Search DJs Mobiles

Microsoft MWC 2014 Press Event - Windows Phone and Windows updates coming in spring; New partners on board

MicrosoftMicrosoft is hosting its own press event at Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona. Joe Belfiore, who is in charge of Windows Phone has announced that the next OS update - presumably Windows Phone 8.1 - will arrive in spring this year. The update will be available on both existing and new devices.

This new version of Windows Phone will no longer require the three hardware buttons in front of the device. Instead it will make use of on-screen buttons similar to Google's Nexus series Android devices. Another major addition is support for dual SIM capabilities. Microsoft worked with Qualcomm for a seamless dual SIM integration with Windows Phone. There will also be new Qualcomm chips supported, including the Snapdragon 400 and Snapdragon 200, both being perfect for ultra-cheap smartphones.

The new version of Windows Phone will also allow apps to be stored on the device microSD cards, which is great for devices with low internal storage.

An exact release date for the Windows Phone 8.1 update was not revealed, but "this spring" should mean anywhere between March and May. We will have more details for you as it is made available.

Joe also took a moment to address a question regarding Nokia's mystery Android device, saying "They (Nokia) will do some things we're excited about, and some things we're less excited about." So now we wonder what future Nokia will have with Android if Microsoft is really unhappy about the Nokia X.

The Nokia X, a low-end handset that runs a fork of Android meticulously stripped of all things Google, should be announced very, very soon.

New Hardware Partners

Microsoft also revealed that Lenovo, LG, Foxconn, Gionee, JSR, Longcheer, India’s Lava (Xolo) and Karbonn will be joining Nokia, Samsung, HTC, Huawei and ZTE as Windows Phone hardware partners.

At the moment, LG and Lenovo are selling only Android handsets, and it will be interesting to see what Windows Phone devices they are planning to offer. LG has previously released Windows Mobile devices and three Windows Phone handsets - the LG Optimus 7, LG Optimus 7Q and the LG Quantum. But the company has since abandoned releasing handsets which run Microsoft's mobile platform.

According to Microsoft, we should see "an incredible new range of devices across screen sizes and price points." Most likely, all the new hardware partners will release Windows Phone devices after the 8.1 update rolls-out to existing phones, meaning as soon as this spring.

Update to Windows 8.1

Microsoft also said that the company was working on an update to Windows 8.1, which will also arrive sometime in Spring. This update will include support for hardware that does not primarily feature a touchscreen for input.

According to Belfiore, while Microsoft is still very much a fan of touch-based input, the company understands that not everyone has hardware that supports touch and as such is setting out to try and make their experience a better one. That involves a new right-click option to get to the Start screen, new options for closing applications and app launching and switching being possible via the taskbar.

The move will be welcomed by those who are using Windows 8.1 on older machines, or simply hardware that doesn't come equipped with a screen that they can prod with their fingers. We include ourselves in that!

Along with new mouse-focussed improvements, Microsoft’s updated Windows 8.1 will also apparently support devices with low specifications. The update will mean that hardware with as little as 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage will be good to go when it comes to Windows 8.1, with Microsoft hoping to bring Windows to devices that have shipped with a build of Android thus far.

Beyond what Belfiore has said there isn’t a great deal of information known about this update, but Microsoft is keen to stress that its new focus on mouse-powered computers isn’t a sign that it is stepping back from the touch-based world that it has tried to force everyone into.
comments powered by Disqus

Matched Content