huge leap. If you are a user, who accesses emails on phone, with some occasional Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, this phone would work great. Things have to really evolve w.r.t games and other 3rd party applications. In this department, I would rate it a 6 out of 10.
Pros and Cons, Value for Money:
There are very few phones which you fall instantly in love with. Lumia 930 is definitely one of them. Its undoubtedly, one of the best designed windows phone ever made with a beautiful display and a fantastic camera.
There were few reports of this phone getting over-heated. I faced this issue as well. However, on regular charges and discharge, this issue seems to have disappeared. The inclusion of wireless charging is a fantastic option. If you have used a Windows Phone before, you will find the OS more familiar. On one hands its great, because it provides a consistent User Experience; but on the other hand, nothing has changed in 4 years in the platform and it isn’t as intuitive as the competition. By competition, I mean the Android. The transition it took from Cupcake to KitKat is phenomenal. iOS has been the same for years as well; that’s a different story, lets talk about it sometime later.
When you edit or post proces the image from the phone, you work on the JPG version and not the RAW DNG file. There could’ve been some better options to edit the higher resolution pictures in the phone itself.
OneNote and office integration with OneDrive is a great productivity feature. You can pretty much start writing a document at office with your laptop and continue to edit the same on the go with your phone. OneNote can also help you to take some quick notes (Text and Voice) and reminder items. The design and build quality are top notch. However, it still needs refinements on the software side. As mentioned earlier, the built in apps and office are fantastic, but rest need a huge leap of improvements. Microsoft really needs to rectify this quickly. There is still a lot more work which needs to be done, if the Lumia range of phones want to give some serious run to other flag-ship phones.
If you are in the market looking to buy a Windows Phone or any smartphone which provides you with great camera options, this is the best one for you.!
Update: Nokia Lumia 930 is priced at Rs. 38,649 in India and will go on sale starting October 15th.
Cortana, a smart voice assistant is a fantastic feature that was announced along with Windows Phone OS 8.1 few months ago. Cortana on Windows Phone is similar to an Apple’s Siri or Android’s Google Now. Cortana uses Bing for most of its searches/stories and currently works only in the US. Microsoft have announced that, it will roll-out Cortana to other countries as early as possible. This is a simple how-to article on how can you activate Cortana on your device running Windows Phone 8.1 even if you are not based in the US. Changing the language on your phone to United States English is the first step. I am listing out these steps from my Nokia Lumia 930, which I imported from the UK. So I have to first change the language from English (United Kingdom) to English (United States).
Step 1: To do the same, click on settings on your phone and reach out to the region options. You can then click on “Add language” and select US. Remember, the phone may restart while configuring the region options. After the reboot, ensure that, the Phone Language, Regional Format and Speech are all enabled. If not, then click on the language, and reboot the phone again.
Remember, it will take sometime to download the language packs, and configure the same on your phone.
Step 2: Now Tap on the region, and change the same to United States. Ensure that the, Regional Format is enabled to ‘Match Phone Language’ or English (United States). Its better if you override the settings and change it to English (United States). You may have to reboot the phone once you make this configuration.
After the reboot, you wont see a Cortana in any of the applications or in the hot search key. You will have to go to Settings, Applications and then Enable Cortana. You can also change your name and make other speech and battery settings for this app.
Cortana is now enabled on your phone. You can click on the Search icon to start the application or rather conversation.
English diction can be an issue at the beginning; however, the phone learns you well as you start using it more often.
If you are wondering what to talk to your new digital assistant, this article would come handy.
PS: Now that you have changed your default language of the phone to United States English, you may not have the default currency icon of pound on your keyboard. However, you can long-press the currency icon and it will display all the other available options.
Deactivating Cortana: If for some reason you would like to disable Cortana from your phone, you can go to Settings -> Applications -> Cortana and turn it off. Reboot the phone and then delete the Phone Data to clear the logs.
Many applications use search as the primary interaction pattern for their users. Azure Search is a search-as-a-service solution that allows developers and cloud architects to embed a sophisticated search experience into web and mobile applications without having to worry about the complexities of full-text search and without having to deploy, maintain, or manage any infrastructure.
With Azure Search, a developer can enable the power of searching data in their application, reduce the complexity around managing and tuning a search index, and get up and running quickly using familiar interfaces and a consistent platform. Offered in combinable units that include dedicated throughput and storage, Azure Search allows developers to easily set up and scale a search experience cost-effectively. As your volume of data or throughput needs change, you can scale out to meet those needs and then scale back down to reduce costs.
Today, Microsoft announced the private preview of Microsoft Interflow, a security and threat information exchange platform for analysts and researchers working in cybersecurity. Interflow uses industry specifications to create an automated, machine-readable feed of threat and security information that can be shared across industries and groups in near real-time.
The goal of the platform is to help security professionals respond more quickly to threats. It will also help reduce cost of defense by automating processes that are currently performed manually.
Benefits of Microsoft Interflow (private preview)
A collectively stronger cybersecurity ecosystem means better protection for consumers and businesses. Alliances between incident responders across various industries and organizations are forming today, to help prevent cyber-attacks and to help reduce their damage. Microsoft Interflow, using a distributed architecture, enables sharing of security and threat information within and between communities for a collectively stronger ecosystem. Offering multiple configuration options, Interflow allows users to decide what communities to form, what data feeds to consume, and with whom.
Automation of security and threat information collection, processing, and integration helps to reduce the overall cost of an organization’s defense efforts, versus manual or semi-manual information collection and compilation. Community-driven specifications, such as “Structured Threat Information expression”, “Trusted Automated eXchange of Indicator Information”, and “Cyber Observable expression standards” enable automation, and help eliminate data format inconsistences for incident responders using Interflow. Customizable watch lists and the ability to query partners enable users to discover, and prioritize action on the indicators that are of most interest to their organizations. With Interflow, organizations can help reduce the wait time before detection and analysis can begin, while accelerating time to protection and action.
Interflow incorporates community-driven specifications making security and threat information more consumable across the industry. Use of these specifications, as well as a plug-in architecture and related Software Development Kit (SDK), help with integration of Interflow into existing operational tools and incident response systems. Using Interflow, organizations can further their defense capabilities while extending the value of existing investments. Running on Microsoft Azure public cloud, Interflow also helps to reduce the cost of capital infrastructure build-out, in support of business and defense strategies many incident response teams have in place.
Organizations and enterprises with dedicated security incident response teams can inquire about the private preview through their Technical Account Managers or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Microsoft plans to make Interflow available to all members of the Microsoft Active Protections Program (MAPP) in the future. During the private preview Interflow is free for Microsoft Azure subscribers. Users need an Azure subscription for compute and storage resources.
Microsoft Corp. announced it has completed its acquisition of the Nokia Devices and Services business. The acquisition has been approved by Nokia shareholders and by governmental regulatory agencies around the world. The completion of the acquisition marks the first step in bringing these two organizations together as one team.
“Today we welcome the Nokia Devices and Services business to our family. The mobile capabilities and assets they bring will advance our transformation,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “Together with our partners, we remain focused on delivering innovation more rapidly in our mobile-first, cloud-first world.”
Reporting to Nadella is former Nokia President and CEO Stephen Elop, who will serve as executive vice president of the Microsoft Devices Group, overseeing an expanded devices business that includes Lumia smartphones and tablets, Nokia mobile phones, Xbox hardware, Surface, Perceptive Pixel (PPI) products, and accessories. Microsoft welcomes personnel with deep industry experience in more than 130 sites across 50 countries worldwide, including several factories that design, develop, manufacture, market and sell a broad portfolio of innovative smart devices, mobile phones and services. As part of the transaction, Microsoft will honor all existing Nokia customer warranties for existing devices, beginning April 25, 2014.
Windows Phone is the fastest-growing ecosystem in the smartphone market, and its portfolio of award-winning devices continues to expand. In the fourth quarter of 2013, according to IDC, Windows Phone reinforced its position as a top three smartphone operating system and was the fastest-growing platform among the leading operating systems with 91 percent year-over-year gain. Furthermore, with the Nokia mobile phone business, Microsoft will target the affordable mobile devices market, a $50 billion annual opportunity,2 delivering the first mobile experience to the next billion people while introducing Microsoft services to new customers around the world.
Microsoft will continue to deliver new value and opportunity, and it will work closely with a range of hardware partners, developers, operators, distributors and retailers, providing platforms, tools, applications and services that enable them to make exceptional devices. With a deeper understanding of hardware and software working as one, the company will strengthen and grow demand for Windows devices overall.
As with any multinational agreement of this size, scale and complexity, Microsoft and Nokia have made adjustments to the deal throughout the close preparation process.
Microsoft will not acquire the factory in Masan, South Korea, and the factory in Chennai, India, will stay with Nokia due to the tax liens on Nokia’s assets in India that prevent transfer. As a result, Microsoft will welcome approximately 25,000 transferring employees from around the world.
More information about Microsoft’s expanded family of devices and services is available here.
Is your enterprise planning or actively involved in a Windows XP migration project that includes Google Chromebooks as the new computing platform? To successfully make this transition, do you need to deliver business-critical Windows applications to these devices? Citrix and Google have been working together since 2010 to ensure Chromebook users can easily access Windows apps—without them having to first launch a virtual desktop or IT having to migrate apps and data to the cloud and learn a whole new desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) management model.
Citrix XenApp is the market-leading Windows virtual application delivery solution for Chromebooks. It’s based on 25 years of pioneering innovations in the delivery of secure apps and data to users over any network on any device. With XenApp Platinum and Chromebooks, enterprise IT can:
Implement a stateless, app-centric computing solution that’s secure by design
Deliver five generations of Windows applications from the same infrastructure
Provision Windows, SaaS, Web, and Google Apps with an unmatched total cost of ownership
Adopt the latest Chromebooks from OEMs such as HP, Dell, Samsung, Acer and Toshiba
Enable a high-definition app user experience via Citrix Receiver for HTML5
Scale company-controlled Windows apps seamlessly to over 100,000 users
VMware introduces Horizon 6 (with View) to deliver virtualized and remoted desktops and applications through a single platform; supports end users with access to all of their Windows and online resources through one unified workspace. With Horizon 6 you can now deliver virtual or remoted desktops and applications to end users across devices, locations, media and connections.
VMware Horizon View simplifies IT management, increases security and control, reduces IT costs and increases end-user access and flexibility in Windows desktop services. A single management console streamlines traditional desktop management tasks into mere clicks, while granular levels of control allow IT to customize the user’s experience, access, and personalization to support corporate policy.
Horizon 6 provides IT organization with 6 core capabilities:
Desktops and Applications Delivered through a Single Platform: Deliver virtual or remoted desktops and applications through a single platform to streamline management, easily entitle end users, and quickly deliver Windows desktops and applications to end users across devices and locations.
A Unified Workspace with Great User Experience: Support easy access to desktops and applications – including RDS hosted applications, packaged applications with ThinApp, SaaS applications, and even virtualized applications from Citrix through a unified workspace with Blast Performance.
Central Image Management for Physical, Virtual and BYO Devices: Centrally manage, patch and update images for virtual and physical PCs
Closed-Loop Management and Automation: Streamline desktop and application provisioning, protect corporate assets and automate desktop reporting and troubleshooting
Optimized for the Software-Defined Data Center: Horizon 6 allows you to leverage your expertise in VMware vSphere and is optimized for VMware® Virtual SAN™ to automate storage provisioning and drive down costs.
Hybrid Cloud Delivery: Choose from an array of on premise or cloud-based deployment options.
Horizon 6 is available in 3 editions: Standard Edition delivering simple and powerful VDI with great user experience, Advanced Edition offering Low cost high-performance desktops and applications for physical and virtual machines; Enterprise Edition: Providing the highest level of automation and management for private cloud delivery.
Below are three ways to get started. Choose the method that best fits your needs and resources.
Thirteen years after its release, technical support for Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system will end today. To be clear, computers running XP will keep working after April 8; without critical Windows XP security updates, your PC will be vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software, etc.
An estimated 30 percent of computers being used by businesses and consumers around the world are still running the 12-year-old operating system. In addition to home computers, XP is used to run everything from water treatment facilities and power plants to small businesses like doctor’s offices, ATMs etc.
Some say that, Microsoft will provide anti-malware-related updates through July 14, 2015, but warns that the tweaks could be of limited help on an outdated operating system. Microsoft suggests two options: upgrade to a newer, supported version of Windows. Or buy a new PC. Those are certainly the safest options. However, If you simply must keep using Windows XP, there are a few things you can do to improve your security. First, set up a home firewall to keep out malicious network traffic. Second, use an up-to-date web browser, either Google Chrome or Mozilla’s Firefox. Use an Antivirus program that is up-to-date. These do not guarantee that, you can run Windows XP for long; however until you buy a new PC, this should help you for few days. You do own the risk by doing this. Neither msigeek or Microsoft would own the responsibility for any hacker attacks.
Reports also say that, The UK and Dutch governments have paid Microsoft multiple millions to extend support for Windows XP past the 8 April cutoff date. The UK extension cost £5.5m but is only valid for a year, after which public-sector users will have to be moved to newer software.
Some of the reasons why you should think about upgrading to a better PC / other alternatives are Security, Businesses Compliance, Hardware Manufacturer support and Lack of Independent Software Vendor (ISV) Support.
To upgrade, users will need to download and run the Windows Upgrade Assistant, which will check if your PC meets the system requirements for Windows 8.1 and then will set up the guide for upgrading. If your PC doesn’t meet these requirements, it is time you bid the PC a bye and upgrade to a newer, more powerful machine. Or install Windows 7 on it, if you aren’t too keen about Windows 8.1. Looks like its time you move on to a new PC. Have a look at the Windows 8.1 on the official website.
At the Build 2014 conference, Microsoft introduced the new Microsoft Azure Preview portal and the new Basic tier of compute instances. The new Microsoft Azure Preview Portal provides a fully integrated experience that will enable customers to develop and manage an application in one place, using the platform and tools of their choice. The new portal combines all the components of a cloud application into a single development and management experience. New components include the following:
Simplified Resource Management – Rather than managing standalone resources such as Microsoft Azure Web Sites, Visual Studio Projects or databases, customers can now create, manage and analyze their entire application as a single resource group in a unified, customized experience, greatly reducing complexity while enabling scale. Today, the new Azure Manager is also being released through the latest Azure SDK for customers to automate their deployment and management from any client or device.
Integrated billing – A new integrated billing experience enables developers and IT pros to take control of their costs and optimize their resources for maximum business advantage.
Gallery – A rich gallery of application and services from Microsoft and the open source community, this integrated marketplace of free and paid services enables customers to leverage the ecosystem to be more agile and productive.
Visual Studio Online. Microsoft announced key enhancements through the Microsoft Azure Preview Portal, available Thursday. This includes Team Projects supporting greater agility for application lifecycle management and the lightweight editor code-named “Monaco” for modifying and committing Web project code changes without leaving Azure. Also included is Application Insights, an analytics solution that collects telemetry data such as availability, performance and usage information to track an application’s health. Visual Studio integration enables developers to surface this data from new applications with a single click.
Microsoft also announced the general availability of the Web Sites Basic tier along with enhancements to the Web Sites Standard tier, Active Directory Premium, Scheduler, RA-GRS, Dynamic Routing Gateways and Point-to-Site, AutoScale, and Visual Studio Online. Read this article to know more.