Nokia Windows Phones – Marketing


Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 has been getting stronger recently with the awesome Mango (v7.5) update and it’s 500 new features, new adverts and now, what may well be it’s biggest shot in the arm…Nokia.

Much was made of the news earlier this year that Nokia were to start making Windows Phone devices, that Microsoft had given them 1 Billion dollars, this that and the other…and many wondered if it was really going to make any difference.

Well the answer seems to be a resounding…YES!

Following on from the Nokia World (Weds 26/10/11) announcements of the Lumia 710 & 800, there has been a flurry of activity. Nokia have given a Lumia 800 device to all the finalists on the X-Factor…while this isn’t my favourite show (far from it!) it is HUGELY popular with teenagers and young adults…I guess 13-30 overall…which clearly covers a big focus demographic for Microsoft. If Kitty, Johnny, Misha B (<—check me out Smile) et al are extolling the virtues of WP7 then surely that will translate into sales for Microsoft & Nokia.

Hand in hand with that though, is making sure that people can find the devices to test out and ultimately buy. This is something that many of the OEM’s have been quite poor at arranging…but not Nokia:

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Picture courtesy of Oliver Haslam (@theiBlog) via Twitter via Tom Warren (@tomwarren)

That’s a photo of the Nokia device already at Point of Sale in a Phones4U store here in the UK – good work Nokia!

Microsoft Office 365: SharePoint Online New Features


Microsoft are committed to adding new features into their Cloud offerings and over the last week and a bit have been upgrading SharePoint Online to include some great new things:

BCS (Business Connectivity Services) – This enables companies to connect to external systems from within SharePoint. For more info, check this TechNet page – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/ee518675

Windows Phone 7 “Mango” Support – Enables newly upgraded Windows Phone users to access Sharepoint Online lists and document libraries.

Increased Browser Support – Now officially supports both IE9 & Google Chrome browsers

Recycle Bin Self Service – Self service ability to recover sites from a collection’s recycle bin

External Sharing Live ID support – Office 365 admins can now invite external users to a site collection and they sign in with their Windows Live ID

Of those, the addition of BCS is far and away the biggest and should make Sharepoint Online suddenly a viable option for a whole new set of organisations.

Windows Phone 7.5 Xbox Controller


Windows Phone just keeps getting better and making itself more important to Microsoft’s ecosystem, as well as introducing itself to new potential users. Today brings the announcement of another great addition:

The Xbox Companion App

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This is a Windows Phone app that will allow you to Find, Learn & Control media on your Xbox console directly from your Windows Phone device!!!

The app isn’t yet available but Ben over on the Windows Team blog has had a play with the beta and gives us some great insight:

  • Finding Content: Just like on your Xbox, the Xbox Companion gives you instant access to the Xbox LIVE Marketplace catalog of games, movies, music and TV shows. I used it to search “Featured Content” and pulled up the X-Men: First Class.
  • Learn more about what you’re watching, listening to, or playing: Once I found the movie and touched the movie tile, the Xbox companion app took me to an info page that has all the related details about. And the content is really rich, too – for example, when I swiped to the “cast” page and touched an actor’s name, like star James McAvoy, I was taken to other movies starring him. From there, I could easily learn more about the other movies, their cast, etc. It’s an infinite road of interactive content.
  • Control & Play: Once I selected the content and hit play, the Xbox Companion flips into “controller mode” in which I could navigate my Xbox, or control video playback of your video. The best part here is that controls are virtually instantaneous – easily as fast as using my controller or a TV remote.

This is going to be pretty amazing in so many ways. It will make interacting with the Xbox much easier and also quite futuristic – which is always good! This coupled with the just announced Xbox TV is going to cause a radical shift in the way that people view the Xbox 360 console…no longer just for gaming but a true centrepiece of the living room, a real multimedia hub for the home.

The only reason I have EVER looked on enviously at a PS3 is for the LOVEfilm streaming and now we’ve got that, plus a whole bunch of other services so a real stake in the heart for Sony!

The other side to this is this will surely get the millions of Xbox users looking at Windows Phone devices in a whole new light too. Maybe it doesn’t have a few of the apps you’re used to on your iPhone…BUT IT CONTROLS YOUR XBOX!!! Smile

Microsoft unveil Xbox TV


Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console has been steadily increasing the various things it offers over the last couple of years adding things such as Twitter, Facebook, Last.FM, Sky in the UK, Netflix in the US. There have been rumours for a while now of “Xbox TV”, with Microsoft adding more TV stations, channels, providers to the console and making it more of a media hub and today is the day of reckoning.

Microsoft have announced a crazy awesome set of partnerships for Xbox media including:

UK

There are some awesome additions there…the one’s I’m most excited about are LOVEfilm & BlinkBox. Streaming movies online is something that I really like the idea of but just can’t quite be bothered to set up the necessary infrastructure to use my PC to get it to the TV! Smile LOVEfilm, for those that don’t know, is like an English version of Netflix (pre-Qwikster!) where you can rent physical DVD’s and games and also stream films online. However I haven’t really been able to make use of the streaming functionality so this will hugely increase my interaction with LOVEfilm and improve the ROI of my subscription!

There are a few sites there I haven’t heard of before, so it’s good to see Microsoft going for a broader range of services…things such as MUZU & VEVO which are centred around music videos for example.

Other services include HULU, but only for the US & Japan and YouTube is simply listed as “Available in 22 markets” so hopefully the UK will be one!

This is a huge leap forward for Microsoft and the Xbox, and with a number of the providers integrating Kinect into the menus etc. this will keep the Xbox as the leading console for a LONG time to come Smile

The list in it’s entirety is:

• ABC iView – Australia
• AlloCiné – France, Germany, Spain, U.K.
• Antena 3 – Spain
• Astral Media’s Disney XD – Canada
• AT&T** – U.S.
• BBC – U.K.
• blinkbox – U.K.
• Bravo – U.S.
• BSkyB** – U.K.
• Canal+* – France, Spain
• Channel 4 – U.K.
• Channel 5 – U.K.
• CinemaNow (Best Buy) – U.S.
• Comcast – U.S.
• Crackle – Australia, Canada, U.K., U.S.
• Dailymotion – Available in 32 markets
• EPIX – U.S.
• ESPN** – U.S.
• Facebook** – Available in all 35 Xbox LIVE markets
• FOXTEL** – Australia
• GolTV – Spain
• HBO GO – U.S.
• Hulu – Japan
• Hulu +**– U.S.
• iHeartRadio (Clear Channel) – U.S.
• Last.fm** – U.K., U.S.
• LOVEFiLM – Germany, U.K.
• Manga Entertainment – U.S.
• Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment/Real Sports – Canada
• MediaSet – Italy
• MSN with MSNBC.com – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, U.K.
• MUZU.TV – France, Germany, Italy, Spain, U.K.
• Netflix**– Canada, U.S.
• Rogers On Demand Online (RODO) – Canada
• RTVE – Spain
• SBS On Demand – Australia
• Syfy – U.S.
• Telefonica – Spain
• Televisa – Mexico
• “The Today Show” – U.S.
• TELUS** – Canada
• TMZ – U.S.
• Twitter** – Available in all 35 Xbox LIVE markets
• UFC – Canada, U.S.
• Verizon – U.S.
• VEVO – Canada, U.K., U.S.
• VimpelCom** – Russia
• Vodafone Portugal** – Portugal
• YouTube – Available in 22 markets
• ZDF – Germany
• Zune** – Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain

* Xbox LIVE Gold membership and/or other subscriptions/fees required. Kinect
functionality varies by feature, provider and region. ** Denotes existing
partners on Xbox LIVE available today

Office 365 Blackberry Beta Available


Microsoft Office 365, their updated online services offering, added many new features over the previous version known as BPOS. The big changes included using the 2010 servers (rather than 2007, making Office Pro Plus available as a monthly subscription and removing Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) functionality.

The latter wasn’t as well received as all the other changes and was due to RIM (Research in Motion, the developers of Blackberry) taking charge of that piece of the infrastructure. BPOS has just changed to offering the BES functionality free of charge and business continuing on that platform (while they prepped their existing infrastructure such as upgrading from Office 2003) can still use the Microsoft provided BES functionality. Companies taking up a fresh Office 365 subscription and/or upgrading from BPOS to the new offering however, are not able to take advantage of hosted Blackberry Enterprise Server at this current time…from Microsoft or RIM.

This has kept a number of customers from migrating over to Office 365, especially as RIM stated it won’t be available until December 2011! There is now good news and bad news:

Bad News: RIM now say it will be January 2012

Good News: There is now a beta of the service available

To get the beta service up & running:

To enable your Microsoft Office 365 for BlackBerry service:

  1. An administrator must login to http://portal.microsoftonline.com and click on Setting up email on mobile phones under Resources
  2. Click Enable Hosted BlackBerry® services from Research In Motion®
  3. Agree to the information sharing agreement
  4. From the Microsoft Online Services Admin Overview, click Manage under Hosted BlackBerry® services from Research In Motion®
  5. Once the open beta is live you will be able to configure and activate desired BlackBerry devices

Once that is done, and you click on “Manage” in your Office 365 portal, you will be redirected to:

http://www.blackberry.com/beta/businesscloud

to nominate your company for participation in the beta.