The BBC has announced this week that it will be discontinuing its support of the Windows Phone platform, meaning many users will be unable to use the current app to catch up on TV shows and movies while out and about, according to Tech Radar.
While the deadline for this effective excommunication of Microsoft’s mobile OS has yet to be set in stone, the broadcaster is urging users to make the leap to Windows 10 Mobile so that they can enjoy content in their web browser, rather than having to rely on an app at all.
This is yet another sign that Windows Phone and the ecosystem surrounding it is waning after years on the fringes of the marketplace, with app developers shying away from it because of a lack of user numbers.
On the plus side, the fact that iPlayer is now accessible in mobile browsers is a step in the right direction and could point to a future in which individual apps are rendered redundant in favour of a browser-focused users’ experience. This would help to break down boundaries of compatibility and prevent people from being excluded from a service because of the mobile device they have chosen to buy.
Although it has been around for almost half a decade, Microsoft could apparently be looking to get rid of Windows Phone altogether and, instead, use Android for its subsequent smartphone releases, according to TechRadar.
Executives are reportedly in the process of weighing up the pros and cons of such an action, which would mean the end of the world’s third largest mobile operating system.
Of course, Windows 10 is arriving later this year with the intention of unifying Microsoft’s desktop and mobile ecosystems in a cohesive platform. So Windows Phone is likely to die off in its current form, irrespective of the other plans.
However, the idea that Microsoft would start using Android instead seems a little farfetched, especially as it has invested so much in gaining traction in a market dominated by Google and Apple.
That is not to say that Microsoft will not launch its own Android-based devices in the future, but rather that it will be able to do so alongside Windows Phone or Windows 10 smartphones, not in place of them.
Where Windows Phone is lacking compared to its rivals is the availability of apps, which is something Microsoft must address with investment, if it wants the platform to survive.
While some thought it would never happen in the first place, the relationship between Microsoft and Google’s Android mobile operating system has been brought to a close almost as soon as it was first announced.
Microsoft-owned Nokia had released a number of Android phones so far this year, including the cheap and cheerful Nokia X. But there will be no more models featuring this third party OS, according to TechRadar.
The existing Android phones from Nokia are not going to be ditched completely, as Microsoft has announced its intentions to rebrand them as Windows Phone handsets and install its own software onboard, rather than relying on something developed by rival, Google.
This news comes at the same time as the announcement that 14,500 jobs are being axed within Nokia, following its recent acquisition by Microsoft.
The Nokia X was a well received device from a critical standpoint, using a heavily modified version of Android which put the emphasis on solutions made by Microsoft.
Of course, using Android at all seemed relatively redundant given how vehemently Microsoft had attempted to hide its presence, so few will be surprised by this turn of events, that ends the briefest of partnerships.
People whose mobiles run Windows Phone 8 can finally get some high end image editing capabilities at their fingertips, as Adobe has launched the Photoshop Express app for Microsoft’s mobile operating system, according to Pocket-Lint.
The app is free to download and there are plenty of preloaded effects and tweaking tools that can be harnessed, to make picture really pop. It could be an especially appealing app for those who have splashed out on the Nokia Lumia 1020, since its 41 megapixel PureView camera will be enhanced by this third party suite.
The one caveat to using Photoshop Express, aside from requiring WP8, is that your handset must have at least 512MB of RAM. Even the affordable Lumia 520 from Nokia has this much memory onboard, so most people should be able to run it.
Of course, WP8 already has a host of photo editing apps on its download marketplace, so photography aficionados will need to decide whether or not they want to stick with the existing crop, or go for Adobe’s famous app. Whatever route you take, Windows Phone is shaping up to be a compelling OS for people who like to capture images and video.
Microsoft is taking the technology it developed for the Xbox-oriented Kinect motion sensor and applying it to Windows Phone, according to reports from The Verge.
This will, of course, require that the next generation of WP-based devices are endowed with a fresh array of sensors, including the ability to detect proximity and motion in many different ways than are currently achievable.
Ultimately, this will mean that smartphone owners will be able to interact with their device without having to physically touch it, which could be useful for everything from gaming to browsing the web.
Microsoft is even thinking about integrating touchscreen surfaces onto parts of the phone which are usually without this feature, such as the rear surface. This might eventually lead to Windows Phone handsets shedding mainstays of mobile design, such as a home button or volume rocker, although it is still too early to tell exactly what the software giant has planned for the future of Windows Phone.
The depth-sensing capabilities of Kinect might result in a revolution in WP’s interface, allowing users to interact with layered Live Tiles and launch specific services with ease. More information should emerge over the coming months.