Windows Mobile

Microsoft signs patent deal with Chinese phone maker ZTE

In its continuing march toward locking up deals with every major Android and Chrome device maker, Microsoft announced on Tuesday a patent-licensing agreement with Chinese manufacturer ZTE.

The deal grants ZTE a license to Microsoft's worldwide patent portfolio for ZTE phones, tablets, computers, and other devices that run Android and Chrome OS. Microsoft did not disclose if ZTE would pay royalties, or the amount it would pay, under the agreement.

Last week, Microsoft announced a similar deal with Foxconn's parent company, Hon Hai.

"Much of the current litigation in the so-called 'smartphone patent wars' could be avoided … Read more

Why Microsoft won't make an iPhone rival

Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer has spent plenty of time in the last few months telling the world that Microsoft was morphing from a software company to one that focuses on devices and services.

Turns out, there's one device that Microsoft has no plans to make anytime soon: a smartphone.

At the Dive into Mobile conference yesterday, Terry Myerson, the vice president in charge of Windows Phone, Microsoft's also-ran of a mobile phone operating system, said that Microsoft would only jump into the business of making a smartphone if its partners, such as Nokia, weren't offering compelling devices.… Read more

Meet the design guru trying to make Windows Phone relevant

You might not know who Albert Shum is, but it's a pretty good bet you know some of the products he helped design.

He was among the group of designers working in Nike's famed Innovation Kitchen that created the earliest prototypes that would ultimately become its Nike+ performance monitoring product line. When Microsoft hired him five years ago, he and a team cooked up the tile-based interface that was centerpiece of the company's Windows Phone debut.

Shum is a new breed of Microsoftie, a creative type that the company needs as it works to win over consumers … Read more

Former Windows Phone exec reportedly joins Amazon

Longtime Microsoft veteran Charlie Kindel, who left the software giant a year and a half ago to launch a startup, just joined Amazon to work on a "secret" project.

Kindel held several jobs in his 21 years at Microsoft, including general manager in charge of rallying independent software developers to its Windows Phone platform. His hire at Amazon could stoke more speculation that the online retail giant is readying a mobile phone of its own. Kindel isn't saying, noting on his recently updated LinkedIn page only that he's working on "something wonderful."

The news … Read more

Safari jumps to 61 percent of mobile browser share

Safari has won back some of the ground it lost recently to rival mobile browsers.

Apple's iOS browser captured 61.79 percent of all mobile browser Web traffic seen by Net Applications in March. That was a healthy rise from the 55.41 percent tracked in February.

Safari remained firmly in the lead last month, followed by the default Android browser in second place with a 21.86 percent share and Opera Mini in the third spot with 8.4 percent. But Safari has seen its share of Net Applications' Web traffic rocked by the competition.

After rising steadily … Read more

Pandora debuts ad-free app for Windows Phone 8

Pandora has tuned up a Windows Phone 8 app that's both free and ad-free.

Available as of today in the Windows Phone store, the app offers all the standard features for Pandora listeners.

You can create up to 100 different stations based on your tastes in music. You can tell Pandora what you like and don't like by giving each song a thumb's up or thumb's down.

You can filter certain songs that you won't want to hear and flip on a switch for higher-quality audio. Existing Pandora users can log in with their current … Read more

Microsoft ad touts Nokia Lumia over Samsung Galaxy S3

Would your average Galaxy S3 owner trade in their phone for a Nokia Lumia 920? That's Microsoft's angle for its latest promotional spot.

The new Windows Phone Challenge ad finds Ben Rudolph, Microsoft's director for Windows Phone Experiential Marketing, aka Ben the PC Guy, trying to convince "Brittany" that the Lumia 920 can take a better photo than can her Galaxy S3. If she prefers her phone, she gets $100.

Naturally, the photo snapped by the Lumia shows a bright, clear, crisp image, while the one taken by the S3 is dark and blurry. And … Read more

Skype for Windows Phone 8 adds HD video support

"Am I making myself clear?" takes on a whole new meaning now that Windows Phone 8 users can chat with their Skype contacts in high-definition video.

Out today, version 2.4 of Skype for Windows Phone 8 taps into the hardware acceleration in Microsoft's mobile OS to enable high-quality video calls.

Lower-end phones will deliver VGA video. But higher-end devices, such as the Nokia Lumia 920, HTC Windows Phone 8X, and Samsung Ativ S, can amp that up to 720P HD video, Skype said today in a blog about the new version.

The app automatically sets the … Read more

Microsoft targets holidays for next Windows Phone update

Microsoft doesn't expect to release its next update to Windows Phone 8 before the holiday shopping season, according to a recent job posting.

Usually pretty tight-lipped about its Windows Phone product updates, Microsoft tipped its hand in a job posting late last week for a software development engineer for phone testing.

"This is a great time to join as we're completing our current release [and] are getting ready for our next release targeting the holiday of this year and we're chartered with keeping the momentum for Windows Phone by bringing new killer devices and delightful user … Read more

T-Mobile nixes Windows Phone 7.8 update for Lumia 710

Owners of Nokia's Lumia 710 who expected an update to Windows Phone 7.8 are out of luck.

The phone's sole U.S. carrier, T-Mobile, confirmed the news in a statement sent to CNET today:

At this time, the Nokia Lumia 710 will not receive the Windows Phone 7.8 software update. T-Mobile is committed to enhancing customers' experience with our devices, including providing upgrades to the latest operating systems, and T-Mobile aims to deliver software upgrades when it will provide a better experience for our customers. We'll share additional information on upgrades for the Nokia Lumia … Read more