With little fanfare on the By-The-Numbers page, Microsoft has announced that as of September 30, 2014, the combined app total of the Windows Store and the Windows Phone Store has reached 525,000 apps. This represents a 75% growth since the end of August of this year when the stores had a combined 300,000 apps. It is an important milestone for Microsoft but the growth rate is the even more impressive number to take away from this news.
One of the last remaining Nokia branded elements of Windows Phone is quickly disappearing. The Nokia Collection in the Windows Phone store is being renamed to the Lumia Collection and the rollout of this update is already happening for many Lumia users. It all-but eliminates the Nokia name from Windows Phone as Microsoft pushes forth with the Lumia name on their Windows powered phones.
While rumors and speculation has been floating for a few months now, the proverbial cat is out of the bag when it comes to Windows 10 upgrades for Windows Phone 8.1 users. In a Tweet yesterday, the Microsoft Lumia account stated
“There will be Windows 10 upgrades for all Lumia Windows Phone 8 devices And we will release new Windows 10 models in the future”.
This is undoubtedly huge and every Windows Phone 8.1 owner should rejoice. In fact, every Windows Phone 6, 7 or 8 owner should rejoice because it means that the start, restart and make everyone buy new devices days may be over.
Microsoft has released the all new Movie Creator app for Windows Phone which is aimed at making video creation quick and easy with an intuitive user experience. The app, which is free, is technically a beta app so if you are one who avoids beta software, you may want to wait a few months before it is generally available. That said, having had a go with the app this morning, it is stable.
The Facebook Messenger app for Windows Phone has been updated with several new features including the ability to message non-friends on Facebook contacts. The update is available now in the Windows Phone Store and for those keeping score at home, it is version 9.0.
As many expected after the Battery Saver update on Wednesday, Microsoft released Windows Phone 8.1.1. Build 14203 to Preview for Developers users yesterday. The update of Battery Saver mentioned a build 14203 which did not exist which led to the speculation. That, along with it being three weeks since the last update, and it being Thursday which is when these updates are traditionally released… yeah, there is a lot of tea leave reading.
Anyway, the update it out and it is mighty impressive. There seems to be a significant number of performance improvements and stability enhancements that make Build 14203 a worthwhile download. That said, as I’ve shared before, technically this is beta so if you aren’t keen on having an odd issue here or there, may want to avoid it.
The team over at CBS Interactive have been busy these past few weeks for us Windows Phone users. First they release CBS News, one of the prettiest and well designed news apps available for Windows Phone and it has been a big hit (you can download it here). Now they have released the CBS Local app. This app, as the name suggests, brings you news, weather, sports and even lets you stream live audio and video from local stations all from within the app. While it still has a few rough edges, the CBS Local app is quite impressive and certainly worth the download if you live in one of the 24 supported markets (or like me, live away from my hometown but want to keep up with it).
It took the better part of a year but Angry Bird fans rejoice. Angry Birds Seasons for Windows Phone has finally been updated, brining 24 new levels, a load of stability improvements and it is now free. The update hit the Windows Phone store yesterday and is available now to download.
Angry Birds as a whole remains one of the most popular games ever for mobile devices regardless of platform. Seemingly however, as is the case more than it should be, the Windows Phone versions of the games are woefully behind on updates. That’s changed with this release of Angry Birds Seasons and hopefully this is a trend we will start seeing for the entire franchise on Windows Phone.
Microsoft has released a minor update to the Remote Desktop app for Windows Phone, fixing a few issues but also bringing support for Azure RemoteApp to your device. For those who are not familiar with Azure RemoteApp, this is the cloud-based solution for applications for businesses so they can have them in a centralized location but be accessed remotely via devices running Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
Your company’s applications run on Windows Server in the Azure cloud, where they’re easier to scale and update. Users can access their applications remotely from their Internet-connected laptop, tablet, or phone. While appearing to run on the users’ local device, the applications are centralized on Azure’s protected, reliable platform.
For those of you who have been around Windows business solutions for a while, think of this as a really advanced, highly stable, Windows Terminal-like solution. Just really, really big.
Microsoft has released a big update to the Battery Saver app for Windows Phone. The Battery Saver app allows you to quickly and easily identify those apps which are consuming the most of your battery power, manage them and manage how your Windows Phone performs when it is running low on battery. Frankly I’m not sure why this app isn’t named Battery Sense as it is installed on every new Microsoft Lumia Windows Phone and seems to stick out a bit naming wise from the other Sense apps.
But I digress.
The update has a lot of new features and information that can help you see which app is consuming the most of your battery either all time or over the past 24 hours. Perhaps the biggest has been the improved battery usage scale in the Battery Saver app. The usage data now scales to the actual device battery capacity with full width mapping to 100% capacity. What that means is that the 3200mAh hour battery in my Lumia 1320, the usage scale will be far more accurate than before and it will be a different formula for my Lumia 520 with its 1100mAh battery. In other words, it’s more accurate.