Microsoft’s continued drive in their “Mobile First, Cloud First” mantra has continued with the news that they have teamed up with iPass to bring eligible Microsoft users access to 18 million global access points for free. While the details are still not fully defined, particularly this “eligible” customer portion, the news is exciting and could open a new wave of connectivity for millions of users who travel. iPass, for those who don’t know, has a network of WiFi access points (commonly shared with other vendors) that is unsurpassed in the world. They bill themselves as having the “largest commercial WiFi network” and having been an iPass user for many years, the value this could bring to Microsoft customers may be hard to measure when it is all said and done.
Windows Phone Archive
Last month the US carrier AT&T announced a new Rollover Data plan for all of their existing customers. The plan basically gives you the unused data from your last month and rolls those gigabytes over to the current month. The plan started taking effect for customers on January 25, 2014 and if your billing cycle has happened since then, you have Rollover Data on your account. By-the-way, there is no sign up process for this features. It is for every AT&T customer who has a qualifying plan which is all of the monthly billing plans.
As part of that announcement, AT&T indicated that the myAT&T app for Windows Phone, iOS and Android would all be updated to reflect this rollover data. That is now in the app which you can download for free from the Windows Phone Store.
Before I started writing this post I seriously debated whether to bother with it. But I like to think that I keep everyone reasonably up-to-date with app changes – especially those involving settings on Windows Phones – so thus you have a post. Microsoft today update the Extras+Info app in Settings for Lumia devices. The new build, version 220.127.116.11 for those keeping score at home, is available now in the Windows Phone Store.
I have absolutely no idea what changed.
It is safe to assume that this is a general performance and fix release but Microsoft as has been the case almost always with their apps, provides very little if anything on what changed unless it is a major change. So it is safe to assume this one is minor.
The team over at Windows Central did find one thing that changes visibly in the app which is the Firmware Update Notifier was incremented up to 18.104.22.168, up from 22.214.171.124 but again, what change here, I have no idea. Neither does the team over at Windows Central (kudos though for them noticing this change – I missed it probably as I was in a long sigh for there being no release notes).
So, Lumia owners, go get the update. Its free and you can be the cool kid with a new Firmware Update Notifier on your phone.
Fitbit has released another update to the Fitbit for Windows Phone app, the 4th month in a row that the app has been updated. The update, version 126.96.36.19903 for those keeping score at home, is mainly focused on improvements for the new Fitbit Charge HR and Surge trackers but there also other changes that all users of the app will appreciate. Perhaps the most important of those general updates is the shrinking of the app down from 26MB in size to 18MB. That may not sound like much but it adds up if you have a limited amount of phone storage left on your Windows Phone.
If you have your own Facebook pages or manage one for your company, the app you need to manage them has just been updated. FB Pages Manager for Windows Phone has been updated with several new features to bring it up-to-date with the web based pages manager from Facebook themselves. The new update, version 2.0 for those keeping score at home, brings new enhancements such as being able to see scheduled posts and Events all from your device without having to go to the Facebook Pages website itself (which can be clunky on a Windows Phone). The update impacts both the free version of the app as well as the Pro version. The difference between free and Pro is the adverts within the app, Insights to see how your page is doing and the photo management. The app is also as close a universal app as we have in Windows these days so when you buy the Pro version you also have access to the Windows 8.1 version of the app for free (or vise versa).
One of the best podcast apps available for Windows Phone, Podcast+ Pro, has received a significant update overnight bringing several new features and a wide range of fixes & improvements along the way. Podcast+ Pro is my favorite podcast app available for the platform and if you are one who listens to a lot of podcasts it should be on your short list to consider. The update, version 188.8.131.52 for those keeping score at home, adds a handful of new features including the ability to automatically mark your podcasts as played but also adds a lot of fixes and improvements to enhance the overall user experience with the app.
Microsoft has released a minor update to the MSN Apps for Windows Phone, bringing anything from bug fixes to minor improvements to the apps. The new update across all the apps, version 184.108.40.2061 for those keeping score at home, can all be found in the Windows Phone Store. The apps impacted are MSN Health & Fitness, MSN Money, MSN News, MSN Sports, MSN Travel and MSN Weather.
Microsoft has rolled out a minor – and I mean minor – update to Skype for Windows Phone that brings some tweaks to the UI and other fixes. The update, version 220.127.116.11 for those keeping score at home, is available now and after updating, I personally haven’t seen any changes in the video-meets-messaging-meets-social networking app. Regardless, if you use Skype on Windows Phone you should grab the update as it does have general fixes in it which would improve performance on certain devices. Skype Qik for Windows Phone also saw an update which brought a key new feature to the video sharing app.
The personal assistant Cortana that is built into Windows Phones running Lumia Denim and is now in the Windows 10 technical preview continues to get mini, behind-the-scenes updates. The latest update now brings the ability to read out loud instant answers to your questions. To this point, when you asked a question like “What time is it?” Cortana would simply display the current time. Now when you ask the same question, it reads out the time based on your location.
It’s been a big day for Lumia Denim. In addition to the Lumia Icon for Verizon getting Lumia Denim, those of you in the UK and on O2 should start seeing the update over-the-air on the Lumia 925 and the Lumia 1020 now. This is something that O2 announced a few weeks ago that would be coming.
The popular Runtastic app for Windows Phone has seen a major update this morning bringing an improved user experience along with a lot of new features. The update, version 18.104.22.168 for those keeping score at home, is available now and many of the updates are focused on the Pro version of the app (which also saw the same updates). Runtastic is free while Runtastic Pro is $4.99.
Nokia has pushed out a significant map update to their HERE maps app for both Android and Windows Phone. The update does not effect the app already installed on your Windows Phone but instead is a map update which you do from within the app itself. According to the Nokia HERE maps blog, the update is a global update to new countries, water features and public transportation maps.
Starting today, unlocking your paid for Windows Phone or other mobile device just became easier. The major carriers in the United States – AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and US Cellular – have all voluntarily committed to CTIA consumer standards set forth back in 2013. The Consumer Code for Wireless Service was set out by the CTIA and it outlines guidelines for carriers when it comes to consumer rights and services. These five carriers along with Bluegrass Cellular and Cellcom all agreed to abide by these guidelines and a key part of them is unlocking of devices.
The Avis app for Windows Phone has received a nice update today, bringing several improvements designed to make the app more user friendly. The update, version 22.214.171.124 for those keeping score at home, now allows you to stay logged into the app for up to 90 days. Previously you had to log in every time you used the app. That’s great for security but a real pain when you are trying to get your reservation information as you walk through an airport terminal.
The Personal Assistant Cortana that is built into Windows 10 and Windows Phone has a new Interests category that will allow you to track everything from workouts to concerts. But this new feature isn’t available to everyone and there is no indication on when everyone will see it. It’s another way that Microsoft continues to make the service more personalized for every individual user.