Tag: Microsoft

Microsoft Authenticator Adds Fingerprint Support

Microsoft Authenticator, the 2-factor verification app from the Redmond company, has a nice update rolling out to it for users.  The new build, version 6.1.7 for those keeping score at home, brings fingerprint authentication to the app.  What this will allow you to do is approve a login request by tapping the fingerprint scanner on your phone and not require you to enter the six digit code to approve it.  It is all aimed at keeping things easier but also secure.

If you haven’t tried Microsoft Authenticator, it works how you would expect a 2-factor app to work but it does so with a bit more flare by having avatars for your accounts.  For example, you have the Facebook logo for your Facebook account, or the Google “G” with your Google account.  It also has a nice, 30 second countdown clock next to each code so you know when it is about to expire.

Bing for Android Update Improves The Search Results Page

The Bing search app for Android has a small but nice update rolling out to users today.  The update is version 6.8.25183598.D2C for those keeping score at home and who like to play version number Bingo.  On the surface, you are not going to find massive changes.  Functionally the app is the same as the previous version.  However, when you do a search, the results page are much more aligned to what you see when you use the desktop search in your browser.

Search results now offer a mix of links, branded results (if you are searching for a brand) and photos.  The idea is to bubble up not just text links to information but also provide more relevant media too.

Quick Tip: Add Widgets to The Utility Page in Arrow Launcher

The Microsoft Arrow Launcher is one of the most useful launchers in the Google Play Store right now, particularly if you are a heavy Microsoft apps user.  I’ve reviewed this launcher in the past and Microsoft continues to make big strides in improving it on a seemingly monthly basis.  One of the features that came with the last major update was the ability to add widgets to the Utility page in the launcher.

For clarity, the Utility page is a single page that you swipe right to get to from the Home page.  There you can see your recent contacts, your calendar, documents and so forth.  All of this content is tied to your phone or to your Office 365 (personal or business) account to get you these files and information at a glance.  You can turn this page off in the settings but once you get it configured the way you want, it is actually quite handy.  Think of it, in a way, as the Microsoft version of the Google Now page.

If you are using the latest version of Arrow Launcher, you can add other app widgets to the Utility page.  This will free up space on your Home pages but also give you the ability to at glance see a bunch of widgets in one place.  It is quite handy.

OneNote for Android Update Brings Improved Sharing of Notes

Microsoft has released an update to their popular note taking app OneNote for Android.  The updated build is version 16.0.8067.1772 for those keeping score at home and the biggest new feature is the ability to share a page from the share panel built into Android Marshmallow or later.  This will make it far easier and fast to share thoughts and ideas with others.

The editing tools have also improved in this update.  The ability to cut, copy and past are there now along with other performance improvements to editing tools.  Couple this with the formatting tools being immediately available in the command bar, this overall makes the app easier to use, especially on a phone.

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.

Microsoft Teams Update Brings Improved Chat Management

Microsoft has rolled out a pretty significant update to their enterprise chat & messaging client, Microsoft Teams.  The update, version 1.0.0.201742301 for those keeping score at home and who like to play version Bingo, and it brings some features that make it much more productive and useful.  First, you can now add and remove team members, something that was only available on the Teams site.  You can also create new channels in the app.  This was also something that was web-only when Teams launched and frankly, was a bit of a handicap for the app.  The ability to quickly create channels while on the go is a critical feature for this type of app, especially if Microsoft is positioning it as a Slack competitor.

Other improvements around chats include the ability to rename group chats and add members to existing chats.

OneDrive for Android Update Brings Offline Folder Support

Microsoft has rolled out another update to OneDrive for Android, bringing the ability to mark folders available for offline use.  The updated build is version 4.12 for those keeping score and is out in the Play Store now.  Expect the update to hit your devices over the course of the new few days.  The new offline folder feature is available for Office 365 Personal, Home and Solo users currently with support for work and education accounts “will be rolled out soon!”.  When is soon?  That’s not clear but given Microsoft’s consistent updating of their Android apps, likely not very long.

But not all is lost in this update for work and education users of OneDrive.  This update brings an updated design to the Discovery view which now gives you access to a feed of the most relevant content across your company or campus.

 

Bing for Android Update Brings Improved Accessibility Support

Microsoft has rolled out an update for their search app Bing for Android today.  The update is versions 6.7.25183495 for those keeping score at home and on the surface, you won’t find much different from the previous version.  There have been a few UX design improvements but overall, not much to see here.  The big news is deeper however in the improved support for accessibility.  Bing supported accessibility features in Android previously but they were limited.  With this update, accessibility support can be found throughout the app, not just searching.

If you are one who has various accessibility features enabled on your phone, this update to Bing will support many of the settings including TalkBack and Magnification gesture.

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.

Age of Empires Castle Siege Now Available for Android

Back in January, I posted that Microsoft’s Age of Empires Castle Siege would be coming to Android.  While it missed the March deadline by a few days, the game is now available for your Android devices in the Play Store.  It makes Android the last platform for the mobile-centric game as it released back on iOS in January.

For those not familiar with Castle Siege, the game is a top-down tower defense style game where you select a civilization and begin building your empire.  The game starts with plenty of step-by-step tutorials so even if you have never played AoE you will get the hang of it pretty quickly.  Picking your civilization is important as each one has unique skills or technologies to it over others.  If you have played in the past then again, this will feel familiar.

Microsoft OneNote for Android Updates Adds Page Sharing Feature

Microsoft OneNote for Android has a new update that is rolling out which brings a handful of new features to the note taking app.  Perhaps the biggest new feature in the app is the ability to share a page with others.  If you are running Android Marshmallow or later, you can use the Share a Page feature from the Share pane so you can share your notes with others more quickly.  There is also an improved web clipper for Android in this release.  While it is still considered a Preview (translation:  beta) feature, it will allow you to capture anything on your store it in OneNote.

Along with these updates, there is improved Cut/Copy/Paste support along with the ability to access formatting tools quickly through the improved commanding bar in the app.

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.