Category: Microsoft

Bing for Android Gets a Significant UI Update

Microsoft has begun rolling out a significantly revamped Bing for Android app to the Play Store.  The update brings a new look with a simplified search experience, a color refresh, and quicker access to specific content in search results.  The update also expands the search results you can get from the app such as searching for GIFs and being able to save them to your favorites.

While most Android users tend to think about Google Search on their devices, Bing remains the number 2 search engine in the United States and for those who are deep into the Microsoft ecosystem, especially Windows 10 users, this update to the Bing app will be a welcome update.

OneDrive Update Brings Offline Folder Support

The OneDrive app for Android has a new update rolling out in the Play Store.  The update, version 4.13 for those keeping score at home, brings a new offline folder feature and an improved Discover view for corporate and education Office 365 subscribers.  The new offline folder feature, however, is only for individual users.

In the last update to the app, users were able to select individual files that they wanted to keep offline.  The idea was to give users the ability to work on a file while they did not have Internet access then, when a connection was restored, the updated file would be uploaded to the cloud storage service automatically.  This is the exact same way it works in this update, only you can select an entire folder and all of its contents to be available offline.

Microsoft Reports $23.6 Billion in Revenue Driven by Office and Azure

Microsoft has released their financial report for their fiscal year Q3 2017 that ended in March.  The company reported revenue of $23.6 billion for the quarter which was down slightly from what analysts had expected.  Their expectation was $23.62 billion and it has impacted their stock in after hours trading.  The positive however were around Microsoft’s cloud solutions and Office.  Cloud revenue, principally Azure, were up 11% to $6.8 billion year-over-year.  Productivity and Business Processes increased by 22% with Office products revenue increasing by 7%.  Office consumer products rose 15% and Dynamics saw a 10% for the quarter.

A bit of a surprise in the report was the falling Microsoft Surface revenue.  It fell 26% for the quarter despite the launch of the Surface Studio.  The lack of significant hardware upgrades in the lineup likely impacted this the most and there is only rumor and conjecture at this point when the Surface Pro will get a technology refresh.  Overall, personal technology numbers fell by 7% to $8.8 billion.

Windows Vista Support Ends Today

Today, Microsoft is officially calling it a day on Windows Vista.  The ten year old version of Windows has officially reached EOL (End of Life) and if there are any readers who are still using it, it is seriously time to upgrade.  EOL means that Microsoft is doing nothing to support the OS any longer.  There will be no further security updates or patches and no service packs for the platform.  In other words, you are on your own.  Microsoft is still maintaining and supporting Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

Windows Vista was codenamed Longhorn and was the first in a series of departures from the traditional look and feel of Windows to that point.  It was also the first version of Windows that seriously focused on security with multiple security improvements over Windows XP.  It was launched in October 2009 globally.

Android Overtakes Windows as The Most Popular OS in Internet Usage

After dominating the world for the past three decades-plus, Windows is no longer the most widely used Operating System in terms of Internet usage.  That honor now goes to Android according to the team at StatCounter.  In their latest report, Android passed Windows by .02% to take over the top spot.  The report measures the Operating Systems in use globally to access the Internet and this is the first time that Windows has been beaten – by anyone.

The report reflects what many have seen for a long time:  The world is going mobile and with Android dominating the mobile landscape as far as install base, it isn’t shocking to see it take over the #1 slot when it comes to Internet usage.  It also reflects a fundamental shift in how we get to the information we need in our day-to-day lives.  Mobile search has continued to climb as the most common way people access information so this report fits that trend too.

Have We Just Seen Microsoft’s Mobile Strategy?

The news today that Microsoft will be selling the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ in their stores caught more than a few people by surprise.  The company, through multiple reboots, has tried for years to get their Windows Phone platform off the ground with limited success.  At the same time, they have been continually developing their suite of apps for both Android and iOS, appealing to both consumers and enterprises as being available on whatever device the end user wants to use.  It has worked.  Microsoft continues to be the dominant player in the enterprise with Office 365 and are taking their fair share in the consumer space at the same time.

But the addition of the new Galaxy S8 lineup to their store inventory is another step all together.  It is, more-or-less, an admission of defeat.  They know that the market is set between Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android and that it simply cannot bear another mobile platform.  Consumers, and for that matter enterprises, have said as much with their wallets.  As this tale of woe has unfolded, much digital ink has been spilled on the lack of a Microsoft mobile strategy.  I, for one, think that is wrong.  I think Microsoft has had a mobile strategy all along.  It’s not about devices or even the platform.  It’s about the apps.

SwiftKey Update Brings Improved Swipe Typing Suggestions

SwiftKey, one of the more popular keyboard apps for Android, has received a sizable update that brings improved Flow typing predictions to your phone.  The Microsoft owned SwiftKey will now give you three predictions as you type or use Flow, the swiping across the keyboard to spell words.  As you type, the center word is highlighted and will be automatically inserted as you begin typing the next word.  If, however, that word is not correct, you can tap the left or right word next to it for it to be inserted.  Previously it would only insert whatever word it though you were typing which caused users to have to backspace to type in the correct word.

Along with new predictive typing model, this update also fixes a big where the brackets in right-t0-left languages are no longer flipped incorrectly and has added four keypress sound profiles to the

Swiftkey for Android

SwiftKey for Android

app.  If you want to have sound with keypresses, you can now choose from Modern, Android, Traditional or Blip.  Previously only Traditional was available.

 

While Google’s GBoard has been getting the lion share of attention these past few months, rightfully so, SwiftKey has been doing a lot of what GBoard does for a long time.  It also has some 250 million users globally which shows its stamina.  If you haven’t tried it out, it is free and available in the Play Store.

Microsoft Officially Brings Tablet Support in Arrow Launcher

Last month I told you about the latest beta of Microsoft’s Arrow Launcher bringing support for Android tablets.  That support is now official.  The latest update to the popular launcher is rolling out in the Play Store now and with it comes support for tablets along with a handful of other updates & tweaks.  The support of tablets is something that long time Arrow users have requested of Microsoft as it gives a uniform experience across their devices.

Along with with, Arrow Launcher also supports horizontal layout for your apps page from the app drawer.  This is primarily aimed at tablets and it is an option that needs to be enabled.  The backup & restore feature also has more backup options available.  It still backs everything up to OneDrive but you can now have it save things like SMS messages too.

Microsoft Arrow Launcher on a Nexus 9

Microsoft Arrow Launcher on a Nexus 9

The utility page, something that was introduced in the last update to the app, can also be configured in this new release.  You can show it or hide it as well as chose if you want the card to be transparent or white.  For those who may have tried Arrow Launcher in the past, the utility page is now where you find things like your recent contacts, your recent documents and other information.  These all use to be separate pages in the launcher so having them all in once place makes life a bit easier.

If you have Arrow Launcher installed on your phone, you should get the update to the latest build over the course of the next few days.  Unless you are in the beta, you will need to go to the Play Store to install it on your tablet.

Bing Update Brings Improved Local Travel Results

Microsoft has begun rolling out a nice update to their Bing search app for Android.  The update brings improvements around the travel results for places to go and the best time to go to those places.  This is very similar to Google search which has a bar graph that shows you when a location is busiest.  Along with the improved time suggestions, the app also gives you tips and guides and one-tap directions to the location from your current location.

While those of you who use Google search may give a shrug of the shoulders at this being added to Bing but for those who depend on the Microsoft

Bing Local Travel Results

Bing Local Travel Results

search solution, this is certainly good news.  Bing has continued to make solid strides in the search space over the past two years and while it is certainly behind Google in overall usage, those who are deeply tied in to the Microsoft ecosystem continue to leverage it for their search needs.

In addition to the new location information, this update also gives warning about malicious websites and has a homepage gallery filer.  This feature allows you to filter and find your favorite Bing homepage images.  If you haven’t checked out the daily images from the site, you are missing a treat.  Some of them are spectacular.

If you have the app installed then you can expect the update to hit your phone over the course of the next few days.

OneNote Update Brings Better Link Handling Within Notes

Microsoft has rolled out a nice update to OneNote for Android today that greatly improves the handling of hyperlinks within your Notes.  The new update is in the 16.0.7 train (actual build numbers will vary by device) and once you have it, you will be able to open, edit or remove a link within a note.  If you tap to open the link, you will be taking to your default browser.  Previously, in the mobile apps, links could be copied and then pasted into your browser but opening them directly from OneNote wasn’t an option.

The improvement should increase productivity for users of the app, especially for those who share notes with others.

Microsoft Groove Music App Gets A Healthy Update

Microsoft has rolled out a sizable update to the Microsoft Groove app, their music streaming and subscription service.  The update brings a lot of changes to the app that frankly, catches it up to other services that are out there.  This update is rolling out now so if you have the app installed, expect the OTA today or tomorrow.

The biggest new edition is that you can explore relevant artists, albums and songs for a particular genre.  This not only allows you to see your favorite artists but also expose you to some that you may not have heard of before.  It is a great way to discover new artists in your favorite kind of music.

Microsoft Teams App Update Brings Single Sign-On for Office 365

Microsoft has rolled out an update to the Microsoft Teams app that has a lot of new features and improvements for organizations who use it for collaboration.  The update’s biggest improvement is Single Sign-On (SSO) so that users of Office 365 will be able to sign in easier to Teams if they are already signed into other apps on their phone.

OneNote files can now also be shared in Teams.  If a OneNote file is being shared, it can be viewed in conversations.  Previously OneNote files couldn’t be viewed in Teams.