Chris Weber is the CVP of Mobile Devices Sales at Microsoft, re-joining the company through it's purchase of Nokia, where he was in charge of global sales. He knows his way around every Lumia device, and is now aiming to make sure that Windows Phone first-party hardware is an even player at the devices table. We were able to sit down with Chris to talk about Nokia, Lumia, Windows Phone, and what changes need to be made in order to realize the success he is seeking. Check out the full interview below:
When is Windows Phone 8.1 coming out?
The answer varies by device and operator. The Lumia 630 and 635 are the first 8.1 products, launched internationally. We’re also working with our current products, and any Windows 8 phone is upgradeable to 8.1. There is currently a developer preview, but the operator version requires further testing. 8.1 is a completely different experience. Things like the background wallpaper, increased customization, and especially Cortana, which is one of the best features.
There are key differences between Cortana and similar services on other devices. It proactively learns. The other day I was flying to Moscow. The week before, it asked if it wanted me to track my flight to Moscow. There is a link that says "Do you want to know how I knew that?" Cortana looked at my calendar and started looking up flight numbers. It also has geo-fencing. You can say "Remind me that Ignacio owes me $100." I can say remind me when I send an email, when I arrive home, etc. Or "Remind me to pick up my dry cleaning" and when you get in the area, the message pops up. "Remind me to pick up milk at the grocery store” and you get the choice of having it remind you when you are near any grocery store, not just one specific one.
Back to being on the plane, I said "Remind me to download the music for guitar when I get home." It's really, really good. Flow writing, which is similar to Swype, means I can do emails faster on my phone than on the keyboard now. I got a new phone and it wasn't running 8.1 and the hunt and peck was tough!
The summer months can bring drought conditions in many areas across the world, but as any hardcore gamer will tell you, the gaming industry suffers the same condition each year. It's even tougher in years like 2014, where two major consoles just launched and early adopters are clamoring for new software for their pricey investments.
While I can't do anything about the lack of new games that are set to drop this summer, I can certainly help you get through it. Over the next two months, right before summer hits, we are going to see a few high profile games released that we think will dull the summer gaming blues. Some are old favorites, while a couple are brand new IP that look to offer unique gaming experiences. Here's my list of the five games to pick up this summer, in order of release date:
2KGames has announced that WWE 2K15 is set to launch on October 28, 2014 here in North America, and on October 31 in international markets. No other game details have been released just yet, but we do know that it'll be available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. For those keeping score at home, this will be the first time that the WWE franchise appears on the next-generation Xbox One and PS4 consoles, so it'll be interesting to see that 2K is able to do with the beefier hardware in the graphics department.
What do you think? Are you excited to get your hands on WWE 2K15?
Microsoft has officially announced the next entry in the Halo series in Halo 5: Guardians. Exclusive to the Xbox One, Halo 5: Guardians will star Master Chief as he begins a new journey, which was previously teased at E3 2013.
"Halo 5: Guardians" is a bigger effort than "Halo 4." That applies to the content and scope of the game, as well as the technology in what’s now a brand new and more powerful engine. Certainly there are some core elements carried over from prior games, but we’ve invested a huge effort in retooling our tech to take full advantage of the Xbox One’s hardware and ecosystem to create worlds and experiences worthy of next-gen.
Read More | Xbox Wire
As we mentioned earlier, Microsoft has decided to do an about-face, now offering the Xbox One without Kinect for $399. The move continues Microsoft's seemingly cowardly backtracking trend that it's been doing with the Xbox One for about a year now. While many see this simply as a price drop and a way to get the Xbox One without an accessory that they may now want, for all intents and purposes, this kills Kinect dead. Right where it stands.
Allow me to explain. When the original Kinect launched for the Xbox 360, there was a lot of hype and excitement surrounding its release. For the first time, you could use your body as the controller for a new type of gaming experience. It was cool, and about as novel as the original Wii. It was a toy and a gimmick, and soon many folks stopped playing Kinect games, and none really took off at retail. However, Microsoft was getting good data and feedback for what we realized the "real" Kinect would be. The one that launched with the next Microsoft console.
Microsoft surprised the gaming world this morning with the announcement it will sell the Xbox One without Kinect for $399 starting on June 9th in the U.S. This brings the price of the Xbox 360 in line with that of the PlayStation 4, which should bring the two consoles into even more heated competition.
An odd move (though some might say it was expected in order to compete,) since the company wouldn't stop talking about how essential Kinect is to the Xbox One functionality and gaming direction less than a year ago. I guess Microsoft has been feeling the heat if the PlayStation 4 sales, and had to adjust that strategy right quick.
The WWE Network app is now available for download on the Xbox One console, completing its availability on all announced video game platforms. Prior to today, the WWE Network was available on the Playstation 3, Playstation 4, and Xbox 360, with the Xbox One launch scheduled to come later "this summer." Obviously, the app was completed here in early spring, and made its way to the Xbox Live Marketplace without so much as an announcement from WWE or Microsoft.
We played with the app for a few minutes, and found it to be much easier to navigate than the other game console offerings. In fact, we'd place the Xbox One version just behind that of the Apple TV when it comes to connected devices. Having already used the WWE Network on the Xbox 360, after downloading it to the Xbox One, I was able to navigate around and watch content without having to log in again, thanks to my credentials syncing over Microsoft's cloud.
Streaming quality looks great, with no initial lag or stutter. You can download the WWE Network app now.
If you've been waiting for Titanfall to drop in price before getting in on the action, well, it's time to stand by for Titanfall. Amazon is featuring the game as a Gold Box special today, selling it for just $37 (a 38% discount!) That price applies to all platforms, including PC, Xbox One, and even the newly-released Xbox 360 version.
Head over to Amazon to take advantage of this deal now!
Read More | Titanfall Gold Box Deal
WWE held its 2014 Business Partner Summit in New Orleans, and talked about improvements that will be made to the WWE Network this spring. Here are some of the highlights mentioned:
- Users will gain greater control over their WWE Network viewing experience, with the ability to bookmark a place within a video, save your spot and pick up where you left off across platforms, and use chapter markers to skip to specific parts of a given show.
- Personalized recommendations will suggest content to viewers on other shows they may want to watch, based on their viewing history.
- The WWE Network will launch on the Xbox One, Amazon Fire TV, and Smart TV and Blu-ray platforms this spring.
The WWE Network is currently available on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, Kindle Fire, Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and web browsers.
Did you know that you can upgrade your Xbox One controller? In this episode, I walk you through the process of upgrading the firmware on your Xbox One controller, allowing you to take advantage of the tweaks Microsoft releases. You should check for a controller update whenever Microsoft releases a new Xbox One dashboard update. It takes a minute or two for each controller, and you must do each controller that you own individually. Check out the video for the full breakdown.
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