Weekly Discussion: “Hello” by Lumia, new Windows 10 Mobile build and OneDrive bait


Windows Hello for the Lumia 950 XL gets demo’d on video

One of the Lumia 950’s advertised perks is that of Windows Hello. For those who don’t know, Windows Hello refers to biometric authentication on Windows 10 devices, which includes several aspects like fingerprint scanning and Iris scanning. Microsoft opted for the latter on the Lumia 950, most likely because everyone and their grandmother is working on fingerprint scanning, making Iris Scanning a viable differentiator for the premium Lumia handsets. Not many were convinced by Microsoft’s unorthodox means, and less so were impressed by the designation of Windows Hello “Beta” for the 950s. However, a video taken by a user who actually went to try out the 950 reveals that the iris scanning technology is actually pretty damn fast, activating in less time than it takes the average user to make out the icons on their lock screen.

Windows 10 for Mobile

Microsoft has signed off Windows 10 Mobile Build 10586 as the final build for Threshold 2. The company has selected the same build for PCs, too, which is dubbed as the November Refresh update. According to our sources, build 10586 will be the build which many users will be getting sometime soon, starting this month. Obviously, the update won’t be available at launch for all users — and it will take quite a bit of time to roll out to all users depending on their region, as well as carrier.

Tangentially related to the above, Microsoft has signed off Windows 10 mobile for general delivery at build 10586 earlier this week. This build will be the build that will come to Insiders most likely next week (or maybe today) and probably be followed by a broader push to existing Windows users starting next week. Microsoft was ordinarily supposed to finish the Windows 10 Mobile update by the middle of September according to sources familiar with the matter – a view shared by other industry insiders – however, something happened to cause them to delay the completion of the OS. There are theories that the OS was delayed to prepare Windows Hello for launch, or that Microsoft’s integrated Skype app needed more work but nothing conclusive.

Hands on with Windows 10 Mobile build 10586

As you may expect, the latest build of Windows 10 Mobile doesn’t include any new features, and it only brings some minor improvements.

Speaking of build 10586, we were able to download the build onto out devices and have a peek at the new build. As expected, the new build consisted of 99% bug fixes, the only new features are messaging related with Skype requiring your phone number to deliver read receipts and handle group conversations. It is rather fast and smooth, and I think we should be pleased with the performance especially compared to Windows 8.1.

Lumia 950 and 950 XL on track for November 28th launch in Europe

While some have used shipping dates from retailers ranging from 3rd of December to 12th of December to hearsay by carrier reps, Microsoft has finally delivered an official date of sorts.

Going on twitter this morning, the Lumia Germany account tweeted that the Lumia 950 and 950 XL would be available from the 28.11.15.

Finally a confirmed date for the 950 launches.

Microsoft shoots OneDrive in the foot and their credibility in the face

April fools day and Halloween may be past, but Microsoft’s tendency to make moves that cause its customers go “bang their heads on the ground” is cross-seasonal.

In today’s latest theater of fools, Microsoft has just effectively crippled  the OneDrive service and all of its related mobile apps for all of its users, new and existing. On a scale of Windows Phone 7.8 to Xbox One “always online”,  I think this one sets a new bar for foolishness for Redmond.

Microsoft just can’t stop snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, and this week was no exception. In one blogpost, Microsoft singlehandely went back on its promise to deliver unlimited storage to Office 365 users, sliced the OneDrive  free storage allowance, making it worse than almost every other cloud provider, applied this new rule retroactively and attracted the ire of tens of thousands of users.

To come to Microsoft’s defense, some have focused on the parts of the post that focused on people abusing OneDrive (70TB!), others have come out to bash OneDrive users for being “free-loaders” and expecting Microsoft to keep on providing the free storage that Microsoft had promised them and offered as incentive to sell their mobile devices. The problem here with Microsoft’s decision is that it is not a new thing. Companies have provided services and found they would not be sustainable at their current growth rates. What these companies then do is to “grandfather” older users in so they can keep they deals they originally signed up with and then apply the new rules going forward. What Microsoft did was apply the changes for everyone, even stripping the camera roll bonus they had offered.  I’m not sure how legal this would be in the EU as it is effectively bait advertising. For those who are unsure of what it is, here is a definition.

  • “Bait advertising” – advertising products at a specified price without disclosing that the trader has reasonable grounds to believe he may not be able to supply them or their equivalent at that price for a reasonable period or in reasonable quantities.”

And no before you bring it up, Microsoft’s EULA do not trump the laws of any countries. Now…about that free Windows 10 offer that Microsoft promised is most definitely not a trial…

Windows Phone vs Android part II

In terms of specs, the Lumia 640 XL is not even competitive. The Xiaomi blows the Lumia away several times over, and does it for much cheaper than what Microsoft is asking. If hardware was all there was, I would toss away the 640 XL for the Xiaomi.

Comparing Microsoft’s Lumia 640 XL to the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 was pretty fun, but the 640 XL was no contest. Despite being the same price, well the Redmi was a cheaper device, the Lumia was beaten on nearly all counts except for the camera. Despite that, the software the devices ran was the deciding factor. In terms of OS, Windows 10 is a better phablet OS than Android is in my opinion. The OS scales near perfectly to account for screen size, you can alter your DPI to get different views, move the keyboard around, non-hacky reachability and other features enabled by Windows 10.

Kantar’s marketshare oddities

Unexpectedly, and somewhat out of keeping with Microsoft’s own terrible sales numbers, the data reveals Windows Phone has shown unexpected strength in Europe and Asia, despite the launch of the iPhone at the end of the quarter.

The OS gained market share Year on Year in Germany and France, and saw only minimal losses elsewhere, leaving Windows Phone with a 0.2% gain overall in the EU5 countries, for 10.6% market share

Kantar reported on Windows Phone marketshare again,and this time, there was no large drop in Windows Phone marketshare to correspond with the low sales of last quarter. I’m not exactly sure how that happened, but I had a somewhat shaky hypothesis.

Microsoft had previously made it’s desire clear to pull out of markets with low sales and success rates for Windows Phone and indicated that they had done so in their quarterly reports.

Could Microsoft had pulled out of several low-volume regions to focus on the EU5, China and the US. This would cause a drop in sales and revenue, but it would also account for the increase in share in China and the stability in the EU5.

Food for thought.

That’s all for this week, let us know what you think in the comments!

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