The OneDrive team has had a busy day today. Earlier this morning they released an update to OneDrive for Android with several new features and fixes and tonight we see a new OneDrive for Windows Phone version now available. The update, version 184.108.40.206 for those keeping score at home, brings mostly bug fixes and improvements but also brings a Transparent Live Tile to the app. I personally think that transparent Live tiles are one of the things that seperates Windows Phone from a user experience perspective than iOS or Android as it allow you to make your device more personal. OneDrive now is offers this for those who like it which is great to see.
The OneDrive for Android app has receive a big update today, bringing several new features including the ability to stream videos within the app itself. The update, version 3.0 for those keeping score at home, is now available at the Play Store and is free. Like on Windows Phone, OneDrive is a free service for 15GB of storage and if you allow the app to upload your photos automatically from your camera roll, you get another 15GB free. It is one of the best values for cloud storage available today and sticking with Microsoft’s drive to have their apps on all platforms, is available on Windows Phone, Android, iOS, PC and Mac.
The Microsoft Outlook app for Android has received a minor update today, bringing performance and stability improvements to the app. The update, version 1.2.1 for those keeping score at home, is designed for both Android phones and tablets and requires your devices be running Android 4.0 or later. The app is free.
Although we have already had a Patch Tuesday for April, Microsoft is still busy releasing updates for their various platforms. Today it is expect we will see no less than 34 updates for Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows RT. Yes, you read that correctly. Windows RT will be getting some updates today. There are some security updates in the mix but there are also going to be a lot of general fixes and updates to the various Windows platforms.
In a recent earnings call, an AMD executive let it slip that Windows 10 would be shipping to consumers in July of this year. That would fit nicely into the Microsoft announced “summer” release date that they offered back in February. Summer is certainly a broad term as technical summer is from June 21st through September 23rd this year and everyone is clamoring for a more definitive date. The challenge of course is that Windows 10 is still very much in beta as are many individual components of what will be released with the new Operating System. That to me makes a July release date nearly impossible and in fact I’ll give you five reasons why I don’t think Windows 10 will launch in July 2015.
Later this morning, likely around 10:00 AM PST today, we should see the next preview for Windows 10 for Phone. This will be the 2nd release of the preview for phones, following on the first release that happened back in February. This update will have a wide range of Lumia phones which it will work on – virtually all of them – and all indications are this build will be far superior to the that first release with a huge number of bug fixes, new features and applications. And while I certainly don’t want to be a sourpuss about it, I would like to remind everyone that what we see today in Windows 10 for Phone will very much still be in beta. Not everything is going to work and there will be issues. Unless you are willing to put up with those issues, it may be best to wait to installed it.
Every since the Surface 2 faded into the digital sunset there has been a clamoring for a low cost Surface option. Many thought that this would be a Surface Mini which by all indications was pulled at the last minute. Today however the waiting seems to be over. Microsoft has just announced the all new Surface 3, a low cost option in the Surface family starting at only $499, a full $300 less than the entry level Surface Pro 3. The new Surface 3 is available for pre-order now and will ship on May 5th. The key difference between the Surface 3 and the older Surface 2 is that the former runs Windows 8.1, full version. This is not an RT build. Further, you will get upgraded to Windows 10 for free when it is released later this summer.
According to a blog post by Gabe Aul, if you own a Lumia device you will likely have the next Windows 10 for Phone preview available on your device. The news is certainly welcome to everyone who was disappointed by the limited number of devices the original preview was available for in January. That seems to be resolved thanks to the partition stitching process that had to be resolved on many devices and within the next couple of weeks we should see a new build.
It has been 40 days since the first Windows 10 for Phone Technical Preview was released to Windows Insiders and unfortunately, there isn’t an update in sight.
Earlier this morning Microsoft’s Gabe Aul posted on Twitter about the updates now available for the Windows 10 Technical Preview for PCs and Tablets. In the thread of replies he was asked about an update for Windows 10 for Phone. Sadly the news was not good.
@mrmhk97 No news to share on phone build yet.
— Gabriel Aul (@GabeAul) March 24, 2015
Like the bemoaning that has happened on Windows 10 and the lack of updates, the natives are growing restless with Windows 10 for Phone at this point too. Microsoft has made it clear that this summer we will see Windows 10 across all devices. That means testing absolutely needs to get started in earnest across a wide range of Windows Phones. We know that there will be more phones eligible to run the next update and we also know that the Partition Zipping for higher end phones was needed for it to be loaded onto these devices. Regardless of this fact the need to get an update out on phones is becoming ever more critical to meet this summer launch date.
The amount of content and information about Windows 10 and Windows 10 for Phone from last week’s WinHEC event in China has been impressive. Some of it has been reaffirmation of things that we already knew (like further explanation of the Universal App development) while other news has been fresh like the Windows 10 for Phone hardware requirements. This latest tidbit likely will fall in the “About Time” category for many who have been using Windows Phone for some time. When we see Windows 10 for Phone roll out later this year it will natively support Wi-Fi Protected Setup, or WPS.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with WPS, it is way of securely connecting to your Wi-Fi network without having to enter in a long password. The idea behind it is that you can have a secure network but not be encumbered by a massively long security key, the significant reason people at home do not setup secure networks. While Windows 8.1 supports WPS today, it is not supported in Windows Phone 8.1 so this change will make it easier for users to connect their devices and keep their networks secure.