Archive for the ‘Android’ Category

This simple idiom is understood by the youngest of school children. It has been around for centuries, so why do our financial institutions, retailers and cloud based service corporations continue to put all of our sensitive data in one basket!?

First things first. This idiom, Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket applies to you, the companies and businesses you interact with and do business with, the stores where you shop as well as the cloud(s) where you store your personal data and photographs and social networks you participate on.

Your data, their data, our shared existence on the Internet is vulnerable. No person, business, corporation, utility or government is immune or impervious to hacking. One thing we should all know by now it that today your financial institution could be hacked and next month your it’s your co-worker or neighbor’s bank or transaction.

It seems simple enough that if Target, Sony, Bank of America and other major businesses sites get hacked, they are not just getting a fraction of user’s data, they are getting all of their user’s data.

Check out Entrepreneur.com’s 8 of the Biggest Data Breaches Ever and How They Happened (Infographic) – it’s all pictures, so no heavy reading is required.

I don’t think the government needs to always step in and tell corporations how to conduct their businesses, but when it comes to protecting customer data, I think we need the government to step in and create some “best practices” for businesses, our data and their corporate and employee data.

Best Practices for Business

  • Do not place all your customer data behind one firewall
  • Do not place all customer data on one server cluster
  • Limit credit card and payment processing from one vendor to a percentage of your business
  • Limit the data shared back to third-party creditors, financial institutions, marketing services
  • Split customer data into logical or random packets to assure that if data is stolen, it can’t be used in whole or in part by the hackers

If all businesses, corporations and governments implemented just one of the above Best Practices, it would go a long way to protecting our sensitive customer information.

In fact if these, the most simple and most basic of practices isn’t followed, the same insurance companies who have been bailing out these businesses after each credit card breach, each server hack, or just plain old corporate arrogance and stupidity should stop taking policies which are not in good faith being protected to begin with.

What can you and I do as consumers?

We can tell let the businesses we currently do business with, that we take these breaches seriously and expect that they will change the way they conduct business, store our personal and financial data and when breached, they will respond with full disclosure to the public and support the breached users and businesses with safeguards and protections.

We can also do what we can to place our own eggs in more than one basket.

  • Diversify your banking to two or more financial institutions
  • Use different email aliases for correspondence and online shopping, another for your user login name, etc.
  • Use one password for social networks, another for banking and another for work, and so on
  • Change one or more of your passwords or email aliases after a busy shopping seasons such as Christmas, or after returning from a vacation

Let’s face it, most people re-use the same username, email and password over and over again. Many do not change this information for years at a time – if ever.

By utilizing the email “Alias” provided by nearly all email hosting services, such as Outlook.com, Exchange, Google, Yahoo!, etc you can have one email Inbox for all your incoming email, but use a give out different email addresses (aliases) to different services and businesses you do business with.

This way if one hacked and your data has been breached, you only need to discontinue using the breached alias and give the new updated alias to a fraction of sites and services.

Four is a good number of aliases people should consider

Red: High security sites such as banking, financial, credit cards, Bill Pay

Orange: Online retailers and Utilities such as Amazon, Target, Best Buy, NewEgg, PG&E, AT&T, Comcast

Yellow: Minimal security for cloud services, non-financial social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, or political campaigns, charities…. Yellow should also be used for mailing lists

Green: General correspondence to trusted family and friends

Your Bank gets hacked, just change your email address yourname-red@service.com to yourname-red2@service.com and password for all “Red” accounts.

Say you start receiving lots of spam on your Orange Alias – change the email alias and password for only those sites. This way the spam goes to a non-working/cancelled Orange Alias and your new correspondence goes your updated Orange Alias.

Apply the same four color rule to your usernames and login for different sites and if your social network gets hacked and your data is stolen, the people who now have your information can’t use it access your bank or credit cards.

Grade Schoool

Remember, not putting all your eggs in one basket is something that we learn in grade school. This most basic of principles to protect oneself should not be forgotten once we turn 18, or our income skyrockets. We should all diversify and we should all demand that the businesses we trust with our business also follow this simple rule.

Google-Chrome-King

You may have read or discovered first hand that Google has now removed the ability to download maps to your Android smartphone, tablets as well as your Google Maps app on iOS.

There are two simple reasons why Google has been able to remove the offline maps feature:

  1. Google does not see Apple or other service as a major threat to their “free” maps and navigation and therefore they can remove features without losing customers
  2. Google needs to keep your smartphone connected to their servers so that they can find patterns in your walking and/or driving habits – when your maps are stored on your phone, you are not leaving breadcrumbs for Google to follow

This sounds like a step backwards for the search giant, but it is a major step forward for the advertising giant.

Yes, there is an Easter egg which will allow Android users to “download” limited map locations to your Android smartphone, but it is little more than caching the route you are taking to your phone. This is caching, not offline maps. With the route data cached to your Android or iPhone Google Maps is still able to relay data to and from their servers, and thereby gives them permission to follow you for every step, every turn and how long you’re stopped at a red light or slow moving traffic.

It is imperative to Google’s business model to keep continuous access to you and your whereabouts on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. Gathering information on from your Google searches is no longer enough for Google to continue to raise profits and make their shareholders billions.

Breadcrumbs

Think about it, every time you log into your computer, tablet or smartphone, you are simultaneously signing into Google+, Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs, YouTube account.

This means that anything you search for on Google, post on Google’s ‘social network’ Google+, videos you play or subscribe to on YouTube, driving directions, emails and even your top secret business plan you are storing on Google Drive is all being collected and saved into a profile they then sell to their clients in the form of targeted advertising.

Capitalism demands that more is more and anything less is failure

Google has already concurred the ‘free’ internet services business and in order to grow, they need to know what you are doing when you leave your home or work computer, they need to know where you go, how you get there and what streets you use – even what time of day or night you make these trips.

Google Maps and navigation was one area of compromise Google made in order to secure their dominance on your smartphones. First, kill the stand alone GPS business by making their navigation free, then Google needed to make sure that their navigation offerings had features that Apple could not easily replicate and would be highly desired for not only the iPhone, but also for their loyal band of Android enthusiasts. So they gave everyone what they wanted, what they desired and added the ability to free users from slow or poor internet connections and make their maps available offline. Everyone who has used GPS navigation on their phone knows how slow and annoying it is when you make a wrong turn and have to wait for your phone to download new directions – it’ terribly frustrating to say the least.

There is one problem with offline maps for Google and it is simple. If the users smartphone has offline maps, and the user can download all the maps they may ever need to their devices, they also don’t need to connect to Google’s servers, and if the devices are no longer connecting to Google’s servers, they can no longer follow your every move.

You don’t even need to be receiving turn-by-turn directions in order to be followed, all you need to do is carry a smartphone with Google Maps installed around with you. That’s it.

But it’s Anonymous; Don’t be so paranoid:

First off, I am not paranoid and I could care less that Google makes billions of dollars a quarter by collecting information from the people who use their services, but it isn’t as anonymous as you think.

Anonymity doesn’t have the same meaning as it once did. It once meant, freedom from identification, but identify you is exactly what Google and others are now doing to hundreds of millions of people every minute of the day and night, year after year.

You see, by signing into your Google service you are giving Google authorization to collect all your search results, emails you create and receive, they see all your transaction confirmations from your Zappo or Amazon purchases, they can read the documents you have created and stored on their Drive cloud service and now that they have removed the ability to download maps to your mobile device, they are now able to continue to monitor and follow you wherever you travel.

If a neighbor, colleague or classmate followed you or even just knew what park you like to relax at, what grocery store you did your shopping at or which pharmacy you filled your prescriptions at you would be upset, angry, creeped out and rightfully so.

But this is what you are allowing Google to do and while I think that many users get a fair amount of services in return for this information, Google is none the less tracking you and collecting information about you and then using what they have learned to send you targeted ads and services.

When the information Google discovers about you is being collected and collated in order to sell you, your identity to marketers and businesses is no longer anonymous.

Connect the Dots

So, now you understand that everywhere you go is being recorded by Google. We also know and accept (agree to license) that Google ‘reads’ our Gmail correspondence, but add that to the data they already have from your Android or Chrome device and that goes beyond “anonymous” tracking.

There is nothing anonymous about knowing where you live, work, shop, write in your emails, what you receive in your emails, your purchase and shipping histories, or what routes you take every day or every weekend.

Do you go to a country club every weekend? Do you regularly go to sporting events, take your children to the same park or recreation area – these are the areas where Google’s tracking is lacking. They need to get more information from each user and the way to do that is to connect your emails, searches, Google+ posts, Twitter posts, Google searches and maybe even the thesis or business proposal you wrote in Google Office or shared on Google Drive.

Drive, Googles cloud service is Ingenious

How does Google generate revenue from people who:

  • Purchased smartphones from Apple, Nokia and Blackberry?
  • Purchased Microsoft Office, Office 365, Final Draft or Apples Pages at home or at work?
  • Purchase or use email from Outlook.com, Exchange 365, or Apple, Yahoo!, or use business or school email?
  • Participate on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, Sina Weibo and others?

Why it’s simple, offer them ‘free’ cloud storage and market it as a service to safeguard their most important documents, reports, photographs and anything else people want to store on their Drive cloud storage service.

It’s smart really, if users value their files, photos, music and other data, they will want to keep it backed up and accessible from anywhere.

Not only do they have access to where your photographs were taken – think about all the photos you have taken of your children at their favorite park, day care or school play.

Does it stop with Google’s maps and navigation?

No, where there is money to be had, you can be sure that companies will continue to find ways to capitalize on future revenue and growth.

Just think about what Google could do if they wanted to take control your car?

Yes, ask your car to take your to a steak dinner and the Google car of the future will take you to one of its advertisers which is likely a national chain restaurant and not the 60 year old family run steak house with 5 star ratings.

Need your clothes dry cleaned, direct you to a copy-shop that supports Android and Chrome’s Cloud Print “feature” because they have no direct printer support of their own. I can only guess where your car will direct you when you have ½ a tank of gas, but happen to be 10 miles away from one of Google’s advertisers who sells gasoline.

If you mind getting all these wonderful services in exchange for following you, tracking where you go, what you do, what you write about in your diary or where you take the most photographs, maybe you would care if I said that Google is collecting this information about your children, your wife, your husband, your mother or father?

We are just entering the era where consumers are used as currency and with every new generation, trading their privacy for products and services there will be fewer companies which create products and charge for their use. If corporations such as Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, Oracle and others cannot sell their products for a fair price, then all consumers will lose their right to privacy.

Closing thoughts on Apple and Microsoft

Google is one of hundreds if not thousands of companies who use similar practices and business models, they are just the most successful at it.

Microsoft’s Bing search engine offers advertisements based on your searches and if you allow them, they will use your Facebook account to offer more customized search results.

However, Bing also has a Bing Rewards Program where you can earn credits for your searches and can then trade those credits in for products or services. Google does not share their profits with their users.

SkyDrive is not free, you get 7GB of cloud storage when you purchase Microsoft products such as Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows Phone, Office, Office 365, Xbox membership etc. You currently only receive 7GB total no matter how many products you purchase, the exception being Microsoft’s Office 365 which comes with 20 additional gigabytes of storage as long as you license the Office software.

Windows Phone 8 comes with true offline maps on all devices from all manufactures for the region or country you live in. Nokia’s Lumia 82x, 92x and 102x come with licenses to download maps from anywhere in the world. Other Nokia Lumia smartphones as well as Windows Phone 8 phones from HTC, Samsung and others can upgrade their regional licenses for a global one.

These maps, navigation, poi and mass transit apps are licensed from Nokia’s HERE/Navteq division currently are the most advanced and most complete navigation, poi, traffic and routing services available for the consumer.

Smartphones running Windows Phone are fully licensed and purchased from Microsoft. They are not developing the platform to give away, but that might change if all consumers demand free to use products in exchange for their privacy.

For Apple’s part, they invest vast amounts of research and development dollars to create their products and take a lot of care to make sure their partners follow through with their vision.

Apple makes quite a bit of money this way and this is how they are able to provide users with email, cloud storage and services.

Facebook, MySpace provide a social playground for their members to share and create. It is very apparent that they provide ads based on your personal data and they do not hide that. It is up front and understood.

Amazon, Newegg, Zappos sell products and make most of their profits from making money on each sale or selling you additional services, just like your local Macy’s department store, service or gas station.

The difference is that Google is selling your privacy in exchange for cash and while I am fine with that arrangement, I believe that many users of Google’s services and products do not understand that their privacy doesn’t[t end with a targeted add based on your current search, but it follows you and tracks you on your way to work, school, shopping, playground, daycare, little league, soccer practice and beyond.

starting tomorrow, Sunday July 14, Staples is reducing the price of all Surface RT models by $150, with the 32GB model with 10.4″ widescreen for $349.99

ms_office_rt_2013_1_jpg_17101

For me the one thing that differentiates an ordinary or extraordinary tablet from a computer isn’t its size, shape or design, but what defines a computer is its ability to connect to a broad and diverse set of peripherals.

I’m not just talking about USB storage, a smartphone, external monitor or television, but peripherals which add value to a device such as printers at home or work, scanners which allow your device to scan in photographs and documents.

This is the holy grail of computing.

If you can walk into a Kinko’s or client’s office and be able to connect to their printers or scanners with your “tablet” then it has gone beyond the definition of tablet and has crossed over to PC. Think how many times you have purchased tickets for the movies or vacation and printed your tickets? These are things you can do on RT – at your home, hotel, office or friends place – without downloading messy printer drivers which never quite uninstall. :/

In my opinion, a keyboard or traditional laptop form factor doesn’t make your device a PC. The ability to create content on your device, no matter what its shape is, be able to manipulate it and then to finally print it from that device makes a device a PC.

For example the iPhone can many things that we traditionally used a PC for – whether it was a Mac or Windows. You can surf the web, play movies, read email and with relative ease, you can also create or respond to emails.

There are even apps which facilitate bookkeeping, banking, etc on the iPhone – it can send a document or email to a printer equipped with Apple AirPrint support, but these are not your everyday printers and the all-in-one devices which include a scanner or fax cannot be directly used by your iPhone.

The iPad on the other hand can have a keyboard and mouse added to it, but without the ability to print or scan to ordinary printers – like the one you already own, it is a dead end device and leaves it in a category that has more in common with your smartphone than your desktop computer.

Android and Chrome are even less capable than similar products from Apple because there is no printer you can print directly to. Everything you want to print has to be directed via the internet or network to a service or app running on your PC which then sends your printout to the printer after first being uploaded and downloaded through the internet and then prints.

That’s not very convenient or very practical and limits the use of your Chrome or Android device and makes Google’s “Office” suite of apps little more than a gimmick.

Enter Windows RT

Windows RT is Windows and don’t be fooled by people who tell you otherwise!

Windows RT in fact has the underlying capability to run many apps designed for Windows 7 – in fact, it can run many apps written for Windows XP. The fact is simple, Microsoft has disabled the ability to run these apps on devices that run Windows RT – the future is touch, the future of apps is sharing resources and suspending when not in use to allow RT devices to operate longer between charges, and at the same time, rid developers and users from a system that was designed back in the late 80’s and released in the 90’s.

Windows RT ships with Microsoft Office 2013 preinstalled on all RT devices and includes the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and with the launch of Windows RT 8.1, it includes Outlook 2013. All of these apps operate just like their x86-64 counterparts that you would purchase for your home desktop PC or Office PC. Yes, some features have been removed like macros in Excel as well as some other features, but those are not used by many people and they have been removed (for now?) to conserve battery power and other performance reasons. All in all, you will never know those features are missing.

But like I said before, a tablet or device isn’t a PC if It can’t be used to take your work from idea to final product and printing is the way most of use finalize our work.

Since Windows RT is Windows, it also has decades of peripherals which have support for Windows built in. No, it can’t print to every printer you have eveer purchased, but out of the box, it can print to thousands and thousands of dot matrix, injet and laser printers without even downloading any drivers from the printer manufacture – and this can typically be well over 100 megabytes of files just so that you can print.

Windows RT and Windows 8 have a new driver model for printer which is built into Windows and has a built in library of thousands of printers, their capabilities and features and as soon as you connect to the printer or all in one with a USB cable or via your home network you can print immediately (period).

You can even scan in photos from your scanner directly to your RT device – although there is no pretty Metro interface to do this, you can do this from the Windows desktop.

Windows 8.1 adds the ability to print to 3D printers and also adds the ability to scan from your scanner or all in one without leaving Windows 8’s finger friendly interface (this was likely possible before, but it wasn’t included with every RT PC sold – now it will be).

The last difference I have found between an iPad, Android or Chromebook is the ability of Windows RT to have totally separate user accounts all accessible on one device. Log in with your personal account and your Start Screen, accent colors, wallpapers, email, documents, photos, cloud storage, etc, etc, etc, are loaded on the device and are separate from all other users on the device – and follow you between RT and your desktop or laptop running Windows 8.

So, before you go out a purchase a new “tablet” or feel like you need to upgrade your current tablet or even replace your laptop, please consider replacing it with a “PC” running Windows RT.

** All devices running Windows 8.0 and RT 8.0 are upgradeable to 8.1 free of charge later this year. (Unlike your Android tablet which will likely never be upgraded or patched with security updates).

Patrick Moorhead from Tech.pinions recently wrote an editorial with the title, Leaving the iPhone- How Windows Phone 8 Stacks Up and he brings up many if not all the misgivings many users have when they switch from an iPhone or Android phone to Windows Phone.

I could tell from reading Patrick’s editorial that he didn’t spend much time with the Lumia 920 phone and also didn’t seem to have anyone to get answers to his questions.

Here is the prolog to his editorial, followed by my wordy response (you can read his entire article which is well written and obviously has good intentions at the link above)

“Approximately six weeks ago, I made the decision to stop using my iPhone 4s and immerse myself in Android, which I lumia 920did for about a month. I wrote about that here. After Android, I wanted to try out Windows Phone 8 for an extended period of time and I want to share my experiences with you. My goal here is provide some insights into how an American, technically astute Apple iPhone user would feel about using Windows Phone 8. I don’t represent the masses, but do represent the demographics of a an influential block of analysts, press, pundits, etc. I will talk about the pros, cons, and things that just didn’t matter one way or the other when comparing my iPhone 4s to the Windows Phone 8 powered Nokia Lumia 920. The 920 is considered by most as the flagship Windows Phone 8 phone and a good representation of the state of the art.

Let’s start out with the Windows Phone 8 (WP8) plusses.”

Here is the email with a few typos corrected and nonsense turned into sense. 😉

I’ve been a fanatic Windows Phone user since day 1 and know the ins and outs of Windows Phone 8 as well as Nokia’s apps.

While you did write a very balanced article for your seemingly short time spent with the 920, there are few things I think need clarification or explanation.

Navigation with Nokia Drive+ Beta

First off, yes it is beta software, but what you may not have known is this is the nearly 9 month old version 2 of Nokia Drive app which was released on Nokia’s first Windows Phone 7.5 devices. The most current version of Nokia Drive is version 3.x and is available on both Symbian and Nokia Lumia smartphones powered by Windows Phone 7.x.

Windows Phone 8 will receive the updated version of the Drive app as well as new features including better traffic data points. It will take time for Nokia to weave this updated Drive+ 3.x software into the new APIs for Windows Phone 8, the current and future version of Drive+ is not a standalone product, but is fully integrated into the OS and therefor meets and exceeds the features and performance of it’s predecessor (I am speculating on the performance here).

Turn-by-turn with street names.
This is in fact is 100% available in the software you reviewed, but for some nutty reason isn’t the default voice which auto downloads when you first run the Nokia Drive+ software – I truly hope that this is changed when the updated non-beta version ships because everyone I talk to with a Lumia has this same experience.

To have the street names announced you simply open Drive, Settings, Voice and select “English US announce Street names” or something to that effect. Street names are available for nearly every language and more are being updated as we speak.

Microsoft Office
Yes, you did mention how flawless the opening and editing of Office apps is and how ridiculous it is that Excel is included, but you neglected some additional usability features that Office on Windows Phone offers which, in my opinion, tips the scales in Windows Phone’s favor.

OS level SkyDrive integration!
Office defaults to opening and saving files to SkyDrive! So 100% of the files you keep on your PC or Mac are always accessible to you no matter where you are. In addition, the files you most recently opened on your phone are cached for quick access and if changes have been made since you lasted opened your cached file, you are notified of the changes and offered to download the current file. This all happens nearly instantly on your phone and takes the worry out of having multiple versions of your documents or presentations, etc scattered around the drives of all the computers you use on a daily basis.

Additionally, you can also easily and quickly access files saved to your phone or files that you recently opened in your email.

Did I mention that 100% of what I just mentioned is accomplished without ever installing a SkyDrive client app on your phone!? Yep, SkyDrive is baked into every Windows Phone 8 device sold and gives you easy access to any folder on your computer. Your Word, Excel, Power Point, PDF, files etc all appear like they are on your phone.

Most people synch their Libraries to SkyDrive. Not only is it a simple way to keep an off premises backup of all your data, but you are also making them accessible to you everywhere you go.

SkyDrive app
On Windows Phones you do not need to install a SkyDrive app to access the files on the cloud. But if you want to add and remove folders, files or move them from one folder to another, then you will want to download the SkyDrive app, most people will never need or use it, but it’s there for the more advanced user. SkyDrive client software for Windows Phone operates much the same way as its counterparts for Microsoft Windows 8, RT, Phone, Xbox 360, iPhone, iPad and Android.

You can synch entire folders/directories on your PC or your Mac.

Photo Tile
The Photo hub by default has two folders; Camera Roll and Saved Pictures. In addition to these two folders, a 3rd folder is created the first time you take a “snapshot” of your Windows Phone screen. All of those folders have your files stored locally in your phones available storage.

Then there are all the photos that you have stored on your computer and synched with SkyDrive and all the photos you have uploaded to Facebook.

The Photo hub also features the following screens you can easily swipe left or right to reveal: Favorites, which places all the photos from any of your online or offline folders at your fingertips. What’s New which shows new photos that were posted on your Facebook or Twitter accounts – not just the photos you posted, but also the photos which your friends posted to your Facebook wall and lastly the reveals the camera related apps you have installed on your phone.

Photos are also synched from your SkyDrive, Facebook, even Dropbox via a 3rd party called Cloudy Box. The API are there for any vendor to use and unlike Apple, these features are royalty free and are open to every developer.

Camera
One of my favorite camera features has to be the dedicated physical camera button and how that single “universally understood” camera button can wake the phone with a long-press, open the camera app even a phone which is password locked and not compromise security.

Windows Phones are the only phones you can hand to your aunt or grandparent and you don’t have to give a lesson on how to “take a photo” – priceless….

Camera Lens
Camera Lenses are unique to Windows Phone as well. This is a new feature in Windows Phone 8 which keeps all of your camera mini-apps or apps which use the camera of the phone in one easy to access location or hub from inside the Camera app.

These new Lens apps, as well as former apps that have been updated to support Lenses do not have to replicate the Windows Phone Camera app, etc. because they operate from inside the camera app. This not only makes things easier from a user’s perspective, but it also is easier for the developer as well because it gives their camera app the ability to save photos and videos to the sandboxed Windows Photos Tile which would normally be off limits to most developers.

While every Lens compatible app you install is can be set as a Tile on your Start Screen or opened from your App List like any other app, but every installed Lens can be easily access with one touch of a button from inside the phone app.

Example, take your phone from your pocket, press the camera button for a couple seconds, the camera turns on and you can either instantly take a photo or open any one of your Lenses to take a panorama or translate a sign in a foreign language to English, scan to a PDF, the options are limited only by the developer.

Application List, no endless Screens
I am not surprised that you didn’t know about being able to jump alphabetically through your apps with a ‘tap’ not press of the letter. This feature is not turned on by default, but only appears after you have loaded or installed 40 or 45 apps – I can’t recall what the current “magic number” is at the moment.

When I show how the Alpha jump feature works to an iPhone or Android user they go crazy! They love it and prefer it the endless screen after screen of apps which never seem to be organized properly. (see the heading below called Alpha Jump for more)

Having your apps listed alphabetically isn’t new and is used on other smartphones. The difference is, is that Windows Phone lines all your apps up in a single easy to read column which displays a thumbnail of their Tile and their applications name. Simple, clean straightforward. No clutter or distractions. The thumbnails are small and square in shape while their associated app name is in large clear type. Other platforms seem to emphasize the each apps unique and zany icon and their names are small and secondary.

Another benefit to a standard and consistent way to display lists, such as your list of installed apps, is that it behind every Start Screen displaying your most frequently viewed or favorite app Tiles and Live Tiles you are only one swipe or click away from a simple alphabetical list of every app you have installed. This is true for all Windows Phones as well as every computer running Windows 8 or RT – not only do users love and appreciate this, but IT departments do too since they can quickly move beyond your personalized Start Screen and find what they need in seconds.

One thing I do know for sure is that if you know how to use Windows 8 Modern UI, RT UI or Windows Phone UI, you can pick up a friend or spouses phone and be able to find any app easily and quickly. IT departments can ignore the Start Screen and custom tiles and Alpha Jump quicker than looming through screens or swiping endlessly to S for Settings, etc.

Alpha Jump
Being able to quickly jump through long lists in Windows Phone by tapping on a block with a letter from the alphabet in it is a root and basic feature of Windows Phone. Any built-in feature in Windows Phone as well as nearly every app in the Windows Phone Store also implements this feature.

Let me offer a quick description of how this universal feature works. First, you are presented with a list of the names of your contacts all sorted alphanumerically in a single column. If you have a contact or business which begins with a number or symbol the top of your list will feature a solid box with a “#” inside it. Immediately below this box is your contact’s name, followed by boxes with the letter “a” more contacts and so on.

If you do not have a friend or contact for every letter in the alphabet that letter’s box is not present.

To quickly access your contact Steve, you would tap any of the boxes described above which are visible, such as the “#” or “a” and immediately your screen changes from a list view displaying a list of names, to a screen filled with square tiles of each letter of the alphabet. If the list you are viewing does not have a contact which begins with a letter or symbol, that letter’s box is left blank – only the letters representing your list are in view.

This method of jumping to a quickly to a letter in the alphabet is much quicker than pressing Search and typing in the typing in the first few letters of their name on the keyboard. Unlike other areas of the Windows Phone OS which is more forgiving of typos, this is one area of the OS that has all typing assistance turned off.

A good use for the Search function in People, is when you want to find all your contacts who work for XYZ Corp. Type xyz into the People Search and all your contacts with xyz in their name or business name pops up.

Once you master jumping to specific a specific letter in your People hub, then you can use the same feature throughout Windows Phone and Windows Apps such as Facebook.

Jumping using the letter tiles/blocks is now second nature to me, it’s like pressing “Accept” when installing a new app on your pc – you do it without even thinking.

Sharing Contacts
Sharing contacts as well as sharing webpages, photos, videos, etc. is indeed possible on Windows Phone and unlike the other phone platforms, search is fully part of the core of Windows Phone.

Nearly everything you create, discover or produce on Windows Phone is easily sharable in a consistent way from every app that allows sharing. Just press the three periods at the bottom of nearly every app (. . .) which will expose the lesser used functions of your app.

If I could include a post-it note in the box of every Windows Phone Sold, it would say “if you can’t find what you are looking for, tap the . . .”

Simply put, the new Modern interface is designed for simplicity hides everything but the most common functions from view.

To share a contract with someone, you open the contact, touch the . . . to expose the additional functions that are relevant, select Share Contact, confirm by selecting the checkmark, and a new screen pops up titled, Send From; choose from Tap+Send to share the contact wirelessly via NFC, Bluetooth, Messaging or optionally select from any of your email account which are also listed.

Want to share a photograph? It’s done the same way. Microsoft took care to add many of these every day functions into the operating system itself. Every app works the same way, although you may see more or less locations you can share with depending on what you want to share.

For example, Internet Explorer 10 adds the option of sharing the webpage you are viewing with your Xbox 360 running Internet Explorer. Find a great video on YouTube and want to share it with your friends, watch it on your TV. The best part, is that once the webpage opens on your Xbox/TV, your phones screen becomes a touchpad for your Xbox so you can browse the web on your 50” HDTV as easily as you can on your laptop’s 15” screen.

Simple and consistent wins every time.

Having these menus or functions hidden is maybe one of the reasons that makes Windows Phone so easy for beginners to use and easier for them to access features in Windows Phone than on other platforms which lay everything out in front of the user, all the time and distracts from getting your task(s) accomplished.

A great example of this is how my Mother, who was 78 years old at the time, got her first smartphone about 5 months before her trip to Tanzania. It was a hand-me-down which I had passed along to her in hopes of being able to use the phone for email, etc while traveling. I should mention that my Mother was never able to figure out how to use voicemail on her mobile phone and only received calls or placed calls with it either by memory, or by looking up the phone number.

She started off with a Samsung Focus which she gradually began to use more and more than her dumb flip-phone until one day she called me and told me that she decided she liked having a smartphone and would switch to it full time.

When Nokia released the Lumia 900 on AT&T, my Mother spent actual money on her first phone (all her previous phones were all free phones on contract) and get the latest and greatest for her upcoming trip.

She wasn’t going to Tanzania alone, she was going as part of a group. She knew a few people before she went, but for the most part, she didn’t know the other members. She was the only person who had a Windows Phone and she was nervous that she would forget how to access a feature and wouldn’t be able to get help.

Well, she surprised everyone when she returned home and told everyone how much she used her phone! She used it for simple things like photographs and emails, but she also used it for navigation, translation, finding restaurants and boutiques and markets too.

While everyone else had iPhones and one person had an Android phone everyone was asking my mother who never had a smartphone before for information. She became the go-to person for everything. Even though everyone else had smartphone, none of the other people could figure out how to get their “smart” phones to give them the information they each wanted to make their trip more enjoyable or productive.

Yet, my mother who happened to be 20 years plus their senior was able to accomplish nearly every task quickly enough soon enough, the questions were going to my Mom and not the one of the several tour guides.

I realize that a 78 year old women being able to use so many features on her smartphone isn’t a ringing endorsement to the 20-something generation, but it does say a lot that My Mother who is now 79 and I, the geek do use the same phone. 

Mail/Outlook
The mail client is pretty darn good and I think much better than what you find on iPhone and I think you agreed with me on this one, but I would also say that it’s better than the latest Jellybean version of Android too.

Mail fully supports synching folders, you can merge multiple email accounts into one Inbox, you can pin a specific folder to your Start Screen as a Tile too. This is great if there are email you receive that are urgent and you need to take action right away. Here is a good example of how Live Tiles work and how pinning a Tile to your Start Screen representing different folders can be helpful.

You have a Tile representing your work folder or work email address, you have another one for your Inbox and maybe a 3rd Tile for emails come from eBay, craigslist, etc.

It’s 10pm and you that your Work Tile shows that new email(s) have arrived and since you are not on call you can ignore that notice until the following day.

By the same account, you are at work or on a business trip and you see that the Tile you have designated as your Inbox has new mail and you can safely ignore it until you have a break or at the end of the day. There countless practical uses for Live Tiles and they are only limited by your imagination.

And just maybe you will want to excuse yourself from a meeting to read the email from eBay.

Full Search
You did mention how the Mail client’s search is more limited than iOS, and I haven’t used an iPhone in quite some time, but I find that the Mail search does more than you mention. I’m not list them off, but trust me, they are there and depending on your mail service/host there are several queries you can use.

Multitasking
First let me start with a feature you didn’t mention but many people consider a bug or failing of Windows Phone.

Apps always open at their home page and not where you last left it.

This is by design, most people are not power users or are cutting and pasting from one app to the next, etc. They are not actively working with 4 or 5 apps let alone 3. They open their app for News, read the headlines and maybe an article or two and then put down their phone.

When they come back their phone and are at the Start Screen, they open their News app again and instead of being presented with the latest headlines, they see the last article they opened. If they don’t get around to opening the News app for several days, seeing an old article has gone from annoying to confusing.

So by default, if you open an app from its Tile or the App list, it will always open from the same home screen.

There are valid reasons why people want to switch apps and be on the page where they last were, and I’ll get to that now…..

Power Users eat their cake too
Yes, as you not in your editorial, holding down the Back button is a pretty elegant and convenient way to see what apps you have open in the background – I say ‘open’ because while Android may have apps ‘running’ in the background sipping at the phones limited battery reserves, Windows Phone uses a pause and quick resume feature to conserve resources but keep many of the benefits of having an app running in the background.

By holding down the dedicated back button on your Windows Phone you can horizontally scroll to your open apps and return exactly at the point you were at when you last left it.

Users who come from Android or iOS love to close apps they are not using because many of the apps on those platforms do drain the battery and the more you have running in the background, the sooner your phone will run out of power.

So while it usually isn’t as necessary to close apps on Windows Phone, there is a simple way to close apps and you don’t need to download and install another program to do it.

To close any app you are no longer using, all you need to is tap the Back Button until you are no longer in the app. On occasion it may take tapping the back button several times, but a trick is to re-launch the open app and the previous copy of the app you had open is replaced by this new instance and can be closed with one tap of the Back button.

To verify that the app(s) is closed, long press the Back button and verify that it is no longer displayed in the multitask view.

Running in the background
So, yes, most WP apps suspend when in the background not because Microsoft doesn’t allow apps to run in the background, but I think it’s that MS discourages this practice and have put some great alternatives in place that developers can alterably use, such as quick resuming, etc.

When a Tile is a Live Tile
Unlike apps which are suspended in the background, Apps which support Live Tiles, Tiles that display content downloaded periodically form the internet like email, weather app, news apps, etc. can drain the battery and if you allow enough apps access to update, especially the apps you don’t have on your Start Screen, they can lead to draining your phones battery faster than you would expect – and I am pretty sure that many users new to Windows Phone install a lot of these apps and are not aware that even if they do not open the apps or pin the app to their Start Screen, they are all working in the background none the less.

Turning off Background Apps
Apps which are set to operate or update in the background notify the operating system of this when they are first installed and a list of those apps is provided in the Settings section of the phone. Many of these apps are enabled by default and you can manually “block” these apps from working in the background without opening the offending app. Simply select “blocked” under any app name that currently lists itself as “allowed” – voila!

You can also easily re-enable those same apps by opening the app you want to re-allow to update in the background and turn the feature back on.

Battery Saver
First and foremost your smartphone is a phone. Yes, it’s great at game playing, listening to your favorite music or podcast and checking your email. But if it comes down to saving some battery power to make or receive a phone call or having the current temperature or new emails displayed on your phone most people will choose phone calls over the weather (we can look out our windows if we have to).

By default when a Windows Phone is running low on battery it automatically turns off all apps and Live Tiles operating in the background – this is called Battery Saver mode.

You can still check the weather, check for new email, etc, but they will only be refreshed or updated when you request it.

Battery Level Indicator
When the Battery Saver mode is activated heart shape is placed over the battery/power indicator.

As an aside, another complaint by iPhone and Android users is that while the current time is always displayed on the top right of your Home Screen and many apps, it does not display the following status icons unless they need attention.

Signal Strength Indicator
When you are traveling in an area or are in an office building or department store and your phone can not access your phone carrier’s cell towers or the signal is very weak, then Windows Phone will show the status.

If you are curious or OCD about things like battery life or signal strength, you can easily lightly swipe down from the top of the screen to reveal the status bar where all the status indicators you expect will be shown and then disappear after a few seconds.

The thing to remember, is that the information that you desire is there for you to access and you don’t have to open 2 folders and then tunnel down several menus to access it.

YouTube
Yes, not having an official YouTube app and being provided with a YouTube tile that open the mobile YouTube website on IE sucks. Windows Phone was designed for multimedia content!

Why does Windows Phone not have an official YouTube app as full-featured as the iPhone and Android phones? It was recently leaked via Microsoft that while they have a YouTube app already developed and have apparently had one since the dawn of Windows Phone. Google refuses to give Microsoft permission or a license to distribute it.

Windows Phone did initially launch with a YouTube app, but was later replaced with a link to the m.youtube website
Thankfully, there are several 3rd party apps which provide access to YouTube’s complete library of videos from some very cool and creative Modern UI based apps. The downside is, that they are ever playing a game of cat and mouse as Google keeps changing the tools needed for these apps to work. Interestingly, the changes Google makes do not interfere with either Android products or Apple products. :/

While these 3rd party apps are great at delivering content, they are not as friendly when it comes to uploading either videos taken with your phone or are stored in your Xbox Music + Video hub. Many of the YouTube-like apps can upload videos, but only if you record the video from inside their app, since these apps are not authorized to access the video files stored on your phone.

I am hopeful that these vendors will soon be able to use the phones new Lenses and be able to access the phones videos that way. (This may not even be possible, it’s just wishful thinking on my part)

Phone Search
Yes, I too wish that a universal Search was present in Windows Phone. There are many occasions I would like to search my calendar for past or future events or appointments. There was an app I used for a while for Windows Phone 7.5, but I don’t recall the developer or the apps name, but while it did make searching the calendar possible, it wasn’t as good or seamless as I would have liked.

I know Microsoft is expanding the search capabilities on Windows Phone 8. I met a young women who introduced herself to me as an intern who works for Microsoft and she personally designed the backend of a future search for the Messaging portion of the phone. She mentioned that is was modeled after the search that is integrated into the Mail client.

Lack of Windows Phone Apps?
Yes, the apps you mention you use daily are either not present or sometimes inferior to their iOS and Android counterparts. I have held the hands of several friends and work associates who found that this is one area of Windows Phone which was not as robust as the smartphones they had switched from.

Is every app available for Windows Phone which is currently available for iPhone or Android? No, Windows Phone does need more apps for a small fraction of users before they feel they can switch platforms – I get it. But don’t forget, none of these features even existed several years ago and we all survived for without them.

Part of what I do, is listen and ask questions. After hearing their complainants and asking them what they were using these apps for, I reminded them (several times) that that those features are built-in to Windows Phone and that they should relearn to use Local Scout and Nokia City Lens or OneNote.

When is Bing more than Bing?
When you press the dedicated search button on a Windows Phone, it opens up a window to search the web/internet, but this isn’t just a quick way for Microsoft to get you to use their search engine over Google, no, this is much more.

At the bottom of the Bing Search screen are three buttons you won’t find on your computer’s Bing page: Scout, Music and Vision, here is a summary of what each function does:

Bing Local Scout
Think of Scout as in an army scout. A scout was sent ahead of the troops to food, water, shelter, roads, etc. Scout on Windows phone is similar in that this Scout shows you all every restaurant from the closest one to you the next 20 ones from your location. You can even search by cuisine, star rating, whether the establishment is open or not, or if they are currently offering deals. You can even opt-in and allow Microsoft to study your searches and make recommendations for you.

Bing Music
Music in Bing doesn’t play music, it uses the phones mic to listen to the music playing and tells you what the song playing. If you have ever used Shazam, you know what Bing Music does, but how Bing accomplishes this is quite different and can provide you with a match in as little as 4 seconds when connected to wifi, if it can’t get it in the first few seconds, it keeps attempting to match the song or comes back asking to try again.

Assuming you have Shazam on your home screen of your iPhone or Android phone, and you open Shazam it still takes several seconds to load, then takes and other tap to begin the mandatory 10 second recording from the phone’s mic before it even uploads the sample to their server.

What Bing can do in as little as 5 seconds, Shazam takes a minimum of 15 seconds. In side by side tests with identical phones, Bing was able to find the track before Shazam each and every time before Shazam even finished recoding the sample.

Bing Vision
Simply put, Bing Vision uses your phone’s camera to quickly translate signs or menu’s from a foreign language and give you a fast literal word-for-word translation without using an app. You don’t need to be traveling in a foreign country to use this feature either, if you are a student taking a foreign language you can quickly translate a word or series of words you are having difficulty with.

Translation is not limited to just English there is direct translation available to and from 30 languages without downloading or opening any app – although this feature does use your internet connection.

Does Bing Vision replace a dedicated translation app? NO, this is quick and dirty and what most people need when they are presented with something they cannot read. Microsoft and others have full apps which translate voice to voice, to text etc. Why download and install a translation app when you may never need to use it?

Barcodes, QR codes, book covers, CD and DVD covers

You can also use Bing Vision to look up prices, reviews, ratings, etc of book, CD and DVDs – all without taking the time to find and run the app. Want to look up a barcode when you are shopping? Maybe you need to see reviews, find the right edition or see what other colors the product comes in.

Use Bing Vision, I have never used any other device or app which locks in to a bar code faster than a Bing Vision. Another time saving feature is you don’t have to have several barcode apps for electronics, groceries, home furnishings, etc. Bing find the items and then presents you with fast results on all the things you expect to find from a barcode app without the fuss.

Every feature in Bing Music and Bing Vision are instantly stored for you to access in the future, possibly when you have more free to time to read the reviews and ratings.

Bing finds and organizes Information
In addition to these three integrated features, you can also swipe left and right and discover what’s playing in your local theaters, local deals aggregated from several discount sites, the most active videos being played on the internet, the top new stories and lastly, current local events. This is all without opening an app. No switching screens to locate the app, no waiting for the app to load, no waiting for the app to connect to the internet to download the current data, etc. All this and more is at your fingertip and can be accessed in less than a second.

Is Windows Phone 8 right for you?
Is Windows Phone right for your friends?

Granted, Windows Phone is not for everyone and Microsoft needs to put a lot more effort into educating all users on how Windows Phone operates and how it’s intentionally designed differently than the other phone on the market.

Windows Phone is not an immature platform like many like to claim, It’s actually quite advanced and in many time saving and tangible ways we use everyday it is vastly superior to anything that Apple or Google has to offer.

I hope you took the time to read this message as it took me quite a while to respond thoughtfully and in a way that wouldn’t put you off. I hope I succeeded and I look forward to your future article on whether you will switch to Windows Phone 8.5.

John Freiman
San Francisco

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 920 powered by Windows Phone 8

kids-share-content

So, have you been reading the reviews for the HTC 8X, Lumia 920 any of the several other Windows Phone 8 devices?  Maybe you stopped reading them because you don’t believe that Windows phone is a mature platform and trails iPhone and Android? There are no apps for Windows Phone – hogwash! Are there apps which are “missing” from the Windows Phone Store, yes. But are these the apps you will be installing? Hardly. Perhaps the only app missing from the Windows Phone Store that the average user will be wanting to use is Instagram, and not that Instagram has been acquired by Facebook, it shouldn’t be long before Microsoft makes arrangements to bring Instagram to Windows Phone. You will be able to find many, many apps of all sorts on Windows Phone.

Well, then you haven’t heard the entire story and you might be interested in some very real ways where Windows Phone 8 can school the iPhone and Android phones on some very real ways.

1. Child Safety:

IPhone:  The Apple  iPhone allows you to block users from running certain programs, using the phone’s camera, iOS can even limit iTunes purchases to those without parental advisories.
But all these “restrictions” have to be set on the phone and each restriction must be set individually.

Android: Google’s efforts to protect children is nearly nonexistent and if you want to set anything other than restrict the purchasing of apps in the Play Store you are out of luck because Google doesn’t have any way to protect your children and leaves that up to app developers.

Windows Phone 8: Microsoft’s latest Windows Phone 8 operating system has a cloud based approach to child safety and is fully integrated into the Windows Phone 8 and the settings you create on the cloud permeate to their Windows 8/RT user profiles as well as Xbox 360.
Microsoft also makes it super simple, select from Child, Teen, Adult or Custom.  The settings you choose for the Xbox 360 overlap to the settings your choose for Windows Phone 8, Windows 8/RT.
As a parent, it always seems like our children learn how to bypass every measure we put in place so that they can be free from restrictions.  One of the benefits of this cloud based parental controls system is that you, as their parent, can always check the settings of your child’s account online and not have to go through each setting on their phone to see if they are all set appropriately,

2.  Share your phone with your children, or protect your personal data from others

iPhone: n/a

Android: n/a

Windows Phone 8: Windows Phone 8 has a special mode which creates a “phone within a phone” on your Windows Phone 8 device.  This mode is called, Kid’s Corner.  Kid’s Corner can be used with your toddler or pre-teen who doesn’t yet possess their own phone.  Kids corner lets you select the apps which can be used in Kid’s Corner, the music they can play, the games you deem appropriate as well as the videos they can watch.   All this protected by your phones password.
No longer can your kids pick up your phone and drain the battery when your not watching it. This same Kid’s Corner prevents expensive app and music purchases as well as the embarrassing emails and phone calls made to your boss or co-workers or a costly international call.

Do not confuse Kid’s Corner with Parental Controls.  Parental controls are set on a phone which you give to your child as their phone.  Kid’s Corner is a secondary user account created on your personal phone and it limited to running only the apps you allow.

3. Camera – Simple to use and Keeps your Phone Secure!

Each Windows Phone has a dedicated camera button. that’s why when you look at a Windows Phone device you will likely never see the camera app set as a Live Tile.  Whether the phone is off, on, password protected or in Kid’s Corner mode, all you have to do is press the dedicated camera button on the phone an the camera activates.
When your phone is unlocked, any photo you take can be instantly tagged and shared on Facebook, sent via mms/text message email, etc.  When your phone is locked, the camera still functions as above, but with one important difference.  The camera operates, but you can only view the photos you just took.  You can’t share them, go into other menu’s on the phone and the only photos you can view are the ones you just took.  To gain access to the other features again, enter your phone’s password.

Another thing you may read about in a basic review of Windows Phone is that photos taken with the phone are taken just like a ‘real camera’ press the camera button on the top right of the phone – viola, no teaching Aunt Mary or your Mother on how to take a picture with your phone.  No taking 3 minutes to teach someone to us your phone as a camera in stead of taking your photo.

These are some of the things you will not hear much about because they cant be compared to the competition, because the competitions offerings aren’t as sound, as mature or as easy to use.  It may not be because the reviewer is trying to hide these features from you, it’s more likely that they don’t have children and don’t care about those things.

Why does this happen, why don’t these reviewers talk about these features which will make any parent’s job a little easier and children a lot safer?  Because they know how to use iPhone, or they know how to use Android, both of those operating system operate very similarly to one another.  Windows Phone and Windows Phone 8 doesn’t work like the others.  this is by design.

Microsoft could not place these child modes or child and teen safety features in their phones if they did not create a new platform.  A new platform which puts emphasis into safety; Safety from intruders, from thief’s, hackers as well as keeping your children safe.

So, as a parent, you should be looking for a phone which you and your family can use and one in which the phone manufacture puts as much emphasis on designing a fresh and easy to use phone as well as a company which has designed their platform for every user in the home, even if they are too young to have there own phone.

Keep a lookout for the next edition of Features you wont hear about on Windows Phone soon.

When Microsoft announced that they would be entering the computer tablet market with Windows 8 and ARM based Windows RT tabletsin the Spring if 2012, Apple’s iPad was the dominant tablet in the market – it’s no coincidence that the iPads and and both of the announced Microsoft Surface tablets have 10″ screens.

Now fast forward forward to October 2012 and the fastest growing tablet segment is the 7″ market and the 10″ tablets (iPad) are loosing market share.

Apple, the company which once claimed there was no use for a 7″ tablet is suddenly highly expected to announce and ship an iPad “Mini” this Fall – this iPad Mini is also rumored to have a 7″ screen.

Could Microsoft’s Surface “division” have foreseen this shift to smaller tablet screens and designed a top secret 7″ Surface alongside the their 10″ offerings?

Maybe they will release 3 tablets, a Surface 8 Pro, Surface RT and a smaller sized Surface “rt” device?

Heck, its interesting that the newly announced hi-end Windows Phones not only have potentially more horsepower than the Surface RT (it is widely known that the Qualcomm S4 SoC with 2 cores out performs the Surface RT’s 4 core SoC from Nvidia) and they offer comparable if not identical screen resolutions.

There is no guarantee Microsoft has a smaller less costly Surface tablet ready to ship and curiously, there have been no leaks or rumors of a 7″ Windows RT tablet from any of Microsoft’s hardware partners.

I find it curious that there is not one 7″ Microsoft Windows tablet announced to date when the new “mini” tablets are taking over the market. :-/

Microsoft has been executing everything around the “Microsoft 2.0″ re-lunch so right – could they really have missed the 7” tablet space?

It would be a shame to see all the established Microsoft divisions, Application, Operating System, Entertainment and hardware (Xbox, mice, keyboards) come together in harmony and the new Surface tablet division bring the company down. 😥

Posted from WordPress for Windows Phone

So let’s start with the elephant in the room.  Windows Phone 7.0 and 7.5 phones will not be upgradable to Windows Phone 8.  All existing and potentially new Windows Phones released before and possibly after the release of the Windows Phone 8 platform will be upgradable up to Windows Phone 7.8.

Windows 7.8 is designed to give current Windows Phone the look and feel of Windows Phone 8 without loosing any of the features and benefits of their current phone(s).  This is not very different from what Apple has done several times in the past.  We don’t think about this much and we shouldn’t, this is how great platforms are developed and quickly forgotten.

Some Examples of how many times Apple replaced existing architecture for a clean break to the future

* Apple 1 to Apple 2
* Apple 2 to Apple III (Apple III+ gave back some backwards compatibility)
* Apple 2/III+ to Apple Lisa
* Apple Lisa to Mac
* Apple MacOS for PowerPC to MacOS 10 for Intel x86
* Apple MacOS 32-bit to MacOS 64-bit

Just like Micorosft is now doing with Windows Phone 8, Apple has done and continues to do similar upgrades and breaks compatibly with older systems or not all features are available for older generations.

This has happened with each generation of the iPhone, a new OS is released and only some features are available for older generation phones.

People didn’t get angry at Apple for coming out with new Phones or coming out with new features exclusively for the newest device(s) — consumers accept this as fact and the way business is done.

Heck, there is no technical reason why an iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4 can not run Siri, yet it is only available for the newest iPhone 4S.  And iOS 5 is no different, many features will not be coming to the 4 and nearly no new features will be accessible in iOS 6 when installed on the 3GS.

So now we will talk a little bit about Microsoft’s history

*  Microsoft DOS (MS DOS) 1.1 all the way to MS DOS 6.1 (Windows 2 ran on DOS 6) all were backward compatible with earlier computers.
*  Windows 1.x allowed users to run all their DOS apps either in a window or full screen
*  Windows 95 ran all the apps for released for Windows 1, 2.11 AND still ran DOS app
*  Microsoft developed OS/2 for IBM and while IBM wanted to continue to run all older apps as DOS and Windows had done before OS/2, Microsoft pushed ahead and created Windows NT – breaking compatibility with some but not all apps
*  And since Windows NT in 1993 until today, most all of those apps designed in the early-mid 1990s still operate today on Windows 7 and soon Windows 8.  I know this because I have friends who still install 10+ year old licensed apps on their new PCs without having the pay the high price for the latest versions -which they don’t need

So, Windows Phone 8 will run “all the apps” designed for Windows Phone 7.x un-modified, even on new higher resolution screens.

Will the release of a new Windows Phone 8 platform make everyone’s existing Windows Phones garbage? Heck no!  These phones are still excellent phones and I guarantee that these phones will have better battery life than any new dual-core or hi-res Windows Phone 8 devices.

In fact, I don’t think that Windows Phone 7.x is going anywhere.  I bet there will continue to be a market worldwide for single core Windows Phone 7 devices.  The hardware is still competitive with current single core smartphones, apps being designed and released today still run incredibly fast on first generation phones running at clock speeds of “only” 1GHz.

People who use Android and iOS don’t completely understand that a modern OS can work well on a single core device, but it does – Windows CE was designed from the ground up to work on low power risc processors.   Poor performance isn’t driving Microsoft to develop an updated Windows Phone 8 platform, quite the contrary, Microsoft is bringing the power and function of a PC down to tablets and to smartphones – there is a difference.

Android really needs dual and quad core phones and tablet to keep up with iOS and now Windows Phone 7/8, why? because the Android platform is a wild west with no one company driving features, performance or even making sure that your second let alone third or fourth core is actually being used by apps and the Android OS.

I don’t see that happening anytime soon, it’s just not possible to do.  There are several reasons for this and I’ll just say some of them as they come to mind; several ARM cores and specialized versions of those cores and graphics chips from multiple vendors, multiple wifi chipsets, Bluetooth stacks, sime have video output, different sized screens, and speeds, etc. etc. etc.

Then add one more BIG thing, since there is no product cycle driven or directed by Google like their is for iOS and Windows Phone, you have new phones designed nearly from the ground up every 3-6 months from every vendor.  No two phones are the same, and no two phones or tablets can share the same OS and drivers. There just isn’t enough time for Samsung, HTC or LG to fine tune the Android OS for any or all devices they manufacture or ship.

So, should the announcement of Windows Phone 8 keep you from purchasing a Windows Phone 7.5 device today or next month?

That depends and I think that people reading this or other tech blogs may want to wait, but the market for smartphones is so much larger than the techie community that I think that 90% of the people looking for their first or second smartphone SHOULD buy a Windows Phone device.

The Windows Phone 7.x devices and apps aren’t going anywhere and I believe that many will still be developed in the future.  Will there be new apps that can only run on Windows Phone 8 – SURE, but if the phone you use or purchase today does everything you want or need, a new Windows Phone 8 will not make your phone any less desirable or less functional.

Now that Microsoft has shown many of the new things coming to Windows Phone 7.8 and Windows Phone 8 things are just going to get better, people are going to respect you more and they might even think you are cool for getting in on the Metro bus early.

I know I am super happy with my Nokia Lumia 900 LTE phone and it does everything I want it to do – except maybe run Skype in the background – but seriously, do I really use Skype to do that anyway? Nope. 😉

I don’t think anyone truly believed that MS would put the NT kernel onto existing Windows Phone 7.x devices.

I am happy enough with receiving the new Windows 8 Metro interface.

Sure, newer apps and technologies will only be available to the latest Windows Phone 8 devices, but that’s really not all that different than Apple with iOS.

When the 4S was released it came with Siri and the currently and still shipping iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 do not have Siri and the 3GS does not have many of the new features on iOS 5 and the upcoming iOS 6 leaves many features missing on older phones – which are by the way still selling well in stores.

I am excited for Windows Phone 8.  If all the phone vendors put 110% support behind Windows 8 like Nokia has, people will run to new beautifully crafted phones.

Microsoft Surface has shown the OEMs what they are capable of and not just that; they are also telling the industry, If you don’t design compelling products – we will! 🙂

People upgrade phones, tablets and computers for new features and additional functionality.  It’s not because their device/computer no longer works, it’s that they expect and want more.

Today’s Windows Phone 7.x devices are great products, they do everything and more than when they first shipped whether it was 18 months or 2 months ago.

What happened to all the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th gen iPhones???  They got handed down to family and friends because they are still great phones – I see this being true for Windows Phones as well.