Microsoft is one of the best developers when it comes to frequent and meaningful updates to their swath of Android apps in the Play Store. The Redmond, Washington company has released several updates to some of their apps as part of the normal monthly Office 365 updates. All of these updates are now in the Play Store so you should be able to check for the update now or, if you have auto updates enabled, you likely have already been updated.
Outlook for Android has a great new feature that frankly I wish Gmail had: Do Not Disturb. It’s no mystery on what it does. It prevents email notifications from showing up on your phone. It works just like the DND feature in Android itself, meaning you can set it up for a specific amount of time or until you manually turn it back off. Also, in Outlook, you can now delete contacts directly in the app.
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After being rumored for much of this past weekend, Microsoft has confirmed their acquisition of software development platform GitHub. The all stock transaction is estimated to be $7.5 billion with the Redmond, Washington company committing that development platform will remain open source.
And Microsoft is all-in on open source. We have been on a journey with open source, and today we are active in the open source ecosystem, we contribute to open source projects, and some of our most vibrant developer tools and frameworks are open source. When it comes to our commitment to open source, judge us by the actions we have taken in the recent past, our actions today, and in the future.
The acquisition puts Microsoft in a strong position when it comes to software development in general and certainly a key player in the open source development community.
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In what could prove to be the clearest sign yet that the personal assistant race is coming down to two horses, Microsoft appears to be set to allow both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant on the Xbox One. The news, along with a supporting screenshot, came from the team over at Windows Central and points to users having the option to leverage the personal assistant of their choice on their Xbox One for controlling the device from their phone.
The news of this falls in line with other news that Microsoft is fundamentally shifting Cortana, their digital assistant, away from the consumer market and more toward the productivity side of things and not necessarily a personal assistant. It appears that Microsoft is conceding to Alexa and Google Assistant.
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Over the course of the past couple of years it has been clear that Microsoft’s mobile strategy is developing apps for Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. This isn’t a bad strategy overall and it is clear from presentations this week at Build, Microsoft’s developer conference, that they are continuing that strategy.
One of the more exciting announcements on the first day of the conference is Windows 10’s new Timeline feature making it to both Android and iOS. For Android users, access to Timeline will come via Microsoft Launcher while iOS users will have access to via Microsoft Edge.
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The Microsoft OneDrive for Android app has been updated with a feature that has long been requested by users: The ability to install the app on a SD card. To this point, if you have an Android phone with a SD Card, OneDrive would not allow itself to be installed on that external storage. It is something that long time users of the cloud storage app have requested of Microsoft as it can save space, especially if you are syncing a lot of content offline from your OneDrive account, on your phone.
With version 5.9 which is now available in the Play Store, that changes. You now have the option to install the app on your SD Card. Further, if you already have the app installed, you can move the app to your card via the Settings in the app.
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Microsoft has begun rolling out an update to the Android and iOS Microsoft OneDrive app that brings a much improved sharing experience. The update now makes it clear which file or folder you are sharing and the extent of that sharing. It is a much cleaner and easier to understand experience.
The update to the mobile apps falls in line with the updates that Microsoft has been doing to OneDrive online as well as the Windows and Mac clients. File sharing from the cloud storage service is a fundamental element of the service which is used widely, especially with OneDrive for Business users.
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The Microsoft OneDrive app for Android has been updated with an important and handy new feature that allows you to recover deleted files on the cloud storage service. Version 5.7 of the OneDrive app is now rolling out in the Play Store which is where this new feature appears.
To this point, you have been able to delete files in OneDrive with no problem from your Android phone. But, if you accidentally deleted a file and need to recover it, you couldn’t. You had to go to the OneDrive site and go to the Trash folder to recover it. Now you can do it all from your phone, making it quicker to recover that accidentally deleted file.
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If you missed out on picking up the beautifully styled Harman Kardon Invoke, powered by Microsoft Cortana, for $99 this past holiday season, now is your time. Right now at the Microsoft Store you can pick one up for that special price, saving $100 in the process.
I posted my review of the Invoke in December and as I put in that review, it is one of the most stylish smart speakers out there with stunning audio quality as you would expect from Harman Kardon. At the heart of the Invoke is Microsoft Cortana which, much like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, is a voice command away to help you with tasks or get information.
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