November 10, 2014

November 6, 2014

Microsoft announced today that it’s rolling out standalone Office apps for iPhone after releasing the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps exclusively for iPad earlier this year. Microsoft previously had an “Office Mobile” app for iPhone that integrated features of all three Office apps, but today’s release of standalone Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps for iPhone are officially replacing Office Mobile as Microsoft’s Office solution for iPhone. expand full story

November 5, 2014

November 4, 2014

Microsoft and Dropbox announced a new partnership between the two companies today and a commitment to bring integration between Dropbox and Office apps on iOS and Android. Currently Office users rely on local storage for saving files or Microsoft’s own OneDrive service for saving and syncing files, but the newly announced partnership will allow Office users to use the popular Dropbox service as an additional storage and syncing option and introduce new features between the productivity apps and syncing service. expand full story

November 3, 2014

October 31, 2014

Microsoft has today announced an updated version of its Outlook for Mac software with an updated design and performance improvements. The new version of email, calendar, and contacts app from Microsoft is available through the company’s Office 365 subscription service,  and Microsoft says it offers a more consistent experience with the iPhone and iPad versions.

In addition to releasing the new version of Outlook for Mac, Microsoft has shared that it will ship a new version of Office for Mac in 2015. An overhauled version of Office, which includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote, will be available for Mac users as a public beta in the first half of 2015 while Microsoft is targeting the second half of 2015 for the commercial release. expand full story

October 29, 2014

Update: Microsoft has now announced the Microsoft Band, a $199 fitness band that does everything described below. It goes on sale Thursday.

Microsoft hasn’t officially announced its wearable device, but it seems the company has accidentally published its desktop syncing client to the Mac App Store early. Whoops. The device is called the Microsoft Band (possibly Lumia Band, according to some currently non-functional support URLs) and sports a 310 x 102 resolution display.

The Microsoft privacy policy for the app lists some of the Band’s features: “Microsoft Band sensors help you keep track of things like your heart rate, steps, calories burned, and sleep.” Links in the document claiming to lead to a page with additional data, such as a list of sensors, currently lead to a 404 page.

Other key feature include the ability to get phone notifications on the Band, create reminders using Cortana, and more:

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October 28, 2014

Microsoft has pushed out updates for its OneNote client on both iPhone and iPad, adding support for new features added in iOS 8 and a design that’s optimized for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Users can now password protect sections of documents directly from mobile devices (a feature that used to require a Windows PC). Those with an iPhone 5s or newer will also find that they can now unlock password-protected sections of documents using Touch ID. That feature isn’t mentioned in the iPad change log, so users on the iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3 might need to wait for a future update to enable it.

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October 27, 2014

October 20, 2014

October 14, 2014

Microsoft has just joined the ranks of companies looking to capitalize on the success of ephemeral messaging apps like Snapchat. Through its Skype division, the company has launched a new cross-platform app for iOS, Android, and (of course) Windows Phone called Skype Qik. The premise of the application, as can be seen in the video above and screenshots below, is simple: you can record a quick video, and then share it to either one person in your address book or multiple groups of people.

Differentiating itself from some of the other players, the Skype-based solution is video-focused, and Skype is positioning it as a communication tool for in between full-scale Skype video chats. Notably, the whole service is connected to your phone number and existing contacts list, so it doesn’t require signing up with a standard Skype account. If you send a message via Qik to a user without the Qik app, the other person will be sent an SMS text message with instructions for downloading the Qik app to view the video message. This app is based on the technology from startup Qik, which Skype acquired a few years ago.

By default, videos will expire after two weeks, and you can also un-send messages at any time. A cool feature of Skype Qik is the ability to pre-record various 5 second GIFs that you can send as instant replies. So, if you don’t have the ability to send a live video reply, you can just choose one of your pre-record defaults. The app is free today on the aforementioned platforms, and Microsoft says that updates, such as one for blocking iPhone contacts (that feature is available today on Android and Windows Phone), will come often to enhance the feature-set.

You can view some screenshots of the iPhone app in action below:

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October 9, 2014

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October 7, 2014

Ray Ozzie, who used to be Microsoft’s Chief Technical Officer and Chief Software Architect, has come out with a new app for the iPhone. In an extensive profile, Steven Levy explains the premise behind the app, dubbed Talko. You can read the full overview on Medium. The app has been in development for more than two years.

A new take on phone calls, the app shows if your recipient is currently walking or driving — giving a hint at attentiveness of the speaker before the conversation even begins. It’s a nice use of the Apple M7 and M8 coprocessors. Any voice communication is archived into the growing thread … to organize a conversation like any other modern chat app really. Talko seems best as an app for modern meetings, like a conference call replacement, although Ozzie insists it can be used beyond business.

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October 3, 2014

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Microsoft teams up with Everclear for Windows 10 album giveaway (via FunnyorDie)

September 29, 2014

Microsoft has confirmed its rumored plan to open what it describes as its “first flagship store” on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, a few blocks away from Apple’s glass-cubed flagship store, reports the WSJ.

“As our first flagship store, it will serve as the centerpiece of our Microsoft Stores experience,” said David Porter, corporate vice president for Microsoft retail stores. “This is a goal we’ve had since day one—we were only waiting for the right location. And now we have it.”

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