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Microsoft’s Windows Phone gets ‘Live Folders’ on Start screen

Windows Phone users, your folders have arrived. Microsoft announced the first update to Windows Phone 8.1 this morning, including a feature that will let users organize the Live Tiles on their Start screens into “Live Folders,” as the company is calling them. It’s the latest example of Microsoft doing its own spin on features previously released… Read More

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GeekWire Radio: Fire phone, iPhone 6 and Microsoft’s smartwatch, with Essex Porter and Andru Edwards

We get a glimpse of the future this week on the GeekWire radio show, talking about Amazon’s newly released Fire phone, the widely rumored iPhone 6, and Microsoft’s unannounced smartwatch — with some Windows Phone thrown in for good measure. Joining me in the studio are Andru Edwards, editor of the GearLive tech news site, who extends his record as our… Read More

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Cortana can turn off the lights: Insteon home automation app to integrate with Microsoft’s assistant

One of the features of Microsoft’s Cortana virtual assistant in Windows Phone 8.1 is the ability to integrate the technology into third-party apps, and the home automation company Insteon provided an early example this morning — saying that users of its Windows Phone app will be able to speak to Cortana to dim the lights and adjust the temperature,… Read More

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‘Dragons Adventure’ game for Windows blends real world and fantasy maps, for kids to play in moving car

Playing a game on a phone or tablet on the couch is one thing, but a new game for Windows Phone and Windows tablets shows what can happen when a moving vehicle and real-world location are part of the mix. The game, “Dragons Adventure: World Explorer,” is based on the “How to Train Your Dragon?” series, published by DreamWorks in partnership… Read More

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Could Android apps be the key to growing Windows Phone?

One of the major problems facing Windows Phone is the relative immaturity of its app ecosystem. Microsoft has worked hard to encourage developers to work with the platform, but many aren’t releasing top apps for Windows Phone at the same time they’re launching apps and features for Android and iOS. To combat that, Microsoft may allow Windows… Read More

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Microsoft unveils its new Android phone, the Nokia X2

  Yes, you read that headline correctly: Despite questions about Microsoft’s long-term commitment to Nokia’s fledgling Android lineup, the Redmond company today unveiled the latest addition to the Nokia X family — the first since Microsoft completed its acquisition of the smartphone maker. The new Nokia X2 features a larger 4.3-inch screen, and an updated interface that… Read More

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GeekWire Radio: Amazon music, Lively shutdown, and the new world of tech design

We’ve got a lot to discuss on this week’s GeekWire radio show, starting with our thoughts on Amazon’s new Prime Music streaming service — the online retailer’s latest push into the world of digital media, and a prelude to its expected smartphone unveiling next week. As detailed in this review by GeekWire’s Blair Hanley Frank, the new service is a nice… Read More

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Microsoft debating Cortana’s possible future on Android and iPhone

Microsoft is grappling internally with the question of whether to expand its Cortana virtual assistant to Android and iPhone — weighing the needs of multi-platform users against the competitive differentiation that the technology could give to Windows devices. “It’s a bit of a head-scratcher for us right now,” acknowledged Marcus Ash, a group program manager for Windows Phone, when he was… Read More

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Xamarin update helps Windows developers create iOS and Android apps

Programmers who use Microsoft’s C# programming language now have an easier way to build mobile apps for iOS and Android devices. Xamarin announced version 3 of its development solution today, complete with new features designed to make it easier for Windows-oriented devs to create mobile apps for other platforms. Xamarin, which currently serves more than 600,000 developers, lets .NET… Read More

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Realtor.com takes on Zillow with new app for Windows Phone; Redfin unveils redesigned iPhone app

Realtor.com announced today that it has a new app for people with Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 devices. The apps are designed to highlight photos of homes and give users of Microsoft’s operating systems the ability to browse listings on the real estate search service. Realtor.com, which is owned by Move, Inc., used Microsoft’s… Read More

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Windows Phone web usage tops BlackBerry, flat overall

Microsoft Windows Phone devices are responsible for mobile web traffic than BlackBerry smartphones in North America, according to a new report from Chitika. As a proxy for mobile engagement and usage, the stat is more unfortunate news for an already-ailing BlackBerry, and not as good for Microsoft as it might seem at first glance. Windows Phone web traffic was basically flat from February… Read More

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Windows Phone Diary: My 5 favorite tweaks in WP 8.1

Using previous versions of Microsoft’s Windows Phone could feel at times like interacting with a high-school graphic arts project, with its tendency toward large, spaced-out typography (as shown on the device to the right) creating a general lack of information density. But that’s no longer the case in Windows Phone 8.1 (as you can see in the device at left). That’s… Read More

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Microsoft releases Windows Phone 8.1 developer preview

Windows Phone developers can now install the latest version of Microsoft’s mobile operating system on their personal devices. The company announced today that Windows Phone 8.1 is available through the Windows Phone Preview program, so devs can get a head start on building apps for the new update, which will be rolling out to consumers… Read More

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First impressions: Microsoft’s Cortana is a bit hard of hearing, but shows promise

SAN FRANCISCO – As a part of Microsoft’s first keynote at its Build developer conference in San Francisco today, the company announced Cortana, a new virtual assistant for Windows Phone. Named after an artificial intelligence from the Halo video-game universe, she’ll be rolled out as a part of the company’s Windows Phone 8.1 update later… Read More

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Microsoft’s $7.2B Nokia deal is officially delayed until April

Nokia and Microsoft will have to wait a little longer to press the Start button. Microsoft’s $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia’s devices and services business, originally expected to close this quarter, won’t be completed until April, the companies acknowledged tonight. Nokia announced the delay in a news release, saying that both companies are still committed to… Read More

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Here’s the first video footage of Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual assistant for Windows Phone

Rumors are swirling about Cortana, Microsoft’s new virtual assistant for Windows Phone users. And now there’s finally video footage of some of its functionality. Posted by UnleashThePhones, the footage shows some of the basic functions Cortana will be able to perform for users, as well as part of the process of setting up the assistant…. Read More

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Nokia X: How Microsoft became an Android vendor

Nokia’s decision to release a new lineup of Android phones might seem like heresy inside Microsoft — which will acquire the new Nokia X Android mobile phones, in addition to Nokia’s higher-end smartphone lineup, as part of its pending $7.2 billion purchase of Nokia’s devices and services business. But it turns out that Microsoft actually… Read More