Digixav Podcast 016 – August 25th 2013

You may think that it’s been a slow news week, but our triad of podcasters can always spin an hour-long show out of any news, no matter how small. From golden flip phones and iPhones to LG’s latest tablet, coined Samsung Homeboy, Xavier, Henry and Chris take you on an excruciatingly musical journey past Steve Ballmer‘s potential replacements Chandrasekar Rathakrishnany and John Legere, Xavier’s review of Nokia’s Lumia 720 and olinguitos that play video games. It’s a fun ride, so join us for the trip.

Right click and save this link to download, and you can subscribe (and rate and review the show) using iTunes! Don’t fancy iTunes or use a different podcatcher? Here’s our RSS link!

If you have any feedback, questions or comments, tweet us or send us an email to podcast@digixav.com. We’d love to hear from you!

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Windows Phone 8 launch liveblog

At an event back in June, Microsoft offered a ‘sneak peek’ at some new features of Windows Phone 8, with the new start screen being the star of the show. While we weren’t told about devices, the past couple of months have given us announcement events from Samsung, Nokia and Microsoft’s new best friend HTC, but all parties have remained pretty silent when it comes to the full extent of Windows Phone 8’s new features. That’s all set to change today, as Microsoft is hosting an event in San Francisco to show off their new mobile operating system to the world – and we might even hear about Windows Phone 7.8 for existing customers too. We will be liveblogging the whole thing right here, so stick with us to find out what’s up Microsoft’s sleeve.

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16:37 Google’s just dumped a whole load of Nexus news. Bear with us as we filter through it.

16:45 If you want to watch along with us, Microsoft has a stream for you.

16:48 A little over 10 minutes to go now.

16:56 It’s almost time!

16:57 The pre-stream music is actually horrible.

17:01 The announcer kindly asks everyone to turn their devices to off or silent. Not very blogger-friendly.

17:02 Here’s a table of phones.

17:04 And we’re off! Joe Belfiore is talking about why he loves his Windows Phone.

17:05 Big cheers from the Windows Phone fans in the room.

17:05 He’s talking about the successes of Windows 8, Surface and the San Francisco Giants.

17:06 Before he talks about the product, he’s going to talk about what’s happened in the last few months.

17:07 191 countries can now access the WP Store.

17:08 120,000 apps already available for 7.x devices.

17:09 Belfiore’s taking jabs at the iPhone 5’s ‘revolutionary’ fifth row of icons.

17:10 After recapping the core inspirations of WP, a video has come on soundtracked by Jonsi’s wonderful Go Do, showing off the individuality and stuff.

17:13 Let’s talk about live tiles.

17:14 Apps ‘light up the phone’. Live apps can integrate into the wallet and other hubs in WP8.

17:15 There is a new lock screen powered by ‘live apps’.

17:15 Photos, notifications and other stuff can appear.

17:16 Microsoft have partnered with Facebook to make an app that supports the lockscreen, showing various photos from your past.

17:17 Text on the lockscreen can also be customised.

17:18 New apps include Twitter, Draw Something, ESPN, Angry Birds Space and Groupon.

17:18 A new version of Skype is the highlight, based on the fantastic Windows 8 app.

17:18 It is integrated naturally into the phone experience and will run in the background.

17:19 Soon Windows Phone will have 92% of the top mobile apps, including Temple Run and Urbanspoon.

17:20 Lots of Unity games will be arriving with the new native code support.

17:21 Pandora is coming with a year of complimentary ad-free music.

17:22 SDK stuff coming tomorrow at /build.

17:23 The Data Sense feature keeps you under your data limits.

17:24 IE10 compresses sites to use less data.

17:25 Data Sense can track down WiFi hotspots on a map.

17:26 As you approach your limits, it changes how the phone behaves with data.

17:27 45% more web browsing on the same data plan with Data Sense.

17:28 The first carrier to support Data Sense will be Verizon with the Lumia 822 and HTC 8X.

17:29 Belfiore’s moving onto ‘child mode’.

17:29 We have a video of children pleading to play on a phone.

17:30 “Kid’s Corner essentially creates a separate place on your phone that’s for kids…All things that you pick is for them.”

17:30 Here are Joe’s children to demonsterate.

17:31 Alexander, 9, is going to play Battleships.

17:32 One of his children just called him ‘mommy’. Awkward.

17:33 This demo isn’t going too well.

17:34 If you don’t have kids, you can just disable the feature.

17:35 Now there’s an advert for it featuring Jessica Alba.

17:36 And here is Jessica Alba. Rapturous applause for her.

17:37 Twitter has just erupted with techies talking about Jessica Alba. This is unusual.

17:38 Apparently her daughter once tweeted to 4 million people. Kid’s Corner stops that.

17:39 She’s now talking about what she loves about Windows Phone. It’s the same-old personal stuff.

17:41 Now Jessica’s talking about her new company – The Honest Company.

17:43 The people hub now has a feature called Rooms.

17:44 They seem similar to groups.

17:46 You can share Rooms with iPhone users, including calendars and such.

17:47 On a related note, the Lumia 920 will be in UK stores on November 2nd, with the 820 coming 5 days later.

17:48 Now Joe is talking about SkyDrive stuff.

17:52 Xbox Music will also be available on Windows Phone 8.

17:52 Playlists and song choices sync across the cloud.

17:53 All of your content is with you wherever you are.

17:54 Joe’s walking off now, but Ballmer is in a new advert.

17:55 BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLMER!

17:55 He’s talking about the successes of the weekend again.

17:56 “We’re bringing phones into the family with Windows Phone 8.”

17:56 “We set out to reinvent the smartphone…that could be personal for each of us.”

17:58 Steve is talking about personalisation and the connection to Windows 8.

18:00 He said developers. Get ready

18:00 Now he’s talking about the killer hardware, starting with the Nokia Lumia 920.

18:01 Next is the Samsung Ativ S.

18:02 And now the Windows Phone 8X by HTC, Microsoft’s flagship.

18:03 All three and more will go on sale in Europe this weekend, while in the US phones will follow soon after.

18:04 Verizon will carry the 8X ($199), Lumia 822 ($49) and Ativ Odyssey (exclusive in December).

18:05 T-Mobile will have the Lumia 810 ($99) and 8X ($149).

18:06 AT&T will have the 8X, Lumia 820 and Lumia 920 exclusively. Pricing is to be confirmed.

18:07 Microsoft stores will sell all US phones in November.

18:07 “You won’t be able to turn on the TV or open a magazine without seeing a Windows ad.”

18:08 “Windows Phone is the best phone for Windows.”

18:10 Jessica, Joe and Steve are out to wrap things up. Also the stream has died.

18:10 And that’s all folks. We’ll be off to get some hands-on time this weekend, and (hopefully) bring you some news on how Microsoft plans to treat its existing customers.

18:11 See you next time! Thanks for joining us.

Microsoft to buy enterprise social network Yammer for $1.2 billion

Seemingly unwilling to let anyone else have any limelight, Microsoft today confirmed their oft-rumoured acquisition of self-proclaimed enterprise social network Yammer. Having announced a deal for $1.2 billion in cash for the company, Microsoft plans to combine the network, which launched in 2008 and has been presented with various collaboration awards, with its SharePoint collaboration tool to provide a market-leading enterprise experience, proving that it’s not all about the consumer to Ballmer and the folks in Redmond. To help illustrate their point, the company made up a handy infographic explaining why Yammer and Microsoft are a perfect fit for each other, along with the obligatory press release that can be found below.

REDMOND, Wash., and SAN FRANCISCO — June 25, 2012 — Microsoft Corp. and Yammer Inc. today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Microsoft will acquire Yammer, a leading provider of enterprise social networks, for $1.2 billion in cash. Yammer will join the Microsoft Office Division, led by division President Kurt DelBene, and the team will continue to report to current CEO David Sacks.

“The acquisition of Yammer underscores our commitment to deliver technology that businesses need and people love,” said Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft. “Yammer adds a best-in-class enterprise social networking service to Microsoft’s growing portfolio of complementary cloud services.”

Launched in 2008, Yammer now has more than 5 million corporate users, including employees at 85 percent of the Fortune 500. The service allows employees to join a secure, private social network for free and then makes it easy for companies to convert a grassroots movement into companywide strategic initiative.

Yammer will continue to develop its standalone service and maintain its commitment to simplicity, innovation and cross-platform experiences. Moving forward, Microsoft plans to accelerate Yammer’s adoption alongside complementary offerings from Microsoft SharePoint, Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics and Skype.

“When we started Yammer four years ago, we set out to do something big,” Sacks said. “We had a vision for how social networking could change the way we work. Joining Microsoft will accelerate that vision and give us access to the technologies, expertise and resources we’ll need to scale and innovate.”

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval.

About Yammer

Yammer (www.yammer.com) is a leading provider of enterprise social networks with over 5 million verified corporate users including employees of more than 85 percent of the Fortune 500. The basic version of Yammer is free, and customers can pay to upgrade their network to receive advanced administrative and security controls, integrations with enterprise applications, priority customer service and a designated customer success manager.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/news/contactpr.mspx.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements, which are any predictions, projections or other statements about future events. Actual results may differ materially from these forward-looking statements because of a variety of risks and uncertainties about our business, which we describe in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our Forms 10-K and 10-Q. We do not undertake any duty to update any forward-looking statement.

No matter how hard I try, I can’t stop hating Microsoft

The title of this article is a little misleading, as those of you who read my posts, follow me on Twitter or know me in person will know that I love Microsoft. Windows Phone is my phone platform of choice, I would never consider using anything but a Windows computer, and the thing that I want most in the world right now is a 15.6″ one of these. But even with all the love I bear for the love-child of Ballmer and Gates, there are a large number of things about them which annoy me.

The first and foremost of these annoyances is with Zune. As a Windows Phone user, I am forced to use Zune in order to update, add music and video to and do a large number of other things to, my phone. This is fine, I can add and take away music to and from my phone quickly and easily, and updates will automatically commence if they are available. But when I got my HP Pavilion dv7 with Beats Audio, I began to play music through my laptop, whereas previously I had been using speakers connected to my phone. It soon dawned upon me that Zune, a beautiful piece of software, is one of the buggiest pieces of crap since Windows Media Player. Quite often while playing music, the song will randomly pause, move to a different point or just skip altogether, and on occasion I have closed Zune to find that the song that was playing doesn’t stop playing, much to my teacher’s dismay. When this is Skrillex, chemistry lessons can be quite awkward. What the hell is up with that? A company whom incorporated software into its very name can’t be bothered or is unable to iron out the bugs in their music software. Even iTunes, something which is essentially designed to work on a different operating system and much maligned on Windows, is nowhere near as buggy. This being said, with the Zune name being dumped, and the software being incorporated into the OS, I surely hope that for Windows 8’s sake that at least some of the bigger glitches will be ironed out.

And secondly, what is the point in Windows Media Player any more? The whole thing is utter crap and nobody in their right mind would ever use it. I mean seriously, software that causes computers to blue-screen (I speak through personal experience) through use is not right in any way. And if any person out there does use this utter piece of crap, please explain to me in the comments below why you would put yourself through it. Please.

My final point is the most obvious one. Internet Explorer. This is in every way the single most hated piece of software out there. It is crap, it crashes, freezes and is only there for sane people to download either Firefox or Chrome. And, to make matters worse, you have to have specific permission from Microsoft to be able to uninstall the software. Of course, you can do what both I and Xavier (our EIC) have done and bury it deep within our program files, but it will always be there, taunting you with the possibility that you may one day, have to use it.

So those are the main reasons that Microsoft pisses off even myself, a true Microsoft fanboy. Despite the wonders of things like the Arc Touch Mouse, SkyDrive and Windows Phone, Microsoft isn’t perfect, but by ironing out the bugs and listening to consumers, they could get pretty close.

Nokia uploads (and pulls) Rack City parody developer advert

Nokia‘s not a company to shy away from a bit of viral marketing, but releasing a parody video of the horrendous Rack City by Tyga might be taking the advertisement of Windows Phone development a bit too far. Having been uploaded by Nokia to YouTube, TechCrunch reports that the video was pulled, but we found a copy on Vimeo and downloaded it to reupload if necessary. It’s Dev City bitch!

Lyrics and description courtesy of My Nokia Blog:

Bringing cool to coding. Mobile devices are cool. Mobile apps are cool. Mobile Developers are about to get cooler. Nokia Developer is turning towns into Dev Cities with its Ready.Set () {Code} Challenge. We are hitting 13-cities looking for developers who want to build an experience not just another app. Developers who build the coolest, baddest apps for the Windows Phone platform and Nokia Lumia devices earn devices & prizes. Sign up for a Challenge near you: http://www.nokiadeveloper.eventbrite.com/

LYRICS
dev, dev, city kid, city kid
dev, dev, dev city kid, city kid, dev
dev, dev, dev city kid, city kid
Mutha on the beat

Hah!
[Verse 1:] – Smixx
dev city kid, dev, dev city kid
ten ten ten twenties and we flippin’ bits
100 deep coding hard no guest list
Nokias who we’re messin wit
Got my other bits messin’ with my other bits
Codin’ all night figure we ain’t ready yet
Make it work too dope I ain’t selling it
Decoder’s fresher than another stick a peppermint
Dope sweater we the first kings killin this
Young money young money gettin’ bounty rich
We got that Metro on this ish

you know what it is
[Chorus:] – Smixx (Cory)
dev city kid, dev, dev city kid
dev city kid, dev, dev city kid
dev city kid, dev, dev city kid
ten ten ten twenties and we flippin’ bits 

dev city kid, dev, dev city kid
dev city kid, dev, dev city kid
dev city kid, dev, dev city kid
Been codin’ since a youngin now I’m gettin’ rich
[Verse 2:] – The Product (Christian)
I’m a money makin’ star
buy the club rounds on my card
Got the sick rims on my brand new car…
y’all dev’s get out walk the boulevard

I get my apps done pronto
Push it in the mornin’ and I’m gonzo
Hanchos gonna make it rain buy a poncho
You ain’t gettin’ money made but you want dough

Head phones on tilt seat back
Steady codin’ on it keys get tapped
lovin’ this platform, some too packed
d/l numbers going up like gas

Hot damn pull away from the pack
Localized it so I’m big in japan
Tat t-t-t-tatted up gettin stacks

Steve Balma love’s me
you know how it is

[Chorus:] – The Product (Christian)
dev city kid, dev, dev city kid
dev city kid, dev, dev city kid
dev city kid, dev, dev city kid
hacking code on them apps and I’m getting cheques

dev city kid, dev, dev city kid
dev city kid, dev, dev city kid
dev city kid, dev, dev city kid
ten ten ten twenties and them fifties Smixx

[Verse 3:] – Smixx (Cory)
I want a lumia in my pocket
so I’m ready to win
I choose to rocket
and not just contend
I see the leaderboard 
and want my name at the top
just to know that I brought it
to know I’ve still got it
that I’ve snagged my reward
and man I’m not bored
when I’m out for blood
and I’m going in hard
I want to build an experience
not just another app
this whole mobile thing
is not just another fad

Nine hunnids, hunnids
Nine hunnids, hunnids
Nine hunnids, hunnids
Nine hunnids, hunnids

The Poll: What is your favourite thing from CES?

It’s been great, but what is your favourite new thing?

Nokia Lumia: Meet the new king of smartphones

The Nokia Lumia range was launched on Wednesday morning at the annual Nokia World event in London. Along with the Asha range of budget Series 40 phones for the next billion internet users, Stephen Elop’s company unveiled the Lumia 710 and the flagship 800. This announcement would be the most important event in the history of Nokia. Symbian was seen by many as a disaster (THE FONT!) and MeeGo only appeared on one device before becoming Tizen. For Microsoft it was important as well. Windows Phone 7 has been well received, but has failed to gain traction in the overcrowded (by Android) smartphone market. Together they could rejuvenate both their brands with affordable, premium devices, full support, backing and promotion from networks and a multi-million pound ad campaign everywhere you look.

And that’s exactly what they’ve done.

Continue reading →