For a week now rumors have been rampant that Microsoft would release a “Switch to Windows Phone” app to Android users. The day has arrived and the app has landed in the Google Play store.
The free app is available today and attempts to make a switch from the Google mobile platform to that of Microsoft an easier transition. “Use Switch to Windows Phone to see how many of your Android apps are available on Windows Phone. Just run Switch to Windows Phone on your Android, and this app will check to see if your installed apps are available in the Windows Phone Store” the app tells us.
Switch to Windows Phone will then proceed to save to the cloud the app list it puts together and keep it ready for you when you pick up that Nokia Lumia or HTC 8X handset.
Needless to say, Microsoft is being attacked by Android phone fans — the app already has a two star rating, with only 22 users giving it five stars, while 213 customers handed it a one star review. Still, you have to hand it to Microsoft for trying. Perhaps the company may even land a few new customers who may have already been on the fence about switching.
Who doesn’t love pizza? It is served at meetings, is the main course at parties, and a staple of food courts everywhere. You can order a pizza by walking up the counter at a food court, or visiting a fast food restaurant that serves it. You can call your local pizza place on the phone to order a pizza. Many of the big chain pizza places give you the option of placing your order online, through their website.
One might assume that we have plenty of ways to order a pizza. Perhaps Pizza Hut and Microsoft would disagree with that assessment. The two companies have teamed and will be launching an app for Xbox Live that will allow users to order a pizza directly through their Xbox 360.
According to Polygon, the app will be available for Xbox Live users on Tuesday, April 23, 2013. Users who download the app before May 6, 2013, will get 15% off their first purchase from Pizza Hut.
Pizza Hut’s entire menu will be available through the Xbox app, and users will be able to build their own customized pizza. An order can be placed via Kinect motion controls, voice commands, or the Xbox 360 controller. The app will also feature Facebook integration, which will allow users to order a pizza and then share what they ordered on their Facebook page for all their friends to see.
I can see where the app would be convenient for gamers who want to order a pizza but do not want to stop playing their games for the amount of time it would take to drive to the local Pizza Hut, or even to phone in an order. Just pause the game, use the app, and get back to playing. On the other hand, I have some concerns. Xbox 360 is used by both adults and children. I’m not sure all parents are going to be comfortable with how easy this app would make it for their teenager, or child, to order themselves a pizza.
Image: Stock Photo Pizza by BigStock
Microsoft has always been labeled as a software company, and there is some reason for that — mainly Windows and Office. But when the company introduced the Surface tablet, it was not the first foray into hardware. Many people tend to forget that Microsoft produces some of the most popular hardware on the planet in the Xbox and Kinect. It has also long built excellent mice and keyboards, used by many businesses around the world.
Today Microsoft announced six new versions of its popular 3500 model wireless mouse. All of the new editions are a part of the Artist Series. Dana McClure, Deanne Cheuk, Kustaa Saksi, Matt Lyon, Joy Deangdeelert Cho and Si Scott all contributed to this latest line of peripheral devices.
Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc tells us “each mouse features a snap-in nano USB transceiver, BlueTrack Technology and a two-color battery light indicator”.
The line will be available soon and retail for a reported $29.95 U.S. You will be able to grab one from both Microsoft online and brick and mortar stores, as well as other retail locations, which the company did not specify.
Microsoft may be planning to unveil its next Xbox console in the near future, but that has not stopped the company from continuing to update its current 360 version of the device.
The Xbox 360 may sometimes be thought of as a gaming box, but it has long since exited that pigeon hole. Microsoft wants to use the console to take over your living room and it has been moving steadily in that direction for some time. The company has been adding more and more entertainment content and now it has announced the next wave.
Larry Hryb, better known as Major Nelson, announced the next set of updates, which are rolling out right now and include a load of new entertainment options for customers.
- Xbox SmartGlass for Game of Thrones Season 3
- MLB.TV Refresh
- Revision 3
- Toys “R” Us Movies
If you have an Xbox 360 then you should be receiving these updates at any moment. If you do not yet have one of the consoles then you may just want to wait and find out what gets announced at the upcoming E3 show.
Microsoft’s next version of Windows 8, code named “Blue” leaked out this past Sunday and ever since then I have been feverishly testing the new operating system in a virtual machine. There is a lot new here, making this “update” much more than a service pack, but also not quite “Windows 9″ either.
In a rare move, Microsoft has actually acknowledged the leak and added information about it. In the process, the company also took a swipe at Google’s recent decision to kill Reader.
Microsoft vice president Frank Shaw began his announcement by telling us “While some folks were out doing “spring cleaning,” we used the opportunity to look back a bit at what has happened in the past season, and to look ahead at what we have coming”.
More important than the shot at Google, which Microsoft seems to take on a regular basis, was the acknowledgement of Blue, which would have been hard to deny, given that many of us are testing it out. Shaw stated “Now, the look ahead. With a remarkable foundation of products in market and a clear view of how we will evolve the company, product leaders across Microsoft are working together on plans to advance our devices and services, a set of plans referred to internally as ‘Blue’.”
He went on to inform that “today, Steve Guggenheimer announced the next Build developer conference. At Build, developers will see what’s next for Windows, Windows Server, Windows Azure, Visual Studio and more. This is just one place we’ll discuss the advances coming – another is TechEd”.
Of course, he could not resist one final parting shot at the end — “See, spring isn’t just for cleaning/whacking away at things. It’s also a time to plant and get ready for summer”.
While the web swoons over the new Facebook “graph search”, Microsoft web communications service Skype is aiming towards a more musical crowd. Honestly, it may be a similar audience, but the announcements today still seem far apart. While Mark Zuckerburg occupied the stage earlier, Microsoft was letting everyone know that the pop star would be available for a group video call very soon.
“Now’s your chance to see Lady Gaga live, uncut and offstage. Watch as our lucky sweepstakes winners talk upcoming music, costumes and backstage moments — all live, and face-to-face, with Lady Gaga”, stated Skype’s Leanne Johnson in a blog post earlier today.
The event will take place on Thursday, January 17th at 2pm PST. You can submit a question in hopes that she may actually answer it. Microsoft has set up a special web site at Skypeball.com/skypewithgaga for the occasion.
We knew Microsoft was out of the Consumer Electronics Show in 2013 and going forward. The company decided that, like Apple, it could do better on its own. However, Steve Ballmer decided to make a cameo appearance tonight on the CES stage during Paul Jacobs’ keynote address.
It was a handoff from old technology to new, but with a bridge in between as the Microsoft CEO and Qualcomm chief showed off their respective Windows Phone handsets (both Nokia Lumia 920′s) in an effort to demonstrate how the two technologies meet.
The new Snapdragon chips are powering many of today’s mobile devices, including Windows Phone 8 handsets. Steve Ballmer spent about five minutes with Jacobs talking up the technology, but left as quickly as he appeared, marking what is likely the end of an era — Microsoft is now gone from the world’s biggest showcase and the torch has been passed to a new generation.
Windows 8 is here to stay regardless of if you like it or not. Microsoft is now looking to get the operating system boosted to worldwide appeal and doing so through a variety of advertising means. But, regardless of all of that, the company also “released” some early screenshots from the development days to show how far the operating system has come.
The image was published by Long Zheng, who was a member of the Chevron Windows Phone unlock team, and was sent to him by an unnamed Microsoft insider. The screenshot in question came from a UX Week 2012 presentation by Microsoft’s Jensen Harris.
The interface is not vastly different from the new Metro Start screen that we all love or hate. The basic format is already there in this image, but it lacks the now familiar Microsoft apps like Mail, People, Store and the rest.
While this image doesn’t really mean a whole lot, it is a nice insight into the early mock-ups and ideas that Microsoft started with when building Windows 8.
The jury is still out regarding if the OS will be a success or if it will it fail miserably.
Getting into mobile app development often seems like a path paved with gold, but the reality is very different with many apps failing to succeed. Good apps do not simply “get lucky” but rather their developers work hard at planning a successful app. Smashing Magazine’s article “How To Succeed With a Mobile App” shows the elements needed to plan for app success.
Smashing Magazine identifies six areas to consider for a great app.
1) The Idea. Find a vaccuum or empty niche for your app.
2) Money. Plan the business model for your app.
3) Define. Write down what your app will do in one sentence and stick to it.
4) Design. If the user has to think how to use the app, you’ve failed.
5) Coding. Native, high-quality, robust code is essential.
6) Marketing. Make friends, build buzz, launch big, love your fans.
But don’t simply read the above and move on. Check out the original article by Jeremy Olson at Smashing Magazine as it has plenty of further information for would-be app coders.