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back to article Windows Phone 8.1: Like WinPho 8, but BETTER

The biggest Windows Phone news this week was that it's now royalty free. This means it will cost manufacturers less to make a Windows Phone than an Android phone, all other things being equal. And, of course, it also received the much-anticipated update. Yes, it's taken what seems like an eternity to arrive, but Windows Phone 8. …

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Looks quite nice

I'm looking forward to quite a lot of that. And one of the best features I heard was in that isn't mentioned here: you can install apps and download free HERE maps onto the micro SD card, which is a lifesaver for budget phones. And HERE Drive+ will work everywhere, for every phone. Free offline GPS!

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Looks quite nice

Yes, I have a screenshot of that. I'll stick it in, and the Swype-y keyboard.

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Re: Looks quite nice

Andrew,

I keep hearing mixed reports, with 8.1 being available in the summer in the US, later in the UK and China and the rest of Europe will get it in 2015.

Your write-up makes it sound like 8.1 will be generally available in the summer, but the Cortana module will be rolled out at a later date outside of the USA.

Can you confirm that that is correct? Living in Germany, I'm going to be very annoyed if I have to wait another year just to get 8.1!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Looks quite nice

I have offline Google maps navigation just fine, and I can have a lockscreen and tiles ui if I want them on Android. Android isn't dead os, unlike windows phone, where marketshare is stagnant (in an expanding market) or dropping depending on who you believe.

I certainly know Microsoft claims of 1 in 10 owning one is total and utter crap

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Re: Looks quite nice

Declining? Must be declining slower than iOS, because it has only 2% less share over here...

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Re: Looks quite nice

Whoa, easy there tiger! It's *just* a mobile phone OS: if you don't like it then don't buy it, or read reviews of it. No need to get all Mr. Angry about it!

Keep taking those chill pills yeah? ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Looks quite nice

Aye, looking forward to giving it a spin. Could it be that saner heads are prevailing in MS-Land at last?

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Re: Looks quite nice

Andrew - can it finally export SMS messages? (And no, I don't mean back up the phone so that you can just load everything onto your next phone, I mean export). This has been a staggering lack in WP from the first version and makes it useless for many business people and legal requirements. As well as for those who just care about losing long-kept txts because they accidentally hit "delete thread".

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Re: Looks quite nice

To be honest H4rm0ny, that is not something I've ever thought about. When I switch phones or make updates, I just start from zero, when it comes to SMS. I've never thought about exporting them.

I've had my iPhone and Galalxy S3 replaced twice and I've switched between Mozart, iPhone, Sensation, Galaxy S3 and Lumia and never thought about taking SMS with me. Each time I've started with a clean SMS slate.

That said, that probably comes from my experience with older phones, where you could store between 10 and 100 SMS at most, so I was always deleting old SMS in order to receive new ones.

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Re: Looks quite nice

That wasn't supposed to be a criticism of your point BTW, just that it wasn't something I've actually ever thought about.

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Re: Looks quite nice

>>"To be honest H4rm0ny, that is not something I've ever thought about. When I switch phones or make updates, I just start from zero, when it comes to SMS. I've never thought about exporting them"

That's because you don't have a business or legal requirement to keep records of your communications, or have ever been involved in a legal case where you're required to provide records of what you sent and when to someone as part of your defence. (Happens a lot if you're fighting for custody of your child). Or simply want not to lose precious messages you exchanged early on in a relationship with someone you care about or to lose things sent to you by someone who has passed on.

Exporting SMS is a basic feature that phones have had for over a decade. It's shocking that WP can't manage this basic task.

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Re: Looks quite nice

Oh that's alright. Any rage contained in my post was directed at Microsoft, on this occasion. If I'd know before I bought the phone about this, I probably would have stuck with my old Meego phone. : (

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LDS
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Maps can be already stored to SD on a Lumia.

You can already store maps on the SD car on a Lumia - you have to install Lumia Storage Check. It has an option (details section) to store maps on the SD - on a 620 I have more than 2GB of maps on the SD, while only 21MB occupied in the phone storage.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Looks quite nice

Very true H4rm0ny. I've kept a few texts from exes that even now when I read them give me a little tingle down there.

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JDX
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Rotation lock?

Is that a new addition, or just a standard WP8 feature not included in 7.x?

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Rotation lock?

It came in with WP8 GDR3.

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So can you now use MDM to restrict like you can on iOS/Android or can the user remove the restrictions without you knowing as at present.

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Black Helicopters

Ya'll be back now

Let's face it, for a lot of americans the world starts and ends in the US. Geordie accent, what the fuck is that I can hear being cried in jolly old US.

Well the world doesn't start or end in the USA, China has made them aware of this now...

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WTF?

Re: Ya'll be back now

What is this "China" you speak of?

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Re: Ya'll be back now

It's the fancy plates and stuff you put your food on when friends come round. Some families also use it for thanksgiving.

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Re: Ya'll be back now

China is the magical place where all the stuff in Walmart comes from.

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...as Tiles could show live information

Well, at least live to within the last half-hour or so, except for selected ones like the HTC clock tile.

Now if they could work out how to make live tiles truly live without murdering the battery in the process, that would be really welcome.

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Thumb Up

Re: ...as Tiles could show live information

From what I understand, tiles can now be updated every minute which, while not enabling video tiles, is better than every 30 minutes.

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Free?

So, if they are giving it away, how will they make money? I understand how Google make money, and I have an uneasy truce with them, that I'll surrender some privacy and they can give me a free phone OS, and other "free" stuff like search and maps.

Bur Microsoft, make money from "free"? How? They bought aQuantive for billions, and shrivelled it to nothing in a matter of months. Bing? Yeah, make me laugh. Even to get their hands on a mapping system they had to spend billions buying a phone hardware maker. And their track record of giving things away has been pretty bad - they gave away IE for "free" to destroy Netscape and others, and look what that got us - the worst, least secure, least standard compliant browser for the subsequent decade, and resulting in the baked-in IE6+XP mess that left dopey corporates unable to migrate to proper browsers or upgrade their operating systems.

So we either have MS making a success, crushing Google, and then leaving WP to fester and decline for the next ten years because there's no money coming in. Or we have MS continuing to limp along, selling modest but loss making numbers of phones to those who don't really care about their phone OS, whilst the masses remain familiar with and preferring IOS and Android.

Quite frankly you could plate WP 8.1 with solid gold and supply it in a pouch made of unicorn skin, and I wouldn't touch it. But I'm sure the kidz will be happy if it's cheap.

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Re: Free?

I guess a thorough answer to this would include the word 'ecosystem'. I assume they take a cut of apps sold through their app store for example.

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Re: Free?

How MS will make money:

1 - Who owns Nokia?

2 - Appstore proceeds (if WinPhone gains traction).

Funnily enough, I wouldn't buy an Android phone if it were coated in gold etc. I don't like the idea of paying for the privilege of being an unwilling participant in Google's attempt at world domination.

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Re: Free?

It's free because Microsoft is about to be a major handset provider once the Nokia acquisition is done. If MSFT charges, say, Samsung for the O/S, then their former Nokia operations also have to "pay" for it, albeit through some audit-friendly royalty chargeback I don't understand.

It's the same situation MS Dynamics have in wishing they could bundle MSFT kit like SQL and SharePoint kit into ERP without incurring a cost impact. It's not allowed in many jurisdictions.

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Re: Free?

@Ledswinger: "Bur Microsoft, make money from "free"? How?"

From apps sold in the Store, Xbox Music etc. Not to mention sales of full Windows 8 devices, given the whole Universal Apps thing.

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Re: Free?

How will it make money?

In the short term, the continued survival of WP as a platform (they hope).

In the longer term, if this is not some temporary never-to-be-repeated-again offer to get them through a rough patch, they'll be making money out of services like Google does (see their new motto "Cloud First").

So that makes all the big three mobile OSes data slurpers. Great.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Free?

So you rather support MS plan for world domination or Apple's?

Or are you the .0001% percent that rolls their own?

I have no issue with Google's business model. I think they have some good products and I have an IQ high enough to ignore their ads.

Plus I think it is great Google and Apple are driving MS to irrelevance. MS pulled some nasty (and illegal) tricks to get their market share on the desktop and they deserve the beating they are taking in new world of mobile computing..

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Re: Free? @ El Andy

"From apps sold in the Store, Xbox Music etc. "

Nooo! Noooooooo! You can't believe what you've written surely? At one time, and even possible still the case, every single mobile phone network operator thought their threadbare, tumbleweed strewn app and music store was going to make them the next Apple. Didn't happen. Samsung, global leader in smartphone sales, have their own tumbleweed strewn app and music store that it hoped would make it the next Apple. Hasn't happened, and isn't going to. Nokia handsets going to be different? Yeah, Blackberry built an app store and nobody came. Even Amazon have an app store that I'll wager gets little traffic and makes little money, despite the scale of its parent. Every piss-pot me-too ebook reader company thought that it was going to coin it in from a captive book and music store, and it hasn't happened (eg Barnes & Noble). If people want a captive and fully integrated app & music store, there's a simple solution, it works, and it is called Apple.

The point is that you don't make money emulating somebody else's business model unless you've got a real edge of difference. Where the edge in WP 8.1 - familiarity for abandoned WP7 users?

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Re: How will it make money?

They've already been effectively giving it away with every Lumia shipped thanks to those support payments and cheap Lumia's are essentially the entire WP market. So far it's the only thing that's worked to drum up sales and they can't afford to stop.

As the new owner of the phone business they were laundering the subsidy (AKA free licences) through they're forced to offer everyone the same deal or face a visit with regulators.

The alternative is giving up on the big 'Win8 ecosystem' plan. Amazon have just screwed the XBox1 side of that deal with FireTV, Win8 continues it's slow train wreck and WP is just about holding on. They're desperate, half the company is staked on that ecosystem and it's not going well. They're aiming for survival right now, not making money.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Free?

Universal apps. All developers know that's total hprsedhit.

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Re: Free?

>>>> So we either have MS making a success, crushing Google,

You say that like it's a bad thing. MS, Google, Apple, any large corp, they're all as bad as each other. Google worse tbh as they come out with this don't be evil crap while they're stealing your privacy.

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Re: Free?

You know...

It is the exact same way Google makes money from Android.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How will it make money?

"They've already been effectively giving it away with every Lumia shipped thanks to those support payments "

The license fees payable in the other direction overtook the value of the support payments some time ago....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Free?

"1 - Who owns Nokia?"

I and many other Nokia share holders like me own Nokia.

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Re: Free?

> I and many other Nokia share holders like me own Nokia.

Exactly. And who is now Nokia's majority shareholder?

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Re: Free?

Not really, along with a lot of Google services, it is in their interests to get you onto the web, however that may be because once there you will invariably see some Google ads which makes them money indirectly. So if they can help more people onto the web, thats good for their bottom line. Microsoft however have a rubbish ads system that doesn't have the same reach and so the same does not really apply.

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Re: Free?

"How will they make money?"

From Android royalties.

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Re: How will it make money?

> The license fees payable in the other direction overtook the value of the support payments some time ago....

I very much doubt that. Nokia made around 30million WP phones in 2013 - about twice as many as in 2012. One billion divided by 30 million is about $33 per phone.

It may be that $30-$35 is what Microsoft would like to have charged per licence and so it has just become in balance, but 'some time ago' is unlikely because that would have required > $40 per phone.

The problem that Nokia had was that the support payments ended this year and they were losing money already on every phone sold.

Now with 8.1 being free later this year or next year this will have the effect of shutting down WP8 production to save paying MS with the plan to start up again with 8.1 for free plus newer, cheaper, chips so that they might even make money at last.

Of course Nokia won't be paying the tax anyway so could undersell the OEMs. That will please them no end.

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Re: Free?

...as well as Office Apps on the iPhone...that's too funny...

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Incorrect

"This means it will cost manufacturers less to make a Windows Phone than an Android phone"

Eh? Android is completely free and no, there is no "Microsoft Tax" or "Apple Tax" on making an Android phone. Even Google Mobile Services does not have a licence fee (despite what some sources may have stated).

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Re: Incorrect

True, but most manufacturers have to pay for licensing of some of the patents included in Android. To Microsoft, ironically. So, the point was actually correct.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Incorrect

Doesn't Microsoft (unfairly) receive money from Android manufacturers for patents they won't tell anyone about, even the people who are paying to use them?

Maybe I'm wrong then, but I thought they did.

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Re: Incorrect

Yes it is cheaper, as anyone making an Android phone has to pay a patent license to Microsoft.

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Re: Incorrect

Android may be free but making a phone using it is not.

Many Android phone manufactures, including Samsung, pay MS a fee for the use of patented tech in Android phones.

No one is saying what these patents are apparently but, as many have stated here, since Samsung paid, per device, and are richer than God, the patent(s) are probably valid.

The end result? You have to pay MS to make an Android phone. Of course, it also means Nokia/MS can make an Android phone cheaper than Samsung, HTC et al. Hilarious.

About half a billion dollars last year I read here I recall.

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Re: Incorrect

No they don't there is no Microsoft Tax. There is plenty of FUD and analyst speculation (such as Mr Foss Patents) who will gladly steer your thinking but just do a bit of research. There is no Microsoft Tax on Android devices.

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Re: Incorrect

> About half a billion dollars last year I read here I recall.

Given that there were a total of nearly a billion phones sold last year, and more than half of them were Android, then it's not a big deal.

> but making a phone using it is not.

Quite. One of the problems with WP is that it only supports a limited set of specific SoCs, most from 2012. It seems that 8.1 will, later this year, support some additional ones, even some quad core.

Android can support newer SoCs much quicker, these can have more features integrated and thus reduce manufacturing costs, while WP has to wait for Microsoft to catch up.

So far Nokia has been making a loss at selling WP while many Android phone companies are making a profit.

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Re: Incorrect

Might be a valid patent, might not. On the other hand, Samsung has enough money to encourage this kind of aggression as a barrier to entry for new Android companies.

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