Nokia is slowly removing itself form Microsoft. Of course, the company sold its devices division to Redmond earlier in the year and since then Nokia has been distancing itself from both Microsoft and the Windows Phone platform. There has been an Android launcher app (the amazing Z Launcher), an Android running tablet, and now the company has said it will no longer develop the HERE Maps suite for Microsoft's Lumia smartphones.
Microsoft's Windows Phone platform may be losing the operating system war to iOS and Android (by a long way too), but that does not mean it is without interesting features. It is actually a very robust platform and yours truly would love to see it more prominent if Microsoft can solve a few nagging issues. A new piece of software called the Gestures Beta app is now adding even more functionality to the platform.
LG are in the Windows tablet/convertible market now after releasing the Tab Book Duo, a slate none of us saw coming and one that boasts a battery life that rivals iPads and Android tablets. The Korean company has surprised us with the Tab Book Duo, but we are hardly complaining as it seems like the kind of product that could work.
Microsoft has been treating us to some stellar deals during its 12 Days of Deals promotion, such as a $149 bundle for Office 365 Home, Skype Unlimited World + Wi-Fi, Xbox Music Pass, and Xbox Live Gold. Redmond is outdoing itself with the company?s latest offer though as Microsoft is making 100 albums completely free and available for download.
Windows Phone is a hard platform to predict. The OS enjoyed growth worldwide through 2013 but has struggled in key markets this year while maintaining a solid base in emerging markets. The lack of interest in the US is of particular worry to Microsoft, with the WP market share falling consistently through 2014.
Microsoft has a new high end camera specific smartphone on the way called the Nokia Lumia 1030, the follow up to the Nokia PureView packing Lumia 1020. The device has been known for some time now under the codename McLaren and it is expected to land soon, but the device has had a massive leak today that lays bare the handset for us all to see. There have been 50 images leaked of what seems to show a prototype of the Lumia 1030 McLaren next to Apple's iPhone 6.
Acer is a long term Microsoft partner and has been building Windows PCs for many years, but the Taiwanese company pulled out of the Windows Phone market and has been releasing Android devices. While rolling out a couple of new Android smartphones today, there are reports that Acer will make a return to the Windows Phone fold in 2015.
Windows Phone has made some gains in emerging markets but Microsoft's platform still struggles to make an impact in its home market in the USA. That is not going to get better anytime soon and if you are on the lookout for a Windows handset this Christmas your options have just lessened. Sprint, the third largest carrier in the United States no longer sells Windows Phone smartphones on its website.
Nokia built a tradition of making its devices among the best for those wanting a smartphone that doubles as a point and shoot camera. In fact, the companies Lumia PureView handsets offered the best camera experience in the business. Microsoft will continue that tradition as the company is readying its own camera oriented smartphone, the Lumia 1030.
Android 5.0 Lollipop and iOS 8 may have been stealing the limelight recently, but there is another major platform update on the way. Microsoft has been preparing the latest update for its Lumia smartphones and revealed on Twitter today that, "roll out soon following testing and operator approvals."